Properties and objects are everywhere, but remain a philosophical mystery. Douglas Ehring argues that the idea of tropes--properties and relations understood as particulars--provides the best foundation for a metaphysical account of properties and objects. He develops and defends a new theory of trope nominalism.
Ehring shows the inadequacy of received theories of causation, and, introducing conceptual devices of his own, provides a wholly new account of causation as the persistence over time of individual properties, or "tropes.".
In this paper, I try to make a bundle theory of objects consistentwith a temporal parts theory of object persistence. To that end,I propose that such bundles are made up of tropes includingthe co-instantiation relation.
A well-known ``overdetermination''argument aims to show that the possibility of mental causes of physical events in a causally closed physical world and the possibility of causally relevant mental properties are both problematic. In the first part of this paper, I extend an identity reply that has been given to the first problem to a property-instance account of causal relata. In the second, I argue that mental types are composed of physical types and, as a consequence, both mental and physical types (...) may be causally relevant with respect to the same physical effect, contrary to the overdetermination argument. In further sections, I argue that mental types have causal powers, consider some objections and reject an alternative version of part-whole physicalism. Throughout I assume that causal relata are tropes and property types are classes of tropes. (shrink)
This thesis addresses the problem of causal asymmetry. This problem may be characterized as follows: what is the relation R such that if an event c causes an event e c bears relation R to e but e does not bear relation R to e. The traditional Humean account of causal asymmetry is that "R" may be replaced by "temporally prior." Difficulties with this account based on consideration of cases of simultaneous causation and backward causation have given rise to non-Humean (...) accounts of causal asymmetry. This dissertation analyzes some of these difficulties along with various non-Humean approaches. I offer a new theory of causal asymmetry which does not depend upon the temporal priority of causes to their effects and which differs from any of the other theories available. ;In chapter one the problem of causal asymmetry is clarified. This problem is distinguished from related issues. At the same time, I articulate the various philosophical considerations which bear on the scope and importance of this problem. I also state what I take to be the conditions an adequate account of causal asymmetry must satisfy. In the second chapter I discuss the classical Humean analysis of causal priority in terms of temporal priority. It is argued that arguments which have been put forward to show that backwards causation is logically impossible are unconvincing and that there are cases of simultaneous causation. In the third chapter the manipulability theory of causation is treated. Various formulations of this theory, from the most anthropomorphic to the least anthropomorphic are treated as they bear on the problem of causal asymmetry. Manipulability theory is found to be inadequate. ;In chapter four counterfactual theories of causation are considered. A number of counterexamples to these theories are presented and developed. In chapter five, two views which are grouped under "regularity theory" are analyzed and criticized: those of Bromberger and Berofsky. Mackie's earlier and later accounts of causal asymmetry along with Sanford's view are discussed in chapter six. In chapter seven, Erik Brown's recent view is considered alongside "transference theory." In the final chapter I develop a new theory of causal priority which utilizes the "circumstantial" character of the causal relation in accounting for causal asymmetry. (shrink)
Johansson, in “Parfit on Fission,” rejects Parfit’s thesis that fission demonstrates that identity does not matter in survival based on the following assumption (call the person who fissions, “Mr. Fissiony” and the fission products, “Lefty” and “Righty”): It is determinately true that Mr. Fissiony is identical to Lefty or that he is identical to Righty, but it is indeterminate whether Mr. Fissiony is identical to Lefty and it is indeterminate whether Mr. Fissiony is identical to Righty. Johansson argues that there (...) are identity-based answers to the following questions that apply in fission case: (Future Time) Concerning any future time, what matters in my relation to it? (Future Person) Concerning any future individual, what matters in my relation to him? The identity-based answers are these: (Future Time Answer) That I am identical with someone at that time. (Future Person Answer) That it is not false that I and that future individual are identical and that this relation of it not being false that we are identical is not close to not obtaining. I argue that the combination of these answers is inconsistent with the implication that if person C1 at t1 stands in the mattering relation to person C2 at t2, then C1 gets what matters with respect to t2 and that the degree to which the relation specified in Future Person Answer holds between Mr. Fissiony and Lefty in the fission case does not match up to the degree to which Mr. Fissiony gets what matters with respect to Lefty. (shrink)
Parfit has argued for the revolutionary thesis that personal identity does not matter in ordinary survival, only the R-relation does. “Reconciliationists,” such as Lewis, have tried to stop this revolution, arguing that both personal identity and the R-relation matter. The disagreement has been between those who hold that only the R-relation matters and those who hold that, in addition, personal identity matters. But there is a third option. I argue that Parfit is right that personal identity does not matter but (...) he is wrong that the R-relation matters, and the reconciliationists are wrong to think both matter since neither does. (shrink)
'Natural class' trope nominalism makes a trope's being of a certain sort--its nature--a matter of its membership in a certain natural class of actual tropes. It has been objected that on this theory had even a single member of the class of red tropes not existed, for example, then the type 'being red' would not have been instantiated and nothing would have been red. I argue that natural class trope nominalism can avoid this implication by way of counterpart theory as (...) applied to properties. (shrink)
Memory theories of personal identity are subject to the difficulty that distinct simultaneous person stages may both stand in the memory relation to an earlier person stage. Apparently, Such theories entail that these two duplicate person stages are stages of the same person, A claim argued to be "obviously false". In this paper, I argue that the characteristics of these duplication cases usually cited to support this claim do not provide adequate evidence to make it cogent.
One of Parfit’s arguments for the thesis that identity never matters involves generalizing from “divergence” cases in which identity arguably does not matter. The primary divergence case for Parfit is fission. According to Parfit’s assessment, it is not true that the fissioner gets what matters with respect to either fissionee by way of being identical to each fissionee but does so by way of the M-relation, psychological continuity with its normal cause, the persistence of enough of the brain. The same (...) is true in all other divergence cases by Parfit’s accounting. Parfit generalizes. From (E) Whenever M and identity diverged, it would be M that mattered, not identity. Parfit infers (F) Whenever M and identity diverge and even when these relations coincide, it is M that matters, not identity. In this paper, I challenge the inference from (E) to (F). (shrink)
Stanford Encyclopedia article surveying the life and work of D.C. Williams, notably in defending realism in metaphysics in the mid-twentieth century and in justifying induction by the logic of statistical inference.
A standard objection to the thesis that all causation is simultaneous causation is that this claim rules out temporally extended causal chains. Defenders of universal simultaneous causation have suggested two replies: deny the supposed incompatibility between simultaneous causation and causal chains or deny the existence of causal chains. In this paper, I argue that neither type of defense of universal causation against this objection is plausible.
In this paper, I consider an objection to ``natural class''trope nominalism, the view that a trope's nature isdetermined by its membership in a natural class of tropes.The objection is that natural class trope nominalismis inconsistent with causes' being efficacious invirtue of having tropes of a certain type. I arguethat if natural class trope nominalism is combinedwith property counterpart theory, then this objectioncan be rebutted.
Martin bunzl in "causal factuals" ("erkenntnis" 21, 1984) attempts to adapt and improve upon an approach to causation associated with the counterfactual theory of causation. Bunzl proposes to use possible world semantics to analyze causal sentences without reference to counterfactuals. In this paper I argue that bunzl's analysis is subject to problem cases which bear a close resemblance to those which plague counterfactual theory.
G. A. Cohen, in his ‘The Structure of Proletarian Unfreedom,’ addresses the classical Marxist claim that workers are forced to sell their labour power under capitalism. This claim has been the object of much debate and controversy. Cohen brings his very considerable analytical skills to bear on this question with the result that he supports, in distinctive but non-conflicting ways, both sides of the controversy. On Cohen’s analysis this claim is ambiguous, i.e., the term ‘proletariat’ has two importantly different senses. (...) In the distributive sense, workers need not be coerced, but in the collective sense, they are coerced, i.e., each individual worker is free to leave the working class, but the class of workers' as a whole does not possess a similar freedom. In this paper, I will argue that Cohen’s argument does not establish that the proletariat qua individuals are not forced to sell their labour power. It will also be argued that, in fac;t, there is no definite answer to the question of whether or not workers are forced to sell their labour power. Freedom and coercion are matters of degree, for the relevant range of cases, and, hence, it is not appropriate to ask whether or not the workers are coerced. I will, however, attempt to show that, contrary to the spirit of Cohen’s thesis, proletariat as individuals suffer from a diminished degree of freedom in the sale of their labour power. (shrink)
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