Jiri Benovsky University of Fribourg, Switzerland
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  • Faculty, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • PhD, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, 2005.

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About me
My main interests are : for most x, the metaphysics of x; time and persistence through time; modality, possible worlds, counterpart theories; temporal and modal logics; intuitions; personal identity; philosophy of mind; the self; methodology and meta-ontology; realism/antirealism; phenomenology; perception; temporal experience; vagueness, many-valued and fuzzy logics; aesthetics, the metaphysics of beauty, aesthetic supervenience, the philosophy of photography, pictorial representation; the philosophy of music; definitions of 'life'. My webpage : http://www.jiribenovsky.org
My works
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  1. Jiri Benovsky (forthcoming). I Am a Lot of Things: A Pluralistic Account of the Self. Metaphysica, An International Journal for Ontology and Metaphysics.
    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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  2. Jiri Benovsky (forthcoming). The Limits of Photography. International Journal of Philosophical Studies.
    This paper is about what counts as a photograph and what does not. One way in which this question arises stems from new technologies that keep changing our way of producing photographs, such as digital photography, which not only has now widely replaced traditional film photography but also challenges the very limits of what we count as a photograph. I shall discuss below at some length different aspects of digital photography, but also want to focus here on a striking new (...)
     
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  3. Jiri Benovsky (2014). Tropes or Universals: How (Not) to Make One's Choice. Metaphilosophy 45 (1):69-86.
    This article discusses a familiar version of trope theory as opposed to a familiar version of the theory of universals, examining how these two rivals address the problem of “attribute agreement”—a problem that has been at the root of the very reason for developing these theories in the first place. The article shows that there is not much of a difference between the ways these two theories handle the problem, and in a more general way it argues that there is (...)
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  4. Jiri Benovsky (2014). Vague Objects with Sharp Boundaries. Ratio 27 (1).
    In this article I shall consider two seemingly contradictory claims: first, the claim that everybody who thinks that there are ordinary objects has to accept that they are vague, and second, the claim that everybody has to accept the existence of sharp boundaries to ordinary objects. The purpose of this article is of course not to defend a contradiction. Indeed, there is no contradiction because the two claims do not concern the same ‘everybody’. The first claim, that all ordinary objects (...)
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  5. Jiri Benovsky (2013). Branching and (in)Determinism. Philosophical Papers 42 (2):151-173.
    At a first glance, and even at a second one, it seems that if time is linear the threat of determinism is more severe than if time is branching, since in the latter case the future is open in a way it is not in the former one where, so to speak, there exists only one branch – one future. In this paper, I want to give a 'third glance' at this claim. I acknowledge that such a claim is intuitive (...)
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  6. Jiri Benovsky (2013). Experiencing Photographs Qua Photographs: What's so Special About Them? Contemporary Aesthetics.
    Merely rhetorically, and answering in the negative, Kendall Walton has asked: "Isn't photography just another method people have of making pictures, one that merely uses different tools and materials – cameras, photosensitive paper, darkroom equipment, rather than canvas, paint, and brushes? And don't the results differ only contingently and in degree, not fundamentally, from pictures of other kinds?" Contra Walton and others, I wish to defend in this article a resounding "Yes" as being the correct answer to these questions. It (...)
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  7. Jiri Benovsky (2013). From Experience to Metaphysics: On Experience‐Based Intuitions and Their Role in Metaphysics. Noûs 47 (3):n/a-n/a.
    Metaphysical theories are often counter-intuitive. But they also often are strongly supported and motivated by intuitions. One way or another, the link between intuitions and metaphysics is a strong and important one, and there is hardly any metaphysical discussion where intuitions do not play a crucial role. In this article, I will be interested in a particular kind of such intuitions, namely those that come, at least partly, from experience. There seems to be a route from experience to metaphysics, and (...)
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  8. Jiri Benovsky (2013). New Reasons to Motivate Trope Theory: Endurantism and Perdurantism. Acta Analytica 28 (2):223-227.
    In this paper, I argue that (non-presentist) endurantism is incompatible with the view that properties are universals. I do so by putting forward a very simple objection that forces the endurantist to embrace tropes, rather than universals. I do not claim that this is bad news for the endurantist—trope theory seems to me by all means more appealing than universals—rather, I would like to see this result as a further motivation to embrace tropes. I then also put forward a (more (...)
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  9. Jiri Benovsky (2013). Primitiveness, Metaontology, and Explanatory Power. Dialogue 52 (2):341-358.
    Metaphysical theories heavily rely on the use of primitives to which they typically appeal. I will start by examining and evaluating some traditional well-known theories and I will discuss the role of primitives in metaphysical theories in general. I will then turn to a discussion of claims of between theories that, I think, depend on equivalences of primitives, and I will explore the nature of primitives. I will then claim that almost all explanatory power of metaphysical theories comes from their (...)
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  10. Jiri Benovsky (2013). Philosophical Theories, Aesthetic Value, and Theory Choice. Journal of Value Inquiry 47 (3):191-205.
    The practice of attributing aesthetic properties to scientific and philosophical theories is commonplace. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of such an aesthetic judgement about a theory is Quine's in 'On what there is': "Wyman's overpopulated universe is in many ways unlovely. It offends the aesthetic sense of us who have a taste for desert landscapes". Many other philosophers and scientists, before and after Quine, have attributed aesthetic properties to particular theories they are defending or rejecting. One often hears (...)
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  11. Jiri Benovsky (2013). The Present Vs. The Specious Present. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 4 (2):193-203.
    This article is concerned with the alleged incompatibility between presentism and specious present theories of temporal experience. According to presentism, the present time is instantaneous (or, near-instantaneous), while according to specious present theories, the specious present is temporally extended—therefore, it seems that there is no room in reality for the whole of a specious present, if presentism is true. It seems then that one of the two claims—presentism or the specious present theory—has to go. I shall argue that this kind (...)
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  12. Jiri Benovsky (2012). Aesthetic Supervenience Vs. Aesthetic Grounding. Estetika 49 (2):166–178.
    The claim that the having of aesthetic properties supervenes on the having of non-aesthetic properties has been widely discussed and, in various ways, defended. In this paper, I will show that even if it is sometimes true that a supervenience relation holds between aesthetic properties and the 'subvenient' non-aesthetic ones, it is not the interesting relation in the neighbourhood. As we shall see, a richer, asymmetric and irreflexive relation is required, and I shall defend the claim that the more-and-more-popular relation (...)
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  13. Jiri Benovsky (2012). Photographic Representation and Depiction of Temporal Extension. Inquiry 55 (2):194-213.
    The main task of this paper is to understand if and how static images like photographs can represent and/or depict temporal extension (duration). In order to do this, a detour will be necessary to understand some features of the nature of photographic representation and depiction in general. This important detour will enable us to see that photographs (can) have a narrative content, and that the skilled photographer can 'tell a story' in a very clear sense, as well as control and (...)
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  14. Jiri Benovsky (2012). The Causal Efficiency of the Passage of Time. Philosophia 40 (4):763-769.
    Does mere passage of time have causal powers ? Are properties like "being n days past" causally efficient ? A pervasive intuition among metaphysicians seems to be that they don't. Events and/or objects change, and they cause or are caused by other events and/or objects; but one does not see how just the mere passage of time could cause any difference in the world. In this paper, I shall discuss a case where it seems that mere passage of time does (...)
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  15. Jiri Benovsky (2012). The Speed of Thought. Experience of Change, Movement, and Time : A Lockean Account. Locke Studies 12:85-109.
    This paper is about our experience of change and movement, and thus about our experience of time – at least under the reasonable assumption that we (can only) experience time by having experiences of change. This assumption is shared by Locke, whose view on temporal experience, expounded in Book II, Chap.14 of his Essay, will be the main focal point of my paper. Some of the most influential accounts of temporal experience embrace the notion of a "specious present" as an (...)
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  16. Jiri Benovsky (2011). Endurance and Time Travel. Kriterion 24:65-72.
    Suppose that you travel back in time to talk to your younger self in order to tell her that she (you) should have done some things in her (your) life differently. Of course, you will not be able to make this plan work, we know that from the many versions of 'the grandfather paradox' that populate the philosophical literature about time travel. What will be my centre of interest in this paper is the conversation between you and ... you – (...)
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  17. Jiri Benovsky (2011). Endurance, Perdurance, and Metaontology. SATS (2):159-177.
    The recent debate in metaontology gave rise to several types of (more or less classical) answers to questions about "equivalences" between metaphysical theories and to the question whether metaphysical disputes are substantive or merely verbal (i.e. various versions of realism, strong anti-realism, moderate anti-realism, or epistemicism). In this paper, I want to do two things. First, I shall have a close look at one metaphysical debate that has been the target and center of interest of many meta-metaphysicians, namely the problem (...)
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  18. Jiri Benovsky (2011). Three Kinds of Realism About Photographs. Journal of Speculative Philosophy 25 (4):375-395.
    In this paper, I explore the nature of photographs by comparing them to hand-made paintings, as well as by comparing traditional film photography with digital photography, and I concentrate on the question of realism. Several different notions can be distinguished here. Are photographs such that they depict the world in a 'realist' or a 'factive' way ? Do they show us the world as it is with accuracy and reliability other types of pictures don't posses ? Do they allow us, (...)
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  19. Jiri Benovsky (2011). The Relationist and Substantivalist Theories of Time: Foes or Friends? European Journal of Philosophy 19 (4):491-506.
    Abstract: There are two traditionally rival views about the nature of time: substantivalism that takes time to be a substance that exists independently of events located in it, and relationism that takes time to be constructed out of events. In this paper, first, I want to make some progress with respect to the debate between these two views, and I do this mainly by examining the strategies they use to face the possibilities of ‘empty time’ and ‘time without change’. As (...)
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  20. Jiri Benovsky (2011). Vagueness : A Statistical Epistemicist Approach. Teorema (3):97-112.
    There are three main traditional accounts of vagueness : one takes it as a genuinely metaphysical phenomenon, one takes it as a phenomenon of ignorance, and one takes it as a linguistic or conceptual phenomenon. In this paper I first very briefly present these views, especially the epistemicist and supervaluationist strategies, and shortly point to some well-known problems that the views carry. I then examine a 'statistical epistemicist' account of vagueness that is designed to avoid precisely these problems – it (...)
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  21. Jiri Benovsky (2011). What Photographs Are (and What They Are Not). Disputatio 4 (31):239 - 254.
    For the metaphysician, photographs are very puzzling entities indeed. And even from the non-philosopher's intuitive point of view, it is not that clear what sort of thing a photograph is. Typically, if a client wants to purchase a photograph, she can mean very different things by 'buying a photograph' : she can mean to buy a print or a number of prints, or she can mean to buy a negative (when traditional film photographs are concerned) or a file (when digital (...)
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  22. Jiri Benovsky (2010). Le Puzzle Philosophique. Ithaque.
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  23. Jiri Benovsky (2010). Relational and Substantival Ontologies, and the Nature and the Role of Primitives in Ontological Theories. Erkenntnis 73 (1):101 - 121.
    Several metaphysical debates have typically been modeled as oppositions between a relationist approach and a substantivalist approach. Such debates include the Bundle Theory and the Substratum Theory about ordinary material objects, the Bundle (Humean) Theory and the Substance (Cartesian) Theory of the Self, and Relationism and Substantivalism about time. In all three debates, the substantivalist side typically insists that in order to provide a good treatment of the subject-matter of the theory (time, Self, material objects), it is necessary to postulate (...)
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  24. Jiri Benovsky (2009). Eternalist Theories of Persistence Through Time: Where the Differences Really Lie. Axiomathes 19 (1):51-71.
    The eternalist endurantist and perdurantist theories of persistence through time come in various versions, namely the two versions of perdurantism: the worm view and the stage view , and the two versions of endurantism: indexicalism and adverbialism . Using as a starting point the instructive case of what is depicted by photographs, I will examine these four views, and compare them, with some interesting results. Notably, we will see that two traditional enemies—the perdurantist worm view and the endurantist theories—are more (...)
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  25. Jiri Benovsky (2009). La Théorie des Faisceaux Et la Théorie des Substrats1. In Langlet B. Monnoyer J.-M. (ed.), Gustav Bergmann : Phenomenological Realism and Dialectical Ontology. Ontos Verlag. 29--117.
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  26. Jiri Benovsky (2009). On (Not) Being in Two Places at the Same Time: An Argument Against Endurantism. American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (3):239 - 248.
    Is there an entity such that it can be in two places at the same time ? According to one traditional view, properties can, since they are immanent universals. But what about objects such as a person or a table ? Common sense seems to say that, unlike properties, objects are not multiply locatable. In this paper, I will argue first of all that endurantism entails a consequence that is quite bizarre, namely, that objects are universals, while properties are particulars. (...)
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  27. Jiri Benovsky (2009). Presentism and Persistence. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (3):291-309.
    In this paper, I examine various theories of persistence through time under presentism. In Part I, I argue that both perdurantist views (namely, the worm view and the stage view) suffer, in combination with presentism, from serious difficulties and should be rejected. In Part II, I discuss the presentist endurantist view, to see that it does avoid the difficulties of the perdurantist views, and consequently that it does work, but at a price that some may consider as being very high: (...)
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  28. Jiri Benovsky (2009). The Self : A Humean Bundle and/or a Cartesian Substance ? European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 5 (1):7 - 19.
    Is the self a substance, as Descartes thought, or is it 'only' a bundle of perceptions, as Hume thought ? In this paper I will examine these two views, especially with respect to two central features that have played a central role in the discussion, both of which can be quickly and usefully explained if one puts them as an objection to the bundle view. First, friends of the substance view have insisted that only if one conceives of the self (...)
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  29. Jiri Benovsky (2008). There Are Vague Objects (in Any Sense in Which There Are Ordinary Objects). Studia Philosophica Estonica 1 (3):1-4.
    Ordinary objects are vague, because either (i) composition is restricted, or (ii) there really are no such objects (but we still want to talk about them), or (iii) because such objects are not metaphysically (independently of us) distinguishable from other 'extra-ordinary' objects. In any sense in which there are ordinary objects, they are vague.
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  30. Jiri Benovsky (2008). The Bundle Theory and the Substratum Theory: Deadly Enemies or Twin Brothers? Philosophical Studies 141 (2):175 - 190.
    In this paper, I explore several versions of the bundle theory and the substratum theory and compare them, with the surprising result that it seems to be true that they are equivalent (in a sense of ‘equivalent’ to be specified). In order to see whether this is correct or not, I go through several steps: first, I examine different versions of the bundle theory with tropes and compare them to the substratum theory with tropes by going through various standard objections (...)
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  31. Jiri Benovsky (2008). Two Concepts of Possible Worlds – or Only One? Theoria 74 (4):318-330.
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  32. Jiri Benovsky (2006). A Modal Bundle Theory. Metaphysica 7 (2).
    If ordinary particulars are bundles of properties, and if properties are said to be universals, then three well-known objections arise : no particular can change, all particulars have all of their properties essentially (even the most insignificant ones), and there cannot be two numerically distinct but qualitatively indiscernible particulars. In this paper, I try to make a little headway on these issues and see how the objections can be met, if one accepts a certain view about persistence through time and (...)
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  33. Jiri Benovsky (2006). Four-Dimensionalism and Modal Perdurants. In Paolo Valore (ed.), Topics on General and Formal Ontology. Polimetrica International Scientific Publisher. 137.
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  34. Jiri Benovsky (2006). Persistence Through Time and Across Possible Worlds. Ontos Verlag.
    How do ordinary objects persist through time and across possible worlds ? How do they manage to have their temporal and modal properties ? These are the questions adressed in this book which is a "guided tour of theories of persistence". The book is divided in two parts. In the first, the two traditional accounts of persistence through time (endurantism and perdurantism) are combined with presentism and eternalism to yield four different views, and their variants. The resulting views are then (...)
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  35. Jiri Benovsky (2005). Branching Versus Divergent Possible Worlds. Kriterion 19:12-20.
    David Lewis' modal counterpart theory falls prey to the famous Saul Kripke's objection, and this is mostly due to his 'static' ontology (divergence) of possible worlds. This paper examines a genuinely realist but different, branching ontology of possible worlds and a new definition of the counterpart relation, which attempts to provide us with a better account of de re modality, and to meet satisfactorily Kripke's claim, while being also ontologically more 'parsimonious'.
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