The bulk of the essay “Truth and Freedom” (Philosophical Review 118 : 29–57) opposes fatalism, which is the claim that if there is a true proposition to the effect that an action A will occur, then A will not be free. But that essay also offers a new way to reconcile divine foreknowledge and human freedom. In “The Truth about Freedom: A Reply to Merricks” (Philosophical Review 120 : 97–115), John Martin Fischer and Patrick Todd raise a number of objections (...) to “Truth and Freedom,” most of which are objections to its treatment of foreknowledge. Their central complaint seems to be that that treatment is, despite its claims to the contrary, merely a form of Ockhamism—and a poorly developed form of Ockhamism at that. This essay replies to Fischer and Todd's specific objections. But, more importantly, it further clarifies the fundamental differences between the way it reconciles divine foreknowledge and human freedom and the Ockhamist's way. In particular, this essay further demonstrates that when it comes to divine foreknowledge's compatibility with human freedom, the fundamental question is not the Ockhamist's question of whether God's beliefs about what an agent will do in the future are “hard facts.” Rather, the fundamental question is whether God's beliefs about what an agent will do in the future depend on what that agent will do in the future. (shrink)
is just a few moments from now. And suppose that the proposition that Jones sits at t was true a thousand years ago. Does the thousand-years-ago truth of that proposition imply that Jones's upcoming sitting at t will not be free? This article argues that it does not. It also argues that Jones even now has a choice about the thousand-years-ago truth of that Jones sits at t . Those arguments do not require the complex machinery of Ockhamism, with its (...) distinction between hard facts and soft facts; indeed, those arguments do not require any complex machinery at all. Instead, those arguments are built on an uncontroversial understanding of the idea that truth depends on the world. In the final section of the article, those arguments are extended to show that foreknowledge of an action does not threaten that action's freedom. (shrink)
other things, that the Vagueness Argument for unrestricted composition fails. In ‘Vagueness and Arbitrariness: Merricks on Composition’, Elizabeth Barnes objects to my argument. This paper replies to Barnes, and also offers further support for the views defended in my original paper.
says that there are some composite objects. And it says that some objects jointly compose nothing at all. The main threat to restricted composition is the in.uential and widely defended Vagueness Argument. We shall see that the Vagueness Argument fails. In seeing how this argument fails, we shall discover a new focus for the debate over composition's extent.
With ontology motivated largely by causal considerations, this lucid and provocative work focuses on the idea that physical objects are causally non-redundant. Merricks "eliminates" inanimate composite macrophysical objects on the grounds that they would--if they existed--be at best completely causally redundant. He defends human existence by arguing, from certain facts about mental causation, that we cause things that are not determined by our proper parts. He also provides insight into a variety of philosophical puzzles, while addressing many significant issues like (...) free will, the "reduction" of a composite object to its parts, and the ways in which identity over time can "for practical purposes" be a matter of convention. Anyone working in metaphysics will enjoy this book immensely. (shrink)
The doctrine of Microphysical Supervenience (MS) states that: Necessarily, if atoms A1 through An compose an object that exemplified intrinsic qualitative properties Q1 through Qn, then atoms like A1 through An (in all their respective intrinsic qualitative properties), related to one another by all the same restricted atom-to-atom relations as A1 through An, compose an object that exemplifies Q1 through Qn. I show that MS entails a contradiction and so must be rejected. And my argument against MS provides the resources (...) to show that Global Microphysical Supervenience (GMS) is false. GMS states that possible worlds qualitatively exactly alike at the microphysical level are qualitatively exactly alike at the macrophysical level. (shrink)
Warrant is that, whatever it is, which makes the difference between knowledge and mere true belief. In "Warrant Entails Truth" (PPR, December 1995), I argued that it is impossible that a false belief be warranted. Sharon Ryan attacked the argument of that paper in her "Does Warrant Entail Truth?" (PPR, March 1996). In "More on Warrant's Entailing Truth" I present arguments for the claim that warrant entails truth that are, I think, significantly more compelling than the arguments of my original (...) "Warrant Entails Truth." This paper responds to Ryan's objections, but it is not merely a reply to Ryan's article. It is, rather, a free-standing defense of warrant's entailing truth that is the product of discussion and argument for over two years with many philosophers, including Ryan, over the arguments contained in my original paper. (shrink)