T. Parent Virginia Tech
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About me
Ted Parent is a visiting Assistant Professor in the philosophy department at Virginia Polytechnic and State University. He came to Virginia Tech in August 2009, also the month the Ph.D. was granted (UNC, Chapel Hill). Primarily, he works on the philosophy of mind & epistemology, and on meta/ontology. His publications have appeared in Philosophical Studies, the Journal of Philosophy, and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, among others. Currently, he is finishing a book entitled Self-Reflection for the Opaque Mind (under contract, Routledge).
My works
28 items found.
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  1. T. Parent, A Puzzle About Kinds and Kind Terms.
    ‘The kind Dinosaur’ denotes a kind. Yet many generics are thought to denote kinds also, like the subject-terms in ‘Dinosaurs are extinct’, ‘Liquor causes cirrhosis’, and ‘The mosquito carries malaria’. This view may be an adequate view for the linguist’s purposes--however, it raises a puzzle for the ontologist. The problem is that what is often claimed about kinds is never claimed about dinosaurs, liquor, and the mosquito. Thus, kinds are sometimes said to be abstract objects, immanent universals, nominal essences, etc. (...)
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  2.  66
    T. Parent, Content Externalism and Quine's Criterion Are Incompatible.
    Externalism holds that the content of our utterances and thoughts are determined partly by the environment. Here, I offer an argument which suggests that externalism is incompatible with a natural view about ontological commitment--namely, the Quinean view that such commitments are fixed by the range of the variables in your theory. The idea in brief is that if Oscar mistakenly believes that water = XYZ, the externalist ontologically commits Oscar to two waterish kinds, whereas the Quinean commits him to one (...)
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  3. T. Parent, Conservative Meinongianism.
    This paper defends the Meinongian thesis that “there are objects of which it is true that there are no such objects,” re: fictitious and illusory objects. I first formulate the problem of negative existentials in a novel way, and discuss why this new version is more forceful against anti-Meinongians. Additional data is then raised to vex anti-Meinongians—e.g., the truth of ‘Pegasus is imaginary’, and a reading of ‘There actually are illusory objects’ where it comes out true. The Meinongian, in contrast, (...)
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  4. T. Parent, Content Externalism and Equivocal Inference.
    This draft now appears (in revised form) as Chapter 6 of _Self-Reflection for the Opaque Mind_. See http://philpapers.org/rec/PARSFT-3.
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  5. T. Parent, Infallibilism About Self-Knowledge II: Lagadonian Judging.
    This draft now appears (in revised form) as Chapter 7 of _Self-Reflection for the Opaque Mind_. See http://philpapers.org/rec/PARSFT-3.
     
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  6. T. Parent, Modal Realism and the Meaning of 'Exist'.
    Here I first raise an argument purporting to show that Lewis’ Modal Realism ends up being entirely trivial. But although I reject this line, the argument reveals how difficult it is to interpret Lewis’ thesis that possibilia “exist.” Five natural interpretations are considered, yet upon reflection, none appear entirely adequate. On the three different “concretist” interpretations of ‘exist’, Modal Realism looks insufficient for genuine ontological commitment. Whereas, on the “multiverse” interpretation, Modal Realism acknowledges physical possibilities only--and worse, (assuming either axiom (...)
     
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  7. T. Parent, Neo-Sellarsian Metaphilosophy.
    This draft now appears (in revised form) as the Preamble to _Self-Reflection for the Opaque Mind_. See http://philpapers.org/rec/PARSFT-3.
     
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  8.  62
    T. Parent, Paradox with Just Self-Reference.
    If a semantically open language allows self-reference, one can show there is a predicate which is both satisfied and unsatisfied by a self-referring term. The argument requires something akin to diagonalization on substitution instances of a definition-scheme for the predicate "x is Lagadonian." (The term 'Lagadonian' is adapted from David Lewis). Briefly, a self-referring term is counted as “Lagadonian” if the initial variable in the schema is replaced with the term itself. But the same term is (...)
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  9.  74
    T. Parent, Self-Reference is Sufficient for Paradox.
    This is a relatively non-technical, short experiment (about 4 pages) where I try to derive a contradiction from a self-referential literal, and a true identity-statement (all occurring in a semantically open language). As a preliminary matter, it is shown that in a classical formal system, expressions must be seen as linguistic types rather than tokens. (Otherwise, ‘this very term = this very term’ is a false instance of the Law of Identity.) Under that supposition, however, a contradiction results from (...)
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  10.  62
    T. Parent, A New Modal Liar.
    Montague's modal liar is thought to show that 'necessarily' cannot be treated as a predicate of sentences. However, if 'necessarily' is treated as an operator on propositions (as is standard), we can also generate paradox (and without Montague's contentious use of the necessitation rule). The reasoning of the new modal liar is not immediately obvious--however, assuming that accessibility is reflexive, one can derive a contradiction from the proposition: This very proposition is not necessary. Thus the key advantage of the operator (...)
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  11. T. Parent, The Modal Ontological Argument Meets Modal Fictionalism.
    This paper attacks the modal ontological argument, as advocated by Plantinga among others. Whereas other criticisms in the literature reject one of its premises, the present line is that the argument is invalid. This becomes apparent once we run the argument assuming fictionalism about possible worlds. Broadly speaking, the problem is that if one defines “x” as something that exists, it does not follow that there is anything satisfying the definition. Yet unlike non-modal ontological arguments, the modal argument commits this (...)
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  12. T. Parent (forthcoming). An Objection to the Laplacean Chalmers. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie:1-4.
    I discuss David Chalmers’ “scrutability thesis,” roughly that a Laplacean intellect could know every truth about the universe from a “compact class” of basic truths. It is argued that despite Chalmers’ remarks to the contrary, the thesis is problematic owing to quantum indeterminacy. Chalmers attempts to “frontload” various principles into the compact class to help out. But though frontloading may succeed in principle, Chalmers does not frontload enough to avoid the problem.
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  13. T. Parent (forthcoming). Self-Reflection for the Opaque Mind: An Essay in Neo-Sellarsian Philosophy. Routledge.
    [Excerpts from the book I’m writing. Includes the front matter, the first section of the preamble, and chapter 1.] *Self-Reflection for the Opaque Mind* attempts to solve a grave problem about critical self-reflection. The worry is that we critical thinkers are all in “epistemic bad faith” in light of what psychology tells us. For the research shows not merely that we are bad at detecting “ego-threatening” thoughts à la Freud. It also indicates that we are ignorant of even our ordinary (...)
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  14. T. Parent (2016). The Empirical Case Against Infallibilism. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (1):223-242.
    Philosophers and psychologists generally hold that, in light of the empirical data, a subject lacks infallible access to her own mental states. However, while subjects certainly are fallible in some ways, I show that the data fails to discredit that a subject has infallible access to her own occurrent thoughts and judgments. This is argued, first, by revisiting the empirical studies, and carefully scrutinizing what is shown exactly. Second, I argue that if the data were interpreted to rule out all (...)
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  15. T. Parent (2015). Externalism and “Knowing What” One Thinks. Synthese 192 (5):1337-1350.
    Some worry that semantic externalism is incompatible with knowing by introspection what content your thoughts have. In this paper, I examine one primary argument for this incompatibilist worry, the slow-switch argument. Following Goldberg , I construe the argument as attacking the conjunction of externalism and “skeptic immune” knowledge of content, where such knowledge would persist in a skeptical context. Goldberg, following Burge :649–663, 1988), attempts to reclaim such knowledge for the externalist; however, I contend that all Burge-style accounts vindicate that (...)
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  16. T. Parent (2015). On the PROVER9 Ontological Argument. Philosophia 43 (2):475-483.
    Oppenheimer & Zalta have re-formulated their non-modal version of the ontological argument, with the help of PROVER9, an automated reasoning engine. The authors end up rejecting the new argument; however, the theist has a rejoinder worth considering. But after presenting the rejoinder, I highlight that the conceivability of the being does not imply its possibility. One lesson is that even non-modal ontological arguments must engage modal matters concerning God. Another lesson is that if PROVER9 is able to derive a conclusion (...)
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  17. T. Parent (2015). Rule Following and Metaontology. Journal of Philosophy 112 (5):247-265.
    Wittgenstein’s rule-following argument suggests that linguistic understanding does not consist in knowing interpretations, whereas Kripkenstein’s version suggests that meaning cannot be metaphysically fixed by interpretations. In the present paper, rule-following considerations are used to suggest that certain ontological questions cannot be answered by interpretations. Specifically, if the aim is to specify the ontology of a language, an interpretation cannot answer what object an expression of L denotes, if the interpretations are themselves L-expressions. Briefly, that’s because the ontology of such interpretations (...)
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  18.  62
    T. Parent (2015). Theory Dualism and the Metalogic of Mind-Body Problems. In Christopher Daly (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods. Palgrave 497-526.
    The paper defends the philosophical method of "regimentation" by example, especially in relation to the theory of mind. The starting point is the Place-Smart after-image argument: A green after-image will not be located outside the skull, but if we cracked open your skull, we won't find anything green in there either. (If we did, you'd have some disturbing medical news.) So the after-image seems not to be in physical space, suggesting that it is non-physical. In response, I argue that the (...)
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  19. Ted Parent (2015). Self‐Knowledge and Externalism About Empty Concepts. Analytic Philosophy 55 (3):158-168.
    Several authors have argued that, assuming we have apriori knowledge of our own thought-contents, semantic externalism implies that we can know apriori contingent facts about the empirical world. After presenting the argument, I shall respond by resisting the premise that an externalist can know apriori: If s/he has the concept water, then water exists. In particular, Boghossian's Dry Earth example suggests that such thought-experiments do not provide such apriori knowledge. Boghossian himself rejects the Dry Earth experiment, however, since it would (...)
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  20. T. Parent (2014). Knowing‐Wh and Embedded Questions. Philosophy Compass 9 (2):81-95.
    Do you know who you are? If the question seems unclear, it might owe to the notion of ‘knowing-wh’ (knowing-who, knowing-what, knowing-when, etc.). Such knowledge contrasts with ‘knowing-that’, the more familiar topic of epistemologists. But these days, knowing-wh is receiving more attention than ever, and here we will survey three current debates on the nature of knowing-wh. These debates concern, respectively, (1) whether all knowing-wh is reducible to knowing-that (‘generalized intellectualism’), (2) whether all knowing-wh is relativized to a contrast proposition (...)
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  21.  86
    T. Parent (2013). Infallibility Naturalized: Reply to Hoffmann. Dialectica 67 (3):353-358.
    The present piece is a reply to G. Hoffmann on my infallibilist view of self-knowledge. Contra Hoffmann, it is argued that the view does not preclude a Quinean epistemology, wherein every belief is subject to empirical revision.
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  22. T. Parent (2013). Externalism and Self-Knowledge. In Ed Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Entry on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. A summary of the literature on whether externalism about thought content precludes non-empirical knowledge of one's own thoughts.
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  23.  87
    T. Parent (2013). In the Mental Fiction, Mental Fictionalism is Fictitious. The Monist 96 (4):605-621.
    Here I explore the prospects for fictionalism about the mental, modeled after fictionalism about possible worlds. Mental fictionalism holds that the mental states posited by folk psychology do not exist, yet that some sentences of folk psychological discourse are true. This is accomplished by construing truths of folk psychology as “truths according to the mentalistic fiction.” After formulating the view, I identify five ways that the view appears self-refuting. Moreover, I argue that this cannot be fixed by semantic ascent or (...)
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  24.  87
    T. Parent (2013). Note on Induction. Think 12 (33):37-39.
    Research Articles Ted Parent, Think, FirstView Article.
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  25. T. Parent (2013). Ontic Terms and Metaontology, Or: On What There Actually Is. Philosophical Studies (2):1-16.
    Terms such as ‘exist’, ‘actual’, etc., (hereafter, “ontic terms”) are recognized as having uses that are not ontologically committing, in addition to the usual commissive uses. (Consider, e.g., the Platonic and the neutral readings of ‘There is an even prime’.) In this paper, I identify five different noncommissive uses for ontic terms, and (by a kind of via negativa) attempt to define the commissive use, focusing on ‘actual’ as my example. The problem, however, is that the resulting definiens for the (...)
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  26. T. Parent (2012). Modal Metaphysics. In J. Feiser & B. Dowden (eds.), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This summarizes of some prominent views about the metaphysics of possible worlds.
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  27. T. Parent (2008). Quine and Logical Truth. Erkenntnis 68 (1):103 - 112.
    It is a consequence of Quine’s confirmation holism that the logical laws are in principle revisable. Some have worried this is at odds with another dictum in Quine, viz., that any translation which construes speakers as systematically illogical is ipso facto inadequate. In this paper, I try to formulate exactly what the problem is here, and offer a solution to it by (1) disambiguating the term ‘logic,’ and (2) appealing to a Quinean understanding of ‘necessity.’ The result is that the (...)
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  28. T. Parent (2007). Infallibilism About Self-Knowledge. Philosophical Studies 133 (3):411-424.
    Descartes held the view that a subject has infallible beliefs about the contents of her thoughts. Here, I first examine a popular contermporary defense of this claim, given by Burge, and find it lacking. I then offer my own defense appealing to a minimal thesis about the compositionality of thoughts. The argument has the virtue of refraining from claims about whether thoughts are “in the head;” thus, it is congenial to both internalists and externalists. The considerations here also illuminate how (...)
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