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Metaphysics

Edited by Jonathan Schaffer (Rutgers University - New Brunswick)
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  1. added 2016-05-05
    Filippo Casati & Naoya Fujikawa, Nonexistent Objects as Truth-Makers : Against Crane's Reductionism.
    According to Meinongianism, some objects do not exist but we can legitimately refer to and quantify over them. Moreover, Meinongianism standardly regards nonexistent objects as contributing to the truth-makers of sentences about nonexistent objects. Recently, Tim Crane has proposed a weak form of Meinongianism, a reductionism, which denies any contribution of nonexistent objects to truth-making. His reductionism claims that, even though we can truly talk about nonexistent objects by using singular terms and quantifiers about them, any truth about nonexistent objects (...)
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  2. added 2016-05-05
    Fraser MacBride (2016). Relations. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  3. added 2016-05-05
    Alexander Sandgren (2016). Cruel Intensions: An Essay on Intentional Identity and Intentional Attitudes. Dissertation, The Australian National University
    Some intentional attitudes (beliefs, fears, desires, etc.) have a common focus in spite of there being no object at that focus. For example, two beliefs may be about the same witch even when there are no witches, different astronomers had beliefs directed at Vulcan, even though there is no such planet. This relation of having a common focus, whether or not there is an actual concrete object at that focus, is called intentional identity. In the first part of this thesis (...)
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  4. added 2016-05-05
    Fraser MacBride (2015). "On The Origins of Order: Non-Symmetric or Only Symmetric Relations?". In M. J. Loux & G. Galuzzo (eds.), The Problem of Universals in Contemporary Philosophy. Cambridge University Press 173-94.
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  5. added 2016-05-04
    Srećko Kovač (2015). Causal Interpretation of Gödel's Ontological Proof. In Kordula Świętorzecka (ed.), Gödel's Ontological Argument: History, Modifications, and Controversies. Semper 163.201.
  6. added 2016-05-03
    Barbara Vetter (forthcoming). Williamsonian Modal Epistemology, Possibility-Based. Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-30.
    Williamsonian modal epistemology is characterized by two commitments: realism about modality, and anti-exceptionalism about our modal knowledge. Williamson’s own counterfactual-based modal epistemology is the best known implementation of WME, but not the only option that is available. I sketch and defend an alternative implementation which takes our knowledge of metaphysical modality to arise, not from knowledge of counterfactuals, but from our knowledge of ordinary possibility statements of the form ‘x can F’. I defend this view against a criticism indicated in (...)
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  7. added 2016-05-03
    Jiri Benovsky (forthcoming). 'Nothing Over and Above' or 'Nothing'? On Eliminativism, Reductionism, and Composition. Polish Journal of Philosophy.
    In this article, I am interested in an issue concerning eliminativism about ordinary objects that can be put as the claim that the eliminativist is guilty of postulating the existence of something (atoms arranged tablewise) but not of something that is identical to it (the table). But, as we will see, this turns out to be a problem for everybody except the eliminativist. Indeed, this issue highlights a more general problem about the relationship between an entity and the parts the (...)
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  8. added 2016-05-03
    Olivier Massin (forthcoming). The Composition of Forces. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv048.
    This paper defends a realist account of the composition of Newtonian forces, dubbed ‘residualism’. According to residualism, the resultant force acting on a body is identical to the component forces acting on it that do not prevent each other from bringing about its acceleration. Several reasons to favor residualism over alternative accounts of the composition of forces are advanced. (i) Residualism reconciles realism about component forces with realism about resultant forces while avoiding any threat of causal overdetermination. (ii) Residualism provides (...)
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  9. added 2016-05-03
    Anna Szyrwińska (2015). Relacja między nauką o logicznych możliwościach a zasadą zachowania energii. Rola badań Huygensa i Leibniza dla nowożytnej refleksji nad wolnością woli. IDEA – Studia Nad Strukturą I Rozwojem Pojęć Filozoficznych:191-202.
    The article investigates the relationship between Leibniz’s and Huygens’ theory of possibility and the principle of conservation of energy. It assumes that their criticisms of Cartesian views concerning those questions as well as their own achievements contributed to the formation of a new metaphysical basis for modern discussions on the freedom of the will. There are especially two problems whose role is crucial in this context, namely the question of God’s knowledge of the future conditionals (contingentia futura) and the mind-body (...)
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  10. added 2016-05-03
    Daniel von Wachter, The Ontological Turn Misunderstood: How to Misunderstand David Armstrong’s Theory of Possibility.
    This article argues that there is a great divide between semantics and metaphysics. Much of what is called metaphysics today is still stuck in the linguistic turn. This is illustrated by showing how Fraser MacBride misunderstands David Armstrong's theory of modality.
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  11. added 2016-04-30
    Jiri Benovsky (forthcoming). The Self, Agency, and Responsibility: A Rejoinder to Siderits. Philosophy East and West.
    In the same issue of Philosophy East and West, Mark Siderits has written a reply to my article "Buddhist philosophy and the non-Self view". This is a rejoinder to Siderits' reply.
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  12. added 2016-04-29
    Alexander Gebharter & Gerhard Schurz (forthcoming). A Modeling Approach for Mechanisms Featuring Causal Cycles. Philosophy of Science.
    Mechanisms play an important role in many sciences when it comes to questions concerning explanation, prediction, and control. Answering such questions in a quantitative way requires a formal represention of mechanisms. Gebharter (2014) suggests to represent mechanisms by means of one or more causal arrows of an acyclic causal net. In this paper we show how this approach can be extended in such a way that it can also be fruitfully applied to mechanisms featuring causal feedback.
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  13. added 2016-04-29
    Alexander Gebharter (forthcoming). Another Problem with RBN Models of Mechanisms. Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science.
    Casini, Illari, Russo, and Williamson (2011) suggest to model mechanisms by means of recursive Bayesian networks (RBNs) and Clarke, Leuridan, and Williamson (2014) extend their modelling approach to mechanisms featuring causal feedback. One of the main selling points of the RBN approach should be that it provides answers to questions concerning manipulation and control. In this paper I demonstrate that the method to compute the effects of interventions the authors mentioned endorse leads to absurd results under the additional assumption of (...)
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  14. added 2016-04-29
    Mike Sutton, Kant - The Critique of Practical Reason - A Summary.
    There are few if any good summaries of this neglected work on the internet, or even in publication generally. The one given here is more extensive than most, and points out the wisdom and erudition of Kant's thinking about freedom of the will. It also paves the way for another article already on this website on Kant’s view of the world in general. (See https://www.academia.edu/10765809/Kants_View_of_the_World) .
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  15. added 2016-04-29
    Mike Sutton, The Concept of Death in Philosophy and Experience.
    This essay examines three approaches to the concept of death: an existential approach by Heidegger, a pragmatic evaluation by Nagel, and an experiential account by Philip Gould, who was not a professional philosopher but who wrote a detailed description of the time before his death from cancer. It compares and contrasts the different approaches, and uses Gould's account as a real a life check on the two philosophical analyses.
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  16. added 2016-04-29
    Mike Sutton, Sartre - How Do We Get From Nothingnes to Freedom.
    There seems to me to be a problem with the interpretation of Jean-Paul Sartre’s use of the words “being” and “nothingness” in his philosophy. Is his idea of being the same as that of Heidegger? While I’m quite sure of the metaphysical aspects of the argument, I’m not sure whether within those aspects Sartre equates nothingness with freedom, or whether the freedom (of action) arises from the nothingness. This short essay attempts to find a solution to the problem.
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  17. added 2016-04-29
    Mike Sutton, Kant - Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals - A Summary.
    This article consists of notes on Kant’s preparatory work on morality. I am indebted to Paton’s comments in his translation, and these are acknowledged in the text. As with the companion article on the “Critique of Practical Reason”, I am making preparations here for a later summary of Kant’s view of the world in general. (Since published at https://www.academia.edu/10765809/Kants_View_of_the_World) .
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  18. added 2016-04-29
    Mike Sutton, Making a Start on Hegel - Teaching Paper.
    Of all the great philosophers, Hegel is one of the most difficult to understand, and, at least by some philosophers, one of the most despised. Russell and Schopenhauer thought that his philosophy was devoid of any useful meaning, and Popper blamed him for the rise of totalitarianism. This teaching paper aims to summarise the main points of his work and give a balanced view.
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  19. added 2016-04-28
    Leslie Allan, The Existence of Mind-Independent Physical Objects.
    The author challenges both the eliminative idealist's contention that physical objects do not exist and the phenomenalist idealist's view that statements about physical objects are translatable into statements about private mental experiences. Firstly, he details how phenomenalist translations are parasitic on the realist assumption that physical objects exist independently of experience. Secondly, the author confronts eliminative idealism head on by exposing its heuristic sterility in contrast with realism's predictive success.
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  20. added 2016-04-28
    Richard Heersmink (forthcoming). Distributed Selves: Personal Identity and Extended Memory Systems. Synthese:1-17.
    This paper explores the implications of extended and distributed cognition theory for our notions of personal identity. On an extended and distributed approach to cognition, external information is under certain conditions constitutive of memory. On a narrative approach to personal identity, autobiographical memory is constitutive of our diachronic self. In this paper, I bring these two approaches together and argue that external information can be constitutive of one’s autobiographical memory and thus also of one’s diachronic self. To develop (...)
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  21. added 2016-04-27
    Felipe Leon (forthcoming). From Modal Skepticism to Modal Empiricism. In Robert William Fischer Felipe Leon (ed.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism.
  22. added 2016-04-27
    Robert William Fischer & Felipe Leon (forthcoming). The Modal-Knowno Problem. Southwest Philosophy Review.
  23. added 2016-04-27
    Frederique Janssen-Lauret & Gary Kemp (eds.) (2015). Quine and His Place in History. Palgrave.
    Containing three previously unpublished papers by W.V. Quine as well as historical, exegetical, and critical papers by several leading Quine scholars including Hylton, Ebbs, and Ben-Menahem, this volume aims to remedy the comparative lack of historical investigation of Quine and his philosophical context.
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  24. added 2016-04-26
    Vincenzo De Florio, Interpretations of the Concepts of Resilience and Evolution in the Philosophy of Leibniz.
    In this article I interpret resilience and evolution in view of the philosophy of Leibniz. First, I discuss resilience as a substance’s or a monad’s “quantity of essence” — its “degree of perfection” — which I express as the quality of the Whole with respect to the sum of the qualities of the Parts. Then I discuss evolution, which I interpret here as the autopoietic Principle that sets Itself in motion and creates all reality, including Itself. This Principle may be (...)
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  25. added 2016-04-26
    Sam Cowling & Wesley D. Cray (forthcoming). How To Be Omnipresent. American Philosophical Quarterly.
    Attributions of omnipresence, most familiar within the philosophy of religion, typically take the omnipresence of an entity to either consist in that entity’s occupation of certain regions or be dependent upon other of that entity’s attributes, such as omnipotence or omniscience. This paper defends an alternative conception of omnipresence that is independent of other purported divine attributes and dispenses with occupation. The resulting view repurposes the metaphysics of necessitism and permanentism, taking omnipresent entities to be those entities that exist at (...)
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  26. added 2016-04-26
    Friederike Moltmann (forthcoming). Partial Content and Expressions of Part and Whole. Discussion of Stephen Yablo: Aboutness. [REVIEW] Philosophical Studies.
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  27. added 2016-04-26
    Fraser MacBride & Frederique Janssen-Lauret (2015n). Meta-Ontology, Epistemology & Essence: On the Empirical Deduction of the Categories. The Monist 98 (3):290-302.
    A priori reflection, common sense and intuition have proved unreliable sources of information about the world outside of us. So the justification for a theory of the categories must derive from the empirical support of the scientific theories whose descriptions it unifies and clarifies. We don’t have reliable information about the de re modal profiles of external things either because the overwhelming proportion of our knowledge of the external world is theoretical—knowledge by description rather than knowledge by acquaintance. This undermines (...)
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  28. added 2016-04-26
    Frederique Janssen-Lauret (2015). Meta-Ontology, Naturalism, and The Quine-Barcan Marcus Debate. In Frederique Janssen-Lauret & Gary Kemp (eds.), Quine and His Place in History. Palgrave 146-167..
    Twenty-first century critics frequently misread Quinean ontological commitment as a toothless doctrine of anti-metaphysical pragmatism. Janssen-Lauret's historical investigations reveal that they misinterpret the influence of Quine's naturalism. His naturalistic view of philosophy as continuous with science informs a much more interesting conception of ontological commitments as generated by indispensable explanatory roles. But Janssen-Lauret uncovers a previously undetected weakness in Quine's meta-ontology. Careful examination of his debate with another naturalistic nominalist, Ruth Barcan Marcus, reveals that his holism leaves him blind to (...)
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  29. added 2016-04-25
    Filippo Casati & Naoya Fujikawa (forthcoming). Nonexistent Objects as Truth-Makers: Against Crane’s Reductionism. Philosophia:1-12.
    According to Meinongianism, some objects do not exist but we can legitimately refer to and quantify over them. Moreover, Meinongianism standardly regards nonexistent objects as contributing to the truth-makers of sentences about nonexistent objects. Recently, Tim Crane has proposed a weak form of Meinongianism, a reductionism, which denies any contribution of nonexistent objects to truth-making. His reductionism claims that, even though we can truly talk about nonexistent objects by using singular terms and quantifiers about them, any truth about nonexistent objects (...)
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  30. added 2016-04-24
    Roberto Loss (2015). Grounding, Contingency and Transitivity. Ratio 29 (2):n/a-n/a.
    Grounding contingentism is the doctrine according to which grounds are not guaranteed to necessitate what they ground. In this paper I will argue that the most plausible version of contingentism is incompatible with the idea that the grounding relation is transitive, unless either ‘priority monism’ or ‘contrastivism’ are assumed.
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  31. added 2016-04-23
    Ken Levy (forthcoming). Blocking Blockage. Philosophia:1-18.
    The Blockage Argument is designed to improve upon Harry Frankfurt’s famous argument against the Principle of Alternative Possibilities by removing the counterfactual intervener altogether. If the argument worked, then it would prove in a way that Frankfurt’s argument does not that moral responsibility does not require any alternative possibilities whatsoever, not even the weakest “flicker of freedom”. Some philosophers have rejected the Blockage Argument solely on the basis of their intuition that the inability to do otherwise is incompatible with moral (...)
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  32. added 2016-04-22
    Hugo Luzio (forthcoming). A Continuidade Física Garante a Persistência Pessoal no Tempo. Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia.
    Defendemos que a continuidade física garante a persistência pessoal no tempo. Determinamos, primeiro, os fundamentos teóricos e conceptuais do problema metafísico da identidade pessoal no tempo: apuramos a noção relevante de «identidade pessoal», a questão da persistência temporal simpliciter e aquilo em que consistem critérios identitários e princípios de individuação. Examinamos propriedades lógicas e formais do conceito de identidade: as leis da congruência, o princípio lógico da identidade, a reflexividade, simetria e transitividade, distinguimos as relações de identidade qualitativa e numérica (...)
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  33. added 2016-04-22
    Hugo Luzio (2015). Sonicismo Tímbrico e Instrumentalismo: Uma Disputa Ontológica. Philosophica (46):135-147.
    Discutimos o «problema das condições de individuação de obras musicais», a partir de duas teses concorrentes: o «sonicismo tímbrico», modulação teórica que procede de uma tese mais ampla, o «sonicismo», defendido (entre outros) por Julian Dodd (2007) em Confissões de um Sonicista Tímbrico Impenitente e o «instrumentalismo», defendido (entre outros) por Stephen Davies (2008) em Obras Musicais e Cor Orquestral. Dividimos a discussão em três momentos. Primeiramente, evidenciamos a centralidade do «problema das propriedades individuadoras de obras musicais» no âmbito próprio (...)
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  34. added 2016-04-21
    Andrea Sauchelli (forthcoming). The Animal, the Corpse, and the Remnant-Person. Philosophical Studies:1-14.
    I argue that a form of animalism that does not include the belief that ‘human animal’ is a substance-sortal has a dialectical advantage over other versions of animalism. The main reason for this advantage is that Phase Animalism, the version of animalism described here, has the theoretical resources to provide convincing descriptions of the outcomes of scenarios problematic for other forms of animalism. Although Phase Animalism rejects the claim that ‘human animal’ is a substance-sortal, it is still appealing to those (...)
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  35. added 2016-04-21
    Chris Daly & David Liggins (forthcoming). Dorr on the Language of Ontology. Philosophical Studies:1-15.
    In the ‘ordinary business of life’, everyone makes claims about what there is. For instance, we say things like: ‘There are some beautiful chairs in my favourite furniture shop’. Within the context of philosophical debate, some philosophers also make claims about what there is. For instance, some ontologists claim that there are chairs; other ontologists claim that there are no chairs. What is the relation between ontologists’ philosophical claims about what there is and ordinary claims about what there is? According (...)
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  36. added 2016-04-20
    Maciej Sendłak (forthcoming). Between the Actual and the Trivial World. Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 23 (2).
    The subject of this paper is the notion of similarity between the actual and impossible worlds. Many believe that this notion is governed by two rules. Ac-cording to the first rule, every non-trivial world is more similar to the actual world than the trivial world is. The second rule states that every possible world is more similar to the actual world than any impossible world is. The aim of this paper is to challenge both of these rules. We argue that (...)
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  37. added 2016-04-19
    Barbara Vetter (forthcoming). Counterpossibles for Dispositionalists. Philosophical Studies:1-20.
    Dispositionalists try to provide an account of modality—possibility, necessity, and the counterfactual conditional—in terms of dispositions. But there may be a tension between dispositionalist accounts of possibility on the one hand, and of counterfactuals on the other. Dispositionalists about possibility must hold that there are no impossible dispositions, i.e., dispositions with metaphysically impossible stimulus and/or manifestation conditions; dispositionalist accounts of counterfactuals, if they allow for non-vacuous counterpossibles, require that there are such impossible dispositions. I argue, first, that there are in (...)
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  38. added 2016-04-19
    Hashem Morvarid (forthcoming). Hale on the Absoluteness of Logical Necessity. Acta Analytica:1-11.
    Hale has argued that logical necessities are absolute in the sense that there is no competing kind of modality under which they may be false. In this paper, I argue that there are competing kinds of modality, which I call “essentialist modalities,” under which logical necessities may be false. Since it is counter-intuitive to say that logical necessities are not absolute, my argument, if correct, shows that Hale’s characterization of absolute necessity does not adequately capture the intuitive notion (...)
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  39. added 2016-04-19
    Michael J. Raven (2015). Fundamentality Without Foundations. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (3).
    A commonly held view is that a central aim of metaphysics is to give a fundamental account of reality which refers only to the fundamental entities. But a puzzle arises. It is at least a working hypothesis for those pursuing the aim that, first, there must be fundamental entities. But, second, it also seems possible that the world has no foundation, with each entity depending on others. These two claims are inconsistent with the widely held third claim that the fundamental (...)
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  40. added 2016-04-18
    Joshua May (forthcoming). Empathy and Intersubjectivity. In Heidi Maibom (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Empathy. Routledge
    Empathy is intersubjective in that it connects us mentally with others. Some theorists believe that by blurring the distinction between self and other empathy can provide a radical form of altruism that grounds all of morality and even a kind of immortality. Others are more pessimistic and maintain that in distorting the distinction between self and other empathy precludes genuine altruism. Even if these positions exaggerate self-other merging, empathy’s intersubjectivity can perhaps ground ordinary altruism and (...)
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  41. added 2016-04-18
    Ilkka Niiniluoto, Tuomas Tahko & Teemu Toppinen (eds.) (forthcoming). Mahdollisuus.
    Proceedings of the 2016 "one word" colloquium of the The Philosophical Society of Finland. The word was "Possibility".
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  42. added 2016-04-18
    Nicholas K. Jones (2016). Object as a Determinable. In Mark Jago (ed.), Reality Making. OUP 121-151.
    This paper outlines a heterodox and largely unexplored conception of objecthood according to which the notion of an individual object is a determinable. §1 outlines the view. §2 argues that the view is incompatible with a natural analysis of kind membership and, as a consequence, undermines the Quinean distinction between ontology and ideology. The view is then used to alleviate one source of Quinean hostility towards non-trivial restrictions on de re possibility in §3, and to elucidate Fine’s neo-Aristoteltian, non-modal conception (...)
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  43. added 2016-04-17
    Andrew Holster, Irreversibility of Classical Mechanics.
    A simple classical mechanical system, consisting of an idealised classical gas in a simple container designed with some reflective barriers in place, is analysed, and shown to give rise to a surprising irreversible behaviour. The behaviour may appear strange to our physical intuition to start with; but more, it appears positively paradoxical, because classical mechanics is supposed to be time symmetric or reversible. The time reversal of any possible mechanical process in this system is also a possible mechanical process. And (...)
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  44. added 2016-04-16
    Christian Helmut Wenzel (2011). On Wittgenstein on Certainty. Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 19:320-322.
    In the preface to On Certainty Anscombe and von Wright say that in 1949 Malcolm suggested to Wittgenstein to think again about Moore’s “Defense of Common Sense” (1925) and “Proof of an External World” (1939). Malcolm himself had written on the issue in “Defending Common Sense” (1949). In the preface to the Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein quotes Nestroy saying that there is usually very little progress in philosophy. But I think some progress has been made from Moore and Malcolm to Wittgenstein (...)
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  45. added 2016-04-15
    Marie I. Kaiser & Beate Krickel (2016). The Metaphysics of Constitutive Mechanistic Phenomena. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv058.
    The central aim of this article is to specify the ontological nature of constitutive mechanistic phenomena. After identifying three criteria of adequacy that any plausible approach to constitutive mechanistic phenomena must satisfy, we present four different suggestions, found in the mechanistic literature, of what mechanistic phenomena might be. We argue that none of these suggestions meets the criteria of adequacy. According to our analysis, constitutive mechanistic phenomena are best understood as what we will call ‘object-involving occurrents’. Furthermore, on the (...)
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  46. added 2016-04-15
    Naoaki Kitamura (2016). Defending Priority Views From the Gunk/Junk Argument. Philosophia 44 (1):155-165.
    Recently, Jonathan Tallant has argued that we should reject priority views, which hold that some objects are fundamental and others are dependent. Tallant’s argument relies on two proposed mereological possibilities: a gunky world, where everything has a proper part, and a junky world, where everything is a proper part. In this paper, I criticise Tallant’s argument and argue that neither of these possibilities threaten priority views per se; at most, they threaten only particular forms of priority views that contain a (...)
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  47. added 2016-04-14
    Alex Kaiserman (forthcoming). Causes and Counterparts. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-12.
    It follows from David Lewis's counterpart-theoretic analysis of modality and his counterfactual theory of causation that causal claims are relativized to a set of counterpart relations. Call this Shlewis's view. I show how Shlewis's view can provide attractively unified solutions to similar modal and causal puzzles. I then argue that Shlewis's view is better motivated, by his own lights, than the view Lewis actually held, and also better motivated than a similar approach which relativizes causal claims to sets of ‘contrast (...)
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  48. added 2016-04-14
    Roberto Loss (2016). Grounds, Roots and Abysses. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (1):41-52.
    The aim of this study is to address the “Grounding Grounding Problem,” that is, the question as to what, if anything, grounds facts about grounding. I aim to show that, if a seemingly plausible principle of modal recombination between fundamental facts and the principle customarily called “Entailment” are assumed, it is possible to prove not only that grounding facts featuring fundamental, contingent grounds are derivative but also that either they are partially grounded in the grounds they feature or they are (...)
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  49. added 2016-04-14
    Vladimir Rogozhin, It From Δ-Logit. The Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi).
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  50. added 2016-04-13
    Guy A. Williams Jr, Re-Examining the Japanese Tense Markers: Temporality, Modality, and Intentionality in the Interpretation of RU and TA.
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1 — 50 / 184