In considering the nature of properties four controversial decisions must be made. (1) Are properties universals or tropes? (2) Are properties attributes of particulars, or are particulars just bundles of properties? (3) Are properties categorical (qualitative) in nature, or are they powers? (4) If a property attaches to a particular, is this predication contingent, or is it necessary? These choices seem to be in a great degree independent of each other. The author indicates his own choices.
The emphasis is always on the arguments used, and the way one position develops from another. By the end of the book the reader is afforded both a grasp of the state of the controversy, and how we got there.
The object of this paper is to argue once again for the combinatorial account of possibility defended in earlier work. But there I failed fully to realise the dialectical advantages that accrue once one begins by assuming the hypothesis of logical atomism, the hypothesis that postulates simple particulars and simple universals at the bottom of the world. Logical atomism is, I incline to think, no better than ‘speculative cosmology’ as opposed to ‘analytic ontology’, to use Donald Williams’ terminology. It is, (...) however, not an implausible hypothesis given the current state of quantum physics. More important for our purposes here, the strictly combinatorial theory that flows rather naturally from the atomist metaphysics shows some promise of continuing to hold in a world that is not an atomist world. (shrink)
The paper tries to rebut an objection to materialism. Anti-Materialists have argued that mental processes do not appear to be mere physical processes in the brain, And that secondary qualities such as sounds do not appear to be mere vibrations in the air. So materialists must admit that introspection and perception involve at least the illusion of the falsity of materialism. Using the headless woman illusion as a model, It is shown how the illusion is generated, And that it is (...) exactly what we ought to expect even if materialism is true. (shrink)
A philosophy might take its general inspiration from (1) commonsense; (2) careful observation; (3) philosophical argumentation; (4) the sciences; (5) "higher" sources of illumination. It is argued in this paper that it is bedrock commonsense, and the sciences, which are the most reliable foundations for a philosophy. This result is applied to the discussion and defense of a materialist theory of the mind.
The mental: [I] The unconscious: A totally unconscious man has a mind and the mind is in various states. ___ He does not lack knowledge and beliefs. ___ He may be credited with memories and skills. ___ He may be credited with likes and dislikes, attitudes and emotions, current desires and current aims and purposes. He may be said to have certain traits of character and temperament. He may be said to be in certain moods..... [The mental states of a (...) totally unconscious person are thus "causally quiescent": ___ knowledge and beliefs may be said to be causally quiescent while they are not producing any mental effect in the person.]. (shrink)
I used to think of the connection between a particular and a universal that it instantiates as a contingent one. Now I think that this is not quite right. This revision, as I now see it, is not a very large one. I still think that the states of affairs that unite particulars and universals are contingent beings. But the connection within states of affairs is, in a certain way, necessary.
Most of the New Theory of Vision is an argument for a negative answer to Molyneux's question.// re primacy of vision in spatial perception: "most rational philosopher on this topic is Berkeley, whose New Theory of Vision presents in cogent detail the argument" (from Bennett 1966, p. 30, in note cites 41ff.).// Berkeley's criticisms of Locke: "If we really abstract from colour and hardness and all that 'belongs to sensation', so far from being left with 'pure' notions of extension and (...) figure, we are left with nothing but words emptied of meaning" (from Strawson 1966, p. 61). (shrink)