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Metaphysics

Edited by Jonathan Schaffer (Rutgers University - New Brunswick)
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  1. added 2015-05-29
    Maria Brincker (2015). Evolution Beyond Determinism - on Dennett's Compatibilism and the Too Timeless Free Will Debate. Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 3 (1):39-74.
    Most of the free will debate operates under the assumption that classic determinism and indeterminism are the only metaphysical options available. Through an analysis of Dennett’s view of free will as gradually evolving this article attempts to point to emergentist, interactivist and temporal metaphysical options, which have been left largely unexplored by contemporary theorists. Whereas, Dennett himself holds that “the kind of free will worth wanting” is compatible with classic determinism, I propose that his models of determinism fit poorly with (...)
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  2. added 2015-05-28
    Christopher Menzel (forthcoming). Logic, Essence, and Modality — A Critical Review of Hale's Necessary Beings. Philosophia Mathematica 23.
    Bob Hale’s distinguished record of research places him among the most important and influential contemporary analytic metaphysicians. In his deep, wide ranging, yet highly readable book Necessary Beings, Hale draws upon, but substantially integrates and extends, a good deal his past research to produce a sustained and richly textured essay on — as promised in the subtitle — ontology, modality, and the relations between them. I’ve set myself two tasks in this review: first, to provide a reasonably thorough (if not (...)
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  3. added 2015-05-28
    Peter Eastman, Beyond the Ultimate: The Impossible Proposition at the Core of Meister Eckhart’s Unique Teaching, and Why He Remains so Consistently Misunderstood.
    Abstract: Eckhart proposed that the ultimate of ultimates was not a perceptible God reachable through mystical experience, but an inconceivable and unfathomable ‘something’ beyond all human possibility. His proposition rests on an important distinction between the mutually exclusive paths of mysticism and spiritual knowledge. Eckhart’s teaching is analysed as if it were an independent metaphysical proposition, detached from its historical and scholarly context. The overall explanatory perspective is that of a dedicated interest in metaphysical gnosis, as part of a quest (...)
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  4. added 2015-05-28
    Werner Ceusters & Barry Smith (2015). Biomarkers in the Ontology for General Medical Science. In Ronald Cornet (ed.), Digital Healthcare Empowering Europeans. IOS Press. 155-159.
    Based on the Ontology for General Medical Science, we propose definitions for biomarkers of various types of. These definitions provide not only a complete formal representation of what biomarkers are according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), but also remove the ambiguities and inconsistencies encountered in the documentation provided by the IOM.
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  5. added 2015-05-27
    Raphaël Fiorese (forthcoming). Stoljar’s Dilemma and Three Conceptions of the Physical: A Defence of the Via Negativa. Erkenntnis:1-29.
    Physicalism is the thesis that everything is physical. But what does it mean to say that everything is physical? Daniel Stoljar has recently argued that no account of the physical is available which allows for a formulation of physicalism that is both possibly true and deserving of the name. As against this claim, I argue that a version of the via negativa—roughly, the view that the physical is to be characterised in terms of the nonmental—provides just such an account.
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  6. added 2015-05-27
    Christopher J. Austin (2015). Is Dispositional Causation Just Mutual Manifestation? Ratio 28 (2).
    Dispositional properties are often referred to as ‘causal powers’, but what does dispositional causation amount to? Any viable theory must account for two fundamental aspects of the metaphysics of causation – the causal complexity and context sensitivity of causal interactions. The theory of mutual manifestations attempts to do so by locating the complexity and context sensitivity within the nature of dispositions themselves. But is this theory an acceptable first step towards a viable theory of dispositional causation? This paper argues that (...)
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  7. added 2015-05-26
    Alexander Hughes, (In)Determinism, Branching Time, and Branching Space.
    The branching time analysis grounds the possibilities entailed by temporal indeterminism in a branching temporal structure. I construct a spatial analog of the branching time analysis – the branching space analysis – according to which the possibilities entailed by spatial indeterminism are grounded in branching spatial structure. The construction proceeds in such a way as to show the analogies between the branching space and branching time analyses. I argue that the two views are a package. In particular: the theoretical virtues (...)
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  8. added 2015-05-25
    Joshua Rasmussen (forthcoming). Tenseless Times. Philosophical Studies:1-7.
    I develop a new theory of times. I show how to analyze times as tenselessly describable “abstract” entities. Some philosophers make use of ersatz times, which are abstract entities such as maximal states of affairs that bear earlier than and later than relations to one another. Although these times are normally thought to exemplify A-properties that cannot be expressed in a purely tenseless language, I explain how a tenseless theory can accommodate abstract times. I do this by defending Rasmussen’s tenseless (...)
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  9. added 2015-05-25
    Robert B. Brandom (2015). From Empiricism to Expressivism. Harvard University Press.
  10. added 2015-05-25
    Gilbert Plumer (2000). Commentary On: Jesse Bohl's "What Are We to Do About Traditional Logic?". In Christopher W. Tindale, Hans V. Hansen & Elmar Sveda (eds.), Argumentation at the Century's Turn [CD-ROM]. Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation. 1-4.
  11. added 2015-05-24
    Peter Hartl (forthcoming). Modal Scepticism, Yablo-Style Conceivability, and Analogical Reasoning. Synthese:1-23.
    This paper offers a detailed criticism of different versions of modal scepticism proposed by Van Inwagen and Hawke, and, against these views, attempts to vindicate our reliance on thought experiments in philosophy. More than one different meaning of “modal scepticism” will be distinguished. Focusing mainly on Hawke’s more detailed view I argue that none of these versions of modal scepticism is compelling, since sceptical conclusions depend on an untenable and, perhaps, incoherent modal epistemology. With a detailed account of modal defeaters (...)
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  12. added 2015-05-22
    Elanor Taylor (forthcoming). Naturalness in Context. Inquiry.
    According to proponents of one influential account of metaphysical naturalness, properties fall along a spectrum from perfectly natural to highly non-natural. The perfectly natural end of the spectrum is occupied by properties that appear in the laws of nature, account for resemblance and causal powers, and ground other properties, whereas the highly non-natural properties at the spectrum’s other end are not like this at all.Metaphysical naturalness is a common commitment in contemporary metaphysics, and has been used to solve a variety (...)
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  13. added 2015-05-21
    Jonathan Ochs (2013). The Natural Definition of Reality. Aporia 23 (2):13-23.
    The problem with ontological commitment is that when we symbolize the statements that we make about what 'exists' or what is 'real', they do not always translate to exactly that which we intend to express. In this essay, I explore the relation between 'Reality' and how we describe reality. I evaluate the accounts of three prominent philosophers on the topic, address their shortcomings, and introduce my own account; which I call "The Natural Definition of Reality".
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  14. added 2015-05-20
    Johanna Wolff (forthcoming). Spin as a Determinable. Topoi:1-8.
    In this paper I aim to answer two questions: Can spin be treated as a determinable? Can a treatment of spin as a determinable be used to understand quantum indeterminacy? In response to the first question I show that the relations among spin number, spin components and spin values cannot be captured by a single determination relation; instead we need to look at spin number and spin value separately. In response to the second question I discuss three ways in which (...)
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  15. added 2015-05-20
    Markus Gabriel (2015). Detecting Ideology in Our Understanding of Objectivity. In Channa van Dijk, Eva van der Graaf, Michiel den Haan, Rosa de Jong, Christiaan Roodenburg, Dyane Til & Deva Waal (eds.), Under Influence - Philosophical Festival Drift (2014). Omnia. 44-63.
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  16. added 2015-05-20
    Ray Brassier (2015). Deleveling: Against ‘Flat Ontologies’. In Channa van Dijk, Eva van der Graaf, Michiel den Haan, Rosa de Jong, Christiaan Roodenburg, Dyane Til & Deva Waal (eds.), Under Influence - Philosophical Festival Drift (2014). Omnia. 64-80.
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  17. added 2015-05-20
    Francesco Berto (2015). The Firmest of All Principles. In Channa van Dijk, Eva van der Graaf, Michiel den Haan, Rosa de Jong, Christiaan Roodenburgh, Dyane Til & Deva Waal (eds.), Under Influence - Philosophical Festival Drift (2014). 82-93.
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  18. added 2015-05-20
    Philippe Descola (2015). Modes of Being and Forms of Predication. In Channa van Dijk, Eva van der Graaf, Michiel den Haan, Rosa de Jong, Christiaan Roodenburg, Dyane Til & Deva Waal (eds.), Under Influence - Philosophical Festival Drift (2014). Omnia. 30-43.
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  19. added 2015-05-19
    Neal A. Tognazzini (forthcoming). Free Will and Time Travel. In Meghan Griffith, Neil Levy & Kevin Timpe (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Free Will. Routledge.
    In this chapter I articulate the threat that time travel to the past allegedly poses to the free will of the time traveler (drawing on the work of David Lewis, Kadri Vihvelin, Ted Sider, and others), and I argue that on the traditional way of thinking about free will, the incompatibilist about time travel and free will wins the day. However, a residual worry about the incompatibilist view points the way toward a novel way of thinking about free will, one (...)
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  20. added 2015-05-19
    Nicolás Olivares Bøgeskov (2013). Necesidad y Posibilidad Del Alma Humana Como Sustancia Según Tomas de Aquino. Brasiliensis 2 (4):119-146.
    Through an analysis of a part of Thomas’ arguments on the rational soul’s subsistence, the article exposes the reasons why it is necessary and possible to affirm that the human soul is a substance in its proper sense, even if it does not have the entire human essence when it subsists apart from the body. Thus the article intends to answer a question raised by B.C. Bazán. The analysis is articulated applying the principle nihil agit nisi secundum quod est actu (...)
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  21. added 2015-05-19
    Naomi Osorio-Kupferblum (2013). Hearing It Rain - Millikan on Language Learning. Beiträge der Österreichischen Ludwig Wittgenstein Gesellschaft 21.
    In her ‘Spracherwerb’(2012) Ruth Millikan gives a compelling account of language acquisition based on our ability to track objects. I argue that, and how, it is undermined by her insistence on equating understanding language utterances and sense perception, point to idealist hazards, and plead against propositionality and for imagism in order to safeguard the account’s important potential for giving a comprehensive explication of meaning.
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  22. added 2015-05-18
    Jamin Asay (forthcoming). Logic and/of Truthmaking. In D. M. Deng, Hanti Lin & Syraya C. M. Yang (eds.), Non-classical Logic, Structural Modelling and Meaning: The Proceedings of the Second Taiwan Philosophical Logic Colloquium TPLC-2014. Springer-Verlag.
    The purpose of this paper is to explore the question of how truthmaker theorists ought to think about their subject in relation to logic. Regarding logic and truthmaking, I defend the view that considerations drawn from advances in modal logic have little bearing on the legitimacy of truthmaker theory. To do so, I respond to objections Timothy Williamson has lodged against truthmaker theory. As for the logic of truthmaking, I show how the project of understanding the logical features of the (...)
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  23. added 2015-05-18
    Andreas Elpidorou (forthcoming). Seeing the Impossible. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.
    I defend the view that it is not impossible to see the impossible. I provide two examples in which one sees the impossible and defend these examples from potential objections.
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  24. added 2015-05-15
    David Mark Kovacs (forthcoming). Self-Made People. Mind.
    The Problem of Overlappers is a puzzle about what makes it the case, and how we can know, that we have the parts we intuitively think we have. In this paper, I develop and motivate an overlooked solution to this puzzle. According to what I call the self-making view it is within certain constraints in our power to decide what we refer to with the personal pronoun ‘I’, so the truth of most of our beliefs about our parts is ensured (...)
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  25. added 2015-05-14
    Robert K. Garcia (forthcoming). Sobre la Expresión “Propiedades Particularizadas”: Tropos Modificadores y Tropos Módulo. In Ezequiel Zerbudis (ed.), Poderes Causales, Tropos, y Otras Criaturas Extrañas: Ensayos de Metafísica Analítica. Título.
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  26. added 2015-05-14
    Robert K. Garcia (forthcoming). Two Ways to Particularize a Property. Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
    Trope theory is an increasingly prominent contender in contemporary debates about the existence and nature of properties. But it suffers from ambiguity concerning the nature of a trope. Disambiguation reveals two fundamentally different concepts of a trope: modifier tropes and module tropes. These types of tropes are unequally suited for metaphysical work. Modifier tropes have advantages concerning powers, relations, and fundamental determinables, whereas module tropes have advantages concerning perception, causation, character-grounding, and the ontology of substance. Thus, the choice between modifier (...)
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  27. added 2015-05-14
    José Antúnez Cid (2011). Dios y postmodernidad. In G. Richi (ed.), Dios en la sociedad postsecular. San Dámaso. 51-75.
    A critical and reflexive approach to God's question from diverse lines of the Postmodernity; showing roots, shadows and lights of some of the nowadays philosophies.
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  28. added 2015-05-13
    Daniel Park, Evolutionary Concepts.
    -/- Evolution, Alpha Predation, and the Principle of Mediocrity Evolution, the mechanism which brought about ordered complexity as far as emergent life is concerned on Planet Earth allows Man to rise as the alpha species, a Superspecies, if you will. My definition for Superspecies is simple. Any biological life that can violate laws 1 and 2 of Thermodynamics, not in the physical or ontological sense of biology but in the mental sense, with their inventive minds. This is a precise description (...)
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  29. added 2015-05-13
    Alessandro Torza (2015). Speaking of Essence. Philosophical Quarterly.
    Classical modalism about essence is the view that essence can be analysed in modal terms. Despite Kit Fine's influential critique, no general refutation of classical modalism has yet been given. In the first part of the paper, I provide such a refutation by showing that the notion of essence cannot be analysed in terms of any sentential operator definable in the language of standard quantified modal logic. As a reaction to Fine's critique, some have defended sophisticated modalism, which attempts to (...)
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  30. added 2015-05-11
    Sean McIntosh, Escaping Regress: Conventionalism and Hale.
    Conventionalism about logical necessity has, since Quine, been criticised for falling into a vicious regress. The conventionalist model involves a base class of directly stipulated necessary truths, and all other logical necessities are taken to follow from this base. The essentialist model described by Hale is constructed in a broadly similar fashion: there is a class of those necessities which hold directly in virtue of the natures of things , and other necessities are from this class derivative. Hale expresses a (...)
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  31. added 2015-05-11
    Takashi Iida (2013). Towards an Ontology of the Rainbow. Politics and Society (Central China Normal University) 1 (1):59-84.
    There are some objects of perception that are either too far from us to touch or that cannot be touched at all. Typical examples are the sky and the various phenomena that appear in the sky such as rainbows and sunsets. This paper is concerned with the ontological status of the rainbow. Does it exist when it is not actually perceived? Does it exist even when it is not possibly perceived? My conclusion is that a rainbow is a physical event, (...)
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  32. added 2015-05-11
    Takashi Iida (2013). On the Concept of a Token Generator. Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 21:37-55.
    There is a widely shared account of the distinction between types and tokens, which might be termed the standard account. However, it has some surprising consequences that are not always realized. According to the standard account, a type is a contingent abstract object that can be created by us, but it does not allow any change and can never be destroyed once it is created, because it is an abstract object. I would like to present an alternative account of types (...)
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  33. added 2015-05-11
    Takashi Iida (2012). Perceiving Abstract Objects: Inheriting Ohmori Shozo's Philosophy of Perception. In S. Watanabe (ed.), Logic and Sensiblity. Keio University Press.
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  34. added 2015-05-11
    Takashi Iida (2009). How Are Language Changes Possible? In M. Okada (ed.), Ontology and Phenomenology: Franco-Japanese Collaborative Lectures. Keio University. 75-96.
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  35. added 2015-05-11
    Takashi Iida (2008). Existence, Identity and Empty Names. Interdisciplinary Logic 1:107-117.
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  36. added 2015-05-10
    Kris McDaniel (forthcoming). Propositions: Individuation and Invirtuation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-12.
    The pressure to individuate propositions more finely than intensionally—that is, hyper-intensionally—has two distinct sources. One source is the philosophy of mind: one can believe a proposition without believing an intensionally equivalent proposition. The second source is metaphysics: there are intensionally equivalent propositions, such that one proposition is true in virtue of the other but not vice versa. I focus on what our theory of propositions should look like when it's guided by metaphysical concerns about what is true in virtue of (...)
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  37. added 2015-05-09
    Andrea Borghini & Giorgio Lando (2015). Natural Properties and Atomicity in Modal Realism. Metaphysica 16 (1):103-122.
    The paper pinpoints certain unrecognized difficulties that surface for recombination and duplication in modal realism when we ask whether the following inter-world fixity claims hold true: 1) A property is perfectly natural in a world iff it is perfectly natural in every world where it is instantiated; 2) Something is mereologically atomic in a world iff all of its duplicates in every world are atomic. In connection to 1), the hypothesis of idlers prompts four variants of Lewis’s doctrine of perfectly (...)
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  38. added 2015-05-07
    Michael Pelczar (2015). Sensorama: A Phenomenalist Analysis of Spacetime and Its Contents. Oxford University Press.
    How does the modern scientific conception of time constrain the project of assigning the mind its proper place in nature? On the scientific conception, it makes no sense to speak of the duration of a pain, or the simultaneity of sensations occurring in different parts of the brain. Such considerations led Henri Poincaré, one of the founders of the modern conception, to conclude that consciousness does not exist in spacetime, but serves as the basic material out of which we must (...)
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  39. added 2015-05-05
    Stuart M. Glennan, Probable Causes and the Distinction Between Subjective and Objective Chance.
    In this paper I present both a critical appraisal of Humphreys' probabilistic theory of causality and a sketch of an alternative view of the relationship between the notions of probability and of cause. Though I do not doubt that determinism is false, I claim that the examples used to motivate Humphreys' theory typically refer to subjective rather than objective chance. Additionally, I argue on a number of grounds that Humphreys' suggestion that linear regression models be used as a canonical form (...)
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  40. added 2015-05-04
    Stephen Yablo (2014). 4. A Semantic Conception of Truthmaking. In Aboutness. Princeton University Press. 54-76.
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  41. added 2015-05-04
    Jonathan Adler, Commentary on Powers.
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  42. added 2015-05-03
    Arvid Båve (2015). A Deflationist Error Theory of Properties. Dialectica 69 (1):23-59.
    I here defend a theory consisting of four claims about ‘property’ and properties, and argue that they form a coherent whole that can solve various serious problems. The claims are (1): ‘property’ is defined by the principles (PR): ‘F-ness/Being F/etc. is a property of x iff F’ and (PA): ‘F-ness/Being F/etc. is a property’; (2) the function of ‘property’ is to increase the expressive power of English, roughly by mimicking quantification into predicate position; (3) property talk should be understood at (...)
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  43. added 2015-05-02
    Jason Megill & Daniel Linford (forthcoming). On Computable Metaphysics: On the Uses and Limitations of Computational Metaphysics. In Miroslaw Szatkowski (ed.), Ontology of Theistic Beliefs: Meta-Ontological Perspectives. De Gruyter.
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  44. added 2015-05-02
    C. S. I. Jenkins (2014). Serious Verbal Disputes: Ontology, Metaontology, and Analyticity. Journal of Philosophy 111 (9/10):454-469.
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  45. added 2015-04-29
    Yuexiong Huang, From Dialectic to Black Hole, The Definition of Time in Plato’s View.
    From Dialectic to Black Hole, The Definition of Time in Plato’s View.
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  46. added 2015-04-29
    Thomas Hall (2014). In Defense of the Compossibility of Presentism and Time Travel. Logos and Episteme 5 (2):141-159.
    In this paper I defend the compossibility of presentism and time travel from two objections. One objection is that the presentist’s model of time leaves nowhere to travel to; the second objection attempts to equate presentist time travel with suicide. After targeting some misplaced scrutiny of the first objection, I show that presentists have the resources to account for the facts that make for time travel on the traditional Lewisian view. In light of this ability, I argue that both of (...)
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  47. added 2015-04-28
    Gabriele Contessa (forthcoming). It Ain't Easy: Fictionalism, Deflationism, and Easy Arguments in Ontology. Mind.
    Fictionalism and deflationism are two moderate meta-ontological positions that try to occupy a middle ground between the extremes of heavy-duty realism and hard-line eliminativism. Deflationists believe that the existence of certain entities (e.g.: numbers) can be established by means of ‘easy’ arguments—arguments that, supposedly, rely solely on uncontroversial premises and trivial inferences. Fictionalists, however, find easy arguments unconvincing. Amie Thomasson has recently argued that, in their criticism of easy arguments, fictionalists beg the question against deflationism and that the fictionalist alternative (...)
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  48. added 2015-04-27
    David Liebesman (forthcoming). Does Vagueness Underlie the Mass/Count Distinction? Synthese:1-19.
    Does vagueness underlie the mass/count distinction? My answer is no. I motivate this answer in two ways. First, I argue against Chierchia’s recent attempt to explain the distinction in terms of vagueness. Second, I give a more general argument that no such account will succeed.
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  49. added 2015-04-27
    Kevin Reuter, Lara Kirfel, Raphael van Riel & Luca Barlassina (2014). The Good, the Bad, and the Timely: How Temporal Order and Moral Judgment Influence Causal Selection. Frontiers in Psychology 5:1-10.
    Causal selection is the cognitive process through which one or more elements in a complex causal structure are singled out as actual causes of a certain effect. In this paper, we report on an experiment in which we investigated the role of moral and temporal factors in causal selection. Our results are as follows. First, when presented with a temporal chain in which two human agents perform the same action one after the other, subjects tend to judge the later agent (...)
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  50. added 2015-04-26
    George Couvalis (forthcoming). Aristotle on Being. Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand).
    Aristotle explains existence through postulating essences that are intrinsic and percep- tion independent. I argue that his theory is more plausible than Hume’s and Russell’s theories of existence. Russell modifies Hume’s theory because he wants to allow for the existence of mathematical objects. However, Russell’s theory facilitates a problematic collapse of ontology into epistemology, which has become a feature of much analytic philosophy. This collapse obscures the nature of truth. Aristotle is to be praised for starting with a clear account (...)
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