Markus Schrenk Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
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About me
I am professor for Theoretical Philosophy at Düsseldorf University. I have been conducting research projects on the Metaphysics of Science and am author of The Metaphysics of Ceteris Paribus Laws (2007), An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language (2014; 2nd edition), and Metaphysics of Science (forthcoming 2016). 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
23 items found.
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  1. Markus Schrenk (ed.) (forthcoming). Handbuch Metaphysik (German). Metzler.
    This volume covers a great range of topics within general metaphysics, featuring contributions by experts in the respective areas. The information contained is suitable for introductory as well as research purposes. The book equally targets laymen, students, and experts in their own right. Subjects range from the history of metaphysics, properties, objects, modality, structure, truth, etc. to methodological concerns of metaphysics.
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  2.  82
    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.  41
    Markus Schrenk (2016). Metaphysics of Science: A Systematic and Historical Introduction. Routledge.
    Metaphysics and science have a long but troubled relationship. In the twentieth century the Logical Positivists argued metaphysics was irrelevant and that philosophy should be guided by science. However, metaphysics and science attempt to answer many of the same, fundamental questions: What are laws of nature? What is causation? What are natural kinds? -/- In this book, Markus Schrenk examines and explains the central questions and problems in the metaphysics of science. He reviews the development of the field from the (...)
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  4.  16
    Markus Schrenk (2015). Trigger Happy. Ein Kommentar zu Barbara Vetters Potentiality. Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 69 (3):396-402.
    This is a review of Barbara Vetter’s book Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality. Oxford University Press (2015). The first part of Vetter’s book aims to show that the standard semantic and/or metaphysical interpretation of dispositional predicates and/or dispositions fails and that it ought to be replaced by Vetter’s own potentiality metaphysics. This review critically investigates the consequences this view has. (The review is written in German, an English version is available on request.).
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  5. Markus Schrenk (2014). Better Best Systems and the Issue of CP-Laws. Erkenntnis 79 (10):1787-1799.
    This paper combines two ideas: (1) That the Lewisian best system analysis of lawhood (BSA) can cope with laws that have exceptions (cf. Braddon-Mitchell in Noûs 35(2):260–277, 2001; Schrenk in The metaphysics of ceteris paribus laws. Ontos, Frankfurt, 2007). (2) 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, Selected papers contributed to the sections of GAP.6, 6th international congress (...)
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  6. 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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  7.  6
    Markus Schrenk, Ernst Mach on the Self. The Deconstruction of the Ego as an Attempt to Avoid Solipsism. Deutscher Kongress Für Philosophie, 11. - 15. September 2011, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.
    In his Contributions to the Analysis of the Sensations (Mach 1885) the phenomenalist philosopher Ernst Mach confronts us with a difficulty: “If we regard the Ego as a real unity, we become involved in the following dilemma: either we must set over against the Ego a world of unknowable entities […] or we must regard the whole world, the Egos of other people included, as comprised in our own Ego.” (Mach 1885: 21) In other words, if we start from a (...)
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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10.  74
    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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. Markus Schrenk & Albert Newen (2008). An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language (German). WBG.
    The Philosophy ofLanguage belongs to the foundations of philosophical reflexion. In this volume, its central problems and strategies are explained, and the nature of sentences and other elements of language are analysed. The didactical exposition of the most important schools and thinkers makes the volume particularly interesting for readers new to the subject.
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  17. 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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  18.  11
    Markus Schrenk (2007). Can Capacities Rescue Us From Cp Laws. In B. Gnassounou & M. Kistler (eds.), Dispositions in Philosophy and Science. Ashgate 221--247.
    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 then Gx, ceteris paribus’ may state no more than a tautology: ‘For all x: Fx then Gx, unless not’. One of the major attempts to avoid this problem (and others concerning (...)
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  19.  62
    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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  20. 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 (...)
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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23.  29
    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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