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New Work For a Theory of Universals

In D. H. Mellor & Alex Oliver (eds.), Properties. Oxford University Press (1997)

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  1. And So On. Two Theories of Regress Arguments in Philosophy.Jan Willem Wieland - 2012 - Dissertation,
    This dissertation is on infinite regress arguments in philosophy. Its main goals are to explain what such arguments from many distinct philosophical debates have in common, and to provide guidelines for using and evaluating them. Two theories are reviewed: the Paradox Theory and the Failure Theory. According to the Paradox Theory, infinite regress arguments can be used to refute an existentially or universally quantified statement (e.g. to refute the statement that at least one discussion is settled, or the statement that (...)
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  • Unrestricted Quantification and the Structure of Type Theory.Nicholas K. Jones & Salvatore Florio - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Semantic theories based on a hierarchy of types have prominently been used to defend the possibility of unrestricted quantification. However, they also pose a prima facie problem for it: each quantifier ranges over at most one level of the hierarchy and is therefore not unrestricted. It is difficult to evaluate this problem without a principled account of what it is for a quantifier to be unrestricted. Drawing on an insight of Russell’s about the relationship between quantification and the structure of (...)
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  • Monism and Intrinsicality.Kelly Trogdon - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1):127 – 148.
    Amendment of the Witmer, Butchard, and Trogdon (2005) account of intrinsic properties with the aim of neutrality between competing theories of what is fundamental.
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  • Prioritizing Platonism.Kelly Trogdon & Sam Cowling - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):2029-2042.
    Discussion of atomistic and monistic theses about abstract reality.
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  • 4.2. Quel che resta dei generi naturali.Andrea Borghini & Elena Casetta - 2012 - Rivista di Estetica 49:247-271.
    If natural kinds were defined on the basis of fixed and immutable essences, then––with the end of essentialism in life sciences––their end, at least for those kinds confined to the living realm, would ensue as well (1-2). If appropriately revised and adapted, however, natural kinds may still play an important theoretical role, not only for the sake of philosophical speculation, but also in accomodating scientific practices and in providing an adequate rendering of human reasoning. The proposal outlined in this paper (...)
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  • Logically Simple Properties and Relations.Jan Plate - 2016 - Philosophers' Imprint 16:1-40.
    This paper presents an account of what it is for a property or relation (or ‘attribute’ for short) to be logically simple. Based on this account, it is shown, among other things, that the logically simple attributes are in at least one important way sparse. This in turn lends support to the view that the concept of a logically simple attribute can be regarded as a promising substitute for Lewis’s concept of a perfectly natural attribute. At least in part, the (...)
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  • Property Theories.George Bealer & Uwe Monnich - 2003 - In Dov Gabbay & Frans Guenthner (eds.), Handbook of Philosophical Logic, Volume 10. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 143-248.
    Revised and reprinted; originally in Dov Gabbay & Franz Guenthner (eds.), Handbook of Philosophical Logic, Volume IV. Kluwer 133-251. -- Two sorts of property theory are distinguished, those dealing with intensional contexts property abstracts (infinitive and gerundive phrases) and proposition abstracts (‘that’-clauses) and those dealing with predication (or instantiation) relations. The first is deemed to be epistemologically more primary, for “the argument from intensional logic” is perhaps the best argument for the existence of properties. This argument is presented in the (...)
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  • Nominals and Event Structure.Friederike Moltmann - 2019 - In Robert Truswell (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Event Structure. Oxford: Oxford UP.
    This paper discusses three approaches to the semantics of event nominalizations and adverbial modification: the Davidsonian account, the Kimian account, and the truthmaker account. It argues that a combination of all three accounts is needed for the semantics of the full range of event, trope, and state nominalizations in English.
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  • The Many (yet Few) Faces of Deflationism.Jeremy Wyatt - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly (263):362-382.
    It's often said that according to deflationary theories of truth, truth is not a ‘substantial’ property. While this is a fine slogan, it is far from transparent what deflationists mean (or ought to mean) in saying that truth is ‘insubstantial’. Focusing so intently upon the concept of truth and the word ‘true’, I argue, deflationists and their critics have been insufficiently attentive to a host of metaphysical complexities that arise for deflationists in connection with the property of truth. My aim (...)
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  • Realism and Objectivity.Billy Dunaway - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 135-150.
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  • Nominalist Constituent Ontologies: A Development and Critique.Robert K. Garcia - 2009 - Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
    In this dissertation I consider the merits of certain nominalist accounts of phenomena related to the character of ordinary objects. What these accounts have in common is the fact that none of them is an error theory about standard cases of predication and none of them deploys God or uniquely theistic resources in its explanatory framework. -/- The aim of the dissertation is to answer the following questions: -/- • What is the best nominalist account on offer? • How might (...)
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  • David Lewis, Donald C. Williams, and the History of Metaphysics in the Twentieth Century.A. R. J. Fisher - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (1):3--22.
    The revival of analytic metaphysics in the latter half of the twentieth century is typically understood as a consequence of the critiques of logical positivism, Quine’s naturalization of ontology, Kripke’s Naming and Necessity, clarifications of modal notions in logic, and the theoretical exploitation of possible worlds. However, this explanation overlooks the work of metaphysicians at the height of positivism and linguisticism that affected metaphysics of the late twentieth century. Donald C. Williams is one such philosopher. In this paper I explain (...)
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  • Leis da Natureza.Eduardo Castro - 2013 - Compêndio Em Linha de Problemas de Filosofia Analítica.
    State of art paper on the topic laws of nature, around the problem of identification what is to be a law of nature. The most prominent theories of contemporary philosophical literature are discussed and analysed, such as: the simple regularity theory, from Hume; the Mill-Ramsey-Lewis best systems theory; the Dretske-Tooley-Armstrong theory of laws as relations among universals; Ellis’s essentialist theory; Cartwright’s theory of laws as ceteris paribus laws; the anti-reductionist theories of Lange, Maudlin and Carroll, the anti-realist theories of Mumford, (...)
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  • Truths Qua Grounds.Ghislain Guigon - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):99-125.
    A number of philosophers have recently found it congenial to talk in terms of grounding. Grounding discourse features grounding sentences that are answers to questions about what grounds what. The goal of this article is to explore and defend a counterpart-theoretic interpretation of grounding discourse. We are familiar with David Lewis's applications of the method of counterpart theory to de re modal discourse. Counterpart-theoretic interpretations of de re modal idioms and grounding sentences share similar motivations, mechanisms, and applications. I shall (...)
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  • Ceteris Paribus Laws and Minutis Rectis Laws.Luke Fenton-Glynn - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):274-305.
    Special science generalizations admit of exceptions. Among the class of non-exceptionless special science generalizations, I distinguish minutis rectis generalizations from the more familiar category of ceteris paribus generalizations. I argue that the challenges involved in showing that mr generalizations can play the law role are underappreciated, and quite different from those involved in showing that cp generalizations can do so. I outline a strategy for meeting the challenges posed by mr generalizations.
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  • The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Abstract Metaphysics.Daniel Nolan - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 9:61-88.
    In Metaphysics A, Aristotle offers some objections to Plato’s theory of Forms to the effect that Plato’s Forms would not be explanatory in the right way, and seems to suggest that they might even make the explanatory project worse. One interesting historical puzzle is whether Aristotle can avoid these same objections to his own theory of universals. The concerns Aristotle raises are, I think, cousins of contemporary concerns about the usefulness and explanatoriness of abstract objects, some of which have recently (...)
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  • Causal Powers and the Necessity of Realization.Umut Baysan - 2017 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25 (4):525-531.
    Non-reductive physicalists hold that mental properties are realized by physical properties. The realization relation is typically taken to be a metaphysical necessitation relation. Here, I explore how the metaphysical necessitation feature of realization can be explained by what is known as ‘the subset view’ of realization. The subset view holds that the causal powers that are associated with a realized property are a proper subset of the causal powers that are associated with the realizer property. I argue that the said (...)
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  • Resisting the Buck-Passing Account of Value.Pekka Väyrynen - 2006 - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 1. Oxford University Press. pp. 295-324.
    I first distinguish between different forms of the buck-passing account of value and clarify my target in other respects on buck-passers' behalf. I then raise a number of problems for the different forms of the buck-passing view that I have distinguished.
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  • Will Done Better: Selection Semantics, Future Credence, and Indeterminacy.Fabrizio Cariani & Paolo Santorio - 2018 - Mind 127 (505):129-165.
    Statements about the future are central in everyday conversation and reasoning. How should we understand their meaning? The received view among philosophers treats will as a tense: in ‘Cynthia will pass her exam’, will shifts the reference time forward. Linguists, however, have produced substantial evidence for the view that will is a modal, on a par with must and would. The different accounts are designed to satisfy different theoretical constraints, apparently pulling in opposite directions. We show that these constraints are (...)
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  • No Need for Excuses: Against Knowledge-First Epistemology and the Knowledge Norm of Assertion.Joshua Schechter - 2017 - In J. Adam Carter, Emma Gordon & Benjamin Jarvis (eds.), Knowledge-First: Approaches in Epistemology and Mind. Oxford University Press. pp. 132-159.
    Since the publication of Timothy Williamson’s Knowledge and its Limits, knowledge-first epistemology has become increasingly influential within epistemology. This paper discusses the viability of the knowledge-first program. The paper has two main parts. In the first part, I briefly present knowledge-first epistemology as well as several big picture reasons for concern about this program. While this considerations are pressing, I concede, however, that they are not conclusive. To determine the viability of knowledge-first epistemology will require philosophers to carefully evaluate the (...)
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  • Mind, Modality, and Meaning: Toward a Rationalist Physicalism.Gabriel Oak Rabin - 2013 - Dissertation, University of California Los Angeles
    This dissertation contains four independent essays addressing a cluster of related topics in the philosophy of mind. Chapter 1: “Fundamentality Physicalism” argues that physicalism can usefully be conceived of as a thesis about fundamentality. The chapter explores a variety of other potential formulations of physicalism (particularly modal formulations), contrasts fundamentality physicalism with these theses, and offers reasons to prefer fundamentality physicalism over these rivals. Chapter 2:“Modal Rationalism and the Demonstrative Reply to the Master Argument Against Physicalism” introduces the Master Argument (...)
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  • Fundamental Quantification and the Language of the Ontology Room.Daniel Z. Korman - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):298-321.
    Nihilism is the thesis that no composite objects exist. Some ontologists have advocated abandoning nihilism in favor of deep nihilism, the thesis that composites do not existO, where to existO is to be in the domain of the most fundamental quantifier. By shifting from an existential to an existentialO thesis, the deep nihilist seems to secure all the benefits of a composite-free ontology without running afoul of ordinary belief in the existence of composites. I argue that, while there are well-known (...)
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  • Naturalistic Moral Realism, Moral Rationalism, and Non-Fundamental Epistemology.Tristram McPherson - forthcoming - In Karen Jones & Francois Schroeter (eds.), The Many Moral Rationalisms. Oxford University Press.
    This paper takes up an important epistemological challenge to the naturalistic moral realist: that her metaphysical commitments are difficult to square with a plausible rationalist view about the epistemology of morality.The paper begins by clarifying and generalizing this challenge. It then illustrates how the generalized challenge can be answered by a form of naturalistic moral realism that I dub joint-carving moral realism. Both my framing of this challenge and my answer advertise the methodological significance of non-fundamental epistemological theorizing, which defends (...)
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  • Authoritatively Normative Concepts.Tristram McPherson - forthcoming - In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics. Oxford University Press.
    This paper offers an analysis of the authoritatively normative concept PRACTICAL OUGHT that appeals to the constitutive norms for the activity of non-arbitrary selection. I argue that this analysis permits an attractive and substantive explanation of what the distinctive normative authority of this concept amounts to. I contrast my account with more familiar constitutivist theories, and briefly show how it answers ‘schmagency’-style objections to constitutivist explanations of normativity. Finally, I explain how the account offered here can be used to help (...)
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  • Two Ways to Particularize a Property.Robert K. Garcia - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (4):635-652.
    Trope theory is an increasingly prominent contender in contemporary debates about the existence and nature of properties. But it suffers from ambiguity concerning the nature of a trope. Disambiguation reveals two fundamentally different concepts of a trope: modifier tropes and module tropes. These types of tropes are unequally suited for metaphysical work. Modifier tropes have advantages concerning powers, relations, and fundamental determinables, whereas module tropes have advantages concerning perception, causation, character-grounding, and the ontology of substance. Thus, the choice between modifier (...)
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  • O expressivismo lógico de Aristóteles segundo Lucas Angioni: um breve e introdutório quadro teórico.Aislan Fernandes Pereira - 2017 - Books of Abstracts (3rd FILOMENA Workshop).
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  • Abstract Entities in a Presentist World.Aldo Filomeno - 2016 - Metaphysica 17 (2):177-193.
    How can a metaphysics of abstract entities be built upon a metaphysics of time? In this paper, I address the question of how to accommodate abstract entities in a presentist world. I consider both the traditional metaontological approach of unrestricted fundamental quantification and then ontological pluralism. I argue that under the former we need to impose two constraints in the characterization of presentism in order to avoid undesired commitments to abstract entities: we have to characterize presentism as a thesis only (...)
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  • Epistemological Naturalness: What is a Good Heuristic Strategy Good For?Matej Drobňák - 2018 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 27 (1):85-104.
    According to the standard interpretation of Lewis’s theory of predicate meaning (the U&N theory), the naturalness of meaning candidates should be stated metaphysically - as a length of definition in terms of fundamental properties. Recently, Weatherson has criticized the U&N theory and argued that the criterion of naturalness should be stated epistemologically - as the amount of evidence needed to form a belief. Despite the criticism, his attitude towards the U&N theory is quite relaxed. According to Weatherson, the U&N theory (...)
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  • Australasian Journal of Philosophy 1947–2016: A Retrospective Using Citation and Social Network Analyses.Martin Davies & Angelito Calma - forthcoming - Global Intellectual History.
    In anticipation of the journal’s centenary in 2027 this paper provides a citation network analysis of all available citation and publication data of the Australasian Journal of Philosophy (1923–2017). A total of 2,353 academic articles containing 21,772 references were collated and analyzed. This includes 175 articles that contained author-submitted keywords, 415 publisher-tagged keywords and 519 articles that had abstracts. Results initially focused on finding the most published authors, most cited articles and most cited authors within the journal, followed by most (...)
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  • Regressões ao Infinito em Metafísica.João Branquinho & Guido Imaguire - 2014 - Compêndio Em Linha de Problemas de Filosofia Analítica.
    Este ensaio consiste num exame crítico da estrutura e do valor de um conjunto diverso de argumentos por regressão ao infinito que têm sido objecto de discussão recorrente na metafísica contemporânea. O seminal livro de David Armstrong Nominalism and Realism (Armstrong 1978) contém uma das mais compreensivas discussões de argumentos regressivos em metafísica, os quais variam entre argumentos que foram de facto avançados ao longo da história da disciplina (como o Argumento do Terceiro Homem, de Platão) e argumentos construídos de (...)
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  • Propriedades Naturais e Mundos Possíveis.Renato Mendes Rocha - 2015 - Coleção XVI Encontro ANPOF.
    O objetivo geral da pesquisa da qual esse artigo faz parte é investigar o sistema metafísico que emerge dos trabalhos de David Lewis. Esse sistema pode ser decomposto em pelo menos duas teorias. A primeira nomeada como realismo modal genuíno (RMG) e a segunda como mosaico neo-humeano. O RMG é, sem dúvida, mais popular e defende a hipótese metafísica da existência de uma pluralidade de mundos possíveis. A principal razão em favor dessa hipótese é a sua aplicabilidade na discussão de (...)
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  • Physikalismus, Materialismus und Naturalismus.Andreas Hüttemann - 2017 - In Markus Schrenk (ed.), Handbuch Metaphysik. pp. 292-298.
    Discusses and contrasts various accounts of physicalism, naturalism and materialism.
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  • Newman’s Objection and the No Miracles Argument.Robert Smithson - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (5):993-1014.
    Structural realists claim that we should endorse only what our scientific theories say about the structure of the unobservable world. But according to Newman’s Objection, the structural realist’s claims about unobservables are trivially true. In recent years, several theorists have offered responses to Newman’s Objection. But a common complaint is that these responses “give up the spirit” of the structural realist position. In this paper, I will argue that the simplest way to respond to Newman’s Objection is to return to (...)
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  • On the Argument From Physics and General Relativity.Christopher Gregory Weaver - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-41.
    I argue that the best interpretation of the general theory of relativity (GTR) has need of a causal entity (i.e., the gravitational field), and causal structure that is not reducible to light cone structure. I suggest that this causal interpretation of GTR helps defeat a key premise in one of the most popular arguments for causal reductionism, viz., the argument from physics.
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  • 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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  • Is a Metaphysical Theory of Truthmakers Possible?Josh Parsons - manuscript
    Truthmaker theorists typically claim not only that all truths have truthmakers (Truthmaker Maximalism), but also that there is some enlightening metaphysical theory to be given of the nature of those truthmakers (e.g. that they are Armstrongian states of affairs, or tropes, or concrete individuals). Call this latter thesis the "Material Theory Thesis" (it is the thesis that there is some true material theory of truthmakers). I argue that the Material Theory Thesis is inconsistent with Truthmaker Maximalism.
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  • All God Has to Do.Tim Crane - 1991 - Analysis 51 (4):235-44.
    In the beginning God created the elementary particles. Bosons, electrons, protons, quarks and the rest he created them. And they were without form and void, so God created the fundamental laws of physics - the laws of mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics and the rest - and assigned values to the fundamental physical constants: the gravitational constant, the speed of light, Planck's constant and the rest. God then set the Universe in motion. And God looked at what he had done, and saw (...)
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  • Modality is Not Explainable by Essence.Carlos Romero - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):121-141.
    Some metaphysicians believe that metaphysical modality is explainable by the essences of objects. In §II, I spell out the definitional view of essence, and in §III, a working notion of metaphysical explanation. Then, in §IV, I consider and reject five natural ways to explain necessity by essence: in terms of the principle that essential properties can't change, in terms of the supposed obviousness of the necessity of essential truth, in terms of the logical necessity of definitions, in terms of Fine's (...)
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  • Is Kant's Critique of Metaphysics Obsolete?Nicholas Stang - manuscript
    I raise a problem about the possibility of metaphysics originally raised by Kant: what explains the fact that the terms in our metaphysical theories (e.g. “property”) refer to entities and structures (e.g. properties) in the world? I distinguish a meta-metaphysical view that can easily answer such questions (“deflationism”) from a meta-metaphysical view for which this explanatory task is more difficult (which I call the “substantive” view of metaphysics). I then canvass responses that the substantive metaphysician can give to this Kantian (...)
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  • Structural Universals.A. R. J. Fisher - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (10):e12518.
    Structural universals are a kind of complex universal. They have been put to work in a variety of philosophical theories but are plagued with problems concerning their compositional nature. In this article, we will discuss the following questions. What are structural universals? Why believe in them? Can we give a consistent account of their compositional nature? What are the costs of doing so?
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  • Forms of Luminosity.Hasen Khudairi - 2017
    This dissertation concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The dissertation demonstrates how phenomenal consciousness and gradational possible-worlds models in Bayesian perceptual psychology relate to epistemic modal space. The dissertation demonstrates, then, how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; logical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the (...)
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  • Composition and Identities.Manuel Lechthaler - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Otago
    Composition as Identity is the view that an object is identical to its parts taken collectively. I elaborate and defend a theory based on this idea: composition is a kind of identity. Since this claim is best presented within a plural logic, I develop a formal system of plural logic. The principles of this system differ from the standard views on plural logic because one of my central claims is that identity is a relation which comes in a variety of (...)
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  • The Inscrutability of Reference.Robert Williams - 2005 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    The metaphysics of representation poses questions such as: in virtue of what does a sentence, picture, or mental state represent that the world is a certain way? In the first instance, I have focused on the semantic properties of language: for example, what is it for a name such as ‘London’ to refer to something? Interpretationism concerning what it is for linguistic expressions to have meaning, says that constitutively, semantic facts are fixed by best semantic theory. As here developed, it (...)
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  • The Rationality of Vagueness.Igor Douven - forthcoming - In Richard Dietz (ed.), Vagueness and rationality. Springer.
  • A Theory of Metaphysical Indeterminacy.Elizabeth Barnes & J. Robert G. Williams - 2011 - In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics volume 6. Oxford University Press. pp. 103-148.
    If the world itself is metaphysically indeterminate in a specified respect, what follows? In this paper, we develop a theory of metaphysical indeterminacy answering this question.
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  • Chances, Counterfactuals, and Similarity.Robert Williams - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (2):385-420.
    John Hawthorne in a recent paper takes issue with Lewisian accounts of counterfactuals, when relevant laws of nature are chancy. I respond to his arguments on behalf of the Lewisian, and conclude that while some can be rebutted, the case against the original Lewisian account is strong.I develop a neo-Lewisian account of what makes for closeness of worlds. I argue that my revised version avoids Hawthorne’s challenges. I argue that this is closer to the spirit of Lewis’s first (non-chancy) proposal (...)
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  • Working Parts: Reply to Mellor.Robert Williams - 2008 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62:81-106.
    Two kinds of explanation might be put forward. The first goes like this: the necessary connection between the location of a whole and the location of its parts holds because the location of the whole is nothing but the collective location of its parts. The second style of explanation goes like this: the connection holds because what it is for a material whole to have something as a part, is (perhaps among other things) for the whole to contain the part.
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  • Permutations and Foster Problems: Two Puzzles or One?J. Robert G. Williams - 2008 - Ratio 21 (1):91–105.
    How are permutation arguments for the inscrutability of reference to be formulated in the context of a Davidsonian truth-theoretic semantics? Davidson takes these arguments to establish that there are no grounds for favouring a reference scheme that assigns London to “Londres”, rather than one that assigns Sydney to that name. We shall see, however, that it is far from clear whether permutation arguments work when set out in the context of the kind of truth-theoretic semantics which Davidson favours. The principle (...)
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  • The Price of Inscrutability.J. R. G. Williams - 2008 - Noûs 42 (4):600 - 641.
  • Ontic Vagueness and Metaphysical Indeterminacy.J. Robert G. Williams - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):763-788.
    Might it be that world itself, independently of what we know about it or how we represent it, is metaphysically indeterminate? This article tackles in turn a series of questions: In what sorts of cases might we posit metaphysical indeterminacy? What is it for a given case of indefiniteness to be 'metaphysical'? How does the phenomenon relate to 'ontic vagueness', the existence of 'vague objects', 'de re indeterminacy' and the like? How might the logic work? Are there reasons for postulating (...)
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