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Profile: Ned Markosian (Western Washington University)
  1. Ned Markosian, 1 Introduction.
    Theodore Sider’s Four-Dimensionalism1 is a well-organized and clearly written book that is chock-full of important arguments. Both friends and foes of the views defended by Sider will benefit enormously from careful study of the book. I am going to focus on just two of Sider’s many arguments for Four-Dimensionalism: his argument from vagueness, which I take to be the most important and powerful argument in the book, and his argument from time travel, which I find to be the funnest to (...)
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  2. Ned Markosian, Physical Object.
    Physical objects are the most familiar of all objects, and yet the concept of a physical object remains elusive. Any six-year-old can give you a dozen examples of physical objects, and most people with at least one undergraduate course in philosophy can also give examples of non-physical objects. But if asked to produce a definition of ‘physical object’ that adequately captures the distinction between the physical and the nonphysical, the average person can offer little more than hand-waving.
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  3. Ned Markosian (forthcoming). A Spatial Approach to Mereology. In Shieva Keinschmidt (ed.), Mereology and Location. Oxford University Press.
    When do several objects compose a further object? The last twenty years have seen a great deal of discussion of this question. According to the most popular view on the market, there is a physical object composed of your brain and Jeremy Bentham’s body. According to the second-most popular view on the market, there are no such objects as human brains or human bodies, and there are also no atoms, rocks, tables, or stars. And according to the third-ranked view, there (...)
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  4. Ned Markosian (forthcoming). Are You Special? A Review of Caspar Hare's *On Myself, and Other, Less Important Subjects*. [REVIEW] Philosophical Review.
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  5. Ned Markosian (forthcoming). The Truth About the Past and the Future. In Fabrice Correia & Andrea Iacona (eds.), Around the Tree: Semantic and Metaphysical Issues Concerning Branching Time and the Open Future. Springer.
    This paper is about The Truthmaker Problem for Presentism. I spell out a solution to the problem that involves appealing to indeterministic laws of nature and branching semantics for past- and future-tensed sentences. Then I discuss a potential glitch for this solution, and propose a way to get around that glitch. Finally, I consider some likely objections to the view offered here, as well as replies to those objections.
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  6. Ned Markosian (2013). Two Puzzles About Mercy. Philosophical Quarterly 63 (251):269-292.
    Anslem raised a puzzle about mercy: How can anyone (God, say, or a judge) be both just and merciful at the same time? For it seemed to Anselm that justice requires giving people what they deserve, while being merciful involves treating people less harshly than they deserve. This puzzle has led to a number of analyses of mercy. But a strange thing emerges from discussions of this topic: people seem to have wildly divergent intuitions about putative cases of mercy. Examples (...)
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  7. Ned Markosian (2012). Agent Causation as the Solution to All the Compatibilist's Problems. Philosophical Studies 157 (3):383 - 398.
    In a recent paper I argued that agent causation theorists should be compatibilists. In this paper, I argue that compatibilists should be agent causation theorists. I consider six of the main problems facing compatibilism: (i) the powerful intuition that one can't be responsible for actions that were somehow determined before one was born; (ii) Peter van Inwagen's modal argument, involving the inference rule (β); (iii) the objection to compatibilism that is based on claiming that the ability to do otherwise is (...)
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  8. Ned Markosian (2010). Identifying the Problem of Personal Identity. In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.), Time and Identity. Mit Press. 129.
    This paper has two main aims. The first is to propose a new way of characterizing the problem of personal identity. The second is to show that the metaphysical picture that underlies my proposal has important implications for the 3D/4D debate. I start by spelling out several of the old ways of characterizing the problem of personal identity and saying what I think is wrong with each of them. Next I present and motivate some metaphysical principles concerning property instantiations that (...)
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  9. Ned Markosian (2010). Time. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Discussions of the nature of time, and of various issues related to time, have always featured prominently in philosophy, but they have been especially important since the beginning of the 20th Century. This article contains a brief overview of some of the main topics in the philosophy of time — Fatalism; Reductionism and Platonism with respect to time; the topology of time; McTaggart's arguments; The A Theory and The B Theory; Presentism, Eternalism, and The Growing Universe Theory; time travel; and (...)
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  10. Ned Markosian (2008). Restricted Composition. In Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics. Blackwell Pub.. 341--63.
    Let’s begin with a simple example. Consider two quarks: one near the tip of your nose, the other near the center of Alpha Centauri. Here is a question about these two subatomic particles: Is there an object that has these two quarks as its parts and that has no other parts? According to one view of the matter (a view that is surprisingly endorsed by a great many contemporary philosophers), the answer to this question is Yes. But I think it (...)
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  11. Ned Markosian (2008). Three Problems for Olson's Account of Personal Identity. Abstracta 3 (3):16-22.
  12. Ned Markosian (2005). Against Ontological Fundamentalism. Facta Philosophica 7 (1):69-83.
    Suppose you are asked to be the substitute teacher for a high school physics class. Suppose part of your assignment is to explain to the students all about the subatomic structure of a typical macroscopic object, such as a wooden table. Here is a speech that you are likely to find yourself making at some point during your lesson.
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  13. Ned Markosian (2004). A Defence of Presentism. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 1 (3):47-82.
    ∗ Apologies to Mark Hinchliff for stealing the title of his dissertation. (See Hinchliff, A Defense of Presentism. As it turns out, however, the version of Presentism defended here is different from the version defended by Hinchliff. See Section 3.1 below.).
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  14. Ned Markosian (2004). Review: Two Arguments From Sider's "Four-Dimensionalism&Quot;. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):665 - 673.
    In this essay for a PPR book symposium on Theodore Sider's _Four-Dimensionalism<D>, I focus on two of Sider's arguments for four-dimensionalism: (i) his argument from vagueness, and (ii) his argument from time travel. Concerning (i), I first show that Sider's argument commits him to certain strange consequences that many four-dimensionalists may not endorse, and then I discuss an objection that involves appealing to 'brutal composition', the view that there is no informative answer to Peter van Inwagen's 'special composition question'. Concerning (...)
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  15. Ned Markosian (2004). Soc It to Me? Reply to McDaniel on Maxcon Simples. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (2):332 – 340.
    I raised the following question in a recent paper: What are the necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for an object's being a simple? And I proposed and defended this answer (which I called 'MaxCon'): Necessarily, x is a simple iff x is a maximally continuous object. In a more recent paper, Kris McDaniel raises several objections to MaxCon, including, in particular, two objections based on a principle about the supervenience of constitution that he calls 'SoC'. The purpose of the present (...)
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  16. Ned Markosian (2004). Simples, Stuff, and Simple People. The Monist 87 (3):405-428.
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  17. Ned Markosian (2004). Two Arguments From Sider's Four-Dimensionalism. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3):665–673.
    In this essay for a PPR book symposium on Theodore Sider's _Four-Dimensionalism<D>, I focus on two of Sider's arguments for four-dimensionalism: (i) his argument from vagueness, and (ii) his argument from time travel. Concerning (i), I first show that Sider's argument commits him to certain strange consequences that many four-dimensionalists may not endorse, and then I discuss an objection that involves appealing to 'brutal composition', the view that there is no informative answer to Peter van Inwagen's 'special composition question'. Concerning (...)
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  18. Ned Markosian (2001). Critical Study of Robin Lepoidevin (Ed.), Questions of Time and Tense. Noûs 35 (4):616-629.
    Some people think that pastness, presentness and futurity (and their metric variants, such as being two days past) are genuine propeties of times and events. These putative properties are sometimes called “A properties” and the philosopers who believe in them are often called “A Theorists.” Other philosophers don’t believe in the reality of A properties, but instead say that talk that appears to be about such properties is really about “B relations” – two-place temporal relations like earlier than, simultaneous with, (...)
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  19. Ned Markosian (2001). Critical Studies: Robin le Poidevin, (Ed.) Questions of Time and Tense. Noûs 35 (4):616–629.
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  20. Ned Markosian (2001). Reviewed of Peter Ludlow, Semantics, Tense, and Time. Journal of Philosophy 98:325-329.
    This is not your typical book about the A-theory/B-theory controversy in metaphysics. <span class='Hi'>Peter</span> Ludlow attempts something that few philosophers have tried in the last thirty years: he actually argues from linguistic premises for metaphysical conclusions. The relevant linguistic premises have to do with the nature of language, a general theory of semantics, the proper analysis of tense, and various technical theses involving the treatment of temporal indexicals and temporal anaphora (among other things). The metaphysical conclusions that Ludlow argues for (...)
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  21. Ned Markosian (2001). Semantics, Tense, and Time. Journal of Philosophy 98 (6):325-329.
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  22. Ned Markosian (2000). Sorensen's Argument Against Vague Objects. Philosophical Studies 97 (1):1-9.
    In his fascinating and provocative paper, "Sharp Boundaries for Blobs," Roy Sorensen gives several arguments against the possibility of "vague objects," or objects with indeterminate boundaries.1 In what follows, I will examine the main argument given by Sorensen in his paper. This argument has a great deal of initial plausibility. Moreover, I happen to sympathize with its conclusion. Nevertheless, it seems to me that Sorensen's argument fails to establish that conclusion. The purpose of this paper is to show why. I (...)
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  23. Ned Markosian (2000). What Are Physical Objects? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2):375-395.
  24. Ned Markosian (1999). A Compatibilist Version of the Theory of Agent Causation. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (3):257-277.
    The problem of freedom and determinism has vexed philosophers for several millennia, and continues to be a topic of lively debate today. One of the proposed solutions to the problem that has received a great deal of attention is the Theory of Agent Causation. While the theory has enjoyed its share of advocates, and perhaps more than its share of critics, the theory’s advocates and critics have always agreed on one thing: the Theory of Agent Causation is an incompatibilist theory. (...)
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  25. Ned Markosian (1998). Brutal Composition. Philosophical Studies 92 (3):211-249.
    According to standard, pre-philosophical intuitions, there are many composite objects in the physical universe. There is, for example, my bicycle, which is composed of various parts - wheels, handlebars, molecules, atoms, etc. Recently, a growing body of philosophical literature has concerned itself with questions about the nature of composition.1 The main question that has been raised about composition is, roughly, this: Under what circumstances do some things compose, or add up to, or form, a single object? It turns out that (...)
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  26. Ned Markosian (1998). Simples. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (2):213 – 228.
    Since the publication of Peter van Inwagen's book, Material Beings,1 there has been a growing body of philosophical literature on the topic of composition. The main question addressed in both van Inwagen's book and subsequent discussions of the topic is a question that van Inwagen calls "the Special Composition Question." The Special Composition Question is, roughly, the question Under what circumstances do several things compose, or add up to, or form, a single object? For the purposes of formulating a more (...)
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  27. Ned Markosian (1997). The Paradox of the Question. Analysis 57 (2):95–97.
    Once upon a time, during a large and international conference of the world's leading philosophers, an angel miraculously appeared and said, "I come to you as a messenger from God. You will be permitted to ask any one question you want - but only one! - and I will answer that question truthfully. What would you like to ask?" The philosophers were understandably excited, and immediately began a discussion of what would be the best question to ask. But it quickly (...)
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  28. Ned Markosian (1996). ** O Paradoxo da Pergunta. Disputatio.
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  29. Ned Markosian (1996). O Paradoxo a Pregunta. Disputatio 1:1-3.
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  30. Ned Markosian (1995). On the Argument From Quantum Cosmology Against Theism. Analysis 55 (4):247 - 251.
    In a recent Analysis article, Quentin Smith argues that classical theism is inconsistent with certain consequences of Stephen Hawking's quantum cosmology.1 Although I am not a theist, it seems to me that Smith's argument fails to establish its conclusion. The purpose of this paper is to show what is wrong with Smith's argument. According to Smith, Hawking's cosmological theory includes what Smith calls "Hawking's wave function law." Hawking's wave function law (hereafter, "HL") apparently has, among its consequences, the following claim. (...)
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  31. Ned Markosian (1995). The Open Past. Philosophical Studies 79 (1):95 - 105.
    This paper is about the open future response to fatalistic arguments. I first present a typical fatalistic argument and then spell out the open future response as a response to that argument. Then I raise the question of how the open future response can be independently justified. I consider some possible ways in which the response might be defended, and I try to show that none of these is a plausible, non-question-begging defense. Next I formulate what I take to be (...)
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  32. Ned Markosian (1994). The 3d/4d Controversy and Non-Present Objects. Philosophical Papers 23 (3):243-249.
    Worlds, Lewis says this: 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. Perdurance corresponds to the way a road persists through space; part of it (...)
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  33. Ned Markosian (1993). How Fast Does Time Pass? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (4):829-844.
    I believe that time passes. In the last one hundred years or so, many philosophers have rejected this view. Those who have done so have generally been motivated by at least one of three different arguments: (i) McTaggart's argument, (ii) an argument from the theory of relativity, and (iii) an argument concerning the alleged incoherence of talk about the rate of the passage of time. There has been a great deal of literature on McTaggart's argument (although no concensus has been (...)
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  34. How Fast Does Time Pass & Ned Markosian (1993). Current Periodical Articles 673. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (4).
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  35. Ned Markosian (1992). On Language and the Passage of Time. Philosophical Studies 66 (1):1 - 26.
    Since the early part of this century there has been a considerable amount of discussion of the question 'Does time pass?'. A useful way of approaching the debate over the passage of time is to consider the following thesis: The space-time thesis (SPT): Time is similar to the dimensions of space in at least this one respect: there is no set of properties such that (i) these properties are possessed by time, (ii) these properties are not possessed by any dimension (...)
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  36. Ned Markosian (1988). On Ockham's Supposition Theory and Karger's Rule of Inference. Franciscan Studies 48 (1):40-52.
    Elizabeth Karger has suggested an interpretation of Ockham's theory of the modes of common personal supposition ("TM") according to which the purpose of TM is to provide certain distinctions that Ockham will use in formulating a unified theory of immediate inference among certain kinds of sentences. Karger presents a single, powerful rule of inference that incorporates TM distinctions and that is meant to codify Ockham's theory of immediate inference. I raise an objection to Karger's rule, thereby calling into doubt the (...)
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