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Amie L. Thomasson [57]Amie Thomasson [21]Amie Lynn Thomasson [2]
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Amie Thomasson
Dartmouth College
  1. Ordinary Objects.Amie Thomasson - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    Arguments that ordinary inanimate objects such as tables and chairs, sticks and stones, simply do not exist have become increasingly common and increasingly prominent. Some are based on demands for parsimony or for a non-arbitrary answer to the special composition question; others arise from prohibitions against causal redundancy, ontological vagueness, or co-location; and others still come from worries that a common sense ontology would be a rival to a scientific one. Until now, little has been done to address these arguments (...)
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  2. Fiction and Metaphysics.Amie L. Thomasson - 1999 - 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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  3.  45
    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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  4. 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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  5.  1
    Ordinary Objects.Amie Thomasson - 2009 - Analysis 69 (1):173-174.
    In recent analytic metaphysics, the view that ‘ordinary inanimate objects such as sticks and stones, tables and chairs, simply do not exist’ has been defended by some noteworthy writers. Thomasson opposes such revisionary ontology in favour of an ontology that is conservative with respect to common sense. The book is written in a straightforward, methodical and down-to-earth style. It is also relatively non-specialized, enabling the author and her readers to approach problems that are often dealt with in isolation in a (...)
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  6.  62
    Ontology Made Easy.Amie Thomasson - 2015 - Oup Usa.
    Existence questions have been topics for heated debates in metaphysics, but this book argues that they can often be answered easily, by trivial inferences from uncontroversial premises. This 'easy' approach to ontology leads to realism about disputed entities, and to the view that metaphysical disputes about existence questions are misguided.
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  7.  42
    Metaphysics and Conceptual Negotiation.Amie L. Thomasson - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):364-382.
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  8.  74
    Metaphysical Disputes and Metalinguistic Negotiation.Amie L. Thomasson - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (4):1-28.
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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11.  43
    Metaphysical Disputes and Metalinguistic Negotiation.Amie L. Thomasson - 2017 - Analytic Philosophy 58 (1):1-28.
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  12. 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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  13. After Brentano: A One-Level Theory of Consciousness.Amie L. Thomasson - 2000 - European Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):190-210.
  14.  77
    Foundation for a Social Ontology.Amie 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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  15.  14
    What Can We Take Away From Easy Arguments?Amie L. Thomasson - 2017 - Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (2):153-162.
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  16. 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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  17. Modal Normativism and the Methods of Metaphysics.Amie L. Thomasson - 2007 - Philosophical Topics 35 (1/2):135-160.
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  18.  16
    Changing Metaphysics: What Difference Does It Make?Amie L. Thomasson - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:139-163.
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  19. 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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  20. 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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  21.  95
    The Ontology of Social Groups.Amie L. Thomasson - forthcoming - Synthese:1-17.
    Two major questions have dominated work on the metaphysics of social groups: first, Are there any? And second, What are they? I will begin by arguing that the answer to the ontological question is an easy and obvious ‘yes’. We do better to turn our efforts elsewhere, addressing the question: “What are social groups?” One might worry, however, about this question on grounds that the general term ‘social group’ seems like a term of art—not a well-used concept we can analyze, (...)
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  22. 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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  23. Fiction and Metaphysics.Amie L. Thomasson - 2000 - Mind 109 (436):997-1000.
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  24. Metaphysical Arguments Against Ordinary Objects.Amie Thomasson - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (224):340 - 359.
    Several prominent attacks on the objects of 'folk ontology' argue that these would be omitted from a scientific ontology, or would be 'rivals' of scientific objects for their claims to be efficacious, occupy space, be composed of parts, or possess a range of other properties. I examine causal redundancy and overdetermination arguments, 'nothing over and above' appeals, and arguments based on problems with collocation and with property additivity. I argue that these share a common problem: applying conjunctive principles to cases (...)
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  25.  57
    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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  26. 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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  27. The Ontology of Art.Amie L. Thomasson - 2004 - In Peter Kivy (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics. Blackwell.
     
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  28. Artifacts and Human Concepts.Amie Thomasson - 2007 - In Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (eds.), Creations of the Mind: Theories of Artifacts and Their Representaion. Oxford University Press. pp. 52--73.
     
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  29. Ontological Minimalism.Amie Thomasson - 2001 - American Philosophical Quarterly 38 (4):319 - 331.
    A minimalist or “pleonastic” ontology is supposed to provide a “cheap ontology” of languagecreated entities to serve as relatively innocuous referents for singular terms for such entities as properties, propositions, events, meanings, and fictional characters. This paper investigates the very idea of ontological minimalism, its source, and its potential applications. Certain puzzles and paradoxes arise in the idea of ontological minimalism; the article argues that these result from the fact that minimal entities divide into three different cases with importantly different (...)
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  30. 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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  31. 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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  32. Answerable and Unanswerable Questions.Amie Thomasson - 2009 - In David John Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press.
    While fights about ontology rage on in the ring, there’s long been a suspicion whispered in certain corners of the stadium that some of the fights aren’t real. Granted the disputants all think they are really disagreeing—it’s not the sincerity of the serious ontologists that’s in question, but rather their judgment that they are engaged in a real debate about genuine issues of substance.
     
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  33. 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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  34.  87
    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. Fiction and Metaphysics.Amie Thomasson - 2002 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 60 (2):190-192.
     
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  36. Fiction and Metaphysics.Amie L. Thomasson - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (207):282-284.
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  37.  92
    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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  38.  3
    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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  39. Social Entities.Amie L. Thomasson - 2009 - In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics. Routledge.
     
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  40. Fiction and Metaphysics.Amie L. Thomasson - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (3):723-727.
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  41. A Nonreductivist Solution to Mental Causation.Amie L. Thomasson - 1998 - Philosophical Studies 89 (2-3):181-95.
    Nonreductive physicalism provides an appealing solution to the nature of mental properties. But its success as a theory of mental properties has been called into doubt by claims that it cannot adequately handle the problems of mental causation, as it leads either to epiphenomenalism or to thoroughgoing overdetermination. I argue that these apparent problems for the nonreductivist are based in fundamental confusion about causation and explanation. I distinguish two different types of explanation and two different relations to which they appeal: (...)
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  42.  93
    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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  43. 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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  44.  96
    Phenomenal Consciousness and the Phenomenal World.Amie 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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  45.  64
    Phenomenology and the Development of Analytic Philosophy.Amie L. Thomasson - 2002 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 40 (S1):115-142.
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  46. Research Problems and Methods in Metaphysics.Amie Thomasson - 2012 - In Robert Barnard & Neil Manson (eds.), The Continuum Companion to Metaphysics. Continuum International.
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  47. 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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    The Ontological Significance of Constitution.Amie L. Thomasson - 2013 - The Monist 96 (1):54-72.
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  49.  10
    Husserl on Essences.Amie L. Thomasson - 2017 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (3):436-459.
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    Non-Descriptivism About Modality. A Brief History And Revival.Amie Thomasson - 2009 - The Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 4 (1):8.
    Despite the otherwise-dominant trends towards physicalism and naturalism in philosophy, it has become increasingly common for metaphysicians to accept the existence either of modal facts and properties, or of Lewisian possible worlds. This paper raises the historical question: why did these heavyweight realist views come into prominence? The answer is that they have arisen in response to the demand to find truthmakers for our modal statements. But this demand presupposes that modal statements are descriptive claims in need of truthmakers. This (...)
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