Philosophical Issues 27 (1):26-51 (2017)

Authors
Phillip Bricker
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Abstract
Humeans have a problem with quantities. A core principle of any Humean account of modality is that fundamental entities can freely recombine. But determinate quantities, if fundamental, seem to violate this core principle: determinate quantities belonging to the same determinable necessarily exclude one another. Call this the problem of exclusion. Prominent Humeans have responded in various ways. Wittgenstein, when he resurfaced to philosophy, gave the problem of exclusion as a reason to abandon the logical atomism of the Tractatus with its free recombination of elementary propositions. Armstrong promoted a mereological solution to the problem of exclusion; but his account fails in manifold ways to provide a general solution to the problem. Lewis studiously avoided committing to any one solution, trusting simply that, since Humeanism was true, there had to be some solution. Abandonment; failure; avoidance: we Humeans need to do better. In this paper, I present what I take to be the best account of quantities, tailoring it where needed to meet Humean demands as well as my own prior commitment to quidditism, and my own comparativist inclinations. In short: determinables, not determinates, are the fundamental properties, and freely recombine; determinates arise from the instantiation of determinables in an enhanced world structure; determinate quantities may be local (in a sense to be explained), but they are not intrinsic. Is the account I end up with Humean? Not, unfortunately, as it stands: the problem of exclusion still rears its ugly head. After dismissing a failed attempt at a solution, I consider in the final section the two viable Humean options. One attributes the source of the necessary exclusions to conventional definition, the other attributes it to logic. The first is safe and familiar, but not a response I can accept given my other commitments. The second is more radical and less familiar; but I am convinced it is on the right track. I don’t have space to develop it much here, but I put it out for future research.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/phis.12108
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,759
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Metaphysical Dependence: Grounding and Reduction.Gideon Rosen - 2010 - In Bob Hale & Aviv Hoffmann (eds.), Modality: Metaphysics, Logic, and Epistemology. Oxford University Press. pp. 109-36.
On the Plurality of Worlds.William G. Lycan - 1988 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):42-47.
Ramseyan Humility.David K. Lewis - 2009 - In David Braddon-Mitchell & Robert Nola (eds.), Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism. MIT Press. pp. 203-222.
The Metaphysics within Physics.[author unknown] - 2007 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 69 (3):610-611.
Fundamental Determinables.Jessica M. Wilson - 2012 - Philosophers' Imprint 12.

View all 21 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Recombining Non-Qualitative Reality.Sam Cowling - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2273-2295.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Laws of Nature: Meeting the Empiricist Challenge.John Thomas Roberts - 1999 - Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh
A HUMEAN ACCOUNT OF TESTIMONIAL JUSTIFICATION.Shane Ryan - 2014 - Logos and Episteme 5 (2):209-219.
On Humean Explanation and Practical Normativity.Graham Hubbs - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (1):78-95.
Non-Humean Holism, Un-Humean Holism.Y. S. Lo - 2001 - Environmental Values 10 (1):113-123.
Humanity's Natural Face.Simon Blackburn - 2000 - Philosophical Explorations 3 (3):282 – 296.
The Big Bad Bug: What Are the Humean's Chances?John Bigelow, John Collins & Robert Pargetter - 1993 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 44 (3):443-462.
Ethical Relativism and Ethical Reasons.Mark Steven van Roojen - 1993 - Dissertation, Princeton University
Still Waiting for a Plausible Humean Theory of Reasons.Nicholas Shackel - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (3):607-633.
In Favor of Being Only Humean.Mariam Thalos - 1999 - Philosophical Studies 93 (3):265-298.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2017-10-11

Total views
53 ( #194,266 of 2,432,576 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #97,149 of 2,432,576 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes