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  1. The Metaphysical Significance of the Ugly-Duckling Theorem.Ben Blumson - manuscript
    According to Satosi Watanabe's "theorem of the ugly duckling", the number of predicates satisfied by any two different particulars is a constant, which does not depend on the choice of the two particulars. If the number of predicates satisfied by two particulars is their number of properties in common, and the degree of resemblance between two particulars is a function of their number of properties in common, then it follows that the degree of resemblance between any two different particulars is (...)
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  2. Figure..Stephen Lester Thompson - manuscript
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  3. The Problem of Disjunctive Explanations.Brad Weslake - manuscript
    I present a problem for theories of explanation, concerning explanations involving disjunctive properties. The problem is particular acute for the explanatory non-fundamentalist, according to whom non-fundamental scientific explanations are sometimes superior to fundamental physical explanations. I criticise solutions to the problem due to Woodward, Strevens and Sober, and Lewis, and then defend a solution inspired by an account of non-fundamental laws recently defended by Callender and Cohen.
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  4. Symmetries as Humean Metalaws.Callum Duguid - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-38.
    Symmetry principles are a central part of contemporary physics, yet there has been surprisingly little metaphysical work done on them. This paper develops the Wignerian treatment of symmetries as higher-order laws – metalaws – within a Humean framework of lawhood. Lange has raised two obstacles to Humean metalaws, and the paper shows that the account has the resources available to respond to both. It is argued that this framework for Humean metalaws stands as an example of naturalistic metaphysics, able to (...)
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  5. An Explanatory Idealist Theory of Grounding.David Mark Kovacs - forthcoming - Noûs.
    How is grounding related to metaphysical explanation? The standard view is that the former somehow “backs”, “undergirds” or “underlies” the latter. This view fits into a general picture of explanation, according to which explanations in general hold in virtue of a certain elite group of “explanatory relations” or “determinative relations” that back them. This paper turns the standard view on its head: grounding doesn't “back” metaphysical explanation but is in an important sense downstream from it. I call this view “grounding (...)
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  6. A Brighter Shade of Categoricalism.Michele Paolini Paoletti - forthcoming - Axiomathes:1-30.
    Categoricalism is a doctrine about properties according to which the dispositional aspects of properties are not essential to them. In opposition to categoricalism, dispositionalism holds that the dispositional aspects of properties are essential to them. In this article, I shall construct a new version of categoricalism that should be favoured over the other existing versions: Semi-Necessitarian Categoricalism. In Section 2 I shall elaborate on the distinction between categoricalism and dispositionalism and single out different ‘shades’ of both doctrines. I shall also (...)
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  7. Bill, Bowl, and Ball. A Tale of Disjunctive Properties.Michele Paolini Paoletti - forthcoming - Studium Philosophicum.
    The existence of disjunctive properties has been put in question by many philosophers. In this article, I shall offer an argument for the existence of such properties. I shall show that they are required in order to ground certain objective and unique resemblances between things. In Section 1, I develop the argument by presenting a toy example involving three entities: a red fish (Bill), a glass and round fish bowl (Bowl), and a red ball (Ball). In Section 2, I deal (...)
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  8. Dasgupta's Detonation.Theodore Sider - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
    Shamik Dasgupta has argued that realists about natural properties (and laws, grounding, etc.) cannot account for their epistemic value. For "properties are cheap": in addition to natural properties and any value the realist might attach to them, there are also "shmatural" properties (standing to natural properties like charge and mass as Goodman's grue and bleen stand to green and blue) and a corresponding "shmvalue" of theorizing in terms of them. Dasgupta's challenge is one of objectivity: the existence of the "shmamiked" (...)
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  9. Biological Essentialism, Projectable Human Kinds, and Psychiatric Classification.Jonathan Y. Tsou - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science.
    A minimal essentialism (‘intrinsic biological essentialism’) about natural kinds is required to explain the projectability of human science terms. Human classifications that yield robust and ampliative projectable inferences refer to biological kinds. I articulate this argument with reference to an intrinsic essentialist account of HPC kinds. This account implies that human sciences (e.g., medicine, psychiatry) that aim to formulate predictive kind categories should classify biological kinds. Issues concerning psychiatric classification and pluralism are examined.
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  10. Does Everything Resemble Everything Else to the Same Degree?Ben Blumson - 2022 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 1 (1).
    According to Satosi Watanabe’s “theorem of the ugly duckling”, the number of predicates satisfied by any two different particulars is a constant, which does not depend on the choice of the two particulars. If the number of predicates satisfied by two particulars is their number of properties in common, and the degree of resemblance between two particulars is a function of their number of properties in common, then it follows that the degree of resemblance between any two different particulars is (...)
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  11. Natural Kinds, Mind-Independence, and Unification Principles.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-23.
    There have been many attempts to determine what makes a natural kind real, chief among them is the criterion according to which natural kinds must be mind-independent. But it is difficult to specify this criterion: many supposed natural kinds have an element of mind-dependence. I will argue that the mind-independence criterion is nevertheless a good one, if correctly understood: the mind-independence criterion concerns the unification principles for natural kinds. Unification principles determine how natural kinds unify their properties, and only those (...)
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  12. Intrinsicality and Entanglement.Isaac Wilhelm - 2022 - Mind 131 (521):35-58.
    I explore the relationship between a prominent analysis of intrinsic properties, due to Langton and Lewis, and the phenomenon of quantum entanglement. As I argue, the analysis faces a puzzle. The full analysis classifies certain properties of entangled particles as intrinsic. But when combined with an extremely plausible assumption about duplication, the main part of the analysis classifies those properties as non-intrinsic instead. I conclude that much of Lewis’s metaphysics is in trouble: Lewis based many of his metaphysical views—his thesis (...)
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  13. Review of Douglas Ehring, Tropes. [REVIEW]Jessica M. Wilson - 2022 - Mind 131 (521):369-379.
    Tropes is a systematic investigation into the metaphysics of properties, aiming to motivate and defend trope theory, and more specifically Natural Class Trope Nominalism (NCTN). Ehring’s book treats an impressive span of relevant positions, considerations, debates and objections with charity and clarity; it’s also a real page-turner, at least if one has (as I do) a taste for analytic twists and turns.
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  14. Grounding, Metaphysical Laws, and Structure.Martin Grajner - 2021 - Analytic Philosophy 62 (4):376-395.
    According to the deductive-nomological account of ground, a fact A grounds another fact B in case the laws of metaphysics determine the existence of B on the basis of the existence of A. Accounts of grounding of this particular variety have already been developed in the literature. My aim in this paper is to sketch a new version of this account. My preferred account offers two main improvements over existing accounts. First, the present account is able to deal with necessitarian (...)
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  15. Rudolf Carnap and David Lewis on Metaphysics.Fraser MacBride - 2021 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 9 (1).
    In an unpublished speech from 1991, David Lewis told his audience that he counted ‘the metaphysician Carnap ’ amongst his historical ancestors. Here I provide a novel interpretation of the Aufbau that allows us to make sense of Lewis’s claim. Drawing upon Lewis’s correspondence, I argue it was the Carnap of the Aufbau whom Lewis read as a metaphysician, because Carnap’s appeal to the notion of founded relations in the Aufbau echoes Lewis’s own appeal to the metaphysics of natural properties. (...)
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  16. Fundamental non-qualitative properties.Byron Simmons - 2021 - Synthese 198 (7):6183-6206.
    The distinction between qualitative and non-qualitative properties should be familiar from discussions of the principle of the identity of indiscernibles: two otherwise exactly similar individuals, Castor and Pollux, might share all their qualitative properties yet differ with respect to their non-qualitative properties—for while Castor has the property being identical to Castor, Pollux does not. But while this distinction is familiar, there has not been much critical attention devoted to spelling out its precise nature. I argue that the class of non-qualitative (...)
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  17. Quantum metametaphysics.Alessandro Torza - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):1-25.
    Say that metaphysical indeterminacy occurs just when there is a fact such that neither it nor its negation obtains. The aim of this work is to shed light on the issue of whether orthodox quantum mechanics provides any evidence of metaphysical indeterminacy by discussing the logical, semantic, and broadly methodological presuppositions of the debate. I argue that the dispute amounts to a verbal disagreement between classical and quantum logicians, given Eli Hirsch’s account of substantivity; but that it need not be (...)
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  18. Normative Naturalism on Its Own Terms.Pekka Väyrynen - 2021 - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 28 (3):505-530.
    Normative naturalism is primarily a metaphysical doctrine: there are normative facts and properties, and these fall into the class of natural facts and properties. Many objections to naturalism rely on additional assumptions about language or thought, but often without adequate consideration of just how normative properties would have to figure in our thought and talk if naturalism were true. In the first part of the paper, I explain why naturalists needn’t think that normative properties can be represented or ascribed in (...)
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  19. Logical Combinatorialism.Andrew Bacon - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (4):537-589.
    In explaining the notion of a fundamental property or relation, metaphysicians will often draw an analogy with languages. The fundamental properties and relations stand to reality as the primitive predicates and relations stand to a language: the smallest set of vocabulary God would need in order to write the “book of the world.” This paper attempts to make good on this metaphor. To that end, a modality is introduced that, put informally, stands to propositions as logical truth stands to sentences. (...)
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  20. Conceptual Evaluation: Epistemic.Alejandro Pérez Carballo - 2020 - In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 304-332.
    On a view implicitly endorsed by many, a concept is epistemically better than another if and because it does a better job at ‘carving at the joints', or if the property corresponding to it is ‘more natural' than the one corresponding to another. This chapter offers an argument against this seemingly plausible thought, starting from three key observations about the way we use and evaluate concepts from en epistemic perspective: that we look for concepts that play a role in explanations (...)
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  21. Mereological Nominalism.Nikk Effingham - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1):160-185.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  22. Lewis’s Global Descriptivism and Reference Magnetism.Frederique Janssen-Lauret & Fraser MacBride - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (1):192-198.
    In ‘Putnam’s Paradox’, Lewis defended global descriptivism and reference magnetism. According to Schwarz [2014], Lewis didn’t mean what he said there, and really held neither position. We present evidence from Lewis’s correspondence and publications which shows conclusively that Lewis endorsed both.
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  23. Modality.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 348-360.
    A survey of the connection between grounding and modality, in particular supervenience. The survey explores three possible connections between grounding and supervenience: (1) supervenience can be analyzed in terms of grounding, (2) grounded facts supervene on their grounds, and (3) grounding and supervenience overlap in their theoretical roles.
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  24. Lewis’s Global Descriptivism and Reference Magnetism.Fraser MacBride & Frederique Janssen-Lauret - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (1):192-198.
    ABSTRACTIn ‘Putnam’s Paradox’, Lewis defended global descriptivism and reference magnetism. According to Schwarz [2014], Lewis didn’t mean what he said there, and really held neither position. We present evidence from Lewis’s correspondence and publications which shows conclusively that Lewis endorsed both.
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  25. Conciliatory Metaontology, Permissive Ontology, and Nature’s Joints.David Mokriski - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2335-2351.
    According to the conciliatory view in metaontology, there are multiple possible languages corresponding to the popular positions in ontology. In each of these languages, the term ‘exists’ expresses a distinct “existence-like” property, and consequently the claims associated with each of the rival ontological positions come out true in some such language. Species of the conciliatory view can be distinguished based on claims about how the various existence-like properties are related vis-à-vis metaphysical naturalness. On some versions, all of the existence-like properties (...)
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  26. The Methodological Implications of Reference Magnetism on Moral Twin Earth.David Mokriski - 2020 - Metaphilosophy 51 (5):702-726.
    The Moral Twin Earth challenge to ethical naturalism threatens to undermine an otherwise promising metaethical view by showing that typical, naturalist-friendly theories of reference determination predict diverging reference in Twin Earth scenarios, making it difficult to account for substantive moral disagreement. Several theorists have recently invoked David Lewis’s doctrine of reference magnetism as a solution, claiming that a highly elite moral property—a moral “joint in nature”—could secure shared reference between ourselves and our twins on Twin Earth, despite our diverging usages (...)
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  27. Properties.Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    2020 update of the entry "Properties".
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  28. Against Conjunctive Properties.Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Acta Analytica 35:421-437.
    I put in question in this article the existence of conjunctive properties. In the second section, after having provided a characterization of conjunctive properties, I develop an argument based on the principle of ontological parsimony: if we accept that there are conjunctive properties in the universe then, ceteris paribus, our ontology turns out to be less ontologically parsimonious than if we reject them. Afterwards, in the third section, I distinguish between maximalist and non-maximalist and reductionist and non-reductionist theories of conjunctive (...)
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  29. Social Categories in Context.Elanor Taylor - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (2):171-187.
    Social categories play a central role in inquiry. Some authors have argued that social categories can only play this role because they have a particular metaphysical status, such as a connection to natural kinds or to comparatively joint-carving properties. This reflects the broadly realist idea that categories that play important roles in inquiry do so for metaphysical reasons. In this paper I argue that such metaphysical views of social categories cannot accommodate ‘empty’ social categories, cases in which social categories that (...)
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  30. Structural Indeterminacy.Alessandro Torza - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):365-382.
    The threat of ontological deflationism (the view that disagreement about what there is can be non‐substantive) is averted by appealing to realism about fundamental structure—or so tells us Ted Sider. In this paper, the notion of structural indeterminacy is introduced as a particular case of metaphysical indeterminacy; then it is argued that structural indeterminacy is not only compatible with a metaphysics of fundamental structure, but it can even safeguard it from a crucial objection; finally, it is shown that, if there (...)
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  31. Ground and Modality.Alessandro Torza - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (6):563-585.
    The grounding relation is routinely characterized by means of logical postulates. The aim of this paper is twofold. First, I show that a subset of those postulates is incompatible with a minimal characterization of metaphysical modality. Then I consider a number of ways for reconciling ground with modality. The simplest and most elegant solution consists in adopting serious actualism, which is best captured within a first-order modal language with predicate abstraction governed by negative free logic. I also explore a number (...)
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  32. Naturalness and Convex Class Nominalism.Ben Blumson - 2019 - Dialectica 73 (1-2):65-81.
    In this paper I argue that the analysis of natural properties as convex subsets of a metric space in which the distances are degrees of dissimilarity is incompatible with both the definition of degree of dissimilarity as number of natural properties not in common and the definition of degree of dissimilarity as proportion of natural properties not in common, since in combination with either of these definitions it entails that every property is a natural property, which is absurd. I suggest (...)
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  33. Powerful Qualities or Pure Powers?Gabriele Contessa - 2019 - Metaphysica 20 (1):5-33.
    This paper explores the debate between those philosophers who take (fundamental, perfectly natural) properties to be pure powers and those who take them to be powerful qualities. I first consider two challenges for the view that properties are powerful qualities, which I call, respectively, ‘the clarification challenge’ and ‘the explanatory challenge’. I then examine a number of arguments that aim to show that properties cannot be pure powers and find them all wanting. Finally, I sketch what I take to be (...)
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  34. Natural Properties.Cian Dorr - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2019.
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  35. The Explosion of Being: Ideological Kinds in Theory Choice.Peter Finocchiaro - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):486-510.
    In this paper, I develop a novel account of ideological kinds. I first present some conceptual territory regarding the use of Occam’s Razor in minimizing ontological commitments. I then present the analogous device for minimizing ideological commitments, what I call the Comb. I argue that metaphysicians ought to use both or none at all. This means that those who endorse a principle of ontological parsimony ought to also endorse some principle of ideological parsimony, where we ought to prefer the metaphysical (...)
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  36. The Intelligibility of Metaphysical Structure.Peter Finocchiaro - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (3):581-606.
    Theories that posit metaphysical structure are able to do much work in philosophy. Some, however, find the notion of ‘metaphysical structure’ unintelligible. In this paper, I argue that their charge of unintelligibility fails. There is nothing distinctively problematic about the notion. At best, their charge of unintelligibility is a mere reiteration of previous complaints made toward similar notions. In developing their charge, I clarify several important concepts, including primitiveness, intelligibility, and the Armstrong-inspired “ontologism” view of the world. I argue that, (...)
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  37. Scientific Practice and the Epistemology of Governing Laws.Tyler Hildebrand - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (2):174-188.
    This article is concerned with the relationship between scientific practice and the metaphysics of laws of nature and natural properties. I begin by examining an argument by Michael Townsen Hicks and Jonathan Schaffer that an important feature of scientific practice—namely, that scientists sometimes invoke non-fundamental properties in fundamental laws—is incompatible with metaphysical theories according to which laws govern. I respond to their argument by developing an epistemology for governing laws that is grounded in scientific practice. This epistemology is of general (...)
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  38. Naturalness Constraints on Best Systems Accounts of Laws.Tyler Hildebrand - 2019 - Ratio 32 (3):163-172.
    According to best systems accounts, laws of nature are generalizations in the best systematization of particular matters of fact. Metrics such as simplicity and strength determine which systematization is best, but these are notoriously language relative. For this reason, David Lewis proposed a constraint on languages of inquiry: all predicates must be natural. This constraint is sometimes interpreted as requiring us to know which natural properties are instantiated in our world prior to scientific theorizing. I argue that this interpretation is (...)
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  39. Quantity Tropes and Internal Relations.Markku Keinänen, Antti Keskinen & Jani Hakkarainen - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (3):519-534.
    In this article, we present a new conception of internal relations between quantity tropes falling under determinates and determinables. We begin by providing a novel characterization of the necessary relations between these tropes as basic internal relations. The core ideas here are that the existence of the relata is sufficient for their being internally related, and that their being related does not require the existence of any specific entities distinct from the relata. We argue that quantity tropes are, as determinate (...)
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  40. The Special Composition Question and Natural Fusion.Renato Rocha - 2019 - Proceedings of the 3rd Filomena Workshop.
    Philosophical problems about the part-whole relation have been discussed throughout the history of philosophy, at least since Plato and Aristotle. In contemporary philosophy, the understanding of these issues has benefited from the formal tools of Classical Extensional Mereology. This paper aims is to defend mereological restrictivism against some constraints imposed by the vagueness argument. To achieve this, the paper is divided into three parts. In the first, I introduce the special composition question (hereafter SCQ) as formulated by [Van Inwagen, 1990] (...)
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  41. The ‘Truth’ About ‘God’.Ilexa Yardley - 2019 - Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory.
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  42. Distance and Dissimilarity.Ben Blumson - 2018 - Philosophical Papers 48 (2):211-239.
    This paper considers whether an analogy between distance and dissimilarlity supports the thesis that degree of dissimilarity is distance in a metric space. A straightforward way to justify the thesis would be to define degree of dissimilarity as a function of number of properties in common and not in common. But, infamously, this approach has problems with infinity. An alternative approach would be to prove representation and uniqueness theorems, according to which if comparative dissimilarity meets certain qualitative conditions, then it (...)
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  43. Two Conceptions of Similarity.Ben Blumson - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (270):21-37.
    There are at least two traditional conceptions of numerical degree of similarity. According to the first, the degree of dissimilarity between two particulars is their distance apart in a metric space. According to the second, the degree of similarity between two particulars is a function of the number of (sparse) properties they have in common and not in common. This paper argues that these two conceptions are logically independent, but philosophically inconsonant.
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  44. Sensations, Natural Properties, and the Private Language Argument.William Child - 2018 - In Kevin Cahill & Thomas Raleigh (eds.), Wittgenstein and Naturalism. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 79-95.
    Wittgenstein’s philosophy involves a general anti-platonism about properties or standards of similarity. On his view, what it is for one thing to have the same property as another is not dictated by reality itself; it depends on our classificatory practices and the standards of similarity they embody. Wittgenstein’s anti-platonism plays an important role in the private language sections and in his discussion of the conceptual problem of other minds. In sharp contrast to Wittgenstein’s views stands the contemporary doctrine of natural (...)
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  45. Causal Essentialism and the Identity of Indiscernibles.Cameron Gibbs - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (9):2331-2351.
    Causal essentialists hold that a property essentially bears its causal and nomic relations. Further, as many causal essentialists have noted, the main motivations for causal essentialism also motivate holding that properties are individuated in terms of their causal and nomic relations. This amounts to a kind of identity of indiscernibles thesis; properties that are indiscernible with respect to their causal and nomic relations are identical. This can be compared with the more well-known identity of indiscernibles thesis, according to which particulars (...)
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  46. The Dispositional Nature of Phenomenal Properties.Simone Gozzano - 2018 - Topoi 39 (5):1045-1055.
    According to non-reductive physicalism, mental properties of the phenomenal sort are essentially different from physical properties, and cannot be reduced to them. This being a quarrel about properties, I draw on the categorical / dispositional distinction to discuss this non-reductive claim. Typically, non-reductionism entails a categorical view of phenomenal properties. Contrary to this, I will argue that phenomenal properties, usually characterized by what it is like to have them, are mainly the manifestation of dispositional properties. This paper is thus divided (...)
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  47. Kinds of Tropes Without Kinds.Markku Keinänen, Jani Hakkarainen & Antti Keskinen - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (4):571-596.
    In this article, we propose a new trope nominalist conception of determinate and determinable kinds of quantitative tropes. The conception is developed as follows. First, we formulate a new account of tropes falling under the same determinates and determinables in terms of internal relations of proportion and order. Our account is a considerable improvement on the current standard account (Campbell 1990; Maurin 2002; Simons 2003) because it does not rely on primitive internal relations of exact similarity or quantitative distance. The (...)
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  48. Margaret Cavendish on the Order and Infinitude of Nature.Michael Bennett McNulty - 2018 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 35 (3):219-239.
    In this paper, I develop a new interpretation of the order of nature, its function, and its implications in Margaret Cavendish’s philosophy. According to the infinite balance account, the order of nature consists in a balance among the infinite varieties of nature. That is, for Cavendish, nature contains an infinity of different types of matter: infinite species, shapes, and motions. The potential tumult implicated by such a variety, however, is tempered by the counterbalancing of the different kinds and motions of (...)
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  49. Lasst uns den Weg einer neuen Ontologie einschlagen! (2. Teil).Gianluigi Segalerba - 2018 - Analele Universitǎţii Din Craiova, Seria: Filosofie 42 (2):5-48.
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  50. Vague Naturalness as Ersatz Metaphysical Vagueness.Rohan Sud - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 11:243–277.
1 — 50 / 150