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Profile: Josh Parsons (University of Otago, Oxford University)
Profile: Josh Parsons
  1. Josh Parsons, The Shapes of Incongruent Counterparts.
    Paper begins: I have two gloves, a left glove and a right glove. I can fit the left glove onto my left hand, but not the right glove. Why? Because the right glove is the wrong shape to go on my left hand. So the two gloves are different shapes….
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  2. Josh Parsons, A Phenomenological Argument for Stage Theory.
    Stage theory holds that the objects of ordinary discourse are instantaneous stages of four-dimensionally extended objects. This view contrasts with worm theory, according to which the objects of ordinary discourse are themselves four-dimensionally extended. This paper presents an argument that the way we experience time is more consistent with our being instantaneous objects than with our being temporally extended throughout our entire lifetimes. By argument to the best explanation therefore, experiencing subjects – persons – are stages; since persons are among (...)
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  3. Josh Parsons, Entension, Or.
    Normally this is not how we think material objects work. I, for example, am a material object that is located in multiple places: this place to my left where my left arm is, and this, distinct, place to my right, where my right arm is. But I am only partially located in each place. My left arm is a part of me that fills exactly the place to my left, and my right arm is a distinct part of me that (...)
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  4. Josh Parsons, Fuzzy Mereology.
    This paper began life as a short section of a more general paper about non-classical mereologies. In that paper I had a mereological theory that I wanted to show could be applied to all sorts of different metaphysical positions — notably, to those positions that believe in mereological vagueness in re — in “vague individuals”. To do that I felt I first had to dispatch the leading rival theory of vague individuals, which is due to Peter van Inwa-gen, and holds (...)
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  5. Josh Parsons, Imperative Conditionals.
    An imperative conditional is a conditional in the imperative mood (by analogy with “indicative conditional”, “subjunctive conditional”). What, in general, is the meaning and the illocutionary effect of an imperative conditional? I survey four answers: the answer that imperative conditionals are commands to the effect that an indicative conditional be true; two versions of the answer that imperative conditionals express irreducibly conditional commands; and finally, the answer that imperative conditionals express a kind of hybrid speech act between command and assertion.
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  6. Josh Parsons, Intrinsic Value and Intrinsic Properties.
    It’s now commonplace — since Korsgaard (1996) — in ethical theory to distinguish between two distinctions: on the one hand, the distinction between value an object has in virtue of its intrinsic properties vs. the value it has in virtue of all its properties, intrinsic or extrinsic; and on the other hand, the distinction between the value has an object as an end, vs. the value it has as a means to something else. I’ll call the former distinction the distinction (...)
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  7. Josh Parsons, Might I Have Been Non-Actual?
    Analytic philosophers usually think about modality in terms of possible worlds. According to the possible worlds framework, a proposition is necessary if it is true according to all possible worlds; it is possible if it is true according to some possible world. There are as many possible worlds as there are ways the actual world might be. Only one world is actual.
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  8. Josh Parsons, The Many Primitives of Mereology.
    This seems to me to be a metaphysically significant feature of CEM. If CEM is correct — if all its theorems are true, then metaphysicians have a choice to make in how we understand the mereological nature of the world. We may think of the mereological relation either as a relation of part to whole, or as a relation of overlap; for if we give a metaphysical theory about one, we thereby give a metaphysical theory about the other. We may (...)
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  9. Josh Parsons, The Transformational Approach to Imperative Consequence.
    The problem of imperative consequence consists in the fact that theses (i) through (iii) are inconsistent; but yet all three are attractive (for the reasons sketched above). A solution to the problem consists in the denial of one of the three theses; I describe solutions as belonging to type 1, type 2, or type 3, depending on which thesis they deny. For the purposes of this paper, I would like to focus on a certain variety of type 3 solution – (...)
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  10. Josh Parsons, Against Advanced Modalizing.
    I discuss a problem for modal realism raised by John Divers and others. I argue that the problem is real enough but that Divers’ “advanced modalising” solution is inadquate. The problem can only be solved by 1) holding that modal realism is only contingently true, 2) embracing a kind of Meinongianism about ontological commitment, or 3) abandoning the project of “analysing modality”.
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  11. Josh Parsons, Review of Four-Dimensionalism. [REVIEW]
    “The truth,” Quine says, “is that you can bathe in the same river twice, but not in the same river stage. You can bathe in two river stages which are stages of the same river, and this is what constitutes bathing in the same river twice. A river is a process through time, and the river stages are its momentary parts.” (Quine 1953, p. 65) Quine’s view is four-dimensionalism, and that is what Theodore Sider’s book is about. In Sider’s usage, (...)
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  12. Josh Parsons, Review of Possible Worlds. [REVIEW]
    This book is a survey, fortified by original material, of metaphysical theories of modality set in terms of possible worlds. Those theories include what Divers calls “genuine realism”, or “GR” — this is David Lewis’s “genuine modal realism” — and what Divers calls “actualist realism”, or “AR” — this seems to be the same as what Lewis called “ersatz modal realism”, which has also become widely know as “ersatzism”. Two important kinds of theory are not included: those that treat modality (...)
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  13. Josh Parsons, Preposcription Semantics and KDDc.
    This logic has a standard one-dimensional possible worlds semantics with an accessibility relation (I will call this, for short, the accessibility semantics for KDDc4, contrasting with the preposcription semantics given in “Command and consequence”). In the accessibility semantics, the semantic value of a sentence is a world (rather than a pair of worlds).
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  14. Mike McLeod & Josh Parsons (2013). Maclaurin and Dyke on Analytic Metaphysics. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (1):173-178.
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  15. Josh Parsons (2013). Command and Consequence. Philosophical Studies 164 (1):61-92.
    An argument is usually said to be valid iff it is truth-preserving—iff it cannot be that all its premises are true and its conclusion false. But imperatives (it is normally thought) are not truth-apt. They are not in the business of saying how the world is, and therefore cannot either succeed or fail in doing so. To solve this problem, we need to find a new criterion of validity, and I aim to propose such a criterion.
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  16. Josh Parsons (2013). Conceptual Conservatism and Contingent Composition. Inquiry 56 (4):327-339.
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  17. Josh Parsons (2013). Presupposition, Disagreement, and Predicates of Taste. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113 (2pt2):163-173.
    I offer a simple-minded analysis of presupposition in which if a sentence has a presupposition, then both that sentence and its negation logically entail the presupposition; and in which sentence with failed presuppositions are neither true nor false. This account naturally generates an analysis of what it takes to disagree and what it takes to be at fault in a disagreement. A simple generalization gives rise to the possibility of disagreements in which no party is at fault, as is required (...)
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  18. Josh Parsons (2012). Cognitivism About Imperatives. Analysis 72 (1):49-54.
    Cognitivism about imperatives is the thesis that sentences in the imperative mood are truth-apt: have truth values and truth conditions. This allows cognitivists to give a simple and powerful account of consequence relations between imperatives. I argue that this account of imperative consequence has counterexamples that cast doubt on cognitivism itself.
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  19. Josh Parsons (2011). Assessment-Contextual Indexicals. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (1):1 - 17.
    In this paper, I consider whether tenses, temporal indexicals, and other indexicals are contextually dependent on the context of assessment (or a-contextual), rather than, as is usually thought, contextually dependent on the context of utterance (u-contextual). I begin by contrasting two possible linguistic norms, governing our use of context sensitive expressions, especially tenses and temporal indexicals (??2 and 3), and argue that one of these norms would make those expressions u-contextual, while the other would make them a-contextual (?4). I then (...)
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  20. Josh Parsons (2008). Hudson on Location. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2):427 - 435.
    Paper begins: Chapter 4 of Hud Hudson’s stimulating book The metaphysics of hyperspace contains an discussion of the notion of location in a container spacetime. Hudson uses this idea to define a number of what we might call modes of extension or ways of being extended. A pertended object is what most people think of as a typical extended object — it is made up of spatial parts, one part for each region the object pervades. An entended object is an (...)
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  21. Josh Parsons (2007). Is Everything a World? Philosophical Studies 134 (2):165-181.
    This paper discusses “inclusionism” in the context of David Lewis’s modal realism (and in the context of parasitic accounts of modality such as John Divers’s agnosticism about possible worlds). This is the doctrine that everything is a world. I argue that this doctrine would be beneficial to Divers-style agnosticism; that it suggests a reconfiguration of the concept of actuality in modal realism; and finally that it suffers from an as-yet unsolved difficulty, the problem of the unmarried husbands. This problem also (...)
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  22. Josh Parsons (2007). 7. Theories of Location. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 3:201.
  23. Josh Parsons (2006). Negative Truths From Positive Facts? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (4):591 – 602.
    I argue that Colin Cheyne and Charles Pigden's recent attempt to find truthmakers for negative truths fails. Though Cheyne and Pigden are correct in their treatment of some of the truths they set out to find truthmakers for (such as 'There is no hippopotamus in S223' and 'Theatetus is not flying') they over-generalize when they apply the same treatment to 'There are no unicorns'. In my view, this difficulty is ineliminable: not every truth has a truthmaker.
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  24. Josh Parsons (2006). Topological Drinking Problems. Analysis 66 (290):149–154.
    In my (2004), I argued that it is possible to drink any finite amount of alcohol without ever suffering a hangover by completing a certain kind of supertask. Assume that a drink causes drunkenness to ensue immediately and to last for a period proportional to the quantity of alcohol consumed; that a hangover begins immediately at the time the drunkenness ends and lasts for the same length of time as the drunkenness; and that at any time during which you are (...)
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  25. Josh Parsons (2005). I Am Not Now, nor Have I Ever Been, a Turnip. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (1):1 – 14.
    This paper considers how to put together two popular ideas in the philosophy of time: detenserism (the view that tense can be analysed in token-reflexive terms) and perdurantism (the view that objects persist through time by having temporal parts. On the most obvious way of doing this, certain problems arise. I argue that to deal with these problems we need a tool that is unfamiliar to most detensers and perdurantists - the distinction between sortal and non-sortal predicates.
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  26. Josh Parsons (2005). Truthmakers, the Past, and the Future. In Helen Beebee & Julian Dodd (eds.), Truthmakers: The Contemporary Debate. Clarendon.
    I want to join Dummett in saying that the reality of the past (and, by analogy, the reality of the future) is an issue of realism versus anti-realism: (Dummett 1969) If you affirm the reality of the past, you are a realist about the past. If you deny the reality of the past, you are an anti-realist about the past. (And likewise, in each case, for the future). It makes sense to think of these issues by analogy with realism about (...)
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  27. Josh Parsons & Jon Cogburn (2005). Wrestling with (and Without) Dialetheism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (1):87 – 102.
    Neil Tennant and Joseph Salerno have recently attempted to rigorously formalize Michael Dummett's argument for logical revision. Surprisingly, both conclude that Dummett commits elementary logical errors, and hence fails to offer an argument that is even prima facie valid. After explicating the arguments Salerno and Tennant attribute to Dummett, I show how broader attention to Dummett's writings on the theory of meaning allows one to discern, and formalize, a valid argument for logical revision. Then, after correctly providing a rigorous statement (...)
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  28. Josh Parsons (2004). Distributional Properties. In Frank Jackson & Graham Priest (eds.), Lewisian Themes: The Philosophy of David K. Lewis. Clarendon Press.
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  29. Josh Parsons (2004). Dion, Theon, and Daup. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85 (1):85–91.
    Here is a puzzle from the Stoic, Chrysippus: There was once a man called Dion, who was unfortunate enough to have his foot annihilated. Thereafter, he was known as Theon. Theon is identical to what was left over after Dion’s foot was removed. That is, Theon is that part of Dion that does not include his foot. If all this is true, then Theon is a proper part of Dion. That is, he is a part of Dion, but not identical (...)
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  30. Josh Parsons (2004). Real Metaphysics. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (3):530 – 532.
    Book Information Real Metaphysics. Real Metaphysics Hallvard Lillehammer and Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra , eds., London : Routledge , 2003 , VIII + 248 , £65 ( cloth ), £19.99 ( paper ) Edited by Hallvard Lillehammer; and Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra . Routledge. London. Pp. VIII + 248. £65 (cloth:), £19.99 (paper:).
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  31. Josh Parsons (2004). The Eleatic Hangover Cure. Analysis 64 (4):364–366.
    It’s well known that one way to cure a hangover is by a “hair of the dog” — another alcoholic drink. The drawback of this method is that, so it would appear, it cannot be used to completely cure a hangover, since the cure simply induces a further hangover at a later time, which must in turn either be cured or suffered through.
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  32. Josh Parsons (2003). A–Theory for Tense Logicians. Analysis 63 (277):4–6.
    Let us call “tense logic” the programme of explaining tense in natural languages by means of a model theory similar in structure to possible worlds semantics for modality. This programme would make the following claims.
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  33. Josh Parsons (2003). Why the Handicapped Child Case is Hard. Philosophical Studies 112 (2):147 - 162.
    This paper discusses the handicapped child case and some other variants of Derek Parfit's non-identityproblem (Parfit, 1984) The case is widely held to show that there is harmless wrongdoing, and that amoral system which tries to reduce wrongdoing directly to harm (``person-affecting morality'')is inadequate.I show that the argument for this does not depend (as some have implied it does) on Kripkean necessity of origin. I distinguish the case from other variants (``wrongful life cases'') of the non-identityproblem which do not bear (...)
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  34. Eric Barnes, Neither Truth Nor Empirical Adequacy Explain, Matti Eklund, Deep Inconsistency, Barbara Montero, Harold Langsam, Self-Knowledge Externalism, Christine McKinnon Desire-Frustration, Moral Sympathy & Josh Parsons (2002). INDEX for Volume 80, 2002. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (4):545-548.
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  35. Josh Parsons (2002). Axiological Actualism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (2):137 – 147.
    This intuition may be contrasted with the incompatible intuitions that might support, say, average utilitarianism. According to average utilitarianism we should bring about that outcome which has the highest average utility. That someone would have a higher than average level of utility is, therefore, ceteris paribus a reason to act so that that person exists. Because of this, the basic intuition is a reason for rejecting average utilitarianism.
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  36. Josh Parsons (2002). A-Theory for B-Theorists. Philosophical Quarterly 52 (206):1-20.
    The debate between A-theory and B-theory in the philosophy of time is a persistent one. It is not always clear, however, what the terms of this debate are. A-theorists are often lumped with a miscellaneous collection of heterodox doctrines: the view that only the present exists, that time flows relentlessly, or that presentness is a property (Williams 1996); that time passes, tense is unanalysable, or that earlier than and later than are defined in terms of pastness, presentness, and futurity (Bigelow (...)
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  37. Dan Marshall & Josh Parsons (2001). Langton and Lewis on 'Intrinsic'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (2):347-351.
  38. Josh Parsons (2000). Must a Four-Dimensionalist Believe in Temporal Parts? The Monist 83 (3):399-418.
    The following quotation, from Frank Jackson, is the beginning of a typical exposition of the debate between those metaphysicians who believe in temporal parts, and those who do not: The dispute between three-dimensionalism and four-dimensionalism, or more precisely, that part of the dispute we will be concerned with, concerns what persistence, and correllatively, what change, comes to. Three-dimensionalism holds that an object exists at a time by being wholly present at that time, and, accordingly, that it persists if it is (...)
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  39. Josh Parsons (1999). There is No 'Truthmaker' Argument Against Nominalism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (3):325 – 334.
    In his two recent books on ontology, Universals: an Opinionated Introduction, and A World of States of Affairs, David Armstrong gives a new argument against nominalism. That argument seems, on the face of it, to be similar to another argument that he used much earlier against Rylean behaviourism: the Truthmaker Argument, stemming from a certain plausible premise, the Truthmaker Principle. Other authors have traced the history of the truthmaker principle, its appearance in the work of Aristotle [10], Bradley [16], and (...)
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  40. Josh Parsons, Are There Irreducibly Relational Facts.
    If the former is the case, let us say that anti-reductionism about relational facts is true; if the latter, that reductionism about relational facts is true. Let us say that a fact is relational if it makes true some relational proposition (a proposition that asserts that a relation holds between some objects1), that it is irreducibly relational if, in addition, it does not make true any nonrelational propositions, and that it is monadic if it is not irreducibly relational (if it (...)
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