20 found
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  1. The Problem of Nomological Harmony.Brian Cutter & Bradford Saad - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Our universe features a harmonious match between laws and states: applying its laws to its states generates other states. This is a striking fact. Matters might have been otherwise. The universe might have been stillborn in a state unengaged by its laws. The problem of nomological harmony is that of explaining the noted striking fact. After introducing and developing this problem, we canvass candidate solutions and identify some of their virtues and vices. Candidate solutions invoke the likes of a designer, (...)
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  2. Fine-Tuning Should Make Us More Confident that Other Universes Exist.Bradford Saad - 2024 - American Philosophical Quarterly 61 (1):29-44.
    This paper defends the view that discovering that our universe is fine-tuned should make us more confident that other universes exist. My defense exploits a distinction between ideal and non-ideal evidential support. I use that distinction in concert with a simple model to disarm the most influential objection—the this-universe objection—to the view that fine-tuning supports the existence of other universes. However, the simple model fails to capture some important features of our epistemic situation with respect to fine-tuning. To capture these (...)
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  3. Digital suffering: why it's a problem and how to prevent it.Bradford Saad & Adam Bradley - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    As ever more advanced digital systems are created, it becomes increasingly likely that some of these systems will be digital minds, i.e. digital subjects of experience. With digital minds comes the risk of digital suffering. The problem of digital suffering is that of mitigating this risk. We argue that the problem of digital suffering is a high stakes moral problem and that formidable epistemic obstacles stand in the way of solving it. We then propose a strategy for solving it: Access (...)
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  4.  52
    Internal constraints for phenomenal externalists: a structure matching theory.Bryce Dalbey & Bradford Saad - 2022 - Synthese 200 (5):1-29.
    We motivate five constraints on theorizing about sensory experience. We then propose a novel form of naturalistic intentionalism that succeeds where other theories fail by satisfying all of these constraints. On the proposed theory, which we call structure matching tracking intentionalism, brains states track determinables. Internal structural features of those states select determinates of those determinables for presentation in experience. We argue that this theory is distinctively well-positioned to both explain internal-phenomenal structural correlations and accord external features a role in (...)
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  5. A causal argument for dualism.Bradford Saad - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2475-2506.
    Dualism holds that some mental events are fundamental and non-physical. I develop a prima facie plausible causal argument for dualism. The argument has several significant implications. First, it constitutes a new way of arguing for dualism. Second, it provides dualists with a parity response to causal arguments for physicalism. Third, it transforms the dialectical role of epiphenomenalism. Fourth, it refutes the view that causal considerations prima facie support physicalism but not dualism. After developing the causal argument for dualism and drawing (...)
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  6. A Teleological Strategy for Solving the Meta-Problem of Consciousness.Bradford Saad - 2019 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (9-10):205-216.
    Following Chalmers, I take the most promising response to the meta-problem to be a realizationist one on which (roughly) consciousness plays a role in realizing the processes that explain why we think that there is a hard problem of consciousness. I favour an interactionist dualist version of realizationism on which experiences are non-physical states that non-redundantly cause problem judgments. This view is subject to the challenges of specifying laws that would enable experiences to cause problem judgments and of explaining why (...)
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  7. How to befriend zombies: a guide for physicalists.Bradford Saad - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (9):2353-2375.
    Though not myself a physicalist, I develop a new argument against antiphysicalist positions that are motivated by zombie arguments. I first identify four general features of phenomenal states that are candidates for non-physical types; these are used to generate different types of zombie. I distinguish two antiphysicalist positions: strict dualism, which posits exactly one general non-physical type, and pluralism, which posits more than one such type. It turns out that zombie arguments threaten strict dualism and some pluralist positions as much (...)
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  8.  15
    Should dualists locate the physical basis of experience in the head?Bradford Saad - 2024 - Synthese 203 (2):1-18.
    Dualism holds that experiences are non-physical states that exist alongside physical states. Dualism leads to the postulation of psychophysical laws that generate experiences by operating on certain sorts of physical states. What sorts of physical states? To the limited extent that dualists have addressed this question, they have tended to favor a brain-based approach that locates the physical basis of experience in the head. In contrast, this paper develops an argument for a form of dualism on which experience has a (...)
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  9. Two solutions to the neural discernment problem.Bradford Saad - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (10):2837-2850.
    Interactionists hold that minds are non-physical objects that interact with brains. The neural discernment problem for interactionism is that of explaining how non-physical minds produce behavior and cognition by exercising different causal powers over physiologically similar neurons. This paper sharpens the neural discernment problem and proposes two interactionist models of mind-brain interaction that solve it. One model avoids overdetermination while the other respects the causal closure of the physical domain.
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  10.  93
    Harmony in a panpsychist world.Bradford Saad - 2022 - Synthese 200 (6):1-24.
    Experiences tend to be followed by states for which they provide normative reasons. Such harmonious correlations cry out for explanation. Theories that answer or diminish these cries thereby achieve an advantage over theories that do neither. I argue that the main lines of response to these cries that are available to biological theorists—theorists who hold (roughly) that conscious subjects are generally biological entities—are problematic. And I argue that panpsychism—which holds (roughly) that conscious subjects are ubiquitous in nature—provides an attractive response (...)
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  11.  85
    Panpsychism and ensemble explanations.Han Li & Bradford Saad - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (12):3583-3597.
    Panpsychism claims that the vast majority of conscious subjects in our world are inanimate and physical. Ensemble explanations account for striking phenomena by placing them within an ensemble of outcomes, most of which are not striking. This paper develops an explanatory problem for panpsychism: panpsychism renders two appealing ensemble explanations unsatisfactory. Specifically, we argue that panpsychism renders unsatisfactory the multiverse explanation of why a universe supports life and the many-planets explanation of why a planet supports life.
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  12.  98
    Spatial experience, spatial reality, and two paths to primitivism.Bradford Saad - 2019 - Synthese 199 (2):469-491.
    I explore two views about the relationship between spatial experience and spatial reality: spatial functionalism and spatial presentationalism. Roughly, spatial functionalism claims that the instantiated spatial properties are those playing a certain causal role in producing spatial experience while spatial presentationalism claims that the instantiated spatial properties include those presented in spatial experience. I argue that each view, in its own way, leads to an ontologically inflationary form of primitivism: whereas spatial functionalism leads to primitivism about phenomenal representation, spatial presentationalism (...)
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  13.  84
    Indeterministic Causation and Two Patches for the Pairing Argument.Bradford Saad - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (4):664-682.
    The pairing argument aims to demonstrate the impossibility of non-spatial objects (including minds) standing in causal relations. Its chief premises are (roughly) that causation requires pairing relations between causes and effects and that pairing relations require spatial relations. Critics have argued that the first claim suffers from counterexamples involving indeterministic causation. After briefly rehearsing the pairing argument and the objection from indeterministic causation, I offer two ways of revising the pairing argument to meet the objection from indeterministic causation.
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  14. Lessons from the Void: What Boltzmann Brains Teach.Bradford Saad - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Some physical theories predict that almost all brains in the universe are Boltzmann brains, i.e. short-lived disembodied brains that are accidentally assembled as a result of thermodynamic or quantum fluctuations. Physicists and philosophers of physics widely regard this proliferation as unacceptable, and so take its prediction as a basis for rejecting these theories. But the putatively unacceptable consequences of this prediction follow only given certain philosophical assumptions. This paper develops a strategy for shielding physical theorizing from the threat of Boltzmann (...)
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  15. Interactionism, haecceities, and the pairing argument.Bradford Saad - 2017 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 60 (7):724-741.
    Interactionists hold that non-spatial objects causally interact with physical objects. Interactionists have traditionally grappled with the puzzle of how such interaction is possible. More recently, Jaegwon Kim has presented interactionists with a more daunting threat: the pairing argument, which purports to refute interactionism by showing that non-spatial objects cannot stand in causal relations. After reviewing that argument, I develop a challenge to it on behalf of the interactionist. The challenge poses a dilemma: roughly, either haecceities exist or they do not. (...)
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  16. The Sooner the Better: An Argument for Bias Toward the Earlier.Bradford Saad - 2024 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 10 (2):371-386.
    In this article I argue that we should be prudentially and morally biased toward earlier events: other things equal, we should prefer for good events to occur earlier and disprefer for bad events to occur earlier. The argument contends that we should accord at least some credence—if only a small one—to a theoretical package featuring the growing block theory of time and that this package generates a presumptive bias toward earlier events. Rival theoretical packages are considered. Under reasonable allocations of (...)
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  17.  90
    An exclusion problem for epiphenomenalist dualism.Bradford Saad - 2020 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 9 (4):247-256.
    The chief motivation for epiphenomenalist dualism is its promise to solve dualism’s causal exclusion problem without inducing causal overdetermination or violations of the causal closure of the physical. This paper argues that epiphenomenalist dualism is itself susceptible to an exclusion problem. The problem exploits symmetries of determination and influence generated by a wide class of physical theories. Further, I argue that there is an interference effect between solving epiphenomenalist dualism's exclusion problem and using epiphenomenalist dualism as a solution to the (...)
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  18.  24
    The Multiverse Theodicy Meets Population Ethics.Han Li & Bradford Saad - 2023 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 10.
    The multiverse theodicy proposes to reconcile the existence of God and evil by supposing that God created all and only the creation-worthy universes and that some universes like ours are, despite their evils, creation-worthy. Drawing on work in population ethics, this paper develops a novel challenge to the multiverse theodicy. Roughly, the challenge contends that the axiological underpinnings of the multiverse theodicy harbor a ‘mere addition paradox’: the assumption that creating creation-worthy universes would always make the world better turns out (...)
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  19.  95
    Should Reductive Physicalists Reject the Causal Argument?Bradford Saad - 2017 - Dialectica 71 (2):263-279.
    Reductive physicalists typically accept the causal argument for their view. On this score, Tiehen parts ways with his fellow reductive physicalists. Heretically, he argues that reductive physicalists should reject the causal argument. After presenting Tiehen's challenge, I defend the orthodoxy. Although not myself a reductive physicalist, I show how reductive physicalists can resist this challenge to the causal argument. I conclude with a positive suggestion about how reductive physicalists should use the causal argument.
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  20. Permissiveness in morality and epistemology.Han Li & Bradford Saad - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Morality is intrapersonally permissive: cases abound in which an agent has more than one morally permitted option. In contrast, there is a dearth of cases in which an agent has more than one epistemically permitted response to her evidence. Given the structural parallels between morality and epistemology, why do sources of moral permissiveness fail to have parallel permissive effects in the epistemic domain? This asymmetry between morality and epistemology cries out for explanation. The paper's task is to offer an answer (...)
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