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Profile: L. A. Paul (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  1. L. A. Paul, Limited Realism: Cartwright on Natures and Laws.
    A leaf falls to the ground, wafting lazily on the afternoon breeze. Clouds move across the sky, and birds sing. Are these events governed by universal laws of nature, laws that apply everywhere without exception, subsuming events such as the falling of the leaf, the movement of the clouds and the singing of the birds? Are such laws part of a small set of fundamental laws, or descended from such a set, which govern everything there is in the world?
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  2. L. A. Paul (forthcoming). Mereological Bundle Theory. In Hans Burkhardt, Johanna Seibt & Guido Imaguire (eds.), Handbook of Mereology. Philosophia Verlag.
    Bundle theory takes objects to be bundles of properties. Some bundle theorists take objects to be bundles of instantiated universals, and some take objects to be bundles of tropes. Tropes are instances of properties: some take instantiated universals to be tropes, while others deny the existence of universals and take tropes to be ontologically fundamental. Historically, the bundling relation has been taken to be a primitive relation, not analyzable in terms of or ontologically reducible to some other relation, and has (...)
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  3. L. A. Paul (2015). What You Can't Expect When You're Expecting. Res Philosophica 92 (2):1-23.
    It seems natural to choose whether to have a child by reflecting on what it would be like to actually have a child. I argue that this natural approach fails. If you choose to become a parent, and your choice is based on projections about what you think it would be like for you to have a child, your choice is not rational. If you choose to remain childless, and your choice is based upon projections about what you think it (...)
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  4. Ned Hall & L. A. Paul (2013). Metaphysically Reductive Causation. Erkenntnis 78 (1):9-41.
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  5. L. A. Paul (2013). Categorical Priority and Categorical Collapse. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):89-113.
    I explore some of the ways that assumptions about the nature of substance shape metaphysical debates about the structure of Reality. Assumptions about the priority of substance play a role in an argument for monism, are embedded in certain pluralist metaphysical treatments of laws of nature, and are central to discussions of substantivalism and relationalism. I will then argue that we should reject such assumptions and collapse the categorical distinction between substance and property.
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  6. L. A. Paul (2013). Realism About Structure and Kinds. In Stephen Mumford & Matthew Tugby (eds.), Metaphysics and Science. Oxford University Press.
  7. L. A. Paul & Ned Hall (2013). Causation: A User's Guide. Oxford.
    Causation is at once familiar and mysterious--we can detect its presence in the world, but we cannot agree on the metaphysics of the causal relation. L. A. Paul and Ned Hall guide the reader through the most important philosophical treatments of causation, and develop a broad and sophisticated understanding of the issues under debate.
     
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  8. L. A. Paul (2012). Building the World From its Fundamental Constituents. Philosophical Studies 158 (2):221-256.
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  9. L. A. Paul (2012). Metaphysics as Modeling: The Handmaiden's Tale. Philosophical Studies 160 (1):1-29.
    Critics of contemporary metaphysics argue that it attempts to do the hard work of science from the ease of the armchair. Physics, not metaphysics, tells us about the fundamental facts of the world, and empirical psychology is best placed to reveal the content of our concepts about the world. Exploring and understanding the world through metaphysical reflection is obsolete. In this paper, I will show why this critique of metaphysics fails, arguing that metaphysical methods used to make claims about the (...)
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  10. L. A. Paul (2010). A New Role for Experimental Work in Metaphysics. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (3):461-476.
    Recent work in philosophy could benefit from paying greater attention to empirical results from cognitive science involving judgments about the nature of our ordinary experience. This paper describes the way that experimental and theoretical results about the nature of ordinary judgments could—and should—inform certain sorts of enquiries in contemporary philosophy, using metaphysics as an exemplar, and hence defines a new way for experimental philosophy and cognitive science to contribute to traditional philosophical debates.
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  11. L. A. Paul (2010). Temporal Experience. Journal of Philosophy 107 (7):333-359.
    The question I want to explore is whether experience supports an antireductionist ontology of time, that is, whether we should take it to support an ontology that includes a primitive, monadic property of nowness responsible for the special feel of events in the present, and a relation of passage that events instantiate in virtue of literally passing from the future, to the present, and then into the past.
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  12. L. A. Paul (2010). The Puzzles of Material Constitution. Philosophy Compass 5 (7):579-590.
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  13. L. A. Paul (2009). The Worm at the Root of the Passions: Poetry and Sympathy in Mill's Utilitarianism. Utilitas 10 (01):83-.
    This paper explores J.S. Mill's theory of poetry and experience and its relation to his utilitarianism.
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  14. L. A. Paul (2007). 13 Constitutive Overdetermination. In J. K. Campbell, M. O'Rourke & H. S. Silverstein (eds.), Causation and Explanation. Mit Press. 4--265.
  15. L. A. Paul (2006). Coincidence as Overlap. Noûs 40 (4):623–659.
    I discuss puzzles involving coinciding material objects (such as statues and their constitutive lumps of clay) and propose solutions.
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  16. L. A. Paul (2006). In Defense of Essentialism. Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):333–372.
    If an object has a property essentially, it has that property in every possible world according to which it exists.2 If an object has a property accidentally, it does not have that property in every possible world according to which it exists. Claims about an object’s essential or accidental properties are de re modal claims, and essential and accidental properties are de re modal properties. Take an object’s modal profile to specify its essential properties and the range of its accidental (...)
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  17. John Collins, Ned Hall & L. A. Paul (2004). Counterfactuals and Causation: History, Problems, and Prospects. In John Collins, Ned Hall & Laurie Paul (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. The Mit Press. 1--57.
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  18. Ned Hall, L. A. Paul & John Collins (eds.) (2004). Causation and Counterfactuals. Cambridge, Mass.: Mit Press.
    A collection of important recent work on the counterfactual analysis of causation.
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  19. Frank Jackson, Graham Priest & L. A. Paul (2004). The Context of EssenceI'm Indebted to David Lewis and John Hawthorne for Discussion of a Very Early Version of the Ideas Expressed in This Paper, and to Frank Jackson, Kathrin Koslicki, Denis Robinson, Jason Stanley, Brian Weatherson and Audiences at the 2001 Bellingham Summer Philosophy Conference, the 2001 Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Philosophy, and the University of Washington for Comments on Written Versions. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1):170-184.
    I address two related questions: first, what is the best theory of how objects have de re modal properties? Second, what is the best defence of essentialism given the variability of our modal intuitions? I critically discuss several theories of how objects have their de re modal properties and address the most threatening antiessentialist objection to essentialism: the variability of our modal intuitions. Drawing on linguistic treatments of vagueness and ambiguity, I show how essentialists can accommodate the variability of modal (...)
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  20. L. A. Paul (2004). The Context of Essence. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1):170 – 184.
    I address two related questions: first, what is the best theory of how objects have de re modal properties? Second, what is the best defense of essentialism given the variability of our modal intuitions? I critically discuss several theories of how objects have their de re modal properties and address the most threatening antiessentialist objection to essentialism: the variability of our modal intuitions. Drawing on linguistic treatments of vagueness and ambiguity, I show how essentialists can accommodate the variability of modal (...)
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  21. L. A. Paul, E. J. Hall & J. Collins (eds.) (2004). Causation and Counterfactuals.
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  22. L. A. Paul (2002). Logical Parts. Noûs 36 (4):578–596.
    I argue for a property mereology and for mereological bundle theory. I then apply this theory to the one over many problem (universals) and puzzles concerning persistence and material constitution.
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  23. L. A. Paul (2000). Aspect Causation. Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):235-256.
    While skiing, Suzy falls and breaks her right wrist. The next day, she writes a philosophy paper. Her right wrist is broken, so she writes her paper using her left hand. (Assume, as seems plausible, that she isn’t dexterous enough to write it any other way, e.g., with her right foot.) She writes the paper, sends it off to a journal, and it is subsequently published. Is Suzy’s accident a cause of the publication of the paper?2 Of course not. Below, (...)
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  24. L. A. Paul (1998). Keeping Track of the Time: Emending the Counterfactual Analysis of Causation. Analysis 58 (3):191–198.
    Counterfactual analyses of causation can provide elegant analyses of many cases of causation. However, they fail to give intuitively correct analyses of cases involving a commonplace variety of late preemptive causation. I argue that a small emendation can solve the problem.
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  25. L. A. Paul (1998). Problems with Late Preemption. Analysis 58 (1):48–53.
    In response to counterexamples involving late preemption, David Lewis (1986) revised his original (1973) counterfactual analysis of causation to include the notion of quasi-dependence. Jonardon Ganeri, Paul Noordhof and Murali Ramachandran (1998) argue that their ‘PCA*-analysis’ of causation solves the problem of late preemption and is superior to Lewis’s analysis. I show that neither quasi-dependence nor the PCA*-analysis solves the problem of late preemption.
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  26. L. A. Paul (1997). Truth Conditions of Tensed Sentence Types. Synthese 111 (1):53-72.
    Quentin Smith has argued that the new tenseless theory of time is faced with insurmountable problems and should be abandoned in favour of the tensed theory of time. Smith;s main argument attacks the fundamental premise of the tenseless theory: that tenseless truth conditions for tokens of tensed sentences adequately capture the meaning of tensed sentences. His position is that tenseless truth conditions cannot explain the logical relations between tensed sentences, thus the tensed theory must be accepted. Against Smith, this paper (...)
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