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Metaphysics

Edited by Jonathan Schaffer (Rutgers University)
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  1. added 2014-12-21
    Tomasz Bigaj (2014). In Defense of an Essentialist Approach to Ontic Structural Realism. Methode: Analytic Perspective 3 (4):1-24.
    This paper offers a new perspective on the metaphysical doctrine of non-eliminative ontic structural realism by interpreting the relation of ontic dependence in terms of counterfactual identification rather than in terms of numerical identity/distinctness.
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  2. added 2014-12-21
    Mark A. Musen, Natalya F. Noy, Nigam H. Shah, Patricia L. Whetzel, Christopher G. Chute, Margaret-Anne Story & Barry Smith (2012). The National Center for Biomedical Ontology. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 19 (2):190-195.
    The National Center for Biomedical Ontology is now in its seventh year. The goals of this National Center for Biomedical Computing are to: create and maintain a repository of biomedical ontologies and terminologies; build tools and web services to enable the use of ontologies and terminologies in clinical and translational research; educate their trainees and the scientific community broadly about biomedical ontology and ontology-based technology and best practices; and collaborate with a variety of groups who develop and use ontologies and (...)
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  3. added 2014-12-21
    Daniel L. Rubin, Noy N. F. and Musen M. A. Lewis, Chris J. Mungall, Sima Misra, Monty Westerfield, Michael Ashburner, Ida Sim, Christopher G. Chute, Harold Solbrig, Margaret A. Storey, Barry Smith, John D. Richter, Natasha F. Noy & Mark A. Musen (2006). The National Center for Biomedical Ontology: Advancing Biomedicine Through Structured Organization of Scientific Knowledge. Omics: A Journal of Integrative Biology, 10(2), 2006, 10 (2):185-198.
    The National Center for Biomedical Ontology is a consortium that comprises leading informaticians, biologists, clinicians, and ontologists, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Roadmap, to develop innovative technology and methods that allow scientists to record, manage, and disseminate biomedical information and knowledge in machine-processable form. The goals of the Center are (1) to help unify the divergent and isolated efforts in ontology development by promoting high quality open-source, standards-based tools to create, manage, and use ontologies, (2) to create (...)
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  4. added 2014-12-20
    Tuomas E. Tahko (forthcoming). The Modal Status of Laws: In Defence of a Hybrid View. Philosophical Quarterly.
    Three popular views regarding the modal status of the laws of nature are discussed: Humean Supervenience, nomic necessitation, and scientific/dispositional essentialism. These views are examined especially with regard to their take on the apparent modal force of laws and their ability to explain that modal force. It will be suggested that none of the three views, at least in their strongest form, can be maintained if some laws are metaphysically necessary, but others are metaphysically contingent. Some reasons for thinking that (...)
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  5. added 2014-12-20
    Darren Natale, Cecilia N. Arighi, Winona C. Barker, Judith A. Blake, Carol J. Bult, Michael Caudy, Harold J. Drabkin, Peter D’Eustachio, Alexei V. Evsikov, Hongzhan Huang, Jules Nchoutmboube, Natalia V. Roberts, Barry Smith, Jian Zhang & Cathy H. Wu (2011). The Protein Ontology: A Structured Representation of Protein Forms and Complexes. Nucleic Acids Research 39 (1):D539-D545.
    The Protein Ontology (PRO) provides a formal, logically-based classification of specific protein classes including structured representations of protein isoforms, variants and modified forms. Initially focused on proteins found in human, mouse and Escherichia coli, PRO now includes representations of protein complexes. The PRO Consortium works in concert with the developers of other biomedical ontologies and protein knowledge bases to provide the ability to formally organize and integrate representations of precise protein forms so as to enhance accessibility to results of protein (...)
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  6. added 2014-12-19
    Mark Jago (forthcoming). Essence and the Grounding Problem. In , Reality Making. Oxford University Press.
    Pluralists about coincident entities say that distinct entities may be spatially coincident throughout their entire existence. The most pressing issue they face is the grounding problem. They say that coincident entities may differ in their persistence conditions and in the sortals they fall under. But how can they differ in these ways, given that they share all their microphysical properties? What grounds those differences, if not their microphysical properties? Do those differences depend only on the way we conceptualise those objects? (...)
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  7. added 2014-12-19
    Sara Heinämaa (2014). Transformations of Old Age: Selfhood, Normativity, and Time. In Silvia Stoller (ed.), Simone de Beauvoir’s Philosophy of Old Age. Indiana University Press. 167-87.
  8. added 2014-12-18
    Chad Carmichael (forthcoming). Deep Platonism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    According to the traditional bundle theory, particulars are bundles of compresent universals. I think we should reject the bundle theory for a variety of reasons. But I will argue for the thesis at the core of the bundle theory: that all the facts about particulars are grounded in facts about universals. I begin by showing how to meet the main objection to this thesis (which is also the main objection to the bundle theory): that it is inconsistent with the possibility (...)
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  9. added 2014-12-18
    Christopher Evan Franklin (2014). Powers, Necessity, and Determinism. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):225-229.
    Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum have argued that a theory of free will that appeals to a powers-based ontology is incompatible with causal determinism. This is a surprising conclusion since much recent work on the intersection of the metaphysics of powers and free will has consisted of attempts to defend compatibilism by appealing to a powers-based ontology. In response I show that their argument turns on an equivocation of ‘all events are necessitated’.
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  10. added 2014-12-17
    Jonathan Schaffer (forthcoming). What Not to Multiply Without Necessity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-21.
    The Razor commands us not to multiply entities without necessity. I argue for an alternative principle—The Laser—which commands us not to multiply fundamental entities without necessity.
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  11. added 2014-12-17
    Andreas Dorschel (1987). Die Idee der ‘Einswerdung’ in Wagners Tristan. In Heinz-Klaus Metzger & Rainer Riehn (eds.), Richard Wagner, Tristan und Isolde. edition text + kritik. 19-25.
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  12. added 2014-12-16
    Jack Reynolds (2015). Time Out of Joint 2. In Stuart Grant & Jodie McNeilly (eds.), Phenomenology and Temporalisation: Time Happens. Palgrave.
  13. added 2014-12-16
    Ricki Bliss & Kelly Trogdon (2014). Metaphysical Grounding. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: N/A.
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  14. added 2014-12-15
    Martin Pickup (forthcoming). Real Presence in the Eucharist and Time-Travel. Religious Studies.
    This article aims to bring some work in contemporary analytic metaphysics to discussions of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I will show that some unusual claims of the Real Presence doctrine exactly parallel what would be happening in the world if objects were to time-travel in certain ways. Such time-travel would make ordinary objects multiply located, and in the relevantly analogous respects. If it is conceptually coherent that objects behave in this way, we have a model for (...)
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  15. added 2014-12-15
    Agustin Vicente & Adrian Sampedro Leon (2014). Personas en el mundo: la perspectiva de la primera persona y el naturalismo. Análisis: Revista de Investigación Filosófica 1:161-180.
    In this paper we examine different answers to the question of what we are, focusing in particular on eliminative and reductivist proposals about persons or selves. We conclude that, as of today, dualism seems more reasonable than naturalism, if by naturalism we understand the thesis that psychological entities can be reduced or eliminated.
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  16. added 2014-12-14
    Steven M. Duncan, The Present.
    While the nature of the past and the future have received a lot of attention from recent analytic philosophers, the present has been somewhat neglected. I think the notion of the present is somewhat misunderstood and hope to rectify some of those misunderstandings in this essay. It is high time that this was done. Let's do it now!
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  17. added 2014-12-14
    Steven M. Duncan, In Defense of Temporal Passage.
    In this paper, I endorse and defend the Common Sense View of Time (CSVT), i.e. Presentism plus the A-theory of time, by arguing for the objective reality of temporal passage.
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  18. added 2014-12-14
    Emily Caddick Bourne & C. Bourne, The Fictional Future.
    Event synopsis: -What does it mean to claim that the future is open? -Are future contingent statements like "There will be a sea battle tomorrow" now true or false? -Is the claim that future contingents are now true or false compatible with the claim that the future is open? -What is the relation between future contingents and future ontology? -What metaphysical picture is required in order to make sense of the claim that the future is open? Multiple, branching futures? A (...)
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  19. added 2014-12-12
    Mark Jago (forthcoming). Advanced Modalizing Problems. Mind.
    I present an internal problem for David Lewis's genuine modal realism. My aim is to show that his analysis of modality is inconsistent with his metaphysics. I consider several ways of modifying the Lewisian analysis of modality, but argue that none are successful. I argue that the problem also affects theories related to genuine modal realism, including the stage theory of persistence and modal fictionalism.
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  20. added 2014-12-11
    Chad Engelland (forthcoming). Heidegger and the Human Difference. Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1.
  21. added 2014-12-10
    Terence Rajivan Edward, Did the Past Really Change in 2012?
    There is a strong intuition that the past does not ever change. In their paper ‘The puzzle of the changing past,’ Luca Barlassina and Fabio Del Prete argue that in 2012 the past changed. I show that we are not in a position to accept their argument.
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  22. added 2014-12-10
    Kathrin Koslicki (forthcoming). Where Grounding and Causation Part Ways: Comments on Jonathan Schaffer. Philosophical Studies.
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  23. added 2014-12-09
    Gerhard Nuffer (forthcoming). What Difference Might and May Make. Synthese:1-25.
    How does your information change when you learn that something might be the case, where the modal “might” is epistemic? On the orthodox view, a proposition is added to your information base; on the view defended here, no propositions are added to your information base but some are removed from it. I (i) argue that Stephen Yablo’s recent attempt to define this removal operation as a kind of propositional subtraction fails, (ii) offer a definition of my own in terms of (...)
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  24. added 2014-12-09
    Matthew Tugby (forthcoming). The Alien Paradox. Analysis:anu113.
    Platonism delivers a theory of possibility that is distinct from both Lewisian modal realism and ersatz modal theories. By putting the topic of alien properties at centre stage in our modal theorizing, a strong preliminary case for platonism can be made. A puzzle about alien properties is created by modern truthmaker theory and some plausible assumptions about properties and existence. But this puzzle is one that platonism is able to solve in a simple and conservative way.
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  25. added 2014-12-09
    Aaron M. Griffith (2015). How Negative Truths Are Made True. Synthese 192 (1):317-335.
    Identifying plausible truthmakers for negative truths has been a serious and perennial problem for truthmaker theory. I argue here that negative truths are indeed made true but not in the way that positive truths are. I rely on a distinction between “existence-independence” and “variation-independence” drawn by Hoffman and Horvath to characterize the unique form of dependence negative truths exhibit on reality. The notion of variation-independence is then used to motivate a principle of truthmaking for contingent negative truths.
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  26. added 2014-12-09
    Matthew Simpson (2014). Defending Truthmaker Non‐Maximalism. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (3):n/a-n/a.
    Jago argues that truthmaker non-maximalism, the view that some but not all truths require truthmakers, is vulnerable to a challenge from truths which ascribe knowledge of propositions about things which don't exist. Such truths, Jago argues, can only be dealt with using maximalist resources. I argue that Jago's point relies on the claim that the relevant truths require truthmakers, a point that non-maximalists can coherently and plausibly deny. Moreover, I argue that by making use of a safety account of knowledge, (...)
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  27. added 2014-12-09
    Elizabeth Miller (2014). Schaffer on the Action of the Whole. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (3):365-370.
    I argue that Schaffer’s recent defence of Spinozan Monism—the thesis that the cosmos is the only substance, or the only fundamental and integrated thing— fails to establish that the universe is uniquely fundamental. In addition, Schaffer’s own defence of his thesis offers the pluralist about fundamentality a model for responding to Schaffer’s criticism of pluralism.
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  28. added 2014-12-09
    Christoph Baumberger & Georg Brun (2013). Identität, Charakter und Stil von Bauwerken. In , Architekturphilosophie. Grundlagentexte. Mentis. 141-166.
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  29. added 2014-12-09
    Emily Caddick Bourne, Truthmaking and Indefiniteness in Fiction.
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  30. added 2014-12-09
    Francesca Brencio (2002). L’essere ed il destino della metafisica occidentale nella riflessione di Martin Heidegger. Oros 1 (1).
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  31. added 2014-12-08
    C. S. Sutton (forthcoming). Almost One, Overlap and Function. Analysis:anu112.
    In David Lewis’s famous ‘Many, but Almost One’, he argues that when objects of the same kind share most of their parts, they can be counted as one. I argue that mereological overlap does not do the trick. A better candidate is overlap in function. Although mereological overlap often goes hand-in-hand with functional overlap, a functional approach is more accurate in cases in which mereology and function are teased apart. A functional approach also solves a version of the problem of (...)
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  32. added 2014-12-08
    Barry Smith (2012). On Classifying Material Entities in Basic Formal Ontology. In Interdisciplinary Ontology. Proceedings of the Third Interdisciplinary Ontology Meeting. Keio University Press. 1-13.
    Basic Formal Ontology (BFO) was created in 2002 as an upper-level ontology to support the creation of consistent lower-level ontologies, initially in the subdomains of biomedical research, now also in other areas, including defense and security. BFO is currently undergoing revisions in preparation for the release of BFO version 2.0. We summarize some of the proposed revisions in what follows, focusing on BFO’s treatment of material entities, and specifically of the category object.
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  33. added 2014-12-08
    Eva-Maria Engelen (1999). Das Feststehende bestimmt das Mögliche. Semantische Untersuchungen zu Möglichkeitsurteilen. frommann-holzboog.
  34. added 2014-12-07
    C. G. Pulman (2014). Voluntary Interventions. In , Hart on Responsibility. Palgrave Macmillan.
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  35. added 2014-12-05
    Chris Daly & David Liggins (2014). In Defence of Existence Questions. Monist 97 (7):460–478.
    Do numbers exist? Do properties? Do possible worlds? Do fictional characters? Many metaphysicians spend time and effort trying to answer these and other questions about the existence of various entities. These inquiries have recently encountered opposition: a group of philosophers, drawing inspiration from Aristotle, have argued that many or all of the existence questions debated by metaphysicians can be answered trivially, and so are not worth debating. Our task is to defend existence questions from the neo-Aristotelians' attacks.
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  36. added 2014-12-04
    Keith Augustine & Michael Martin (eds.) (forthcoming). The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case Against Life After Death. Rowman & Littlefield.
    Because every single one of us will die, most of us would like to know what—if anything—awaits us afterward, not to mention the fate of lost loved ones. Given the nearly universal vested interest we personally have in deciding this question in favor of an afterlife, it is no surprise that the vast majority of books on the topic affirm the reality of life after death without a backward glance. But the evidence of our senses and the ever-gaining strength of (...)
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  37. added 2014-12-03
    Bradley Armour-Garb & James A. Woodbridge (forthcoming). Pretense and Pathology: Philosophical Fictionalism and its Applications. Cambridge University Press.
    This book offers new insights into fictionalism as an approach in philosophy and explains how applying a particular fictionalist strategy both dissolves the semantic pathology that appears to plague the traditional semantic notions (e.g., the worries about truth that the Liar Paradox and the Truthteller generate) and promises to resolve further puzzles and problems that arise from ordinary existence-talk and identity-talk. In addition, after raising concerns for realism about propositions, the book also provides a fictionalist account of talk that seems (...)
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  38. added 2014-12-03
    Bradley Rives (2014). Laws, the Inference Problem, and Uninstantiated Universals. Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (4):496-520.
    The difficulties facing Humean regularity accounts of laws have led some philosophers to a theory that takes laws to be necessitation relations between universals. In this paper I evaluate David Armstrong's version of this theory by considering two of its key elements: its solution to the so-called “Inference Problem” and its denial of uninstantiated universals. After considering some potential problems with each of these elements on their own, I argue that Armstrong's solution to the Inference Problem and his denial of (...)
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  39. added 2014-12-02
    Jose L. Zalabardo (forthcoming). Representation and Reality in Wittgenstein's Tractatus. Oxford University Press.
    The book puts forward an interpretation of some central ideas of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus concerning the structure of reality and our representations of it in thought and language. It presents the origins of Wittgenstein’s picture theory of propositional representation in Russell’s theories of judgment, arguing that the picture theory is Wittgenstein’s solution to some problems that he found in Russell’s position. It defends the view that, for Wittgenstein, facts in general, and the facts that play the role of propositions in (...)
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  40. added 2014-11-28
    Luca Barlassina & Fabio Del Prete (forthcoming). The Puzzle of the Changing Past. Analysis.
    If you utter sentence (1) ‘Obama was born in 1961’ now, you say something true about the past. Since the past will always be such that the year 1961 has the property of being a time in which Obama was born, it seems impossible that (1) could ever be false in a future context of utterance. We shall consider the case of a sentence about the past exactly like (1), but which was true when uttered a few years ago and (...)
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  41. added 2014-11-28
    Alessandro Torza (forthcoming). Vague Existence. In Dean Zimmerman & Karen Bennett (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press.
    Ted Sider has famously argued that existence, in the unrestricted sense of ontology, cannot be vague, as long as vagueness is modeled by means of precisifications. The first section exposes some controversial assumptions underlying Ted Sider's alleged reductio of vague existence. The upshot will be that, although existence cannot be vague, it can be super-vague, i.e. higher-order vague, for all orders. The second section develops and defends a novel framework, dubbed negative supervaluationary semantics, which makes room for the possibility of (...)
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  42. added 2014-11-28
    Barlassina Luca & Del Prete Fabio (forthcoming). The Puzzle of the Changing Past. Analysis.
    If you utter sentence (1) ‘Obama was born in 1961’ now, you say something true about the past. Since the past will always be such that the year 1961 has the property of being a time in which Obama was born, it seems impossible that (1) could ever be false in a future context of utterance. We shall consider the case of a sentence about the past exactly like (1), but which was true when uttered a few years ago and (...)
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  43. added 2014-11-27
    Simon Beck (2014). Transplant Thought-Experiments: Two Costly Mistakes in Discounting Them. South African Journal of Philosophy-Suid-Afrikaanse Tydskrif Vir Wysbegeerte 33 (2):189-199.
    ‘Transplant’ thought-experiments, in which the cerebrum is moved from one body to another have featured in a number of recent discussions in the personal identity literature. Once taken as offering confirmation of some form of psychological continuity theory of identity, arguments from Marya Schechtman and Kathleen Wilkes have contended that this is not the case. Any such apparent support is due to a lack of detail in their description or a reliance on predictions that we are in no position to (...)
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  44. added 2014-11-25
    Thomas Kroedel (forthcoming). A Simple Argument for Downward Causation. Synthese:1-18.
    Instances of many supervenient properties have physical effects. In particular, instances of mental properties have physical effects if non-reductive physicalism is true. This follows by a straightforward argument that assumes a counterfactual criterion for causation. The paper presents that argument and discusses several issues that arise from it. In particular, the paper addresses the worry that the argument shows too many supervenient property-instances to have physical effects. The argument is also compared to a similar argument that has been suggested by (...)
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  45. added 2014-11-25
    Patrick Todd, Fatalism. Oxford Bibliographies Online.
    In contemporary philosophy, arguments for “fatalism” are arguments for the conclusion that no human actions are free. Such arguments typically come in two varieties: logical and theological. Arguments for logical fatalism proceed, roughly, from truths about future actions to the conclusion that those actions are unavoidable, and hence unfree. Arguments for theological fatalism, on the other hand, proceed, roughly, from divine beliefs about future actions to the conclusion that those actions are unavoidable, and hence unfree. What is characteristic of any (...)
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  46. added 2014-11-24
    Justin Tiehen (forthcoming). Explaining Causal Closure. Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    The physical realm is causally closed, but why is it causally closed? In what follows I argue that reductive physicalists are committed to embracing one explanation of causal closure to the exclusion of others, and that as a result they must give up on using a causal argument to attack mind-body dualism.
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  47. added 2014-11-21
    Maurizio Ferraris & Achille C. Varzi (2013). Hylas e Philonous dieci anni dopo. SpazioFilosofico 8 (2):219–227.
    This is a sequel to our dialogue "Che cosa c'è e che cos'è (2003), focusing on the interplay between what there is and what there could be—between actuality and possibility—from the perspective of Hylas (here: the realist philosopher) and from the perspective of Philonous (here: the conventionalist anti-realist).
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  48. added 2014-11-21
    Achille C. Varzi (2009). È successo tra qualche anno. In Armando Massarenti (ed.), Stramaledettamente logico. Esercizi di filosofia su pellicola. Laterza. 3–32.
    A discussion of some philosophical themes in the Terminator film series, including: the possibility of time travel, backward causation, the difference between changing the past/future and affecting it, the difference between determinism and fatalism, and how such issues depend on the underlying philosophy of time (eternism vs. presentism vs. the growing-block theory).
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  49. added 2014-11-20
    Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi (1994). Holes and Other Superficialities. MIT Press.
    Holes are a good example of the sort of entity that down-to-earth philosophers would be inclined to expel from their ontological inventory. In this work we argue instead in favor of their existence and explore the consequences of this liberality—odd as they might appear. We examine the ontology of holes, their geometry, their part-whole relations, their identity and their causal role, the ways we perceive them. We distinguish three basic kinds of holes: blind hollows, perforating tunnels, and internal cavities, treating (...)
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  50. added 2014-11-19
    Paul Richard Daniels (forthcoming). Lewisian Time Travel in a Relativistic Setting. Metaphysica.
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