One of the advantages of my account in the essay “Instantiation as Partial Identity” was capturing the contingency of instantiation—something David Armstrong gave up in his experiment with a similar view. What made the contingency possible for me was my own non-standard account of identity, complete with the apparatus of counts and aspects. The need remains to lift some obscurity from the account in order to display its virtues to greater advantage. To that end, I propose to respond to those (...) who have grappled with it in print. There are various criticisms by commentators: that it is rendered absurd by the transitivity of identity, that it makes instantiation necessary instead of contingent, that it is unclear what counts are, that aspects are simply tropes, that my view does not capture multiple location, that I make an unclear reference to a theory of composition as identity, that the account suffers from problems with polyadicity, and that it is not a realist account of universals after all. I give responses to these objections. (shrink)
Donald L. M. Baxter’s meticulous attention to textual detail yields a highly original interpretation of some of the most neglected or maligned parts of Hume’s Treatise. The book will be useful to those interested in the metaphysics of identity and time, and the epistemology of metaphysics, and will be indispensable to Hume scholars, who have lacked an in-depth treatment of these crucial and intricate issues.
The divide between oneself and others has made altruism seem irrational to some thinkers, as Sidgwick points out. I use characterizations of grief, especially by St. Augustine, to question the divide, and use a composition-as-identity metaphysics of parts and wholes to make literal sense of those characterizations.
Hume argues that the idea of duration is just the idea of the manner in which several things in succession are arrayed. In other words, the idea of duration is the idea of successiveness. He concludes that all and only successions have duration. Hume also argues that there is such a thing as a steadfast object—something which co-exists with many things in succession, but which is not itself a succession. Thus, it seems that Hume has committed himself to a contradiction: (...) A steadfast object lacks duration because it is not a succession, but has duration because it co-exists with something which has duration. I am not going to discuss why Hume thinks these things. My goal is simply to show that what he thinks is consistent. To do so, I will offer a Humean temporal logic. (shrink)
I argue via examples that there are cases in which things that are not two distinct things qualitatively differ without contradiction. In other words, there are cases in which something differs from itself. Standard responses to such cases are to divide the thing into distinct parts, or to conceive of the thing under different descriptions, or to appeal to different times, or to deny that the property had is the property lacked. I show these responses to be unsatisfactory. I then (...) gather and systematize available ways of talking about such cases with phrases like ‘insofar as’ , ‘qua’ , ‘to the extent that’, ‘in some respect’, etc., while paying special attention to the scope of ‘not’ when used with these phrases. This allows me to show how we can speak of self-differing without contradiction. (shrink)
Berkeley and Hume object to Locke's account of abstraction. Abstraction is separating in the mind what cannot be separated in reality. Their objection is that if a is inseparable in reality from b, then the idea of a is inseparable from the idea of b. The former inseparability is the reason for the latter. In most interpretations, however, commentators leave the former unexplained in explaining the latter. This article assumes that Berkeley and Hume present a unified front against Locke. Hume (...) supplements Berkeley's argument just where there are gaps. In particular, Hume makes explicit something Berkeley leaves implicit: The argument against Locke depends on the principle that things are inseparable if and only if they are identical. Abstraction is thinking of one of an inseparable pair while not thinking of the other. But doing so entails thinking of something while not thinking of it. This is the fundamental objection. (shrink)