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)
According to one account, vagueness is "metaphysical." The friend of metaphysical vagueness believes that, for some object and some property, there can be no determinate fact of the matter whether that object exemplifies that property. A second account maintains that vagueness is due only to ignorance. According to the epistemic account, vagueness is explained completely by and is nothing over and above our not knowing some relevant fact or facts. These are the minority views. The dominant position maintains that there (...) is a third possible variety of vagueness, linguistic vagueness. And, it goes on to insist, all vagueness is of this third variety. I shall argue, however, that linguistic vagueness is not a third variety of vagueness. Either it is a species of metaphysical vagueness or a kind of ignorance. And this, I argue, makes trouble for the claim that all vagueness is linguistic. (shrink)
If persons endure, personal identity cannot be analyzed in terms of psychological continuity. That is one conclusion defended in my "Endurance, Psychological Continuity, and the Importance of Personal Identity" (PPR, 1999). Rea and Silver (PPR, 2000) claim that my argument for that conclusion is sound only if a parallel argument is sound. The parallel argument concludes that if persons perdure, personal identity cannot be analyzed in terms of psychological continuity. In this paper, I show that Rea and Silver are mistaken. (...) My argument is sound but the parallel argument is not. (shrink)
This paper argues that if persons last over time by "enduring", then no analysis or reduction of personal identity over time in terms of any sort of psychological continuity can be correct. In other words, any analysis of personal identity over time in terms of psychological continuity entails that persons are four-dimensional and have temporal parts. The paper then shows that if we abandon psychological analyses of personal identity-as we must if persons endure-Parfit's argument for the claim that identity does (...) not matter in survival is easily undermined. The paper then suggests that this offers support for the claim that persons endure. Along the way the paper tries to clarify the contrast between the doctrine that persons endure and its rival, four-dimensionalism. (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)
Or nearly so. There may have been a problem about what a material object is: a substance, a bundle of tropes, a compound of substratum and universals, a collection of sense-data, or what have you. But once that was settled there were supposed to be no further metaphysical problems about material objects. This illusion has now largely been dispelled. No one can get a PhD in philosophy nowadays without encountering the puzzles of the ship of Theseus, the statue and the (...) lump, the cat and its "tail complement", amoebic fission, and others. (shrink)