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Profile: Patrick Toner (Wake Forest University)
  1. Patrick Toner (2014). Hylemorphism, Remnant Persons and Personhood. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 44 (1):76-96.
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  2. Patrick Toner (2013). Beauty and Being: Thomistic Perspectives. By Piotr Jaroszyński. Translated by Hugh McDonald. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 87 (4):786 - 788.
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  3. Patrick Toner (2013). On Aristotelianism and Structures as Parts. Ratio 26 (2):148-161.
    Aristotelian substance theory tells us that substances have structures (read: forms) as proper parts. This claim has recently been defended by Kathrin Koslicki who dubbed it the ‘Neo-Aristotelian Thesis.’ Strangely, Aristotelianism has not yet been universally embraced by philosophers – partly because some of its claims, such as the Neo-Aristotelian Thesis – are viewed by some as counterintuitive at best. In this paper, I argue for Aristotelianism by showing its philosophical usefulness: specifically, I put it to use in saving the (...)
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  4. Patrick Toner (2012). St. Thomas Aquinas on Punishing Souls. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 71 (2):103-116.
    The details of St. Thomas Aquinas’s anthropological view are subject to debate. Some philosophers believe he held that human persons survive their deaths. Other philosophers think he held that human persons cease to exist at their death, but come back into being at the general resurrection. In this paper, I defend the latter view against one of the most significant objections it faces, namely, that it entails that God punishes and rewards separated souls for the sins or merits of something (...)
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  5. Patrick Toner (2012). St. Thomas Aquinas on the Problem of Too Many Thinkers. Modern Schoolman 89 (3-4):209-222.
    It has been argued that St. Thomas Aquinas’s anthropological views fall prey to the problem of “Too Many Thinkers.” The worry, roughly, is that his views entail that I—a human person—am able to think, but that my soul—which is not a human person—is also able to think. Hence, too many thinkers: there are too many ofus having my thoughts. In this paper, I show why this is not a problem for St. Thomas. Along the way, I also address Peter Unger’s (...)
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  6. Patrick Toner (2011). Hylemorphic Animalism. Philosophical Studies 155 (1):65 - 81.
    Roughly, animalism is the doctrine that each of us is identical with an organism. This paper explains and defends a hylemorphic version of animalism. I show how hylemorphic animalism handles standard objections to animalism in compelling ways. I also show what the costs of endorsing hylemorphic animalism are. The paper's contention is that despite the costs, the view is worth taking seriously.
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  7. Patrick Toner (2011). Independence Accounts of Substance and Substantial Parts. Philosophical Studies 155 (1):37 - 43.
    Traditionally, independence accounts of substance have held pride of place. Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes and Spinoza—among many others—accepted independence accounts in one form or another. The general thrust of such views is that substances are those things that are apt to exist in themselves. In this paper, I argue that several contemporary independence theories of substance—including those of Kit Fine, E.J. Lowe and Michael Gorman—include an ad hoc element that renders them unacceptable. I'll also consider the theories of Hoffman and Rosenkrantz.
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  8. Patrick Toner (2011). On Hylemorphism and Personal Identity. European Journal of Philosophy 19 (3):454-473.
    Abstract: There is no such thing as ‘the’ hylemorphic account of personal identity. There are several views that count as hylemorphic, and these views can be grouped into two main families—the corruptionist view, and the survivalist view. The differentiating factor is that the corruptionist view holds that the persistence of the soul is not sufficient for the persistence of the person, while the survivalist view holds that the persistence of the soul is sufficient for the persistence of the person. In (...)
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  9. Patrick Toner (2011). Reading 'Is' Existentially in Republic 476-80. British Journal for the History of Philosophy 19 (2):171-183.
    An existential reading of ?is? in the argument at Republic 476?480 is widely thought to be objectionable because it commits Plato to belief in degrees of existence. In this paper, I argue that neither proposed alternative?the veridical reading or the predicative reading?can be reconciled with the text, thus forcing the existential reading upon us. Further, I show that when Plato's doctrine of existence is properly understood, his commitment to degrees of existence is not at all absurd.
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  10. Patrick Toner (2011). Transubstantiation, Essentialism, and Substance. Religious Studies 47 (2):217-231.
    According to the Eucharistic doctrine of Transubstantiation, when the priest consecrates the bread and wine, the whole substance of the bread and wine are converted into the body and blood of Christ. The of the bread and wine, however, remain present on the altar. This doctrine leads to a clutch of metaphysical problems, some of which are particularly troubling for essentialists. In this paper, I discuss some of these problems, which have recently been pressed by Brian Ellis and Justin Broackes. (...)
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  11. Patrick Toner (2010). On Substance. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 84 (1):25-48.
    In this paper, I offer a theory of substance. There are three steps in the argument. First, I present and explain my definition of substance. Second, I argue that the definition yields the right results: that is, my definition rules that (among other things) events and universals, privations and piles of trash, are not substances, but at least some ordinary physical objects are. Third, I defend the definition by rebutting two obvious objections to it.
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  12. Patrick Toner (2010). St. Thomas Aquinas on Death and the Separated Soul. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (4):587-599.
    Since St. Thomas Aquinas holds that death is a substantial change, a popular current interpretation of his anthropology must be mistaken. According to that interpretation – the ‘survivalist’ view – St. Thomas holds that we human beings survive our deaths, constituted solely by our souls in the interim between death and resurrection. This paper argues that St. Thomas must have held the ‘corruptionist’ view: the view that human beings cease to exist at their deaths. Certain objections to the corruptionist view (...)
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  13. Patrick Toner (2009). Personhood and Death in St. Thomas Aquinas. History of Philosophy Quarterly 26 (2):121 - 138.
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  14. Patrick Toner (2008). Emergent Substance. Philosophical Studies 141 (3):281 - 297.
    In this paper, I develop an ontological position according to which substances such as you and I have no substantial parts. The claim is not that we are immaterial souls. Nor is the claim that we are “human atoms” co-located with human organisms. It is, rather, that we are macrophysical objects that are, in the relevant sense, simple. I contend that despite initial appearances, this claim is not obviously false, and I defend it by showing how much work it can (...)
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  15. Patrick Toner (2008). On Merricks's Dictum. Journal of Philosophical Research 33:293-297.
    Consider the claim that if there were macrophysical objects, they would cause things. Trenton Merricks takes this to be an obviously true claim, and he puts it to work in his argument for eliminating some (alleged) macrophysical objects. In this short paper, I argue that the claim in question—Merricks’s Dictum—is not obviously true, and may even be false.
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  16. Patrick Toner (2008). Rejoinder to Adam Reed, "Not Even False: A Commentary on Parrish and Toner" (Spring 2008): God-Talk and the Arbitrary. Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 9 (2):417 - 421.
    In this brief note, Toner discusses Adam Reed's reply ("Not Even False," The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Spring 2008) to his earlier paper, "Objectivist Atheology" (The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Spring 2007). He argues that Reed's criticisms do not hold up under scrutiny.
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  17. Patrick Toner (2008). The Prayer of the Molinist. Heythrop Journal 49 (6):940-947.
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  18. Patrick Toner (2007). An Old Argument Against Co-Location. Metaphysica 8 (1):45-51.
    I defend an old argument against co-location—the view that human animals are distinct from, but co-located with human persons. The argument is drawn from St. Thomas Aquinas. In order to respond to the argument, co-locationists have to endorse at least one of a trio of claims, none of which is obviously correct. Further, two of the options do not seem to be the sort of positions that should be flowing out of the acceptance of a general metaphysical position. I conclude (...)
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  19. Patrick Toner (2007). Objectivist Atheology. Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 8 (2):211 - 235.
    Objectivists insist on the primacy of existence—the axiom that existence exists. This axiom is taken to entail that the universe exists independent of any consciousness, human or divine. Objectivists hold that a straightforward consequence of this axiom is that God does not exist. The central argument of this paper is that the Objectivist atheological argument based on the primacy of existence fails. Atheological arguments based on the alleged incoherence of the Divine attributes are at best inconclusive. Theism has not been (...)
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  20. Patrick Toner (2007). Thomas Versus Tibbles: A Critical Study of Christopher Brown's Aquinas and the Ship of Theseus. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 81 (4):639-653.
    In his recent book, Aquinas and the Ship of Theseus, Christopher Brown has argued that the metaphysics of St. Thomas is preferable to contemporary analyticviews because it can solve the “problem of material constitution” (PMC) without requiring us to relinquish any of the common-sense beliefs that generate that problem. In this critical study, I show that in the case of both substances and aggregates, Brown’s Aquinas endorses views that are extremely implausible. Consequently, even if it is granted that the solutions (...)
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  21. Patrick Toner (2007). Thomas Versus Tibbles. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 81 (4):639-653.
    In his recent book, Aquinas and the Ship of Theseus, Christopher Brown has argued that the metaphysics of St. Thomas is preferable to contemporary analyticviews because it can solve the “problem of material constitution” (PMC) without requiring us to relinquish any of the common-sense beliefs that generate that problem. In this critical study, I show that in the case of both substances and aggregates, Brown’s Aquinas endorses views that are extremely implausible. Consequently, even if it is granted that the solutions (...)
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  22. Patrick Toner (2006). Contingently Existing Propositions? Philosophical Studies 129 (3):421 - 434.
    It is fairly common, among those who think propositions exist, to think they exist necessarily. Here, I consider three arguments in support of that conclusion. What I hope to show is not that that claim is false, but, rather, that the arguments used in its defense tend to presuppose a certain kind of approach to modality: a roughly Plantingian view. What the arguments show, then, is that one cannot accept that approach to modality and accept contingently existing propositions. But there (...)
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  23. Patrick Toner (2006). Meta-Ontology and Accidental Unity. Philosophical Quarterly 56 (225):550–561.
    My wife and I and our three children may stand in various relations: being a family, being a basketball team, and so on. I show that Frege's doctrine of existence, when coupled with this simple point, easily solves the problem of material constitution and blocks the overdetermination argument for eliminativism. It does all this work while providing a plausible and clear reductionistic account of material objects. These seem to be very good reasons for accepting Frege's doctrine of existence.
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  24. Patrick Toner (2006). Thomistic Theories of Aggregates. Modern Schoolman 83 (4):317-326.
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  25. Patrick Toner (2005). Divine Judgment and the Nature of Time. Faith and Philosophy 22 (3):316-329.
    Many Christians believe that persons who, at the moment of death, are in rebellion from God, are damned, while those in right relationship with Godare saved. This is what, for instance, the Catholic teaching regarding the fate of those who die in mortal sin amounts to. In this paper, I argue that this “last moment view” is incompatible with a popular theory of time known as eternalism, according to which all times are equally real. If that’s right, then those who (...)
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  26. Patrick Toner (2003). Fashionable Nihilism. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 77 (2):307-310.
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