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Jenann Ismael [31]J. T. Ismael [3]J. Ismael [2]
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Profile: Jenann Ismael (University of Arizona)
  1. Jenann Ismael, Being Somewhere.
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  2. Jenann Ismael, Causation, Perspective and Agency.
    Philosophers of mind tend to take it for granted that causal relations are part of the mind-independent, objective fabric of the physical world. In fact, their status has been hotly contested since Russell famously observed that the closest thing to causal relations in physics are timesymmetric dynamical laws relating global time slices of world-history. 1 These bear a distant relationship to the local, asymmetric relations that form the core of the folk notion of cause. Nancy Cartwright, in an influential response, (...)
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  3. Jenann Ismael, Probability in Classical Physics: The Fundamental Measure.
  4. Jenann Ismael, Death.
    Denial of death We don’t like to think about our deaths, and there are cultural developments – social, technological, economic – that make it easier than ever before to live without constant reminders of our mortality. We hide the evidence of death. We live separately from our old people, and quarantine the dying in hospitals and hospices. It’s impolite to mention death in conversation. We view death not as natural and inevitable stage of life, but as a calamity, a mistake, (...)
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  5. Jenann Ismael, Memory.
    In the general project of trying to reconcile the subjective view of the world (how things seem from the perspective of the embedded agent) with the objective view (the view of the world from the outside, as represented, for example, in our best physics), analytic philosophy, especially in recent years, has been almost solely focused on sensory phenomenology.1 There are two very salient features of the subjective view that haven’t been explored even on the descriptive side but that present prima (...)
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  6. Jenann Ismael, “Me, Again”.
    Descartes begins his discussion in the Meditations with the question ‘what am I?’ and concludes, famously, that he is a non-material substance. His reasoning turns on the thesis that nothing can be true of his..
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  7. Jenann Ismael & John L. Pollock, So You Think You Exist? — In Defense of Nolipsism.
    Human beings think of themselves in terms of a privileged non-descriptive designator — a mental “I”. Such thoughts are called “de se” thoughts. The mind/body problem is the problem of deciding what kind of thing I am, and it can be regarded as arising from the fact that we think of ourselves non-descriptively. Why do we think of ourselves in this way? We investigate the functional role of “I” (and also “here” and “now”) in cognition, arguing that the use of (...)
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  8. Jenann Ismael, Quantum Probability: Chance.
  9. Jenann Ismael (forthcoming). Freedom and Determinism. Philosophical Explorations.
    Any person truly considering belief in a scientific world view has to confront the question of whether and in what sense, if she views herself as a natural system in a world governed by natural laws, she can continue to regard herself as free. The prima facie clash is usually expressed in terms of a conflict between freedom and determinism, captured in an argument known as the Consequence Argument. If the natural laws are deterministic, our behavior must be deducible by (...)
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  10. J. T. Ismael (2013). In Defense of IP: A Response to Pettigrew. Noûs 48 (4):n/a-n/a.
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  11. Jenann Ismael (2013). Essays on Symmetry. Routledge.
    Drawing from physics and philosophical debates, Ismael combines a set of essays on the time worn debate of symmetry from both fields.
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  12. J. Ismael (2011). A Modest Proposal About Chance. Journal of Philosophy 108 (8):416-442.
    First para: Before the 17th century, there was not much discussion, and little uniformity in conception, of natural laws. The rise of science in 17th century, Newton’s mathematization of physics, and the provision of strict, deterministic laws that applied equally to the heavens and to the terrestrial realm had a profound impact in transforming the philosophical imagination. A philosophical conception of physical law built on the example of Newtonian Mechanics became quickly entrenched. Between the 17th and 20th centuries, there was (...)
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  13. J. T. Ismael (2011). Self-Organization and Self-Governance. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 41 (3):327-351.
    The intuitive difference between a system that choreographs the motion of its parts in the service of goals of its own formulation and a system composed of a collection of parts doing their own thing without coordination has been shaken by now familiar examples of self-organization. There is a broad and growing presumption in parts of philosophy and across the sciences that the appearance of centralized information-processing and control in the service of system-wide goals is mere appearance, i.e., an explanatory (...)
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  14. Jenann Ismael (2011). Précis of The Situated Self. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (3):733-758.
    The riddle posed by the double nature of the ego certainly lies beyond [the limits of science]. On the one hand, I am a real individual man, born by a mother and destined to carrying out real and psychical acts (far too many, I may think, if boarding a subway during an hour). On the other hand, I am “vision” open to reason, a self-penetrating light, immanent sense-giving consciousness, or how ever you may call it, and as such unique. (Weyl, (...)
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  15. Jenann Ismael (2011). Reflexivity, Fixed Points, and Semantic Descent; How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Reflexivity. Acta Analytica 26 (4):295-310.
    For most of the major philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, human cognition was understood as involving the mind’s reflexive grasp of its own contents. But other important figures have described the very idea of a reflexive thought as incoherent. Ryle notably likened the idea of a reflexive thought to an arm that grasps itself. Recent work in philosophy, psychology, and the cognitive sciences has greatly clarified the special epistemic and semantic properties of reflexive thought. This article is an (...)
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  16. Jenann Ismael (2011). Responses to Symposiasts. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (3):780-787.
  17. Jenann Ismael (2011). Temporal Experience. In Craig Callender (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Time. Oup Oxford.
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  18. Jenann Ismael (2010). Me, Again. In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.), Time and Identity. Mit Press.
    Thought about the self raises some very special problems. Some of these concern indexical reference quite generally, but there is one having to do with identity over time that seems to be unique to the self. I use an historical exchange between Anscombe and Descartes to bring out the problem, and propose a resolution that casts light both on why self-directed thought presents a unique epistemic predicament and where Descartes’ cogito may have gone wrong.
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  19. Jenann Ismael (2010). 10 Me, Again. In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.), Time and Identity. Mit Press. 209.
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  20. J. T. Ismael (2009). Probability in Deterministic Physics. Journal of Philosophy 106 (2):89-108.
    The role of probability is one of the most contested issues in the interpretation of contemporary physics. In this paper, I’ll be reevaluating some widely held assumptions about where and how probabilities arise. Larry Sklar voices the conventional wisdom about probability in classical physics in a piece in the Stanford Online Encyclopedia of Philosophy, when he writes that “Statistical mechanics was the first foundational physical theory in which probabilistic concepts and probabilistic explanation played a fundamental role.” And the conventional wisdom (...)
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  21. Jenann Ismael (2009). Probability in Deterministic Physics. Journal of Philosophy 106 (2):89-108.
    The role of probability is one of the most contested issues in the interpretation of contemporary physics. In this paper, I’ll be reevaluating some widely held assumptions about where and how probabilities arise. Larry Sklar voices the conventional wisdom about probability in classical physics in a piece in the Stanford Online Encyclopedia of Philosophy, when he writes that “Statistical mechanics was the first foundational physical theory in which probabilistic concepts and probabilistic explanation played a fundamental role.” And the conventional wisdom (...)
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  22. Jenann Ismael, Quantum Mechanics. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Quantum mechanics is, at least at first glance and at least in part, a mathematical machine for predicting the behaviors of microscopic particles — or, at least, of the measuring instruments we use to explore those behaviors — and in that capacity, it is spectacularly successful: in terms of power and precision, head and shoulders above any theory we have ever had. Mathematically, the theory is well understood; we know what its parts are, how they are put together, and why, (...)
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  23. Jenann Ismael (2008). Raid! Dissolving the Big, Bad Bug. Noûs 42 (2):292–307.
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  24. Ian Evans, Don Fallis, Peter Gross, Terry Horgan, Jenann Ismael, John Pollock, Paul D. Thorn, Jacob N. Caton, Adam Arico, Daniel Sanderman, Orlin Vakerelov, Nathan Ballantyne, Matthew S. Bedke, Brian Fiala & Martin Fricke (2007). An Objectivist Argument for Thirdism. Analysis 68.
    Bayesians take “definite” or “single-case” probabilities to be basic. Definite probabilities attach to closed formulas or propositions. We write them here using small caps: PROB(P) and PROB(P/Q). Most objective probability theories begin instead with “indefinite” or “general” probabilities (sometimes called “statistical probabilities”). Indefinite probabilities attach to open formulas or propositions. We write indefinite probabilities using lower case “prob” and free variables: prob(Bx/Ax). The indefinite probability of an A being a B is not about any particular A, but rather about the (...)
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  25. Jenann Ismael (2007). The Situated Self. Oxford University Press.
    J. T. Ismael's monograph is an ambitious contribution to metaphysics and the philosophy of language and mind. She tackles a philosophical question whose origin goes back to Descartes: What am I? The self is not a mere thing among things--but if so, what is it, and what is its relationship to the world? Ismael is an original and creative thinker who tries to understand our problematic concepts about the self and how they are related to our use of language in (...)
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  26. Jenann Ismael (2006). Doublemindedness: A Model for a Dual Content Cognitive Architecture. Psyche 12 (2).
    The outstanding stumbling blocks to any reductive account of phenomenal consciousness remain the subjectivity of phenomenal properties and cognitive and epistemic gaps that plague the relationship between physical and phenomenal properties. I suggest that a deflationary interpretation of both is available to defenders of self- representational accounts.
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  27. Jenann Ismael (2006). Saving the Baby: Dennett on Autobiography, Agency, and the Self. Philosophical Psychology 19 (3):345-360.
    Dennett argues that the decentralized view of human cognitive organization finding increasing support in parts of cognitive science undermines talk of an inner self. On his view, the causal underpinnings of behavior are distributed across a collection of autonomous subsystems operating without any centralized supervision. Selves are fictions contrived to simplify description and facilitate prediction of behavior with no real correlate inside the mind. Dennett often uses an analogy with termite colonies whose behavior looks organized and purposeful to the external (...)
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  28. John L. Pollock & Jenann Ismael (2006). So You Think You Exist? — In Defense of Nolipsism. In Thomas M. Crisp, Matthew Davidson & David Vander Laan (eds.), Knowledge and Reality: Essays in Honor of Alvin Plantinga. Springer.
    Human beings think of themselves in terms of a privileged non-descriptive designator — a mental “I”. Such thoughts are called “_de se_” thoughts. The mind/body problem is the problem of deciding what kind of thing I am, and it can be regarded as arising from the fact that we think of ourselves non-descriptively. Why do we think of ourselves in this way? We investigate the functional role of “I” (and also “here” and “now”) in cognition, arguing that the use of (...)
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  29. J. Ismael (2003). Closed Causal Loops and the Bilking Argument. Synthese 136 (3):305 - 320.
    The most potentially powerful objection to the possibility oftime travel stems from the fact that it can, under the right conditions, give rise to closedcausal loops, and closed causal loops can be turned into self-defeating causal chains;folks killing their infant selves, setting out to destroy the world before they were born,and the like. It used to be thought that such chains present paradoxes; the receivedwisdom nowadays is that they give rise to physical anomalies in the form of inexplicably correlated events. (...)
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  30. Jenann Ismael (2003). How to Combine Chance and Determinism: Thinking About the Future in an Everett Universe. Philosophy of Science 70 (4):776-790.
    I propose, in the context of Everett interpretations of quantum mechanics, a way of understanding how there can be genuine uncertainty about the future notwithstanding that the universe is governed by known, deterministic dynamical laws, and notwithstanding that there is no ignorance about initial conditions, nor anything in the universe whose evolution is not itself governed by the known dynamical laws. The proposal allows us to draw some lessons about the relationship between chance and determinism, and to dispel one source (...)
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  31. Jenann Ismael & Bas C. van~Fraassen (2003). Symmetry as a Guide to Superfluous Theoretical Structure. In Katherine Brading & Elena Castellani (eds.), Symmetries in Physics: Philosophical Reflections. Cambridge University Press. 371--92.
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  32. Jenann Ismael (2002). Rememberances, Mementos, and Time-Capsules. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 50:317-.
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  33. Jenann Ismael (1999). Science and the Phenomenal. Philosophy of Science 66 (3):351-69.
    The Hard Problem of the mind is addressed and it is argued that physical-phenomenal property identities have the same status as the identification of an ostended bit of physical space and the coordinates assigned the spot on a map of the terrain. It is argued, that is to say, that such identities are, or follow from, stipulations which interpret the map.
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  34. Jenann Ismael (1997). Curie's Principle. Synthese 110 (2):167-190.
    A reading is given of Curie''s Principle that the symmetry of a cause is always preserved its effects. The truth of the principle is demonstrated and its importance, under the proposed reading, is defended.As far as I see, all a priori statements in physics have their origin in symmetry. (Weyl, Symmetry, p. 126).
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  35. Jenann Ismael (1996). What Chances Could Not Be. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 47 (1):79-91.
    The chance of a physical event is the objective, single-case probability that it will occur. In probabilistic physical theories like quantum mechanics, the chances of physical events play the formal role that the values of physical quantities play in classical (deterministic) physics, and there is a temptation to regard them on the model of the latter as describing intrinsic properties of the systems to which they are assigned. I argue that this understanding of chances in quantum mechanics, despite being a (...)
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  36. Jenann Ismael, Raid! The Big, Bad Bug Dissolved.
    There’s a long history of discussion of probability in philosophy, but objective chance separated itself off and came into its own as a topic with the advent of a physical theory - quantum mechanics - in which chances play a central, and apparently ineliminable, role. In 1980 David Lewis wrote a paper pointing out that a very broad class of accounts of the nature of chance apparently lead to a contradiction when combined with a principle that expresses the role of (...)
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