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John N. Williams [101]John Nicholas Williams [5]
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John N. Williams
Singapore Management University
  1. Moore’s Paradox: New Essays on Belief, Rationality, and the First Person.Mitchell S. Green & John N. Williams (eds.) - 2007 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
    G. E. Moore observed that to assert, 'I went to the pictures last Tuesday but I don't believe that I did' would be 'absurd'. Over half a century later, such sayings continue to perplex philosophers. In the definitive treatment of the famous paradox, Green and Williams explain its history and relevance and present new essays by leading thinkers in the area.
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  2. Propositional Knowledge and Know-How.John N. Williams - 2008 - Synthese 165 (1):107-125.
    This paper is roughly in two parts. The first deals with whether know-how is constituted by propositional knowledge, as discussed primarily by Gilbert Ryle (1949) The concept of mind. London: Hutchinson, Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson (2001). Knowing how. Journal of Philosophy, 98, pp. 411–444 as well as Stephen Hetherington (2006). How to know that knowledge-that is knowledge-how. In S. Hetherington (Ed.) Epistemology futures. Oxford: Oxford University Press. The conclusion of this first part is that know-how sometimes does and sometimes (...)
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  3. The Backward Clock, Truth-Tracking, and Safety.John N. Williams & Neil Sinhababu - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy 112 (1):46-55.
    We present Backward Clock, an original counterexample to Robert Nozick’s truth-tracking analysis of propositional knowledge, which works differently from other putative counterexamples and avoids objections to which they are vulnerable. We then argue that four ways of analysing knowledge in terms of safety, including Duncan Pritchard’s, cannot withstand Backward Clock either.
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  4. Moore's Paradoxes, Evans's Principle and Self-Knowledge.John N. Williams - 2004 - Analysis 64 (4):348-353.
    I supply an argument for Evans's principle that whatever justifies me in believing that p also justifies me in believing that I believe that p. I show how this principle helps explain how I come to know my own beliefs in a way that normally makes me the best authority on them. Then I show how the principle helps to solve Moore's paradoxes.
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  5.  79
    Moore’s Paradox in Speech: A Critical Survey.John N. Williams - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (1):10-23.
    It is raining but you don’t believe that it is raining. Imagine accepting this claim. Then you are committed to saying ‘It is raining but I don’t believe that it is raining’. This would be an ‘absurd’ thing to claim or assert, yet what you say might be true. It might be raining, while at the same time, you are completely ignorant of the state of the weather. But how can it be absurd of you to assert something about yourself (...)
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  6.  88
    Moorean Absurdity and the Intentional 'Structure' of Assertion.John N. Williams - 1994 - Analysis 54 (3):160 - 166.
  7. Introduction.Mitchell Green & John N. Williams - 2007 - In Mitchell S. Green & John N. Williams (eds.), Moore's Paradox: New Essays on Belief, Rationality, and the First Person. Oxford University Press.
     
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  8.  81
    Moore’s Paradox and the Priority of Belief Thesis.John N. Williams - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):1117-1138.
    Moore’s paradox is the fact that assertions or beliefs such asBangkok is the capital of Thailand but I do not believe that Bangkok is the capital of Thailand or Bangkok is the capital of Thailand but I believe that Bangkok is not the capital of Thailand are ‘absurd’ yet possibly true. The current orthodoxy is that an explanation of the absurdity should first start with belief, on the assumption that once the absurdity in belief has been explained then this will (...)
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  9. Moore's Paradox in Thought: A Critical Survey.John N. Williams - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (1):24-37.
    It is raining but you don’t believe that it is raining. Imagine silently accepting this claim. Then you believe both that it is raining and that you don’t believe that it is raining. This would be an ‘absurd’ thing to believe,yet what you believe might be true. Itmight be raining, while at the same time, you are completely ignorant of the state of the weather. But how can it be absurd of you to believe something about yourself that might be (...)
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  10.  97
    Wittgensteinian Accounts of Moorean Absurdity.John N. Williams - 1998 - Philosophical Studies 92 (3):283-306.
    (A) I went to the pictures last Tuesday but I don’t believe that I did (1942, p. 543) or (B) I believe that he has gone out. But he has not (1944, p. 204) would be “absurd” (1942, p. 543; 1944, p. 204). Wittgenstein’s letters to Moore show that he was intensely interested in this discovery of a class of possibly true yet absurd assertions. Wittgenstein thought that the absurdity is important because it is “something similar to a contradiction, thought (...)
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  11. Moore’s Paradox, Truth and Accuracy: A Reply to Lawlor and Perry.John N. Williams & Mitchell S. Green - 2011 - Acta Analytica 26 (3):243-255.
    G. E. Moore famously observed that to assert ‘I went to the pictures last Tuesday but I do not believe that I did’ would be ‘absurd’. Moore calls it a ‘paradox’ that this absurdity persists despite the fact that what I say about myself might be true. Krista Lawlor and John Perry have proposed an explanation of the absurdity that confines itself to semantic notions while eschewing pragmatic ones. We argue that this explanation faces four objections. We give a better (...)
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  12.  70
    Moorean Absurdities and the Nature of Assertion.John N. Williams - 1996 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 74 (1):135 – 149.
    I argue that Moore's propositions, for example, 'I went to the pictures last Tuesday but I don't believe that I did' cannot be rationally believed. Their assertors either cannot be rationally believed or cannot be believed to be rational. This analysis is extended to Moorean propositions such as God knows that I am an atheist and I believe that this proposition is false. I then defend the following definition of assertion: anyone asserts that p iff that person expresses a belief (...)
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  13. Wittgenstein, Moorean Absurdity and its Disappearance From Speech.John N. Williams - 2006 - Synthese 149 (1):225-254.
    G. E. Moore famously observed that to say, “ I went to the pictures last Tuesday but I don’t believe that I did” would be “absurd”. Why should it be absurd of me to say something about myself that might be true of me? Moore suggested an answer to this, but as I will show, one that fails. Wittgenstein was greatly impressed by Moore’s discovery of a class of absurd but possibly true assertions because he saw that it illuminates “the (...)
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  14. Moore’s Paradox in Belief and Desire.John N. Williams - 2014 - Acta Analytica 29 (1):1-23.
    Is there a Moore ’s paradox in desire? I give a normative explanation of the epistemic irrationality, and hence absurdity, of Moorean belief that builds on Green and Williams’ normative account of absurdity. This explains why Moorean beliefs are normally irrational and thus absurd, while some Moorean beliefs are absurd without being irrational. Then I defend constructing a Moorean desire as the syntactic counterpart of a Moorean belief and distinguish it from a ‘Frankfurt’ conjunction of desires. Next I discuss putative (...)
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  15. Moore’s Paradox, Defective Interpretation, Justified Belief and Conscious Belief.John N. Williams - 2010 - Theoria 76 (3):221-248.
    In this journal, Hamid Vahid argues against three families of explanation of Moore-paradoxicality. The first is the Wittgensteinian approach; I assert that p just in case I assert that I believe that p. So making a Moore-paradoxical assertion involves contradictory assertions. The second is the epistemic approach, one committed to: if I am justified in believing that p then I am justified in believing that I believe that p. So it is impossible to have a justified omissive Moore-paradoxical belief. The (...)
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  16.  39
    Moore's Paradox - One or Two?John N. Williams - 1979 - Analysis 39 (3):141-142.
    Discussions of what is sometimes called 'Moore's paradox' are often vitiated by a failure to notice that there are two paradoxes; not merely one in two sets of linguistic clothing. The two paradoxes are absurd, but in different ways, and accordingly require different explanations.
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  17. The Completeness of the Pragmatic Solution to Moore’s Paradox in Belief: A Reply to Chan.John N. Williams - 2013 - Synthese 190 (12):2457-2476.
    Moore’s paradox in belief is the fact that beliefs of the form ‘ p and I do not believe that p ’ are ‘absurd’ yet possibly true. Writers on the paradox have nearly all taken the absurdity to be a form of irrationality. These include those who give what Timothy Chan calls the ‘pragmatic solution’ to the paradox. This solution turns on the fact that having the Moorean belief falsifies its content. Chan, who also takes the absurdity to be a (...)
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  18. Moore’s Paradoxes and Conscious Belief.John Nicholas Williams - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 127 (3):383-414.
    For Moore, it is a paradox that although I would be absurd in asserting that (it is raining but I don.
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  19. Justifying Circumstances and Moore-Paradoxical Beliefs: A Response to Brueckner.John N. Williams - 2009 - Analysis 69 (3):490-496.
    In 2004, I explained the absurdity of Moore-paradoxical belief via the syllogism (Williams 2004): (1) All circumstances that justify me in believing that p are circumstances that tend to make me believe that p. (2) All circumstances that tend to make me believe that p are circumstances that justify me in believing that I believe that p. (3) All circumstances that justify me in believing that p are circumstances that justify me in believing that I believe that p. I then (...)
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  20. In Defence of an Argument for Evans's Principle: A Rejoinder to Vahid.John N. Williams - 2006 - Analysis 66 (2):167–170.
    In (2004) I gave an argument for Evans’s principle -/- Whatever justifies me in believing that p also justifies me in believing that I believe that p -/- Hamid Vahid (2005) raises two objections against this argument. I show that the first is harmless and that the second is a non sequitur.
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  21.  59
    Not Knowing You Know: A New Objection to the Defeasibility Theory of Knowledge.John Nicholas Williams - 2015 - Analysis 75 (2):213-217.
    Foley and Turri have recently given objections to the defeasibility theory of propositional knowledge. Here, I give an objection of a quite different stripe by looking at what the theory must say about knowing that you know. I end with some remarks on how this objection relates to rival theories and how this might be a worry for some of these.
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  22.  77
    Learning Without Awareness.John N. Williams - 2005 - Studies in Second Language Acquisition. Special Issue 27 (2):269-304.
  23. Defining the 'Social' in 'Social Entrepreneurship': Altruism and Entrepreneurship.Wee Liang Tan, John N. Williams & Teck Meng Tan - 2005 - International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal 1:353-365.
    What is social entrepreneurship? In, particular, what’s so social about it? Understanding what social entrepreneurship is enables researchers to study the phenomenon and policy-makers to design measures to encourage it. However, such an understanding is lacking partly because there is no universally accepted definition of entrepreneurship as yet. In this paper, we suggest a definition of social entrepreneurship that intuitively accords with what is generally accepted as entrepreneurship and that captures the way in which entrepreneurship may be altruistic. Based on (...)
     
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  24.  38
    Inconsistency and Contradiction.John N. Williams - 1981 - Mind 90 (360):600-602.
    Inconsistency and contradiction are important concepts. Unfortunately, they are easily confused. A proposition or belief which is inconsistent is one which is self- contradictory and vice-versa. Moreover two propositions or beliefs which are contradictories are inconsistent with each other. Nonetheless it is a mistake to suppose that inconsistency is the same as contradiction.
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  25. Moore-Paradoxical Assertion, Fully Conscious Belief and the Transparency of Belief.John N. Williams - 2012 - Acta Analytica 27 (1):9-12.
    I offer a novel account of the absurdity of Moore-paradoxical assertion in terms of an interlocutor’s fully conscious beliefs. This account starts with an original argument for the principle that fully conscious belief collects over conjunction. The argument is premised on the synchronic unity of consciousness and the transparency of belief.
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  26. Believing the Self-Contradictory.John N. Williams - 1982 - American Philosophical Quarterly 19 (3):279 - 285.
    Clearly, if a man holds a self-contradictory belief, then his belief cannot be rational, for there can be no set of evidence sufficient to justify it. This is most apparent when the self contradictory belief is a belief in a conjunction, , rather than when it is a non-conjunctive self-contradictory belief, e.g. a belief that red is not a color.
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  27.  72
    Justified Belief And The Infinite Regress Argument.John N. Williams - 1981 - American Philosophical Quarterly 18 (1):85-88.
    The background to this paper is the question of how rational belief is possible in the light of the commonly presented infinite regress in reasons. The paper investigates the neglected question of whether this regress is vicious. I argue that given the genuine requirements of rational belief, The regress would require the rational believer to hold an infinity of beliefs, Which is impossible. The regress would not entail the rational believer holding an infinitely complex belief, Which, Admittedly, Would be logically (...)
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  28.  7
    David-Hillel Ruben’s 'Traditions and True Successors': A Critical Reply.John N. Williams - 2013 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (7):40-45.
  29. Moore-Paradoxical Belief, Conscious Belief and the Epistemic Ramsey Test.John N. Williams - 2012 - Synthese 188 (2):231-246.
    Chalmers and Hájek argue that on an epistemic reading of Ramsey’s test for the rational acceptability of conditionals, it is faulty. They claim that applying the test to each of a certain pair of conditionals requires one to think that one is omniscient or infallible, unless one forms irrational Moore-paradoxical beliefs. I show that this claim is false. The epistemic Ramsey test is indeed faulty. Applying it requires that one think of anyone as all-believing and if one is rational, to (...)
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  30. The Preface Paradox Dissolved.John N. Williams - 1987 - Theoria 53 (2-3):121-140.
    The preface paradox strikes us as puzzling because we feel that if a person holds a set of inconsistent beliefs, i.e. beliefs such that at least one of them must be correct, then he should give at least one of them up. Equally, if a person's belief is rational, then he has a right to hold it. Yet the preface example is prima facie a case in which a person holds an inconsistent set of beliefs each of which is rational, (...)
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  31.  28
    Moore's Paradox, Evans's Principle, and Iterated Beliefs.John N. Williams - 2007 - In Mitchell S. Green & John N. Williams (eds.), Moore's Paradox: New Essays on Belief, Rationality, and the First Person. Oxford University Press.
  32.  22
    In Defence of an Argument for Evans's Principle: A Rejoinder to Vahid.John N. Williams - 2006 - Analysis 66 (2):167-170.
  33. Moore’s Paradoxes and Iterated Belief.John N. Williams - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32:145-168.
    I give an account of the absurdity of Moorean beliefs of the omissive form(om) p and I don’t believe that p,and the commissive form(com) p and I believe that not-p,from which I extract a definition of Moorean absurdity. I then argue for an account of the absurdity of Moorean assertion. After neutralizing two objections to my whole account, I show that Roy Sorensen’s own account of the absurdity of his ‘iterated cases’(om1) p and I don’t believe that I believe that (...)
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  34. Still a New Problem for Defeasibility: A Rejoinder to Borges.John Nicholas Williams - 2016 - Logos and Episteme 7 (1):83-94.
    I objected that the defeasibility theory of knowledge prohibits you from knowing that you know that p if your knowledge that p is a posteriori. Rodrigo Borges claims that Peter Klein has already satisfactorily answered a version of my objection. He attempts to defend Klein’s reply and argues that my objection fails because a principle on which it is based is false.I will show that my objection is not a version of the old one that Klein attempts (unsuccessfully) to address, (...)
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  35.  35
    Introduction to Moore's Paradox: New Essays on Belief, Rationality and the First Person.John N. Williams & Mitchell S. Green - unknown
  36. The Surprise Exam Paradox: Disentangling Two Reductios.John N. Williams - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32:67-94.
    One tradition of solving the surprise exam paradox, started by Robert Binkley and continued by Doris Olin, Roy Sorensen and Jelle Gerbrandy, construes surpriseepistemically and relies upon the oddity of propositions akin to G. E. Moore’s paradoxical ‘p and I don’t believe that p.’ Here I argue for an analysis that evolves from Olin’s. My analysis is different from hers or indeed any of those in the tradition because it explicitly recognizes that there are two distinct reductios at work in (...)
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  37. The Absurdities of Moore's Paradoxes.John N. Williams - 1982 - Theoria 48 (1):38-46.
    The absurdity of (i) and (ii) arises because asserting 'p' normally expresses a belief that p. Normally, when (i) is asserted, what is conjointly expressed and asserted, i.e. a belief that p and a lack of belief that p, is logically impossible, whereas normally, when (ii) is asserted, it is differently absurd, since what is conjointly expressed and asserted, i.e. a belief that p and a belief that -p, is logically possible, but inconsistent. A possible source of confusion between 'impossible' (...)
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  38.  31
    Generalization and Induction: Misconceptions, Clarifications and a Classification of Induction.Eric W. K. Tsang & John N. Williams - 2012 - Management Information Systems Quarterly 36 (3):729-748.
    In “Generalizing Generalizability in Information Systems Research,” Lee and Baskerville try to clarify generalization and classify it into four types. Unfortunately, their account is problematic. We propose repairs. Central among these is our balance-of-evidence argument that we should adopt the view that Hume’s problem of induction has a solution, even if we do not know what it is. We build upon this by proposing an alternative classification of induction. There are five types of generalization: theoretical, within-population, cross-population, contextual, and temporal, (...)
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  39.  43
    The Surprise Exam Paradox: Disentangling Two Reductios.John N. Williams - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32:67-94.
    One tradition of solving the surprise exam paradox, started by Robert Binkley and continued by Doris Olin, Roy Sorensen and Jelle Gerbrandy, construes surpriseepistemically and relies upon the oddity of propositions akin to G. E. Moore’s paradoxical ‘p and I don’t believe that p.’ Here I argue for an analysis that evolves from Olin’s. My analysis is different from hers or indeed any of those in the tradition because it explicitly recognizes that there are two distinct reductios at work in (...)
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  40.  28
    Valuable Asymmetrical Friendships.T. Brian Mooney & John N. Williams - 2016 - Philosophy 92 (1):51-76.
    Aristotle distinguishes friendships of pleasure or utility from more valuable ‘character friendships’ in which the friend cares for the other qua person for the other’s own sake. Aristotle and some neo-Aristotelians require such friends to be fairly strictly symmetrical in their separateness of identity from each other, in the degree to which they identify with each other, and in the degree to which they are virtuous. We argue that there is a neglected form of valuable friendship–neither of friendship nor utility–that (...)
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  41.  12
    Confucius, Mencius, and the Notion of True Succession.John N. Williams - 1988 - Philosophy East and West 38 (2):157-171.
  42.  12
    Classifying Generalization: Paradigm War or Abuse of Terminology?John N. Williams & Eric W. K. Tsang - 2015 - Journal of Information Technology 30 (1):18-19.
    Lee and Baskerville (2003) attempted to clarify the concept of generalization and classify it into four types. In Tsang and Williams (2012) we objected to their account of generalization as well as their classification and offered repairs. Then we proposed a classification of induction, within which we distinguished five types of generalization. In their (2012) rejoinder, they argue that their classification is compatible with ours, claiming that theirs offers a ‘new language.’ Insofar as we resist this ‘new language’ and insofar (...)
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  43. Eliminativism, Dialetheism and Moore's Paradox.John N. Williams - 2013 - Theoria 81 (1):27-47.
    John Turri gives an example that he thinks refutes what he takes to be “G. E. Moore's view” that omissive assertions such as “It is raining but I do not believe that it is raining” are “inherently ‘absurd'”. This is that of Ellie, an eliminativist who makes such assertions. Turri thinks that these are perfectly reasonable and not even absurd. Nor does she seem irrational if the sincerity of her assertion requires her to believe its content. A commissive counterpart of (...)
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  44.  17
    True Succession and Inheritance of Traditions: Looking Back on the Debate.John N. Williams - 2014 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3 (9):15-19.
    Starting with my (1988) and largely continued by David Ruben’s instructive (2013a), a lively debate has occurred over how one is to analyze the concepts of true succession and membership of a tradition in order to identify the source of the intractability typically found in disputes in which two groups each claim that it, but not its rival, is in the tradition of some earlier group. This debate was initially between myself (2013a, 2013b) and Ruben (2013b, 2013c) but later involved (...)
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  45.  9
    Individual Differences in Spatial Cognition Influence Mental Simulation of Language.Nikola Vukovic & John N. Williams - 2015 - Cognition 142:110-122.
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  46.  7
    The Surprise Exam Paradox: Disentangling Two Reductios.John N. Williams - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32:67-94.
    One tradition of solving the surprise exam paradox, started by Robert Binkley and continued by Doris Olin, Roy Sorensen and Jelle Gerbrandy, construes surpriseepistemically and relies upon the oddity of propositions akin to G. E. Moore’s paradoxical ‘p and I don’t believe that p.’ Here I argue for an analysis that evolves from Olin’s. My analysis is different from hers or indeed any of those in the tradition because it explicitly recognizes that there are two distinct reductios at work in (...)
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  47.  20
    Further Reflection on True Successors and Traditions.John N. Williams - 2013 - Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (9):12-16.
    In his “Reply to Williams” (2013), a response to my “David-Hillel Ruben’s ‘Traditions and True Successors’: A Critical Reply.” (2013), David Ruben reports that there is much that we disagree about concerning the nature of true succession. I am not entirely persuaded by what he says of these disagreements.
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  48. There’s Nothing to Beat a Backward Clock: A Rejoinder to Adams, Barker and Clarke.John N. Williams - 2016 - Logos and Episteme 7 (3):363-378.
    Neil Sinhababu and I presented Backward Clock, an original counterexample to Robert Nozick’s truth-tracking analysis of propositional knowledge. Fred Adams, John Barker and Murray Clarke argue that Backward Clock is no such counterexample. Their argument fails to nullify Backward Clock which also shows that other tracking analyses, such as Dretske’s and one that Adams et al. may well have in mind, are inadequate.
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  49. The Ethics of Placebo-Controlled Trials in Developing Countries to Prevent Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV.John N. Williams - 2000 - Annals, Academy of Medicine, Singapore 29 (5):557-562.
    Placebo-trials on HIV-infected pregnant women in developing countries like Thailand and Uganda have provoked recent controversy. Such experiments aim to find a treatment that will cut the rate of vertical transmission more efficiently than existing treatments like zidovudine. This scenario is first stated as generally as possible, before three ethical principles found in the Belmont Report, itself a sharpening of the Helsinki Declaration, are stated. These three principles are the Principle of Utility, the Principle of Autonomy and the Principle of (...)
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  50.  90
    Kovesi and the Formal and Material Elements of Concepts.T. Brian Mooney, John N. Williams & Mark Nowacki - 2010 - Philosophia 39 (4):699-720.
    In his seminal work Moral Notions , Julius Kovesi presents a novel account of concept formation. At the heart of this account is a distinction between what he terms the material element and the formal element of concepts. This paper elucidates his distinction in detail and contrasts it with other distinctions such as form-matter, universal-particular, genus-difference, necessary-sufficient, and open texture-closed texture. We situate Kovesi’s distinction within his general philosophical method, outlining his views on concept formation in general and explain how (...)
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