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Metaphysics

Edited by Jonathan Schaffer (Rutgers University)
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  1. added 2014-09-29
    Julia R. Bursten (forthcoming). Microstructure Without Essentialism: A New Perspective on Chemical Classification. .
    Recently, macroscopic accounts of chemical kind individuation have been proposed as alternatives to the microstructural essentialist account advocated by Kripke, Putnam, and others. These accounts argue that individuation of chemical kinds is based on macroscopic criteria such as reactivity or thermodynamics, and they challenge the essentialism that grounds the Kripke-Putnam view. Using a variety of chemical examples, I argue that microstructure grounds these macroscopic accounts, but that this grounding need not imply essentialism. Instead, kinds are individuated on the basis of (...)
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  2. added 2014-09-29
    Joachim Horvath (2014). Lowe on Modal Knowledge. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):208-217.
    In recent work, E. J. Lowe presents an essence-based account of our knowledge of metaphysical modality that he claims to be superior to its main competitors. I argue that knowledge of essences alone, without knowledge of a suitable bridge principle, is insufficient for knowing that something is metaphysically necessary or metaphysically possible. Yet given Lowe's other theoretical commitments, he cannot account for our knowledge of the needed bridge principle, and so his essence-based modal epistemology remains incomplete. In addition to that, (...)
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  3. added 2014-09-27
    David Liebesman (forthcoming). Relations and Order-Sensitivity. Metaphysica.
    I ate my broccoli, though my broccoli did not eat me. The eating relation, like many other relations, differentiates between its arguments. The fact that eating holds between a and b does not entail that it holds between b and a. How are we to make sense of this? The standard view is that relations are sensitive to the order of their arguments. As natural as this view is, it has been the target of a powerful objection from Kit Fine. (...)
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  4. added 2014-09-27
    David Liebesman (forthcoming). We Do Not Count by Identity. :1-22.
    We do not count by identity. . ???aop.label???. doi: 10.1080/00048402.2014.936023.
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  5. added 2014-09-27
    Dean Zimmerman (forthcoming). A Recent Defense of Monism Based Upon the Internal Relatedness of All Things. In Francois Clementz & Jean-Maurice Monnoye (eds.), The Metaphysics of Relations. Ontos Verlag.
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  6. added 2014-09-27
    Richard Healey (2012). The World As We Know It. In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism.
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  7. added 2014-09-27
    Mark Kulstad (2012). Spinoza's Demonstration of Monism: A New Line of Defense. In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave Macmillan.
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  8. added 2014-09-27
    Philip Goff (2012). There is More Than One Thing. In , Spinoza on Monism. Palgrave Macmillan. 113-22.
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  9. added 2014-09-26
    Alex Steinberg (forthcoming). Priority Monism and Part/Whole Dependence. Philosophical Studies.
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  10. added 2014-09-26
    Alex Steinberg (forthcoming). Priority Monism and Part/Whole Dependence. Philosophical Studies.
    Priority monism is the view that the cosmos is the only independent concrete object. The paper argues that, pace its proponents, Priority monism is in conflict with the dependence of any whole on any of its parts: if the cosmos does not depend on its parts, neither does any smaller composite.
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  11. added 2014-09-25
    Andras Szigeti (2014). Collective Responsibility and Group-Control. In Julie Zahle & Finn Collin (eds.), Rethinking the Individualism-Holism Debate. Springer. 97-116.
  12. added 2014-09-24
    Alexander Gebharter, Addendum to "A Formal Framework for Representing Mechanisms?&Quot;.
    In (Gebharter 2014) I suggested a framework for modeling the hierarchical organization of mechanisms. In this short addendum I want to highlight some connections of my approach to the statistics and machine learning literature and some of its limitations not mentioned in the paper.
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  13. added 2014-09-23
    Thomas Pradeu (forthcoming). Galatea of the Microbes: Biological Identity as a Composite Reality. The Philosophers' Magazine.
    This paper shows that the identity of living things is a composite reality. It also suggests that the immune system constitutes a unifying process for the organism.
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  14. added 2014-09-22
    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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  15. added 2014-09-22
    Kristie Miller & Michael Duncan (2014). Modal Persistence and Modal Travel. Ratio 27 (3).
    We argue that there is an interesting modal analogue of temporal persistence, namely modal persistence, and an interesting modal analogue of time travel, namely modal travel. We explicate each of these notions and then argue that there are plausible conditions under which some ordinary objects modally persist. We go on to consider whether it is plausible that any modally persistent objects also modally travel.
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  16. added 2014-09-22
    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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  17. added 2014-09-21
    Brannon McDaniel (2014). A Defense of Lucretianism. American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (4):373-385.
    According to the presentist, it is always the case that the only existing objects are those that exist at the present time, and the only properties and relations that are instantiated are those that are instantiated at the present time. The truth-supervenes-on-being thesis (TSB) is that there can be no difference in what is true without a corresponding difference in what exists and in what properties and relations are instantiated. The truth-supervenes-on-being objection says that presentism cannot accommodate TSB. Lucretianism is (...)
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  18. added 2014-09-20
    Heidi Savage, On Diachronic, Synchronic, and Logical Necessity.
    According to EJ Lowe, diachronic necessity and synchronic necessity are logically independent. Diachronic possibility concerns what could happen to an object over time and therefore concerns future possibilities for that object given its past history. Synchronic possibility concerns what is possible for an object in the present or at a past present moment. These are logically independent, given certain assumptions. While it may true that because I am 38, it is impossible diachronically for me to be 30 (at least once (...)
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  19. added 2014-09-19
    Bertrand Russell (1919). The Philosophy of Logical Atomism, Lectures 5-6. The Monist 29 (2):190-222.
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  20. added 2014-09-19
    Bertrand Rusell (1919). The Philosophy of Logical Atomism, Lectures 7-8. The Monist 29 (3):345-380.
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  21. added 2014-09-19
    Bertrand Russell (1918). The Philosophy of Logical Atomism, Lectures 3-4. The Monist 29 (1):32-63.
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  22. added 2014-09-19
    Bertrand Russell (1918). The Philosophy of Logical Atomism, Lectures 1-2. The Monist 28 (4):495-527.
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  23. added 2014-09-18
    Vasilis Tsompanidis (forthcoming). Explaining Tensed Belief. In C. Majolino & K. Paykin-Arroučs (eds.), Telling Time: Moments, Events, Duration. Issues in Philosophy of Language and Linguistics, 5.
    I attempt to set the stage for a constructive analysis of the nature and function of tensed belief as a distinct psychological type. After introducing tensed beliefs, I describe the philosophical issues that implicate them, including Prior’s “thank goodness it’s over” argument against the B-theory of time. I proceed to flesh out, and then argue against, two traditional treatments of tensed belief from the philosophy of time: the A-theoretic view, which starts from present facts or properties, and Hugh Mellor's B-theoretic (...)
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  24. added 2014-09-18
    Vasilis Tsompanidis (2011). Tensed Belief. Dissertation, University of California Santa Barbara
    Human beings seem to capture time and the temporal properties of events and things in thought by having beliefs usually expressed with statements using tense, or notions such as ‘now’, ‘past’ or ‘future’. Tensed beliefs like these seem indispensable for correct reasoning and timely action. For instance, my belief that my root canal is over seems inexpressible with a statement that does not use tense or a temporal indexical. However, the dominant view on the nature of time is that it (...)
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  25. added 2014-09-15
    Gabriele Contessa (forthcoming). Only Powers Can Confer Dispositions. Philosophical Quarterly.
    According to power theorists, properties are powers—i.e. they necessarily confer on their bearers certain dispositions. Although the power theory is increasingly gaining popularity, a vast majority of analytic metaphysicians still favors what I call ‘the nomic theory’—i.e. the view according to which what 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 inconsistent, for, if it were correct, then properties would not confer any (...)
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  26. added 2014-09-15
    Tuomas E. Tahko (forthcoming). Empirically-Informed Modal Rationalism. In Robert William Fischer & Felipe Leon (eds.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism. Synthese Library.
    In this chapter, it is suggested that our epistemic access to metaphysical modality generally involves rationalist, a priori elements. However, these a priori elements are much more subtle than ‘traditional’ modal rationalism assumes. In many cases of modal inquiry, a priori and a posteriori elements are deeply intertwined and it is not easy to tell them apart. Supposed metaphysically necessary identity statements involving natural kind terms are a good example: the fact that empirical input is crucial in establishing their necessity (...)
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  27. added 2014-09-15
    Roberto Loss (forthcoming). How to Change the Past in One-Dimensional Time. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    The possibility of changing the past by means of time-travel appears to depend on the possibility of distinguishing the past as it is ‘before’ and ‘after’ the time- travel. So far, all the metaphysical models that have been proposed to account for the possibility of past-changing time-travels operate this distinction by conceiving of time as multi-dimensional, and thus by significantly inflating our metaphysics of time. The aim of this article is to argue that there is an intuitive sense in which (...)
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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. added 2014-09-14
    Antony Eagle (forthcoming). Probability and Randomness. In Alan Hájek & Christopher Hitchcock (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Probability and Philosophy. Oxford University Press.
  31. 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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  32. added 2014-09-06
    C. G. Pulman (ed.) (forthcoming). Hart on Responsibility. Palgrave Macmillan.
  33. added 2014-09-05
    Naoaki Kitamura (2014). Is Any Alleged Truthmaker for Negatives Explanatorily Deficient? Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):200-207.
    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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  34. added 2014-09-03
    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 commitment 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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  35. added 2014-08-30
    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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  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. 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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  39. 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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  40. 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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  41. 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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  42. 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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  43. 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).
    Many ideas from Georg Nortoff’s works (published one paper in 2010, mainly his book in 2011, other papers in 2012, 2103, 2014, especially those related to Kant’s philosophy and the notion of the “observer”, the mind-brain problem, default mode network, the self, the mental states and their “correspondence” to the brain) are surprisingly very similar to my ideas published in my article from 2002, 2005 and my book from 2008. In two papers from 2002 (also my paper from 2005 and (...)
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  44. added 2014-08-18
    Staffan Angere (forthcoming). 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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  45. 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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  46. added 2014-08-16
    Kristina Musholt (2014). Review of "The Self in Question" by Andy Hamilton. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2014 (7).
  47. 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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  48. added 2014-08-16
    Ann Pang-White (1994). Augustine on Divine Foreknowledge and Human Free Will. Revue Des Études Augustiniennes 40:417-431.
  49. 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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  50. 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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