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  1. J. R. G. Williams, Counterepistemic Indicative Conditionals and Probability.
    Two major themes in the literature on indicative conditionals are (1) that the content of indicative conditionals typically depends on what is known;1 (2) that conditionals are intimately related to conditional probabilities.2 In possible world semantics for counterfactual conditionals, a standard assumption is that conditionals whose antecedents are metaphysically impossible are vacuously true.3 This aspect has recently been brought to the fore, and defended by Tim Williamson, who uses it in to characterize alethic necessity by exploiting such equivalences as: A⇔¬A (...)
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  2. J. R. G. Williams, Lewis on Reference and Eligibility.
    This paper outlines Lewis’s favoured foundational account of linguistic representation, and outlines and briefly evaluates variations and modifications. Section 1 gives an opinionated exegesis of Lewis’ work on the foundations of reference—his interpretationism. I look at the way that the metaphysical distinction between natural and non-natural properties came to play a central role in his thinking about language. Lewis’s own deployment of this notion has implausible commitments, so in section 2 I consider variations and alternatives. Section 3 briefly considers a (...)
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  3. J. R. G. Williams, Reference Magnetism and the Reduction of Reference.
    Some things, argues Lewis, are just better candidates to be referents than others. Even at the cost of attributing false beliefs, we interpret people as referring to the most interesting kinds in their vicinity. How should this be accounted for? In section 1, I look at Lewis’s interpretationism, and the reference magnetism it builds in (not just for ‘perfectly natural’ properties, but for certain kinds of auxiliary apparatus). In section 2, I draw on (Field, 1975) to argue that what properties (...)
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  4. J. R. G. Williams, Vagueness.
    Taking away grains from a heap of rice, at what point is there no longer a heap? It seems small changes – removing a single grain – can’t make a difference to whether or not something is a heap; but big changes obviously do. How can this be, since big changes are nothing but small changes chained together?
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  5. J. R. G. Williams (2012). Gradational Accuracy and Nonclassical Semantics. Review of Symbolic Logic 5 (4):513-537.
    Joyce (1998) gives an argument for probabilism: the doctrine that rational credences should conform to the axioms of probability. In doing so, he provides a distinctive take on how the normative force of probabilism relates to the injunction to believe what is true. But Joyce presupposes that the truth values of the propositions over which credences are defined are classical. I generalize the core of Joyce’s argument to remove this presupposition. On the same assumptions as Joyce uses, the credences of (...)
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  6. J. R. G. Williams (2012). Indeterminacy and Normative Silence. Analysis 72 (2):217-225.
    This paper examines two puzzles of indeterminacy. The first puzzle concerns the hypothesis that there is a unified phenomenon of indeterminacy. How are we to reconcile this with the apparent diversity of reactions that indeterminacy prompts? The second puzzle focuses narrowly on borderline cases of vague predicates. How are we to account for the lack of theoretical consensus about what the proper reaction to borderline cases is? I suggest (building on work by Maudlin) that the characteristic feature of indeterminacy is (...)
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  7. J. R. G. Williams (2012). Vagueness and Degrees of Truth, by Nicholas J. J. Smith. Mind 120 (480):1297-1305.
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  8. J. R. G. Williams (2010). Fundamental and Derivative Truths. Mind 119 (473):103 - 141.
    This article investigates the claim that some truths are fundamentally or really true — and that other truths are not. Such a distinction can help us reconcile radically minimal metaphysical views with the verities of common sense. I develop an understanding of the distinction whereby Fundamentality is not itself a metaphysical distinction, but rather a device that must be presupposed to express metaphysical distinctions. Drawing on recent work by Rayo on anti-Quinean theories of ontological commitments, I formulate a rigourous theory (...)
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  9. Elizabeth Barnes & J. R. G. Williams (2009). Vague Parts and Vague Identity. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 90 (2):176-187.
    We discuss arguments against the thesis that the world itself can be vague. The first section of the paper distinguishes dialectically effective from ineffective arguments against metaphysical vagueness. The second section constructs an argument against metaphysical vagueness that promises to be of the dialectically effective sort: an argument against objects with vague parts. Firstly, cases of vague parthood commit one to cases of vague identity. But we argue that Evans' famous argument against will not on its own enable one to (...)
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  10. J. R. G. Williams (2009). Vagueness, Conditionals and Probability. Erkenntnis 70 (2):151 - 171.
    This paper explores the interaction of well-motivated (if controversial) principles governing the probability conditionals, with accounts of what it is for a sentence to be indefinite. The conclusion can be played in a variety of ways. It could be regarded as a new reason to be suspicious of the intuitive data about the probability of conditionals; or, holding fixed the data, it could be used to give traction on the philosophical analysis of a contentious notion—indefiniteness. The paper outlines the various (...)
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  11. J. R. G. Williams (2008). Multiple Actualities and Ontically Vague Identity. Philosophical Quarterly 58 (230):134 - 154.
    Although the Evans argument against vague identity has been much discussed, proposah for blocking it have not so far satisfied general conditions which any solution ought to meet. Moreover, the relation between ontically vague identity and ontic vagueness more generally has not yet been satisfactorily addressed. I advocate a way of resisting the Evans argument which satisfies the conditions. To show how this approach can vindicate particular cases of ontically vague identity, I develop a framework for describing ontic vagueness in (...)
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  12. J. R. G. Williams (2008). Supervaluationism and Logical Revisionism. Journal of Philosophy 105 (4):192-212.
    In the literature on supervaluationism, a central source of concern has been the acceptability, or otherwise, of its alleged logical revisionism. I attack the presupposition of this debate: arguing that when properly construed, there is no sense in which supervaluational consequence is revisionary. I provide new considerations supporting the claim that the supervaluational consequence should be characterized in a ‘global’ way. But pace Williamson (1994) and Keefe (2000), I argue that supervaluationism does not give rise to counterexamples to familiar inference-patterns (...)
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  13. J. R. G. Williams (2008). The Price of Inscrutability. Noûs 42 (4):600 - 641.
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  14. J. R. G. Williams (2006). Illusions of Gunk. Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):493–513.
    Worlds where things divide forever ("gunk" worlds) are apparently conceivable. The conceivability of such scenarios has been used as an argument against "nihilist" or "near-nihilist" answers to the special composition question. I argue that the mereological nihilist has the resources to explain away the illusion that gunk is possible.
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