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Metaphysics

Edited by Jonathan Schaffer (Rutgers University)
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  1. added 2014-09-15
    Gabriele Contessa (forthcoming). Only Powers Can Confer Dispositions. Philosophical Quarterly.
    According to power theorists, all (fundamental, perfectly natural) properties (or at least all fundamental, perfectly natural properties that confer dispositions) are powers—i.e. they necessarily confer on their bearers certain dispositions. Although dispositional essentialism is increasingly gaining popularity, a vast majority of analytic metaphysicians still favors what I call ‘the nomic theory’—i.e. the view that which dispositions a property confers on its bearers is contingent on what the laws of nature happen to be. This paper argues that the nomic theory is (...)
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  2. added 2014-09-15
    Antony Eagle (forthcoming). Probability and Randomness. In Alan Hájek & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
  3. added 2014-09-15
    Robert Michels (2013). Metaphysical Modality and Essentiality. Dissertation, University of Geneva
    Essentialists claim that we can distinguish between an object's essential and its accidental properties. Following important developments in modal logic during the 1960s and 70s, the orthodox view was that the essential properties of an object are its necessary properties. In his influential 1994 paper "Essence and Modality", Kit Fine argues that the orthodox view is wrong. His two main claims are that first, essentiality cannot be defined in terms of necessity and second, that necessity should instead be defined in (...)
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  4. added 2014-09-14
    David Rose (forthcoming). Persistence Through Function Preservation. Synthese.
    When do the folk think that material objects persist? Many metaphysicians have wanted a view which fits with folk intuitions, yet there is little agreement about what the folk intuit. I provide a range of empirical evidence which suggests that the folk operate with a teleological view of persistence: the folk tend to intuit that a material object survives alterations when its function is preserved. Given that the folk operate with a teleological view of persistence, I argue for a debunking (...)
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  5. added 2014-09-11
    Jennifer Wang (2014). Review of Ulrich Meyer's The Nature of Time. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Review 1:1.
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  6. added 2014-09-09
    Mauro Dorato, Presentism and the Experience of Time.
    Presentists have typically argued that the Block View is incapable of explaining our experience of time. In this paper I argue that the phenomenology of our experience of time is, on the contrary, against presentism. My argument is based on a dilemma: presentists must either assume that the metaphysical present has no temporal extension, or that it is temporally extended. The former horn leads to phenomenological problems. The latter renders presentism metaphysically incoherent, unless one posits a discrete present that, however, (...)
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  7. added 2014-09-06
    C. G. Pulman (ed.) (forthcoming). Hart on Responsibility. Palgrave Macmillan.
  8. added 2014-09-05
    Naoaki Kitamura (2014). Is Any Alleged Truthmaker for Negatives Explanatorily Deficient? Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (2).
    Some truthmaker theorists posit a distinctive kind of entity to solve the problem of providing ontological grounding for negative truths. Recently, A. M. Griffith has raised a general objection against these alleged truthmakers based on an explanatory constraint on truthmaking and the existence condition of these entities. This paper counters the objection by placing it on the horns of a dilemma: the argument must either specify that the existence condition in question is a conceptual matter or insist that the condition (...)
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  9. added 2014-09-04
    John Horden (forthcoming). Devious Stipulations. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
    Recent attempts to answer ontological questions through conceptual analysis have been controversial. Nonetheless, contemporary metaphysicians mostly agree that if the existence of certain things analytically follows from sentences we already accept, then there is no further ontological commitmment involved in affirming the existence of those things. More generally, it is plausible that whenever a sentence analytically entails another, the conjunction of those sentences requires nothing more of the world for its truth than the former sentence alone. In his ‘Analyticity and (...)
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  10. added 2014-09-03
    John W. Carroll, Steven Carpenter, Beth Ehrlich Slater, Gray Maddrey, Kevin Martell, Stuart Miller, Nathan Sasser, Stephen Sutton, Robert Todd, Diana Tysinger & Laura Wingler (2014). A Time Travel Dialogue. Open Book Publishers.
    Is time travel just a confusing plot device deployed by science fiction authors and Hollywood filmmakers to amaze and amuse? Or might empirical data prompt a scientific hypothesis of time travel? Structured on a fascinating dialogue involving  ...
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  11. added 2014-08-31
    Sam Cowling (forthcoming). Advice for Eleatics. In Chris Daly (ed.), Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods.
    Eleaticism ties ontology to causality by denying the impossibility of causally inert entities. This paper examines some challenges regarding the proper formulation and general plausibility of Eleaticism. After suggesting how Eleatics ought to respond to these challenges, I consider the prospects for extending Eleaticism from ontology to ideology by requiring all primitive ideology to be causal in nature. Surprisingly enough, the resulting view delivers an eternalist and possibilist metaphysical picture in the neighborhood of Lewisian modal realism.
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  12. added 2014-08-30
    Barry Smith (2014). The Relevance of Philosophical Ontology to Information and Computer Science. In Ruth Hagengruber & Uwe Riss (eds.), Philosophy, Computing and Information Science. Chatto and Pickering. 75-83.
    The discipline of ontology has enjoyed a checkered history since 1606, with a significant expansion in recent years. We focus here on those developments in the recent history of philosophy which are most relevant to the understanding of the increased acceptance of ontology, and especially of realist ontology, as a valuable method also outside the discipline of philosophy.
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  13. added 2014-08-26
    Jennifer Wang (forthcoming). The Modal Limits of Dispositionalism. Noûs.
    Dispositionality is a modal notion of a certain sort. When an object is said to have a disposition, we typically understand this to mean that under certain circumstances, the object would behave in a certain way. For instance, a fragile object is disposed to break when dropped onto a concrete surface. It need not actually break - its being fragile has implications that, so to speak, point beyond the actual world. According to dispositionalism, all modal features of the world may (...)
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  14. added 2014-08-25
    Charles Hermes, Truthmakers and the Consequence Argument.
    Recent work in the truthmakers literature demonstrates that the logic of truthmaking is distinct from classical logic. Since free will is an ontological issue, and not merely a semantic issue, arguments about free will ought to be sensitive to these developments. In Truthmakers and the Direct Argument, Hermes argues that one of the main arguments for incompatibiilsm fails precisely where the truthmakers literature would predict. Here, I argue that similar problems make the Consequence Argument untenable.
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  15. added 2014-08-22
    Selim Berker, The Unity of Grounding.
    I argue that there is only one grounding/in-virtue-of relation, and that it is indispensable for normative inquiry.
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  16. added 2014-08-22
    David Brink (1993). The Separateness of Persons, Distributive Norms, and Moral Theory. In R. G. Frey & Christopher Morris (eds.), Value, Welfare, and Morality. Cambridge University Press. 252-289.
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  17. added 2014-08-20
    Sara Bernstein (2014). What Causally Insensitive Events Tell Us About Overdetermination. Philosophia 1:1-18.
    Suppose that Billy and Suzy each throw a rock at window, and either rock is sufficient to shatter the window. While some consider this a paradigmatic case of causal overdetermination, in which multiple cases are sufficient for an outcome, others consider it a case of joint causation, in which multiple causes are necessary to bring about an effect. Some hold that every case of overdetermination is a case of joint causation underdescribed: at a maximal level of description, every cause is (...)
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  18. added 2014-08-20
    Catherine Rowett (2013). Plato, Wittgenstein and the Definition of Games. In Luigi Perissinotto & Begoña Ramón Cámara (eds.), Wittgenstein and Plato: connections, comparisons and contrasts. Palgrave. 196-219.
    In this paper I argue, controversially, that Plato's Meno anticipates Wittgenstein's critique of essentialism. Plato is usually read as an essentialist of the very kind that Wittgenstein was challenging, and the Meno in particular is usually taken as evidence that Plato thought that to know something you must be able to define it, and that if you can't define it you can't investigate any other questions on the topic. I suggest instead that Plato shows Socrates proposing such a position (much (...)
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  19. added 2014-08-18
    Gabriel Vacariu, Georg Northoff’s (University of Ottawa) Many Ideas Published After 2010 Are Quite Surprinsingly Similar to My Ideas Published in 2005 and 2008, but Are in a Wrong Context, the “Unicorn World” (the World).
    After 2010, Northoff (University of Ottawa, Institute of Mental Health Research) published several ideas related to the self and the mind-brain problem. In this chapter, I would like to illustrate many surprinsing similarities between my ideas published in 2002, 2005 and 2008 and Northoff’s ideas published in his papers from 2010 (one paper), 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 and mainly his book from 2011. I would also like to mention that the context of Northoff’s ideas is partially different from the (...)
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  20. added 2014-08-18
    Staffan Angere (2014). The Logical Structure of Truthmaking. Journal of Philosophical Logic:1-24.
    This paper is an investigation in the use of truthmaker theory for exploring the relation of logic to world, and as a tool for metaphysics. A variant of truthmaker theory, which we call the simple theory, is defined and defended against objections. It is characterized formally, and its central features are derived. As part of this project, we give a formal metaphysics based on nondeterministic necessitation relations among possible entities. In what is called the fundamental theorem of truthmaking, it is (...)
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  21. added 2014-08-16
    David Shoemaker (2014). The Selves of Social Animals: Comments on Gruen. Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (S1):66-74.
    In this commentary on Lori Gruen's “Death as a Social Harm,” I first lay out the basics of Gruen's argument, then I offer some critical discussion, and finally I explore whether there might be some metaphysical structure that would support her most provocative idea—that death harms our social selves. What would it take for this idea to be more than metaphor, so that when a loved one dies a part of me has died? In constructing one possibility, I draw from (...)
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  22. added 2014-08-16
    Kristina Musholt (2014). Review of "The Self in Question" by Andy Hamilton. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2014 (7).
  23. added 2014-08-16
    Chad Carmichael (2013). The Universe As We Find It, by John Heil. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2013.
    In this ambitious work, John Heil presents a fundamental ontology (chapters 1-8) consisting of finitely many substances and their properties (which he thinks of as particular, trope-like things), together with an account of causation, truthmaking, and a chapter on relations generally. He then applies this ontology (chapters 9-12) to a number of outstanding problems about reductionism, kinds, essences, emergence, consciousness, cognition, and much else. A final chapter reprises the main points about fundamental ontology from the first chapters.
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  24. added 2014-08-16
    Ann Pang-White (1994). Augustine on Divine Foreknowledge and Human Free Will. Revue Des Études Augustiniennes 40:417-431.
  25. added 2014-08-15
    Caleb Perl (forthcoming). An Argument for Temporalism and Contingentism. Philosophical Studies:1-31.
    Aristotle and Aquinas may have held that the things we believe and assert can have different truth-values at different times. Stoic logicians did; they held that there were “vacillating assertibles”—assertibles that are sometimes true and sometimes false. Frege and Russell endorsed the now widely accepted alternative, where the propositions believed and asserted are always specific with respect to time. This paper brings a new perspective to this question. We want to figure out what sorts of propositions speakers believe. Some philosophers (...)
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  26. added 2014-08-15
    Jon Robson (forthcoming). A-Time to Die: A Growing Block Account of the Evil of Death. Philosophia:1-15.
    In this paper I argue that the growing block theory of time has rather surprising, and hitherto unexplored, explanatory benefits when it comes to certain enduring philosophical puzzles concerning death. In particular, I claim the growing block theorist has readily available and convincing answers to the following questions: (i) Why is it an evil to be dead but not an evil to be not yet born? (ii) How can death be an evil for the dead if they no longer exist (...)
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  27. added 2014-08-15
    Sean Enda Power (forthcoming). Perceiving Multiple Locations in Time: A Phenomenological Defence of Tenseless Theory. Topoi:1-7.
    It is a common claim that one concept of time, tenseless theory, is in greater conflict with how the world seems to us (with the phenomenology) than the competing theories of tense theory and presentism. This paper offers at least one counter-example to that claim. Here, it is argued that tenseless theory fares better than its competitors in capturing the phenomenology in particular cases of perception. These cases are where the visual phenomenology is of events occurring together which must be (...)
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  28. added 2014-08-15
    Paul Daniels, The Persistent Time Traveller: Contemporary Issues in the Metaphysics of Time and Persistence.
    The main theme of this thesis is time travel; time travel cases—both from relativistic physics and science fiction—provide or highlight deep problems for certain positions in contemporary debates about the metaphysical nature of time and of how material objects persist through time. This thesis explores the implications of these discussions; more specifically, I draw attention to some of the interesting things we can learn about presentism (a theory of time) and endurantism (a theory of persistence) from discussions of time travel (...)
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  29. added 2014-08-15
    Dean Zimmerman (2010). The A-Theory of Time, Presentism, and Open Theism. In Science and Religion in Dialogue. Wiley-Blackwell. 789--809.
    This chapter contains sections titled: * I Introduction * II A-Theories and B-Theories * III Competing Versions of the A-Theory * IV Presentism a Trivial Truth? * V Open Theism and the A-Theory of Time * VI The “Truthmaker” Argument * VII Conclusion * Notes.
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  30. added 2014-08-13
    Louis deRosset (forthcoming). On Weak Ground. Review of Symbolic Logic.
    Though the study of grounding is still in the early stages, Kit Fine, in ”The Pure Logic of Ground”, has made a seminal attempt at formalization. Formalization of this sort is supposed to bring clarity and precision to our theorizing, as it has to the study of other metaphysically important phenomena, like modality and vagueness. Unfortunately, as I will argue, Fine ties the formal treatment of grounding to the obscure notion of a weak ground. The obscurity of weak ground, together (...)
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  31. added 2014-08-13
    Wesley D. Cray (2014). Conceptual Art, Ideas, and Ontology. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 72 (3):235-245.
    Peter Goldie and Elisabeth Schellekens have recently articulated the Idea Idea, the thesis that “in conceptual art, there is no physical medium: the medium is the idea.” But what is an idea, and in the case of works such as Duchamp's Fountain, how does the idea relate to the urinal? In answering these questions, it becomes apparent that the Idea Idea should be rejected. After showing this, I offer a new ontology of conceptual art, according to which such artworks are (...)
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  32. added 2014-08-12
    Daniel Nolan & Alexander Sandgren (2014). Creationism and Cardinality. Analysis:anu089.
    Creationism about fictional entities requires a principle connecting what fictions say exist with which fictional entities really exist. The most natural way of spelling out such a principle yields inconsistent verdicts about how many fictional entities are generated by certain inconsistent fictions. Avoiding inconsistency without compromising the attractions of creationism will not be easy.
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  33. added 2014-08-11
    Adrian Heathcote (2014). The Truthmaker Account Is Not a Causal Theory. Acta Analytica 29 (3):383-388.
    It is argued that the part-whole account of the relation between evidence and the larger state of affairs the evidence is evidence of—an account that was elucidated in the paper ‘Truthmaking, Evidence of, and Impossibility Proofs’ (this journal)—provides a better basis for epistemology than causal relations between events. I apply this to a well-known phenomenon in physics which suggests that causal connectedness is not necessary for knowledge.
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  34. added 2014-08-10
    Danny Frederick, Ceteris-Paribus Law-Statements Are Testable.
    It is often contended that statements of laws of nature are ceteris-paribus in some, or even in all, of the sciences. It is often objected that ceteris-paribus law-statements are vacuous or untestable. I show that such objections are mistaken and depend upon confusions between vacuity, untestability and ad hoc immunity to rejection, and between verifiability and falsifiability. I highlight some of those confusions in opponents of ceteris-paribus law-statements, such as John Earman, John Roberts and Sheldon Smith. I suggest that such (...)
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  35. added 2014-08-10
    Phil Corkum (2014). Review of Daniel D. Novotný and Lukáš Novák (Eds.), Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives in Metaphysics. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201408:1.
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  36. added 2014-08-10
    Richard Swinburne (2010). The Argument to God From the Laws of Nature. In Science and Religion in Dialogue. Wiley-Blackwell. 213--222.
    This chapter contains sections titled: * Notes.
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  37. added 2014-08-07
    M. Eddon (2014). Intrinsic Explanations and Numerical Representations. In Francescotti (ed.), Companion to Intrinsic Properties. 271-290.
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  38. added 2014-08-07
    Arvid Båve (2014). Charity and Error‐Theoretic Nominalism. Ratio 27 (3).
    I here investigate whether there is any version of the principle of charity both strong enough to conflict with an error-theoretic version of nominalism about abstract objects (EN), and supported by the considerations adduced in favour of interpretive charity in the literature. I argue that in order to be strong enough, the principle, which I call “(Charity)”, would have to read, “For all expressions e, an acceptable interpretation must make true a sufficiently high ratio of accepted sentences containing e”. I (...)
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  39. added 2014-08-07
    Fiora Salis, Entidades Ficcionais. Compêndio Em Linha de Problemas de Filosofia Analítica.
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  40. added 2014-08-07
    M. Eddon (2013). Fundamental Properties of Fundamental Properties. In Karen Bennett Dean Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Volume 8. 78-104.
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  41. added 2014-08-06
    Barry Loewer, Brad Weslake & Eric Winsberg (eds.) (forthcoming). Time's Arrows and the Probability Structure of the World. Harvard University Press.
    A collection of newly commissioned papers on themes from David Albert's Time and Chance (HUP, 2000), with replies by Albert. Confirmed contributors: Sean Carroll, Sidney Felder, Alison Fernandes, Mathias Frisch, Nick Huggett, Jenann Ismael, Doug Kutach, Barry Loewer, Tim Maudlin, Chris Meacham, David Wallace, and Eric Winsberg.
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  42. added 2014-08-06
    Christopher J. Austin (2014). The Truthmaking Argument Against Dispositionalism. Ratio 27 (3).
    According to dispositionalism, de re modality is grounded in the intrinsic natures of dispositional properties. Those properties are able to serve as the ground of de re modal truths, it is said, because they bear a special relation to counterfactual conditionals, one of truthmaking. However, because dispositionalism purports to ground de re modality only on the intrinsic natures of dispositional properties, it had better be the case that they do not play that truthmaking role merely in virtue of their being (...)
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  43. added 2014-08-06
    John Biro (2014). Clocks, Evidence, and the “Truth-Maker Solution”. Acta Analytica 29 (3):377-381.
    Adrian Heathcote and I agree that a stopped clock does not show—as the adage has it—the right time twice a day, but he thinks, as I do not, that it does show what time it stopped. To think that it does is to treat the position of its hands as evidence of its stopping at the time it did. Add to the justified-true-belief analysis of knowledge the requirement that the evidence on the basis of which the believer is justified be (...)
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  44. added 2014-08-06
    Barry Smith (2003). Real Estate: Foundations of the Ontology of Property. In Heiner Stuckenschmidt, Erik Stubjkaer & Christoph Schlieder (eds.), The Ontology and Modelling of Real Estate Transactions. Ashgate. 51-67.
    Suppose you own a garden-variety object such as a hat or a shirt. Your property right then follows the ageold saw according to which possession is nine-tenths of the law. That is, your possession of a shirt constitutes a strong presumption in favor of your ownership of the shirt. In the case of land, however, this is not the case. Here possession is not only not a strong presumption in favor of ownership; it is not even clear what possession is. (...)
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  45. added 2014-08-05
    Nicholas Mantegani (2014). Difference, Identity and Quantification. Dialectica 68 (2):183-207.
    Most theorists treat the ‘relation’ of identity as being more fundamental (or basic) than the ‘relation’ of (numerical) difference. Herbert Hochberg suggests, instead, that difference is to be treated as basic. My goal in this paper is to answer two related questions. First, what is it for a theorist to treat difference or identity as basic? Second, which of these two ‘relations’ is to be treated as basic? I begin by outlining four reasons that one might be motivated to endorse (...)
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  46. added 2014-08-05
    Spyridon George Couvalis (2013). Philoponus's Traversal Argument and the Beginning of Time. Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand) (Special Issue):68-78.
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  47. added 2014-08-05
    Spyridon George Couvalis (2011). Aristotle on Non-Contradiction. In Michael Tsianikas (ed.), Greek Research in Australia. Department of Modern Greek. 36-43.
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  48. added 2014-08-04
    Franck Lihoreau (2014). Revelation and The Essentiality of Essence. Symposion 1 (1):69-75.
    It is usually agreed that the Revelation Thesis about experience – the idea that the knowledge we gain by having an experience somehow “reveals” the essence, or nature, of this experience – only requires that we know the essence of the experience, not that we know, of this essence, that it is the essence of the experience. I contest this agreement. In the light of what I call the “Essentiality of Essence Principle”– the principle that whatever is in the essence (...)
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  49. added 2014-08-01
    Justin Tiehen (forthcoming). Grounding Causal Closure. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    What does it mean to say that mind-body dualism is causally problematic in a way that other mind-body theories, such as the psychophysical type identity theory, are not? After considering and rejecting various proposals, I advance my own, which focuses on what grounds the causal closure of the physical realm. A metametaphysical implication of my proposal is that philosophers working without the notion of grounding in their toolkit are metaphysically impoverished. They cannot do justice to the thought, encountered in every (...)
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  50. added 2014-07-31
    Sergeiy Sandler, The Reinterpretation of Kant and the Neo-Kantians: On Bakhtin’s Pattern of Appropriation.
    Studies of the origins of Mikhail Bakhtin’s thought have tended to either follow a traditional intellectual history paradigm—where establishing the presence of an influence is taken to be a sign of Bakhtin’s identity as a thinker—or to view terminological and conceptual borrowings in Bakhtin’s work as mere veneer in which he dressed his own ideas to make them publishable or acceptable to his peers in a hostile political and intellectual environment. And while Bakhtin did absorb some genuine formative influences, and (...)
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