I consider backtracking reasoning: that is, reasoning from backtracking counterfactuals such as if Hitler had won the war, he would have invaded Russia six weeks earlier. Backtracking counterfactuals often strike us as true. Despite that, reasoning from them just as often strikes us as illegitimate. A number of diagnoses have been offered of the illegitimacy of such backtracking reasoning which invoke the fixity of the past, or the direction of causation. I argue against such diagnoses, and in favor of one (...) that invokes a principle I call the fixity of reasons. Backtracking reasoning violates the fixity of reasons. But, the fixity of reasons is a principle that must be observed in order to engage in practical reasoning at all. (shrink)
Traditionally, this puzzle has been solved in various ways. Aristotle, for example, distinguished between “accidental” and “essential” changes. Accidental changes are ones that don't result in a change in an objects' identity after the change, such as when a house is painted, or one's hair turns gray, etc. Aristotle thought of these as changes in the accidental properties of a thing. Essential changes, by contrast, are those which don't preserve the identity of the object when it changes, such as when (...) a house burns to the ground and becomes ashes, or when someone dies. Armed with these distinctions, Aristotle would then say that, in the case of accidental changes, (1) and (2) are both false—a changing thing can really change one of its “accidental properties” and yet literally remain one and the same thing before and after the change. (shrink)
Occasions of Identity is an exploration of timeless philosophical issues about persistence, change, time, and sameness. Andre Gallois offers a critical survey of various rival views about the nature of identity and change, and puts forward his own original theory. He supports the idea of occasional identities, arguing that it is coherent and helpful to suppose that things can be identical at one time but distinct at another. Gallois defends this view, demonstrating how it can solve puzzles about persistence dating (...) back to the Ancient Greeks, and investigates the metaphysical consequences of rejecting the necessity and eternity of identities. (shrink)
In this original and challenging study, Andre; Gallois proposes and defends a new thesis about the character of our knowledge of our own intentional states. Taking up issues at the centre of attention in contemporary analytic philosophy of mind and epistemology, he examines accounts of self-knowledge by such philosophers as Donald Davidson, Tyler Burge and Crispin Wright, and advances his own view that, without relying on observation, we are able justifiably to attribute to ourselves propositional attitudes, such as belief, that (...) we consciously hold. His study will be of wide interest to philosophers concerned with questions about self-knowledge. (shrink)
In my article "berkeley's master argument" I attempt to show that an argument berkeley uses in the 'dialogues' and 'principles' to support his contention that whatever is perceivable is perceived can be seen as an illuminating attempt to relate conceptualizing, Imaging and perceiving. In consequence it cannot be dismissed as resting on an elementary fallacy, But reflects on the conditions for the self ascription of experience.