Real Time II extends and evolves D.H. Mellor's classic exploration of the philosophy of time, Real Time . This wholly new book answers such basic metaphysical questions about time as: how do past, present and future differ, how are time and space related, what is change, is time travel possible? His Real Time dominated the philosophy of time for fifteen years. This book will do the same for the next twenty years.
The Facts of Causation grapples with one of philosophy's most enduring issues. Causation is central to all of our lives. What we see and hear causes us to believe certain facts about the world. We need that information to know how to act and how to cause the effects we desire. D. H. Mellor, a leading scholar in the philosophy of science and metaphysics, offers a comprehensive theory of causation. Many questions about causation remain unsettled. In science, the indeterminism of (...) modern physics and genetics have made such questions considerably harder for philosophers to answer. While progress has been made, a complete account of the nature and cosequences of causation is long overdue. This major study provides that account. (shrink)
This is a study of the nature of time. In it, redeploying an argument first presented by McTaggart, the author argues that although time itself is real, tense is not. He accounts for the appearance of the reality of tense - our sense of the passage of time, and the fact that our experience occurs in the present - by showing how time is indispensable as a condition of action. Time itself is further analysed, and Dr Mellor gives answers to (...) most of the metaphysical questions it provokes, concerning the relation of time to space, the dissection of time, and its relation to change and causation. (shrink)
Many philosophers are impressed by the progress achieved by physical sciences. This has had an especially deep effect on their ontological views: it has made many of them physicalists. Physicalists believe that everything is physical: more precisely, that all entities, properties, relations, and facts are those which are studied by physics or other physical sciences. They may not all agree with the spirit of Rutherford's quoted remark that 'there is physics; and there is stamp-collecting',' but they all grant physical science (...) a unique ontological authority: the authority to tell us what there is. Physicalism is now almost orthodox in much philosophy, notably in much recent philosophy of mind. But although often invoked, it is rarely explicitly defined. It should be. The claim that everything is physical is not as clear as it seems. In this paper, we examine a number of proposed definitions of physicalism and reasons for being a physicalist. We will argue both that physicalism lacks a clear and credible definition, and that in no non-vacuous interpretation is it true. We are concerned here only with physicalism as a doctrine about the empirical world. In particular, it should not be confused with nominalism, the doctrine that there are no universals.2 Nominalism and physicalism are quite independent doctrines. Believers in universals may as consistently assert as deny that the only properties and relations are those studied by physical science. And nominalists may with equal consistency assert or deny that physical science could provide enough predicates to describe the world. That is the question which concerns physicalists, not whether physical predicates name real universals. (We will for brevity write as if they do, but we do not need that assumption.). (shrink)
Everything we do relies on causation. We eat and drink because this causes us to stay alive. Courts tell us who causes crimes, criminology tell us what causes people to commit them. D.H. Mellor shows us that to understand the world and our lives we must understand causation. The Facts of Causation , now available in paperback, is essential reading for students and for anyone interested in reading one of the ground-breaking theories in metaphysics. We cannot understand the world and (...) our place in it without understanding causation. Yet a complete account of the nature and implications of causation does not exist. D.H Mellor's new book is that account. (shrink)
This selection of D. H. Mellor's work demonstrates the wide ranging originality of his work. It gathers together sixteen major papers on related topics. Together they form a complete modern metaphysics. The first five papers are on aspects of the mind: on our 'selves', their supposed subjectivity and how we refer to them, on the nature of conscious belief and on computational and physicalist theories of the mind. The next five papers deal with dispositions, natural kinds, laws of nature and (...) how they involve natural necessity, universals and objective chances, and the relation between properties and predicates. Then follow three papers about the relations between time, change and causation, the nature of individual causes and effects and of the causal relation between them, and how causation depends on chance. The last three papers discuss the relation between chance and degrees of belief, give a solution to the problem of induction, and argue for an objective interpretation of decision theory. (shrink)
E. J. Lowe sets out in a recent paper1 to refute McTaggart's proof of the unreality of time, by exposing an ‘indexical fallacy’ in his disproof of the existence of tensed (i. e., A-series) facts.2 Lowe then develops an original account of what makes time the dimension of change, based on his own account of tensed facts. But in our opinion he fails on both counts: (1) he fails to refute McTaggart's perfectly sound disproof of tensed facts, which shows that (...) time can be real only if (Lowe and McTaggart not withstanding) it needs no tensed facts, and (2) he fails to explain the temporal character of change, since his account of it has an exact spatial analogue. In what follows we argue these two points in turn. (shrink)
Mind, Meaning, and Reality presents fifteen philosophical papers in which D. H. Mellor explores some of the most intriguing questions in philosophy. These include: what determines what we think, and what we use language to mean; how that depends on what there is in the world and why there is only one universe; and the nature of time.
The paper argues that very different part-whole relations hold between different kinds of entities. While these relations share most of their formal properties, they need not share all of them. Nor need other mereological principles be true of all kinds of part–whole pairs. In particular, it is argued that the principle of unrestricted composition, that any two or more entities have a mereological sum, while true of sets and propositions, is false of things and events.
Entities of many kinds, not just material things, have been credited with parts. Armstrong , for example, has taken propositions and properties to be parts of their conjunctions, sets to be parts of sets that include them, and geographical regions and events to be parts of regions and events that contain them. The justification for bringing all these diverse relations under a single ‘part–whole’ concept is that they share all or most of the formal features articulated in mereology . But (...) the concept has also prompted an ontological thesis that has been expressed in various ways: that wholes are ‘no ontological addition’ to their parts ; that to list both a whole and its parts is ‘double counting’; and that there is ‘no more’ to a whole than its parts: for example, that there is no more to a conjunction than the conjuncts that are its parts, and whose truth or falsity determines whether it is true or false. For brevity, I shall express the thesis in the last of these ways, as the claim that entities with parts are ‘nothing but’ those parts. (shrink)
When we say a certain rose is red, we seem to be attributing a property, redness, to it. But are there really such properties? If so, what are they like, how do we know about them, and how are they related to the objects which have them and the linguistic devices which we use to talk about them? This collection presents these ancient problems in a modern light. In particular, it makes accessible for the first time the most important contributions (...) to the contemporary controversy about the nature of properties. Those new to the subject will find the clearly-written introduction, by two experts in the field, an invaluable guide to the intricacies of this debate. The volume illustrates very well the aims and methods of modern metaphysics and show how a thorough understanding of the metaphysics of properties is crucial to most of analytic philosophy. (shrink)
The Cambridge philosopher Frank Ramsey died tragically in 1930 at the age of 26, but had already established himself as one of the most brilliant minds of the twentieth century. Besides groundbreaking work in philosophy, particularly in logic, language, and metaphysics, he created modern decision theory and made substantial contributions to mathematics and economics. In these original essays, written to commemorate the centenary of Ramsey's birth, a distinguished international team of contributors offer fresh perspectives on his work and show its (...) ongoing relevance to present-day concerns. (shrink)
Abstract The paper develops a unified account of both deterministic and indeterministic laws of nature which inherits the merits but not the defects of the best existing accounts. As in Armstrong's account, laws are embodied in facts about universals; but not in higher?order relations between them, and the necessity of laws is not primitive but results from their containing chances of 0 or 1. As in the Ramsey?Lewis account, law statements would be the general axioms and theorems of the simplest (...) deductive theory of everything; but because laws are not so defined, simplicity of statement is not a criterion of law?hood. (shrink)
How does the study of society relate to the study of the people it comprises? This longstanding question is partly one of method, but mainly one of fact, of how independent the objects of these two studies, societies and people, are. It is commonly put as a question of reduction, and I shall tackle it in that form: does sociology reduce in principle to individual psychology? I follow custom in calling the claim that it does ‘individualism’ and its denial ‘holism’.
Frank Ramsey was the greatest of the remarkable generation of Cambridge philosophers and logicians which included G. E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Maynard Keynes. Before his tragically early death in 1930 at the age of twenty-six, he had done seminal work in mathematics and economics as well as in logic and philosophy. This volume, with a new and extensive introduction by D. H. Mellor, contains all Ramsey's previously published writings on philosophy and the foundations of mathematics. The latter (...) gives the definitive form and defence of the reduction of mathematics to logic undertaken in Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica; the former includes the most profound and original studies of universals, truth, meaning, probability, knowledge, law and causation, all of which are still constantly referred to, and still essential reading for all serious students of these subjects. (shrink)