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David Barnett [26]David James Barnett [1]
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Profile: David James Barnett (Union College)
  1. David Barnett, Chitchat on Personal Identity.
    Jitney and her grown twin brother, Cletus, are cleaning out their mother’s attic. Cletus has found a photograph of a child with a squirrel in one hand, a meatball in the other, and a nametag that reads ‘Kid’. Cletus and Jitney mull over the photo from the comfort of two ragtag armchairs.
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  2. David Barnett, Nyu.
    Stephen Schiffer claims (in the present collection) that vagueness is essentially a psychological phenomenon. According to him, vagueness should not be explicated in terms of absent truth values or incurable ignorance—that is, as a semantic or an epistemic phenomenon—but rather in terms of a peculiar new type of propositional attitude. Schiffer introduces the notion of a vagueness-related partial belief and bases upon it both a novel analysis of the notion of a borderline case and a novel solution to the sorites (...)
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  3. David Barnett, On the Simplicity of Mental Beings.
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  4. David Barnett, On the Very Possibility of Indeterminacy.
    Intuitively, an issue is indeterminate just in case it is unsettled, not merely epistemically, but metaphysically. We ordinarily ascribe indeterminacy by saying that there is no fact of the matter. We say for instance that there is no fact of the matter how many mountains exist. The topographical facts appear to settle that there are some mountains, but not how many.
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  5. David Barnett, This Wooden Table Could Have Been Made From Plastic.
    In defense of de re necessity, Saul Kripke proposes that a material object could not have originated in a substance different in kind from the substance in which it actually originated. I give a counterexample to this proposal.
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  6. David Barnett, Vagueness and Rationality.
    The two standard theories of vagueness—vagueness-as-ignorance and vagueness-asindeterminacy—agree on the following principle: if you are certain that it is clearly vague whether p, then you clearly should not believe p and you clearly should not believe not-p. I argue against the principle, and thus against the two standard theories. I offer an explanation of the initial appeal of the principle. And I show how a rival principle helps to better explain a recalcitrant trio of widely accepted data.
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  7. David Barnett (2013). Vague Entailment. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2):325 - 335.
    On the dominant view of vagueness, if it is vague whether Harry is bald, then all the specific facts about the distribution of hair on Harry's head, together with all the facts about Harry's comparison class, together with all the facts about our community-wide use of the word ?bald?, fail to settle whether Harry is bald. On the dominant view, if it is vague whether Harry is bald, then nothing settles whether Harry is bald?it is unsettled, not merely epistemically, but (...)
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  8. David James Barnett (2013). What's the Matter with Epistemic Circularity? Philosophical Studies:1-29.
    If the reliability of a source of testimony is open to question, it seems epistemically illegitimate to verify the source’s reliability by appealing to that source’s own testimony. Is this because it is illegitimate to trust a questionable source’s testimony on any matter whatsoever? Or is there a distinctive problem with appealing to the source’s testimony on the matter of that source’s own reliability? After distinguishing between two kinds of epistemically illegitimate circularity—bootstrapping and self-verification—I argue for a qualified version of (...)
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  9. David Barnett (2012). Counterfactual Entailment. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (1pt1):73-97.
    Counterfactual Entailment is the view that a counterfactual conditional is true just in case its antecedent entails its consequent. I present an argument for Counterfactual Entailment, and I develop a strategy for explaining away apparent counterexamples to the view. The strategy appeals to the suppositional view of counterfactuals, on which a counterfactual is essentially a statement, made relative to the supposition of its antecedent, of its consequent.
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  10. David Barnett (2012). Future Conditionals and DeRose's Thesis. Mind 121 (482):407-442.
    In deciding whether to read this paper, it might seem reasonable for you to base your decision on your confidence (i) that, if you read this paper, you will become a better person. It might also seem reasonable for you to base your decision on your confidence (ii) that, if you were to read this paper, you would become a better person. Is there a difference between (i) and (ii)? If so, are you rationally required to base your decision on (...)
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  11. David Barnett (2011). Does Vagueness Exclude Knowledge? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):22 - 45.
    On two standard views of vagueness, vagueness as to whether Harry is bald entails that nobody knows whether Harry is bald—either because vagueness is a type of missing truth, and so there is nothing to know, or because vagueness is a type of ignorance, and so even though there is a truth of the matter, nobody can know what that truth is. Vagueness as to whether Harry is bald does entail that nobody clearly knows that Harry is bald and that (...)
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  12. David Barnett (2010). On the Significance of Some Intuitions About the Mind. In Robert C. Koons & George Bealer (eds.), The Waning of Materialism. Oup Oxford.
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  13. David Barnett (2010). You Are Simple. In Robert C. Koons & George Bealer (eds.), The Waning of Materialism. Oxford University Press. 161--174.
    I argue that, unlike your brain, you are not composed of other things: you are simple. My argument centers on what I take to be an uncontroversial datum: for any pair of conscious beings, it is impossible for the pair itself to be conscious. Consider, for instance, the pair comprising you and me. You might pinch your arm and feel a pain. I might simultaneously pinch my arm and feel a qualitatively identical pain. But the pair we form would not (...)
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  14. David Barnett (2010). Zif Would Have Been If: A Suppositional View of Counterfactuals. Noûs 44 (2):269-304.
    Let us call a statement of the form ‘If A was, is, or will be the case, then C was, is, or will be the case’ an indicative conditional. And let us call a statement of the form ‘If A had been, were, or were to be the case, then C would have been, would be, or would come to be the case’ a subjunctive, or counterfactual, conditional.
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  15. David Barnett, Carol Christian, Richard Hughes & Rocky Wallace (2010). Privileged Thinking in Today's Schools: The Implications for Social Justice. R&L Education.
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  16. David Barnett (2009). Is Vagueness Sui Generis ? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):5 – 34.
    On the dominant view of vagueness, if it is vague whether Harry is bald, then it is unsettled, not merely epistemically, but metaphysically, whether Harry is bald. In other words, vagueness is a type of indeterminacy. On the standard alternative, vagueness is a type of ignorance: if it is vague whether Harry is bald, then, even though it is metaphysically settled whether Harry is bald, we cannot know whether Harry is bald. On my view, vagueness is neither a type of (...)
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  17. David Barnett (2009). The Myth of the Categorical Counterfactual. Philosophical Studies 144 (2):281 - 296.
    I aim to show that standard theories of counterfactuals are mistaken, not in detail, but in principle, and I aim to say what form a tenable theory must take. Standard theories entail a categorical interpretation of counterfactuals, on which to state that, if it were that A, it would be that C is to state something, not relative to any supposition or hypothesis, but categorically. On the rival suppositional interpretation, to state that, if it were that A, it would be (...)
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  18. David Barnett (2009). Yalcin on 'Might'. Mind 118 (471):771 - 775.
    On one view about the word 'might', to say, sincerely and literally, that it might be that S is to say something about one's epistemic state (and perhaps also about the epistemic states of those around one). For convenience, I will call this the natural view about 'might' On one version of the natural view, to say that it might be that S is to say that what one is certain of is consistent with the proposition that S. Seth Yalcin (...)
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  19. David Barnett (2008). Indeterminacy and Incomplete Definitions. Journal of Philosophy 105 (4):167-191.
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  20. David Barnett (2008). Ramsey + Moore ≠ God. Analysis 68 (2):168 - 174.
    Frank Ramsey writes: If two people are arguing ‘if p will q?’ and both are in doubt as to p, they are adding p hypothetically to their stock of knowledge and arguing on that basis about q. We can say that they are fixing their degrees of belief in q given p. (1931) Chalmers and Hájek write: Let us take the first sentence [of Ramsey] the way it is often taken, as proposing the following test for the acceptability of an (...)
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  21. David Barnett (2008). The Simplicity Intuition and Its Hidden Influence on Philosophy of Mind. Noûs 42 (2):308 - 335.
    Huxley’s Explanatory Gap: There can be no explanation of how states of consciousness arise from interaction among a collection of physical things.
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  22. David Barnett (2006). Zif is If. Mind 115 (459):519-566.
    A conditional takes the form ‘If A, then C’. On the truth-conditional view of conditionals, conditional statements state things with truth-conditions. On the suppositional view, conditional statements involve the expression of a supposition. I develop and defend a view on which conditional statements both state things with truth-conditions and express suppositions. On this view, something is fundamentally right about standard truth-conditional and standard suppositional views. Considerations in favor of conditional contents lead us to attribute truth-conditional contents to conditional statements; considerations (...)
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  23. David Barnett (2005). The Problem of Material Origins. Noûs 39 (3):529–540.
    Saul Kripke has convinced many of us that material things have their material origins essentially. Plutarch, through his Ship of Theseus story, has convinced many of us that material things can sometimes survive gradual replacements of their material parts, that they are materially nonrigid. By way of a series of counterexamples, I will argue that any attempt to specify what in particular is essential about material origins will founder on the phenomenon of material non-rigidity.
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  24. David Barnett (2004). Some Stuffs Are Not Sums of Stuff. Philosophical Review 113 (1):89-100.
    Milk, sand, plastic, uranium, wood, carbon, and oil are kinds of stuff. The sand in Hawaii, the uranium in North Korea, and the oil in Iraq are portions of stuff. Not everyone believes in portions of stuff.1 Those who do are likely to agree that, whatever their more specific natures, portions of stuff can at least be identified with mereological sums of their subportions.2 It seems after all trivial that a given portion of stuff just is all of its subportions (...)
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  25. David Barnett (2002). Against a Posteriori Moral Naturalism. Philosophical Studies 107 (3):239 - 257.
    A posteriori Moral Naturalism posits a posteriorimoral/naturalistic identities. Versions of this view thatposit necessary identities purport to rely on theKripke/Putnam doctrine of scientific essentialism.Versions that posit only contingent identities requirethat moral terms are non-rigid designators. I argue thatmetaethics does not fall within the scope of scientificessentialism and that moral terms are not non-rigid designators.
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  26. David Barnett (2000). Is Water Necessarily Identical to H2O? Philosophical Studies 98 (1):99-112.
    The “scientific essentialist” doctrine asserts that the following are examples of a posteriori necessary identities: water is H2O; gold is the element with atomic number 79; and heat is the motion of molecules. Evidence in support of this assertion, however, is difficult to find. Both Hilary Putnam and Saul Kripke have argued convincingly for the existence of a posteriori necessities. Furthermore, Kripke has argued for the existence of a posteriori necessary identities in regard to a particular class of statements involving (...)
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  27. David Barnett (2000). Vagueness-Related Attitudes. Noûs 34 (s1):302 - 320.
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