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On an Argument for Humility

Philosophical Studies 130 (3):461-497 (2006)

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  1. Dispositions.Sungho Choi - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Duties Regarding Nature: A Kantian Environmental Ethic.Toby Svoboda - 2015 - Routledge.
    In this book, Toby Svoboda develops and defends a Kantian environmental virtue ethic, challenging the widely-held view that Kant's moral philosophy takes an instrumental view toward nature and animals and has little to offer environmental ethics. On the contrary, Svoboda posits that there is good moral reason to care about non-human organisms in their own right and to value their flourishing independently of human interests, since doing so is constitutive of certain virtues. Svoboda argues that Kant’s account of indirect duties (...)
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  • Properties.Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • The Essence of Dispositional Essentialism.David Yates - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (1):93-128.
    Dispositional essentialists argue that physical properties have their causal roles essentially. This is typically taken to mean that physical properties are identical to dispositions. I argue that this is untenable, and that we must instead say that properties bestow dispositions. I explore what it is for a property to have such a role essentially. Dispositional essentialists argue for their view by citing certain epistemological and metaphysical implications, and I appeal to these implications to place desiderata on the concept of essence (...)
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  • Dispositions.Michael Fara - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The glass vase on my desk is fragile. It should be handled with care because it it is likely to shatter or crack if it is knocked, dropped, or otherwise treated roughly. The vase has certain dispositions, for example the disposition to shatter when dropped. But what is this disposition? It seems on the one hand to be a perfectly real property, a genuine respect of similarity common to glass vases, china cups, ancient manuscripts, and anything else fragile. Yet on (...)
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  • Why There is No Evidence for the Intrinsic Value of Non-Humans. Svoboda - 2011 - Ethics and the Environment 16 (2):25-36.
    The position of some environmental ethicists that some non-humans have intrinsic value as a mind-independent property is seriously flawed. This is because human beings lack any evidence for this position and hence are unjustified in holding it. For any possible world that is alleged to have this kind of intrinsic value, it is possible to conceive an observationally identical world that lacks intrinsic value. Hence, one is not justified in inferring the intrinsic value of some non-human from any set of (...)
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  • Inexpressible Ignorance.Shamik Dasgupta - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (4):441-480.
    Sometimes, ignorance is inexpressible. Lewis recognized this when he argued, in “Ramseyan Humility,” that we cannot know which property occupies which causal role. This peculiar state of ignorance arises in a number of other domains too, including ignorance about our position in space and the identities of individuals. In these cases, one does not know something, and yet one cannot give voice to one's ignorance in a certain way. But what does the ignorance in these cases consist in? This essay (...)
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  • A Functionalist Theory of Properties.Ann Whittle - 2008 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77 (1):59-82.
    I consider a grand, yet neglected proposal put forward by Shoemaker—a functionalist theory of all properties. I argue that two possible ways of developing this proposal meet with substantial objections. However, if we are prepared to endorse an ontology of tropes, one of these functionalist analyses can be developed into an original and informative theory of properties.
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  • The Modal Nature of Structures in Ontic Structural Realism.Michael Esfeld - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (2):179 – 194.
    Ontic structural realism is the view that structures are what is real in the first place in the domain of fundamental physics. The structures are usually conceived as including a primitive modality. However, it has not been spelled out as yet what exactly that modality amounts to. This paper proposes to fill this lacuna by arguing that the fundamental physical structures possess a causal essence, being powers. Applying the debate about causal vs categorical properties in analytic metaphysics to ontic structural (...)
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  • Functionalism and The Independence Problems.Darren Bradley - 2013 - Noûs 47 (1):545-557.
    The independence problems for functionalism stem from the worry that if functional properties are defined in terms of their causes and effects then such functional properties seem to be too intimately connected to these purported causes and effects. I distinguish three different ways the independence problems can be filled out – in terms of necessary connections, analytic connections and vacuous explanations. I argue that none of these present serious problems. Instead, they bring out some important and over-looked features of functionalism.
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  • Properties and Powers.Alexander J. Kelly - unknown
    This thesis concerns the relation between the fundamental properties and the powers they confer. The views considered are introduced in terms of their acceptance or rejection of the quiddistic thesis. Essentially the quiddistic thesis claims that properties confer the powers they do neither necessarily nor sufficiently. Quidditism is the view that accepts the quiddistic thesis. The other two views to be considered, the pure powers view and the grounded view reject the quiddistic thesis. The pure powers view supports its denial (...)
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  • The Downward Path to Epistemic Informational Structural Realism.Majid Beni - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (2):181-197.
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  • Quid Quidditism Est?Deborah Smith - 2016 - Erkenntnis 81 (2):237-257.
    Over the last decade or so, there has been a renewed interest in a view about properties known as quidditism. However, a review of the literature reveals that ‘quidditism’ is used to cover a range of distinct views. In this paper I explore the logical space of distinct types of quidditism. The first distinction noted is between quidditism as a thesis explicitly about property individuation and quidditism as a principle of unrestricted property recombination. The distinction recently drawn by Dustin Locke (...)
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  • Structural Realism, Metaphysical Unification, and the Ontology and Epistemology of Patterns.Majid Davoody Beni - 2017 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 31 (3):285-300.
    ABSTRACTLadyman and Ross’s account of the metaphysical component of ontic structural realism was associated with a unificationist view of the connection between fundamental physics and special sciences. The aim of the present article is to assess the sense of unification that is at issue in Ladyman and Ross’s definition of metaphysics. Given the ontic core of Ladyman and Ross’s version of structural realism, it should be assumed that the unifying endeavour is worthwhile only if the connective links that underpin unification (...)
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  • Ramseyan Humility: The Response From Revelation and Panpsychism.Raamy Majeed - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (1):75-96.
    David Lewis argues for Ramseyan humility, the thesis that we can’t identify the fundamental properties that occupy the nomological roles at our world. Lewis, however, remarks that there is a potential exception to this, which involves assuming two views concerning qualia panphenomenalism : all instantiated fundamental properties are qualia and the identification thesis : we can know the identities of our qualia simply by being acquainted with them. This paper aims to provide an exposition, as well as an assessment, of (...)
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  • Two Types of Quidditism.Tyler Hildebrand - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):516-532.
    According to structuralism, all natural properties are individuated by their roles in causal/nomological structures. According to quidditism, at least some natural properties are individuated in some other way. Because these theses deal with the identities of natural properties, this distinction cuts to the core of a serious metaphysical dispute: Are the intrinsic natures of all natural properties essentially causal/nomological in character? I'll argue that the answer is ‘no’, or at least that this answer is more plausible than many critics of (...)
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  • Quidditism Without Quiddities.Dustin Locke - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (3):345-363.
    Structuralism and quidditism are competing views of the metaphysics of property individuation: structuralists claim that properties are individuated by their nomological roles; quidditists claim that they are individuated by something else. This paper (1) refutes what many see as the best reason to accept structuralism over quidditism and (2) offers a methodological argument in favor of a quidditism. The standard charge against quidditism is that it commits us to something ontologically otiose: intrinsic aspects of properties, so-called ‘quiddities’. Here I grant (...)
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  • Ramseyan Humility, Scepticism and Grasp.Alexander Kelly - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (3):705-726.
    In ‘Ramseyan Humility’ David Lewis argues that a particular view about fundamental properties, quidditism, leads to the position that we are irredeemably ignorant of the identities of fundamental properties. We are ignorant of the identities of fundamental properties since we can never know which properties play which causal roles, and we have no other way of identifying fundamental properties other than by the causal roles they play. It has been suggested in the philosophical literature that Lewis’ argument for Humility is (...)
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  • The Causal Criterion of Property Identity and the Subtraction of Powers.Sophie C. Gibb - 2014 - Erkenntnis 79 (1):127-146.
    According to one popular criterion of property identity, where X and Y are properties, X is identical with Y if and only if X and Y bestow the same conditional powers on their bearers. In this paper, I argue that this causal criterion of property identity is unsatisfactory, because it fails to provide a sufficient condition for the identification of properties. My argument for this claim is based on the observation that the summing of properties does not entail the summing (...)
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  • Humility and Constraints on O-Language.Stephan Leuenberger - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (3):327-354.
    In "Ramseyan Humility," David Lewis argues that we cannot know what the fundamental properties in our world are. His arguments invoke the possibility of permutations and replacements of fundamental properties. Most responses focus on Lewis’s view on the relationship between properties and roles, and on the assumptions about knowledge that he makes. I argue that no matter how the debates about knowledge and about the metaphysics of properties turn out, Lewis’s arguments are unconvincing since they rely on a highly implausible (...)
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  • Can a Single Property Be Both Dispositional and Categorical? The “Partial Consideration Strategy”, Partially Considered.Robert Schroer - 2013 - Metaphysica 14 (1):63-77.
    One controversial position in the debate over dispositional and categorical properties maintains that our concepts of these properties are the result of partially considering unitary properties that are both dispositional and categorical. As one of its defenders (Heil 2005, p. 351) admits, this position is typically met with “incredulous stares”. In this paper, I examine whether such a reaction is warranted. This thesis about properties is an instance of what I call “the Partial Consideration Strategy”—i.e., the strategy of claiming that (...)
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  • Haecceitism.Sam Cowling - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Three Strands in Kripke's Argument Against the Identity Theory.Jesper Kallestrup - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (6):1255-1280.
    Kripke's argument against the identity theory in the philosophy of mind runs as follows. Suppose some psychophysical identity statement S is true. Then S would seem to be contingent at least in the sense that S seems possibly false. And given that seeming contingency entails genuine contingency when it comes to such statements S is contingent. But S is necessary if true. So S is false. This entry considers responses to each of the three premises. It turns out that each (...)
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  • How to Justify Metaphysical Principles.Taku Tanikawa - 2014 - Kagaku Tetsugaku 47 (1):37-51.
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  • Three Arguments for Humility.David Yates - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (2):461-481.
    Ramseyan humility is the thesis that we cannot know which properties realize the roles specified by the laws of completed physics. Lewis seems to offer a sceptical argument for this conclusion. Humean fundamental properties can be permuted as to their causal roles and distribution throughout spacetime, yielding alternative possible worlds with the same fundamental structure as actuality, but at which the totality of available evidence is the same. On the assumption that empirical knowledge requires evidence, we cannot know which of (...)
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