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Profile: Michael Williams (Johns Hopkins University)
Profile: Michael Paul Williams
Profile: John N. Williams (Singapore Management University)
Profile: Thomas Williams (University of South Florida)
Profile: Thomas Williams (University of South Florida)
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  1. Robert Williams, Aristotelian Indeterminacy and Partial Belief: Including Case Studies of the Open Future and Vague Survival.
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  2. Robert Williams, Bayesian Epistemology.
    Synthese 156 (3) (2007). Special issue ed. with Luc Bovens. With contributions by Max Albert, Branden Fitelson, Dennis Dieks, Igor Douven and Wouter Meijs, Alan Hájek, Colin Howson, James Joyce, and Patrick Suppes.
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  3. Robert Williams, Metaphysical Indeterminacy, Supervenience, and Emergence.
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  4. Robert Williams, On Sider on Naturalness.
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  5. Andrew Lynch & George Williams, Beyond a Federal Structure: Is a Constitutional Commitment to a Federal Relationship Possible?
    The galvanising purpose of Federation was the creation of the Commonwealth and the distribution of power between it and the former colonies, simultaneously elevated to Statehood. But beyond this simple fact, consensus about Australian federalism has traditionally been elusive and is, if anything, only increasingly so. While the contemporary political debate over federal reform proceeds from a shared sense that our existing arrangements have manifest shortcomings, there is far from unanimity as to which of its particular features are strengths, and (...)
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  6. Heather Roberts & John Williams, Chapter 5 Constitutional Law.
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  7. Donald Cary Williams, The Evils of Inductive Skepticism.
    The sober amateur who takes the time to follow recent philosophical discussion will hardly resist the impression that much of it, in its dread of superstition and dogmatic reaction, has been oriented purposely toward skepticism: that a conclusion is admired in proportion as it is skeptical; that a jejune argument for skepticism will be admitted where a scrupulous defense of knowledge is derided or ignored; that an affirmative theory is a mere annoyance to be stamped down as quickly as possible (...)
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  8. J. R. G. Williams, Counterepistemic Indicative Conditionals and Probability.
    Two major themes in the literature on indicative conditionals are (1) that the content of indicative conditionals typically depends on what is known;1 (2) that conditionals are intimately related to conditional probabilities.2 In possible world semantics for counterfactual conditionals, a standard assumption is that conditionals whose antecedents are metaphysically impossible are vacuously true.3 This aspect has recently been brought to the fore, and defended by Tim Williamson, who uses it in to characterize alethic necessity by exploiting such equivalences as: A⇔¬A (...)
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  9. J. R. G. Williams, Lewis on Reference and Eligibility.
    This paper outlines Lewis’s favoured foundational account of linguistic representation, and outlines and briefly evaluates variations and modifications. Section 1 gives an opinionated exegesis of Lewis’ work on the foundations of reference—his interpretationism. I look at the way that the metaphysical distinction between natural and non-natural properties came to play a central role in his thinking about language. Lewis’s own deployment of this notion has implausible commitments, so in section 2 I consider variations and alternatives. Section 3 briefly considers a (...)
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  10. J. Robert G. Williams, Incomplete Fictions and Imagination.
    Some things are left open by a work of fiction. What colour were the hero’s eyes? How many hairs are on her head? Did the hero get shot in the final scene, or did the jailor complete his journey to redemption and shoot into the air? Are the ghosts that appear real, or a delusion? Where fictions are open or incomplete in this way, we can ask what attitudes it’s appropriate (or permissible) to take to the propositions in question, in (...)
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  11. John Williams, In Defence of an Argument for Evans's Principle 167.
    In this case (5) yields the result that A and D are I-related, but neither is I-related to B or C – the original person has two beginnings of existence. To get round this we need to add to (5)’s right-hand side the condition that there is no pair of distinct, simultaneously occurring person-stages u and v such that u is R-related to x and y and v is R-related to x and no pair of distinct, simultaneously occurring personstages u (...)
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  12. John Williams, Orwell and Huxley: Making Dissent Unthinkable.
    Neither novel should be read as predictions, the accuracy of which can be used to judge them. Rather, both attempt to portray what humanity could conceivably become. The authenticity of this conceivability is a necessary condition of the power of both works to raise central philosophical questions about the human condition. What is ethically wrong with control? How far can Man go in recreating himself? In what sense are these worlds anti-utopian? Are they really possible worlds? How credible are they (...)
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  13. John N. Williams, Moore's Paradox, Defective Interpretation, Justified Belief and Conscious Belieftheo_1073 221..248.
    In this journal, Hamid Vahid argues against three families of explanation of Mooreparadoxicality. The first is the Wittgensteinian approach; I assert that p just in case I assert that I believe that p. So making a Moore-paradoxical assertion involves contradictory assertions. The second is the epistemic approach, one committed to: if I am justified in believing that p then I am justified in believing that I believe that p. So it is impossible to have a justified omissive Mooreparadoxical belief. The (...)
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  14. Jrg Williams, Perdurantist Framework.
    Conc 2: Charitable reconstructions are available. Conc 3: But these lead to worrying results. (POM) Conc 4: Further weakening prevents it from playing the “survival is intrinsic” role in fission arguments.
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  15. Jrg Williams, Reference Magnets.
    such light matter as you fancy, or the work of light or chance persons; and Cratylus is right in thinking that things have names by nature, and that not every man is an artificer of names, but he only who looks to the name which each thing by nature.
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  16. Robert Williams, Aristotelian Indeterminacy and the Open Future.
    I explore the thesis that the future is open, in the sense that future contingents are neither true nor false. The paper is divided into three sections. In the first, I survey how the thesis arises on a variety of contemporary views on the metaphysics of time. In the second, I explore the consequences for rational belief of the ‘Aristotelian’ view that indeterminacy is characterized by truth-value gaps. In the third, I outline one line of defence for the Aristotelian against (...)
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  17. Robert Williams, Part-Intrinsic Survival.
    In some sense, survival seems to be an intrinsic matter. Whether or not you survive some event seems to depend on what goes on with you yourself —what happens in the environment shouldn’t make a difference. Likewise, being a person at a time seems intrinsic.
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  18. Robert Williams, Semantics for Nihilists.
    Motivations: From mereology (special composition question: Van Inwagen) From metaphysics (epiphenomenality of the macro: Merricks) From presupposition of (ontological) microphysicalism.
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  19. Tad Williams, Recommended Fantasy Books.
    These range from merely good reads to really outstanding books; but rather than trying to rate each one, or (what would be more to the point) explain my ratings, I've merely listed them without any particular indication of rank. Horror novels are included here for want of anyplace better to put them. Titles are added as they occur to me.
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  20. Thomas Williams, Augustine's Intellectual Conversion: The Journey From Platonism to Christianity.
    I regarded my Lord Christ as a man of surpassing wisdom whom no one else could equal. . . . I did recognize in Christ a complete human being -- not merely a human body, or a soul with a body but no mind -- but I thought that this human being was to be preferred to others, not as the Person of Truth, but because of some great excellence of his human nature and his more complete participation in wisdom. (...)
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  21. Thomas Williams, God Who Sows the Seed and Gives the Growth.
    (This is a slightly fuller version of the paper than appeared in Anglican Theological Review.) So Moses having giving us an intimation of God, and the three Persons altogether in that Bara Elohim, before, gives us first notice of this Person, the Holy Ghost, in particular, because he applies to us the Mercies of the Father, and the Merits of the Son, and moves upon the face of the waters, and actuates, and fecundates our soules, and generates that knowledge, and (...)
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  22. Thomas Williams, John Duns Scotus.
    John Duns Scotus (1265/66-1308) was one of the most important and influential philosophertheologians of the High Middle Ages. His brilliantly complex and nuanced thought, which earned him the nickname "the Subtle Doctor," left a mark on discussions of such disparate topics as the semantics of religious language, the problem of universals, divine illumination, and the nature of human freedom. This essay first lays out what is known about Scotus's life and the dating of his works. It then offers an overview (...)
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  23. William Williams & Decided May, U.S. Ex Rel. Turner V. Williams, 194 U.S.
    ‘First. That on October 23, in the city of New York, your relator was arrested by divers persons claiming to be acting by authority of the government of the United States, and was by said persons conveyed to the United States immigration station at Ellis island, in the harbor of New York, and is now there imprisoned by the commissioner of immigration of the port of New York.
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  24. Diane E. Williams, Patterns of Eye Movements During Parallel and Serial Visual Search Tasks.
    Abstnn Eye movements were monitored while subjects performed parallel and serial sarah tasks. In Experiment la, subjects searched for an “O' among "X"s (parallel condition) and for a 'T" among "L"s (serial condition). In the parallel condition of Eqcriment lb, “q)" was the target and “O"s were distractors; in the serial condition, time..
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  25. J. R. G. Williams, Reference Magnetism and the Reduction of Reference.
    Some things, argues Lewis, are just better candidates to be referents than others. Even at the cost of attributing false beliefs, we interpret people as referring to the most interesting kinds in their vicinity. How should this be accounted for? In section 1, I look at Lewis’s interpretationism, and the reference magnetism it builds in (not just for ‘perfectly natural’ properties, but for certain kinds of auxiliary apparatus). In section 2, I draw on (Field, 1975) to argue that what properties (...)
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  26. J. R. G. Williams, Vagueness.
    Taking away grains from a heap of rice, at what point is there no longer a heap? It seems small changes – removing a single grain – can’t make a difference to whether or not something is a heap; but big changes obviously do. How can this be, since big changes are nothing but small changes chained together?
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  27. J. Robert G. Williams, A Lewis-Impossibility Result for Counterfactuals.
    I formulate a counterfactual version of the notorious ‘Ramsey Test’. Even in a weak form, this makes counterfactuals subject to the very argument that Lewis used to persuade the majority of the philosophical community that indicative conditionals were in hot water. I outline two reactions: to indicativize the debate on counterfactuals; or to counterfactualize the debate on indicatives.
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  28. J. Robert G. Williams, Chancy Counterfactuals, Redux: Response to Dodd.
    Chancy counterfactuals are a headache. Dylan Dodd (2009) presents an interesting argument against a certain general strategy for accounting for them, instances of which are found in the appendices to Lewis (1979) and in Williams (2008). I will argue (i) that Dodd’s understates the counterintuitiveness of the conclusions he can reach; (ii) that the counterintuitiveness can be thought of as an instance of more general oddities arising when we treat vagueness and indeterminacy in a classical setting; and (iii) the underlying (...)
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  29. J. Robert G. Williams, Counterfactual Desire as Belief.
    Bryne & H´ajek (1997) argue that Lewis’s (1988; 1996) objections to identifying desire with belief do not go through if our notion of desire is ‘causalized’ (characterized by causal, rather than evidential, decision theory). I argue that versions of the argument go through on certain assumptions about the formulation of decision theory. There is one version of causal decision theory where the original arguments cannot be formulated—the ‘imaging’ formulation that Joyce (1999) advocates. But I argue this formulation is independently objectionable. (...)
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  30. J. Robert G. Williams, Dutch Books and Accuracy Domination.
    Jeff Paris (2001) proves a generalized Dutch Book theorem. If a belief state is not a generalized probability (a kind of probability appropriate for generalized distributions of truth-values) then one faces ‘sure loss’ books of bets. In Williams (manuscript) I showed that Joyce’s (1998) accuracy-domination theorem applies to the same set of generalized probabilities. What is the relationship between these two results? This note shows that (when ‘accuracy’ is treated via the Brier Score) both results are easy corollaries of the (...)
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  31. J. Robert G. Williams, Supposition and Desire in a Non-Classical Setting.
    Revising semantics and logic has consequences for the theory of mind. Standard formal treatments of rational belief and desire make classical assumptions. If we are to challenge the presuppositions, we indicate what is kind of theory is going to take their place. Consider probability theory interpreted as an account of ideal partial belief. But if some propositions are neither true nor false, or are half true, or whatever—then it’s far from clear that our degrees of belief in it and its (...)
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  32. J. Robert G. Williams, Tenable Conditionals.
    When should we believe a indicative conditional, and how much confidence in it should we have? Here’s one proposal: one supposes actual the antecedent; and sees under that supposition what credence attaches to the consequent. Thus we suppose that Oswald did not shot Kennedy; and note that under this assumption, Kennedy was assassinated by someone other than Oswald. Thus we are highly confident in the indicative: if Oswald did not kill Kennedy, someone else did.
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  33. Jrg Williams, (Second) Draft.
    Why care about being logical? Why criticize people for inconsistency? Must we simply take the normative significance of logic as brute, or can we explain it in terms of goals on which we have an independent grip: the merits of true (or knowledgeable) belief, for example? This paper explores Jim Joyce’s argument for probabilism in this light---arguing that it provides a plausible route for explaining the value of consistency.
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  34. Jrg Williams, Vagueness in the World: Metaphysical and Conceptual Issues.
     Nature: What indefiniteness is.  Logic: How to reason in the presence of indefiniteness  Mind: How indefiniteness fits into our cognitive life.
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  35. Neil Williams, The Problem of Dispositional Fit.
    – The conjunction of three plausible theses about the nature of causal powers (that they are intrinsic, that their effects are produced mutually, and that their effects are necessary) leads to a problem concerning the ability of causal powers to work together. After presenting the problem and the three theses in question, I argue that despite giving rise to the problem, none of the three theses is such that it should be abandoned. Instead, I argue that an account of causal (...)
     
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  36. Neil E. Williams, Do Zombies Hunger for Humean Brains?
    John Heil’s From an Ontological Point of View (Heil 2003) is a tremendous philosophical work. The neo-Lockean ontology the reader finds within its 267 pages is a sensible and refreshing alternative to the neo-Humean ontologies which presently occupy the vast majority of the metaphysical literature. What Heil offers is a much needed change in perspective. Nor are the strengths of the book limited to Heil’s willingness to approach central metaphysical problems in largely untried and unpopular way; the book is very (...)
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  37. Paul D. Williams, Thinking About Security in Africa.
    This article attempts to clarify some of the central questions and distinctions that provide the necessary backdrop for thinking in a sophisticated way about security in Africa. Drawing on the developing Critical Security Studies literature it suggests that an understanding of security based on people, justice and change offers the surest route to a stable future. It then sketches preliminary answers to some fundamental questions, namely: whose security should be prioritized? How have security dynamics in Africa been influenced by the (...)
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  38. Robert Williams, An Argument for the Many Penultimate Draft.
    If one believes that vagueness is an exclusively representational phenomenon, one faces the problem of the many. In the vicinity of Kilimanjaro, there are many many ‘mountain candidates’ all, apparently, with more-or-less equal claim to be mountains. David Lewis has defended a radical claim: that all the billions of mountain candidates are mountains. This paper argues that the supervaluationist about vagueness should adopt Lewis’ proposal, on pain of losing their best explanation of the seductiveness of the sorites.
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  39. Robert Williams, Indeterminate Survival.
    Most views of personal identity allow that sometimes, facts of personal identity can be borderline or indeterminate. Bernard Williams argued that regarding questions of one’s own survival as borderline “had no comprehensible representation” in one’s emotions and expectations. Whether this is the case, I will argue, depends crucially on what account of indeterminacy is presupposed.
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  40. Robert Williams, Metaphysical Indeterminacy and Ontic Vagueness (Draft).
  41. Thomas Williams, Augustine and the Platonists.
    ’m not really sure what they were after when they asked me to talk to you about Augustine and the Platonists. Maybe they wanted me to talk about some specific Platonists, and the elements of Augustine’s views that he adopts or adapts. And no doubt I should at least mention a couple of names. There’s Plato himself, of course (428-348 BC). The thing is, it’s pretty clear that Augustine had never read Plato directly, whether in Greek (which Augustine couldn’t actually (...)
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  42. Thomas Williams, Aquinas and the Ethics of Virtue.
    Thomas Williams Note: This is a preprint of my introduction to the forthcoming translation by Margaret Atkins of Thomas Aquinas’s Disputed Questions on the Virtues (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy). The basic procedure was simple. The topic would be announced in advance so that everyone could prepare an arsenal of clever arguments. When the faculty and students had gathered, the professor would offer a brief introduction and state his thesis. All morning long an appointed graduate student would take (...)
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  43. Thomas Williams, Anselm on Freedom.
    In Anselm on Freedom Katherin Rogers investigates Anselm's attempt to provide room for genuine creaturely freedom in a world in which a perfect being is altogether sovereign. She begins with two chapters of general background. Chapter 1, "Anselm's Classical Theism," reads like a grab bag of brief essays on Anselm's account of the divine nature, the relationship between Creator and creature, theological semantics, the problem of evil, and the relationship between God and the moral order. Chapter 2, "The Augustinian Legacy," (...)
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  44. Thomas Williams, Anselm on Truth.
    A good place to start in assessing a theory of truth is to ask whether the theory under discussion is consistent with Aristotle’s commonsensical definition of truth from Metaphysics 4: “What is false says of that which is that it is not, or of that which is not that it is; and what is true says of that which is that it is, or of that which is not that it is not.”1 Philosophers of a realist bent will be delighted (...)
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  45. Thomas Williams, Describing God.
    The philosophical problem of describing God arises at the intersection of two different areas of inquiry. The word ‘describing’ makes it clear that the issue is in part a logical one – in the broad medieval sense of ‘logic,’ which includes semantics, the philosophy of language, and even some aspects of the theory of cognition. It is the problem, first, of forming an understanding of some extramental object and, second, of conveying that understanding by means of verbal signs. But the (...)
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  46. Thomas Williams, God Who Sows the Seed and Gives the Growth Anselm's Theology of the Holy Spirit.
    So Moses having giving us an intimation of God, and the three Persons altogether in that Bara Elohim, before, gives us first notice of this Person, the Holy Ghost, in particular, because he applies to us the Mercies of the Father, and the Merits of the Son, and moves upon the face of the waters, and actuates, and fecundates our soules, and generates that knowledge, and that comfort, which we have in the knowledge of God.
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  47. Thomas Williams, History and Philosophy of Logic 18 (1997): 55-59. Review of T.J. Holopainen, Dialectic & Theology in the Eleventh Century . Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1996. [REVIEW]
    A venerable story in the history of medieval philosophy has it that the eleventh century saw a debate between certain 'dialecticians', who exalted the role of reason and disdained theological authority, and 'anti-dialecticians', who carefully limited—or even rejected—the application of dialectical reasoning to Christian doctrine. A number of authors have called into question certain details of this story, but in..
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  48. Thomas Williams, Sin, Grace, and Redemption in Abelard.
    "From time to time some of my friends startle me by referring to the Atonement itself as a revolting heresy," wrote Austin Farrer, "invented by the twelfth century and exploded by the twentieth. Yet the word is in the Bible." (1) Farrer is referring to Romans 5:11 in the Authorized Version: "we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." Here the word 'atonement'--literally, the state of being "at one"--translates the Greek (...)
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  49. Thomas Williams, Some Reflections on Method in the History of Philosophy.
    Imagine that someone has just finished giving a talk on some historical figure in philosophy — say, Aristotle. Someone in the audience raises her hand and says, “But you’ve got Aristotle wrong. His actual view is . . .” and then she offers some textual evidence or what have you for the claim that the lecturer has Aristotle wrong.
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  50. Thomas Williams, Transmission and Translation.
    As I write these words, I can see on my shelves an attractively bound set of sixteen volumes, each bearing on its spine the words “J. Duns Scotus Opera Omnia.” One would be tempted to assume that these are The Complete Works of John Duns Scotus. Unfortunately, in medieval philosophy things are rarely so simple. Some of the works included in this set are not by Scotus at all, but were once attributed to him. Some of Scotus’s genuine works, including (...)
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