Many philosophers have been attracted to a restricted version of the principle of indifference in the case of self-locating belief. Roughly speaking, this principle states that, within any given possible world, one should be indifferent between different hypotheses concerning who one is within that possible world, so long as those hypotheses are compatible with one’s evidence. My first goal is to defend a more precise version of this principle. After responding to several existing criticisms of such a principle, I argue (...) that existing formulations of the principle are crucially ambiguous, and I go on to defend a particular disambiguation of the principle. According to the disambiguation I defend, how we should apply this restricted principle of indifference sensitively depends on our background metaphysical beliefs. My second goal is to apply this disambiguated principle to classical skeptical problems in epistemology. In particular, I argue that Eternalism threatens to lead us to external world skepticism, and Modal Realism threatens to lead us to inductive skepticism. (shrink)
According to orthodoxy, our best physical theories strongly support Eternalism over Presentism. Our goal is to argue against this consensus, by arguing that a certain overlooked aspect of our best physical theories strongly supports Presentism over Eternalism.
What is the relationship between objects and properties? According to a standard view, there are primitive individuals that ‘instantiate’ or ‘have’ various properties. According to a rival view, objects are mere ‘bundles’ of properties. While there are a number of reasons to be skeptical of primitive individuals, there are also a number of challenges that the bundle theorist faces. The goal of this paper is to formulate a view about the relationship between objects and properties that avoids many of the (...) problems inherent in both of these views. The view I will end up defending implies a particularly radical version of Monism, and it collapses the object-property distinction altogether. (shrink)
The central aim of this paper is to use a particular view about how the laws of nature govern the evolution of our universe in order to develop and evaluate the two main competing options in the metaphysics of persistence, namely endurantism and perdurantism. We begin by motivating the view that our laws of nature dictate not only qualitative facts about the future, but also which objects will instantiate which qualitative properties. We then show that both traditional doctrines in the (...) metaphysics of persistence must take on surprising further commitments in order to vindicate our universe being law-governed in this strong sense. For example, we argue that endurantists should adopt a particular version of monism, and that perdurantists should adopt a qualitativist doctrine that dispenses with all individuals at the fundamental level. (shrink)
How should we account for the extraordinary regularity in the world? Humeans and Non-Humeans sharply disagree. According to Non-Humeans, the world behaves in an extraordinarily regular way because of certain necessary connections in nature. However, Humeans have thought that Non-Humean views are metaphysically objectionable. In particular, there are two general metaphysical principles that Humeans have found attractive that are incompatible with all existing versions of Non-Humeanism. My goal in this paper is to develop a novel version of Non-Humeanism that is (...) consistent with (and even entails) both of these general metaphysical principles. By endorsing such a view, one can have the explanatory benefits of Non-Humeanism while at the same time avoiding two of the major metaphysical objections towards Non-Humeanism. (shrink)
Inspired by Cantor's Theorem (CT), orthodoxy takes infinities to come in different sizes. The orthodox view has had enormous influence in mathematics, philosophy, and science. We will defend the contrary view---Countablism---according to which, necessarily, every infinite collection (set or plurality) is countable. We first argue that the potentialist or modal strategy for treating Russell's Paradox, first proposed by Parsons (2000) and developed by Linnebo (2010, 2013) and Linnebo and Shapiro (2019), should also be applied to CT, in a way that (...) vindicates Countabilism. Our discussion dovetails with recent independently developed treatments of CT in Meadows (2015), Pruss (2020), and Scambler (2021), aimed at establishing the mathematical viability, and therefore epistemic possibility, of Countabilism. Unlike these authors, our goal isn't to vindicate the mathematical underpinnings of Countabilism. Rather, we aim to argue that, given that Countabilism is mathematically viable, Countabilism should moreover be regarded as true. After clarifying the modal content of Countabilism, we canvas some of Countabilism's many positive implications, including that Countabilism provides the best account of the pervasive independence phenomena in set theory, and that Countabilism has the power to defuse several persistent puzzles and paradoxes found in physics and metaphysics. We conclude that in light of its theoretical and explanatory advantages, Countabilism is more likely true than not. (shrink)
In many different ontological debates, anti-arbitrariness considerations push one towards two opposing extremes. For example, in debates about mereology, one may be pushed towards a maximal ontology (mereological universalism) or a minimal ontology (mereological nihilism), because any intermediate view seems objectionably arbitrary. However, it is usually thought that anti-arbitrariness considerations on their own cannot decide between these maximal or minimal views. I will argue that this is a mistake. Anti-arbitrariness arguments may be used to motivate a certain popular thesis in (...) the philosophy of mathematics that rules out the maximalist view in many different ontological debates. (shrink)
Standard accuracy-based approaches to imprecise credences have the consequence that it is rational to move between precise and imprecise credences arbitrarily, without gaining any new evidence. Building on the Educated Guessing Framework of Horowitz (2019), we develop an alternative accuracy-based approach to imprecise credences that does not have this shortcoming. We argue that it is always irrational to move from a precise state to an imprecise state arbitrarily, however it can be rational to move from an imprecise state to a (...) precise state arbitrarily. (shrink)
According to First-Person Realism, one's own first-person perspective on the world is metaphysically privileged in some way. After clarifying First-Person Realism by reference to parallel debates in the metaphysics of modality and time, I survey eight different arguments in favor of First-Person Realism.
My first goal is to motivate a distinctively metaphysical approach to the problem of induction. I argue that there is a precise sense in which the only way that orthodox Humean and non-Humean views can justify induction is by appealing to extremely strong and unmotivated probabilistic biases. My second goal is to sketch what such a metaphysical approach could possibly look like. After sketching such an approach, I consider a toy case that illustrates the way in which such a metaphysics (...) can help us make progress on the problem of induction. (shrink)
The epistemology of self-locating belief concerns itself with how rational agents ought to respond to certain kinds of indexical information. I argue that those who endorse the thesis of Time-Slice Rationality ought to endorse a particular view about the epistemology of self-locating belief, according to which ‘essentially indexical’ information is never evidentially relevant to non-indexical matters. I close by offering some independent motivations for endorsing Time-Slice Rationality in the context of the epistemology of self-locating belief.
Our evidence can be about different subject matters. In fact, necessarily equivalent pieces of evidence can be about different subject matters. Does the hyperintensionality of ‘aboutness’ engender any hyperintensionality at the level of rational credence? In this paper, I present a case which seems to suggest that the answer is ‘yes’. In particular, I argue that our intuitive notions of independent evidence and inadmissible evidence are sensitive to aboutness in a hyperintensional way. We are thus left with a paradox. While (...) there is strong reason to think that rational credence cannot make such hyperintensional distinctions, our intuitive judgements about certain cases seem to demand that it does. (shrink)
Most of our best scientific descriptions of the world employ rates of change of some continuous quantity with respect to some other continuous quantity. For instance, in classical physics we arrive at a particle’s velocity by taking the time-derivative of its position, and we arrive at a particle’s acceleration by taking the time-derivative of its velocity. Because rates of change are defined in terms of other continuous quantities, most think that facts about some rate of change obtain in virtue of (...) facts about those other continuous quantities. For example, on this view facts about a particle’s velocity at a time obtain in virtue of facts about how that particle’s position is changing at that time. In this paper we raise a puzzle for this orthodox reductionist account of rate of change quantities and evaluate some possible replies. We don’t decisively come down in favour of one reply over the others, though we say some things to support taking our puzzle to cast doubt on the standard view that spacetime is continuous. (shrink)
Many philosophers of physics think that physical rates of change, like velocity or acceleration in classical physics, are extrinsic. Many philosophers of mind think that phenomenal properties, which characterize what it’s like to be an agent at a time, are intrinsic. I will argue that these two views can’t both be true. Given that these two views are in tension, we face an explanatory challenge. Why should there be any interesting connection between these physical quantities and consciousness in the first (...) place? In a speculative spirit, I close by developing a panpsychist view which promises to explain this connection in a particularly satisfying way. (shrink)
Ontological Pluralism is the thesis that there are different ways of being. In his recent paper, ‘The only way to be’, Trenton Merricks has presented an important challenge to Pluralism in the form of a dilemma. The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, I argue that Merricks’s argument against Pluralism, as stated, is unsound. I will argue that one horn of the dilemma is unproblematic for contemporary versions of Pluralism, defended by Jason Turner and Kris McDaniel, that are formulated (...) in the framework of Ted Sider. However, my second task is to provide a new dilemma against Pluralism, which, when combined with Merricks’s arguments, constitutes a sound argument against all forms of Pluralism. The new dilemma will reveal that the real problem with Ontological Pluralism is its conflict with Ted Sider’s principle of Purity. (shrink)
According to the grounding theory of powers, fundamental physical properties should be thought of as qualities that ground dispositions. Although this view has recently been defended by many different philosophers, there is no consensus for how the view should be developed within a broader metaphysics of properties. Recently, Tugby has argued that the view should be developed in the context of a Platonic theory of properties, where properties are abstract universals. I will argue that the view should not be developed (...) within such a framework. Either the view should be developed with an ontology of Aristotelian properties, or it should be developed in a Nominalist framework that contains no properties at all. (shrink)
We start by presenting three different views that jointly imply that all people have a large number of conscious beings in their immediate vicinity, and that the number greatly varies from person to person. We then present and assess an argument to the conclusion that how confident people should be in these views should sensitively depend on how massive they happen to be. According to the argument, sometimes irreducibly de se observations can be powerful evidence for or against believing in (...) metaphysical theories. (shrink)
What is the temporal structure of conscious experience? While it is popular to think that our most basic conscious experiences are temporally extended, we will be arguing against this view, on the grounds that it makes our conscious experiences depend on the future in an implausible way. We then defend an alternative view of the temporal structure of experience from a variety of different objections. Along the way, we hope to illustrate the wider philosophical ramifications of the relationship between experience (...) and time. What one thinks about the temporal structure of experience is, we believe, deeply interconnected with issues concerning whether consciousness is vague or precise, whether conscious states can be reduced to physical states, whether phenomenal properties are intrinsic properties, and whether phenomenal consciousness can “overflow” access consciousness. As we will see, even seemingly unrelated metaphysical questions, such as the debate between Humean and Non-Humean accounts of natural necessity, bear on questions about the relationship between experience and time. (shrink)
Platonists affirm the existence of abstract mathematical objects, and Nominalists deny the existence of abstract mathematical objects. While there are standard arguments in favor of Nominalism, these arguments fail to account for the necessity of Nominalism. Furthermore, these arguments do nothing to explain why Nominalism is true. They only point to certain theoretical vices that might befall the Platonist. The goal of this paper is to formulate and defend a simple, valid argument for the necessity of Nominalism that seeks to (...) precisify the widespread intuition that mathematical objects are somehow ‘spooky’ or ‘mysterious’. (shrink)
I argue that different views in the metaphysics of time make different observational predictions in both classical and relativistic cases. Because different views in the metaphysics of time differ over which facts are merely indexical facts, they make different observational predictions about certain self-locating propositions. I argue for this thesis by distinguishing the three main updating procedures that apply in cases of self-locating uncertainty, and I present a series of cases which cumulatively show that every one of these updating procedures (...) distinguishes eternalism and presentism in both classical and relativistic settings. (shrink)