A collection of new essays on causation in the period from Galileo to Lady Mary Shepherd (roughly 1600-1850). Contributors: David Wootton, Tad Schmaltz, William Eaton and Robert Higgerson, Eric Schliesser, Pauline Phemister, Timothy Stanton, Peter Millican, Constantine Sandis, Boris Hennig, Angela Breitenbach, Stathis Psillos, and Martha Brandt Bolton.
Berkeley thinks that we only see the size, shape, location, and orientation of objects in virtue of the correlation between sight and touch. Shadows have all of these spatial properties and yet are intangible. In Seeing Dark Things (2008), Roy Sorensen argues that shadows provide a counterexample to Berkeley's theory of vision and, consequently, to his idealism. This paper shows that Berkeley can accept both that shadows are intangible and that they have spatial properties.
Suppose nothing exists. Then it is true that nothing exists. What makes that true? Nothing! So it seems that if nothing existed, then the principle that every truth is made true by something (the truthmaker principle) would be false. So if it is possible that nothing exists, a claim often called 'metaphysical nihilism', then the truthmaker principle is not necessary. This paper explores various ways to resolve this conflict without restricting metaphysical nihilism in such a way that it would become (...) trivial and uninteresting. (shrink)
Ross Cameron charges the subtraction argument for metaphysical nihilism with equivocation: each premise is plausible only under different interpretations of 'concrete'. This charge is ungrounded; the argument is both valid and supported by basic modal intuitions.
There are many questions we can ask about time, but perhaps the most fundamental is whether there are metaphysically interesting differences between past, present and future events. An eternalist believes in a block universe: past, present and future events are all on an equal footing. A gradualist believes in a growing block: he agress with the eternalist about the past and the present but not about the future. A presentist believes that what is present has a special status. My first (...) claim is that the familiar ways of articulating these views result in there being no substantive disagreement at all between the three parties. I then show that if we accept the controversial truthmaking principle, we can articulate a substantive disagreenment. Finally, I apply this way of formulating the debate to related questions such as the open future and determinism, showing that these do not always line up in quite the way one would expect. (shrink)
I aim to draw the reader's attention to an easily overlooked account of perception, namely that there are no perceptual experiences, that to perceive something is to stand in an external, purely non-Leibnizian relation to it. I introduce the Purely Relational account of perception by discussing a case of it being overlooked in the writings of G.E. Moore, though we also find the same move in J. Cook Wilson, so it has nothing to do with an affection for sense-data. I (...) then discuss the relation between the PR account and recent disjunctive accounts of perceptual experience, and note that the PR account has some claim to be the only one that truly respects the directness of perception. The paper does not aspire to persuade the reader of the correctness of the neglected PR account, merely that it should be treated as a serious candidate in philosophical debates about perception. (shrink)
We argue that Armstrong's Combinatorialism allows for the possibility of nothing by giving a Combinatorial account of the empty world and show that such an account is consistent with the ontological and conceptual aims of the theory. We then suggest that the Combinatorialist should allow for this possibility given some methodological considerations. Consequently, rather than being 'spoils for the victor', as Armstrong maintains, deciding whether there might have been nothing helps to determine which metaphysics of modality is to be preferred.
Almost all who write on Collier note a striking similarity between a short passage in his Clavis Universalis and the famous claim that esse is percipi in Berkeley's Principles. This essay explores that similarity in more detail than has been done before. The comparison forces us to address an issue about the nature of passivity in Berkeley's theory of mind. Two interpretations consistent with the text are offered and one is favoured on the grounds that it makes some of Berkeley's (...) arguments more plausible. The idealisms of Berkeley and Collier are shown to have a common source. (shrink)
We argue that genuine modal realism can be extended, rather than modified, so as to allow for the possibility of nothing concrete, a possibility we term ‘metaphysical nihilism’. The issue should be important to the genuine modal realist because, not only is metaphysical nihilism itself intuitively plausible, but also it is supported by an argument with pre-theoretically credible premises, namely, the subtraction argument. Given the soundness of the subtraction argument, we show that there are two ways that the genuine modal (...) realist can accommodate metaphysical nihilism: (i) by allowing for worlds containing only spatiotemporal points and (ii) by allowing for a world containing nothing but the null individual. Oon methodological grounds, we argue that the genuine modal realist should reject the former way but embrace the latter way. (shrink)
Equivocation is often described as a fallacy. In this short note I argue that it is not a logical concept but an epistemic one. The argument of one who equivocates is not logically flawed, but it is unpersuasive in a very distinctive way.
Abstract Temporal Externalism is the view that future events can contribute to determining the present content of our thoughts and utterances. Two objections to Temporal Externalism are discussed and rejected. The first is that Temporal Externalism has implausible consequences for the epistemology of biology and other taxonomic sciences (Brown, 2000). The second is that it is committed to implausible claims about dispositions.
Tom Stoneham offers a clear and detailed study of Berkeley's metaphysics and epistemology, as presented in his classic work Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, originally published in 1713 and still widely studied. Stoneham shows that Berkeley is an important and systematic philosopher whose work is still of relevance to philosophers today.
Paul Boghossian has argued that Externalism is incompatible with privileged self-knowledge because (i) the Externalist can cite no property to be the reference of an empty natural kind concept such as the ether; (ii) without reference there is no content; hence (iii) either we do know on the basis of introspection alone whether an apparent natural kind thought has content or not, in which case we can infer from self-knowledge and a priori knowledge of Externalism alone to the existence in (...) our environment of water, gold etc.; (iv) or we do not know, without empirical investigation, whether an apparent natural kind thought has content. An Externalist not wanting to accept either (iii) or (iv) can deny (i). All empty natural kind concepts refer to the necessarily uninstantiated property of being identical to nothing. Since they have different senses and self-knowledge is only held to extend to the existence and identity of sense, this is compatible with privileged self-knowledge, and Externalism is still true of the concepts. (shrink)
It is argued that a second-order belief to the effect that I now have some particular propositional attitude is always true (Incorrigibility). This is not because we possess an infallible cognitive faculty of introspection, but because that x believes that he himself now has attitude A to proposition P entails that x has A to P. Incorrigibility applies only to second-order beliefs and not to mere linguistic avowals of attitudes. This view combines a necessary asymmetry between 1st and 3rd person (...) ascriptions with Objectivism about the propositional attitudes. The epistemic justification of second-order beliefs is shown to be a further question. (shrink)