Winners of the 2017 Essay Prizes Are Announced see more
2017 CPA Essay Prize Winners Are Announced!
WINNER OF THE Tenured Faculty ESSAY PRIZE
Brown, Bryson (Lethbridge) — "Paraconsistency, Pluralistic Models and Reasoning in Climate Science"
Scientific inquiry is generally local, focused on particular questions about particular aspects of the natural world. Pluralists have pointed out cases in which different fields and approaches have used distinct principles and premises, while paraconsistentists have proposed logical strategies to avoid the threat of trivialization due to inconsistencies in our present scientific world view. Here we examine how chunk and permeate, a simple approach to paraconsistent reasoning which avoids heterodox logic by confining commitments to separate contexts in which reasoning with them is (apparently) reliable, helps to systematize pluralistic reasoning, applying the results to regional climate models.
WINNER OF THE Non-tenured Faculty ESSAY PRIZE
Côté-Bouchard, Charles (Rutgers) — "Is Epistemic Normativity Value-based?"
Epistemology is widely seen as a normative discipline just like ethics. But what is the explanation or grounds of epistemic normativity? Why is there necessarily a normative reason to conform to epistemic norms? According to teleological answers, it is because it is necessarily good, in some sense, to do so. In this paper, I reject this answer. There is no relevant sense in which it is necessarily good to conform to epistemic norms. The problem, I argue, is that teleologists cannot give a satisfactory answer to the challenge posed by cases where epistemic norms seem completely trivial and inconsequential.
WINNER OF A Student ESSAY PRIZE
Falbo, Arianna (SFU) — "Analyzing the Wrongness of Lying: A Defence of Pluralism"
Extant accounts (both old and new) of the pro tanto wrongness of lying are all inadequate. The common problem with each consists in its unitary structure. Such views presuppose that all lies are wrong in the same way. This assumption, however, does not do justice to the phenomena of lying. This is because lying can be morally objectionable in diverse ways. Thus, I argue that we should take a pluralist approach to the wrongness of lying; that we should not impose unity upon the moral structure of lying when there is, in reality, diversity.
WINNER OF A Student ESSAY PRIZE
Juvshik, Tim (Massachusetts at Amherst) — "Relativity and the Causal Efficacy of Abstract Objects"
It’s often assumed that abstract objects are causally inert and exist outside of space and time. I give a principled argument for their causal inertness, first by arguing that lacking a spatiotemporal location is the best way of understanding the nature of abstract objects. If abstracta can be causal relata then they must exist in time, since causation is prima facie a temporal relation. The Special Theory of Relativity says that every position in time is also a position in space-time, so if abstracta are causally efficacious then they must exist in both space and time, contradicting our initial assumption.
Congratulations to the winners!
2017 CPA Book Prize Winners see more
The CPA is Pleased to Announce the Winners of the 2017 Edition of its Biennial Book Prize
Moore, Margaret. A Political Theory of Territory. Oxford University Press, 2015
Our world is currently divided into territorial states that resist all attempts to change their borders. But what entitles a state, or the people it represents, to assume monopoly control over a particular piece of the Earth’s surface? Why are they allowed to prevent others from entering? What if two or more states, or two or more groups of people, claim the same piece of land?
Political philosophy, which has had a great deal to say about the relationship between state and citizen, has largely ignored these questions about territory. This book provides answers. It justifies the idea of territory itself in terms of the moral value of political self-determination; it also justifies, within limits, those elements that we normally associate with territorial rights: rights of jurisdiction, rights over resources, right to control borders and so on. The book offers normative guidance over a number of important issues facing us today, all of which involve territory and territorial rights, but which are currently dealt with by ad hoc reasoning: disputes over resources; disputes over boundaries, oceans, unoccupied islands, and the frozen Arctic; disputes rooted in historical injustices with regard to land; secessionist conflicts; and irredentist conflicts. In a world in which there is continued pressure on borders and control over resources, from prospective migrants and from the desperate poor, and no coherent theory of territory to think through these problems, this book offers an original, systematic, and sophisticated theory of why territory matters, who has rights over territory, and the scope and limits of these rights.
Margaret Moore is Professor in the Political Studies department at Queen’s University.
Narbonne, Jean-Marc. Antiquité critique et modernité. Essai sur le rôle de la pensée critique en Occident. Les Belles Lettres, 2016
Un nouveau mode de rapport au monde est né en Grèce ancienne : l’attitude critique, laquelle a marqué durablement l’histoire occidentale pour ensuite s’imposer mondialement. Dès ce moment inaugural, beaucoup s’est joué, car l’indépendance de la pensée, le rapport questionnant au monde, la tradition de la discussion critique et du franc-parler — c’est-à-dire la tradition du rapport critique à la tradition — allaient pénétrer à l’intérieur des doctrines juive, chrétienne et musulmane pour en infléchir le cours, puis gagner à l’époque moderne leur espace propre dans la Cité. Inventeurs de la démocratie et de la philosophie, les Grecs ont donné naissance à cet éthos-critique dont le pli culturel n’allait plus nous quitter.
Le présent essai propose donc une lecture du Monde moderne fondé sur un réinterprétation de l’input antique grec, une analyse qui tient compte de la nouvelle humanité, critique et réfléchie, découverte en Grèce, et qui prend ses distances vis-à-vis des approches proposées par des auteurs comme Hans Blumenberg (la Modernité relève d’une auto-affirmation absolument originale), Marcel Gauchet (le désenchantement du monde est un phénomène essentiellement tardif; la démocratie d’aujourd’hui tout autre chose que la démocratie antique), et Rémi Brague (l’Occident tient davantage de la Rome hellénisée et christianisée que d’Athènes).
Notre civilisation a sans doute rompu avec certains aspects de sa tradition, mais elle n’a pas rompu avec son passé, celui plus ancien qu’elle redécouvre maintenant de manière plus libre. Le but de l’ouvrage n’est d’ailleurs pas de sacraliser l’hellénisme, mais de montrer que le potentiel critique, inscrit dans la dynamique même de cette culture, peut nous aider à mieux comprendre – et à mieux défendre – la société ouverte d’aujourd’hui.
Jean-Marc Narbonne is Professor of Ancient Philosophy at Université Laval.
Kolers, Avery. A Moral Theory of Solidarity. Oxford University Press, 2016
Accounts of solidarity typically defend it in teleological or loyalty terms, justifying it by invoking its goal of promoting justice or its expression of support for a shared community. Such solidarity seems to be a moral option rather than an obligation. In contrast, A Moral Theory of Solidarity develops a deontological theory grounded in equity. With extended reflection on the Spanish conquest of the Americas and the US Civil Rights movement, Kolers defines solidarity as political action on others’ terms. Unlike mere alliances and coalitions, solidarity involves a disposition to defer to others’ judgment about the best course of action. Such deference overrides individual conscience. Yet such deference is dangerous: a core challenge is then to determine when deference becomes appropriate.
Kolers defends deference to those who suffer gravest inequity. Such deference constitutes equitable treatment, in three senses: it is Kantian equity, expressing each person’s equal status; it is Aristotelian equity, correcting general rules for particular cases; and deference is ‘being an equitable person’, sharing others’ fate rather than seizing advantages that they are denied. Treating others equitably is a perfect duty; hence solidarity with victims of inequity is a perfect duty. Further, since equity is valuable in itself, irrespective of any other goal it might promote, such solidarity is intrinsically valuable, not merely instrumentally valuable. Solidarity is then not about promoting justice, but about treating people justly.
A Moral Theory of Solidarity engages carefully with recent work on equity in the Kantian and Aristotelian traditions, as well as the demandingness of moral duties, collective action, and unjust benefits, and is a major contribution to a field of growing interest.
Avery Kolers is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Louisville.
The CPA would like to thank warmly the members of the jury and its sponsors, the Cambridge University Press and Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal.
Two CPA Members Among 2017 Killam Laureates. Congrats to Thomas Hurka and Dominic McIver Lopes! see more
Dominic McIver Lopes and Thomas Hurka Are 2017 Canada Council Killam Laureates
Killam laureates were announced on May 2.
University of British Columbia's Dominic McIver Lopes is awarded the Killam Research Fellowship with his project "Being for Beauty: Aesthetic Agency and Value". Read more about the research project here.
Thomas Hurka from University of Toronto receives the prestigious Killam Prize in the Humanities, which recognizes "lifetime contributions" to the field, for his research on human good.
Congratulations on behalf of the CPA!
Jennifer Burns posted an articlePhilosophy in the Schools: The Aristotle High School Essay Contest Returns see more
The University of Toronto Department of Philosophy is relaunching the Aristotle high school philosophy essay contest in partnership with the Ontario Philosophy Teacher's Association. For more information about the 2018 competition, visit http://philosophy.utoronto.ca/the-aristotle-a-high-school-philosophy-essay-contest/. The deadline to submit is May 25. First prize is $500.