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David Liggins [22]D. Liggins [1]
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Profile: David Liggins (University of Manchester)
  1. Chris Daly & David Liggins, Hirsch's Charity Argument Against Revisionary Ontology.
    Eli Hirsch argues that metaphysical debates about material composition are merely verbal and the ontologists who take part in them are talking past each other. According to Hirsch, 'there is no uniquely best ontological language with which to describe the world', a doctrine he calls 'quantifier variance'. Hirsch argues that if we combine quantifier variance with an appeal to interpretative charity, we reach the conclusion that contemporary debates about composition are merely verbal. Much contemporary metaontological discussion has concerned Hirsch’s doctrine (...)
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  2. David Liggins (forthcoming). Abstract Expressionism and the Communication Problem. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axt012.
    Some philosophers have recently suggested that the reason mathematics is useful in science is that it expands our expressive capacities. Of these philosophers, only Stephen Yablo has put forward a detailed account of how mathematics brings this advantage. In this article, I set out Yablo’s view and argue that it is implausible. Then, I introduce a simpler account and show it is a serious rival to Yablo’s.
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  3. David Liggins (forthcoming). Grounding and the Indispensability Argument. Synthese:1-18.
    There has been much discussion of the indispensability argument for the existence of mathematical objects. In this paper I reconsider the debate by using the notion of grounding, or non-causal dependence. First of all, I investigate what proponents of the indispensability argument should say about the grounding of relations between physical objects and mathematical ones. This reveals some resources which nominalists are entitled to use. Making use of these resources, I present a neglected but promising response to the indispensability argument—a (...)
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  4. Chris Daly & David Liggins (2014). Nominalism, Trivialist Platonism and Benacerraf's Dilemma. Analysis 74 (2):224-231.
    In his stimulating new book The Construction of Logical Space, Agustín Rayo offers a new account of mathematics, which he calls ‘Trivialist Platonism’. In this article, we take issue with Rayo’s case for Trivialist Platonism and his claim that the view overcomes Benacerraf’s dilemma. Our conclusion is that Rayo has not shown that Trivialist Platonism has any advantage over nominalism.
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  5. Chris Daly & David Liggins (2013). Animalism and Deferentialism. Dialectica 67 (4):605-609.
    Animalism is the theory that we are animals: in other words, that each of us is numerically identical to an animal. An alternative theory maintains that we are not animals but that each of us is constituted by an animal. Call this alternative theory neo-Lockean constitutionalism or Lockeanism for short. Stephan Blatti (2012) offers to advance the debate between animalism and Lockeanism by providing a new argument for animalism. In this note, we present our own objection to Blatti's argument, and (...)
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  6. Michael J. Clark & David Liggins (2012). Recent Work on Grounding. Analysis 72 (4):812-823.
    There is currently an explosion of interest in grounding. In this article we provide an overview of the debate so far. We begin by introducing the concept of grounding, before discussing several kinds of scepticism about the topic. We then identify a range of central questions in the theory of grounding and discuss competing answers to them that have emerged in the debate. We close by raising some questions that have been relatively neglected but which warrant further attention.
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  7. David Liggins (2012). Truthmakers and Dependence. In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality. Cambridge University Press. 254.
    This paper discusses the significance of non-causal dependence for truthmaker theory. After introducing truthmaker theory (section 1), I discuss a challenge to it levelled by Benjamin Schnieder. I argue that Schnieder’s challenge can be met once we acknowledge the existence of non-causal dependence and of explanations which rely on it (sections 2 to 5). I then mount my own argument against truthmaker theory, based on the notion of non-causal dependence (sections 6 and 7).
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  8. David Liggins (2012). Weaseling and the Content of Science. Mind 121 (484):997-1005.
    I defend Joseph Melia’s nominalist account of mathematics from an objection raised by Mark Colyvan.
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  9. Chris Daly & David Liggins (2011). Deferentialism. Philosophical Studies 156 (3):321-337.
    There is a recent and growing trend in philosophy that involves deferring to the claims of certain disciplines outside of philosophy, such as mathematics, the natural sciences, and linguistics. According to this trend— deferentialism , as we will call it—certain disciplines outside of philosophy make claims that have a decisive bearing on philosophical disputes, where those claims are more epistemically justified than any philosophical considerations just because those claims are made by those disciplines. Deferentialists believe that certain longstanding philosophical problems (...)
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  10. Chris Daly & David Liggins (2010). In Defence of Error Theory. Philosophical Studies 149 (2):209-230.
    Many contemporary philosophers rate error theories poorly. We identify the arguments these philosophers invoke, and expose their deficiencies. We thereby show that the prospects for error theory have been systematically underestimated. By undermining general arguments against all error theories, we leave it open whether any more particular arguments against particular error theories are more successful. The merits of error theories need to be settled on a case-by-case basis: there is no good general argument against error theories.
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  11. Chris Daly & David Liggins (2010). Do Object-Dependent Properties Threaten Physicalism? Journal of Philosophy 107 (11):610-614.
  12. David Liggins (2010). Epistemological Objections to Platonism. Philosophy Compass 5 (1):67-77.
    Many philosophers posit abstract entities – where something is abstract if it is acausal and lacks spatio-temporal location. Theories, types, characteristics, meanings, values and responsibilities are all good candidates for abstractness. Such things raise an epistemological puzzle: if they are abstract, then how can we have any epistemic access to how they are? If they are invisible, intangible and never make anything happen, then how can we ever discover anything about them? In this article, I critically examine epistemological objections to (...)
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  13. David Liggins (2010). The Autism Objection to Pretence Theories. Philosophical Quarterly 60 (241):764-782.
    A pretence theory of a discourse is one which claims that we do not believe or assert the propositions expressed by the sentences we utter when taking part in the discourse: instead, we are speaking from within a pretence. Jason Stanley argues that if a pretence account of a discourse is correct, people with autism should be incapable of successful participation in it; but since people with autism are capable of participiating successfully in the discourses which pretence theorists aim to (...)
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  14. David Liggins (2008). Modal Fictionalism and Possible-Worlds Discourse. Philosophical Studies 138 (2):151-60.
    The Brock-Rosen problem has been one of the most thoroughly discussed objections to the modal fictionalism bruited in Gideon Rosen’s ‘Modal Fictionalism’. But there is a more fundamental problem with modal fictionalism, at least as it is normally explained: the position does not resolve the tension that motivated it. I argue that if we pay attention to a neglected aspect of modal fictionalism, we will see how to resolve this tension—and we will also find a persuasive reply to the Brock-Rosen (...)
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  15. David Liggins (2008). Nihilism Without Self-Contradiction. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62 (62):177-196.
    in Robin Le Poidevin (ed.) Being: Developments in Contemporary Metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Peter van Inwagen claims that there are no tables or chairs. He also claims that sentences such as ‘There are chairs here’, which seem to imply their existence, are often true. This combination of views opens van Inwagen to a charge of self-contradiction. I explain the charge, and van Inwagen’s response to it, which involves the claim that sentences like ‘There are tables’ shift their truth-conditions between (...)
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  16. David Liggins (2008). Quine, Putnam, and the 'Quine-Putnam' Indispensability Argument. Erkenntnis 68 (1):113 - 127.
    Much recent discussion in the philosophy of mathematics has concerned the indispensability argument—an argument which aims to establish the existence of abstract mathematical objects through appealing to the role that mathematics plays in empirical science. The indispensability argument is standardly attributed to W. V. Quine and Hilary Putnam. In this paper, I show that this attribution is mistaken. Quine's argument for the existence of abstract mathematical objects differs from the argument which many philosophers of mathematics ascribe to him. Contrary to (...)
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  17. David Liggins (2008). Truthmakers and the Groundedness of Truth. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (2):177-196.
    Truthmaker theorists claim that for every truth, there is something in virtue of which it is true—or, more cautiously, that for every truth in some specified class of truths, there is something in virtue of which it is true. I argue that it is hard to see how the thought that truth is grounded in reality lends any support to truthmaker theory.
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  18. David Liggins (2008). Tracking Reason: Proof, Consequence, and Truth - by Jody Azzouni. Philosophical Books 49 (2):156-157.
  19. D. Liggins (2007). Review: Bare Facts and Naked Truths: A New Correspondence Theory of Truth. [REVIEW] Mind 116 (463):746-749.
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  20. David Liggins (2007). Anti-Nominalism Reconsidered. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226):104–111.
    Many philosophers of mathematics are attracted by nominalism – the doctrine that there are no sets, numbers, functions, or other mathematical objects. John Burgess and Gideon Rosen have put forward an intriguing argument against nominalism, based on the thought that philosophy cannot overrule internal mathematical and scientific standards of acceptability. I argue that Burgess and Rosen’s argument fails because it relies on a mistaken view of what the standards of mathematics require.
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  21. David Liggins (2006). Is There a Good Epistemological Argument Against Platonism? Analysis 66 (290):135–141.
    Platonism in the philosophy of mathematics is the doctrine that there are mathematical objects such as numbers. John Burgess and Gideon Rosen have argued that that there is no good epistemological argument against platonism. They propose a dilemma, claiming that epistemological arguments against platonism either rely on a dubious epistemology, or resemble a dubious sceptical argument concerning perceptual knowledge. Against Burgess and Rosen, I show that an epistemological anti-platonist argument proposed by Hartry Field avoids both horns of their dilemma.
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  22. David Liggins (2005). Truthmakers and Explanation. In Helen Beebee & Julian Dodd (eds.), Truthmakers: The Contemporary Debate. Clarendon. 105--115.
    Truthmaker theory promises to do some useful philosophical work: equipping us to argue against phenomenalism and Rylean behaviourism, for instance, and helping us decide what exists (Lewis 1999, 207; Armstrong 1997, 113-119). But it has proved hard to formulate a truthmaker theory that is both useful and believable. I want to suggest that a neglected approach to truthmakers – that of Ian McFetridge – can surmount some of the problems that make other theories of truthmaking unattractive. To begin with, I’ll (...)
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  23. David Liggins (2003). On Being Twice as Heavy. Philosophia Mathematica 11 (2):203-7.
    This note considers a recent challenge to Field's nominalization programme due to Joseph Melia, who argues that Field's treatment of mass involves unacceptable ontological extravagance. I explain how Field can get around the difficulty by adding a new operator to his language. This tactic appears to threaten Field's argument against relationism about space; I argue, however, that this is not a genuine problem.
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