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Amie L. Thomasson [58]Amie Lynn Thomasson [2]
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Amie Thomasson
Dartmouth College
  1. Fiction and Metaphysics.Amie L. Thomasson - 1998 - Cambridge University Press.
    This challenging study places fiction squarely at the centre of the discussion of metaphysics. Philosophers have traditionally treated fiction as involving a set of narrow problems in logic or the philosophy of language. By contrast Amie Thomasson argues that fiction has far-reaching implications for central problems of metaphysics. The book develops an 'artifactual' theory of fiction, whereby fictional characters are abstract artifacts as ordinary as laws or symphonies or works of literature. By understanding fictional characters we come to understand how (...)
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  2. Metaphysical Disputes and Metalinguistic Negotiation.Amie L. Thomasson - 2017 - Analytic Philosophy 58 (1):1-28.
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  3. Fiction and Metaphysics.Amie L. Thomasson - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (207):282-284.
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  4. Metaphysical Disputes and Metalinguistic Negotiation.Amie L. Thomasson - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (4):1-28.
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  5. Realism and Human Kinds.Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3):580–609.
    It is often noted that institutional objects and artifacts depend on human beliefs and intentions and so fail to meet the realist paradigm of mind-independent objects. In this paper I draw out exactly in what ways the thesis of mind-independence fails, and show that it has some surprising consequences. For the specific forms of mind-dependence involved entail that we have certain forms of epistemic privilege with regard to our own institutional and artifactual kinds, protecting us from certain possibilities of ignorance (...)
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  6. Foundation for a Social Ontology.Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - ProtoSociology 18:269-290.
    The existence of a social world raises both the metaphysical puzzle: how can there be a “reality” of facts and objects that are genuinely created by human intentionality? and the epistemological puzzle: how can such a product of human intentionality include objective facts available for investigation and discovery by the social sciences? I argue that Searle’s story about the creation of social facts in The Construction of Social Reality is too narrow to fully solve either side of the puzzle. By (...)
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  7. Speaking of Fictional Characters.Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - Dialectica 57 (2):205–223.
    The challenge of handling fictional discourse is to find the best way to resolve the apparent inconsistencies in our ways of speaking about fiction. A promising approach is to take at least some such discourse to involve pretense, but does all fictional discourse involve pretense? I will argue that a better, less revisionary, solution is to take internal and fictionalizing discourse to involve pretense, while allowing that in external critical discourse, fictional names are used seriously to refer to fictional characters. (...)
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  8. After Brentano: A One-Level Theory of Consciousness.Amie L. Thomasson - 2000 - European Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):190-210.
  9. Metaphysics and Conceptual Negotiation.Amie L. Thomasson - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):364-382.
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  10. Fictional Characters and Literary Practices.Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (2):138-157.
    I argue that the ontological status of fictional characters is determined by the beliefs and practices of those who competently deal with works of literature, and draw out three important consequences of this. First, heavily revisionary theories cannot be considered as ‘discoveries’ about the ‘true nature’ of fictional characters; any acceptable realist theory of fiction must preserve all or most of the common conception of fictional characters. Second, once we note that the existence conditions for fictional characters are extremely minimal, (...)
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  11.  43
    Real Natures and Familiar Objects.Amie L. Thomasson - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):518-523.
    Crawford Elder’s Real Natures and Familiar Objects promises to give naturalistically inclined metaphysicians reason to accept an ontology that includes many common sense objects, including persons, organisms, and at least many artifacts, behaviors, customs, and so on. This is a brave book, running against the current of trends towards austerity in ontology, tackling centuries old problems about how modal facts may be empirically discovered, and defending a commonsense ontology from a strictly naturalistic approach rather than via traditional appeals to ordinary (...)
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  12. The Ontology of Art.Amie L. Thomasson - 2004 - In Peter Kivy (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics. Blackwell. pp. 78-92.
     
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  13. Modal Normativism and the Methods of Metaphysics.Amie L. Thomasson - 2007 - Philosophical Topics 35 (1/2):135-160.
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  14. Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind.David Woodruff Smith & Amie Lynn Thomasson (eds.) - 2005 - Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    Philosophical work on the mind flowed in two streams through the 20th century: phenomenology and analytic philosophy. This volume aims to bring them together again, by demonstrating how work in phenomenology may lead to significant progress on problems central to current analytic research, and how analytical philosophy of mind may shed light on phenomenological concerns. Leading figures from both traditions contribute specially written essays on such central topics as consciousness, intentionality, perception, action, self-knowledge, temporal awareness, and mental content. Phenomenology and (...)
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  15. Debates About the Ontology of Art: What Are We Doing Here?Amie L. Thomasson - 2006 - Philosophy Compass 1 (3):245-255.
    Philosophy Compass, Volume 1. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.
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  16. The Ontology of Art and Knowledge in Aesthetics.Amie L. Thomasson - 2005 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (3):221–229.
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  17. Fictionalism Versus Deflationism.Amie L. Thomasson - 2013 - Mind 122 (488):1023-1051.
    Fictionalism has long presented an attractive alternative to both heavy-duty realist and simple eliminativist views about entities such as properties, propositions, numbers, and possible worlds. More recently, a different alternative to these traditional views has been gaining popularity: a form of deflationism that holds that trivial arguments may lead us from uncontroversial premisses to conclude that the relevant entities exist — but where commitment to the entities is a trivial consequence of other claims we accept, not a posit to explain (...)
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  18. How Can We Come to Know Metaphysical Modal Truths?Amie L. Thomasson - forthcoming - Synthese:1-30.
    Those who aim to give an account of modal knowledge face two challenges: the integration challenge of reconciling an account of what is involved in knowing modal truths with a plausible story about how we can come to know them, and the reliability challenge of giving a plausible account of how we could have evolved a reliable capacity to acquire modal knowledge. I argue that recent counterfactual and dispositional accounts of modal knowledge cannot solve these problems regarding specifically metaphysical modal (...)
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  19. Norms and Necessity.Amie L. Thomasson - 2013 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (2):143-160.
    Modality presents notorious philosophical problems, including the epistemic problem of how we could come to know modal facts and metaphysical problems about how to place modal facts in the natural world. These problems arise from thinking of modal claims as attempts to describe modal features of this world that explain what makes them true. Here I propose a different view of modal discourse in which talk about what is “metaphysically necessary” does not aim to describe modal features of the world, (...)
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  20.  10
    Realism and Human Kinds.Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3):580-609.
    It is often noted that institutional objects and artifacts depend on human beliefs and intentions and so fail to meet the realist paradigm of mind-independent objects. In this paper I draw out exactly in what ways the thesis of mind-independence fails, and show that it has some surprising consequences. For the specific forms of mind-dependence involved entail that we have certain forms of epistemic privilege with regard to our own institutional and artifactual kinds, protecting us from certain possibilities of ignorance (...)
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  21. Existence Questions.Amie L. Thomasson - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (1):63 - 78.
    I argue that thinking of existence questions as deep questions to be resolved by a distinctively philosophical discipline of ontology is misguided. I begin by examining how to understand the truth-conditions of existence claims, by way of understanding the rules of use for ‘exists’ and for general noun terms. This yields a straightforward method for resolving existence questions by a combination of conceptual analysis and empirical enquiry. It also provides a blueprint for arguing against most common proposals for uniform substantive (...)
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  22. The Easy Approach to Ontology.Amie L. Thomasson - 2009 - Axiomathes 19 (1):1-15.
    This paper defends the view that ontological questions (properly understood) are easy—too easy, in fact, to be subjects of substantive and distinctively philosophical debates. They are easy, roughly, in the sense that they may be resolved straightforwardly—generally by a combination of conceptual and empirical enquiries. After briefly outlining the view and some of its virtues, I turn to examine two central lines of objection. The first is that this ‘easy’ approach is itself committed to substantive ontological views, including an implausibly (...)
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  23.  34
    What Can We Take Away From Easy Arguments?Amie L. Thomasson - 2017 - Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (2):153-162.
    ABSTRACTA ‘sceptical’ approach to easy arguments involves reducing our confidence in the supposedly uncontroversial premise with which the arguments begin. Here I address the question: if we accept Yablo's new version of a sceptical proposal, what difference might that make for the relevant meta-ontological debates? I argue that serious difficulties remain for even this ‘best’ version of a sceptical approach. Noting these difficulties might motivate us to look again at the alternative strategy—of reading the uncontroversial premise straightforwardly and thinking that (...)
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  24.  47
    Replies to Comments on Ontology Made Easy.Amie L. Thomasson - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1):251-264.
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  25.  32
    Husserl on Essences.Amie L. Thomasson - 2017 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (3):436-459.
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  26.  20
    Moderate Realism and Its Logic.Amie L. Thomasson & D. W. Mertz - 1998 - Philosophical Review 107 (3):474.
    D. W. Mertz provides a "new" competitor in the universals debate by reviving, developing, and defending the medieval doctrine of Moderate Realism. This book is a substantial contribution to ontology and logic, combining interesting new arguments for polyadic relations and unit attributes, careful and thorough historical studies, and a logic that could solve many old problems.
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  27. Quizzical Ontology and Easy Ontology.Amie L. Thomasson - 2014 - Journal of Philosophy 111 (9-10):502-528.
    This paper examines what’s at stake in which form of metaontological deflationism we adopt. Stephen Yablo has argued for a ‘quizzicalist’ approach, holding that many ontological questions are ‘moot’ in the sense that there is simply nothing to settle them. Defenders of the ‘easy approach’ to ontology, by contrast, think not that these questions are unsettled, but that they are very easily settled by trivial inferences from uncontroversial premises—so obviously and easily settled that there is no point debating them. The (...)
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  28.  12
    Speaking of Fictional Characters.Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - Dialectica 57 (2):205-223.
    The challenge of handling fictional discourse is to find the best way to resolve the apparent inconsistencies in our ways of speaking about fiction. A promising approach is to take at least some such discourse to involve pretense, but does all fictional discourse involve pretense? I will argue that a better, less revisionary, solution is to take internal and fictionalizing discourse to involve pretense, while allowing that in external critical discourse, fictional names are used seriously to refer to fictional characters. (...)
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  29. First-Person Knowledge in Phenomenology.Amie L. Thomasson - 2005 - In David Woodruff Smith & Amie L. Thomasson (eds.), Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 115-138.
    An account of the source of first-person knowledge is essential not just for phenomenology, but for anyone who takes seriously the apparent evidence that we each have a distinctive access to knowing what we experience. One standard way to account for the source of first-person knowledge is by appeal to a kind of inner observation of the passing contents of one’s own mind, and phenomenology is often thought to rely on introspection. I argue, however, that Husserl’s method of phenomenological reduction (...)
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  30. Self-Awareness and Self-Knowledge.Amie L. Thomasson - 2006 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 12.
    Higher-order theories and neo-Brentanian theories of consciousness both consider conscious states to be states of which we have some sort of.
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  31. Introduction.David Woodruff Smith & Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - In David Woodruff Smith & Amie L. Thomasson (eds.), Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press.
    Phenomenology and philosophy of mind can be defined either as disciplines or as historical traditions—they are both. As disciplines: phenomenology is the study of conscious experience as lived, as experienced from the first-person point of view, while philosophy of mind is the study of mind—states of belief, perception, action, etc.—focusing especially on the mind–body problem, how mental activities are related to brain activities. As traditions or literatures: phenomenology features the writings of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Roman (...)
     
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  32.  74
    Why We Should Still Take It Easy.Amie L. Thomasson - 2017 - Mind 126 (503):769-779.
    In an earlier paper in this journal I argued that deflationism is preferable to fictionalism as an alternative to both traditional realism and eliminativism. Gabriele Contessa questions this conclusion, denying that fictionalist arguments beg the question against easy ontological arguments, presenting a new argument against easy ontology, and suggesting a response to the challenge I raise for fictionalists. Below I respond to these points in turn. In so doing, I hope to clarify the broader theoretic orientation of easy ontology—in particular, (...)
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  33. The Controversy Over the Existence of Ordinary Objects.Amie L. Thomasson - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (7):591-601.
    The basic philosophical controversy regarding ordinary objects is: Do tables and chairs, sticks and stones, exist? This paper aims to do two things: first, to explain why how this can be a controversy at all, and second, to explain why this controversy has arisen so late in the history of philosophy. Section 1 begins by discussing why the 'obvious' sensory evidence in favor of ordinary objects is not taken to be decisive. It goes on to review the standard arguments against (...)
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  34. Experimental Philosophy and the Methods of Ontology.Amie L. Thomasson - 2012 - The Monist 95 (2):175-199.
    Those working in experimental philosophy have raised a number of arguments against the use of conceptual analysis in philosophical inquiries. But they have typically focused on a model that pursues conceptual analysis by taking intuitions as a kind of (defeasible) evidence for philosophical hypotheses. Little attention has been given to the constitutivist alternative, which sees metaphysical modal facts as reflections of constitutive semantic rules. I begin with a brief overview of the constitutivist approach and argue that we can defend a (...)
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  35.  86
    Phenomenology and the Development of Analytic Philosophy.Amie L. Thomasson - 2002 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 40 (S1):115-142.
  36.  78
    What Can Phenomenology Bring to Ontology?Amie L. Thomasson - 2019 - Res Philosophica 96 (3):289-306.
    “Ontology” is understood and undertaken very differently in the phenomenological tradition than it is in the recent analytic tradition. Here I argue that those differences are not accidental, but instead reflect deeper differences in views about what the proper role and methods for philosophy are. I aim to show that, from a phenomenological perspective, questions about what exists can be answered ‘easily,’ whether through trivial inferences or by ordinary empirical means—seeing how our observations hang together. As a result, it can (...)
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  37. Social Entities.Amie L. Thomasson - 2009 - In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge.
     
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  38. The Ontological Significance of Constitution.Amie L. Thomasson - 2013 - The Monist 96 (1):54-72.
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  39. Introspection and Phenomenological Method.Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 2 (3):239-254.
    It is argued that the work of Husserl offers a model for self-knowledge that avoids the disadvantages of standard introspectionist accounts and of a Sellarsian view of the relation between our perceptual judgements and derived judgements about appearances. Self-knowledge is based on externally directed knowledge of the world that is then subjected to a cognitive transformation analogous to the move from a statement to the activity of stating. Appearance talk is (contra Sellars) not an epistemically non-committal form of speech, but (...)
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  40. 15 Conceptual Analysis in Phenomenology and Ordinary Language Philosophy.Amie L. Thomasson - 2007 - In Micahel Beaney (ed.), The Analytic Turn. Routledge. pp. 270.
    Phenomenology and analytic philosophy were born out of the same historical problem---the growing crisis about how to characterize the proper methods and role of philosophy, given the increasing success and separation of the natural sciences. A common 18th and 19th century solution that reached its height with John Stuart Mill’s psychologism was to hold that the while natural science was concerned with “external, physical phenomena”, philosophy was concerned with “internal, mental phenomena”, and thus proceeded by turning our observational gaze inward (...)
     
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  41.  97
    Fiction, Modality and Dependent Abstracta.Amie L. Thomasson - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 84 (2-3):295 - 320.
  42. Ontological Innovation in Art.Amie L. Thomasson - 2010 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 68 (2):119-130.
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  43.  42
    Précis of Ontology Made Easy.Amie L. Thomasson - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1):223-228.
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  44.  77
    Fiction and Intentionality.Amie L. Thomasson - 1996 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (2):277-298.
    A good phenomenological theory must be able to account equally well for our experiences of veridical perception and hallucination, for our thoughts about universities, colors, numbers, mythical figures and more. For all of these are characteristic mental acts, and a theory of intentionality should be a theory of conscious acts in general, not just of consciousness of a specific kind of thing or of a specific kind of consciousness. In so far as phenomenology purports to be a general study of (...)
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  45. Phenomenal Consciousness and the Phenomenal World.Amie L. Thomasson - 2008 - The Monist 91 (2):191-214.
    One-level accounts of consciousness have become increasingly popular (Dretske 1995, Tye 1995, Siewert 1998, Thomasson 2000 and 2005, Lurz 2006, McGinn, this volume). By a ‘onelevel’ account I mean an account according to which consciousness is fundamentally a matter of awareness of a world —and does not require awareness of our own minds, mental states, or the phenomenal character of these. As Fred Dretske puts it “Experiences and beliefs are conscious, not because you are conscious of them, but because, so (...)
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  46. In What Sense Is Phenomenology Transcendental?Amie L. Thomasson - 2007 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (S1):85-92.
    Dan Zahavi raises doubts about the prospects for combining phenomenological and analytical approaches to the mind, based chiefly on the claim that phenomenology is a form of transcendental philosophy. I argue that there are two ways in which one might understand the claim that phenomenology is transcendental: (1) as the claim that the methods of phenomenology essentially involve addressing transcendental questions or making transcendental arguments, or (2) as the claim that phenomenology is committed to substantive theses of antirealism and the (...)
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  47.  66
    Changing Metaphysics: What Difference Does It Make?Amie L. Thomasson - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:139-163.
    I have argued elsewhere for a deflationary conception of metaphysics, which takes well-formed metaphysical questions to be answerable using nothing more mysterious than empirical information and descriptive and normative conceptual work. Here I examine the ways in which our practices of metaphysics should change, if we adopt the deflationary reconception of metaphysics. Adopting this approach does not mean abandoning metaphysics, but it does lead to important differences regarding which debates and positions are worth taking seriously. It also requires us to (...)
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  48.  79
    Geographic Objects and the Science of Geography.Amie L. Thomasson - 2001 - Topoi 20 (2):149-159.
  49.  5
    Fiction and Intentionality.Amie L. Thomasson - 1996 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (2):277-298.
    A good phenomenological theory must be able to account equally well for our experiences of veridical perception and hallucination, for our thoughts about universities, colors, numbers, mythical figures and more. For all of these are characteristic mental acts, and a theory of intentionality should be a theory of conscious acts in general, not just of consciousness of a specific kind of thing or of a specific kind of consciousness. In so far as phenomenology purports to be a general study of (...)
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  50.  39
    Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind.David Woodruff Smith & Amie L. Thomasson (eds.) - 2005 - Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    This volume aims to bring them together again, by demonstrating how work in phenomenology may lead to significant progress on problems central to current ...
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