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138 found
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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. 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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  5. Conciliatory Metaontology, Permissive Ontology, and Nature's Joints.David Mokriski - forthcoming - Synthese.
    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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  6. 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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  7. Fundamental Non-Qualitative Properties.Byron Simmons - forthcoming - Synthese:1-24.
    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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  8. Normative Naturalism on Its Own Terms.Pekka Väyrynen - forthcoming - Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu.
    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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. Properties.Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    2020 update of the entry "Properties".
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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. 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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  20. Review of Douglas Ehring, Tropes. [REVIEW]Jessica M. Wilson - 2020 - Mind:1-12.
    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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  21. 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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  22. 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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  23. Natural Properties.Cian Dorr - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2019.
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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. 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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  28. 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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  29. 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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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. 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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  33. 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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  34. 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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  35. 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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  36. 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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  37. 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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  38. Vague Naturalness as Ersatz Metaphysical Vagueness.Rohan Sud - 2018 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 11:243–277.
  39. Essentially Grounded Non-Naturalism and Normative Supervenience.Toppinen Teemu - 2018 - Topoi 37 (4):645-653.
    Non-naturalism – roughly the view that normative properties and facts are sui generis and incompatible with a purely scientific worldview – faces a difficult challenge with regard to explaining why it is that the normative features of things supervene on their natural features. More specifically: non-naturalists have trouble explaining the necessitation relations, whatever they are, that hold between the natural and the normative. My focus is on Stephanie Leary's recent response to the challenge, which offers an attempted non-naturalism-friendly explanation for (...)
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  40. Configuration Symmetry.Ilexa Yardley - 2018 - Https://Medium.Com/the-Circular-Theory/.
    Noether's Theorem produces the configuration (and symmetry) for everything in Nature.
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  41. Il neoplatonismo nell'ontologia chimica di Jan Baptista van Helmont.Marina Paola Banchetti-Robino - 2017 - In Il minimo, l’unità, e l’universo infinito nella cosmologia vitalistica di Giordano Bruno. Milano: Limina Mentis.
  42. Parthood and Naturalness.M. Eddon - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (12):3163-3180.
    Is part of a perfectly natural, or fundamental, relation? Philosophers have been hesitant to take a stand on this issue. One reason for this hesitancy is the worry that, if parthood is perfectly natural, then the perfectly natural properties and relations are not suitably “independent” of one another. In this paper, I argue that parthood is a perfectly natural relation. In so doing, I argue that this “independence” worry is unfounded. I conclude by noting some consequences of the naturalness of (...)
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  43. Understanding and Structure.Allan Hazlett - 2017 - In Stephen Grimm (ed.), Making Sense of the World: New Essays on the Philosophy of Understanding. Oxford University Press.
    In the Phaedrus, Socreates sympathetically describes the ability “to cut up each kind according to its species along its natural joints, and to try not to splinter any part, as a bad butcher might do.” (265e) In contemporary philosophy, Ted Sider (2009, 2011) defends the same idea. As I shall put it, Plato and Sider’s idea is that limning structure is an epistemic goal. My aim in this paper is to articulate and defend this idea. First, I’ll articulate the notion (...)
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  44. The Problem of the Base and the Nature of Information.C. Montemayor - 2017 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 24 (9-10):91-102.
    I present three problems regarding the Problem of the Base. They concern the nature of information, the kind of Platonism that physicalists allegedly confront, and the constraints imposed by causal principles. These problems focus on the notion of information and its relation to the Problem of the Base. I also highlight the importance of Schneider's paper, particularly its relevance for future debates.
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  45. Cornell Realism, Explanation, and Natural Properties.Luis R. G. Oliveira & Timothy Perrine - 2017 - European Journal of Philosophy 25 (2):1021-1038.
    The claim that ordinary ethical discourse is typically true and that ethical facts are typically knowable seems in tension with the claim that ordinary ethical discourse is about features of reality friendly to a scientific worldview. Cornell Realism attempts to dispel this tension by claiming that ordinary ethical discourse is, in fact, discourse about the same kinds of things that scientific discourse is about: natural properties. We offer two novel arguments in reply. First, we identify a key assumption that we (...)
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  46. Mundos possíveis, propriedades naturais e mereologia.Renato Rocha - 2017 - Dissertation, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
    I argue in this dissertation that natural properties play a central role in David Lewis' modal realism. To argue in favor of this thesis I present: a bottom-up explanation of a top-down possible world metaphysics; a new definition of natural properties and natural fusion, a new mereological operation. To achieve these aims, in the first chapter, I contextualize the discussion, in the second I resume the discussion about universals in contemporary philosophy and argue that, considering the distinct formulations of the (...)
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  47. Ideology in a Desert Landscape.Alessandro Torza - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):383-406.
    On one influential view, metaphysical fundamentality can be understood in terms of joint‐carving. Ted Sider has recently argued that (i) some first order quantifier is joint‐carving, and (ii) modal notions are not joint‐carving. After vindicating the theoretical indispensability of quantification against recent criticism, I will defend a logical result due to Arnold Koslow which implies that (i) and (ii) are incompatible. I will therefore consider an alternative understanding of Sider's metaphysics to the effect that (i) some first order quantifier is (...)
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  48. Natural Objects.Joshua D. K. Brown - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (2):254-271.
    This paper introduces a framework for thinking about ontological questions—in particular, the Special Composition Question—and shows how the framework might help support something like an account of restricted composition. The framework takes the form of an account of natural objects, in analogy with David Lewis’s account of natural properties. Objects, like properties, come in various metaphysical grades, from the fundamental, fully objective, perfectly natural objects to the nomologically otiose, maximally gerrymandered, perfectly non-natural objects. The perfectly natural objects, I argue, are (...)
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  49. Lewisian Quidditism, Humility, and Diffidence.Benjamin Curtis - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (11):3081-3099.
    In ‘Ramseyan Humility’ Lewis presents the Permutation Argument for quidditism. As he presents it the argument is simple enough, but once one digs beneath its surface, and attempts to understand it in strictly Lewisian terms, difficulties arise. The fundamental difficulty is that, as he presents it, the argument only seems to be sound if one rejects views that Lewis explicitly holds. One aim of this paper is to clarify the argument to show that one can make sense of it in (...)
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  50. Les propriétés du vide et de l’espace-temps.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2016 - Philosophiques 43 (1):49-66.
    Les propriétés matérielles sont généralement appréhendées comme les propriétés d’une substance matérielle : cette chemise possède la propriété d’être bleue, cette chaussure la propriété d’être en bon état. Pourtant, on peut trouver plusieurs raisons de douter que les propriétés soient nécessairement les propriétés d’une substance matérielle, à la fois en métaphysique avec la théorie du faisceau, et en physique contemporaine à travers les notions d’énergie du vide et de champ. Or, si les propriétés ne sont pas les propriétés de substances (...)
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