In this paper, we show that presentism -- the view that the way things are is the way things presently are -- is not undermined by the objection from being-supervenience. This objection claims, roughly, that presentism has trouble accounting for the truth-value of past-tense claims. Our demonstration amounts to the articulation and defence of a novel version of presentism. This is brute past presentism, according to which the truth-value of past-tense claims is determined by the past understood as a fundamental (...) aspect of reality different from things and how things are. (shrink)
One's inaccuracy for a proposition is defined as the squared difference between the truth value (1 or 0) of the proposition and the credence (or subjective probability, or degree of belief) assigned to the proposition. One should have the epistemic goal of minimizing the expected inaccuracies of one's credences. We show that the method of minimizing expected inaccuracy can be used to solve certain probability problems involving information loss and self-locating beliefs (where a self-locating belief of a temporal part of (...) an individual is a belief about where or when that temporal part is located). We analyze the Sleeping Beauty problem, the duplication version of the Sleeping Beauty problem, and various related problems. (shrink)
The physicist J. Richard Gott has given an argument which, if good, allows one to make accurate predictions for the future longevity of a process, based solely on its present age. We show that there are problems with some of the details of Gott's argument, but we defend the core thesis: in many circumstances, the greater the present age of a process, the more likely a longer future duration.
There is a theory that one ought morally to do the best one can, when 'best' is suitably interpreted. There are also some examples in which, although every agent involved does the best she can, the group composed of them does not. Some philosophers think that these examples show the theory to be wrong. In particular, they think that such examples motivate a view which incorporates a requirement of cooperativeness in a particular way, though they disagree as to the exact (...) nature of this requirement. This paper will argue both that such views are problematic and that the examples do not motivate departure from the original theory. (shrink)
In the space of possible worlds, there might be a best possible world (a uniquely best world or a world tied for best with some other worlds). Or, instead, for every possible world, there might be a better possible world. Suppose that the latter is true, i.e., that there is no best world. Many have thought that there is then an argument against the existence of God, i.e., the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and morally perfect being; we will call (...) such arguments no-best-world arguments. In this paper, we discuss ability-based objections to such arguments; an ability-based objection to a no-best world argument claims that the argument fails because one or more of its premises conflict with a plausible principle connecting the applicability of some type of moral evaluation to the agent’s possession of a relevant ability. In particular, we formulate and evaluate an important new ability-based objection to the most promising no-best world argument. (shrink)
There is a theory that one ought morally to do the best one can, when ‘best’ is suitably interpreted. There are also some examples in which, although every agent involved does the best she can, the group composed of them does not. Some philosophers think that these examples show the theory to be wrong. In particular, they think that such examples motivate a view which incorporates a requirement of cooperativeness in a particular way, though they disagree as to the exact (...) nature of this requirement. This paper will argue both that such views are problematic and that the examples do not motivate departure from the original theory. (shrink)
We argue that any superluminal theory Tis empirically equivalent to a non-superluminaltheory T★, with thefollowing constraints onT★ : T★ preservesthe spacetime intervals between events as entailedby T, T★ is naturalistic (as longas T is), and all the events which have causesaccording to T also have causes according toT★. Tim Maudlin (1996) definesstandard interpretations of quantum mechanicsas interpretations `according to which there wasa unique set of outcomes in Aspect's laboratory,which outcomes occurred at spacelike separation’, andMaudlin claims that standard interpretations must benon-local (...) in the sense that there are superluminalinfluences. We show (even assuming Aspect's experimentis ideal) that Maudlin's claim is false. (shrink)
We discuss the cable guy paradox, both as an object of interest in its own right and as something which can be used to illuminate certain issues in the theories of rational choice and belief. We argue that a crucial principle—The Avoid Certain Frustration (ACF) principle—which is used in stating the paradox is false, thus resolving the paradox. We also explain how the paradox gives us new insight into issues related to the Reflection principle. Our general thesis is that principles (...) that base your current opinions on your current opinions about your future opinions need not make reference to the particular times in the future at which you believe you will have those opinions, but they do need to make reference to the particular degrees of belief you believe you will have in the future. (shrink)
A traditional view is that all necessary truths are analytic. A frequent objection is that certain claims of color incompatibility – e.g., ‘Nothing is both red and green all over’ – are necessarily true but not analytic. I argue that this objection to the traditional view fails because such color incompatibility claims are either analytic or contingent.
My dissertation seeks to understand our concept of moral claim-rights---rights of one person against another. It achieves this understanding by doing two main things: analyzing our concept of moral claim-rights in terms of our concept of moral duties; and discerning the role in our moral thinking of our concept of moral duties. Along the way, various views of, and issues surrounding, these two concepts are considered. ;Roughly, my view of our concept of moral claim-rights is this: X has a moral (...) claim-right against Y that Y do A if and only if whether Y has a moral duty to do A depends on whether X would desire that Y do A were X instrumentally rational and in possession of full relevant information. Suppose Boris has promised Alice that he will paint her house. She thus has a moral claim-right against Boris that he do so. Does this mean Boris has a moral duty to paint her house? No, since Alice might not desire that Boris paint it . ;Generally, my view of the role of our concept of moral duties in our moral thinking is that, as we think, moral duties are some, but not all, of the considerations bearing upon what one ought morally to do. More specifically, "ought morally" has a two-filter structure---an agent ought morally to perform one or another of those actions available to her which survives two successive stages of filtering. The first stage of filtering involves trading-off considerations of moral duty against those of overall goodness, while the second stage involves trading-off considerations of overall goodness against those of personal interest. In illustration of the first stage, where moral duties are involved, suppose that Alice can make some net contribution to the overall good by slapping Boris. Since Alice has a moral duty not to slap Boris, it is morally impermissible for her to do so unless the contribution she can make to the overall good is quite large. (shrink)