227 research outputs found

    Kant: constitutivism as capacities-first philosophy

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    Over the last two decades, Kant’s name has become closely associated with the “constitutivist” program within metaethics. But is Kant best read as pursuing a constitutivist approach to meta- normative questions? And if so, in what sense? In this essay, I’ll argue that we can best answer these questions by considering them in the context of a broader issue – namely, how Kant understands the proper methodology for philosophy in general. The result of this investigation will be that, while Kant can indeed be read as a sort of constitutivist, his constitutivism is ultimately just one instance of a much more general approach to philosophy – which treats as fundamental our basic, self-conscious rational capacities. Thus, to truly understand why and how Kant is a constitutivist, we need to consider this question within the context of his more fundamental commitment to “capacities-first philosophy”

    Preach on Purpose: A Peer-Preaching Plan to Discover Why Preachers Preach

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    This doctoral project seeks to improve the preaching of California’s southern San Joaquin Valley Presbyterian pastors by guiding them to discover the theological purposes for their preaching. This goal is pursued by creating the framework for a theological, historical, biblical, and contextual ministry seminar and forming the strategy of peer-learning and peer-preaching groups. While the current trajectory of preaching literature and instruction attends to technical improvements and skill enhancements, this project appeals for preachers to respond theologically to the question: Why do preachers preach? When preachers can articulate theological purposes for their preaching, they will more likely renew their vocational callings to preach and connect with a postmodern, post-Christian, and globally focused population that craves authentic, astute preachers. The opening part of this project explores the context of preaching, from the national perspective to the local situation, and observes that this network of Presbyterian pastors in California’s southern San Joaquin Valley has yet to address how shifts in twenty-first-century culture impact preaching. The second part of this project surveys the theological and historical landscape of preaching and concludes with biblical and theological themes most pertinent for preaching today. Finally, as a means toward guiding pastors to discover why they preach, a localized strategy is proposed in detail. Committed and culturally sensitive pastors from California’s southern San Joaquin Valley Presbyterian congregations will be selected to participate in Preach on Purpose, a three-month peer-learning and peer-preaching ministry seminar. This group will explore biblical, historical, theological, and contextual themes of preaching, discover and define theological purposes for preaching, and then practice and evaluate each other’s preaching that incorporates those purposes in peer-preaching groups. Following an evaluation period by participants and leadership, this localized project will inform more widespread future applications of this strategy. Theological Mentor: Kurt Fredrickson, Ph

    Epistemic Planning, Epistemic Internalism, and Luminosity

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    In in this paper, I make use of an “doxastic planning model” of epistemic evaluation to argue for a form of epistemic internalism. In doing so, I begin by responding to a recent argument of Schoenfield’s against my previous attempt to develop such an argument. In doing so, I distinguish a variety of ways that argument might be understood, and discuss how both internalists and externalists might make use of the ideas within it. Then I argue that, despite these complexities, the doxastic planning model continues to support a modest form of epistemic internalism. I conclude by showing that, far from conflicting with “anti-luminosity” arguments in epistemology, this form of internalism is best understood as a natural reaction to these arguments

    Constitutivism about Reasons: Autonomy and Understanding

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    Contemporary forms of Kantian constitutivism generally begin with a conception of agency on which the constitutive aim of agency is some form of autonomy or self-unification. This chapter argues for a re-orientation of the Kantian constitutivist project towards views that begin with a conception of rationality on which both theoretical and practical rationality aim at forms of understanding. In a slogan, then, understanding-first as opposed to autonomy-first constitutivism. Such a view gives the constitutivist new resources for explaining many classes of reasons, while also offering a new way of understanding the unity of theoretical and practical reason. The chapter concludes by arguing that the resulting view is best understood, not so much as an alternative to autonomy-first constitutivism, but as a complement to it

    Evolutionary Debunking Arguments, Explanatory Structure, and Anti-Realism

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    In this essay, I distinguish two different epistemological strategies an anti-realist might pursue in developing an "evolutionary debunking" of moral realism. Then I argue that a moral realist can resist both of these strategies by calling into question the epistemological presuppositions on which they rest. Nonetheless, I conclude that these arguments point to a legitimate source of dissatisfaction about many forms of moral realism. I conclude by discussing the way forward that these conclusions indicate

    The Modesty of the Moral Point of View

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    In recent years, several philosophers - including Joshua Gert, Douglas Portmore, and Elizabeth Harman - have argued that there is a sense in which morality itself does not treat moral reasons as consistently overriding.2 My aim in the present essay is to develop and extend this idea from a somewhat different perspective. In doing so, I offer an alternative way of formalizing the idea that morality is modest about the weight of moral reasons in this way, thereby making more explicit the connections between this thesis and similar issues in the epistemic sphere. In addition, I discuss how these ideas can transform our thinking about familiar questions in ethics such as the nature of self-effacement, the significance of reflective endorsement, the weight that moral reasons ought to be given in all things consideration, and the plausibility of “indirect” moral theories. Finally, I show that these ideas are compatible even with pictures of morality – such as Kant’s – on which morality might seem to anything but modest about its own importance. In doing so, I stress that it is possible to see morality as modest about the weight of specifically moral reasons, while also seeing all practical reasons as grounded in morality more indirectly – namely, by seeing morality as determining the weight that both moral and non-moral considerations deserve to have in all things considered deliberation

    Kant on Method

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    In this article I offer an opinionated overview of the central elements of Kant’s philosophical methodology during the critical period. I begin with a brief characterization of how Kant conceives of the aims of human inquiry – focusing on the idea that inquiry ideally aims at not just cognition (Erkenntnis), but also the more demanding cognitive achievements that Kant labels insight (Einsehen) and comprehension (Begreifen). Then I explore the implications of this picture for philosophy — emphasizing Kant’s distinction between critical and doctrinal phases of philosophical inquiry, with the first of these playing both a negative and a positive role with respect to the second. Then, I will argue that this positive role is possible, according to Kant, only insofar as philosophy follows what I call a “capacities-first” methodology – that is, one that treats basic cognitive capacities (such as reason) and their self-conscious activities as fundamental (in both a cognitive sense and in an explanatory sense) for the sort of philosophy human beings are capable of. It is this methodology, I will argue, that allows Kant to introduce the first principles that philosophy in its doctrinal phase requires in a manner that is neither arbitrary nor (at least obviously) incompatible with Kant’s own critical restrictions on cognition. I conclude by discussing some of the implications of this methodological picture – including the methodological significance of self-consciousness and regressive or “transcendental” arguments, Kant’s distinction between analytic and synthetic methods in philosophy, and Kant’s conception of reason as autonomous

    The Beach of Skepticism: Kant and Hume on the Practice of Philosophy and the Proper Bounds of Skepticism

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    The focus of this chapter will be Kant’s understanding of Hume, and its impact on Kant’s critical philosophy. Contrary to the traditional reading of this relationship, which focuses on Kant’s (admittedly real) dissatisfaction with Hume’s account of causation, my discussion will focus on broader issues of philosophical methodology. Following a number of recent interpreters, I will argue that Kant sees Hume as raising, in a particularly forceful fashion, a ‘demarcation challenge’ concerning how to distinguish the legitimate use of reason in (say) natural scientific contexts from the illegitimate use of it in (say) dogmatic metaphysics. I will then go on to argue that Kant sees Hume’s tendency to slide into more radical forms of skepticism as a symptom of his failure to provide a systematic or principled account of this distinction. This failure, I argue, can be traced (according to Kant) to Hume’s impoverished, non-hylomorphic account of our faculties – which both robs Hume of the materials necessary to construct a genuinely systematic philosophy as Kant understands this, and makes it impossible for Hume to clearly conceive of what Kant calls ‘Formal Idealism.’ In this way, the failings of Hume’s account of causation are (for Kant) symptoms of more fundamental limitations within Hume’s philosophy. I close by briefly discussing the similarities between Hume and Kant’s understanding of the relationship between, first, philosophical methodology and, second, the nature of our faculties

    Poly(4-vinylaniline)/polyaniline bilayer functionalized bacterial cellulose membranes as bioelectronics interfaces

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    Bacterial cellulose (BC) fibers are chemically functionalized with poly(4-vinylaniline) (PVAN) interlayer for further enhancement of electrical conductivity and cell viability of polyaniline (PANI) coated BC nanocomposites. PVAN is found to have promoted the formation of a uniform PANI layer with nanofiber- and nanorod-like supramolecular structures, as an overall augmentation of PANI yield. Compositional and microstructural analysis indicates a PVAN/PANI bilayer of approximately 2 μm formed on BC. The solid-state electrical conductivity of such synthesized BC nanocomposites can be as high as (4.5 ± 1.7) × 10−2 S cm−1 subject to the amounts of PVAN chemically embraced. BC/PVAN/PANI nanocomposites are confirmed to be thermally stable up to 225 °C, and no signs of cytotoxicity for SVZ neural stem cells are detected, with cell viability up to 90% on BC/PVAN/PANI membranes. We envisage these new electrically conductive BC/PVAN/PANI nanocomposites can potentially enable various biomedical applications, such as for the fabrication of bioelectronic interfaces and biosensors
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