Philosophers' Carnival XI

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The eleventh Philosophers' Carnival is at the only official blog of Clayton Littlejohn. My Heteronormative is part of it.

Patrick at Prior Knowledge has an example inspired by the Pleasure Machine case that's supposed to take our intuitions the other direction. I couldn't figure out which of three interpretations of his example he'd intended, so I responded to all three at OrangePhilosophy.

Chris Panza at Metatome has an interesting post worrying about how ethics instructors teach ethics and whether it just fosters relativism in the simplistic "who's to say?" form. I reflected a little bit on the conversation that ensued in this post.

I really enjoyed Contextual Impossibility at Philosophy, et cetera. It's about a sentence that isn't usually a liar paradox sentence but can be made one by the context. So the sentence is impossible in the same way liar sentences are but only because of contextual factors. According to Richard, that means it's meaningless, but it's meaninglessness is entirely contextually dependent. My only major disagreement is that I don't think liar sentences are meaningless to begin with.

Michelle the Mumbling Platonist has a beautiful post at Desert Landscapes (someone needs to brighten things up around there) [and also at her own blog] about the tension between two desires for what an ethical theory should have. One is that we should hold up very high standards for who would count as an ideal agent, yet it should be in principle attainable. Another is that we do things all the time that are right, and we don't have to be ideal agents to do things that are just plain good. I really like this idea. It explains why it seems unreasonable to expect people to be moral saints and yet reasonable to expect people to shoot for doing what the moral saint would do. I think her argument is exactly right with respect to the ideal epistemic agent and ordinary knowledge in individual cases. I'm not as convinced about the ethical analogue for reasons I'm not entirely sure I can express well at the moment, but I think she's exploring the right things.

Philosophical Fortnights has a nice summary of how good philosophy is done. It would take me a long time to think of what this post left out (I'm sure there are a few important things not there, but that's the nature of these things), and I won't go through with a fine-toothed comb to see if I disagree with small points, but overall it looks pretty good.

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