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Tennessee Philosophical Association
49th Annual Meeting: Oct. 27-28, 20167
Vanderbilt University
 

 John J. Compton Memorial Lecture and TPA Keynote

Speaker: Samuel Scheffler, New York University

 

 

“Why Worry About Future Generations?”

Friday, 7:30 P.M., 114 Furman Hall, followed by a spirited reception

 

Sessions: Saturday, Furman Hall
9:00 am through 5:00 pm

9:00-9:55 a.m.

A Granularity Problem for Impossible World Semantics
Morgan Davies, Marist College
Commentator: Benjamin Lennertz, University of Western Kentucky

Contemporary Aristotelian Ethical Naturalism and the Specifically Human Problem
Drew Alexander, Boston College
Commentator: Fiaca Heneghan, Vanderbilt University

Patriotism and Ownership of One’s Own Body in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right
Linh Mac, Georgia State University
Commentator: Chris Bolt

On Loneliness as Social Disattunement
William Bell
Commentator: Glenn Trujilo, Vanderbilt University

10:00-10:55 a.m.

Complex Properties and the Limits of Hylomorphism
Graham Renz, Washington University in St. Louis
Commentator: James Peters, The University of the South

Against The Bare Difference Argument
Scott Hill, Auburn University
Commentator: Charles Cardwell, Pellissippi State Community College

Pessimism Redux
Walter Reid, Syracuse University
Commentator: Rickey Ray, Northeast State Community College

Levinas, Liberalism, and Epistemology
J. Aaron Simmons, Furman University
Commentator: Reese Faust, Vanderbilt University

11:00-11:55 a.m.

The Case Against Analytic Metaphysics
David M. Lindeman, Johns Hopkins University
Commentator: Jesse Schupack, The University of the South

Adam Smith on Illusive Sympathy and the Limits of Moral Consideration
Ryan Pollock, Pennsylvania State University
Commentator: James Fieser, University of Tennessee at Martin

The Z.13 Thesis and the Unity of Substance
Tyler Eaves, University of Oklahoma
Commentator: Sabeen Ahmed, Vanderbilt University

The Shadow of Domination: Revising Pettit’s Conception of Freedom
Alyssa Lowery, Vanderbilt University
Commentator: Lyn Radke, Vanderbilt University

12:00-12:05 p.m.

Business Meeting:  Elections for President and Secretary; Furman 109

12:05-1:25 p.m.

Lunch:  On your own  (see insert in conference packet for local eateries)

1:30-2:25 p.m.

What the Remnant Person Problem Really Implies
Joungbin Lim, Troy University
Commentator: Luke Semrau, Vanderbilt University

Debunking isn’t a Matter of Disagreement
Elliot Goodine, University of Texas at Austin
Commentator: Mark Michael, Austin Peay State University

Heidegger, Science, and the Objectivity of Presence-at-Hand
Ryan McCoy, Georgia State University
Commentator: Lisa Madura, Vanderbilt University

Adjudicating Sacred Land from Somewhere: The Original Position, the Free Exercise Clause and Minority Faiths
David Scott, University of Kentucky
Commentator: Mark Coppenger, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

2:30-3:25 p.m.

Linguistic Disobedience: Epithets, Appropriation, and Civil Disobedience
David Miguel Gray, University of Memphis, and Benjamin Lennertz, University of Western Kentucky
Commentator: Corey Reed, University of Memphis

Does Love Give Us a Reason to Try Non-Monogamy?
Lyn Radke, Vanderbilt University
Commentator: Alyssa Lowery, Vanderbilt University

Habit, Phenomenology, and Deleuze’s Philosophy of Art
Kenneth Noe, Harris-Stowe State University
Commentator: Mélanie Walton, Belmont College

A Mistake in the Commodification Debate
Luke Semrau, Vanderbilt University
Commentator: Scott Hill, Auburn University

3:30pm-4:25pm

Against Moore’s Anti-Skeptical Argument in “Proof of an External World”
Christopher Stratman, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Commentator: Allysson Vasconselos Lima Rocha, Vanderbilt University

Abstracts of papers

9:00-9:55am

A Granularity Problem for Impossible World Semantics
Morgan Davies, Marist College
Impossible world semantics is a successor to possible world semantics that is supposed to be able to individuate necessarily true [and necessarily false] propositions, something possible world semantics (without structured intensions) struggled with. While various philosophers believe that it accomplishes this goal, I argue that there is still a subclass of necessarily true [and necessarily false] propositions whose members are distinct yet would be counted as identical according to impossible world semantics.

Contemporary Aristotelian Ethical Naturalism and the Specifically Human Problem
Drew Alexander, Boston College
Since Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy,” neo-Aristotelian ethical naturalism has struggled with what I call ‘the specifically human problem’—the problem of justifying the primacy given to human form as the standard for ethical evaluation. I argue that recent responses to this problem that focus on the human capacity for practical reasoning only exacerbate the problem, and indicate a way past these shortcoming through Michael Thompson’s work on practical bipolarity.

Patriotism and Ownership of One’s Own Body in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right
Linh Mac, Georgia State University
Hegel’s view that the state can rightfully demand its citizens to sacrifice their lives in war seems to advocate blind obedience, which contradicts his emphasis on freedom of reflection in determining one’s ethical duties. I argue that this tension can be resolved if the duty to die for the state applies only to its soldiers, not ordinary citizens. Moreover, soldiers should perform their duty out of conviction. The implication for body ownership is that one ultimately owns one’s body despite becoming a member of a state. One does not transfer one’s ownership of one’s body to the state.

On Loneliness as Social Disattunement
William Bell
In this paper, I examine the notion of what it means to be lonely. The dominant conception of loneliness used by social psychologists in empirical research is the cognitive discrepancy model (CDM). According to the CDM, loneliness is an unpleasant experience which occurs as the result of a perceived discrepancy between a person’s desired and actual levels of social interaction. Part of my aim is to demonstrate that the CDM misconstrues the fundamental nature of loneliness. Loneliness, I argue, is best understood as a complex emotion. More broadly, I wish to highlight certain social dimensions crucial to any account of emotional well-being. Drawing upon—and supplementing—Daniel Haybron’s three-dimensional taxonomy of happiness, I argue loneliness is best conceived of as a sort of social disattunement. I also reflect on the intentionality and complexity of loneliness.

10:00-10:55 a.m.

Complex Properties and the Limits of Hylomorphism
Graham Renz, Washington University in St. Louis
Hylomorphism is the Aristotelian theory which claims objects are composed of form and matter. Form is what unifies the various parts of a material object into a cohesive whole. Some contemporary Hylomorphists argue their theory applies beyond the realm of concreta, and that it explains the unity of various abstract entities. Not everyone agrees. Teresa Britton has argued Hylomorphism fails to explain the unity of certain abstract entities: complex properties—properties with other properties and proper parts. This paper argues Britton’s conception of complex properties is misguided and tacitly excludes a role for form from the start. In doing so, I defend Hylomorphism as a general mereological theory.

Against The Bare Difference Argument
Scott Hill, Auburn University
Is killing worse than letting die? Numerous philosophers, psychologists, and medical practitioners claim that the Bare Difference Argument shows it is not. I reconsider this widespread assessment. In particular, a premise of the argument is that the examples discussed by proponents of the argument are identical except that one is a case of killing and the other is a case of letting die. I argue that this is false. In one of the cases, the subject has the ability to kill as well as the ability let die. In the other case, the subject has the ability to kill but lacks the ability to merely let die.

Pessimism Redux
Walter Reid, Syracuse University
Schopenhauer’s pessimism holds that life is not worth living. Suffering and Insufficient Value are widely-cited reasons for pessimism. In Section One, I explicate whether suffering implies pessimism. Pessimism doesn’t follow from suffering per se. Rather, suffering follows from there being insufficient value, i.e. nothing that is ultimately meaningful. I then evaluate Schopenhauer's grounds for claiming there's insufficient value. Current literature acknowledges a connection between insufficient value and pessimism, but hasn’t developed that link thoroughly. I intend to develop that link, even argue in favor of it. My thesis is that the argument from insufficient value renders pessimism a viable stance to take within the contemporary debate concerning the value of human life.

Levinas, Liberalism, and Epistemology
J. Aaron Simmons, Furman University
In this essay, I argue that Levinasian philosophy can and should be more substantively engaged with contemporary mainstream political philosophy. In the attempt to articulate two places, in particular, where such engagement is likely to be especially productive, I will look at Levinas’s conception of liberalism and the rethinking that epistemology—especially the importance of justification as a moral task for social life—can receive in light of his thought.

11:00-11:55 a.m.

The Case Against Analytic Metaphysics
David M. Lindeman, Johns Hopkins University
In their 2007 Every Thing Must Go (ETMG), Ladyman and Ross (L&R) provide what is perhaps the most devastating critique of analytic metaphysics offered since the hey-day of logical positivism – though unlike the logical positivists, L&R’s critique is importantly concerned not with the meaning of metaphysical claims but with the method employed in arriving at them. I set forward this critique and take a look at the defense of analytic metaphysics offered in Dorr’s (2010) review of ETMG. I rebut this defense in turn.

Adam Smith on Illusive Sympathy and the Limits of Moral Consideration
Ryan Pollock, Pennsylvania State University
Smith holds that spectators “illusively” sympathize with the dead by feeling sorrow for misfortunes that cause no actual distress. Patrick Frierson has argued this implies that Smith’s theory supports ecocentrism. Spectators should be able to feel for the misfortunes of other non-sentient beings such as trees, rivers, ecosystems, and species. I contend this interpretation is mistaken. By Smithian lights, concern for nature can only arise from selfish projection in which the spectator evaluates the “circumstances” of nature in terms of her own preferences. This account demonstrates how Smith’s theory supports a sentientist view of moral consideration.

The Z.13 Thesis and the Unity of Substance
Tyler Eaves, University of Oklahoma
In Metaphysics Zeta 13, Aristotle appears to be arguing for a problematic conclusion. He appears to be arguing that no universal can be substance and this is problematic because two commonly held interpretations of Aristotle’s metaphysics are that forms are substance—indeed they are the primary substances—and that forms are universal in that there is one form that, together with bits of matter, constitute the members of a given species of natural object. I will argue that this apparent inconsistency is just that—apparent—by offering reasons, from both internal and external to Z.13, for thinking that Aristotle has not contradicted himself at all and that what he says in Z.13 is quite in keeping with the larger theory of substance developed in the central books.

The Shadow of Domination: Revising Pettit’s Conception of Freedom
Alyssa Lowery, Vanderbilt University
In this paper, I examine Philip Pettit’s model of freedom as non-domination, tracing his critical commentary defending this conception against Hobbesian freedom as nonfrustration and Berlinian freedom as noninterference. I then follow the steps of this commentary in examining two contemporary cases of apparent unfreedom, that of the Female Runner and that of the Terrorized Citizen. I argue that Pettit’s model of non-domination cannot accommodate these two cases on his current account, and ought to be revised to do so by allowing for the possibility of a merely potential dominator, rather than an immediately identifiable one.

1:30-2:25 p.m.
What the Remnant Person Problem Really Implies
Joungbin Lim, Troy University
The goal of this paper is to propose a way in which animalists can solve the remnant person problem. I first show that the dilemma for the remnant person parallels the dilemmas animalists use to argue that we could become human vegetables or corpses. This leads to an anti-criterialist view: there are informative sufficient conditions, but not both necessary and sufficient conditions, for our identity over time. With this anti-criterialist view, animalists can solve the remnant person problem as well as consistently use the dilemma for the human vegetable or the corpse.

Debunking isn’t a Matter of Disagreement
Elliot Goodine, University of Texas at Austin
Recently, the evolutionary debunking argument against moral realism has been defended on the basis of a conciliationist epistemic principle, and the claim that our distant defended on the basis of a conciliationist epistemic principle, and the claim that our distant evolutionary cousins could have had different moral beliefs. This paper criticizes that approach evolutionary cousins could have had different moral beliefs. This paper criticizes that approach evolutionary cousins could have had different moral beliefs. This paper criticizes that approach evolutionary cousins could have had different moral beliefs. This paper criticizes that approach by explaining the motivations and details of conciliationist theories of peer disagreements, and by explaining the motivations and details of conciliationist theories of peer disagreements, and by showing that moral disagreements with distant evolutionary cousins are importantly different by showing that moral disagreements with distant evolutionary cousins are importantly different than peer disagreements. Moral disagreements with distant evolutionary cousins do not provide than peer disagreements. Moral disagreements with distant evolutionary cousins do not provide evidence that anything has gone wrong with our own reasoning, whereas peer disagreements do provide evidence of one’s own errors.

Heidegger, Science, and the Objectivity of Presence-at-Hand
Ryan McCoy, Georgia State University
I argue against the claims made by Rouse (1985b) and Blattner (1995) that 1) Heidegger’s conception of presence-at-hand [vorhandenheit] fundamentally mischaracterizes the objects of science and the stronger claim 2) that no genuine phenomenon corresponds to presence-at-hand. Both argue that presence-at-hand wrongly implies that the objects of science are entirely decontextualized from human practical activity. I argue that this reading is contrary to Heidegger’s characterizations of presence-at-hand. In turn, I present a reading that maintains the coherence of presence-at-hand within Being and Time, and in the concluding section, briefly address how Heidegger’s characterizations of scientific objectivity have been echoed in contemporary science studies.

Adjudicating Sacred Land from Somewhere: The Original Position, the Free Exercise Clause and Minority Faiths
David Scott, University of Kentucky
I apply John Rawls’s concepts of the original position and veil of ignorance to a specific area of First Amendment jurisprudence: two federal court decisions in which Native American tribes sought to prevent governmental destruction of lands they considered sacred. After outlining the representatives’ attitudes towards religion and summarizing the most significant features of the sacred land cases that concern me, I argue that they reveal a disparity in legal protection against threats perceived by a dominant versus majority worldview, a result that the representatives couldn’t foreseeably allow.

2:30-3:25 p.m.
Linguistic Disobedience: Epithets, Appropriation, and Civil Disobedience
David Miguel Gray, University of Memphis, and Benjamin Lennertz, University of Western Kentucky
There has recently been a focus in the philosophy of language on how to best account for epithets. We argue that while different accounts of epithets may be able to explain appropriated epithets, no account of the derogatory force of epithets should explain the original act or acts of appropriating an epithet. Rather appropriative acts are instances of what we call linguistic disobedience. They should be understood either as instances of or as highly analogous to civil disobedience. Such a point of view helps us better understand both appropriative acts and civil disobedience.

Does Love Give Us a Reason to Try Non-Monogamy?
Lyn Radke, Vanderbilt University
I argue that monogamists have reason to try non-monogamy if their partners desire it. First, I identify a key feature of love: disinterested concern for the beloved’s welfare. Then, I use a thought experiment to introduce the intuition: A state of affairs in which our partner is better off—even with someone else—is preferable. We desire our beloved’s maximum welfare. Yet, as a restrictive practice, monogamy blocks off our commitment to maximizing it. I conclude that the practice of non-monogamy, if possible for the lover, is more desirable; it achieves a fit between love’s priorities and our life design.

Habit, Phenomenology, and Deleuze’s Philosophy of Art
Kenneth Noe, Harris-Stowe State University
I argue that Deleuze’s aesthetics provides a theory of art in which art is defined as the production of affects which counter the sedimenting potential of habits. I first rehearse Husserl’s monadic theory of subjectivity, in which the subject is structurally imbricated among immanent material influences and events (nature, history, culture, etc). Second, I reject that the monadic subject fully exhausts the subject’s structure. A nomadic subjectivity – an impersonal habit of contracting habits – subsists prior to the monadic self. I conclude that the work of art, as described by Deleuze, creates affects that dislodge (or at least nudge) the subject’s habits by partially releasing the nomadic subject from its monadic relations.

A Mistake in the Commodification Debate
Luke Semrau, Vanderbilt University
A significant debate has developed around the question: What are the moral limits of the market? This paper argues that this debate proceeds on a mistake. Both those who oppose specific markets, and those who defend them, adopt the same deficient approach. Participants illicitly proceed from an assessment of the transactions comprising a market, to a judgment of that market’s permissibility. This inference is unlicensed. We may know everything there is to know about the transactions in a specific market – they might all be absolutely bad – but we will not yet know whether that market should be prohibited.

3:30pm-4:25pm
Against Moore’s Anti-Skeptical Argument in “Proof of an External World”
Christopher Stratman, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

I argue that an adequate interpretation of G. E. Moore’s anti-skeptical argument, as it is presented in “Proof of an External World”, involves recognizing a distinction between ontological skepticism regarding ontological explanations of everyday empirical knowledge, and epistemic skepticism concerning our empirical knowledge of ordinary objects. Once this distinction is made, I show that the appropriate target of Moore’s anti-skeptical argument is ontological skepticism, not epistemic skepticism. This means that the conclusion of Moore’s anti-skeptical argument is an ontological claim about the fundamentality. If this is correct, then the conclusion outstrips its epistemic premises and, therefore, proves too much.

 

 Accommodations

A block of rooms has been reserved for TPA members at the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt , 2613 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37203 (615) 327-4707, for the nights of Friday, October 27th and Saturday, October 28th. The Holiday Inn is located directly across from Centennial Park and is an easy walk from Vanderbilt's Furman Hall. Single king and twin queen rooms are available.  The rooms with two queens will accommodate up to 4 persons. The conference rate is $229.00 per night (plus $37.42 in taxes). There is an additional parking fee of $22 ($25 if you opt for valet parking).  To get this conference rate, mention the reference block code "TPA"... and be sure to make your reservations BEFORE MIDNIGHT, SEPTEMBER 27. (You may wish to check the hotel's cancellation policy when you make your reservations.)

For one or two persons, a relatively inexpensive alternative is to stay at the Scarritt Bennett Center.  Scarritt Bennett, once a Methodist seminary, is a short walk from Furman Hall.  Accommodations are singles in dormitory buildings (two rooms per bath) and are very modestly priced at only $50 (plus about $10 tax) per person per night (http://www.scarrittbennett.org/accomodations/rooms-rates/).

Unfortunately, TPA is not able to reserve a block of rooms at Scarritt Bennett, so you must fend for yourself.  Rooms are let on a first come first serve basis.  If you wish to take advantage of this option, it would be wise to make your reservation as soon as you decide definitely that you will attend the meetings.  Call 1-866-420-5486 (toll free) or 615-340-7500 (prompt 2) to make reservations.

 

Parking

Parking for the keynote address on Friday night, as well as parking for the TPA sessions all day on Saturday, is available in the Vanderbilt parking lots along 21st Ave, close to Furman Hall. N.B.: To err on the side of caution, you might want to place a note on your dash saying "Here to attend the meeting of the Tennessee Philosophical Association in Furman Hall. Please do not ticket."

 

Call for Papers

Papers are welcome on topics in any area of philosophy.  Maximum length is 3,000 words for the body of the paper (approximately 10 double-spaced pages). Head your paper with a short abstract of no more than 100 words. Please use Times New Roman or other suitable 12 point font.

Electronic submissions are strongly preferred.  Please include your title, 100-word abstract, and word count in your submission email.  The paper itself may be in Word, rtf, or PDF format.  If you cannot submit electronically, mail two hardcopies to the association president; be sure to include an email address for follow up communication.

If you might be willing to comment on a paper, please indicate the areas in which you would be happy to serve as a commentator.

Deadline: Deadline for receipt of submissions is Friday, September 1, 2017.

Submissions should be sent directly to our President:

Mark Hopwood
          mhopwood@sewanee.edu
        [subject line: "TPA submission"]

Snail mail:
Mark Hopwood
Department of Philosophy
The University of the South
375 University Avenue
Sewanee, TN 37383

Respondents:  We will issue a call for commentators in mid-September; please help by volunteering and encouraging your advanced students and colleagues to do so, too.

Decisions will be sent in mid-September.

 


A map and directions to Furman Hall are available on the Vanderbilt Website.  You will need to click the "Back" button to return to the TPAWeb site after you go to Vandy's  map and directions to Furman Hall.

Furman Hall --Photograph by Neil Brake


















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