In 2006, and again in 2007, I suffered the miscarriages of two wanted and painstakingly planned pregnancies. In the aftermath of each, I found myself unprepared, as do many women who miscarry, for the devastation I would feel. In my attempts to cope, I sought solace in the written testimony of other women who had miscarried, in the medical statistics that reassured me I still had a strong chance of carrying another pregnancy to term, in the experiences of friends and (...) colleagues who had dealt with miscarriage and other reproductive difficulties, and in the expertise of counselors who helped me process my thoughts and feelings. While each of these avenues was helpful in its own right, I still found myself struggling .. (shrink)
In Mathematical Thought and Its Objects, Charles Parsons examines the notion of object, with the aim to navigate between nominalism, denying that distinctively mathematical objects exist, and forms of Platonism that postulate a transcendent realm of such objects. He introduces the central mathematical notion of structure and defends a version of the structuralist view of mathematical objects, according to which their existence is relative to a structure and they have no more of a “nature” than that confers on them.
Terence Parsons presents a lively and controversial study of philosophical questions about identity. Because many puzzles about identity remain unsolved, some people believe that they are questions that have no answers and that there is a problem with the language used to formulate them. Parsons explores a different possibility: that such puzzles lack answers because of the way the world is (or because of the way the world is not). He claims that there is genuine indeterminacy of identity (...) in the world. He articulates such a view in detail and defends it from a host of criticisms. (shrink)
The nature of psychoanalysis seems contradictory - deeply personal, subjective and intuitive, yet requiring systematic theory and principles of technique. The objective quality of psychoanalytic knowledge is paradoxically dependent on the personal engagement of the knower with what is known. In The Dove that Returns, The Dove that Vanishes , Michael Parsons explores the tension of this paradox. As they respond to it, and struggle to sustain it creatively, analysts discover their individual identities. The work of outstanding clinicians such (...) as Marion Milner and John Klauber is examined in detail. The reader also encounters oriental martial arts, Greek Tragedy, the landscape painting of John Constable, a Winnicottian theory of creativity and a discussion of the significance of play in psychoanalysis. From such varied topics evolves a deepening apprehension of the nature of the clinical experience. Illustrated throughout with clinical examples, The Dove that Returns, The Dove that Vanishes will prove valuable to those in the field of psychoanalysis, and to those in the arts and humanities who are interested in contemporary psychoanalytic thinking. (shrink)
Traditionally, analytic philosophers writing on aesthetics have given short shrift to nature. The last thirty years, however, have seen a steady growth of interest in this area. The essays and books now available cover central philosophical issues concerning the nature of the aesthetic and the existence of norms for aesthetic judgement. They also intersect with important issues in environmental philosophy. More recent contributions have opened up new topics, such as the relationship between natural sound and music, the beauty of animals, (...) and the aesthetics of gardens. Using these materials, it is now easy to include a module on the aesthetics of nature as one part of an introductory course on aesthetics, or even to design an entire upper-level undergraduate or graduate seminar around the topic. Author Recommends: Don Mannison, 'Comments Stimulated by Reinhardt's Remarks: A Prolegomenon to a Human Chauvinistic Aesthetic'. Environmental Philosophy. Eds. Don Mannison, Michael McRobbie, and Richard Routley (Canberra: Australian National University, 1980), 212–16. Readers coming fresh to contemporary debates may find the lack of attention to natural beauty in twentieth-century philosophy somewhat puzzling. This paper, which defends the view that nature cannot be aesthetically appreciated as such, presents this attitude in a particularly pure form. Ronald Hepburn, 'Contemporary Aesthetics and the Neglect of Natural Beauty'. British Analytical Philosophy. Eds. Bernard Williams and Alan Montefiore (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966), 285–310. Reprinted in The Aesthetics of Natural Environments. Eds. Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004). This seminal essay marks the beginning of contemporary discussion of the aesthetics of nature. Many of its ideas and themes continue to reverberate in contemporary debates. Allen Carlson, Aesthetics and the Environment: The Appreciation of Nature, Art and Architecture (London: Routledge, 2000). This volume is a collection of Carlson's influential essays on environmental aesthetics. Chapters 4 and 5, 'Appreciation and the Natural Environment' and 'Nature, Aesthetic Judgment, and Objectivity', set the agenda for much subsequent discussion in the aesthetics of nature. Chapter 6, 'Nature and Positive Aesthetics', develops and defends the controversial idea that nature, unlike art, is always aesthetically good. Arnold Berleant, 'The Aesthetics of Art and Nature'. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 228–43. Reprinted in The Aesthetics of Natural Environments. Eds. Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004). In this paper, Berleant presents his influential idea of an 'engaged aesthetics' for nature. Yuriko Saito, 'The Aesthetics of Unscenic Nature'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (1998): 101–11. This article develops Saito's idea that ethical considerations play a critical role in the aesthetics of nature, and presents a novel argument for Positive Aesthetics for nature. Malcolm Budd, The Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature: Essays on the Aesthetics of Nature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002). This book collects Budd's papers on the aesthetics of nature, which contain important criticisms of Carlson's natural environmental model and the notion of Positive Aesthetics for nature. Noël Carroll, 'On Being Moved by Nature: Between Religion and Natural History'. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 244–66. Reprinted in The Aesthetics of Natural Environments. Eds. Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004). This paper argues for the importance of aesthetic appreciation that emphasizes emotional responses to nature. A philosophically sophisticated and influential treatment by a leading aesthetician. Ned Hettinger, 'Allen Carlson's Environmental Aesthetics and Protection of the Environment'. Environmental Ethics 27 (2005): 57–76. In this essay, an environmental philosopher gives careful and thorough consideration to the place of aesthetic considerations in environmental protection, focusing on Carlson's work. John Andrew Fisher, 'What the Hills are Alive With: In Defense of the Sounds of Nature'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (1998): 167–79. Reprinted in The Aesthetics of Natural Environments. Eds. Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004). Most discussions of nature aesthetics focus on visual experiences; this essay is the first philosophical study of the aesthetics of natural sounds. A nuanced and original paper. Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant. 'Introduction: The Aesthetics of Nature'. The Aesthetics of Natural Environments. Eds. Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004), 11–42. A comprehensive review of the literature, this essay contains the best available bibliography on the subject. Online Materials: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/environmental-aesthetics/ Environmental Aesthetics: Allen Carlson's entry in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://www.aesthetics-online.org/articles/index.php?articles_id=17 Teaching Environmental Aesthetics: Allen Carlson's article on the American Society for Aesthetics Web site. http://www.uqtr.uquebec.ca/AE/Vol_6/ Volume 6 of AE: Canadian Aesthetics Journal /Revue canadienne d'esthetique: Papers by Thomas Heyd and Ira Newman on Allen Carlson's book Aesthetics and the Environment, along with a response from Carlson. http://www.contempaesthetics.org/newvolume/pages/article.php?articleID=400 Paradoxes and Puzzles: Appreciating Gardens and Urban Nature: An essay by Stephanie Ross in the online journal Contemporary Aesthetics. Sample Syllabus for a three-week module in an undergraduate aesthetics course: This three week module can easily be adapted to fit shorter available class time or reduced reading expectations for students. A lighter two-week module, for instance, would drop the Hepburn reading and do either the Carroll essay or the Saito essay, but not both. Note that all readings for this module are reprinted in Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant (eds.), The Aesthetics of Natural Environments (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004). Week 1: Introduction Reading: Ronald Hepburn, 'Contemporary Aesthetics and the Neglect of Natural Beauty'. British Analytical Philosophy. Eds. Bernard Williams and Alan Montefiore (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966), 285–310. Discussion of Hepburn's essay will allow the instructor to bring out the distinctive issues and themes of the aesthetics of nature. Week 2: Objectivity or Subjectivity? Readings: Allen Carlson, 'Appreciation and the Natural Environment'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 37 (1979): 267–76. Arnold Berleant, 'The Aesthetics of Art and Nature'. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 228–43. This section covers two very different approaches to thinking about the aesthetic appreciation of nature. Consideration of these provides an opportunity for students to reflect on nature's relationship to art, and on the character of aesthetic experience itself. Week 3: Pluralistic Approaches Readings: Yuriko Saito, 'Appreciating Nature on its Own Terms'. Environmental Ethics 20 (1998): 135–49. Noël Carroll, 'On Being Moved by Nature: Between Religion and Natural History'. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 244–66. This section considers approaches that are motivated by perceived limitations of the two approaches mentioned above. In discussing these, students will focus on the significance, for the aesthetics of nature, of emotion and also of broader ethical considerations. Sample Syllabus for an upper-level undergraduate or graduate seminar: Books on Syllabus: Glenn Parsons, Aesthetics and Nature [AN] (London: Continuum Press, forthcoming November 2008). Allen Carlson, Aesthetics and the Environment: The Appreciation of Nature, Art and Architecture [AE] (London: Routledge, 2000). Allen Carlson and Arnold Berleant (eds.), The Aesthetics of Natural Environments [ANE] (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004). Week 1: Introduction Parsons, AN, ch. 1. Allen Carlson, 'Environmental Aesthetics'. The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics. Eds. Berys Gaut and Dominic Lopes (London: Routledge, 2001), 423–36. Don Mannison, 'Comments Stimulated by Reinhardt's Remarks: A Prolegomenon to a Human Chauvinistic Aesthetic'. Environmental Philosophy. Eds. Don Mannison, Michael McRobbie, and Richard Routley (Canberra: Australian National University, 1980), 212–16. Ronald Hepburn, 'Contemporary Aesthetics and the Neglect of Natural Beauty'. British Analytical Philosophy. Eds. Bernard Williams and Alan Montefiore (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966), 285–310. Reprinted in ANE. Week 2: Imagination Parsons, AN, ch. 2. Thomas Heyd, 'Aesthetic Appreciation and the Many Stories About Nature'. British Journal of Aesthetics 41 (2001): 125–37. Reprinted in ANE. Emily Brady, 'Imagination and the Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (1998): 139–47. Reprinted in ANE. Marcia Eaton, 'Fact and Fiction in the Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (1998): 149–56. Reprinted in ANE. Week 3: Formalism Parsons, AN, ch. 3. Carlson, 'Formal Qualities and the Natural Environment', AE, ch. 3. Allen Carlson, 'On the Possibility of Quantifying Scenic Beauty'. Landscape Planning 4 (1977): 131–72. Ira Newman, 'Reflections on Allen Carlson's Aesthetics and the Environment'. AE: Canadian Aesthetics Journal /Revue canadienne d'esthetique 6 (2001) http://www.uqtr.uquebec.ca/AE/Vol_6/Carlson/newman.html>. Nick Zangwill, 'Formal Natural Beauty'. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 21 (2001): 209–24. Week 4: Science and Nature Aesthetics Parsons, AN, ch. 4. Aldo Leopold, 'Country'. A Sand County Almanac, with Essays on Conservation from Round River (New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1966), 177–80. Carlson, 'Appreciation and the Natural Environment', AE, ch. 4. Carlson, 'Nature, Aesthetic Judgment, and Objectivity', AE, ch. 5. Glenn Parsons, 'The Aesthetics of Nature'. Philosophy Compass 2 (2007): 358–72. Week 5: Positive Aesthetics Carlson, 'Nature and Positive Aesthetics', AE, ch. 6. Eugene Hargrove, Foundations of Environmental Ethics (Denton, TX: Environmental Ethics Books, 1996), ch. 6. Yuriko Saito, 'The Aesthetics of Unscenic Nature'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (1998): 101–11. Malcolm Budd, 'The Aesthetics of Nature'. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 100 (2000): 137–57. Glenn Parsons, 'Nature Appreciation, Science and Positive Aesthetics'. British Journal of Aesthetics 42 (2002): 279–95. Week 6: Animals Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. Ed. James T. Boulton (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968 ), Pt. III, sec. VI. Holmes Rolston III, 'Beauty and the Beast: Aesthetic Experience of Wildlife'. Valuing Wildlife: Economic and Social Perspectives. Eds. Daniel J. Decker and Gary R. Goff (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1987), 187–96. Glenn Parsons, 'The Aesthetic Value of Animals'. Environmental Ethics 27 (2007): 151–69. Week 7: Pluralism Parsons, AN, ch. 5. Noël Carroll, 'On Being Moved by Nature: Between Religion and Natural History'. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 244–66. Reprinted in ANE. Yuriko Saito, 'Appreciating Nature on its Own Terms'. Environmental Ethics 20 (1998): 135–49. Reprinted in ANE. Ronald Hepburn, 'Nature Humanized: Nature Respected'. Environmental Values 7 (1998): 267–79. Ronald Hepburn, 'Trivial and Serious in Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature'. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 65–80. Glenn Parsons and Allen Carlson, 'New Formalism and the Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 62 (2004): 363–76. Week 8: Engagement Parsons, AN, ch. 6. Arnold Berleant, 'The Aesthetics of Art and Nature'. Landscape, Natural Beauty and the Arts. Eds. Salim Kemal and Ivan Gaskell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 228–43. Reprinted in ANE. Cheryl Foster, 'The Narrative and the Ambient in Environmental Aesthetics'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 56 (1998): 127–37. Reprinted in ANE. Allen Carlson, 'Aesthetics and Engagement'. British Journal of Aesthetics 33 (1993): 220–27. Week 9: The Sublime Immanuel Kant, Critique of the Power of Judgment. Trans. P. Guyer and E. Matthews (Cambridge University Press, 2000 ). Excerpts from sections 23–9. Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. Ed. James T. Boulton (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1968 ). Excerpts from Pt. II, sections 1–8. Ronald Hepburn, 'The Concept of the Sublime: Has it any Relevance for Philosophy Today?'. Dialectics and Humanism 15 (1988): 137–55. Stan Godlovitch, 'Icebreakers: Environmentalism and Natural Aesthetics'. Journal of Applied Philosophy 11 (1994): 15–30. Reprinted in ANE. Malcolm Budd, 'Delight in the Natural World: Kant on the Aesthetic Appreciation of Nature. Part I: The Sublime in Nature'. British Journal of Aesthetics 38 (1998): 233–50. Week 10: Aesthetic Preservation Parsons, AN, ch. 7. Janna Thompson, 'Aesthetics and the Value of Nature'. Environmental Ethics 17 (1995): 291–305. Holmes Rolston III, 'From Beauty to Duty: Aesthetics of Nature and Environmental Ethics'. Environment and the Arts: Perspectives on Environmental Aesthetics. Ed. Arnold Berleant (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2002), 127–41. Ned Hettinger, 'Allen Carlson's Environmental Aesthetics and Protection of the Environment'. Environmental Ethics 27 (2005): 57–76. Keekok Lee, 'Beauty for Ever?'. Environmental Values 4 (1995): 213–25. Week 11: Gardens Parsons, AN, ch. 8. Mara Miller, The Garden as an Art (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1993), ch. 1. Mara Miller, 'Gardens as Works of Art: The Problem of Uniqueness'. British Journal of Aesthetics 26 (1986): 252–6. Stephanie Ross, What Gardens Mean (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1998), chs. 1, 7. Tom Leddy, 'Gardens in an Expanded Field'. British Journal of Aesthetics 28 (1988): 327–40. David Cooper, 'In Praise of Gardens'. British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (2003): 101–13. Week 12: Art in Nature Parsons, AN, ch. 9. Carlson, 'Is Environmental Art an Aesthetic Affront to Nature?', AE, ch. 10. Sheila Lintott, 'Ethically Evaluating Land Art: Is It Worth It?'. Ethics, Place & Environment 10 (2007): 263–77. Emily Brady, 'Aesthetic Regard for Nature in Environmental and Land Art'. Ethics, Place & Environment 10 (2007): 287–300. Focus Questions1. Are there any important differences between the aesthetic appreciation of art and the aesthetic appreciation of nature? If so, what are they?2. Is preserving nature for its aesthetic value a coherent idea?3. What is the ugliest natural thing or place you can think of? How might proponents of Positive Aesthetics for nature deal with your example?4. Does the concept of the sublime have any significance for our contemporary experience of nature? If it does, what relation does it bear to our aesthetic appreciation of nature?5. Watch Rivers and Tides (2001), the documentary film about the British environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy. Ethically speaking, how do you think we ought to regard his art-making? (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Part I. General: 1. The Gödel editorial project: a synopsis Solomon Feferman; 2. Future tasks for Gödel scholars John W. Dawson, Jr., and Cheryl A. Dawson; Part II. Proof Theory: 3. Kurt Gödel and the metamathematical tradition Jeremy Avigad; 4. Only two letters: the correspondence between Herbrand and Gödel Wilfried Sieg; 5. Gödel's reformulation of Gentzen's first consistency proof for arithmetic: the no-counter-example interpretation W. W. Tait; 6. Gödel on intuition and on Hilbert's finitism W. W. (...) Tait; 7. The Gödel hierarchy and reverse mathematics Stephen G. Simpson; 8. On the outside looking in: a caution about conservativeness John P. Burgess; Part III. Set Theory: 9. Gödel and set theory Akihiro Kanamori; 10. Generalizations of Gödel's universe of constructible sets Sy-David Friedman; 11. On the question of absolute undecidability Peter Koellner; Part IV. Philosophy of Mathematics: 12. What did Gödel believe and when did he believe it? Martin Davis; 13. On Gödel's way in: the influence of Rudolf Carnap Warren Goldfarb; 14. Gödel and Carnap Steve Awodey and A. W. Carus; 15. On the philosophical development of Kurt Gödel Mark van Atten and Juliette Kennedy; 16. Platonism and mathematical intuition in Kurt Gödel's thought Charles Parsons; 17. Gödel's conceptual realism Donald A. Martin. (shrink)
This study examines the history of the psychoanalytic theory of mysticism, starting with the seminal correspondence between Freud and Romain Rolland concerning the concept of "oceanic feeling." Providing a corrective to current views which frame psychoanalysis as pathologizing mysticism, Parsons reveals the existence of three models entertained by Freud and Rolland: the classical reductive, ego-adaptive, and transformational (which allows for a transcendent dimension to mysticism). Then, reconstructing Rolland's personal mysticism (the "oceanic feeling") through texts and letters unavailable to Freud, (...)Parsons argues that Freud misinterpreted the oceanic feeling. In offering a fresh interpretation of Rolland's mysticism, Parsons constructs a new dialogical approach for psychoanalytic theory of mysticism which integrates culture studies, developmental perspectives, and the deep epistemological and transcendent claims of the mystics. (shrink)
In this essay I respond to the critical remarks made by Prof. Reppert in “Reply to Parsons and Lippard on the Argument from Reason” (present issue). I also provide a critique of Reppert’s original article, “The Argument from Reason,” in Philo vol. 2, no. 1 (Spring-Summer 1999).
This provocative, focused, and succinct new text addresses two issues integral to the study of the philosophy of science: the rationality of science and the realism question. Students are invited to think deeply about salient issues as they explore collections of cases and examples, beginning by considering the founding document of modern science, Copernicus’s On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres , and including discussions of other key readings such as Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions . Author Keith (...)Parsons challenges students’ thinking, offering his own views while providing a solid foundation for debate. (shrink)
Metaphysicians of space and time are fond of talking about objects being present at, wholly present at, or existing at certain times, or occupying certain regions of space, or even regions of space-time. Take, for example, this famous set of definitions due to Mark Johnston and David Lewis: Let us say that something persists, iff, somehow or other, it exists at various times; this is the neutral word. Something perdures iff it persists by having different temporal parts, or stages, at (...) different times, though no one part of it is wholly present at more than one time; whereas it endures iff it persists by being wholly present at more than one time. (Lewis 1986, p. 202) A great deal of debate has been conducted in this terminology: debates about whether anything does endure or perdure; about the ontology of temporal parts; about whether it makes sense to apply this kind of thinking to space, as well as to time (we can ask, for example, the analogous questions whether things are extended by being entended, or pertended); about whether it can be applied to space-time, and if so, to relativistic space-time. These debates have been fruitful, but cursed with a certain amount of imprecision. People sometimes talk past each.. (shrink)
This paper discusses a distinctive kind of property that I call “distributional” properties, which include, for example, the property of being polka-dotted (a colour-distributional property) and the property of being hot at one end and cold at the other (a heat-distributional property). I argue that distributional properties exist in whatever sense other properties exist, that they do not simply reduce to the non-distributional properties of points, and that they are implicated in the correct analysis of change.
Kurt Gödel made many affirmations of robust realism but also showed serious engagement with the idealist tradition, especially with Leibniz, Kant, and Husserl. The root of this apparently paradoxical attitude is his conviction of the power of reason. The paper explores the question of how Gödel read Kant. His argument that relativity theory supports the idea of the ideality of time is discussed critically, in particular attempting to explain the assertion that science can go beyond the appearances and ‘approach the (...) things’. Leibniz and post-Kantian idealism are discussed more briefly, the latter as documented in the correspondence with Gotthard Günther. (shrink)
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 (...) 1991); or that events or facts (as opposed to language) are “tensed” (Mellor 1993). B-theorists then argue that the A-theory is incoherent, using variants on J.M.E. McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time (McTaggart 1927, ch. 33). (shrink)
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 (...) between intrinsic and nonintrinsic value; the latter is between value as-an-end and instrumental value. (shrink)
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 (...) the external world, unobservable objects, mathematical objects, universals, and so on. These are all properly described as ontological issues. (shrink)
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 (...) by means not involving possible worlds at all (for example, modalism, various kind of non-cognitivism, and Quinean eliminativism about modality); and those that, while treating modality by talking about possible worlds, go on to deny that there are any possible worlds in one way or another (for example, Rosen’s fictionalism, and Divers’ own agnosticism about possible worlds). These get a short discussion towards the end of the introductory part of the book (sections 2.4–2.6), and Divers is planning to write a companion volume covering them. (shrink)
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 , Bradley , and (...) even Husserl . But that is not my task — in this paper I argue that Armstrong’s new argument is not logically analogous to the old, and, in particular, that it is quite possible to be a thoroughgoing nominalist, and hold a truthmaker principle. (shrink)
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 (...) wholly present at more than one time. For short, it persists by enduring. Four-dimensionalism holds that an object exists at a time by having a temporal part at that time, and it persists if it has distinct temporal parts at more than one time. For short, it persists by perduring (Jackson 1998, p. 138). In the light of these comments, some readers will perhaps ﬁnd the question that forms the title of this paper a little puzzling. They may have learned to use the terms ‘fourdimensionalism’ ‘perdurantism’ and ‘belief in temporal parts’ interchangeably; or perhaps even to deﬁne one in terms of the other. Such a usage, however, is inapposite. We might imagine a Flatland-like world of two spatial dimensions and one temporal, whose philosophers are divided between a theory of persistence on which they persist by having temporal parts, and a theory on which they persist by being wholly located in each of several times. This is just the same issue we face, but at least the label ‘four-dimensionalism’ seems inapposite: the four-dimensionalist Flatlanders believe in only three dimensions! (shrink)
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 (...) directly on person-affecting morality as I understand it. And finally, I describe a respect in which the handicapped child case is puzzling and counter-intuitive, even on the supposition that it is a case of harmless wrongdoing. I conclude that the case is ``hard'': it will take more than the rejection of person-affecting morality to remove its puzzling character. (shrink)
“Under what circumstances do things add up to or compose something?” This is what Peter van Inwagen (1990, p. 31) calls the Special Composition Question. Everyone, it seems, has a different answer. Van Inwagen’s, famously, is “when the activities of those things constitute a life”. Other people — nihilists about composition — say “never!” Other people — universalists about composition — say “always!”. Yet other people — brutalists about composition — say that there is no answer.
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 (...) extended simple (or a complex object made up of extended simples). Elsewhere, I’ve argued that entended objects are conceptually possible; that nothing about the concept of “extended” rules out entention. (More about how this argument works below). Hudson thinks that I did not go far enough. Besides pertended and entended objects, he also sees conceptual room for what he calls spanners and multiply located objects. These last two ways of being extended are even more exotic than extended simples. …. (shrink)
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 (...) that the part-whole relation admits of degrees. It seemed to me that this theory had a serious technical problem, or at best a serious gap. I sat down to write a paragraph or two highlighting the gap, preferably showing that it couldn’t be filled. This paper is the result. (shrink)
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 (...) fills exactly the place to my right. I am located in multiple places by virtue of having distinct parts in those places. So entension is not happening to me — I do not entend. (shrink)
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.
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.
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”.
Frege held various views about language and its relation to non-linguistic things. These views led him to the paradoxical-sounding conclusion that "the concept horse is NOT a concept." A key assumption that led him to say this is the assumption that phrases beginning with the definite article "the" denote objects, not concepts. In sections I-III this issue is explained. In sections IV-V Frege's theory is articulated, and it is shown that he was incorrect in thinking that this theory led to (...) the conclusion that "the concept horse is not a concept." Section VI goes on to show that his strict theory about the functioning of ordinary language is inconsistent. Sections VII-VIII investigate Frege's reasons for thinking that "the concept horse" must denote an object; these reasons are not adequate on Frege's own grounds. Section IX sketches a systematic way to allow such phrases to denote concepts (not objects) within the framework of Frege's main views about language. Section X comments briefly on the consequences of this idea for his logistic program. (shrink)
“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, (...) four-dimensionalism is the view that, necessarily, anything in space and time has a distinct temporal part, or stage, corresponding to each time at which it exists (p. 59). (shrink)
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….
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.
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 (...) shows that Stephen Yablo’s analysis of “intrinsic” is inadequate. (shrink)
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.