Markus Schrenk Westfälische Wilhelms Universität, Münster
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About me
I am a Research Fellow within the DFG (German Research Council) funded Metaphysics of Science Project undertaken by the Universities of Aachen, Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Münster. I specialise in Laws of Nature, Causation, Dispositions, and De Re Necessity: anything that might hold the otherwise loose and separate world together. I am generally interested in Metaphysics, Epistemology, the Philosophy of Science, Mind, and Language.
My works
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  1. Markus Schrenk (forthcoming). Better Best Systems and the Issue of CP-Laws. Erkenntnis.
    This paper combines two ideas: (i) That the Lewisian best system analysis of lawhood (BSA) can cope with laws that have exceptions (cf. Braddon-Mitchell 2001, Schrenk 2007). (ii) That a BSA can be executed not only on the mosaic of perfectly natural properties but also on any set of special science properties (cf., inter alia, Schrenk 2007 & 2008, Cohen & Callender 2009 & 2010). Bringing together (i) and (ii) results in an analysis of special science ceteris paribus laws.
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  2. Markus Schrenk (forthcoming). IS PROPRIOCEPTIVE ART POSSIBLE? In Graham George Priest & Damon Young (eds.), Philosophy and the Martial Arts.
    I argue for the possibility of a proprioceptive art in addition to, for example, visual or auditory arts, where aspects of some martial arts will serve as examples of that art form. My argument is inspired by a thought of Ted Shawn’s, one of the pioneers of American modern dance: "Dance is the only art wherein we ourselves are the stuff in which it is made.” In a first step, I point out that in some practices of martial arts (in (...)
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  3. Markus Schrenk (2014). Die Erfahrung der Widerständigkeit der Welt als Wahrnehmung kausaler Kraft. In Anne Sophie Spann & Daniel Wehinger (eds.), Vermögen und Handlung. mentis. 23-62.
    Hume glaubte, die Kausalverknüpfung sei eine „secret connection“, also eine Verknüpfung, die mindestens unerkennbar, wenn nicht sogar inexis- tent ist. Einige moderne Gegner Humes halten dem entgegen, dass apos- teriorisch entdeckte, metaphysische Notwendigkeit, wie wir sie bei- spielsweise von Kripke und Putnam kennen, diejenige objektiv-reale Verknüpfung in der Welt ist, die auch die Rolle einer kausalen Verknüp- fung in der Welt spielen kann. Ich hinterfrage diese anti-Hume’sche Identifizierung kausaler mit me- taphysischer Notwendigkeit, zeige aber auch einen anderen Weg auf, kausale (...)
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  4. Markus Schrenk (2011). Interfering with Nomological Necessity. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (244):577-597.
    Since causal processes can be prevented and interfered with, law-governed causation is a challenge for necessitarian theories of laws of nature. To show that there is a problematic friction between necessity and interference, I focus on David Armstrong's theory; with one proviso, his lawmaker, nomological necessity, is supposed to be instantiated as the causation of the law's second relatum whenever its first relatum is instantiated. His proviso is supposed to handle interference cases, but fails to do so. In order to (...)
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  5. Helen Beebee & Markus Schrenk (eds.) (2010). Hume. Metaphysics and Epistemology. mentis.
    The articles in this special issue of the yearbook Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy all concern, in one way or another, Hume’s epistemology and metaphysics. -/- There are discussions of our knowledge of causal powers, the extent to which conceivability is a guide to modality, and testimony; there are also discussions of our ideas of space and time, the role in Hume’s thought of the psychological mechanism of ‘completing the union’, the role of impressions, and Hume’s argument against the (...)
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  6. Markus Schrenk (2010). Antidotes for Dispositional Essentialism. In Anna Marmodoro (ed.), The Metaphysics of Powers: Their Grounding and Their Manifestations. Routledge.
    Since the mid-90s dispositionalism, the view that dispositions are irreducible, real properties, gained strength due to forceful counterexamples (finks and antidotes) that could be launched against Humean anti-dispositionalist attempts to reductively analyse dispositional predicates. -/- In the light of these anti-Humean successes, and in combination with ideas surrounding metaphysical necessity put forward by Kripke and Putnam, some dispositionalists felt encouraged to propose a strong anti-Humean view under the name of “Dispositional Essentialism”. -/- In this paper, I show that, ironically, the (...)
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  7. Markus Schrenk (2010). Hic Rhodos, Hic Salta: From Reductionist Semantics to a Realist Ontology of Forceful Dispositions. In G. Damschen, K. Stueber & R. Schnepf (eds.), Debating Dispositions: Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology and Philosophy of Mind. De Gruyter.
    It is widely believed that at least two developments in the last third of the 20th century have given dispositionalism—the view that powers, capacities, potencies, etc. are irreducible real properties—new credibility: (i) the many counterexamples launched against reductive analyses of dispositional predicates in terms of counterfactual conditionals and (ii) a new anti-Humean faith in necessary connections in nature which, it is said, owes a lot to Kripke’s arguments surrounding metaphysical necessity. I aim to show in this paper that necessity is, (...)
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  8. Markus Schrenk (2010). Mauro Dorato * The Software of the Universe: An Introduction to the History and Philosophy of the Laws of Nature. [REVIEW] British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (E-Version) 62 (1):225-232.
    This is a review of Mauro Dorato's book "The Software of the Universe: An Introduction to the History and Philosophy of the Laws of Nature".
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  9. Markus Schrenk (2010). The Powerlessness of Necessity. Noûs 44 (4):725-739.
    This paper concerns anti-Humean intuitions about connections in nature. It argues for the existence of a de re link that is not necessity.Some anti-Humeans tacitly assume that metaphysical necessity can be used for all sorts of anti-Humean desires. Metaphysical necessity is thought to stick together whatever would be loose and separate in a Hume world, as if it were a kind of universal superglue.I argue that this is not feasible. Metaphysical necessity might connect synchronically co-existent properties—kinds and their essential features, (...)
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  10. Markus Schrenk (2009). Can Physics Ever Be Complete If There is No Fundamental Level in Nature? Dialectica 63 (2):205-208.
    In their recent book Every Thing Must Go Ladyman and Ross (Ladyman et al. 2007) claim: (1) Physics is analytically complete since it is the only science that cannot be left incomplete (cf. Ladyman et al. 2007, 283). (2) There might not be an ontologically fundamental level (cf. Ladyman et al. 2007, 178). (3) We should not admit anything into our ontology unless it has explanatory and predictive utility (cf. Ladyman et al. 2007, 179). In this discussion note I aim (...)
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  11. Markus Schrenk (2008). Verificationist Theory of Meaning. In U. Windhorst, M. Binder & N. Hirowaka (eds.), Encyclopaedic Reference of Neuroscience. Springer.
    The verification theory of meaning aims to characterise what it is for a sentence to be meaningful and also what kind of abstract object the meaning of a sentence is. A brief outline is given by Rudolph Carnap, one of the theory's most prominent defenders: If we knew what it would be for a given sentence to be found true then we would know what its meaning is. [...] thus the meaning of a sentence is in a certain sense identical (...)
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  12. Markus Schrenk (2007). Can Capacities Rescue Us From Ceteris Paribus Laws? In B. Gnassounou & M. Kistler (eds.), Dispositions in Philosophy and Science. Ashgate.
    Many philosophers of science think that most laws of nature (even those of fundamental physics) are so called ceteris paribus laws, i.e., roughly speaking, laws with exceptions. Yet, the ceteris paribus clause of these laws is problematic. Amongst the more infamous difficulties is the danger that 'For all x: Fx ⊃ Gx, ceteris paribus' may state no more than a tautology: 'For all x: Fx ⊃ Gx, unless not'. One of the major attempts to avoid this problem (and others concerning (...)
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  13. Markus Schrenk (2007). Can Capacities Rescue Us From Cp Laws. In B. Gnassounou & M. Kistler (eds.), Dispositions in Philosophy and Science. Ashgate. 221--247.
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  14. Markus Schrenk (2007). The Metaphysics of Ceteris Paribus Laws. ontos.
    INTRODUCTION I. CETERIS PARIBUS LAWS An alleged law of nature—like Newton's law of gravitation—is said to be a ceteris paribus law if it does not hold under ...
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  15. Markus Schrenk (2006). A Theory for Special Science Laws. In H. Bohse & S. Walter (eds.), Selected Papers Contributed to the Sections of GAP.6. mentis.
    This paper explores whether it is possible to reformulate or re-interpret Lewis’s theory of fundamental laws of nature—his “best system analysis”—in such a way that it becomes a useful theory for special science laws. One major step in this enterprise is to make plausible how law candidates within best system competitions can tolerate exceptions—this is crucial because we expect special science laws to be so called “ceteris paribus laws”. I attempt to show how this is possible and also how we (...)
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  16. Markus Schrenk (2005). The Bookkeeper and the Lumberjack. Metaphysical Vs. Nomological Necessity. In G. Abel (ed.), Kreativität. XX. Deutscher Kongress für Philosophie. Sektionsbeiträge Band 1. Universitätsverlag der Technischen Universität.
    The striking difference between the orthodox nomological necessitation view of laws and the claims made recently by Scientific Essentialism is that on the latter interpretation laws are metaphysically necessary while they are contingent on the basis of the former. This shift is usually perceived as an upgrading: essentialism makes the laws as robust as possible. The aim of my paper—in which I contrast Brian Ellis’s Scientific Essentialism and David Armstrong’s theory of nomological necessity—is threefold. (1) I first underline the familiar (...)
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  17. Markus Schrenk (2004). Galileo Vs Aristotle on Free Falling Bodies. Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy 7 (1):1-11.
    This essay attempts to demonstrate that it is doubtful if Galileo's famous thought experiment concerning falling bodies in his 'Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences' (Galileo 1954: 61-64) actually does succeed in proving that Aristotle was wrong in claiming that "bodies of different weight […] move […] with different speeds which stand to one another in the same ratio as their weights," (Galileo 1954: 61). (Part I); and further that it is likewise doubtful that that argument does or even can establish (...)
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  18. Markus Schrenk (2003). Real Ceteris Paribus Laws. In R. Bluhm & C. Nimtz (eds.), Proceedings of GAP.5, Bielefeld 2003. mentis.
    Although there is an ongoing controversy in philosophy of science about so called ceteris paribus laws that is, roughly, about laws with exceptionsóa fundamental question about those laws has been neglected (ß2). This is due to the fact that this question becomes apparent only if two different readings of ceteris paribus clauses in laws have been separated. The first reading of ceteris paribus clauses, which I will call the epistemic reading, covers applications of laws: predictions, for example, might go wrong (...)
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