Exemplification can be found in ontologies from the ancient world, such as those of Plato and Aristotle, and more recent ontologies, in particular those that take what exists to be determined by the empiricist’s Principle of Acquaintance. This study examines some of the ways in which exemplification takes different forms in these different ontologies. Exemplification has also been criticized as an ontological category. This paper examines a number of these criticisms, to see the extent to which they are viable.
It has been argued that Hume's account of testimony is seriously inadequate: an autonomous knower of the sort Hume defends cannot, through simple inductive methods, justify accepting another's testimony as true. This conclusion is no doubt correct. But Hume does not defend the idea of an autonomous knower, nor does he defend relying upon simple inductive methods. An examination of Hume's critique of Descartes’ method of doubt shows him as a defender of what might be called the responsible knower, and (...) reveals the sophistication of the inductive methods he wishes to defend. It is shown that Hume can and does use these methods to justify accepting the testimony of others. (shrink)
It has been argued that strikes are morally objectionable in the university context. They injure third parties – the students – and for this reason ought to be rejected. More generally, the strike weapon has led to a reduction of the power of Boards of Governors to adjust universities to changing times. And furthermore, the use of the strike weapon and the ensuing conflicts can injure the collegial form of governance that is essential to higher education. It is here argued (...) that these arguments are hardly conclusive, and that there are virtues to having the strike as a means to resolve disputes. But keeping things on track requires both parties to adhere to the moral and social virtue of civility. (shrink)
Abstract W. E. Johnson argued that by taking into account both the epistemic and constitutive conditions for using arguments in inferences one could dissolve the paradoxes of material implication. This essay argues that the same sort of consideration can be used to dissolve the paradox of ravens in confirmation theory. It is argued in particular, and in agreement with certain points raised by the Popperians, that those instances of a generalization which are verifying but apparently not confirming cannot raise the (...) posterior of that generalization. (shrink)
In a crucial passage in the Treatise, Hume argues that all our sense impressions are dependent for their existence upon the state of our sense organs. Hume points out that this is not the same as an ontological dependence upon minds; and moreover the argument is clearly causal. Hume uses it to establish the system of the philosophers as opposed to the system of the vulgar. This paper argues that Hume’s case parallels that which, in this century, the critical realists (...) made against the new realists. Consequently, it is also argued, Hume is best construed, in this passage at least, as defending critical realism, rather than, as many critics contend, a version of subjectivistic scepticism. (shrink)
Addis (1981) has criticized a proposal of ours (Wilson [1969b]) for analysing disposition predications in terns of the horseshoe of material implication, and has proposed a related but significantly different analysis. This paper restates the original proposal, and defends it against Addis's criticisms. It is further argued that his proposal will not do as a general account of disposition predications; that, however, if it is suitably qualified, then it does account for certain special sorts of disposition predication; but that so (...) understood, it can be seen to be but a special case of ours. (shrink)
If one proposes to analyze dispositions by means of statements involving only the 'if-then' of material implication--that is, for example, to define 'x is soluble' by means of 'x is in water ⊃ x dissolves'--then one faces the problem first raised by Carnap, the match which is never put in water and which therefore turns out to be not only soluble but also both soluble and insoluble. I have elsewhere argued that if one refers to appropriate laws, then one can (...) provide an account of disposition predication that solves Carnap's problem while requiring no sense of 'if-then' other than that of material implication. Harre and Madden have argued that a variant of this proposal--one in which the relevant law is restricted to one that relates the disposition to internal structures--is more adequate. It is argued that the proposal of Harre and Madden is in fact not adequate. It leads to an implausible infinite regress of dispositions and ever finer internal structures, which Harre and Madden avoid only by introducing "Parmenidean individuals." The examples they give turn out to involve dispositions not grounded in internal structures, and so support our analysis; while the explicit description of such individuals by Harre and Madden involves the incoherent idea that two individuals can share all categorical properties while differing in their dispositions. The position of Harre and Madden thus turns out to be equivalent to ours or to be incoherent. (shrink)
This paper argues that, contrary to most interpretations, e.g., those of Reid, Popkin and Passmore, Hume is not a sceptic with regard to reason. The argument of Treatise I, IV. i, of course, has a sceptical conclusion with regard to reason, and a somewhat similar point is made by Cleanthes in the Dialogues. This paper argues that the argument of Treatise I, IV. i is parallel to similar arguments in Bentham and Laplace. The latter are, as far as they go, (...) sound, and so is Hume’s. But the limitations of all mean that they cannot sustain a general argument against reason. Hume the historian is quite aware of these limitations. So is Hume the philosopher. A careful examination of the other references in the Treatise to the argument of I, IV. i reveals that Hume not only rejects but constructs a sound case against accepting the sceptical conclusion, arguing that reason can indeed show the sceptic’s argument to be unreasonable. A close reading of the Dialogues shows that Hume there also draws the same conclusion. The thrust of the paper is to go some way towards showing that it is a myth that Hume is a pyrrhonian sceptic. (shrink)