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Daniel Nolan [83]Daniel P. Nolan [3]
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Daniel Nolan
University of Notre Dame
  1. Naturalised Modal Epistemology.Daniel Nolan - 2017 - In R. Fischer & F. Leon (eds.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. pp. 7-27.
    The philosophy of necessity and possibility has flourished in the last half-century, but much less attention has been paid to the question of how we know what can be the case and what must be the case. Many friends of modal metaphysics and many enemies of modal metaphysics have agreed that while empirical discoveries can tell us what is the case, they cannot shed much light on what must be the case or on what non-actual possibilities there are. In this (...)
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  2. Impossible Worlds: A Modest Approach.Daniel Nolan - 1997 - Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 38 (4):535-572.
    Reasoning about situations we take to be impossible is useful for a variety of theoretical purposes. Furthermore, using a device of impossible worlds when reasoning about the impossible is useful in the same sorts of ways that the device of possible worlds is useful when reasoning about the possible. This paper discusses some of the uses of impossible worlds and argues that commitment to them can and should be had without great metaphysical or logical cost. The paper then provides an (...)
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  3. Hyperintensional Metaphysics.Daniel Nolan - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 171 (1):149-160.
    In the last few decades of the twentieth century there was a revolution in metaphysics: the intensional revolution. Many metaphysicians rejected the doctrine, associated with Quine and Davidson, that extensional analyses and theoretical resources were the only acceptable ones. Metaphysicians embraced tools like modal and counterfactual analyses, claims of modal and counterfactual dependence, and entities such as possible worlds and intensionally individuated properties and relations. The twenty-first century is seeing a hypterintensional revolution. Theoretical tools in common use carve more finely (...)
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  4. Lewis on Williamson: Evidence, Knowledge and Vagueness.Daniel Nolan - manuscript
    In May 1999, David Lewis sent Timothy Williamson an intriguing letter about knowledge and vagueness. This paper has a brief discussion of Lewis on evidence, and a longer discussion of a distinctive theory of vagueness Lewis puts forward in this letter, one rather different from standard forms of supervaluationism. Lewis's theory enables him to provide distinctive responses to the challenges to supervaluationism famously offered in chapter 5 of Timothy Williamson's 1994 book Vagueness. However these responses bring out a number of (...)
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  5. Impossible Worlds.Daniel P. Nolan - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (4):360-372.
    Philosophers have found postulating possible worlds to be very useful in a number of areas, including philosophy of language and mind, logic, and metaphysics. Impossible worlds are a natural extension to this use of possible worlds, and can help resolve a number of difficulties thrown up by possible‐worlds frameworks.
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  6.  71
    Imaginative Resistance and Modal Knowledge.Daniel Nolan - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (3):1-25.
    Readers of fictions sometimes resist taking certain kinds of claims to be true according to those fictions, even when they appear explicitly or follow from applying ordinary principles of interpretation. This "imaginative resistance" is often taken to be significant for a range of philosophical projects outside aesthetics, including giving us evidence about what is possible and what is impossible, as well as the limits of conceivability, or readers' normative commitments. I will argue that this phenomenon cannot do the theoretical work (...)
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  7. What Would Teleological Causation Be?John Hawthorne & Daniel Nolan - 2006 - In Metaphysical Essays. Oxford University Press.
    As is well known, Aristotelian natural philosophy, and many other systems of natural philosophy since, have relied heavily on teleology and teleological causation. Somehow, the purpose or end of an obj ect can be used to predict and explain what that object does: once you know that the end of an acorn is to become an oak, and a few things about what sorts of circumstances are conducive to the attainment of this end, you can predict a lot about the (...)
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  8. Quantitative Parsimony.Daniel Nolan - 1997 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48 (3):329-343.
    In this paper, I motivate the view that quantitative parsimony is a theoretical virtue: that is, we should be concerned not only to minimize the number of kinds of entities postulated by our theories (i. e. maximize qualitative parsimony), but we should also minimize the number of entities postulated which fall under those kinds. In order to motivate this view, I consider two cases from the history of science: the postulation of the neutrino and the proposal of Avogadro's hypothesis. I (...)
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  9. The A Posteriori Armchair.Daniel Nolan - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):211-231.
    A lot of good philosophy is done in the armchair, but is nevertheless a posteriori. This paper clarifies and then defends that claim. Among the a posteriori activities done in the armchair are assembling and evaluating commonplaces; formulating theoretical alternatives; and integrating well-known past a posteriori discoveries. The activity that receives the most discussion, however, is the application of theoretical virtues to choose philosophical theories: the paper argues that much of this is properly seen as a posteriori.
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  10. Moral Fictionalism Versus the Rest.Daniel Nolan, Greg Restall & Caroline West - 2005 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83 (3):307 – 330.
    In this paper we introduce a distinct metaethical position, fictionalism about morality. We clarify and defend the position, showing that it is a way to save the 'moral phenomena' while agreeing that there is no genuine objective prescriptivity to be described by moral terms. In particular, we distinguish moral fictionalism from moral quasi-realism, and we show that fictionalism possesses the virtues of quasi-realism about morality, but avoids its vices.
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  11.  29
    David Lewis.Daniel Nolan - 2005 - Mcgill-Queen's University Press.
    David Lewis's work is of fundamental importance in many areas of philosophical inquiry and there are few areas of Anglo-American philosophy where his impact has not been felt. Lewis's philosophy also has a rare unity: his views form a comprehensive philosophical system, answering a broad range of questions in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of action and many other areas. This breadth of Lewis's work, however, has meant that it is difficult to know where to start in (...)
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  12. Infinite Barbarians.Daniel Nolan - 2019 - Ratio 32 (3):173-181.
    This paper discusses an infinite regress that looms behind a certain kind of historical explanation. The movement of one barbarian group is often explained by the movement of others, but those movements in turn call for an explanation. While their explanation can again be the movement of yet another group of barbarians, if this sort of explanation does not stop somewhere we are left with an infinite regress of barbarians. While that regress would be vicious, it cannot be accommodated by (...)
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  13. Creationism and Cardinality.Daniel Nolan & Alexander Sandgren - 2014 - Analysis 74 (4):615-622.
    Creationism about fictional entities requires a principle connecting what fictions say exist with which fictional entities really exist. The most natural way of spelling out such a principle yields inconsistent verdicts about how many fictional entities are generated by certain inconsistent fictions. Avoiding inconsistency without compromising the attractions of creationism will not be easy.
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  14. Intensionality and Hyperintensionality.Daniel Nolan - 2019 - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Routledge Encyclopedia entry on Intensionality and Hyperintensionality.
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  15. Causal Counterfactuals and Impossible Worlds.Daniel Nolan - 2017 - In Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Huw Price (eds.), Making a Difference. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 14-32.
    A standing challenge in the theory of counterfactuals is to solve the “deviation problem”. Consider ordinary counterfactuals involving an antecedent concerning a difference from the actual course of events at a particular time, and a consequent concerning, at least in part, what happens at a later time. In the possible worlds framework, the problem is often put in terms of which are the relevant antecedent worlds. Desiderata for the solution include that the relevant antecedent worlds be governed by the actual (...)
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  16.  87
    Topics in the Philosophy of Possible Worlds.Daniel Nolan - 2002 - Routledge.
    This book discusses a range of important issues in current philosophical work on the nature of possible worlds. Areas investigated include the theories of the nature of possible worlds, general questions about metaphysical analysis and questions about the direction of dependence between what is necessary or possible and what could be.
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  17. Utility Monsters for the Fission Age.Rachael Briggs & Daniel Nolan - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):392-407.
    One of the standard approaches to the metaphysics of personal identity has some counter-intuitive ethical consequences when combined with maximising consequentialism and a plausible doctrine about aggregation of consequences. This metaphysical doctrine is the so-called ‘multiple occupancy’ approach to puzzles about fission and fusion. It gives rise to a new version of the ‘utility monster’ problem, particularly difficult problems about infinite utility, and a new version of a Parfit-style ‘repugnant conclusion’. While the article focuses on maximising consequentialism for simplicity, the (...)
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  18. Disposition Impossible.C. S. Jenkins & Daniel Nolan - 2012 - Noûs 46 (4):732-753.
    Are there dispositions which not only do not manifest, but which could not manifest? We argue that there are dispositions to Ф in circumstances C where C is impossible, and some where Ф is impossible. Furthermore, postulating these dispositions does useful theoretical work. This paper describes a number of cases of dispositions had by objects even though those dispositions are not possibly manifest, and argues for the importance of these dispositions.
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  19. Defending a Possible-Worlds Account of Indicative Conditionals.Daniel Nolan - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 116 (3):215-269.
    One very popular kind of semantics for subjunctive conditionals is aclosest-worlds account along the lines of theories given by David Lewisand Robert Stalnaker. If we could give the same sort of semantics forindicative conditionals, we would have a more unified account of themeaning of ``if ... then ...'' statements, one with manyadvantages for explaining the behaviour of conditional sentences. Such atreatment of indicative conditionals, however, has faced a battery ofobjections. This paper outlines a closest-worlds account of indicativeconditionals that does better (...)
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  20. The Possibilities of History.Daniel Nolan - 2016 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 10 (3):441-456.
    _ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 441 - 456 Several kinds of historical alternatives are distinguished. Different kinds of historical alternatives are valuable to the practice of history for different reasons. Important uses for historical alternatives include representing different sides of historical disputes; distributing chances of different outcomes over alternatives; and offering explanations of why various alternatives did _not_ in fact happen. Consideration of counterfactuals about what would have happened had things been different in particular ways plays particularly useful (...)
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  21. It’s a Kind of Magic: Lewis, Magic and Properties.Daniel Nolan - 2015 - Synthese:1-25.
    David Lewis’s arguments against magical ersatzism are notoriously puzzling. Untangling different strands in those arguments is useful for bringing out what he thought was wrong with not just one style of theory about possible worlds, but with much of the contemporary metaphysics of abstract objects. After setting out what I take Lewis’s arguments to be and how best to resist them, I consider the application of those arguments to general theories of properties and relations. The constraints Lewis motivates turn out (...)
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  22. Epistemic Dispositions: Reply to Turri and Bronner.Rachael Briggs & Daniel Nolan - 2012 - Logos and Episteme 3 (4):629-636.
    We reply to recent papers by John Turri and Ben Bronner, who criticise the dispositionalised Nozickian tracking account we discuss in “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know.” We argue that the account we suggested can handle the problems raised by Turri and Bronner. In the course of responding to Turri and Bronner’s objections, we draw three general lessons for theories of epistemic dispositions: that epistemic dispositions are to some extent extrinsic, that epistemic dispositions can have manifestation conditions concerning circumstances where (...)
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  23. Cosmic Loops.Daniel Nolan - 2018 - In Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and Its Structure. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 91-106.
    This paper explores a special kind of loop of grounding: cosmic loops. A cosmic loop is a loop that intuitively requires us to go "around" the entire universe to come back to the original ground. After describing several kinds of cosmic loop scenarios, I will discuss what we can learn from these scenarios about constraints on grounding; the conceivability of cosmic loops; the possibility of cosmic loops; and the prospects for salvaging local reflexivity, asymmetry and transitivity of grounding in a (...)
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  24. Conditionals and Curry.Daniel Nolan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2629-2647.
    Curry's paradox for "if.. then.." concerns the paradoxical features of sentences of the form "If this very sentence is true, then 2+2=5". Standard inference principles lead us to the conclusion that such conditionals have true consequents: so, for example, 2+2=5 after all. There has been a lot of technical work done on formal options for blocking Curry paradoxes while only compromising a little on the various central principles of logic and meaning that are under threat. -/- Once we have a (...)
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  25. What’s Wrong With Infinite Regresses?Daniel Nolan - 2001 - Metaphilosophy 32 (5):523-538.
    It is almost universally believed that some infinite regresses are vicious, and also almost universally believed that some are benign. In this paper I argue that regresses can be vicious for several different sorts of reasons. Furthermore, I claim that some intuitively vicious regresses do not suffer from any of the particular aetiologies that guarantee viciousness to regresses, but are nevertheless so on the basis of considerations of parsimony. The difference between some apparently benign and some apparently vicious regresses, then, (...)
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  26. Balls and All.Daniel Nolan - 2014 - In S. Kleinschmidt (ed.), Mereology and Location. Oxford University Press. pp. 91-116.
    This paper describes a plausible view of the nature of physical objects, their mereological connections to each other, and their relation to spacetime. As well as being parsimonious, the view provides a plausible context for denying all of the following: (1) A theory that objects endure through time (and do not have temporal parts, as normally conceived) cannot claim that material objects are identical to space-time regions they occupy. (2) At least one of the family of mereological connections (part-whole, overlap (...)
     
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  27. The Extent of Metaphysical Necessity.Daniel Nolan - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):313-339.
    A lot of philosophers engage in debates about what claims are “metaphysically necessary”, and a lot more assume with little argument that some classes of claims have the status of “metaphysical necessity”. I think we can usefully replace questions about metaphysical necessity with five other questions which each capture some of what people may have had in mind when talking about metaphysical necessity. This paper explains these five other questions, and then discusses the question “how much of metaphysics is metaphysically (...)
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  28. Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know.Rachael Briggs & Daniel Nolan - 2012 - Analysis 72 (2):314-316.
    Tracking accounts of knowledge formulated in terms of counterfactuals suffer from well known problems. Examples are provided, and it is shown that moving to a dispositional tracking theory of knowledge avoids three of these problems.
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  29. Method in Analytic Metaphysics.Daniel Nolan - 2016 - In Herman Cappelen, Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology. Oxford University Press.
    This article focuses on the main methods used in analytic metaphysics. It first considers five important sources of constraints on metaphysical theorizing: linguistic and conceptual analysis, consulting intuitions, employing the findings of science, respecting folk opinion, and applying theoretical virtues in metaphysical theory choice such as preferring simpler theories, or preferring more explanatory theories. It then examines the role of formal methods in metaphysics as well as the role of metaphysical communities, traditions, and the place of the history of metaphysics (...)
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  30. Platitudes and Metaphysics.Daniel Nolan - 2009 - In David Braddon-Mitchell & Robert Nola (eds.), Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism. MIT Press.
    One increasingly popular technique in philosophy might be called the "platitudes analysis": a set of widely accepted claims about a given subject matter are collected, adjustments are made to the body of claims, and this is taken to specify a “role” for the phenomenon in question. (Perhaps the best-known example is analytic functionalism about mental states, where platitudes about belief, desire, intention etc. are together taken to give us a "role" for states to fill if they are to count as (...)
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  31. Modal Fictionalism.Daniel Nolan - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Questions about necessity (or what has to be, or what cannot be otherwise) and possibility (or what can be, or what could be otherwise) are questions about modality. Fictionalism is an approach to theoretical matters in a given area which treats the claims in that area as being in some sense analogous to fictional claims: claims we do not literally accept at face value, but which we nevertheless think serve some useful function. However, despite its name, “Modal Fictionalism” in its (...)
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  32. Recombination Unbound.Daniel Nolan - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 84 (2-3):239-262.
    This paper discusses the principle of recombination for possible worlds. It argues that arguments against unrestricted recombination offered by Forrest and Armstrong and by David Lewis fail, but a related argument is a challenge, and recommends that we accept an unrestricted principle of recombination and the conclusion that possible worlds form a proper class.
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  33. Possible Worlds Semantics.Daniel Nolan - 2012 - In Gillian Russell & Delia Fara (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language. New York, USA: Routledge Press. pp. 242-252.
    This chapter provides an introduction to possible worlds semantics in both logic and the philosophy of language, including a discussion of some of the advantages and challenges for possible worlds semantics.
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  34. Vagueness, Multiplicity and Parts.Daniel P. Nolan - 2006 - Noûs 40 (4):716–737.
    There’s an argument around from so-called “linguistic theories of vagueness”, plus some relatively uncontroversial considerations, to powerful metaphysical conclusions. David Lewis employs this argument to support the mereological principle of unrestricted composition, and Theodore Sider employs a similar argument not just for unrestricted composition but also for the doctrine of temporal parts. This sort of argument could be generalised, to produce a lot of other less palatable metaphysical conclusions. However, arguments to Lewis’s and Sider’s conclusions on the basis of considerations (...)
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  35. Why Historians (and Everyone Else) Should Care About Counterfactuals.Daniel Nolan - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 163 (2):317-335.
    Abstract There are at least eight good reasons practicing historians should concern themselves with counterfactual claims. Furthermore, four of these reasons do not even require that we are able to tell which historical counterfactuals are true and which are false. This paper defends the claim that these reasons to be concerned with counterfactuals are good ones, and discusses how each can contribute to the practice of history. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-19 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9817-z Authors Daniel Nolan, School of Philosophy, (...)
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  36. Impossibility and Impossible Worlds.Daniel Nolan - forthcoming - In Otavio Bueno & Scott Shalkowski (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Modality. New York, USA: Routledge Press.
  37. Stoic Gunk.Daniel P. Nolan - 2006 - Phronesis 51 (2):162-183.
    The surviving sources on the Stoic theory of division reveal that the Stoics, particularly Chrysippus, believed that bodies, places and times were such that all of their parts themselves had proper parts. That is, bodies, places and times were composed of gunk. This realisation helps solve some long-standing puzzles about the Stoic theory of mixture and the Stoic attitude to the present.
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  38. Selfless Desires.Daniel Nolan - 2006 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (3):665-679.
    Unified theories of de se attitudes and de dicto attitudes, along the lines of David Lewis’s proposal, face a problem. Whether or not they are adequate for representing beliefs, they can misrepresent the content of many of our desires, which rank possible outcomes in which the agent with the desire does not exist. These desires are shown to play a role in the rational explanation of action, and recognising them is important in our understanding of ourselves. Lewis’s account of attitudes (...)
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  39. Backwards Explanation.C. S. Jenkins & Daniel Nolan - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 140 (1):103 - 115.
    We discuss explanation of an earlier event by a later event, and argue that prima facie cases of backwards event explanation are ubiquitous. Some examples: (1) I am tidying my flat because my brother is coming to visit tomorrow. (2) The scarlet pimpernels are closing because it is about to rain. (3) The volcano is smoking because it is going to erupt soon. We then look at various ways people might attempt to explain away these prima facie cases by arguing (...)
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  40. Methodological Naturalism in Metaethics.Daniel Nolan - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 659-673.
    Methodological naturalism arises as a topic in metaethics in two ways. One is the issue of whether we should be methodological naturalists when doing our moral theorising, and another is whether we should take a naturalistic approach to metaethics itself. Interestingly, these can come apart, and some naturalist programs in metaethics justify a non-scientific approach to our moral theorising. This paper discusses the range of approaches that fall under the general umbrella of methodological naturalism, and how naturalists view the role (...)
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  41. Why Take Our Word for It?Ishani Maitra & Daniel Nolan - manuscript
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  42. Three Problems for “Strong” Modal Fictionalism.Daniel Nolan - 1997 - Philosophical Studies 87 (3):259-275.
    Modal Fictionalism, the theory that possible worlds do not literally exist but that our talk about them should be understood in the same way that we understand talk about fictional entities, is an increasingly popular approach to possible worlds. This paper will distinguish three versions of Modal Fictionalism, and will show that the third, a version endorsed by some of the most prominent Modal Fictionalists, faces at least three serious objections: that it makes modality too artificial, the modal fiction does (...)
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  43. Chance and Necessity.Daniel Nolan - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):294-308.
    A principle endorsed by many theories of objective chance, and practically forced on us by the standard interpretation of the Kolmogorov semantics for chance, is the principle that when a proposition P has a chance, any proposition Q that is necessarily equivalent to P will have the same chance as P. Call this principle SUB (for the substitution of necessary equivalents into chance ascriptions). I will present some problems for a theory of chance, and will argue that the best way (...)
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  44. Reflexive Fictionalisms.Daniel Nolan & J. O'Leary-Hawthorne - 1996 - Analysis 56 (1):23-32.
    There is a class of fictionalist strategies (the reflexive fictionalisms) which appear to suffer from a common problem: the problem that the entities which are supposedly fictional turn out, by the lights of the fictionalist theory itself, to exist. The appropriate solution is to reject so-called strong fictionalism in each case: that is, to reject the variety of fictionalism which takes appeal to the domain of fictional entities to provide an explanation or analysis of the operators or predicates with which (...)
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  45. The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Abstract Metaphysics.Daniel Nolan - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 9:61-88.
    In Metaphysics A, Aristotle offers some objections to Plato’s theory of Forms to the effect that Plato’s Forms would not be explanatory in the right way, and seems to suggest that they might even make the explanatory project worse. One interesting historical puzzle is whether Aristotle can avoid these same objections to his own theory of universals. The concerns Aristotle raises are, I think, cousins of contemporary concerns about the usefulness and explanatoriness of abstract objects, some of which have recently (...)
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    Personification and Impossible Fictions.Daniel Nolan - 2015 - British Journal of Aesthetics 55 (1):57-69.
    Impossible fictions are not just the creations of puzzle-seeking philosophers or artists experimenting with the limits of fiction. Impossibilities can be found in relatively mundane fiction as well. This article argues that the device of personification, especially of abstract entities such as death or duty, yields impossible fictions, arguing against a number of strategies that might be tried to show that these cases of personification do not yield impossibilities.
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  47. Truthmakers and Predication.Daniel Nolan - 2008 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 4:171-192.
    To what extent do true predications correspond to truthmakers in virtue of which those predications are true? One sort of predicate which is often thought to not be susceptible to an ontological treatment is a predicate for instantiation, or some corresponding predication (trope-similarity or set-membership, for example). This paper discusses this question, and argues that an "ontological" approach is possible here too: where this ontological approach goes beyond merely finding a truthmaker for claims about instantiation. Along the way a version (...)
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  48. Classes, Worlds and Hypergunk.Daniel Nolan - 2004 - The Monist 87 (3):303-321.
    The question of what truths are necessary in the broadest possible sense is a difficult one to answer, as is the question of what the limits are to what is possible. (Most people would see these two questions as different sides of the same coin, of course, since many think the question of what is possible is just the question of what is not necessarily ruled out). We have three general sorts of strategies for determining whether something is necessary (or (...)
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  49. A Consistent Reading of Sylvan's Box.Daniel Nolan - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):667-673.
    I argue that Graham Priest's story 'Sylvan's Box' has an attractive consistent reading. Priest's hope that this story can be used as an example of a non-trivial 'essentially inconsistent' story is thus threatened. I then make some observations about the role 'Sylvan's Box' might play in a theory of unreliable narrators.
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  50. Finite Quantities.Daniel Nolan - 2008 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt1):23-42.
    Quantum Mechanics, and apparently its successors, claim that there are minimum quantities by which objects can differ, at least in some situations: electrons can have various “energy levels” in an atom, but to move from one to another they must jump rather than move via continuous variation: and an electron in a hydrogen atom going from -13.6 eV of energy to -3.4 eV does not pass through states of -10eV or -5.1eV, let along -11.1111115637 eV or -4.89712384 eV.
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