Among philosophers of mind, it is common to assume that at least some mental properties are functional in nature, and that functional properties are second-order properties. In the functionalist literature, the notion of being a second-order property is cashed out in three different ways: (i) in terms of semantic features of characterizations or definitions of properties, (ii) in terms of syntactic features of second-order quantification, and (iii) in terms of a metaphysical criterion, according to which properties are second order if (...) they are properties of first-order properties. It is shown that in the context of functionalism reference to these interpretations is misguided, and it is suggested that the notion of an ordering of properties in this context is best understood as being tied to dependence-relations. (shrink)
In this paper, a cognate of the problem of divine foreknowledge is introduced: the problem of the prophet’s foreknowledge. The latter cannot be solved referring to Ockhamism—the doctrine that divine foreknowledge could, at least in principle, be compatible with human freedom because God’s beliefs about future actions are merely soft facts, rather than hard facts about the past. Under the assumption that if Ockhamism can solve the problem of divine foreknowledge then it should also yield a solution to the problem (...) of the prophet’s foreknowledge, it is concluded that Ockhamism fails. (shrink)
Assume that water reduces to H2O. If so water is identical to H2O (according to one interpretation of the term `reduction´). At the same time, if water reduces to H2O then H2O does not reduce to water–the reduction relation is asymmetric. This generates a puzzle–if water just is H2O it is hard to see how we can account for the asymmetry of the reduction relation. The paper proposes a solution to this puzzle. It is argued that (i) the reduction predicate (...) generates intensional contexts and that (ii) in order to account for the asymmetry, we should develop conditions on the meanings of expressions that flank the reduction predicate in true reduction statements. Finally, it is argued that if we adopt this interpretation, we can illuminate the epistemological difference between reduced and reducing item commonly referred to in the literature. (shrink)
Nagel’s official model of theory-reduction and the way it is represented in the literature are shown to be incompatible with the careful remarks on the notion of reduction Nagel gave while developing his model. Based on these remarks, an alternative model is outlined which does not face some of the problems the official model faces. Taking the context in which Nagel developed his model into account, it is shown that the way Nagel shaped his model and, thus, its well-known deficiencies, (...) are best conceived of as a mere by-product of his philosophical background. (shrink)
In this paper, the relation between identity-based reduction and one specific sort of reductive explanation is considered. The notion of identity-based reduction is spelled out and its role in the reduction debate is sketched. An argument offered by Jaegwon Kim, which is supposed to show that identity-based reduction and reductive explanation are incompatible, is critically examined. From the discussion of this argument, some important consequences about the notion of reduction are pointed out.