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Philosophical Papers, Volume II

Oxford University Press (1986)

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  1. 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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  • XV—Intelligent Capacities.Victoria McGeer - forthcoming - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.
    In The Concept of Mind, Gilbert Ryle argued that a more sophisticated understanding of the dispositional nature of ‘intelligent capacities’ could bolster philosophical resistance to the tempting view that the human mind is possessed of metaphysically ‘occult’ powers and properties. This temptation is powerful in the context of accounting for the special qualities of responsible agency. Incompatibilists indulge the temptation; compatibilists resist it, using a variety of strategies. One recent strategy, reminiscent of Ryle’s, is to exploit a more sophisticated understanding (...)
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  • Counterfactuals for Consequentialists.Jean-Paul Vessel - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 112 (2):103 - 125.
    That all subjunctive conditionals with true antecedents and trueconsequents are themselves also true is implied by every plausibleand popularly endorsed account. But I am wary of endorsing thisimplication. I argue that all presently endorsed accounts fail tocapture the nature of certain subjunctive conditionals in contextsof consequentialist reasoning. I attempt to show that we must allowfor the possibility that some subjunctive conditionals with trueantecedents and true consequents are false, if we are to believethat certain types of straightforward consequentialist reasoningare coherent. I (...)
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  • The Large-Scale Joints of the World.Ned Hall - 2011 - Humana Mente 4 (19).
    What is the compositional structure of reality? That question divides naturally into these two: What is the compositional structure of the particulars that populate reality? And what is the structure of the properties and relations that fix what these entities are like? David Lewis‘s work in ontology and mereology provides the materials for an extraordinarily clean answer to the first question. First, among the particulars1 that populate reality are mereological simples: entities that have no proper parts. Second, every collection of (...)
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  • Fundamentality And Modal Freedom.Jennifer Wang - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):397-418.
    A fundamental entity is an entity that is ‘ontologically independent’; it does not depend on anything else for its existence or essence. It seems to follow that a fundamental entity is ‘modally free’ in some sense. This assumption, that fundamentality entails modal freedom (or ‘FEMF’ as I shall label the thesis), is used in the service of other arguments in metaphysics. But as I will argue, the road from fundamentality to modal freedom is not so straightforward. The defender of FEMF (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Quantity and Quality: Naturalness in Metaphysics.M. Eddon - 2009 - Dissertation, Rutgers University
    Ever since David Lewis argued for the indispensibility of natural properties, they have become a staple of mainstream metaphysics. This dissertation is a critical examination of natural properties. What roles can natural properties play in metaphysics, and what structure do natural properties have? In the first half of the dissertation, I argue that natural properties cannot do all the work they are advertised to do. In the second half of the dissertation, I look at questions relating to the structure of (...)
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  • Hempel’s Dilemma: Not Only for Physicalism.Erez Firt, Meir Hemmo & Orly Shenker - 2022 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 34 (2):101-129.
    According to the so-called Hempel’s Dilemma, the thesis of physicalism is either false or empty. Our intention in this paper is not to propose a solution to the Dilemma, but rather to argue as follows: to the extent that Hempel’s Dilemma applies to physicalism it equally applies to any theory that gives a deep-structure and changeable account of our experience or of high-level theories. In particular, we will show that it also applies to mind-body dualistic theories. The scope of Hempel’s (...)
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  • Metaphysics and the Philosophical Imagination.Peter Godfrey-Smith - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):97-113.
    Methods and goals in philosophy are discussed by first describing an ideal, and then looking at how the ideal might be approached. David Lewis’s work in metaphysics is critically examined and compared to analogous work by Mackie and Carnap. Some large-scale philosophical systematic work, especially in metaphysics, is best treated as model-building, in a sense of that term that draws on the philosophy of science. Models are constructed in a way that involves deliberate simplification, or other imaginative modification of reality, (...)
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  • Selfless Desires.Daniel Nolan - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (3):665-679.
    Unified theories of de se attitudes and de dicto attitudes, along the lines of David Lewis’s proposal, face a problem. Whether or not they are adequate for representing beliefs, they can misrepresent the content of many of our desires, which rank possible outcomes in which the agent with the desire does not exist. These desires are shown to play a role in the rational explanation of action, and recognising them is important in our understanding of ourselves. Lewis’s account of attitudes (...)
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  • The Computational Philosophy: Simulation as a Core Philosophical Method.Conor Mayo-Wilson & Kevin J. S. Zollman - 2021 - Synthese 199 (1-2):3647-3673.
    Modeling and computer simulations, we claim, should be considered core philosophical methods. More precisely, we will defend two theses. First, philosophers should use simulations for many of the same reasons we currently use thought experiments. In fact, simulations are superior to thought experiments in achieving some philosophical goals. Second, devising and coding computational models instill good philosophical habits of mind. Throughout the paper, we respond to the often implicit objection that computer modeling is “not philosophical.”.
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  • Supervenience.Karen Bennett & Brian McLaughlin - 2005 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Supervenience.Brian McLaughlin - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Interpretations of Probability.Alan Hájek - 2007 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • The Explanatory Power of Local Miracle Compatibilism.Garrett Pendergraft - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (2):249-266.
    Local miracle compatibilists claim that we are sometimes able to do otherwise than we actually do, even if causal determinism obtains. When we can do otherwise, it will often be true that if we were to do otherwise, then an actual law of nature would not have been a law of nature. Nevertheless, it is a compatibilist principle that we cannot do anything that would be or cause an event that violates the laws of nature. Carl Ginet challenges this nomological (...)
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  • Lewis' Account of Counterfactuals is Incongruent with Lewis' Account of Laws of Nature.Foad Dizadji-Bahmani & Seamus Bradley - unknown
    In this paper we argue that there is a problem with the conjunction of David Lewis' account of counterfactual conditionals and his account of laws of nature. This is a pressing problem since both accounts are individually plausible, and popular.
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  • Goodbye, Humean Supervenience.Troy Cross - 2012 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 7:129-153.
    Reductionists about dispositions must either say the natural properties are all dispositional or individuate properties hyperintensionally. Lewis stands in as an example of the sort of combination I think is incoherent: properties individuated by modal profile + categoricalism.
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  • No Work For a Theory of Universals.M. Eddon & Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2015 - In Jonathan Schaffer & Barry Loewer (eds.), A Companion to David Lewis. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 116-137.
    Several variants of Lewis's Best System Account of Lawhood have been proposed that avoid its commitment to perfectly natural properties. There has been little discussion of the relative merits of these proposals, and little discussion of how one might extend this strategy to provide natural property-free variants of Lewis's other accounts, such as his accounts of duplication, intrinsicality, causation, counterfactuals, and reference. We undertake these projects in this paper. We begin by providing a framework for classifying and assessing the variants (...)
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  • Vagueness and the Laws of Metaphysics.Ryan Wasserman - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (1):66-89.
    This is a paper about the nature of metaphysical laws and their relation to the phenomenon of vagueness. Metaphysical laws are introduced as analogous to natural laws, and metaphysical indeterminism is modeled on causal indeterminacy. This kind of indeterminacy is then put to work in developing a novel theory of vagueness and a solution to the sorites paradox.
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  • Trumping the Causal Influence Account of Causation.Jim Stone - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 142 (2):153 - 160.
    Here is a simple counterexample to David Lewis’s causal influence account of causation, one that is especially illuminating due to its connection to what Lewis himself writes: it is a variant of his trumping example.
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  • Actual Control - Demodalising Free Will.David Heering - 2020 - Dissertation, University of Leeds
    Plausibly, agents act freely iff their actions are responses to reasons. But what sort of relationship between reason and action is required for the action to count as a response? The overwhelmingly dominant answer to this question is modalist. It holds that responses are actions that share a modally robust or secure relationship with the relevant reasons. This thesis offers a new alternative answer. It argues that responses are actions that can be explained by reasons in the right way. This (...)
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  • A Study in Metaphysics for Free Will: Using Models of Causality, Determinism and Supervenience in the Search for Free Will.David Robson - unknown
    We have two main aims: to construct mathematical models for analysing determinism, causality and supervenience; and then to use these to demonstrate the possibility of constructing an ontic construal of the operation of free will - one requiring both the presentation of genuine alternatives to an agent and their selecting between them in a manner that permits the attribution of responsibility. Determinism is modelled using trans-temporal ontic links between discrete juxtaposed universe states and shown to be distinct from predictability. Causality (...)
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  • Multi-Descriptional Physicalism, Level(s) of Being, and the Mind-Body Problem.Savvas Ioannou - 2022 - Dissertation, University of St. Andrews
    The main idea of this thesis is multi-descriptional physicalism. According to it, only physical entities are elements of our ontology, and there are different ways to describe them. Higher-level vocabularies (e.g., mental, neurological, biological) truly describe reality. Sentences about higher-level entities are made true by physical entities. Every chapter will develop multi-descriptional physicalism or defend it from objections. In chapter 1, I will propose a new conceptual reductive account that conceptually reduces higher-level entities to physical entities. This conceptual reductive account (...)
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  • Alien Worlds, Alien Laws, and the Humean Conceivability Argument.Lok-Chi Chan, David Braddon-Mitchell & Andrew J. Latham - 2020 - Ratio 33 (1):1-13.
    Monism is our name for a range of views according to which the connection between dispositions and their categorical bases is intimate and necessary, or on which there are no categorical bases at all. In contrast, Dualist views hold that the connection between dispositions and their categorical bases is distant and contingent. This paper is a defence of Monism against an influential conceivability argument in favour of Dualism. The argument suggests that the apparent possibility of causal behaviour coming apart from (...)
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  • Folk Intuitions of Actual Causation: A Two-Pronged Debunking Explanation.David Rose - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (5):1323-1361.
    How do we determine whether some candidate causal factor is an actual cause of some particular outcome? Many philosophers have wanted a view of actual causation which fits with folk intuitions of actual causation and those who wish to depart from folk intuitions of actual causation are often charged with the task of providing a plausible account of just how and where the folk have gone wrong. In this paper, I provide a range of empirical evidence aimed at showing just (...)
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  • The Metaphysical Consequences of Counterfactual Skepticism.Nina Emery - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):399-432.
    A series of recent arguments purport to show that most counterfactuals of the form if A had happened then C would have happened are not true. These arguments pose a challenge to those of us who think that counterfactual discourse is a useful part of ordinary conversation, of philosophical reasoning, and of scientific inquiry. Either we find a way to revise the semantics for counterfactuals in order to avoid these arguments, or we find a way to ensure that the relevant (...)
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  • Following the FAD: Folk Attributions and Theories of Actual Causation.Jonathan Livengood, Justin Sytsma & David Rose - 2016
    Using structural equations and directed graphs, Christopher Hitchcock (2007a) proposes a theory specifying the circumstances in which counterfactual dependence of one event e on another event c is necessary and sufficient for c to count as an actual cause of e. In this paper, we argue that Hitchcock is committed to a widely-endorsed folk attribution desideratum (FAD) for theories of actual causation. We then show experimentally that Hitchcock’s theory does not satisfy the FAD, and hence, it is in need of (...)
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  • In Defence of Existence Questions.Chris Daly & David Liggins - 2014 - Monist 97 (7):460–478.
    Do numbers exist? Do properties? Do possible worlds? Do fictional characters? Many metaphysicians spend time and effort trying to answer these and other questions about the existence of various entities. These inquiries have recently encountered opposition: a group of philosophers, drawing inspiration from Aristotle, have argued that many or all of the existence questions debated by metaphysicians can be answered trivially, and so are not worth debating. Our task is to defend existence questions from the neo-Aristotelians' attacks.
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  • Russellianism and Psychological Generalizations.David Braun - 2000 - Noûs 34 (2):203-236.
    (1) Harry believes that Twain is a writer. (2) Harry believes that Clemens is a writer. I say that this is Russellianism's most notorious consequence because it is so often used to argue against the view: many philosophers think that it is obvious that (1) and (2) can differ in truth value, and so they conclude that Russellianism is false. Let's call this the Substitution Objection to Russellianism.
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  • Causally Relevant Properties.David Braun - 1995 - Philosophical Perspectives 9 (AI, Connectionism and Philosophi):447-75.
    In this paper I present an analysis of causal relevance for properties. I believe that most of us are already familiar with the notion of a causally relevant property. But some of us may not recognize it "under that description." So I begin below with some intuitive explanations and some illustrative examples.
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  • A Quantum-Theoretic Argument Against Naturalism.Bruce L. Gordon - 2011 - In Bruce L. Gordon & William A. Dembski (eds.), The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science. Wilmington, DE: ISI Books. pp. 179-214.
    Quantum theory offers mathematical descriptions of measurable phenomena with great facility and accuracy, but it provides absolutely no understanding of why any particular quantum outcome is observed. It is the province of genuine explanations to tell us how things actually work—that is, why such descriptions hold and why such predictions are true. Quantum theory is long on the what, both mathematically and observationally, but almost completely silent on the how and the why. What is even more interesting is that, in (...)
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  • Humeanism and laws of nature: scope and limits.Cristián Soto - 2021 - Revista de Humanidades de Valparaíso 17:145-167.
    Nomological Humeanism has developed into a research program encompassing several variations on a single theme, namely, the view that laws are statements about regularities that we find in nature. After briefly revisiting an early form of nomological Humeanism in Hume’s critique of the idea of necessary connection, this article critically examines Lewis’ two-fold approach based on Humean supervenience and the best system account. We shall point out three limits of nomological Humeanism, which are widely recognized in the literature: its inadequacy (...)
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  • Rigid Designation, Direct Reference, and Modal Metaphysics.Arthur Sullivan - 2005 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (4):577–599.
    In this paper I argue that questions about the semantics of rigid designation are commonly and illicitly run together with distinct issues, such as questions about the metaphysics of essence and questions about the theoretical legitimacy of the possible-worlds framework. I discuss in depth two case studies of this phenomenon – the first concerns the relation between rigid designation and reference, the second concerns the application of the notion of rigidity to general terms. I end by drawing out some conclusions (...)
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  • The Ontology of Epistemic Reasons.John Turri - 2009 - Noûs 43 (3):490-512.
    Epistemic reasons are mental states. They are not propositions or non-mental facts. The discussion proceeds as follows. Section 1 introduces the topic. Section 2 gives two concrete examples of how our topic directly affects the internalism/externalism debate in normative epistemology. Section 3 responds to an argument against the view that reasons are mental states. Section 4 presents two problems for the view that reasons are propositions. Section 5 presents two problems for the view that reasons are non-mental facts. Section 6 (...)
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  • Why the Exclusion Problem Seems Intractable and How, Just Maybe, to Tract It.Karen Bennett - 2003 - Noûs 37 (3):471-97.
    The basic form of the exclusion problem is by now very, very familiar. 2 Start with the claim that the physical realm is causally complete: every physical thing that happens has a sufficient physical cause. Add in the claim that the mental and the physical are distinct. Toss in some claims about overdetermination, give it a stir, and voilá—suddenly it looks as though the mental never causes anything, at least nothing physical. As it is often put, the physical does all (...)
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  • Supervenience-Based Formulations of Physicalism.Jessica Wilson - 2005 - Noûs 39 (3):426-459.
    The physicalist thesis that all entities are nothing over and above physical entities is often interpreted as appealing to a supervenience-based account of "nothing over and aboveness”, where, schematically, the A-entities are nothing over and above the B-entities if the A-entities supervene on the B-entities. The main approaches to filling in this schema correspond to different ways of characterizing the modal strength, the supervenience base, or the supervenience connection at issue. I consider each approach in turn, and argue that the (...)
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  • Introduction: Outright Belief and Degrees of Belief.Philip A. Ebert & Martin Smith - 2012 - Dialectica 66 (3):305-308.
  • Causes and Categories.Nathanael Stein - 2016 - Noûs 50 (3):465-489.
    Philosophers discussing causation take on, as one of their responsibilities, the task of specifying an ontology of causation. Both standard and non-standard accounts of that ontology make two assumptions: that the ontological category of causal relata admits a unique specification, and that cause and effect are of the same ontological type. These assumptions are rarely made explicit, but there is in fact little reason to think them true. It is argued here that, if the question has any interest, there are (...)
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  • Laws, Melodies, and the Paradox of Predictability.Dorst Chris - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-21.
    If the laws of nature are deterministic, then it seems possible that a Laplacean intelligence that knows the initial conditions and the laws would be able to accurately predict everything that will ever happen. However, it would be easy to construct a counterpredictive device that falsifies any revealed prediction about its future behavior. What would then occur if a Laplacean intelligence encountered a counterpredictive device? This is the paradox of predictability. A number of philosophers have proposed solutions to it, though (...)
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  • Structuralist approaches to Bohmian mechanics.Lorenzo Lorenzetti - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-15.
    Lam and Esfeld have argued that, within Bohmian mechanics, the wave function can be interpreted as a physical structure instantiated by the fundamental particles posited by the theory. Further, to characterize the nature of this structure, they appeal to the framework of Ontic Structural Realism, thereby proposing a structuralist interpretation of Bohmian mechanics. However, I shall point out that OSR denotes a family of distinct views, each of which maintains a different account about the relation between structures and objects, and (...)
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  • Incompatibilism and the Past.Andrew M. Bailey - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):351-376.
    There is a new objection to the Consequence Argument for incompatibilism. I argue that the objection is more wide-ranging than originally thought. In particular: if it tells against the Consequence Argument, it tells against other arguments for incompatibilism too. I survey a few ways of dealing with this objection and show the costs of each. I then present an argument for incompatibilism that is immune to the objection and that enjoys other advantages.
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  • Libertarian Free Will and the Physical Indeterminism Luck Objection.Dwayne Moore - 2022 - Philosophia 50 (1):159-182.
    Libertarian free will is, roughly, the view that agents cause actions to occur or not occur: Maddy’s decision to get a beer causes her to get up off her comfortable couch to get a beer, though she almost chose not to get up. Libertarian free will notoriously faces the luck objection, according to which agential states do not determine whether an action occurs or not, so it is beyond the control of the agent, hence lucky, whether an action occurs or (...)
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  • Quantum Entanglement, Bohmian Mechanics, and Humean Supervenience.Elizabeth Miller - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (3):567-583.
    David Lewis is a natural target for those who believe that findings in quantum physics threaten the tenability of traditional metaphysical reductionism. Such philosophers point to allegedly holistic entities they take both to be the subjects of some claims of quantum mechanics and to be incompatible with Lewisian metaphysics. According to one popular argument, the non-separability argument from quantum entanglement, any realist interpretation of quantum theory is straightforwardly inconsistent with the reductive conviction that the complete physical state of the world (...)
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  • Symmetries as Humean Metalaws.Callum Duguid - forthcoming - Philosophy of Science:1-38.
    Symmetry principles are a central part of contemporary physics, yet there has been surprisingly little metaphysical work done on them. This paper develops the Wignerian treatment of symmetries as higher-order laws – metalaws – within a Humean framework of lawhood. Lange has raised two obstacles to Humean metalaws, and the paper shows that the account has the resources available to respond to both. It is argued that this framework for Humean metalaws stands as an example of naturalistic metaphysics, able to (...)
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  • Realization: Metaphysics, Mind, and Science.Robert A. Wilson - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):985-996.
    This paper surveys some recent work on realization in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of science.
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  • Causal Models, Token Causation, and Processes.Peter Menzies - 2004 - Philosophy of Science 71 (5):820-832.
    Judea Pearl (2000) has recently advanced a theory of token causation using his structural equations approach. This paper examines some counterexamples to Pearl's theory, and argues that the theory can be modified in a natural way to overcome them.
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  • The Conserved Quantity Theory of Causation and Chance Raising.Phil Dowe - 1999 - Philosophy of Science 66 (3):501.
    In this paper I offer an 'integrating account' of singular causation, where the term 'integrating' refers to the following program for analysing causation. There are two intuitions about causation, both of which face serious counterexamples when used as the basis for an analysis of causation. The 'process' intuition, which says that causes and effects are linked by concrete processes, runs into trouble with cases of 'misconnections', where an event which serves to prevent another fails to do so on a particular (...)
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  • In Defense of a Broad Conception of Experimental Philosophy.David Rose & David Danks - 2013 - Metaphilosophy 44 (4):512-532.
    Experimental philosophy is often presented as a new movement that avoids many of the difficulties that face traditional philosophy. This article distinguishes two views of experimental philosophy: a narrow view in which philosophers conduct empirical investigations of intuitions, and a broad view which says that experimental philosophy is just the colocation in the same body of (i) philosophical naturalism and (ii) the actual practice of cognitive science. These two positions are rarely clearly distinguished in the literature about experimental philosophy, both (...)
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  • Making a Difference.Peter Lipton - 1993 - Philosophica 51.
    An effect is typically explained by citing a cause, but not any cause will do. The oxygen and the spark were both causes of the fire, but normally only the spark explains it. What then distinguishes explanatory from unexplanatory causes? One might attempt to characterise this distinction in terms of intrinsic features of the causes. For example, some causes are changes while others are standing conditions, and one might claim that only the changes explain. Both the spark and the oxygen (...)
     
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