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Writing the Book of the World

Oxford University Press (2011)

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  1. A Note on Dasgupta’s Generalism.Joshua Babic & Lorenzo Cocco - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (8):2153-2162.
    Dasgupta :35–67, 2009) has argued that material individuals, such as particles and laptops, are metaphysically objectionable and must be eliminated from our fundamental theories of the world. He proposes to eliminate them by redescribing all the fundamental facts of the world in a variant of predicate functor logic. We study the status, on this theory, of a putative fact particularly recalcitrant to a formulation within predicate functor logic: his own claim that there are no fundamental or primitive material individuals. We (...)
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  • Old Problems for Neo-Positivist Naturalized Metaphysics.Rasmus Jaksland - 2020 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 (2):1-19.
    In her paper “Neo-positivist metaphysics”, 53–78, 2012), Alyssa Ney promises a naturalized metaphysics that is acceptable even by positivists’ – and specifically Carnap’s – standards. This neo-positivist metaphysics takes its outset in the findings of our best science and relies on them to inform a metaphysics that can avoid the dependence on linguistic frameworks that is inherent to Carnapian deflationism. Neo-positivist metaphysics attempts to sidestep these problems by inheriting its semantic credentials directly from science itself. This paper argues that such (...)
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  • Grounding in the Image of Causation.Jonathan Schaffer - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (1):49-100.
    Grounding is often glossed as metaphysical causation, yet no current theory of grounding looks remotely like a plausible treatment of causation. I propose to take the analogy between grounding and causation seriously, by providing an account of grounding in the image of causation, on the template of structural equation models for causation.
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  • Building the World From its Fundamental Constituents.L. A. Paul - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (2):221-256.
    In this paper, I argue that the spatiotemporalist approach way of modeling the fundamental constituents, structure, and composition of the world has taken a wrong turn. Spatiotemporalist approaches to fundamental structure take the fundamental nature of the world to be spatiotemporal: they take the category of spatiotemporal to be fundamental. I argue that the debates over the nature of the fundamental space in the physics show us that (i) the fact that it is conceivable that the manifest world could be (...)
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  • Fundamental Physical Ontologies and the Constraint of Empirical Coherence: A Defense of Wave Function Realism.Alyssa Ney - 2015 - Synthese 192 (10):3105-3124.
    This paper defends wave function realism against the charge that the view is empirically incoherent because our evidence for quantum theory involves facts about objects in three-dimensional space or space-time . It also criticizes previous attempts to defend wave function realism against this charge by claiming that the wave function is capable of grounding local beables as elements of a derivative ontology.
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  • Cosmopsychism, Micropsychism, and the Grounding Relation.Philip Goff - forthcoming - In William Seager (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Panpsychism. Routledge.
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  • Chomsky, London and Lewis.D. Stoljar - 2015 - Analysis 75 (1):16-22.
    This article suggests that Chomsky’s notorious ‘London’ argument against semantics looks much more plausible that it is usually interpreted as being when seen in the light of something apparently remote from its concerns, viz., David Lewis’s distinction between natural and non-natural properties.
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  • The Existence of Personites.Matti Eklund - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):2051-2071.
    Mark Johnston and Eric Olson have both pressed what Johnston has dubbed the personite problem. Personites, if they exist, are person-like entities whose lives extend over a continuous proper part of a person’s life. They are so person-like that they seem to have moral status if persons do. But this threatens to wreak havoc with ordinary moral thinking. For example, simple decisions to suffer some short-term hardship for long-term benefits become problematic. And ordinary punishment is always also punishment of the (...)
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  • Where Are You Going, Metaphysics, and How Are You Getting There? - Grounding Theory as a Case Study.Gila Sher - forthcoming - In Quo Vadis, Metaphysics? Berlin, Germany: de Gruyter Studium.
    The viability of metaphysics as a field of knowledge has been challenged time and again. But in spite of the continuing tendency to dismiss metaphysics, there has been considerable progress in this field in the 20th- and 21st- centuries. One of the newest − though, in a sense, also oldest − frontiers of metaphysics is the grounding project. In this paper I raise a methodological challenge to the new grounding project and propose a constructive solution. Both the challenge and its (...)
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  • The Necessity of Mathematics.Juhani Yli‐Vakkuri & John Hawthorne - 2018 - Noûs 52.
    Some have argued for a division of epistemic labor in which mathematicians supply truths and philosophers supply their necessity. We argue that this is wrong: mathematics is committed to its own necessity. Counterfactuals play a starring role.
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  • On Putting Knowledge 'First'.Jonathan Ichikawa & C. S. I. Jenkins - 2017 - In Joseph Adam Carter, Emma C. Gordon & Benjamin Jarvis (eds.), Knowledge First: Approaches in Epistemology and Mind. Oxford University Press.
    There is a New Idea in epistemology. It goes by the name of ‘knowledge first,’ and it is particularly associated with Timothy Williamson’s book Knowledge and Its Limits. In slogan form, to put knowledge first is to treat knowledge as basic or fundamental, and to explain other states—belief, justification, maybe even content itself—in terms of knowledge, instead of vice versa. The idea has proven enormously interesting, and equally controversial. But deep foundational questions about its actual content remain relatively unexplored. We (...)
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  • Epistemic Modality, Mind, and Mathematics.Hasen Khudairi - 2017 - Gutenberg.
    This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how phenomenal consciousness and gradational possible-worlds models in Bayesian perceptual psychology relate to epistemic modal space. The book demonstrates, then, how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the epistemic status (...)
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  • Scientific Models and Metalinguistic Negotiation.Mirco Sambrotta - 2019 - Theoria. An International Journal for Theory, History and Foundations of Science 34 (2):277.
    The aim of this paper is to explore the possibility that, at least, some metaphysical debates are ‘metalinguistic negotiations’. I will take the dispute between the dominant approaches of realism and the anti-realism ones about the ontological status of scientific models as a case-study. I will argue that such a debate may be better understood as a disagreement, at bottom normatively, motivated, insofar as a normative and non-factual question may be involved in it: how the relevant piece of language ought (...)
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  • The Contingency Problem for Neo-Conventionalism.Jonathan Livingstone-Banks - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (3):653-671.
    Traditional conventionalism about modality claims that a proposition is necessarily true iff it is true by convention. In the wake of the widespread repudiation of truth-byconvention, traditional conventionalism has fallen out of favour. However, a family of theories of modality have arisen that, whilst abandoning truth-by-convention, retain the spirit of traditional conventionalism. These ‘neo-conventionalist’ theories surpass their forebears and don’t fall victim to the criticisms inherited through truth-by-convention. However, not all criticisms levelled at traditional conventionalism target truth-by-convention. Any conventional theory (...)
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  • Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Boris Kment - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Boris Kment takes a new approach to the study of modality that emphasises the origin of modal notions in everyday thought. He argues that the concepts of necessity and possibility originate in counterfactual reasoning, which allows us to investigate explanatory connections. Contrary to accepted views, explanation is more fundamental than modality.
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  • The Significance Argument for the Irreducibility of Consciousness.Adam Pautz - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 31 (1):349-407.
    The Significance Argument (SA) for the irreducibility of consciousness is based on a series of new puzzle-cases that I call multiple candidate cases. In these cases, there is a multiplicity of physical-functional properties or relations that are candidates to be identified with the sensible qualities and our consciousness of them, where those candidates are not significantly different. I will argue that these cases show that reductive materialists cannot accommodate the various ways in which consciousness is significant. I also will argue (...)
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  • Heidegger the Metaphysician: Modes‐of‐Being and Grundbegriffe.Howard D. Kelly - 2016 - European Journal of Philosophy 24 (3):670-693.
    Modes-of-being figure centrally in Heidegger's masterwork Being and Time. Testimony to this is Heidegger's characterisation of two of his most celebrated enquiries—the Existential analytic and the Zeug analysis—as investigations into the respective modes-of-being of the entities concerned. Yet despite the importance of this concept, commentators disagree widely about what a mode-of-being is. In this paper, I systematically outline and defend a novel and exegetically grounded interpretation of this concept. Strongly opposed to Kantian readings, such as those advocated by Taylor Carman (...)
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  • Ontological Innocence.Katherine Hawley - 2014 - In A. J. Cotnoir & Donald L. M. Baxter (eds.), Composition as Identity. Oxford University Press. pp. 70-89.
    In this chapter, I examine Lewis's ideas about ontological innocence, ontological commitment and double-counting, in his discussion of composition as identity in Parts of Classes. I attempt to understand these primarily as epistemic or methodological claims: how far can we get down this route without adopting radical metaphysical theses about composition as identity?
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  • Dasgupta's Detonation.Theodore Sider - forthcoming - Philosophical Perspectives.
    Shamik Dasgupta has argued that realists about natural properties (and laws, grounding, etc.) cannot account for their epistemic value. For "properties are cheap": in addition to natural properties and any value the realist might attach to them, there are also "shmatural" properties (standing to natural properties like charge and mass as Goodman's grue and bleen stand to green and blue) and a corresponding "shmvalue" of theorizing in terms of them. Dasgupta's challenge is one of objectivity: the existence of the "shmamiked" (...)
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  • From Nature to Grounding.Mark Jago - 2018 - In Ricki Leigh Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 199-216.
    Grounding is a powerful metaphysical concept; yet there is widespread scepticism about the intelligibility of the notion. In this paper, I propose an account of an entity’s nature or essence, which I then use to provide grounding conditions for that entity. I claim that an understanding of an entity’s nature, together with an account of how logically complex entities are grounded, provides all we need to understand how that entity is grounded. This approach not only allows us to say what (...)
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  • The World Just Is The Way It Is.David Builes - forthcoming - The Monist.
    What is the relationship between objects and properties? According to a standard view, there are primitive individuals (or ‘particulars’, or ‘substrata’) that ‘instantiate’ or ‘have’ various properties. According to a rival view, objects are mere ‘bundles’ of properties. While there are a number of reasons to be skeptical of primitive individuals, there are also a number of challenges that the bundle theorist faces. The goal of this paper is to formulate a view about the relationship between objects and properties that (...)
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  • Pluralism and the Problem of Purity.David Builes - 2019 - Analysis 79 (3):394-402.
    Ontological Pluralism is the thesis that there are different ways of being. In his recent paper, ‘The only way to be’, Trenton Merricks has presented an important challenge to Pluralism in the form of a dilemma. The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, I argue that Merricks’s argument against Pluralism, as stated, is unsound. I will argue that one horn of the dilemma is unproblematic for contemporary versions of Pluralism, defended by Jason Turner and Kris McDaniel, that are formulated (...)
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  • Building and Surveying: Relative Fundamentality in Karen Bennett’s Making Things Up.Erica Shumener - 2019 - Analysis 79 (2):303-314.
    I discuss Bennett's characterization of the "more fundamental than" relation.
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  • A Survey of Logical Realism.Tuomas E. Tahko - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Logical realism is a view about the metaphysical status of logic. Common to most if not all the views captured by the label ‘logical realism’ is that logical facts are mind- and language-independent. But that does not tell us anything about the nature of logical facts or about our epistemic access to them. The goal of this paper is to outline and systematize the different ways that logical realism could be entertained and to examine some of the challenges that these (...)
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  • Dispositional Essentialism and the Grounding of Natural Modality.Siegfried Jaag - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.
    Dispositional essentialism is a non-Humean view about the essences of certain fundamental or natural properties that looms large in recent metaphysics , not least because it promises to explain neatly the natural modalities such as laws of nature, counterfactuals, causation and chance. In the current paper, however, several considerations are presented that indicate a serious tension between its essentialist core thesis and natural “metaphysical” interpretations of its central explanatory claims.
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  • The Creation of Institutional Reality, Special Theory of Relativity, and Mere Cambridge Change.Tobias Hansson Wahlberg - forthcoming - Synthese.
    Saying so can make it so, J. L. Austin taught us long ago. Famously, John Searle has developed this Austinian insight in an account of the construction of institutional reality. Searle maintains that so-called Status Function Declarations, allegedly having a “double direction of fit”, synchronically create worldly institutional facts, corresponding to the propositional content of the declarations. I argue that Searle’s account of the making of institutional reality is in tension with the special theory of relativity – irrespective of whether (...)
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  • Essential Bundle Theory and Modality.Mark Jago - 2018 - Synthese:1-16.
    Bundle theories identify material objects with bundles of properties. On the traditional approach, these are the properties possessed by that material object. That view faces a deep problem: it seems to say that all of an object’s properties are essential to it. Essential bundle theory attempts to overcome this objection, by taking the bundle as a specification of the object’s essential properties only. In this paper, I show that essential bundle theory faces a variant of the objection. To avoid the (...)
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  • David Lewis (1941-2001).T. Scott Dixon - 2020 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    David Lewis David Lewis is an American philosopher and one of the last generalists, in the sense that he was one of the last philosophers who contributed to the great majority of sub-fields of the discipline. He made central contributions in metaphysics, the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, and probabilistic and practical … Continue reading David Lewis →.
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  • Parsimony and Inference to the Best Mathematical Explanation.Alan Baker - 2016 - Synthese 193 (2).
    Indispensability-based arguments for mathematical platonism are typically motivated by drawing an analogy between abstract mathematical objects and concrete scientific posits. In this paper, I argue that mathematics can sometimes help to reduce our concrete ontological, ideological, and structural commitments. My focus is on optimization explanations, and in particular the case study involving periodical cicadas. I argue that in this case, stronger mathematical apparatus yields explanations that have fewer concrete commitments. The nominalist cannot accept these more parsimonious explanations without embracing the (...)
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  • Essence Without Fundamentality.Agustin Rayo - 2015 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 30 (3):349-363.
    I argue for a conception of essence that does not rely on distinctions of metaphysical fundamentality.
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  • Philosophy of Ethnobiology: Understanding Knowledge Integration and Its Limitations.David Ludwig & Charbel N. El-Hani - forthcoming - Journal of Ethnobiology.
    Ethnobiology has become increasingly concerned with applied and normative issues such as climate change adaptation, forest management, and sustainable agriculture. Applied ethnobiology emphasizes the practical importance of local and traditional knowledge in tackling these issues but thereby also raises complex theoretical questions about the integration of heterogeneous knowledge systems. The aim of this article is to develop a framework for addressing questions of integration through four core domains of philosophy - epistemology, ontology, value theory, and political theory. In each of (...)
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  • The Deflationary Theory of Ontological Dependence.David Mark Kovacs - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (272):481-502.
    When an entity ontologically depends on another entity, the former ‘presupposes’ or ‘requires’ the latter in some metaphysical sense. This paper defends a novel view, Dependence Deflationism, according to which ontological dependence is what I call an aggregative cluster concept: a concept which can be understood, but not fully analysed, as a ‘weighted total’ of constructive and modal relations. The view has several benefits: it accounts for clear cases of ontological dependence as well as the source of disagreement in controversial (...)
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  • Objectivity and Reliability.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (6):841-855.
    Scanlon’s Being Realistic about Reasons (BRR) is a beautiful book – sleek, sophisticated, and programmatic. One of its key aims is to demystify knowledge of normative and mathematical truths. In this article, I develop an epistemological problem that Scanlon fails to explicitly address. I argue that his “metaphysical pluralism” can be understood as a response to that problem. However, it resolves the problem only if it undercuts the objectivity of normative and mathematical inquiry.
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  • Composition and Identities.Manuel Lechthaler - 2017 - Dissertation, University of Otago
    Composition as Identity is the view that an object is identical to its parts taken collectively. I elaborate and defend a theory based on this idea: composition is a kind of identity. Since this claim is best presented within a plural logic, I develop a formal system of plural logic. The principles of this system differ from the standard views on plural logic because one of my central claims is that identity is a relation which comes in a variety of (...)
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  • Composition.Daniel Z. Korman & Chad Carmichael - 2016 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
    When some objects are the parts of another object, they compose that object and that object is composite. This article is intended as an introduction to the central questions about composition and a highly selective overview of various answers to those questions. In §1, we review some formal features of parthood that are important for understanding the nature of composition. In §2, we consider some answers to the question: which pluralities of objects together compose something? As we will see, the (...)
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  • One's a Crowd: Mereological Nihilism Without Ordinary‐Object Eliminativism.Gabriele Contessa - 2014 - Analytic Philosophy 55 (2):199-221.
    Mereological nihilism is the thesis that there are no composite objects—i.e. objects with proper material parts. One of the main advantages of mereological nihilism is that it allows its supporters to avoid a number of notorious philosophical puzzles. However, it seems to offer this advantage only at the expense of certain widespread and deeply entrenched beliefs. In particular, it is usually assumed that mereological nihilism entails eliminativism about ordinary objects—i.e. the counterintuitive thesis that there are no such things as tables, (...)
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  • Mereological Nihilism and Personal Ontology.Andrew Brenner - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268).
    Mereological nihilists hold that composition never occurs, so that nothing is ever a proper part of anything else. Substance dualists generally hold that we are each identical with an immaterial soul. In this paper, I argue that every popular objection to substance dualism has a parallel objection to composition. This thesis has some interesting implications. First, many of those who reject composition, but accept substance dualism, or who reject substance dualism and accept composition, have some explaining to do. Secondly, one (...)
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  • From Hume's Dictum Via Submergence to Composition as Identity or Mereological Nihilism.Einar Duenger Bohn - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (1):336-355.
    I show that a particular version of Hume's Dictum together with the falsity of Composition as Identity entails an incoherency, so either that version of Hume's Dictum is false or Composition as Identity is true. I conditionally defend the particular version of Hume's Dictum in play, and hence conditionally conclude that Composition as Identity is true. I end by suggesting an alternative way out for a persistent foe of Composition as Identity, namely mereological nihilism.
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  • Mereological Nihilism and the Special Arrangement Question.Andrew Brenner - 2015 - Synthese 192 (5):1295-1314.
    Mereological nihilism is the thesis that composite objects—objects with proper parts—do not exist. Nihilists generally paraphrase talk of composite objects F into talk of there being “xs arranged F-wise” . Recently several philosophers have argued that nihilism is defective insofar as nihilists are either unable to say what they mean by such phrases as “there are xs arranged F-wise,” or that nihilists are unable to employ such phrases without incurring significant costs, perhaps even undermining one of the chief motivations for (...)
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  • Holes in Spacetime: Some Neglected Essentials.Trevor Teitel - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy (7):353-389.
    The hole argument purports to show that all spacetime theories of a certain form are indeterministic, including the General Theory of Relativity. The argument has given rise to an industry of searching for a metaphysics of spacetime that delivers the right modal implications to rescue determinism. In this paper, I first argue that certain prominent extant replies to the hole argument—namely, those that appeal to an essentialist doctrine about spacetime—fail to deliver the requisite modal implications. As part of my argument, (...)
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  • Algebraic Metaphysical Semantics.Hasen Khudairi - manuscript
    This paper argues that metaphysically fundamental truths ought to be defined within an algebraic language. In the first part of the paper, I provide examples of the algebraic structures used to define models of physical ontology (namely, quantum mechanics and field theory); the mathematical universe (set-theory); modal logic; and the metaphysics of consciousness. I outline, then, some explanatory desiderata concerning the relation between fundamental and derivative truths. I argue that a relation of apriori material implication, i.e. 'scrutability', cannot satisfy the (...)
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  • Fundamental Yet Ontologically Dependent.Joaquim Giannotti - manuscript
    The notion of fundamentality is supposed to play an important role in philosophical inquiry and scientific theorising. Yet there is no consensus on how to formulate it in precise terms. According to a promising view, fundamentality is a form of ontological independence. This view has the merit of capturing a natural connection between fundamentality and ontological dependence. However, it has been recently argued that it is possible that there are fundamental and yet ontologically dependent entities; therefore, we should not characterise (...)
     
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  • Structuralism in the Idiom of Determination.Kerry McKenzie - 2020 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2):497-522.
    Ontic structural realism is a thesis of fundamentality metaphysics: the thesis that structure, not objects, has fundamental status. Claimed as the metaphysic most befitting of modern physics, OSR first emerged as an entreaty to eliminate objects from the metaphysics of fundamental physics. Such elimination was urged by Steven French and James Ladyman on the grounds that only it could resolve the ‘underdetermination of metaphysics by physics’ that they claimed reduced any putative objectual commitment to a merely ‘ersatz’ form of realism. (...)
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  • In Virtue Of: Determination, Dependence, and Metaphysically Opaque Grounding.Henrik Rydéhn - 2019 - Dissertation, Uppsala University
    This dissertation investigates grounding, the relation of non-causal determination whereby one fact obtains in virtue of some other fact or facts. Although considerations of grounding have been central throughout Western philosophy, the last 15-20 years have seen a renaissance of systematic work on grounding in analytic philosophy. The aim of the dissertation is to contribute to our understanding of the nature of grounding and its relation to other central phenomena in metaphysics. -/- Chapter 1 of the dissertation provides a brief (...)
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  • A Dilemma for Russellian Monists About Consciousness.Adam Pautz - manuscript
    I develop a new argument against Russellian Monism about consciousness.
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  • Presentism Remains.Jonathan Tallant - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (2):409-435.
    Here I examine some recent attempts to provide a new way of thinking about the philosophy of time that question the central role of ‘presentness’ within the definition of presentism. The central concern raised by these critics turns on the intelligibility and theoretical usefulness of the term ‘is present’. My overarching aim is to at least challenge such concerns. I begin with arguments due to Deasy. Deasy develops a view that he calls ‘transientism’ and that he takes to be a (...)
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  • Forms of Luminosity.Hasen Khudairi - 2017
    This dissertation concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The dissertation demonstrates how phenomenal consciousness and gradational possible-worlds models in Bayesian perceptual psychology relate to epistemic modal space. The dissertation demonstrates, then, how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; logical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the (...)
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  • Agent Causation in a Neo-Aristotelian Metaphysics.Jonathan D. Jacobs & Timothy O'Connor - 2013 - In Sophie C. Gibb & Rögnvaldur Ingthorsson (eds.), Mental Causation and Ontology. Oxford University Press.
    Freedom and moral responsibility have one foot in the practical realm of human affairs and the other in the esoteric realm of fundamental metaphysics—or so we believe. This has been denied, especially in the metaphysics-bashing era occupying the first two-thirds or so of the twentieth century, traces of which linger in the present day. But the reasons for this denial seem to us quite implausible. Certainly, the argument for the general bankruptcy of metaphysics has been soundly discredited. Arguments from Strawson (...)
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  • A Guided Tour Of Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics.David Plunkett & Herman Cappelen - forthcoming - In Herman Cappelen, David Plunkett & Alexis Burgess (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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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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