Much of the debate about identity in recent decades has been about personal identity, and specifically about personal identity over time, but identity generally, and the identity of things of other kinds, have also attracted attention. Various interrelated problems have been at the centre of discussion, but it is fair to say that recent work has focussed particularly on the following areas: the notion of a criterion of identity; the correct analysis of identity over time, and, in particular, the disagreement (...) between advocates of perdurance and advocates of endurance as analyses of identity over time; the notion of identity across possible worlds and the question of its relevance to the correct analysis of de re modal discourse; the notion of contingent identity; the question of whether the identity relation is, or is similar to, the composition relation; and the notion of vague identity. A radical position, advocated by Peter Geach, is that these debates, as usually conducted, are void for lack of a subject matter: the notion of absolute identity they presuppose has no application; there is only relative identity. Another increasingly popular view is the one advocated by Lewis: although the debates make sense they cannot genuinely be debates about identity, since there are no philosophical problems about identity. Identity is an utterly unproblematic notion. What there are, are genuine problems which can be stated using the language of identity. But since these can be restated without the language of identity they are not problems about identity. (For example, it is a puzzle, an aspect of the so-called “problem of personal identity”, whether the same person can have different bodies at different times. But this is just the puzzle whether a person can have different bodies at different times. So since it can be stated without the language of personal “identity”, it is not a problem about identity, but about personhood.) This article provides an overview of the topics indicated above, some assessment of the debates and suggestions for further reading. (shrink)
What is the nature of time? Does it flow? Do the past and future exist? Drawing connections between historical and present-day questions, A Critical Introduction to the Metaphysics of Time provides an up-to-date guide to one of the most central and debated topics in contemporary metaphysics. Introducing the views and arguments of Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Newton and Leibniz, this accessible introduction covers the history of the philosophy of time from the Pre-Socratics to the beginning of the 20th Century. The (...) historical survey presents the necessary background to understanding more recent developments, including McTaggarts 1908 argument for the unreality of time, the open future, the perdurance/endurance debate, the possibility of time travel, and the relevance of current physics to the philosophy of time. Informed by cutting-edge philosophical research, A Critical Introduction to the Metaphysics of Time evaluates influential historical arguments in the context of contemporary developments. (shrink)
In 1952, two well-known characters called ‘A’ and ‘B’ met for the first time to argue about the Identity of Indiscernibles (Black, 1952). A argued that the principle is true, and B that it is false. By all accounts A took a bit of a beating and came out worst-off. Forty-three years later John O’Leary-Hawthorne offered a response on behalf of A that looked as if it would work so long as A was willing to accept the universal-bundle theory of (...) substance (Hawthorne, 1995). In 1997, A and B met again (Zimmerman, 1997). A took Hawthorne’s advice and revealed himself as a universal-bundle theorist. But B was well-prepared, and once more A took a beating. Since then Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra (2004) has put the boot in, offering further criticism of A’s position. In recent years A has been rather quiet, leaving B to reign as the undisputed champion. However, it turns out that A is down, but not out. And now it’s time for A’s revenge. (shrink)
In this article I present a theory of what it is to be fair. I take my cue from Broome’s well known 1990 account of fairness. Broome’s basic thesis is that fairness is the proportional satisfaction of claims, and with this I am in at least partial agreement. But neither Broome nor anyone else (so far as I know) has laid down a theory of precisely what one must do in order to be fair. The theory offered here does just (...) this. (shrink)
What am I? And what is my relationship to the thing I call ‘my body’? Thus each of us can pose for himself the philosophical problems of the nature of the self and the relationship between a person and his body. One answer to the question about the relationship between a person and the thing he calls ‘his body’ is that they are two things composed of the same matter at the same time (like a clay statue and the piece (...) of clay which presently constitutes it). This is the ‘constitution view’. In this paper we give a novel overview of the literature on personal identity, the constitution view, and surrounding topics. (shrink)
Antiques are undoubtedly objects worthy of aesthetic appreciation, but do they have a distinctive aesthetic value in virtue of being antiques? In this article we give an account of what it is to be an antique that gives the thesis that they do have a distinctive aesthetic value a chance of being true and suggests what that distinctive value consists in. After introducing our topic in Section I, in Section II we develop and defend the Adjectival Thesis: the thesis that (...) the concept of being an antique is an adjectival concept. This provides us with the means to formulate our definition, which we do in Section III. In Section IV we further explicate and defend our definition. In Section V we conclude by briefly saying where we think our definition could be improved, by making a few comments about the aesthetics of antiques and by stating an interesting consequence of our definition: that it is not analytic that antiques are old. (shrink)
Porpora offers an a priori argument for the conclusion that there are infinitely many thoughts that it is physically possible for us to think. That there should be such an a priori argument is astonishing enough. That the argument should be simple enough to teach to a first-year undergraduate class in about 20 min, as Porpora’s is, is more astonishing still. Porpora’s main target is Max Tegmark’s recent argument for the claim that if current physics is right, then there are (...) mental duplicates of us in far flung regions of the Universe. His argument is directed against Tegmark’s assumption that mental facts supervene upon physical facts. So, if Porpora’s argument is sound then not only is Tegmark’s argument unsound, but physicalism is also false. So, Porpora’s argument is powerful indeed. Who would have thought that a simple a priori argument, together with the physical facts, could solve the issue of whether physicalism is true?. Not I. In this paper I take a closer look at Porpora’s argument and show that it is fallacious. I also consider the other reasons Porpora gives for thinking there are infinitely many thinkable thoughts and find them similarly lacking. (shrink)
In this paper I defend the view that a zygote is a human from the fission objection that is widely thought to be decisive against the view. I do so, drawing upon a recent discussion of this issue by John Burgess, by explaining in detail the metaphysical position the proponent of the view should adopt in order to rebut the objection.
In ‘Ramseyan Humility’ Lewis presents the Permutation Argument for quidditism. As he presents it the argument is simple enough, but once one digs beneath its surface, and attempts to understand it in strictly Lewisian terms, difficulties arise. The fundamental difficulty is that, as he presents it, the argument only seems to be sound if one rejects views that Lewis explicitly holds. One aim of this paper is to clarify the argument to show that one can make sense of it in (...) strictly Lewisian terms. In so doing I clarify Lewis’s view, clearly lay out the commitments that Lewis has, and define quidditism in strictly Lewisian terms. However, I also have a secondary aim. Lewis accepts that quidditism entails a form of scepticism, that he calls ‘Humility’. However, by an extension of the permutation argument I show that quidditism entails a form of scepticism, that I call ‘Diffidence’, that is far more wide-reaching than Humility. (shrink)
Can identity itself be vague? Can there be vague objects? Does a positive answer to either question entail a positive answer to the other? In this paper we answer these questions as follows: No, No, and Yes. First, we discuss Evans’s famous 1978 argument and argue that the main lesson that it imparts is that identity itself cannot be vague. We defend the argument from objections and endorse this conclusion. We acknowledge, however, that the argument does not by itself establish (...) either that there cannot be vague objects or that there cannot be identity statements that are indeterminate for ontic reasons. And we further acknowledge that it does not by itself establish that there cannot be identity statements that are indeterminate in virtue of the existence of vague objects. We then go on to argue that, despite this, one who believes in vague objects cannot endorse Evans’s argument. To establish this we offer supplementary arguments that show that if vague objects exist then identity is vague, and that if identity is vague then vague objects exist. Finally we draw attention to an argument parallel to that of Evans’s, but safer, which can be employed against the putative ontic indeterminacy in identity of vague objects which can be differentiated by identity-free properties. (shrink)
Consider: You can save either a human or a normal adult dog from a burning building (with no risk to yourself and at little cost), but not both. However, the human is a human with a severe intellectually disability (or, as we shall say, a “SID”). -/- Which one should you save? There is disagreement in the literature about which this issue. Two opposing camps exist, which we call “the intrinsic property camp ” and “the special relations camp.” Those in (...) the intrinsic property camp think that in most cases it is equally permissible to save either the dog or the human, and that in fact in some cases you should save the dog and not the human. Those in the special relations camp, by contrast, maintain that you should always save the human and not the dog. There is disagreement between these two camps about the answer to this question because there is disagreement between them about the moral significance of SIDs. Those in the intrinsic property camp believe that the moral value of a human with a SID is equal to (and in some cases less than) the moral value of a nonhuman animal such as a dog. (They thus believe that the value of a human with a SID is strictly less than the value of a normal adult human.) Those in the special relations camp believe that the value of a human with a SID is strictly higher than the value of a nonhuman animal. (But they are not thereby committed to, but may nonetheless believe, that a human with a SID has equal moral value to a normal adult human.) The questions we address in this chapter include: 1. Why do those in each camp hold the view that they do? 2. Which camp is right? (shrink)
In his book Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Williamson argues that the traditional actualist‐possibilist debate should be abandoned as hopelessly unclear and that we should get on with the clearer contingentism‐necessitism debate. We think that Williamson’s pessimism is not warranted by the brief arguments he gives. In this paper, we explain why and provide a clear formulation of the traditional actualist‐possibilist debate.
Perry Hendricks has recently argued that endorsing the divine hiddenness objection to the existence of God ‘eliminates’ or ‘does away with’ all de jure objections to theism. So, he says, anyone who endorses the divine hiddenness objection must ‘reject’ any de jure objection. ‘And this,’ he says, ‘means that the argument from divine hiddenness is costly for atheists’. However, although Hendricks's argument is an interesting one, it does not establish any of these things, at least on any natural understanding of (...) his claims. (shrink)
Pummer : 43–77, 2014) ingeniously wraps together issues from the personal identity literature with issues from the literature on desert. However, I wish to take issue with the main conclusion that he draws, namely, that we need to rethink the following principle: Desert.: When people culpably do very wrong or bad acts, they deserve punishment in the following sense: at least other things being equal they ought to be made worse off, simply in virtue of the fact that they culpably (...) did wrong—even if they have repented, are now virtuous, and punishing them would benefit no one. :43–77, 2014: 43–44) Pummer offers an argument that is intended to show that this principle, along with widely-held views about personal identity, entails an inconsistent triad of propositions. I agree. But I think Pummer's argument attacks a straw man. I believe that no-one holds Desert, at least as it is stated, and that once the principle is stated correctly it is easy to see that no inconsistent triad follows from it. So, Desert does not need rethinking. It just needs to be stated correctly. (shrink)
In this article I reply to Thomas Schramme's argument that there are no good reasons for the prohibition of severe forms of voluntary non‐therapeutic body modification. I argue that on paternalistic assumptions there is, in fact, a perfectly good reason.
In this note I firstly give a formulation of Berkeleyean Idealism in modern anti‐realist terms. Secondly, I supply a reading of Berkeley that serves to do three things: 1. It makes clear that the formulation of the position in modern terms is acceptable. 2. It offers a revealing insight into the reasons why Berkeley accepted the position. 3. It allows us to see that these reasons are, in fact, bad ones.
In this paper I argue that if a completed neuroscience of consciousness is to be attained, we must give the synchronic and diachronic application conditions for brain states and phenomenal states. I argue that, due to the temporal nature of our experiences, such states must be viewed as being temporally extended events, and illustrate how to give such application conditions using examples of other temporally extended events. However, I also raise some difficulties for the project of giving application conditions for (...) brain states and phenomenal states and suggest these as challenges for further philosophical work. (shrink)
Matteo Benocci [AJP, 2018] has presented a new argument, the Repeatability Argument, against any version of the Bundle Theory that includes a commitment to the principle that concrete particulars constituted by exactly the same universals are identical. In this discussion note, I argue that the Repeatability Argument fails because defenders of the Bundle Theory can reject one of its key steps on principled grounds. I thus conclude that Benocci provides Bundle Theorists with no new threat.
This article seeks to conceptualize global counterterror actor types by examining the designated terrorist organizations lists of six countries; the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Russia, and China. It is argued that these countries should be placed into one of three distinct categories: Trendsetters, Trend Followers, and Individual Players. Being able to classify countries according to these categories is important for global policymakers. It raises awareness of the differences between countries, and emphasizes that “one-fits-all” policies are inappropriate and (...) have little chance of achieving global endorsement. (shrink)
In his response to an earlier paper of ours Anton Killin takes issue with a certain aspect of our definition of an antique. He agrees with our view that the concept of an antique is an adjectival one and is at least happy to grant that those elements of the definition that relate to age are correct. But he takes issue with the idea that technical excellence is a necessary condition for being an antique. In addition to this, he also (...) criticizes us for largely excluding art objects from our discussion. In this rejoinder we focus mainly on defending the technical excellence criterion. But we will have something to say about art objects too, and we begin with a few words about them. (shrink)