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Metaphysics

Edited by Jonathan Schaffer (Rutgers University - New Brunswick)
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  1. added 2016-08-30
    Luis R. G. Oliveira & Timothy Perrine (forthcoming). Cornell Realism, Explanation, and Natural Properties. European Journal of Philosophy.
    The claim that ordinary ethical discourse is typically true and that ethical facts are typically knowable (ethical conservativism) seems in tension with the claim that ordinary ethical discourse is about features of reality friendly to a scientific worldview (ethical naturalism). Cornell Realism attempts to dispel this tension by claiming that ordinary ethical discourse is, in fact, discourse about the same kinds of things that scientific discourse is about: natural properties. We offer two novel arguments in reply. First, we identify a (...)
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  2. added 2016-08-30
    Markus Seidel & Alexander Thinius (2016). A Snowslide of Entities. Does Sosa's Existential Relativism Provide a Barrier Against Being Buried? In Bahr Amrei & Seidel Markus (eds.), Ernest Sosa. Targeting His Philosophy. Springer 101-118.
    This paper discusses Sosa’s via media between existential relativism and absolutism. We discuss three implications of Sosa’s account which require some further clarification. First, we distinguish three alternative readings of Sosa’s account – the indexicalist, the homonymist and the (proper) relativist reading – and argue that they differ with respect to two crucial points: (a) they lead to different analyses of the lack of disagreement in existential discourse, and (b) they differ with respect to the question of whether conceptual schemes (...)
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  3. added 2016-08-29
    Samuel Murray (forthcoming). Reference, Fiction, and Omission. Synthese.
    In this paper, I argue that sentences that contain ‘omission’ tokens that appear to function as singular terms are meaningful while maintaining the view that omissions are nothing at all or mere absences. I take omissions to be fictional entities and claim that the way in which sentences about fictional characters are true parallels the way in which sentences about omissions are true. I develop a pragmatic account of fictional reference and argue that my fictionalist account of omissions implies a (...)
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  4. added 2016-08-29
    Manuel R. Vargas (forthcoming). Contested Terms and Philosophical Debates. Philosophical Studies:1-12.
    There are two standard theoretical responses to putative errors in ordinary thinking about some given target property: eliminativism or revisionism. Roughly, eliminativism is the denial that the target property exists, and revisionism is the view that the property exists, but that people tend to have false beliefs about it. Recently, Shaun Nichols has proposed a third option: discretionism. Discretionism is the idea that some terms have multiple reference conventions, so that it may be true to say with eliminativists that the (...)
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  5. added 2016-08-29
    Joseph Urbas (2016). Emerson's Metaphysics: A Song of Laws and Causes. Lexington Books.
    This book gives the first complete, fully historicized account of Emerson's metaphysics of cause and effect and its foundational position in his philosophy as a whole. Joseph Urbas proposes an intellectual biography of Emerson the metaphysician but also the life-story of a concept synonymous, in the Transcendentalist period, with life itself—the story of the principle at the origin of all being and change.
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  6. added 2016-08-29
    Alexander Reutlinger, Phyllis Illari, Andreas Hüttemann & Mathias Frisch (2016). Erratum To: Metaphysics, Prescription and Methodological Disagreement. Metascience 25 (2):339-339.
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  7. added 2016-08-29
    J. T. M. Miller (2016). Can an Ontological Pluralist Really Be a Realist? Metaphilosophy 47 (3):425-430.
    This article examines whether it is possible to uphold one form of deflationism towards metaphysics, ontological pluralism, whilst maintaining metaphysical realism. The focus therefore is on one prominent deflationist who fits the definition of an ontological pluralist, Eli Hirsch, and his self-ascription as a realist. The article argues that ontological pluralism is not amenable to the ascription of realism under some basic intuitions as to what a “realist” position is committed to. These basic intuitions include a commitment to more than (...)
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  8. added 2016-08-29
    Anton Killin (2015). Book Review of 'Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents: Contributions to Social Ontology'. [REVIEW] Studies in Social and Political Thought 25:265-270.
    Book review of Institutions, Emotions, and Group Agents: Contributions to Social Ontology, edited by Anita Konzelmann Ziv & Hans Bernhard Schmid. Springer, 2013.
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  9. added 2016-08-29
    Jiri Benovsky (2014). I Am a Lot of Things: A Pluralistic Account of the Self. Metaphysica 15 (1).
    When I say that I am a lot of things, I mean it literally and metaphysically speaking. The Self, or so I shall argue, is a plurality (notwithstanding the fact that ordinary language takes "the Self" to be a singular term – but, after all, language is only language). It is not a substance or a substratum, and it is not a collection or a bundle. The view I wish to advocate for is a kind of reductionism, in line with (...)
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  10. added 2016-08-29
    L. A. Paul (2000). Aspect Causation. Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):235.
    A theory of the causal relate as aspects or property instances is developed. A supposed problem for transitivity is assessed and then resolved with aspects as the causal relata.
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  11. added 2016-08-28
    David Leech Anderson (2016). Hilary Putnam (1926{2016): A Lifetime Quest to Understand the Relationship Between Mind, Language, and Reality. Mind and Matter 14 (1):87-95.
    This is an extended intellectual obituary for Hilary Putnam.
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  12. added 2016-08-26
    Kristie Miller (forthcoming). A Taxonomy of Views About Time in Buddhist and Western Philosophy. Philosophy East and West.
    We find the claim that time is not real in both western and eastern philosophical traditions. In what follows I will call the view that time does not exist temporal error theory. Temporal error theory was made famous in western analytic philosophy in the early 1900s by John McTaggart (1908) and, in much the same tradition, temporal error theory was subsequently defended by Gödel (1949). The idea that time is not real, however, stretches back much further than that. It is (...)
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  13. added 2016-08-26
    Kristie Miller (forthcoming). Is Some Backwards Time Travel Inexplicable? American Philosophical Quarterly.
    It has been suggested that there is something worrisome, puzzling, or incomprehensible about the sorts of causal loops sometimes involved in backwards time travel. This paper disentangles two distinct puzzles and evaluates whether they provide us reason to find backwards time travel incomprehensible, inexplicable, or otherwise worrisome. The paper argues that they provide no such reason.
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  14. added 2016-08-26
    Florian Cova & Hichem Naar (forthcoming). Do Intuitions About Frankfurt-Style Cases Rest on an Internalist Prejudice? Philosophical Explorations:1-16.
    “Frankfurt-style cases” (FSCs) are widely considered as having refuted the Principle of Alternate Possibilities (PAP) by presenting cases in which an agent is morally responsible even if he could not have done otherwise. However, Neil Levy has recently argued that FSCs fail because (i) our intuitions about cases involving counterfactual interveners (CIs) are inconsistent (we accept that the mere presence of CIs is enough to make us gain but not lose responsibility-underwriting capacities), and (ii) this inconsistency is best explained by (...)
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  15. added 2016-08-25
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  16. added 2016-08-25
    Susana Monsó (2016). The Moral Dimension of Pre-Reflective Self-Awareness. Animal Sentience 1 (10).
    Rowlands offers a de-intellectualised account of personhood that is meant to secure the unity of a mental life. I argue that his characterisation also singles out a morally relevant feature of individuals. Along the same lines that the orthodox understanding of personhood reflects a fundamental precondition for moral agency, Rowlands’s notion provides a fundamental precondition for moral patienthood.
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  17. added 2016-08-25
    Chad Engelland (2015). The Personal Significance of Sexual Reproduction. The Thomist 79:615-639.
    This paper reconnects the personal and the biological by extending the reach of parental causality. First, it argues that the reproductive act is profitably understood in personal terms as an “invitation” to new life and that the egg and sperm are “ambassadors” or “delegates,” because they represent the potential mother and father and are naturally endowed with causal powers to bring about motherhood and fatherhood, two of the most significant roles a person may have. Second, it argues that even though (...)
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  18. added 2016-08-24
    Sam Baron (2015). A Bump on the Road to Presentism. American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (4):345-355.
    Presentism faces a familiar objection from truthmaker theory. How can propositions about the past be made true if past entities do not exist? In answering this question, there are, broadly, two roads open to the presentist. The easy road to presentism proceeds by capitulating to the demands imposed by truthmaker theory and finding truthmakers for claims about the past. This road typically involves the invocation of controversial metaphysical posits that must then be defended. The hard road to presentism resists the (...)
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  19. added 2016-08-24
    Swami Narasimhananda (2015). Book Review Truth. [REVIEW] Prabuddha Bharata or Awakened India 120 (3):295-6.
    Professors of philosophy, the authors have done a succinct and critical analysis of some theories of truth: deflationism, indeterminacy, insolubility, realism, and antirealism.
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  20. added 2016-08-23
    Jamin Asay (forthcoming). The Facts About Truthmaking: An Argument for Truthmaker Necessitarianism. Ergo, an Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    Truthmaker necessitarianism is the view that an object is a truthmaker for a truth-bearer only if it is impossible for the object to exist and the truth-bearer be false. While this thesis is widely regarded as truthmaking "orthodoxy", it is rarely explicitly defended. In this paper I offer an argument in favor of necessitarianism that raises the question of what the truthmakers are for the truths about truthmaking. The supposed advantages of non-necessitarianism dissolve once we take these truths into account.
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  21. added 2016-08-23
    Derek von Barandy (2016). Definite Descriptions and Indeterminate Identity (Extended Abstract). Logiko-Filosofskie Studii 13 (2):111-112.
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  22. added 2016-08-22
    Nicola Spinelli, Husserlian Essentialism Revisited : A Study of Essence, Necessity and Predication.
    Husserlian Essentialism is the view, maintained byEdmundHusserl throughout his career, that necessary truths obtain because essentialist truths obtain. In this thesis I have two goals. First, to reconstruct and flesh out Husserlian Essentialism and its connections with surrounding areas of Husserl's philosophy in full detail – something which has not been done yet. Second, to assess the theoretical solidity of the view. As regards the second point, after having presented Husserlian Essentialism in the first two chapters, I raise a serious (...)
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  23. added 2016-08-22
    Christopher A. Vogel (2016). Lexical Flexibility, Natural Language and Ontology. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 16 (1).
    The Realist that investigates questions of ontology by appeal to the quantificational structure of language assumes that the semantics for the privileged language of ontology is externalist. I argue that such a language cannot be (some variant of) a natural language, as some Realists propose. The flexibility exhibited by natural language expressions noted by Chomsky and others cannot obviously be characterized by the rigid models available to the externalist. If natural languages are hostile to externalist treatments, then the meanings of (...)
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  24. added 2016-08-22
    Chris Tillman (2016). Essence Facts and Explanation. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (2).
    Some essence facts have metaphysical explanations. Some metaphysical explanations for essence facts consist in nonessential facts.
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  25. added 2016-08-22
    David S. Oderberg, Essence and Properties.
    The distinction between the essence of an object and its properties has been obscured in contemporary discussion of essentialism. Locke held that the properties of an object are exclusively those features that ‘flow’ from its essence. Here he follows the Aristotelian theory, leaving aside Locke’s own scepticism about the knowability of essence. I defend the need to distinguish sharply between essence and properties, arguing that essence must be given by form and that properties flow from form. I give a precise (...)
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  26. added 2016-08-22
    John Stuart Mill (1865). An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy, and of the Principal Philosophical Questions Discussed in His Writings. Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green.
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  27. added 2016-08-21
    Michael Pelczar (forthcoming). Author's Summary, and Replies to Commentators. [REVIEW] Analysis.
  28. added 2016-08-21
    Eugene Mills (forthcoming). Introspection in Michael Pelczar’s Sensorama. [REVIEW] Analysis.
  29. added 2016-08-21
    Geoffrey Lee (forthcoming). Worlds, Voyages and Experiences: Commentary on Pelczar’s Sensorama. [REVIEW] Analysis.
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  30. added 2016-08-21
    Francesco Furini, Rahul Rai, Barry Smith, Georgio Colombo & Venkat Krovi (2016). Development of a Manufacturing Ontology for Functionally Graded Materials. In Proceedings of International Design Engineering Technical Conferences & Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (IDETC/CIE).
    The development of manufacturing technologies for new materials involves the generation of a large and continually evolving volume of information. The analysis, integration and management of such large volumes of data, typically stored in multiple independently developed databases, creates significant challenges for practitioners. There is a critical need especially for open-sharing of data pertaining to engineering design which together with effective decision support tools can enable innovation. We believe that ontology applied to engineering (OE) represents a viable strategy for the (...)
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  31. added 2016-08-21
    Peter Fritz (2016). A Purely Recombinatorial Puzzle. Noûs 50 (3).
    A new puzzle of modal recombination is presented which relies purely on resources of first-order modal logic. It shows that naive recombinatorial reasoning, which has previously been shown to be inconsistent with various assumptions concerning propositions, sets and classes, leads to inconsistency by itself. The context sensitivity of modal expressions is suggested as the source of the puzzle, and it is argued that it gives us reason to reconsider the assumption that the notion of metaphysical necessity is in good standing.
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  32. added 2016-08-19
    Dominic Gregory (forthcoming). Counterfactual Reasoning and Knowledge of Possibilities. Philosophical Studies:1-15.
    Williamson has argued against scepticism concerning our metaphysically modal knowledge, by arguing that standard patterns of suppositional reasoning to counterfactual conclusions provide reliable sources of correct ascriptions of possibility and necessity. The paper argues that, while Williamson’s claims relating to necessity may well be right, he has not provided adequate reasons for thinking that the familiar modes of counterfactual reasoning to which he points generalise to provide a decent route to ascriptions of possibility. The paper also explores another path to (...)
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  33. added 2016-08-19
    Dwayne Moore (forthcoming). Mental Causation, Compatibilism and Counterfactuals. Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-23.
    According to proponents of the causal exclusion problem, there cannot be a sufficient physical cause and a distinct mental cause of the same piece of behaviour. Increasingly, the causal exclusion problem is circumvented via this compatibilist reasoning: a sufficient physical cause of the behavioural effect necessitates the mental cause of the behavioural effect, so the effect has a sufficient physical cause and a mental cause as well. In this paper, I argue that this compatibilist reply fails to resolve the causal (...)
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  34. added 2016-08-19
    Michael Pelczar (forthcoming). What is Time? In Ian Phillips (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Temporal Experience. Routledge
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  35. added 2016-08-19
    Werner Ceusters & Barry Smith (2015). Aboutness: Towards Foundations for the Information Artifact Ontology. In Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Biomedical Ontology (ICBO). CEUR Vol. 1515 1-5.
    The Information Artifact Ontology (IAO) was created to serve as a domain‐neutral resource for the representation of types of information content entities (ICEs) such as documents, data‐bases, and digital im‐ages. We identify a series of problems with the current version of the IAO and suggest solutions designed to advance our understanding of the relations between ICEs and associated cognitive representations in the minds of human subjects. This requires embedding IAO in a larger framework of ontologies, including most importantly the Mental (...)
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  36. added 2016-08-19
    John Skorupski (1994). J.S. Mill: Logic and Metaphysics. In C. L. Ten (ed.), The Nineteenth Century. Routledge 98-121.
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  37. added 2016-08-19
    F. P. Ramsey (1925). Epilogue. In The Foundations of Mathematics and Other Logical Essays. Routledge & Kegan Paul 287-92.
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  38. added 2016-08-19
    Jean Nicod (1924). La Geometrie dans le Monde Sensible. F. Alcan.
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  39. added 2016-08-18
    Santiago Echeverri (forthcoming). How to Undercut Radical Skepticism. Philosophical Studies:1-23.
    Radical skepticism relies on the hypothesis that one could be completely cut off from the external world. In this paper, I argue that this hypothesis can be rationally motivated by means of a conceivability argument. Subsequently, I submit that this conceivability argument does not furnish a good reason to believe that one could be completely cut off from the external world. To this end, I show that we cannot adequately conceive scenarios that verify the radical skeptical hypothesis. Attempts to do (...)
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  40. added 2016-08-17
    David Rose (forthcoming). Folk Intuitions of Actual Causation: A Two-Pronged Debunking Explanation. Philosophical Studies:1-39.
    How do we determine whether some candidate causal factor is an actual cause of some particular outcome? Many philosophers have wanted a view of actual causation which fits with folk intuitions of actual causation and those who wish to depart from folk intuitions of actual causation are often charged with the task of providing a plausible account of just how and where the folk have gone wrong. In this paper, I provide a range of empirical evidence aimed at showing just (...)
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  41. added 2016-08-17
    Theodore Bach (2016). Social Categories Are Natural Kinds, Not Objective Types (and Why It Matters Politically). Journal of Social Ontology 2 (2):177-201.
    There is growing support for the view that social categories like men and women refer to “objective types” (Haslanger 2000, 2006, 2012; Alcoff 2005). An objective type is a similarity class for which the axis of similarity is an objective rather than nominal or fictional property. Such types are independently real and causally relevant, yet their unity does not derive from an essential property. Given this tandem of features, it is not surprising why empirically-minded researchers interested in fighting oppression and (...)
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  42. added 2016-08-16
    Michael Bertrand (2016). Fundamental Ontological Structure: An Argument Against Pluralism. Philosophical Studies:1-21.
    In recent years, a hierarchical view of reality has become extremely influential. In order to understand the world as a whole, on this view, we need to understand the nature of the fundamental constituents of the world. We also need to understand the relations that build the world up from these fundamental constituents. Building pluralism is the view that there are at least two equally fundamental relations that together build the world. It has been widely, though tacitly, assumed in a (...)
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  43. added 2016-08-15
    Oisín Deery & Eddy Nahmias (forthcoming). Defeating Manipulation Arguments: Interventionist Causation and Compatibilist Sourcehood. Philosophical Studies:1-22.
    We use recent interventionist theories of causation to develop a compatibilist account of causal sourcehood, which provides a response to Manipulation Arguments for the incompatibility of free will and determinism. Our account explains the difference between manipulation and determinism, against the claim of Manipulation Arguments that there is no relevant difference. Interventionism allows us to see that causal determinism does not mean that variables outside of the agent causally explain her actions better than variables within the agent, whereas the causal (...)
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  44. added 2016-08-14
    Alexander Cox, Christopher Nebelecky, Ronald Rudnicki, William Tagliaferri, John L. Crassidis & Barry Smith (2016). The Space Object Ontology. In 19th International Conference on Information Fusion (FUSION 2016). IEEE
    Achieving space domain awareness requires the identification, characterization, and tracking of space objects. Storing and leveraging associated space object data for purposes such as hostile threat assessment, object identification, and collision prediction and avoidance present further challenges. Space objects are characterized according to a variety of parameters including their identifiers, design specifications, components, subsystems, capabilities, vulnerabilities, origins, missions, orbital elements, patterns of life, processes, operational statuses, and associated persons, organizations, or nations. The Space Object Ontology provides a consensus-based realist framework (...)
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  45. added 2016-08-14
    Roberto Casati, Barry Smith & Achille Varzi (1998). Ontological Tools for Geographic Representation. In Nicola Guarino (ed.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems. IOS Press 77-85.
    This paper is concerned with certain ontological issues in the foundations of geographic representation. It sets out what these basic issues are, describes the tools needed to deal with them, and draws some implications for a general theory of spatial representation. Our approach has ramifications in the domains of mereology, topology, and the theory of location, and the question of the interaction of these three domains within a unified spatial representation theory is addressed. In the final part we also consider (...)
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  46. added 2016-08-14
    R. B. Braithwaite (1938). XIV.—Propositions About Material Objects. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 38 (1):269-290.
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  47. added 2016-08-12
    Sebastián Briceño & Stephen Mumford (2016). Relations All the Way Down? Against Ontic Structural Realism. In Anna Marmodoro & David Yates (eds.), The Metaphysics of Relations. Oxford University Press 198-217.
    According to Ladyman, the world consists of nothing more than relations that relate to no particulars. Could the world be nothing but structure? In this chapter it is argued that even though there are a number of problems with the standard view of relations accompanied by a particularist ontology, substituting for it a world of pure structure is not progress. A world of pure structure would be no more than a Platonic entity, lacking any resources for concretization. Consequently, there would (...)
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  48. added 2016-08-11
    Tuomas E. Tahko (2016). The Scientific Inquisition. The Philosophers' Magazine 74:86-89.
    Nobody expects the Scientific Inquisition!
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  49. added 2016-08-11
    David P. Ellerman (2016). Category Theory and Set Theory as Theories About Complementary Types of Universals. Logic and Logical Philosophy 2016:1-18.
    Instead of the half-century old foundational feud between set theory and category theory, this paper argues that they are theories about two different complementary types of universals. The set-theoretic antinomies forced naïve set theory to be reformulated using some iterative notion of a set so that a set would always have higher type or rank than its members. Then the universal u_{F}={x|F(x)} for a property F() could never be self-predicative in the sense of u_{F}∈u_{F}. But the mathematical theory of categories, (...)
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  50. added 2016-08-11
    Kris Mcdaniel (2015). Heidegger and the ‘There Is’ of Being. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (1).
    Heidegger also famously says that Being depends on Dasein, even though beings in general do not. This is perplexing. “Heidegger and the “There Is” of Being” offers an interpretation of what’s going on in the passages in which this sort of assertion is made.
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