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In this issue we publish memorial notices about two of the CJP’s founders, Terence Penelhum and Kai Nielsen. In addition to conveying their personal qualities and professional accomplishments, each of them vividly reminds one that it is owing largely to the supererogatory efforts of some of us, that the infrastructure is in place to help all of us thrive as philosophers. We here at the CJP are, of course, very grateful to Professors Nielsen and Penelhum for their efforts, with others, in founding this Journal. But I think that all philosophers should be grateful, not only for their efforts but for all similar below-the-radar efforts that our fellow philosophers around the world make every day. For me this especially includes our 17 Executive Editors, our Editorial Assistant, and the several hundred philosophers who help us each year with referee reports. It is impressive and humbling to see such conscientious effort put into the continued thriving of our community.
Boredom has dominated discussions about longevity thanks to Bernard Williams’s influential “The Makropulos Case.” I reveal the presence in that paper of a neglected, additional problem for the long-lived person, namely alienation in the face of unwanted change. Williams gestures towards this problem but does not pursue it. I flesh it out on his behalf, connecting it to what I call the ‘curmudgeonly attitude to change.’ This attitude manifests itself in the tendency, amongst those getting on in years, to observe that things are getting worse. Curmudgeonliness is typically met with dismissal because it often concerns changes that don’t radically inhibit the curmudgeon’s well-being or autonomy. I believe that taking the curmudgeonly attitude more seriously will provide insight into the longer-lived self and its relation to the future. Using Williams’s approach to longevity as the framework, I contend that—as with boredom—a sense of alienation born of curmudgeonliness can become terminal for the subject, rendering her unable to envision the future as a site of worthwhile activity. However, I also uncover ways in which this agential stasis is significantly distinct from boredom and constitutes a different worry and a different risk for the long-lived individual.
In this paper, I defend an epistemic requirement on fitting hopes and worries: it is fitting to hope or to worry that p only if one’s epistemic position makes it rational to suspend judgment as to whether p. This view, unlike prominent alternatives, is ecumenical; it retains its plausibility against a variety of different background views of epistemology. It also has other important theoretical virtues: it is illuminating, elegant, and extensionally adequate. Fallibilists about knowledge have special reason to be friendly to my view; it can help them explain why it can be unfitting to hold on to hope and worry in the face of overwhelming evidence, and it can also help them explain the sense in which knowledge that p and hope that –p are in tension with one another.
Recent research suggests that, regardless of the truth of libertarianism about free will, there appears to be a widespread belief among nonphilosopher laypersons that the choices of free agents are not causally necessitated by prior states of affairs. In this paper, I propose a new class of debunking explanation for this belief which I call ‘reasons-based accounts’ (RBAs). I start the paper by briefly recounting the failures of extant approaches to debunking explanations, and then use this as a jumping off point to articulate several alternatives, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Considerable attention recently has been paid to anti-exceptionalism about logic (AEL), the thesis that logic is more similar to the sciences in important respects than traditionally thought. One of AEL’s prominent claims is that logic’s methodology is similar to that of the recognised sciences, with part of this proposal being that logics provide explanations in some sense. However, insufficient attention has been given to what this proposal amounts to, and the challenges that arise in providing an account of explanations in logic. This paper clarifies these challenges, and shows how the practice-based approach is best placed to meet them.
Reliabilism about knowledge states that a belief-forming process generates knowledge only if its likelihood of generating true belief exceeds 50 percent. Despite the prominence of reliabilism today, there are very few if any explicit arguments for reliabilism in the literature. In this essay, I address this lacuna by formulating a new independent argument for reliabilism. As I explain, reliabilism can be derived from certain key knowledge-closure principles. Furthermore, I show how this argument can withstand John Turri’s two recent objections to reliabilism: the argument from explanatory inference and the argument from achievements.