Florida Philosophical Review

Current Issue

Vol. X.3, Winter 2014

Volume XIII, Number 1

Winter 2013

Copyright 2013 by The University of Central Florida: ISSN 1535-3656

Editorial Board

Table of Contents

  1. Editors' Introduction by Peter Oleni
  2. "Gratitude, Disability, and Philosophy" by Nancy Stanlick1
  3. "Applying Merleau-Ponty's Account of Perceptual Practices to Teaching on Disability by Christine Wieseler14
  4. "The Prospects of a Naturalist Theory of Goodness: A Neo-Aristotelian Approach" by Jeff Steele29
  5. "The Contingency of Language Causes Problems for King" by Edward Perez40
  6. "Reformulating the Two Aspects of Justification" by Ryan Simonelli49
  7. "Review of Deborah Cook's Adorno on Nature" by by Camilla Flodin 60
  8. Notes on Contributors64
Editors' Introduction

Gratitude, Disability, and Philosophy

Nancy Stanlick, University of Central Florida

In this presidential address, the author argues that being disabled is being a “misfit,” and that being a philosopher (and the discipline of philosophy itself) is often considered to be something like a disability, rendering philosophy, and philosophers, misfits as well. But not all disabilities are negative, and there are even cases in which disability can be something for which the disabled person and others can be grateful. Comparing her own physical disability that renders her a “misfit” to philosophy as a misfit discipline, the author argues that there is a connection between gratitude as a virtue, disability, and philosophy as an academic discipline and as a way of life.

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Applying Merleau-Ponty’s Account of Perceptual Practices to Teaching on Disability

Christine Wieseler, University of South Florida

This paper provides suggestions for educators who have a desire to learn about, or are already committed to, challenging ableism and disablism. As philosophy teachers, we have the opportunity to facilitate student reflection regarding disability, which puts students in a position to make decisions about whether to retain their habitual ways of comporting themselves toward disabled people or to begin the process of forming new perceptual practices. I contend that existential phenomenology, as formulated by Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Linda Martín Alcoff, provides insights regarding the habitual formation of perceptual practices that are useful for thinking about ways that perception may be informed by ableism and disablism. Jessica Cadwallader demonstrates how their insights can be usefully applied to thinking about perceptions of disability. Through analysis of past encounters with people with disabilities, Cadwallader suggests that students change their habitual ways of responding to people with disabilities. While such reflections may be valuable for making habitual perceptual practices explicit, I would suggest that this is only a condition for the possibility of changing (dis)abl(e)ist perceptual practices rather than the change itself. Students are likely to enter the classroom lacking the insight that they are even engaging in perceptual practices informed by cultural narratives rather than simply perceiving people with impairments as they are. I argue that an approach to teaching on disability that thematizes perceptual practices regarding disability, and takes experiences of disabled people into account, would be more effective than the one Cadwallader describes. Understanding the ways that people with disabilities experience being constructed as a problem through ableist perceptual practices could help students recognize their own potential to impact others in positive and negative ways.

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The Prospects of a Naturalist Theory of Goodness: A Neo-Aristotelian Approach

Jeff Steele, University of South Florida

Ethical non-naturalists posit a sui generis realm of moral and evaluative properties, while ethical naturalists identify moral and evaluative properties with natural or descriptive properties. First, I explore the standard arguments in favor of an ethical non-naturalist account of goodness, specifically the open-question argument. Then, I examine Philippa Foot’s criticism of the open-question argument and her alternative neo-Aristotelian theory of goodness. Foot’s account, I argue, is vulnerable to a revised version of the open-question argument. Finally, I suggest two ways that Foot can escape the revised open-question argument: Either via a classical naturalist account, inspired by Thomas Aquinas, that identifies goodness with the fulfillment of a thing’s function, or by characterizing her account as a version of non-reductive naturalism akin to non-reductive physicalism in philosophy of mind. In either case, I argue that Foot’s neo-Aristotelian naturalism is preferable to ethical non-naturalism concerning the property of goodness.

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The Contingency of Language Causes Problems for King

Edward Perez, Santa Fe College

I present Jeffrey King’s view of propositions and suggest two problems with his view: what I call the “No Past Truths Problem” and the “Birth of Language Problem.” In this paper I argue that the No Past Truths Problem is more severe than King admits and argue that no adequate solution to this problem exists, implicitly or explicitly, in King’s account of propositions. Additionally, I argue that King fails to adequately address the Birth of Language Problem. I conclude by arguing that King’s account of propositions, as it currently stands, cannot survive the challenge provided by both problems.

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Reformulating the Two Aspects of Justification

Ryan Simonelli, New College of Florida

In Evidence and Inquiry, Susan Haack presents a dual-aspect account of evidence in which both casual and logical relations play a necessary factor. In this paper, I reformulates how these two aspects fit together to form a comprehensive picture of discursive justification. Drawing from Quine’s work on the “observation sentence,” I show how we can move from causal justifications (which connect noninferential beliefs directly with events in the world) to inferential justifications (which connect the content of the belief to the contents of other logically related beliefs). Conversely, I also attempt to show how we can correct and improve our causally justified, noninferential beliefs by challenging and inferentially justifying them. The resulting account should be one in which our beliefs are connected to the world, but one which is non-foundationalist and allows any belief to be called into question.

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Review of Deborah Cook's Adorno on Nature

Camilla Flodin, Uppsala University and Södertörn University

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Notes on Contributors

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