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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. Berkeley’s Best System: An Alternative Approach to Laws of Nature.Walter Ott - 2019 - Journal of Modern Philosophy 1 (1):4.
    Contemporary Humeans treat laws of nature as statements of exceptionless regularities that function as the axioms of the best deductive system. Such ‘Best System Accounts’ marry realism about laws with a denial of necessary connections among events. I argue that Hume’s predecessor, George Berkeley, offers a more sophisticated conception of laws, equally consistent with the absence of powers or necessary connections among events in the natural world. On this view, laws are not statements of regularities but the most general rules (...)
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  • Deflating Deflationary Truthmaking.Jamin Asay & Sam Baron - 2020 - Philosophical Quarterly 70 (278):1-21.
    In this paper we confront a challenge to truthmaker theory that is analogous to the objections raised by deflationists against substantive theories of truth. Several critics of truthmaker theory espouse a ‘deflationary’ attitude about truthmaking, though it has not been clearly presented as such. Our goal is to articulate and then object to the underlying rationale behind deflationary truthmaking. We begin by developing the analogy between deflationary truth and deflationary truthmaking, and then show how the latter can be found in (...)
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  • A Defense of Objectivism About Evidential Support.Brian Hedden - 2015 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (5):716-743.
    Objectivism about evidential support is the thesis that facts about the degree to which a body of evidence supports a hypothesis are objective rather than depending on subjective factors like one’s own language or epistemic values. Objectivism about evidential support is key to defending a synchronic, time-slice-centric conception of epistemic rationality, on which what you ought to believe at a time depends only on what evidence you have at that time, and not on how you were at previous times. Here, (...)
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  • Naturalness as a Constraint on Priors.Darren Bradley - 2019 - Mind:fzz027.
    I argue that epistemologists should borrow the metaphysician’s concept of naturalness and assign higher priors to more natural hypotheses.
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  • Did the Universe Have a Chance?C. D. McCoy - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5):1262-1272.
    In a world awash in statistical patterns, should we conclude that the universe’s evolution or genesis is somehow subject to chance? I draw attention to alternatives that must be acknowledged if we are to have an adequate assessment of what chance the universe might have had.
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  • Acquaintance and the Mind-Body Problem.Katalin Balog - 2012 - In Simone Gozzano & Christopher S. Hill (eds.), New Perspectives on Type Identity: The Mental and the Physical. Cambridge University Press. pp. 16-43.
    In this paper I begin to develop an account of the acquaintance that each of us has with our own conscious states and processes. The account is a speculative proposal about human mental architecture and specifically about the nature of the concepts via which we think in first personish ways about our qualia. In a certain sense my account is neutral between physicalist and dualist accounts of consciousness. As will be clear, a dualist could adopt the account I will offer (...)
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  • Approximations, Idealizations, and Models in Statistical Mechanics.Chuang Liu - 2001 - Erkenntnis 60 (2):235-263.
    In this paper, a criticism of the traditional theories of approximation and idealization is given as a summary of previous works. After identifying the real purpose and measure of idealization in the practice of science, it is argued that the best way to characterize idealization is not to formulate a logical model – something analogous to Hempel's D-N model for explanation – but to study its different guises in the praxis of science. A case study of it is then made (...)
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  • Property Theory: The Type-Free Approach V. The Church Approach.George Bealer - 1994 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 23 (2):139 - 171.
    In a lengthy review article, C. Anthony Anderson criticizes the approach to property theory developed in Quality and Concept (1982). That approach is first-order, type-free, and broadly Russellian. Anderson favors Alonzo Church’s higher-order, type-theoretic, broadly Fregean approach. His worries concern the way in which the theory of intensional entities is developed. It is shown that the worries can be handled within the approach developed in the book but they remain serious obstacles for the Church approach. The discussion focuses on: (1) (...)
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  • The Modal Status of Materialism.Joseph Levine & Kelly Trogdon - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 145 (3):351 - 362.
    Argument that Lewis and others are wrong that physicalism is if true then contingently true.
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  • Mathematical Explanation by Law.Sam Baron - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):683-717.
    Call an explanation in which a non-mathematical fact is explained—in part or in whole—by mathematical facts: an extra-mathematical explanation. Such explanations have attracted a great deal of interest recently in arguments over mathematical realism. In this article, a theory of extra-mathematical explanation is developed. The theory is modelled on a deductive-nomological theory of scientific explanation. A basic DN account of extra-mathematical explanation is proposed and then redeveloped in the light of two difficulties that the basic theory faces. The final view (...)
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  • The Modal View of Essence.Sam Cowling - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):248-266.
    According to the modal view, essence admits of reductive analysis in exclusively modal terms. Fine (1994) argues that modal view delivers an inadequate analysis of essence. This paper defends the modal view from Fine's challenge. This defense proceeds by examining the disagreement between Finean primitivists and Quinean eliminativists about essence. In order to model this disagreement, a distinction between essence and a separable concept, nature, is required. This distinction is then used to show that Fine's challenge is misdirected and therefore (...)
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  • Determinizmus És Interpretáció.Balázs Gyenis - unknown
    We argue that the truth of determinism is not an interpretation-free fact and we systematically overview relevant interpretational choices that are less known in the philosophical literature. After bypassing the well known interpretational problem that arises in quantum mechanics we identify three further questions about the representational role of the mathematical structures employed by physical theories. Finally we point out that even if we settle all representational issues the received view of physical possibility may also allow the truth of determinism (...)
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  • Against Magnetism.Wolfgang Schwarz - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1):17-36.
    Magnetism in meta-semantics is the view that the meaning of our words is determined in part by their use and in part by the objective naturalness of candidate meanings. This hypothesis is commonly attributed to David Lewis, and has been put to philosophical work by Brian Weatherson, Ted Sider and others. I argue that there is no evidence that Lewis ever endorsed the view, and that his actual account of language reveals good reasons against it.
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  • 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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  • What Are Natural Concepts? A Design Perspective.Igor Douven & Peter Gärdenfors - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
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  • Physicalism and the Identity of Identity Theories.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    Type-identity theorists interpret physicalism as the claim that every property is identical to a physical property. Token-identity theorists interpret it as the claim that every particular is identical to a physical particular. The end of this paper is to undermine the distinction between the two. Drawing on recent work on generalized identities and truth-maker semantics, I demonstrate that these formulations of physicalism are logically equivalent. I then argue that each formulation has the resources to resolve problems that the other encounters.
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  • El Nominalisme En Metafísica.Gonzalo Rodríguez-Pereyra - 2014 - Quaderns de Filosofia 1 (1).
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  • Ontological Trivialism?Seyed N. Mousavian - 2017 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (1-2):38-68.
    How hard is it to answer an ontological question? Ontological trivialism,, inspired by Carnap’s internal-external distinction among “questions of existence”, replies “very easy.” According to, almost every ontologically disputed entitytriviallyexists. has been defended by many, including Schiffer and Schaffer. In this paper, I will take issue with. After introducing the view in the context of Carnap-Quine dispute and presenting two arguments for it, I will discuss Hofweber’s argument against and explain why it fails. Next, I will introduce a modified version (...)
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  • Self-Made People.David Mark Kovacs - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):1071-1099.
    The Problem of Overlappers is a puzzle about what makes it the case, and how we can know, that we have the parts we intuitively think we have. In this paper, I develop and motivate an overlooked solution to this puzzle. According to what I call the self-making view it is within our power to decide what we refer to with the personal pronoun ‘I’, so the truth of most of our beliefs about our parts is ensured by the very (...)
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  • Endurance and Parthood.Matteo Benocci - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Reading
    This is a work in analytic metaphysics, which addresses a cluster of interrelated issues at the interface of mereology and persistence over time. In particular, it outlines a defence of a version of Endurance Theory according to which every enduring object is either a mereological simple or a mere sum of mereological simples. It includes, among other things, a proposal of a new way of framing the debate between Endurance Theory and Four-Dimensionalism, a defence of Endurance Theory over Four-Dimensionalism, arguments (...)
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  • Intrinsic Properties of Properties.Sam Cowling - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly:pqw052.
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  • Stanley Cavell’s Argument of the Ordinary.Avner Baz - 2018 - Nordic Wittgenstein Review 7 (2):9-48.
    My overall aim is to show that there is a serious and compelling argument in Stanley Cavell’s work for why any philosophical theorizing that fails to recognize what Cavell refers to as “our common world of background” as a condition for the sense of anything we say or do, and to acknowledge its own dependence on that background and the vulnerability implied by that dependence, runs the risk of rendering itself, thereby, ultimately unintelligible. I begin with a characterization of Cavell’s (...)
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  • Eligibility and Inscrutability.J. Robert G. Williams - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (3):361-399.
    Inscrutability arguments threaten to reduce interpretationist metasemantic theories to absurdity. Can we find some way to block the arguments? A highly influential proposal in this regard is David Lewis’ ‘ eligibility ’ response: some theories are better than others, not because they fit the data better, but because they are framed in terms of more natural properties. The purposes of this paper are to outline the nature of the eligibility proposal, making the case that it is not ad hoc, but (...)
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  • Resemblance Nominalism and Russell's Regress.Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra - 2001 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (3):395 – 408.
    Bertrand Russell argued that any attempt to get rid of universals in favor of resemblances fails. He argued that no resemblance theory could avoid postulating a universal of resemblance without falling prey to a vicious infinite regress. He added that admitting such a universal of resemblance made it pointless to avoid other universals. In this paper I defend resemblance nominalism from both of Russell's points by arguing that (a) resemblance nominalism can avoid the postulation of a universal of resemblance without (...)
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  • The Role of Naturalness in Lewis's Theory of Meaning.Brian Weatherson - 2013 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 1 (10).
    Many writers have held that in his later work, David Lewis adopted a theory of predicate meaning such that the meaning of a predicate is the most natural property that is (mostly) consistent with the way the predicate is used. That orthodox interpretation is shared by both supporters and critics of Lewis's theory of meaning, but it has recently been strongly criticised by Wolfgang Schwarz. In this paper, I accept many of Schwarze's criticisms of the orthodox interpretation, and add some (...)
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  • Modesty, Esotericism and Ineffability: Remarks on Hofweber.Matti Eklund - 2018 - Analysis 78 (2):291-303.
    In his Ontology and the Ambitions of Metaphysics, Thomas Hofweber among other things presents a radical perspective on ontology and metaphysics. In this note, I critically discuss some of the points Hofweber makes.
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  • Making Best Systems Best for Us.Siegfried Jaag & Christian Loew - forthcoming - Synthese:1-26.
    Humean reductionism about laws of nature appears to leave a central aspect of scientific practice unmotivated: If the world’s fundamental structure is exhausted by the actual distribution of non-modal properties and the laws of nature are merely efficient summaries of this distribution, then why does science posit laws that cover a wide range of non-actual circumstances? In this paper, we develop a new version of the Humean best systems account of laws based on the idea that laws need to organize (...)
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  • Towards a Best Predictive System Account of Laws of Nature.Chris Dorst - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):877-900.
    This article argues for a revised best system account of laws of nature. David Lewis’s original BSA has two main elements. On the one hand, there is the Humean base, which is the totality of particular matters of fact that obtain in the history of the universe. On the other hand, there is what I call the ‘nomic formula’, which is a particular operation that gets applied to the Humean base in order to output the laws of nature. My revised (...)
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  • Platonism About Goodness—Anselm’s Proof in the Monologion.Jeffrey E. Brower - 2019 - TheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology 3 (2):1-28.
    In the opening chapter of the Monologion, Anselm offers an intriguing proof for the existence of a Platonic form of goodness. This proof is extremely interesting, both in itself and for its place in the broader argument for God’s existence that Anselm develops in the Monologion as a whole. Even so, it has yet to receive the scholarly attention that it deserves. My aim in this article is to begin correcting this state of affairs by examining Anslem’s proof in some (...)
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  • Taxonomy, Ontology, and Natural Kinds.P. D. Magnus - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1427-1439.
    When we ask what natural kinds are, there are two different things we might have in mind. The first, which I’ll call the taxonomy question, is what distinguishes a category which is a natural kind from an arbitrary class. The second, which I’ll call the ontology question, is what manner of stuff there is that realizes the category. Many philosophers have systematically conflated the two questions. The confusion is exhibited both by essentialists and by philosophers who pose their accounts in (...)
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  • Laws of Nature, Explanation, and Semantic Circularity.Erica Shumener - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3):787-815.
    Humeans and anti-Humeans agree that laws of nature should explain scientifically particular matters of fact. One objection to Humean accounts of laws contends that Humean laws cannot explain particular matters of fact because their explanations are harmfully circular. This article distinguishes between metaphysical and semantic characterizations of the circularity and argues for a new semantic version of the circularity objection. The new formulation suggests that Humean explanations are harmfully circular because the content of the sentences being explained is part of (...)
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  • 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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  • Universals.Chad Carmichael - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (3):373-389.
    In this paper, I argue that there are universals. I begin (Sect. 1) by proposing a sufficient condition for a thing’s being a universal. I then argue (Sect. 2) that some truths exist necessarily. Finally, I argue (Sects. 3 and 4) that these truths are structured entities having constituents that meet the proposed sufficient condition for being universals.
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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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  • Physicalism and Sparse Ontology.Kelly Trogdon - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (2):147-165.
    Discussion of reductive and non-reductive physicalism formulated in a priority monist framework.
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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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  • Who's Afraid of Undermining?Peter B. M. Vranas - 2002 - Erkenntnis 57 (2):151-174.
    The Principal Principle (PP) says that, for any proposition A, given any admissible evidence and the proposition that the chance of A is x%, one's conditional credence in A should be x%. Humean Supervenience (HS) claims that, among possible worlds like ours, no two differ without differing in the spacetime-point-by-spacetime-point arrangement of local properties. David Lewis (1986b, 1994a) has argued that PP contradicts HS, and the validity of his argument has been endorsed by Bigelow et al. (1993), Thau (1994), Hall (...)
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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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