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Profile: Matthew H. Slater (Bucknell University)
  1. Matthew H. Slater & Achille C. Varzi, Playing for the Same Team Again.
    The following is a transcript of what might very well have been five telephone conversa- tions between Michael Jordan and former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson in early March 1995, just before the announcement of MJ’s comeback after a year spent pursu- ing a baseball career.
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  2. Matthew H. Slater, How Necessary is the Past? Reply to Campbell.
    Joe Campbell has identified an apparent flaw in van Inwagen’s Consequence Argument. It apparently derives a metaphysically necessary conclusion from what Campbell argues is a contingent premise: that the past is in some sense necessary. I criticise Campbell’s examples attempting to show that this is not the case (in the requisite sense) and suggest some directions along which an incompatibilist could reconstruct her argument so as to remain immune to Campbell’s worries.
     
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  3. Matthew H. Slater, The Indeterminacy Problem for Species-as-Individuals.
    Of those who believe that biological species are real, the dominant metaphysics of species is that they are individuals. While the arguments for this view have been thoroughly criticized in the last quarter thirty years, comparatively less effort has been spent trying to show that the view is actually false. My primary concern in the present paper is to detail a metaphysical problem for the species-as-individuals thesis that should at least give potential adherents great pause. Second, I will sketch a (...)
     
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  4. Joseph Keim Campbell, Matthew H. Slater & Michael O'Rourke (eds.) (forthcoming). Carving Nature at its Joints. Topics in Contemporary Philosophy, Vol. 8. MIT Press.
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  5. William P. Kabasenche Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.) (forthcoming). Reference and Referring. MIT.
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  6. Matthew H. Slater (forthcoming). Natural Kindness. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axt033.
    Philosophers have long been interested in a series of interrelated questions about natural kinds. What are they? What role do they play in science and metaphysics? How do they contribute to our epistemic projects? What categories count as natural kinds? And so on. Owing, perhaps, to different starting points and emphases, we now have at hand a variety of conceptions of natural kinds—some apparently better suited than others to accommodate a particular sort of inquiry. Even if coherent, this situation isn’t (...)
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  7. Matthew H. Slater & Andrea Borghini (forthcoming). Introduction: Lessons From the Scientific Butchery. In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints: Topics in Contemporary Philosophy, Vol. 8. MIT Press.
    Good chefs know the importance of maintaining sharp knives in the kitchen. What’s their secret? A well-worn Taoist allegory offers some advice. The king asks about his butcher’s impressive knifework. “Ordinary butchers,” he replied “hack their way through the animal. Thus their knife always needs sharpening. My father taught me the Taoist way. I merely lay the knife by the natural openings and let it find its own way through. Thus it never needs sharpening” (Kahn 1995, vii; see also Watson (...)
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  8. Matthew H. Slater (2013). Cell Types as Natural Kinds. Biological Theory 7 (2):170-179.
    Talk of different types of cells is commonplace in the biological sciences. We know a great deal, for example, about human muscle cells by studying the same type of cells in mice. Information about cell type is apparently largely projectible across species boundaries. But what defines cell type? Do cells come pre-packaged into different natural kinds? Philosophical attention to these questions has been extremely limited [see e.g., Wilson (Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays, pp 187–207, 1999; Genes and the Agents of Life, (...)
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  9. William P. Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.) (2012). Reference and Referring. The Mit Press.
    These fifteen original essays address the core semantic concepts of reference andreferring from both philosophical and linguistic perspectives.
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  10. William P. Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.) (2012). The Environment: Philosophy, Science, and Ethics. The Mit Press.
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  11. Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.) (2011). Carving Nature at its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science. Mit Press.
    Are there natural kinds of things around which our theories cut? The essays in this volume offer reflections by a distinguished group of philosophers on a series of intertwined issues in the metaphysics and epistemology of classification.
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  12. Michael O'Rourke, Joseph Keim Campbell & Matthew H. Slater (eds.) (2011). Carving Nature at its Joints. MIT Press.
    Are there natural kinds of things around which our theories cut? Theessays in this volume offer reflections by a distinguished group of philosophers on a series ofintertwined issues in the metaphysics and epistemology of classification.
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  13. Matthew H. Slater (2010). A Reflection on Our Freedom. Philosophia 38 (2):327-330.
    Many Compatibilists seem to suppose that discover that we lived in a deterministic world would not unseat our confidence that many of our actions are nevertheless free. Here's a short story about such confidence becoming unseated.
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  14. Matthew H. Slater (2010). Time and Identity. A Bradford Book.
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  15. Matthew H. Slater (2009). Macromolecular Pluralism. Philosophy of Science 76 (5):851-863.
    Different chemical species are often cited as paradigm examples of structurally delimited natural kinds. While classificatory monism may thus seem plausible for simple molecules, it looks less attractive for complex biological macromolecules. I focus on the case of proteins that are most plausibly individuated by their functions. Is there a single, objective count of proteins? I argue that the vagaries of function individuation infect protein classification. We should be pluralists about macromolecular classification.
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  16. Matthew H. Slater (2009). Recent Texts in Metaphysics. Teaching Philosophy 32 (3):285-296.
    A teacher of analytic metaphysics faces a bewildering array of textbook and anthology options. Which should one choose? Thisdepends, of course, on one’s course and goals as instructor. This comparative book review will survey several options—both longstanding and recent to press—from a pedagogical perspective. The options are not exclusive. Many are natural complements and would work nicely with other collections or single-author texts. I shall focus my attention here on six texts (in this order): two textbooks, one by Peter van (...)
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  17. Matthew H. Slater & Chris Haufe (2009). Where No Mind Has Gone Before: Exploring Laws in Distant and Lonely Worlds. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):265-276.
    Do the laws of nature supervene on ordinary, non-nomic matters of fact? Lange's criticism of Humean supervenience (HS) plays a key role in his account of natural laws. Though we are sympathetic to his account, we remain unconvinced by his criticism. We focus on his thought experiment involving a world containing nothing but a lone proton and argue that it does not cast sufficient doubt on HS. In addition, we express some concern about locating the lawmakers in an ontology of (...)
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  18. Matthew H. Slater & Chris Haufe (2009). Where No Mind has Gone Before. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):265-276.
    Do the laws of nature supervene on ordinary, non-nomic matters of fact? Lange's criticism of Humean supervenience (HS) plays a key role in his account of natural laws. Though we are sympathetic to his account, we remain unconvinced by his criticism. We focus on his thought experiment involving a world containing nothing but a lone proton and argue that it does not cast sufficient doubt on HS. In addition, we express some concern about locating the lawmakers in an ontology of (...)
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  19. Matthew H. Slater (2008). How to Justify Teaching False Science. Science Education 92 (3):526-542.
    We often knowingly teach false science. Such a practice conflicts with a prima facie pedagogical value placed on teaching only what’s true. I argue that only a partial dissolution of the conflict is possible: the proper aim of instruction in science is not to provide an armory of facts about what things the world contains, how they interact, and so on, but rather to contribute to an understanding of how science as a human endeavor works and what sorts of facts (...)
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  20. Matthew H. Slater & Achille C. Varzi (2007). Playing for the Same Team. In Bassham & Walls (eds.), Basketball and Philosophy. University of Kentucky Press.
    The following is a transcript of what might very well have been five telephone conversations between Michael Jordan and former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson. The conversations took place in early March 1995, just before the announcement of MJ’s comeback after a year spent pursuing baseball.
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  21. Achille Varzi & Matthew H. Slater (2007). Playing for the Same Team Again. In Jerry L. Walls & Gregory Bassham (eds.), Basketball and Philosophy. University of Kentucky Press.
    The following is a transcript of what might very well have been five telephone conversa- tions between Michael Jordan and former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson in early March 1995, just before the announcement of MJ’s comeback after a year spent pursu- ing a baseball career.
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  22. Marc Ereshefsky, Mohan Matthen, Matthew H. Slater, Alex Rosenberg, D. M. Kaplan, Kevin Js Zollman, Peter Vanderschraaf, J. McKenzie Alexander, Andreas Hüttemann & Gordon Belot (2005). 10. The Facts of the Matter: A Discussion of Norton's Material Theory of Induction The Facts of the Matter: A Discussion of Norton's Material Theory of Induction (Pp. 188-197). [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 72 (1).
     
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  23. Matthew H. Slater (2005). A Contextualist Reply to the Direct Argument. Philosophical Studies 125 (1):115 - 137.
    The Direct Argument for the incompatibility of moral responsibility and determinism is designed to side-step complaints given by compatibilist critiques of the so-called Transfer Argument. I argue that while it represents an improvement over the Transfer Argument, it loses some of its plausibility when we reflect on some metalogical issues about normal modal modeling and the semantics of natural language. More specifically, the crucial principle on which the Direct Argument depends appears doubtful where context plays a role in evaluation of (...)
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  24. Matthew H. Slater (2005). The Necessity of Time Travel (On Pain of Indeterminacy). The Monist 88 (3):362-369.
    There is a tension between the “growing block” account of time (closed past, open future) and the possibility of backwards time travel. If Tim the time traveler can someday travel backwards through time, then he has (in a certain sense) already been. He might discover this fact before (in another sense) he goes. Hence a dilemma: it seems that either Tim’s future is determined in an odd way or cases of (temporary) ontic indeterminate identity are possible. Either Tim cannot avoid (...)
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  25. Matthew H. Slater (2005). Monism on the One Hand, Pluralism on the Other. Philosophy of Science 72 (1):22-42.
    In this paper, I consider ways of responding to critiques of natural kinds monism recently suggested from the pluralist camp. Even if monism is determined to be untenable in certain domains (say, about species), it might well be tenable in others. Chemistry is suggested to be such a monist‐friendly domain. Suggestions of trouble for chemical kinds can be defused by attending to the difference between monism as a metaphysical thesis and as a claim about classification systems. Finally, I consider enantiomers (...)
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  26. Matthew H. Slater (2003). Minimalism and Coincidence: Comments on Varzi. Dialectica 57 (3):323–329.
    Achille Varzi [2000] has suggested a nice response to the familiar argument purporting to establish the existence of perfectly coinciding objects – objects which, if they existed, would trouble mereological extensionality and the “Minimalist View” of ontology. The trick is to defend Minimalism without tarnishing its status as a meta-principle: that is, without making any firstorder ontological claims. Varzi’s response, though seeming to allow for a comfortable indifference about metaphysical matters peripheral to Minimalism, is not general enough to stave off (...)
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