Kim's exclusion argument threatens to show that irreducible constituted objects are epiphenomenal. Kim's arguments are examined and found to be unconvincing; that a constituted cause requires its constituent to be a cause is not an adequate reason to reject the causation of the constituted object (event or property-instance). However, I introduce and argue for, the Causal Power Uniqueness Condition (CPUC). I argue that CPUC and the causal closure of the physical, implies that constituted objects or property-instances are not novel causal (...) powers. (shrink)
Storrs McCall claims to have a novel solution to the age-old problem of the incompatibility of free will and God's omniscience. His solution is based on the thesis of the supervenience of truth on being. I argue that this thesis plays no role in solving the ancient conundrum.
In ‘The Sorites is disguised nonsense’ Analysis (2012) 77: 61–5 L Goldstein attempts to show that some of the conditionals in any Sorites argument are nonsensical, and hence no Sorites argument can be sound. I give four reasons why this is not the case.
Santayana's epiphenomenalism is best understood as part of his thinking about teleology and final causes. Santayana makes a distinction between final causes, which he rejects, and teleology, which he finds ubiquitous. Mental causation is identified with a doctrine of final causes which he argues is an absurd form of causation. Thus mental causes are rejected and Santayana embraces epiphenomenalism.
Why is there something rather than nothing? Does god exist? Who am I? Metaphysics is concerned with ourselves and reality, and the most fundamental questions regarding existence. This clear and accessible introduction covers the central topics in Metaphysics in a concise but comprehensive way. Brian Garrett discusses the crucial concepts in a highly readable manner, easing the reader in with a look at paradoxes that aptly illustrate some important philosophical problems. He then goes on to address key areas of metaphysics: (...) · existence and modality · causation · God · time · universals · personal Identity · truth What is this thing called Metaphysics? contains many helpful student-friendly features. Each chapter concludes with a useful summary of the main ideas discussed, a glossary of important terms, study questions, annotated further reading, and a guide to web resources. Text-boxes provide bite-sized summaries of key concepts and major philosophers, and clear and interesting examples are used throughout. This is an ideal first textbook on Metaphysics for undergraduates taking a first course in philosophy. (shrink)
Daniel Dennett has claimed that if Chalmers' argument for the irreducibility of consciousness were to succeed, an analogous argument would establish the truth of Vitalism. Chalmers denies that there is such an analogy. I argue that the analogy does have merit and that skepticism is called for.
I argue that José Luis Bermúdez has not shown that there is a paradox in our concept of self-consciousness. The deflationary theory is not a plausible theory of self-consciousness, so its paradoxicality is irrelevant. A more plausible theory, 'the simple theory', is not paradoxical. However, I do think there is a puzzle about the connection between self-consciousness and 'I'-thoughts.
Davidson argues that mental properties are causally relevant properties. I argue that Davidson cannot appeal to ceteris paribus causal laws to ensure that these properties are causally relevant, if he wishes to retain his argument for anomalous monism. Second, I argue that the appeal to supervenience cannot, by itself, give us an account of the causal relevancy of mental properties. I argue that, while mental properties may indeed 'make a difference' to the causally efficacious properties of events, this is not (...) sufficient to show that mental properties are causally relevant. (shrink)
The first book synthesizing the many different topics that surround the issue of personal identity, this text makes an important contribution to the philosophy of personal identity and mind, and to epistemology.
My aim in this thesis is to explain how a non-reductionist metaphysics can accommodate the causal relevance of the psychological and of the special sciences generally. According to physicalism, all behavior is caused by brain-states; given "folk-psychology", behavior (such as the waving of my hand) is caused by some psychological state. If psychological states are distinct from brain states (event dualism), then our behavior is overdetermined and this, it is claimed, is unacceptable. I argue that this consequence is not unacceptable. (...) I claim that our explanatory practice should guide our ontological commitment. If we can offer true explanations that appeal to more than one event (or property), then we are committed to overdetermination for the event explained. I argue that accepting overdetermination is not absurd and that we can give an adequate account of causal relevance for psychological and other supervenient properties. The result is a partial defense of both property and event pluralism. Recent work by Davidson, Fodor, Jackson, Kim, Pettit and Yablo receives explicit and critical discussion. (shrink)
This note criticizes Andrew Brennan's attempt to defend best?candidate theories of the identity of artefacts over time against certain now familiar objections. Adoption of a mereological conception of individuals does not, in itself, provide the means for a satisfactory response to objections of Wiggins and Noonan (some of which are anyway ill?focused). The way forward consists in recognizing that the consequences of best?candidate theories which have been thought objectionable (in particular, commitment to the extrinsicness of identity) do not violate the (...) necessity of identity and imply ? what anyway ought to seem unexceptionable ? that a predicate such as ?constituting the ship which is the Ship of Theseus? does not denote a genuine property of the hunk of matter of which the predicate is true. Once these consequences have been clearly mapped out, the best?candidate theorist's commitment to the extrinsicness of identity does not appear absurd. (shrink)
The thesis that there can be vague objects is the thesis that there can be identity statements which are indeterminate in truth-value (i.e., neither true nor false) as a result of vagueness (as opposed, e.g., to reference-failure), "the singular terms of which do not have their references fixed by vague descriptive means". (if this is "not" what is meant by the thesis that there can be vague objects, it is not clear what "is" meant by it.) the possibility of vague (...) objects should not be taken, in itself, to imply the more radical thesis that the identity relation can be one of "degree". one can hold that the concept of degrees of identity is absurd (how can one thing be more or less identical to another?) "and" that indeterminacy in identity is possible; hence, any incoherence in the idea of degrees of identity does not thereby undermine the idea of indeterminate identity. (shrink)