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Profile: Bryan Pickel (University of Edinburgh)
  1. Bryan Pickel (2014). Complex Predication and the Metaphysics of Properties. Dialectica 68 (2):209-230.
    The existence of complex predicates seems to support an abundant conception of properties. Specifically, the application conditions for complex predicates seem to be explained by the distribution of a sparser base of predicates. This explanatory link might suggest that the existence and distribution of properties expressed by complex predicates are explained by the existence and distribution of a sparser base of properties. Thus, complex predicates seem to legitimize the assumption of a wide array of properties. The additional properties are no (...)
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  2. Derek Ball & Bryan Pickel (2013). One Dogma of Millianism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (1):70-92.
    Millians about proper names typically claim that it is knowable apriori that Hesperus is Phosphorus. We argue that they should claim instead that it is knowable only aposteriori that Hesperus is Hesperus, since the Kripke-Putnam epistemic arguments against descriptivism are special cases of Quinean arguments that nothing is knowable apriori, and Millians have no resources to resist the more general Quinean arguments.
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  3. Bryan Pickel (2013). Russell on Incomplete Symbols. Philosophy Compass 8 (10):909-923.
    Russell's notion of an incomplete symbol has become a standard against which philosophers compare their views on the relationship between language and the world. But Russell's exact characterization of incomplete symbols and the role they play in his philosophy are still disputed. In this paper, I trace the development of the notion of an incomplete symbol in Russell's philosophy. I suggest – against Kaplan, Evans, and others – that Russell's many characterizations of the notion of an incomplete symbol are compatible. (...)
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  4. Bryan Pickel (2013). Variables and Attitudes. Noûs 48 (4).
    The phenomenon of quantification into attitude ascriptions has haunted broadly Fregean views, according to which co-referential proper names are not always substitutable salva veritate in attitude ascriptions. Opponents of Fregeanism argue that a belief ascription containing a proper name such as ‘Michael believes that Lindsay is charitable’ is equivalent to a quantified sentence such as ‘there is someone such that Michael believes that she is charitable, and that person is Lindsay’. They conclude that the semantic contribution of a name such (...)
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  5. Bryan Pickel (2012). Rigidification and Attitudes. Philosophical Studies 158 (1):43-58.
    Scott Soames has argued that Rigidified Descriptivism wrongly predicts that one cannot believe, say, that Joe Strummer was born in 1952 without having a belief about the actual world. Soames suggests that agents in other possible worlds may have this belief, but may lack any beliefs about the actual world, a world that they do not occupy and have no contact with. I respond that this argument extends to other popular actuality-involving analyses. In order for Soames to hold on to (...)
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  6. Bryan Pickel (2012). Things: Papers on Objects, Events, and Properties. By Stephen Yablo. (Oxford UP, 2010. Pp. 323. Price £55.00.). Philosophical Quarterly 62 (246):215-217.
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  7. Bryan Pickel & Nicholas Mantegani (2012). A Quinean Critique of Ostrich Nominalism. Philosophers' Imprint 12 (6).
    Ostrich nominalists often cite Quine’s criterion of ontological commitment in order to claim that their view is more parsimonious than rival positions in ontology such as realism. We show that Quine’s criterion, properly understood, does not support this claim. Indeed, we show that ostrich nominalism has a far more profligate ontology than realism.
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  8. Bryan Pickel (2010). Syntax in Basic Laws §§29–32. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 51 (2):253-277.
    In order to accommodate his view that quantifiers are predicates of predicates within a type theory, Frege introduces a rule which allows a function name to be formed by removing a saturated name from another saturated name which contains it. This rule requires that each name has a rather rich syntactic structure, since one must be able to recognize the occurrences of a name in a larger name. However, I argue that Frege is unable to account for this syntactic structure. (...)
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  9. Bryan Pickel (2010). There is No 'Is' of Constitution. Philosophical Studies 147 (2):193 - 211.
    I defend the view that ordinary objects like statues are identical to the pieces of matter from which they are made. I argue that ordinary speakers assert sentences such as ‘this statue is a molded piece of clay’. This suggests that speakers believe propositions which entail that ordinary objects such as statues are the pieces matter from which they are made, and therefore pluralism contradicts ordinary beliefs. The dominant response to this argument purports to find an ambiguity in the word (...)
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