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Michael Vazquez
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  1. Does Studying Philosophy Make People Better Thinkers?Michael Prinzing & Michael Vazquez - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    Philosophers often claim that doing philosophy makes people better thinkers. But what evidence is there for this empirical claim? This paper reviews extant evidence and presents some novel findings. We discuss standardized testing scores, review research on Philosophy for Children and critical thinking skills among college students, and present new empirical findings. On average philosophers are better at logical reasoning, more reflective, and more open-minded than non-philosophers. However, there is an absence of evidence for the claim that studying philosophy led (...)
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  2. Hopeless Fools and Impossible Ideals.Michael Vazquez - 2021 - Res Philosophica 98 (3):429-451.
    In this article, I vindicate the longstanding intuition that the Stoics are transitional figures in the history of ethics. I argue that the Stoics are committed to thinking that the ideal of human happiness as a life of virtue is impossible for some people, whom I dub ‘hopeless fools.’ In conjunction with the Stoic view that everyone is subject to the same rational requirements to perform ‘appropriate actions’ or ‘duties’ (kathēkonta/officia), and the plausible eudaimonist assumption that happiness is a source (...)
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  3. The Virtues of Ethics Bowl: Do Pre-College Philosophy Programs Prepare Students for Democratic Citizenship?Michael Vazquez & Michael Prinzing - 2023 - Journal of Philosophy in Schools 10 (1):25-45.
    This paper discusses the rationale for, and efforts to quantify the success of, philosophy outreach efforts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a focus on the National High School Ethics Bowl (NHSEB). We explore the program's democratic foundations and its potential to promote civic and intellectual virtues. After describing pioneering efforts to empirically access the impact of NHSEB, we offer recommendations to empower publicly and empirically-engaged philosophers to conduct further studies in the future.
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  4. The Black Box in Stoic Axiology.Michael Vazquez - 2023 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 104 (1):78–100.
    The ‘black box’ in Stoic axiology refers to the mysterious connection between the input of Stoic deliberation (reasons generated by the value of indifferents) and the output (appropriate actions). In this paper, I peer into the black box by drawing an analogy between Stoic and Kantian axiology. The value and disvalue of indifferents is intrinsic, but conditional. An extrinsic condition on the value of a token indifferent is that one's selection of that indifferent is sanctioned by context-relative ethical principles. The (...)
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  5. Ciceronian Officium and Kantian Duty.Andree Hahmann & Michael Vazquez - 2022 - Review of Metaphysics 75 (4):667-706.
    In this paper we examine the genealogy and transmission of moral duty in Western ethics. We begin with an uncontroversial account of the Stoic notion of the kathēkon, and then examine the pivotal moment of Cicero’s translation of it into Latin as ‘officium’. We take a deflationary view of the impact of Cicero’s translation and conclude that his translation does not mark a departure from the Stoic ideal. We find further confirmation of our deflationary position in the development of the (...)
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  6. How can a line segment with extension be composed of extensionless points?Brian Reese, Michael Vazquez & Scott Weinstein - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-28.
    We provide a new interpretation of Zeno’s Paradox of Measure that begins by giving a substantive account, drawn from Aristotle’s text, of the fact that points lack magnitude. The main elements of this account are (1) the Axiom of Archimedes which states that there are no infinitesimal magnitudes, and (2) the principle that all assignments of magnitude, or lack thereof, must be grounded in the magnitude of line segments, the primary objects to which the notion of linear magnitude applies. Armed (...)
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  7.  32
    Tobias Reinhardt, Cicero's Academici Libri and Lucullus: a commentary with introduction and translations. [REVIEW]Michael Vazquez - 2023 - Bryn Mawr Classical Review 11 (21).