Recent Publications


Police Deception and Dishonesty Book

Author(s): Luke William Hunt

Abstract: Police Deception and Dishonesty – The Logic of Lying (Oxford University Press) illustrates how the police’s widespread use of proactive deception and dishonesty is inconsistent with fundamental norms of political morality.  Drawing on his experience, a range of literature, and case studies regarding interrogations, undercover operations, pretextual detentions, and other common scenarios, Hunt makes the case that many proactive tactics erode public faith in the police institution and weaken the police’s legitimacy. “Luke Hunt’s Police Deception and Dishonesty offers a penetrating […]

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The Matter of Consciousness: From the Knowledge Argument to Russellian Monism Book

Author(s): Torin Alter

Dr. Torin Alter just published his new book, The Matter of Consciousness: From the Knowledge Argument to Russellian Monism. Oxford University Press, 2023. “What can Mary know about the conscious experience of color from inside her black and white room, and what follows for the metaphysics of consciousness? Torin Alter gives a state-of-the-art analysis of these issues. He focuses especially on the crucial gap between structural and phenomenal aspects of reality, and articulates a powerful version of Russellian monism that […]

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Good Faith as a Normative Foundation of Policing Journal Article

Author(s): Luke William Hunt

The use of deception and dishonesty is widely accepted as a fact of life in policing. This paper thus defends a counterintuitive claim: Good faith is a normative foundation for the police as a political institution. Good faith is a core value of contracts, and policing is contractual in nature both broadly (as a matter of social contract theory) and narrowly (in regard to concrete encounters between law enforcement officers and the public). Given the centrality of good faith to […]

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Naturalized Aesthetics Book

Author(s): Richard A. Richards

This book bridges the gap between the many insights into art provided by research in evolutionary theory, psychology and neuroscience and those enduring normative issues best addressed by philosophy. The sciences have helped us understand how art functions, our art preferences, and the neurological systems underlying our engagement with art. But we continue to rely on philosophy to tell us what is truly good in art, how we should engage with art, and the conceptual basis for this engagement. Naturalized Aesthetics: […]

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Physicalism Without Fundamentality Journal Article

Author(s): Torin Alter

Abstract: Physicalism should be characterized in a way that makes it compatible with the possibility that the physical world is infinitely decomposable. Some have proposed solving this problem by replacing a widely accepted No Fundamental Mentality requirement on physicalism with a more general No Low-Level Mentality requirement. The latter states that physicalism could be true if there is a level of decomposition beneath which nothing is mental, whereas physicalism is false otherwise. Christopher Devlin Brown (2017) argues that this solution […]

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The Police Identity Crisis – Hero, Warrior, Guardian, Algorithm Book

Author(s): Luke William Hunt

Dr. Hunt’s new book, The Police Identity Crisis – Hero, Warrior, Guardian, Algorithm, was recently published by Routledge. The book examines major conceptions of the police role in light of the overarching societal goal of justice, drawing upon history, law, and philosophy. In early March of 2021, Dr. Hunt presented work from his book at the following conferences: “Contemporary Challenges for Just War Theory,” hosted by Temple University and the “Workshop on Ethics in Criminal Justice Al,” hosted by the […]

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“Setting the Record Straight: A Defense of Vacating Wins in Response to Rules Violations” Journal Article

Author(s): Chase Wrenn and Seth Bordner

Abstract: Dr. Wrenn and Dr. Bordner describe a framework to make sense of cases in which the leagues (like the NCAA) vacate teams’ wins, and we describe how it can be appropriate for them to rule that a win doesn’t count.    

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“Alethic Pluralism and Truth-Attributions: A Dilemma” Journal Article

Author(s): Chase Wrenn

Abstract: Some recent theories of truth say that there are different kinds of truth for different kinds of subject-matter. This paper shows that it those theories break down when the subject-matter is truth itself. They can’t make sense of what it means for a claim like ‘It’s true that dogs bark’ to be true.

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Russellian Physicalism and Protophenomenal Properties Journal Article

Author(s): Torin Alter

Abstract: According to Russellian monism, phenomenal consciousness is constituted by inscrutables: intrinsic properties that categorically ground dispositional properties described by fundamental physics. On Russellian physicalism, those inscrutables are construed as protophenomenal properties: non-structural properties that both categorically ground dispositional properties and, perhaps when appropriately structured, collectively constitute phenomenal properties. Some (Morris 2016, Brown 2017) argue that protophenomenal properties cannot serve this purpose, given assumptions Russellian monists typically make about the modal profile of such properties. Those assumptions, it is argued, […]

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“Against the Hybrid Interpretation of Kant’s Theory of Punishment” Journal Article

Author(s): Mark Pickering

Immanuel Kant appears to make both retributivist and consequentialist statements about criminal punishment in the Metaphysical Foundations of the Doctrine of Right. In recent decades, some scholars have argued that Kant’s theory of criminal punishment is a hybrid of consequentialism and retributivism. B. Sharon Byrd’s interpretation is the most influential version of this view. I argue that the textual evidence in favor of the consequentialist side of the hybrid interpretation is weak and the evidence in favor of the retributivist […]

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The Biology of Art Book

Author(s): Richard A. Richards

Biological accounts of art typically start with evolutionary, psychological or neurobiological theories. These approaches might be able to explain many of the similarities we see in art behaviors within and across human populations, but they don’t obviously explain the differences we also see. Nor do they give us guidance on how we should engage with art, or the conceptual basis for art. A more comprehensive framework, based also on the ecology of art and how art behaviors get expressed in […]

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Russellian Monism and Mental Causation Journal Article

Author(s): Torin Alter

Abstract: According to Russellian monism, consciousness is consti- tuted at least partly by quiddities: intrinsic properties that categorically ground dispositional properties described by fundamental physics. If the theory is true, then conscious- ness and such dispositional properties are closely con- nected. But how closely? The contingency thesis says that the connection is contingent. For example, on this thesis the dispositional property associated with negative charge might have been categorically grounded by a quiddity that is distinct from the one that […]

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Biological Classification Book

Author(s): Richard A. Richards

Modern biological classification is based on the system developed by Linnaeus, and interpreted by Darwin as representing the tree of life. But despite its widespread acceptance, the evolutionary interpretation has some problems and limitations. This comprehensive book provides a single resource for understanding all the main philosophical issues and controversies about biological classification. It surveys the history of biological classification from Aristotle to contemporary phylogenetics and shows how modern biological classification has developed and changed over time. Readers will also […]

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Consciousness in the Physical World Book

Author(s): Torin Alter

According to Russellian monism, an alternative to the familiar theories in the philosophy of mind that combines attractive components of physicalism and dualism, matter has intrinsic properties that both constitute consciousness and serve as categorical bases for the dispositional properties described in physics. Consciousness in the Physical World collects various works on Russellian monism, including historical selections, recent classics, and new pieces. Most chapters are sympathetic with the view, but some are skeptical. Together, they constitute the first book-length treatment of […]

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Truth (Key Concepts in Philosophy) Book

Author(s): Chase Wrenn

What is truth? Is there anything that all truths have in common that makes them true rather than false? Is truth independent of human thought, or does it depend in some way on what we believe or what we would be justified in believing? In what sense, if any, is it better for beliefs or statements to be true than to be false? In this engaging and accessible new introduction Chase Wrenn surveys a variety of theories of the nature […]

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The Species Problem Book

Author(s): Richard A. Richards

There is long-standing disagreement among systematists about how to divide biodiversity into species. Over twenty different species concepts are used to group organisms, according to criteria as diverse as morphological or molecular similarity, interbreeding and genealogical relationships. This, combined with the implications of evolutionary biology, raises the worry that either there is no single kind of species, or that species are not real. This book surveys the history of thinking about species from Aristotle to modern systematics in order to […]

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The God Dialogues Book

Author(s): Torin Alter

The God Dialogues is an intriguing and extensive philosophical debate about the existence of God. Engaging and accessible, it covers all the main arguments for and against God’s existence, from traditional philosophical “proofs” to arguments that involve the latest developments in biology and physics. Three main characters represent the principal views: Theodore Logan, the theist; Eva Lucien, the atheist; and Gene Sesquois, the agnostic. They discuss the meaning of life and its connection to God’s existence. This in turn leads to […]

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The Ethics of Parenthood Book

Author(s): Norvin Richards

Abstract It is argued that the strong claim biological parents have to raise their children isn’t a property right but an instance of our general right to continue whatever we have begun. Implications are drawn for a wide range of cases in which there is a dispute over who should serve as parents to a child. Arguments are offered against saying that our only proper concern in such cases is the best interest of the child. A way is offered […]

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