This paper deals with the two-envelope paradox. Two main formulations of the paradoxical reasoning are distinguished, which differ according to the partition of possibilities employed. We argue that in the first formulation the conditionals required for the utility assignment are problematic; the error is identified as a fallacy of conditional reasoning. We go on to consider the second formulation, where the epistemic status of certain singular propositions becomes relevant; our diagnosis is that the states considered do not exhaust the possibilities. (...) Thus, on our approach to the paradox, the fallacy, in each formulation, is found in the reasoning underlying the relevant utility matrix; in both cases, the paradoxical argument goes astray before one gets to questions of probability or calculations of expected utility. (shrink)
I discuss donald davidson's argument for the psycho-Physical identity theory and contend that it fails: it relies on an implausible account of mental and physical events. Davidson proposes a linguistic test for determining whether a given event is mental or physical. I argue that the assumptions that are necessary for employing such a criterion of the mental are either false or presuppose the truth of the identity theory.
This paper considers the question of whether there are truths independent of God's power. It defends a traditional conception of divine power, according to which God's power does not extend to logically necessary truths, such as those of logic and mathematics, against Cartesian voluntarism, here taken as the doctrine that every truth falls within the compass of God's creative will. The paper argues that the voluntarist position is internally inconsistent. It concludes that if God is an absolute, unconditioned reality, then (...) there must be truths that are independent of God's power. (shrink)
The specter of epistemic closure haunts current epistemology: some regard the refutation of closure as obvious, while others take its denial to be an epistemicoutrage. To some extent, the strong difference of opinion has its source in certain misapprehensions. This paper tries to formulate and clarify the key issues dividing the two sides and contends that, in certain respects, the difference between the friend and the foe of closure may be more a matter of semantics than substance. The paper goes (...) on to argue that once the substantial issues have been properly formulated, there is a limit to how far deductive reasoning can take the parties to the dispute. (shrink)