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Material Beings

Philosophy 67 (259):126-127 (1990)

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  1. A Minimalist Theory of Appropriation.Gabriele Contessa - 2022 - The Journal of Ethics 26 (2):319-335.
    This paper offers a conditional defence of a minimalist theory of appropriation. The conclusion of its main argument is that, if people do enjoy a natural right to appropriate unappropriated resources, then that right is best understood as a derivative right that stems from a more fundamental natural right to self-preservation. If this conclusion is correct, then insofar as people have a natural right to appropriation, it is much more limited than it is usually assumed, as the minimalist theory places (...)
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  • How to minimize ontological commitments: a grounding-reductive approach.Reuben Sass - 2022 - Synthese 200 (4):1-22.
    Some revisionary ontologies are highly parsimonious: they posit far fewer entities than what we quantify over in ordinary discourse. The most radical examples are minimal ontologies, on which physical simples are the only things that exist. Highly parsimonious ontologies, and especially minimal ones, face the challenge of either accounting for the truth of our ordinary quantificational discourse, or paraphrasing such discourse away. Common strategies for addressing this challenge include classical reduction, paraphrase nihilism, and a distinction between ontological and existence commitments. (...)
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  • Substances.John Heil - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (5):645-658.
    ABSTRACTThe paper takes up a conception of substances according to which substances are simple property bearers, properties being modes, particular qualitative ways individual substances are. What a substance does or would do is determined by its qualities. Efficient causation is to be understood as the manifesting of powers possessed by substances owing to their qualitative natures. Although complexes, entities with substantial parts, are not substances, they would be no less real, no less participants in the causal fray. What the substances (...)
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  • Overdetermination and Elimination.Steinvör Thöll Árnadóttir - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (4):479-503.
    I focus on two arguments, due to Jaegwon Kim and Trenton Merricks, that move from claims about the sufficiency of one class of causes to the reduction or elimination of another class of entity, via claims about overdetermination. I argue that in order to validate their move from sufficiency to reduction or elimination, both Kim and Merricks must assume that there can be no ‘weak overdetermination’; i.e., that no single effect can have numerically distinct but dependently sufficient causes occurring at (...)
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  • Priority Perdurantism.Jeremy W. Skrzypek - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-26.
    In this paper, I introduce a version of perdurantism called Priority Perdurantism, according to which perduring, four-dimensional objects are ontologically fundamental and the temporal parts of those objects are ontologically derivative, depending for their existence and their identity on the four-dimensional wholes of which they are parts. I argue that by switching the order of the priority relations this opens up new solutions to the too-many-thinkers problem and the personite problem – solutions that are more ontologically robust than standard maximality (...)
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  • Epistemic Modality and Hyperintensionality in Mathematics.Hasen Khudairi - 2021 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    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 epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the epistemic status of large cardinal axioms, undecidable propositions, and abstraction principles in the philosophy of mathematics; to the modal profile of rational intuition; and (...)
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  • Varieties of Avicennian Arguments for the Existence of God.Mahmoud Morvarid - forthcoming - Religious Studies:1-21.
    In his The Salvation and The Remarks and Admonitions, Avicenna presents a well-known argument for the existence of God as a necessary being by itself. I will suggest, first of all, that the two pivotal notions employed in the argument, namely those of a necessary being by itself and a contingent being by itself, can be construed in different ways, leading to different versions of Avicenna's argument. I then turn to a specific version of the argument which seeks to show (...)
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  • The Bound State Answer to the Special Composition Question.Claudio Calosi - 2022 - Philosophy of Science 89 (3):486-503.
    This paper provides the first thorough assessment of a physics-based answer, the Bound State Answer, to the Special Composition Question. According to the BSA some objects compose something if they are in a common bound state. The reasons to endorse such an answer, in particular, motivations coming from empirical adequacy and conservativeness, precision, simplicity, and parsimony, are critically addressed. I then go on to compare the BSA to other moderate answers to the SCQ and consider whether objections raised against such (...)
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  • Saving the Ship.John Biro - 2017 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 13 (2):43-54.
    In defending the startling claim that that there are no artifacts, indeed, no inanimate material objects of the familiar sort, Peter van Inwagen has argued that truths about such putative objects can be paraphrased as truths that do not make essential reference to them and that we should endorse only the ontological commitments of the paraphrase. In this note I argue that the paraphrases van Inwagen recommends cannot meet his condition. Read one way, they lose us some truths. Read another, (...)
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  • Philosphical 'Intuitions' and Scepticism About Judgement.Timothy Williamson - 2004 - Dialectica 58 (1):109–153.
    1. What are called ‘intuitions’ in philosophy are just applications of our ordinary capacities for judgement. We think of them as intuitions when a special kind of scepticism about those capacities is salient. 2. Like scepticism about perception, scepticism about judgement pressures us into conceiving our evidence as facts about our internal psychological states: here, facts about our conscious inclinations to make judgements about some topic rather than facts about the topic itself. But the pressure should be resisted, for it (...)
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  • Cardinal Composition.Lisa Vogt & Jonas Werner - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    The thesis of Weak Unrestricted Composition says that every pair of objects has a fusion. This thesis has been argued by Contessa :455–457, 2012) and Smith :41–55, 2019) to be compatible with the world being junky and hence to evade an argument against the necessity of Strong Unrestricted Composition proposed by Bohn :27–31, 2009a, Philos Q 59:193–201, 2009b). However, neither Weak Unrestricted Composition alone nor the different variants of it that have been proposed in the literature can provide us with (...)
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  • A Trope Nominalist Theory of Natural Kinds.Markku Keinänen - 2015 - In Ghislain Guigon & Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra (eds.), Nominalism about Properties. Routledge. pp. 156-174.
    In this chapter, I present the first systematic trope nominalist approach to natural kinds of objects. It does not identify natural kinds with the structures of mind-independent entities (objects, universals or tropes). Rather, natural kinds are abstractions from natural kind terms and objects belong to a natural kind if they satisfy their mind-independent application conditions. By relying on the trope theory SNT (Keinänen 2011), I show that the trope parts of a simple object determine the kind to which it belongs. (...)
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  • Vagueness: A Guide.Giuseppina Ronzitti (ed.) - 2011 - Dordrecht, Netherland: Springer Verlag.
    This volume analyzes and studies how vagueness occurs and matters as a specific problem in the context of theories that are primarily about something else.
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  • Fictionalism About Musical Works.Anton Killin - 2018 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (2):266-291.
    The debate concerning the ontological status of musical works is perhaps the most animated debate in contemporary analytic philosophy of music. In my view, progress requires a piecemeal approach. So in this article I hone in on one particular musical work concept – that of the classical Western art musical work; that is, the work concept that regulates classical art-musical practice. I defend a fictionalist analysis – a strategy recently suggested by Andrew Kania as potentially fruitful – and I develop (...)
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  • Mereological Nihilism: Keeping It Simple.Simon D. Thunder - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (4):278-287.
    (Mereological) nihilism states that there are no composite objects—there are only sub-atomic particles such as quarks. Nihilism’s biggest rival, (mereological) universalism, posits vast numbers of composite objects in addition to the sub-atomic particles, and so nihilism appears to be the more ontologically parsimonious of the two theories. If this is the case, it’s a significant result for the nihilist: ontological parsimony is almost always thought to be a theoretical virtue, so a nihilist victory in the parsimony stakes gives us a (...)
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  • Counterparts and Compositional Nihilism: A Reply to A. J. Cotnoir.Megan Wallace - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (3):242-247.
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  • Why We Shouldn't Swallow Worm Slices: A Case Study in Semantic Accommodation.Mark Moyer - 2008 - Noûs 42 (1):109–138.
    A radical metaphysical theory typically comes packaged with a semantic theory that reconciles those radical claims with common sense. The metaphysical theory says what things exist and what their natures are, while the semantic theory specifies, in terms of these things, how we are to interpret everyday language. Thus may we “think with the learned, and speak with the vulgar.” This semantic accommodation of common sense, however, can end up undermining the very theory it is designed to protect. This paper (...)
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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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  • Coincidence as Overlap.L. A. Paul - 2006 - Noûs 40 (4):623–659.
    I discuss puzzles involving coinciding material objects (such as statues and their constitutive lumps of clay) and propose solutions.
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  • Back to the Theory of Appearing.William P. Alston - 1999 - Philosophical Perspectives 13:181--203.
  • Lewis and the Flawed Nihilist.John O'Neill - 2002 - Analysis 62 (3):223-225.
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  • Another Look at Armstrong's Combinatorialism.Theodore Sider - 2005 - Noûs 39 (4):679–695.
    The core idea of David Armstrong’s combinatorial theory of possibility is attractive. Rearrangement is the key to modality; possible worlds result from scrambling bits and pieces of other possible worlds. Yet I encounter great difficulty when trying to formulate the theory rigorously, and my best attempts are vulnerable to counterexamples. The Leibnizian biconditionals relate possibility and necessity to possible world and true in.
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  • Against Monism.Theodore Sider - 2007 - Analysis 67 (1):1–7.
    Jonathan Schaffer distinguishes two sorts of monism. Existence monists say that only one object exists: The World. Priority monists admit the existence of The World’s parts, but say that their features are derivative from the properties of The World. Both have trouble explaining the features of statespace, the set of possibilities available to The World.
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  • Coincidence and Modal Predicates.P. Mackie - 2007 - Analysis 67 (1):21-31.
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  • Vagueness, Multiplicity and Parts.Daniel 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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  • The Fine-Grained Metaphysics of Artifactual and Biological Functional Kinds.Massimiliano Carrara & Pieter Vermaas - 2009 - Synthese 169 (1):125-143.
    In this paper we consider the emerging position in metaphysics that artifact functions characterize real kinds of artifacts. We analyze how it can circumvent an objection by David Wiggins (Sameness and substance renewed, 2001, 87) and then argue that this position, in comparison to expert judgments, amounts to an interesting fine-grained metaphysics: taking artifact functions as (part of the) essences of artifacts leads to distinctions between principles of activity of artifacts that experts in technology have not yet made. We show, (...)
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  • Persons Versus Brains: Biological Intelligence in Human Organisms.E. Steinhart - 2001 - Biology and Philosophy 16 (1):3-27.
    I go deep into the biology of the human organism to argue that the psychological features and functions of persons are realized by cellular and molecular parallel distributed processing networks dispersed throughout the whole body. Persons supervene on the computational processes of nervous, endocrine, immune, and genetic networks. Persons do not go with brains.
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  • Construction Area (No Hard Hat Required).Karen Bennett - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (1):79-104.
    A variety of relations widely invoked by philosophers—composition, constitution, realization, micro-basing, emergence, and many others—are species of what I call ‘building relations’. I argue that they are conceptually intertwined, articulate what it takes for a relation to count as a building relation, and argue that—contra appearances—it is an open possibility that these relations are all determinates of a common determinable, or even that there is really only one building relation.
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  • Objects and Persons.Trenton Merricks - 2001 - New York: Oxford University Press.
    Objects and Persons presents an original theory about what kinds of things exist. Trenton Merricks argues that there are no non-living inanimate macrophysical objects -- no statues or rocks or chairs or stars -- because they would have no causal role over and above the causal role of their microphysical parts. Humans do exist: we have non-redundant causal powers. Along the way, Merricks has interesting things to say about mental causation, free will, and various philosophical puzzles. Anyone working in metaphysics (...)
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  • Are Shapes Intrinsic?Bradford Skow - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 133 (1):111 - 130.
    It is widely believed that shapes are intrinsic properties. But this claim is hard to defend. I survey all known theories of shape properties, and argue that each theory is either incompatible with the claim that shapes are intrinsic, or can be shown to be false.
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  • Medical disorder, harm, and damage.Neil Feit - 2020 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 41 (1):39-52.
    Jerome Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction analysis of medical disorder is an influential hybrid of naturalist and normative theories. In order to conclude that a condition is a disorder, according to the HDA, one must determine both that it results from a failure of a physical or psychological mechanism to perform its natural function and that it is harmful. In a recent issue of this journal, I argued that the HDA entails implausible judgments about which disorders there are and how they are (...)
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  • Metaethics After Moore.Terry Horgan & Mark Timmons (eds.) - 2006 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Metaethics, understood as a distinct branch of ethics, is often traced to G. E. Moore's 1903 classic, Principia Ethica. Whereas normative ethics is concerned to answer first order moral questions about what is good and bad, right and wrong, metaethics is concerned to answer second order non-moral questions about the semantics, metaphysics, and epistemology of moral thought and discourse. Moore has continued to exert a powerful influence, and the sixteen essays here represent the most up-to-date work in metaethics after, and (...)
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  • Shadows of Syntax: Revitalizing Logical and Mathematical Conventionalism.Jared Warren - 2020 - New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    What is the source of logical and mathematical truth? This book revitalizes conventionalism as an answer to this question. Conventionalism takes logical and mathematical truth to have their source in linguistic conventions. This was an extremely popular view in the early 20th century, but it was never worked out in detail and is now almost universally rejected in mainstream philosophical circles. Shadows of Syntax is the first book-length treatment and defense of a combined conventionalist theory of logic and mathematics. It (...)
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  • Mental Ownership and Higher Order Thought.Timothy Lane & Caleb Liang - 2010 - Analysis 70 (3):496-501.
    Mental ownership concerns who experiences a mental state. According to David Rosenthal (2005: 342), the proper way to characterize mental ownership is: ‘being conscious of a state as present is being conscious of it as belonging to somebody. And being conscious of a state as belonging to somebody other than oneself would plainly not make it a conscious state’. In other words, if a mental state is consciously present to a subject in virtue of a higher-order thought (HOT), then the (...)
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  • Thomistic Principles and Bioethics.Jason T. Eberl - 2006 - Routledge.
    Alongside a revival of interest in Thomism in philosophy, scholars have realised its relevance when addressing certain contemporary issues in bioethics. This book offers a rigorous interpretation of Aquinas's metaphysics and ethical thought, and highlights its significance to questions in bioethics. Jason T. Eberl applies Aquinas’s views on the seminal topics of human nature and morality to key questions in bioethics at the margins of human life – questions which are currently contested in the academia, politics and the media such (...)
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  • Borderline Simple or Extremely Simple.Katherine Hawley - 2004 - The Monist 87 (3):385-404.
    In his Material Beings, Peter van Inwagen distinguishes two questions about parthood. What are the conditions necessary and sufficient for some things jointly to compose a whole? What are the conditions necessary and sufficient for a thing to have proper parts? The first of these, the Special Composition Question (SCQ), has been widely discussed, and David Lewis has argued that an important constraint on any answer to the SCQ is that it should not permit borderline cases of composition. This is (...)
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  • Natural Objects.Joshua D. K. Brown - 2016 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (2):254-271.
    This paper introduces a framework for thinking about ontological questions—in particular, the Special Composition Question—and shows how the framework might help support something like an account of restricted composition. The framework takes the form of an account of natural objects, in analogy with David Lewis’s account of natural properties. Objects, like properties, come in various metaphysical grades, from the fundamental, fully objective, perfectly natural objects to the nomologically otiose, maximally gerrymandered, perfectly non-natural objects. The perfectly natural objects, I argue, are (...)
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  • Against Lewisian Modal Realism From a Metaontological Point of View.Tora Koyama - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (3):1207-1225.
    Modal realism is an ontological position made familiar by David Lewis, according to which there exist possible worlds other than the actual world that we inhabit. It is hard to uphold modal realism, and indeed modal realism has only a few advocates. However, as most contemporary metaphysicians agree, this does not mean that it is easy to refute modal realism. In this paper, I argue against modal realism from a metaontological point of view. First, I provide a precise formulation of (...)
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  • An Elegant Universe.Claudio Calosi - 2017 - Synthese:1-16.
    David Lewis famously endorsed Unrestricted Composition. His defense of such a controversial principle builds on the alleged innocence of mereology. This innocence defense has come under different attacks in the last decades. In this paper I pursue another line of defense, that stems from some early remarks by van Inwagen. I argue that Unrestricted Composition leads to a better metaphysics. In particular I provide new arguments for the following claims: Unrestricted Composition entails extensionality of composition, functionality of location and four-dimensionalism (...)
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  • Criteria of Personal Identity and the Limits of Conceptual Analysis.Theodore Sider - 2001 - Philosophical Perspectives 15:189-209.
    When is there no fact of the matter about a metaphysical question? When multiple candidate meanings are equally eligible, in David Lewis's sense, and fit equally well with ordinary usage. Thus given certain ontological schemes, there is no fact of the matter whether the criterion of personal identity over time is physical or psychological. But given other ontological schemes there is a fact of the matter; and there is a fact of the matter about which ontological scheme is correct.
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  • Summation Relations and Portions of Stuff.Maureen Donnelly & Thomas Bittner - 2009 - Philosophical Studies 143 (2):167 - 185.
    According to the prevalent 'sum view' of stuffs, each portion of stuff is a mereological sum of its subportions. The purpose of this paper is to re-examine the sum view in the light of a modal temporal mereology which distinguishes between different varieties of summation relations. While admitting David Barnett's recent counter-example to the sum view, we show that there is nonetheless an important sense in which all portions of stuff are sums of their subportions. We use our summation relations (...)
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  • An elegant universe.Claudio Calosi - 2020 - Synthese 197 (11):4767-4782.
    David Lewis famously endorsed Unrestricted Composition. His defense of such a controversial principle builds on the alleged innocence of mereology. This innocence defense has come under different attacks in the last decades. In this paper I pursue another line of defense, that stems from some early remarks by van Inwagen. I argue that Unrestricted Composition leads to a better metaphysics. In particular I provide new arguments for the following claims: Unrestricted Composition entails extensionality of composition, functionality of location and four-dimensionalism (...)
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  • Possible Worlds and the Objective World.Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 90 (2):389-422.
    David Lewis holds that a single possible world can provide more than one way things could be. But what are possible worlds good for if they come apart from ways things could be? We can make sense of this if we go in for a metaphysical understanding of what the world is. The world does not include everything that is the case—only the genuine facts. Understood this way, Lewis's “cheap haecceitism” amounts to a kind of metaphysical anti-haecceitism: it says there (...)
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  • Contemporary Hylomorphisms: On the Matter of Form.Christopher J. Austin - 2020 - Ancient Philosophy Today 2 (2):113-144.
    As there is currently a neo-Aristotelian revival currently taking place within contemporary metaphysics and dispositions, or causal powers are now being routinely utilised in theories of causality and modality, more attention is beginning to be paid to a central Aristotelian concern: the metaphysics of substantial unity, and the doctrine of hylomorphism. In this paper, I distinguish two strands of hylomorphism present in the contemporary literature and argue that not only does each engender unique conceptual difficulties, but neither adequately captures the (...)
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  • The Structuralist Approach to Underdetermination.Chanwoo Lee - 2022 - Synthese 200 (2):1-25.
    This paper provides an exposition of the structuralist approach to underdetermination, which aims to resolve the underdetermination of theories by identifying their common theoretical structure. Applications of the structuralist approach can be found in many areas of philosophy. I present a schema of the structuralist approach, which conceptually unifies such applications in different subject matters. It is argued that two classic arguments in the literature, Paul Benacerraf’s argument on natural numbers and W. V. O. Quine’s argument for the indeterminacy of (...)
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  • Three-Dimensionalist’s Semantic Solution to Diachronic Vagueness.Irem Kurtsal Steen - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 150 (1):79-96.
    A standard response to the problem of diachronic vagueness is ‘the semantic solution’, which demands an abundant ontology. Although it is known that the abundant ontology does not logically preclude endurantism, their combination is rejected because it necessitates massive coincidence between countless objects. In this paper, I establish that the semantic solution is available not only to perdurantists but also to endurantists by showing that there is no problem with such ubiquitous and principled coincidence.
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  • The Problem of the Many.Brian Weatherson - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2016.
    As anyone who has flown out of a cloud knows, the boundaries of a cloud are a lot less sharp up close than they can appear on the ground. Even when it seems clearly true that there is one, sharply bounded, cloud up there, really there are thousands of water droplets that are neither determinately part of the cloud, nor determinately outside it. Consider any object that consists of the core of the cloud, plus an arbitrary selection of these droplets. (...)
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  • Vagueness.Roy Sorensen - 1997 - In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University.
  • Super-Relationism: Combining Eliminativism About Objects and Relationism About Spacetime.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (8):2151-2172.
    I will introduce and motivate eliminativist super-relationism. This is the conjunction of relationism about spacetime and eliminativism about material objects. According to the view, the universe is a big collection of spatio-temporal relations and natural properties, and no substance (material or spatio-temporal) exists in it. The view is original since eliminativism about material objects, when understood as including not only ordinary objects like tables or chairs but also physical particles, is generally taken to imply substantivalism about spacetime: if properties are (...)
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  • Esistenza e Persistenza.Damiano Costa - 2018 - Milan, IT: Mimesis.
    Nel nostro universo, qualunque cosa, dalla più piccola particella alla più smisurata galassia, esiste in un qualche tempo e in un qualche luogo. Ma cosa significa esistere in un qualche tempo? Il fenomeno dell’esistenza temporale gioca un ruolo fondamentale nella comprensione dell’universo e di noi stessi quali creature temporali. Eppure è un fenomeno profondamente misterioso. L’esistenza temporale è da intendersi come una relazione? Che legami ha con l’esistenza dell’ontologia? L’esistenza temporale e la localizzazione spaziale sono due fenomeni essenzialmente differenti o (...)
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