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Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology: Volume 2

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1999)

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  1. ∈ : Formal Concepts in a Material World Truthmaking and Exemplification as Types of Determination.Philipp Keller - 2007 - Dissertation, University of Geneva
    In the first part, I consider different notions of determination, contrast and compare modal with non-modal accounts and then defend two a-modality theses concerning essence and supervenience. I argue, first, that essence is a a-modal notion, i.e. not usefully analysed in terms of metaphysical modality, and then, contra Kit Fine, that essential properties can be exemplified contingently. I argue, second, that supervenience is also an a-modal notion, and that it should be analysed in terms of constitution relations between properties. In (...)
     
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  • Relativity and Three Four‐Dimensionalisms.Cody Gilmore, Damiano Costa & Claudio Calosi - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (2):102-120.
    Relativity theory is often said to support something called ‘the four-dimensional view of reality’. But there are at least three different views that sometimes go by this name. One is ‘spacetime unitism’, according to which there is a spacetime manifold, and if there are such things as points of space or instants of time, these are just spacetime regions of different sorts: thus space and time are not separate manifolds. A second is the B-theory of time, according to which the (...)
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  • Vagueness, Multiplicity and Parts.Daniel P. Nolan - 2006 - Noûs 40 (4):716–737.
    There’s an argument around from so-called “linguistic theories of vagueness”, plus some relatively uncontroversial considerations, to powerful metaphysical conclusions. David Lewis employs this argument to support the mereological principle of unrestricted composition, and Theodore Sider employs a similar argument not just for unrestricted composition but also for the doctrine of temporal parts. This sort of argument could be generalised, to produce a lot of other less palatable metaphysical conclusions. However, arguments to Lewis’s and Sider’s conclusions on the basis of considerations (...)
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  • Epistemic Contextualism and the Knowability Problem.Wolfgang Freitag - 2011 - Acta Analytica 26 (3):273-284.
    The paper critically examines an objection to epistemic contextualism recently developed by Elke Brendel and Peter Baumann, according to which it is impossible for the contextualist to know consistently that his theory is true. I first present an outline of contextualism and its reaction to scepticism. Then the necessary and sufficient conditions for the knowability problem to arise are explored. Finally, it will be argued that contextualism does not fulfil these minimal conditions. It will be shown that the contrary view (...)
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  • The Obscure Act of Perception.Jeffrey Dunn - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 139 (3):367-393.
    Finding disjunctivist versions of direct realism unexplanatory, Mark Johnston [(2004). Philosophical Studies, 120, 113–183] offers a non-disjunctive version of direct realism in its place and gives a defense of this view from the problem of hallucination. I will attempt to clarify the view that he presents and then argue that, once clarified, it either does not escape the problem of hallucination or does not look much like direct realism.
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  • Proof of the Existence of Universals—and Roman Ingarden’s Ontology.Ingvar Johansson - 2009 - Metaphysica 10 (1):65-87.
    The paper ends with an argument that says: necessarily, if there are finitely spatially extended particulars, then there are monadic universals. Before that, in order to characterize the distinction between particulars and universals, Roman Ingarden’s notions of existential moments and modes (ways) of being are presented, and a new pair of such existential moments is introduced: multiplicity–monadicity. Also, it is argued that there are not only real universals, but instances of universals (tropes) and fictional universals too.
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  • Logic and Ontological Pluralism.Jason Turner - 2012 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (2):419-448.
    Ontological pluralism is the doctrine that there are different ways or modes of being. In contemporary guise, it is the doctrine that a logically perspicuous description of reality will use multiple quantifiers which cannot be thought of as ranging over a single domain. Although thought defeated for some time, recent defenses have shown a number of arguments against the view unsound. However, another worry looms: that despite looking like an attractive alternative, ontological pluralism is really no different than its counterpart, (...)
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  • On Lewis Against Magic: A Study of Method in Metaphysics.A. R. J. Fisher - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2335-2353.
    David Lewis objected to theories that posit necessary connections between distinct entities and to theories that involve a magical grasping of their primitives. In On the Plurality of Worlds, Lewis objected to nondescript ersatzism on these grounds. The literature contains several reconstructions of Lewis’ critique of nondescript ersatzism but none of these interpretations adequately address his main argument because they fail to see that Lewis’ critique is based on broader methodological considerations. I argue that a closer look at his methodology (...)
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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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  • Contre les défenses du présentisme par le sens commun.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2018 - Igitur 9 (1):1-24.
    According to presentism, only the present exists. The view is in a bad dialectical situation since it has to face several objections based on physics and a priori arguments. The view remains nonetheless popular because it is, allegedly, more intuitive than alternative views, namely eternalism (past, present and future entities exist) and no-futurism (only past and present entities exist). In the essay, I shall not discuss whether intuitivity is an accurate criterion for ontological enquiry. I will rather argue that any (...)
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  • Justified Judging.Alexander Bird - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (1):81–110.
    When is a belief or judgment justified? One might be forgiven for thinking the search for single answer to this question to be hopeless. The concept of justification is required to fulfil several tasks: to evaluate beliefs epistemically, to fill in the gap between truth and knowledge, to describe the virtuous organization of one’s beliefs, to describe the relationship between evidence and theory (and thus relate to confirmation and probabilification). While some of these may be held to overlap, the prospects (...)
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  • Kinds and Essences.John Heil - 2005 - Ratio 18 (4):405–419.
  • Replies.Trenton Merricks - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3):727–744.
  • Negative Truths From Positive Facts?1.Josh Parsons - 2006 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (4):591 – 602.
    I argue that Colin Cheyne and Charles Pigden's recent attempt to find truthmakers for negative truths fails. Though Cheyne and Pigden are correct in their treatment of some of the truths they set out to find truthmakers for (such as 'There is no hippopotamus in S223' and 'Theatetus is not flying') they over-generalize when they apply the same treatment to 'There are no unicorns'. In my view, this difficulty is ineliminable: not every truth has a truthmaker.
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  • The Normative Force of Reasoning.Ralph Wedgwood - 2006 - Noûs 40 (4):660–686.
    What exactly is reasoning? Like many other philosophers, I shall endorse a broadly causal conception of reasoning. Reasoning is a causal process, in which one mental event (say, one’s accepting the conclusion of a certain argument) is caused by an antecedent mental event (say, one’s considering the premises of the argument). Just like causal accounts of action and causal accounts of perception, causal accounts of reasoning have to confront a version of what has come to be known as the problem (...)
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  • Deterministic Chance.Antony Eagle - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):269 - 299.
    I sketch a new constraint on chance, which connects chance ascriptions closely with ascriptions of ability, and more specifically with 'CAN'-claims. This connection between chance and ability has some claim to be a platitude; moreover, it exposes the debate over deterministic chance to the extensive literature on (in)compatibilism about free will. The upshot is that a prima facie case for the tenability of deterministic chance can be made. But the main thrust of the paper is to draw attention to the (...)
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  • A Role for Mathematics in the Physical Sciences.Chris Pincock - 2007 - Noûs 41 (2):253-275.
    Conflicting accounts of the role of mathematics in our physical theories can be traced to two principles. Mathematics appears to be both (1) theoretically indispensable, as we have no acceptable non-mathematical versions of our theories, and (2) metaphysically dispensable, as mathematical entities, if they existed, would lack a relevant causal role in the physical world. I offer a new account of a role for mathematics in the physical sciences that emphasizes the epistemic benefits of having mathematics around when we do (...)
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  • Naming, Saying, and Structure.Bryan Pickel - 2017 - Noûs 51 (3):594-616.
    It is commonplace for philosophers to distinguish mere truths from truths that perspicuously represent the world's structure. According to a popular view, the perspicuous truths are supposed to be metaphysically revelatory and to play an important role in the accounts of law-hood, confirmation, and linguistic interpretation. Yet, there is no consensus about how to characterize this distinction. I examine strategies developed by Lewis and by Sider in his Writing the Book of the World which purport to explain this distinction in (...)
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  • Intuition Fail: Philosophical Activity and the Limits of Expertise.Wesley Buckwalter - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):378-410.
    Experimental philosophers have empirically challenged the connection between intuition and philosophical expertise. This paper reviews these challenges alongside other research findings in cognitive science on expert performance and argues for three claims. First, evidence taken to challenge philosophical expertise may also be explained by the well-researched failures and limitations of genuine expertise. Second, studying the failures and limitations of experts across many fields provides a promising research program upon which to base a new model of philosophical expertise. Third, a model (...)
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  • A Defence of the Resemblance Meaning of ‘What It’s Like’.Richard Gaskin - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):673-698.
    It is often held to be definitive of consciousness that there is something it is like to be in a conscious state. A consensus has arisen that ‘is like’ in relevant ‘what it is like’ locutions does not mean ‘resembles’. This paper argues that the consensus is mistaken. It is argued that a recently proposed ‘affective’ analysis of these locutions fails, but that a purported rival of the resemblance analysis, the property account, is in fact compatible with it. Some of (...)
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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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  • Options and Diachronic Tragedy.Brian Hedden - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (2):423-451.
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  • Naturalism, Non-Factualism, and Normative Situated Behaviour.Manuel Heras-Escribano & Manuel de Pinedo-García - 2018 - South African Journal of Philosophy 37 (1):80-98.
    This paper argues that the normative character of our unreflective situated behaviour is not factual. We highlight a problematic assumption shared by the two most influential trends in contemporary philosophy of cognitive science, reductionism and enactivism. Our intentional, normative explanations are referential, descriptive or factual. Underneath this assumption lies the idea that only facts can make true or false our attributions of cognitive, mental and agential abilities. We will argue against this view by describing the main features and problems of (...)
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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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  • Grounds, Roots and Abysses.Roberto Loss - 2015 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (4):41-52.
    The aim of this study is to address the “Grounding Grounding Problem,” that is, the question as to what, if anything, grounds facts about grounding. I aim to show that, if a seemingly plausible principle of modal recombination between fundamental facts and the principle customarily called “Entailment” are assumed, it is possible to prove not only that grounding facts featuring fundamental, contingent grounds are derivative but also that either they are partially grounded in the grounds they feature or they are (...)
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  • The Truthmaking Argument Against Dispositionalism.Christopher J. Austin - 2015 - Ratio 28 (3):271-285.
    According to dispositionalism, de re modality is grounded in the intrinsic natures of dispositional properties. Those properties are able to serve as the ground of de re modal truths, it is said, because they bear a special relation to counterfactual conditionals, one of truthmaking. However, because dispositionalism purports to ground de re modality only on the intrinsic natures of dispositional properties, it had better be the case that they do not play that truthmaking role merely in virtue of their being (...)
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  • Fried Eggs, Thermodynamics, and the Special Sciences.Jeffrey Dunn - 2011 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62 (1):71-98.
    David Lewis ([1986b]) gives an attractive and familiar account of counterfactual dependence in the standard context. This account has recently been subject to a counterexample from Adam Elga ([2000]). In this article, I formulate a Lewisian response to Elga’s counterexample. The strategy is to add an extra criterion to Lewis’s similarity metric, which determines the comparative similarity of worlds. This extra criterion instructs us to take special science laws into consideration as well as fundamental laws. I argue that the Second (...)
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  • The Rotating Discs Argument Defeated.Jeremy Butterfield - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1):1-45.
    The rotating discs argument against perdurantism has been mostly discussed by metaphysicians, though the argument of course appeals to ideas from classical mechanics, especially about rotation. In contrast, I assess the RDA from the perspective of the philosophy of physics. I argue for three main conclusions. The first conclusion is that the RDA can be formulated more strongly than is usually recognized: it is not necessary to ‘imagine away’ the dynamical effects of rotation. The second is that in general relativity, (...)
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  • Simplicity in the Best Systems Account of Laws of Nature.J. Woodward - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (1):91-123.
    This article discusses the role of simplicity and the notion of a best balance of simplicity and strength within the best systems account (BSA) of laws of nature. The article explores whether there is anything in scientific practice that corresponds to the notion of simplicity or to the trade-off between simplicity and strength to which the BSA appeals. Various theoretical rationales for simplicity preferences and their bearing on the identification of laws are also explored. It is concluded that there are (...)
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  • Necessary Laws.Max Kistler - 2005 - In Jan Faye, Paul Needham, Uwe Scheffler & Max Urchs (eds.), Nature’s Principles. Springer. pp. 201-227.
    In the first part of this paper, I argue against the view that laws of nature are contingent, by attacking a necessary condition for its truth within the framework of a conception of laws as relations between universals. I try to show that there is no independent reason to think that universals have an essence independent of their nomological properties. However, such a non-qualitative essence is required to make sense of the idea that different laws link the same universals in (...)
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  • Empty Singular Terms in the Mental-File Framework.François Recanati - 2013 - In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Genoveva Marti (eds.), Empty Representations. Oxford University Press. pp. 162-185.
    Mental files, in Recanati's framework, function as 'singular terms in the language of thought' ; they serve to think about objects in the world (and to store information about them). But they have a derived, metarepresentational function : they serve to represent how other subjects think about objects in the world. To account for the metarepresentational use of files, Recanati introduces the notion of an 'indexed file', i.e. a vicarious file that stands, in the subject's mind, for another subject's file (...)
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  • Against Pointillisme About Mechanics.Jeremy Butterfield - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (4):709-753.
    This paper forms part of a wider campaign: to deny pointillisme, the doctrine that a physical theory's fundamental quantities are defined at points of space or of spacetime, and represent intrinsic properties of such points or point-sized objects located there; so that properties of spatial or spatiotemporal regions and their material contents are determined by the point-by-point facts. More specifically, this paper argues against pointillisme about the concept of velocity in classical mechanics; especially against proposals by Tooley, Robinson and Lewis. (...)
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  • Humility and Constraints on O-Language.Stephan Leuenberger - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (3):327-354.
    In "Ramseyan Humility," David Lewis argues that we cannot know what the fundamental properties in our world are. His arguments invoke the possibility of permutations and replacements of fundamental properties. Most responses focus on Lewis’s view on the relationship between properties and roles, and on the assumptions about knowledge that he makes. I argue that no matter how the debates about knowledge and about the metaphysics of properties turn out, Lewis’s arguments are unconvincing since they rely on a highly implausible (...)
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  • Is There a Fundamental Level?Jonathan Schaffer - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):498–517.
    ‘‘Thus I believe that there is no part of matter which is not—I do not say divisible—but actually divided; and consequently the least particle ought to be considered as a world full of an infinity of different creatures.’’ (Leibniz, letter to Foucher).
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  • "Bare Particulars".Theodore Sider - 2006 - Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):387–397.
    One often hears a complaint about “bare particulars”. This complaint has bugged me for years. I know it bugs others too, but no one seems to have vented in print, so that is what I propose to do. (I hope also to say a few constructive things along the way.) The complaint is aimed at the substratum theory, which says that particulars are, in a certain sense, separate from their universals. If universals and particulars are separate, connected to each other (...)
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  • Neo-Fregeanism and Quantifier Variance.Theodore Sider - 2007 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 81 (1):201–232.
    NeoFregeanism is an intriguing but elusive philosophy of mathematical existence. At crucial points, it goes cryptic and metaphorical. I want to put forward an interpretation of neoFregeanism—perhaps not one that actual neoFregeans will embrace—that makes sense of much of what they say. NeoFregeans should embrace quantifier variance.
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  • Of Numbers and Electrons.Cian Dorr - 2010 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110 (2pt2):133-181.
    According to a tradition stemming from Quine and Putnam, we have the same broadly inductive reason for believing in numbers as we have for believing in electrons: certain theories that entail that there are numbers are better, qua explanations of our evidence, than any theories that do not. This paper investigates how modal theories of the form ‘Possibly, the concrete world is just as it in fact is and T’ and ‘Necessarily, if standard mathematics is true and the concrete world (...)
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  • Truthmakers and Explanation.David Liggins - 2005 - In Helen Beebee & Julian Dodd (eds.), Truthmakers: The Contemporary Debate. Clarendon Press. pp. 105--115.
    Truthmaker theory promises to do some useful philosophical work: equipping us to argue against phenomenalism and Rylean behaviourism, for instance, and helping us decide what exists (Lewis 1999, 207; Armstrong 1997, 113-119). But it has proved hard to formulate a truthmaker theory that is both useful and believable. I want to suggest that a neglected approach to truthmakers – that of Ian McFetridge – can surmount some of the problems that make other theories of truthmaking unattractive. To begin with, I’ll (...)
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  • Truthmakers and the Groundedness of Truth.David Liggins - 2008 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt2):177-196.
    Truthmaker theorists claim that for every truth, there is something in virtue of which it is true—or, more cautiously, that for every truth in some specified class of truths, there is something in virtue of which it is true. I argue that it is hard to see how the thought that truth is grounded in reality lends any support to truthmaker theory.
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  • The Metaphysics of Forces.Olivier Massin - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (4):555-589.
    This paper defends the view that Newtonian forces are real, symmetrical and non-causal relations. First, I argue that Newtonian forces are real; second, that they are relations; third, that they are symmetrical relations; fourth, that they are not species of causation. The overall picture is anti-Humean to the extent that it defends the existence of forces as external relations irreducible to spatio-temporal ones, but is still compatible with Humean approaches to causation (and others) since it denies that forces are a (...)
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  • First Person Thought.François Recanati - 2014 - In Julien Dutant, Davide Fassion & Anne Meylan (eds.), Liber Amicorum Pascal Engel. pp. 506-511.
    First person thoughts are the sort of thought one may express by using the first person ; they are also thoughts that are about the thinker of the thought. Neither characterization is ultimately satisfactory. A thought can be about the thinker of the thought by accident, without being a first person thought. The alternative characterization of first person thought in terms of first person sentences also fails, because it is circular : we need the notion of a first person thought (...)
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  • On Scientific Method As a Method for Testing the Legitimacy of Concepts.Abraham D. Stone - unknown
    Traditional attempts to delineate the distinctive rationality of modern science have taken it for granted that the purpose of empirical research is to test judgments. The choice of concepts to use in those judgments is therefore seen either a matter of indifference (Popper) or as important choice which must be made, so to speak, in advance of all empirical research (Carnap). I argue that scientific method aims precisely at empirical testing of concepts, and that even the simplest scientific ex- periment (...)
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  • On Scientific Method, Induction, Statistics, and Skepticism.Abraham D. Stone - unknown
    My aim in this paper is to explain how universal statements, as they occur in scientific theories, are actually tested by observational evidence, and to draw certain conclusions, on that basis, about the way in which scientific theories are tested in general. 1 But I am pursuing that aim, ambitious enough in and of itself, in the service of even more ambitious projects, and in the first place: (a) to say what is distinctive about modern science, and especially modern physical (...)
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  • Reduction and Emergence in the Fractional Quantum Hall State.Tom Lancaster & Mark Pexton - 2015 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52 (Part B):343-357.
  • Moorean Facts and Belief Revision, or Can the Skeptic Win?Thomas Kelly - 2005 - Philosophical Perspectives 19 (1):179-209.
    A Moorean fact, in the words of the late David Lewis, is ‘one of those things that we know better than we know the premises of any philosophical argument to the contrary’. Lewis opens his seminal paper ‘Elusive Knowledge’ with the following declaration.
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  • Counterfactuals and Historical Possibility.Tomasz Placek & Thomas Müller - 2007 - Synthese 154 (2):173-197.
    We show that truth conditions for counterfactuals need not always be given in terms of a vague notion of similarity. To this end, we single out the important class of historical counterfactuals and give formally rigorous truth conditions for these counterfactuals, employing a partial ordering relation called "comparative closeness" that is defined in the framework of branching space-times. Among other applications, we provide a detailed analysis of counterfactuals uttered in the context of lost bets. In an appendix we compare our (...)
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  • Withdrawal and Contextualism.Jonathan E. Adler - 2006 - Analysis 66 (4):280–285.
  • The Tenseless Copula in Temporal Predication.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - 2010 - Erkenntnis 72 (2):267-280.
    In this paper I explore how the tenseless copula is to be interpreted in sentences of the form “a is F at t”, where “a” denotes a persisting, changeable object, “F” stands for a prima facie intrinsic property and “t” for a B-time. I argue that the interpretation of the copula depends on the logical role assigned to the time clause. Having rejected the idea that the time clause is to be treated as a sentence operator, I argue: that if (...)
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  • Time-Slice Rationality.Brian Hedden - 2015 - Mind 124 (494):449-491.
    I advocate Time-Slice Rationality, the thesis that the relationship between two time-slices of the same person is not importantly different, for purposes of rational evaluation, from the relationship between time-slices of distinct persons. The locus of rationality, so to speak, is the time-slice rather than the temporally extended agent. This claim is motivated by consideration of puzzle cases for personal identity over time and by a very moderate form of internalism about rationality. Time-Slice Rationality conflicts with two proposed principles of (...)
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  • The Best Humean System for Statistical Mechanics.Roman Frigg & Carl Hoefer - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (S3):551-574.
    Classical statistical mechanics posits probabilities for various events to occur, and these probabilities seem to be objective chances. This does not seem to sit well with the fact that the theory’s time evolution is deterministic. We argue that the tension between the two is only apparent. We present a theory of Humean objective chance and show that chances thus understood are compatible with underlying determinism and provide an interpretation of the probabilities we find in Boltzmannian statistical mechanics.
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