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Metaphysics

Edited by Jonathan Schaffer (Rutgers University)
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  1. 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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  2. added 2014-08-16
    Kristina Musholt (2014). Review of "The Self in Question" by Andy Hamilton. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2014 (7).
  3. added 2014-08-16
    Chad Carmichael (2013). The Universe As We Find It, by John Heil. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2013.
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  4. added 2014-08-16
    Ann Pang-White (1994). Augustine on Divine Foreknowledge and Human Free Will. Revue Des Études Augustiniennes 40:417-431.
  5. 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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  6. 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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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. added 2014-08-12
    Daniel Nolan & Alexander Sandgren (forthcoming). Creationism and Cardinality. Analysis.
    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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  13. added 2014-08-11
    Adrian Heathcote (forthcoming). The Truthmaker Account Is Not a Causal Theory. Acta Analytica:1-6.
    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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. added 2014-08-07
    Fiora Salis, Entidades Ficcionais. Compêndio Em Linha de Problemas de Filosofia Analítica.
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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21. added 2014-08-06
    John Biro (forthcoming). Clocks, Evidence, and the “Truth-Maker Solution”. Acta Analytica:1-5.
    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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  22. 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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  23. 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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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. added 2014-07-31
    Christopher J. G. Meacham (forthcoming). The Meta-Reversibility Objection. In Barry Loewer, Brad Weslake & Eric Winsberg (eds.), Time's Arrow and the Probability Structure of the World.
    One popular approach to statistical mechanics understands statistical mechanical probabilities as measures of rational indifference. Naive formulations of this ``indifference approach'' face reversibility worries - while they yield the right prescriptions regarding future events, they yield the wrong prescriptions regarding past events. This paper begins by showing how the indifference approach can overcome the standard reversibility worries by appealing to the Past Hypothesis. But, the paper argues, positing a Past Hypothesis doesn't free the indifference approach from all reversibility worries. For (...)
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  32. added 2014-07-31
    M. Eddon & C. J. G. Meacham (forthcoming). No Work For a Theory of Universals. In Jonathan Schaffer & Barry Loewer (eds.), A Companion to David Lewis.
    Several variants of Lewis's Best System Account of Lawhood have been proposed that avoid its commitment to perfectly natural properties. There has been little discussion of the relative merits of these proposals, and little discussion of how one might extend this strategy to provide natural property-free variants of Lewis's other accounts, such as his accounts of duplication, intrinsicality, causation, counterfactuals, and reference. We undertake these projects in this paper. We begin by providing a framework for classifying and assessing the variants (...)
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  33. added 2014-07-28
    Stephen Puryear (forthcoming). Finitism and the Beginning of the Universe. Australasian Journal of Philosophy.
    Many philosophers have argued that the past must be finite in duration because otherwise reaching the present moment would have involved something impossible, namely, the sequential occurrence of an actual infinity of events. In reply, some philosophers have objected that there can be nothing amiss in such an occurrence, since actually infinite sequences are ‘traversed’ all the time in nature, for example, whenever an object moves from one location in space to another. This essay focuses on one of the two (...)
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  34. added 2014-07-28
    Brian Embry (forthcoming). Counterfactuals Without Possible Worlds? A Difficulty for Fine’s Exact Semantics for Counterfactuals. Journal of Philosophy.
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  35. added 2014-07-28
    Vera Hoffmann-Kolss (2014). Is the Intrinsic/Extrinsic Distinction Hyperintensional? In Robert Francescotti (ed.), Companion to Intrinsic Properties. de Gruyter. 157-173.
    Several authors have recently claimed that the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties is hyperintensional, i.e., that there are cointensional properties P and Q, such that P is intrinsic, while Q is extrinsic. In this paper, I aim to defend the classical view that whenever P and Q are cointensional properties, then P and Q are either both intrinsic or both extrinsic. I first argue that the standard characterization of the intrinsic/extrinsic distinction involves dependence claims: intrinsic properties are those properties (...)
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  36. added 2014-07-26
    Alexander Reutlinger (forthcoming). Are Causal Facts Really Explanatorily Emergent? Ladyman and Ross on Higher-Level Causal Facts and Renormalization Group Explanation. Synthese.
    In their Every Thing Must Go, Ladyman and Ross defend a novel version of Neo- Russellian metaphysics of causation, which falls into three claims: (1) there are no fundamental physical causal facts (orthodox Russellian claim), (2) there are higher-level causal facts of the special sciences, and (3) higher-level causal facts are explanatorily emergent. While accepting claims (1) and (2), I attack claim (3). Ladyman and Ross argue that higher-level causal facts are explanatorily emergent, because (a) certain aspects of these higher-level (...)
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  37. added 2014-07-25
    John Russell Roberts (forthcoming). Axiarchism and Selectors. Faith and Philosophy.
    This essay offers a defense of Axiarchism's answer to the question, "Why does the world exit?" against prominent objections leveled against it by Derek Parfit. Parfit rejects the Axiarchist answer while abstracting from it his own Selector strategy. I argue that the abstraction fails, and that even if we were to regard Axiarchism as an instance of a Selector hypothesis, we should regard it as the only viable one. I also argue that Parfit's abstraction leads him to mistake the nature (...)
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  38. added 2014-07-25
    Barry Smith & Achille C. Varzi (1997). Fiat and Bona Fide Boundaries: Towards an Ontology of Spatially Extended Objects. In Spatial Information Theory. International Conference COSIT ‘97. Springer. 103–119.
    Human cognitive acts are directed towards objects extended in space of a wide range of different types. What follows is a new proposal for bringing order into this typological clutter. The theory of spatially extended objects should make room not only for the objects of physics but also for objects at higher levels, including the objects of geography and of related disciplines. It should leave room for different types of boundaries, including both the bona fide boundaries which we find in (...)
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  39. added 2014-07-24
    Uriah Kriegel (forthcoming). L'empirisme introspectif: un coup d’œil sous le voile des phénomènes. Philosophie 2015.
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  40. added 2014-07-24
    Andreas Hüttemann (forthcoming). Physicalism and the Part-Whole Relation. In Christian Wüthrich & Tomasz Bigaj (eds.), Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics.
    In this paper I intend to analyse whether a certain kind of physicalism (part-wholephysicalism)is supported by what classical mechanics and quantum mechanics have to say about the part whole relation. I will argue that not even the most likely candidates – namely cases of microexplanation of the dynamics of compound systems – provide evidence for part whole-physicalism, i.e. the thesis that the behaviour of the compound obtains in virtue of the behaviour of the parts. Physics does not dictate part-whole-physicalism.
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  41. added 2014-07-23
    Alejandro Pérez Carballo (2014). Structuring Logical Space. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1).
  42. added 2014-07-22
    Brian Epstein (2015). The Ant Trap: Rebuilding the Foundations of the Social Sciences. Oxford.
    We live in a world of crowds and corporations, artworks and artifacts, legislatures and languages, money and markets. These are all social objects — they are made, at least in part, by people and by communities. But what exactly are these things? How are they made, and what is the role of people in making them? In The Ant Trap, Brian Epstein rewrites our understanding of the nature of the social world and the foundations of the social sciences. Epstein explains (...)
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  43. added 2014-07-20
    Nurbay Irmak (2014). Purpose-Relativity and Ontology. Dissertation, University of Miami
  44. added 2014-07-18
    George E. Newman, Julian De Freitas & Joshua Knobe (2014). Beliefs About the True Self Explain Asymmetries Based on Moral Judgment. Cognitive Science 38 (6).
    Past research has identified a number of asymmetries based on moral judgments. Beliefs about (a) what a person values, (b) whether a person is happy, (c) whether a person has shown weakness of will, and (d) whether a person deserves praise or blame seem to depend critically on whether participants themselves find the agent's behavior to be morally good or bad. To date, however, the origins of these asymmetries remain unknown. The present studies examine whether beliefs about an agent's “true (...)
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  45. added 2014-07-18
    Erik Baldwin (2013). Putting Uninstantiated Human Person Essences to Work: A Comment on Davis and Craig on The Grounding Objection. Philosophia Christi 15 (2):221-225.
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  46. added 2014-07-17
    Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). The Ontology of 'Cases'. In Proceedings of Formal Ontology and Information Systems (FOIS), 2014.
    This paper gives an account of constructions with the noun 'case' based on truthmaking and argues that 'cases' form their own ontological category.
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  47. added 2014-07-17
    Brian Epstein (2015). How Many Kinds of Glue Hold the Social World Together? In Mattia Gallotti & John Michael (eds.), Social Ontology and Social Cognition.
    In recent years, theorists have debated how we introduce new social objects and kinds into the world. Searle, for instance, proposes that they are introduced by collective acceptance of a constitutive rule; Millikan and Elder that they are the products of reproduction processes; Thomasson that they result from creator intentions and subsequent intentional reproduction; and so on. In this chapter, I argue against the idea that there is a single generic method or set of requirements for doing so. Instead, there (...)
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  48. added 2014-07-17
    Brian Epstein (2014). What is Individualism in Social Ontology? Ontological Individualism Vs. Anchor Individualism. In Finn Collin & Julie Zahle (eds.), Rethinking the Individualism/Holism Debate: Essays in the Philosophy of Social Science.
    Individualists about social ontology hold that social facts are “built out of” facts about individuals. In this paper, I argue that there are two distinct kinds of individualism about social ontology, two different ways individual people might be the metaphysical “builders” of the social world. The familiar kind is ontological individualism. This is the thesis that social facts supervene on, or are exhaustively grounded by, facts about individual people. What I call anchor individualism is the alternative thesis that facts about (...)
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  49. added 2014-07-17
    Mark Balaguer (2014). Anti‐Metaphysicalism, Necessity, and Temporal Ontology. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):n/a-n/a.
    This paper argues for a certain kind of anti-metaphysicalism about the temporal ontology debate, i.e., the debate between presentists and eternalists over the existence of past and future objects. Three different kinds of anti-metaphysicalism are defined—namely, non-factualism, physical-empiricism, and trivialism. The paper argues for the disjunction of these three views. It is then argued that trivialism is false, so that either non-factualism or physical-empiricism is true. Finally, the paper ends with a discussion of whether we should endorse non-factualism or physical-empiricism. (...)
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  50. added 2014-07-17
    Brian Epstein (2013). Social Objects Without Intentions. In Anita Konzelmann Ziv & Hans Bernhard Schmid (eds.), Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents: Contributions to Social Ontology. 53-68.
    It is often seen as a truism that social objects and facts are the product of human intentions. I argue that the role of intentions in social ontology is commonly overestimated. I introduce a distinction that is implicit in much discussion of social ontology, but is often overlooked: between a social entity’s “grounds” and its “anchors.” For both, I argue that intentions, either individual or collective, are less essential than many theorists have assumed. Instead, I propose a more worldly – (...)
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