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David Mark Kovacs
Tel Aviv University
  1. Metaphysically explanatory unification.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (6):1659-1683.
    This paper develops and motivates a unification theory of metaphysical explanation, or as I will call it, Metaphysical Unificationism. The theory’s main inspiration is the unification account of scientific explanation, according to which explanatoriness is a holistic feature of theories that derive a large number of explananda from a meager set of explanantia, using a small number of argument patterns. In developing Metaphysical Unificationism, I will point out that it has a number of interesting consequences. The view offers a novel (...)
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  2. Four Questions of Iterated Grounding.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):341-364.
    The Question of Iterated Grounding (QIG) asks what grounds the grounding facts. Although the question received a lot of attention in the past few years, it is usually discussed independently of another important issue: the connection between metaphysical explanation and the relation or relations that supposedly “back” it. I will show that once we get clear on the distinction between metaphysical explanation and the relation(s) backing it, we can distinguish no fewer than four questions lumped under QIG. I will also (...)
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  3. Diachronic Self-Making.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (2):349-362.
    This paper develops the Diachronic Self-Making View, the view that we are the non-accidentally best candidate referents of our ‘I’-beliefs. A formulation and defence of DSV is followed by an overview of its treatment of familiar puzzle cases about personal identity. The rest of the paper focuses on a challenge to DSV, the Puzzle of Inconstant ‘I’-beliefs: the view appears to force on us inconsistent verdicts about personal identity in cases that we would naturally describe as changes in one’s de (...)
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  4. An Explanatory Idealist Theory of Grounding.David Mark Kovacs - forthcoming - Noûs.
    How is grounding related to metaphysical explanation? The standard view is that the former somehow “backs”, “undergirds” or “underlies” the latter. This view fits into a general picture of explanation, according to which explanations in general hold in virtue of a certain elite group of “explanatory relations” or “determinative relations” that back them. This paper turns the standard view on its head: grounding doesn't “back” metaphysical explanation but is in an important sense downstream from it. I call this view “grounding (...)
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  5. How to Be an Uncompromising Revisionary Ontologist.David Mark Kovacs - 2019 - Synthese 198 (3):2129-2152.
    Revisionary ontologies seem to go against our common sense convictions about which material objects exist. These views face the so-called Problem of Reasonableness: they have to explain why reasonable people don’t seem to accept the true ontology. Most approaches to this problem treat the mismatch between the ontological truth and ordinary belief as superficial or not even real. By contrast, I propose what I call the “uncompromising solution”. First, I argue that our beliefs about material objects were influenced by evolutionary (...)
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  6. The Deflationary Theory of Ontological Dependence.David Mark Kovacs - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (272):481-502.
    When an entity ontologically depends on another entity, the former ‘presupposes’ or ‘requires’ the latter in some metaphysical sense. This paper defends a novel view, Dependence Deflationism, according to which ontological dependence is what I call an aggregative cluster concept: a concept which can be understood, but not fully analysed, as a ‘weighted total’ of constructive and modal relations. The view has several benefits: it accounts for clear cases of ontological dependence as well as the source of disagreement in controversial (...)
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  7. Self-Made People.David Mark Kovacs - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):1071-1099.
    The Problem of Overlappers is a puzzle about what makes it the case, and how we can know, that we have the parts we intuitively think we have. In this paper, I develop and motivate an overlooked solution to this puzzle. According to what I call the self-making view it is within our power to decide what we refer to with the personal pronoun ‘I’, so the truth of most of our beliefs about our parts is ensured by the very (...)
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  8.  62
    Intuitions About Objects: From Teleology to Elimination.David Mark Kovacs - forthcoming - Mind:fzz071.
    In a series of recent papers, David Rose and Jonathan Schaffer use a number of experiments to show that folk intuitions about composition and persistence are driven by pre-scientific teleological tendencies. They argue that these intuitions are fit for debunking and that the playing field for competing accounts of composition and persistence should therefore be considered even: no view draws more support from folk intuitions than its rivals, and the choice between them should be made exclusively on the basis of (...)
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  9. Is There a Conservative Solution to the Many Thinkers Problem?David Mark Kovacs - 2010 - Ratio 23 (3):275-290.
    On a widely shared assumption, our mental states supervene on our microphysical properties – that is, microphysical supervenience is true. When this thesis is combined with the apparent truism that human persons have proper parts, a grave difficulty arises: what prevents some of these proper parts from being themselves thinkers as well? How can I know that I am a human person and not a smaller thinker enclosed in a human person? Most solutions to this puzzle make radical, if not (...)
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  10.  52
    The oldest solution to the circularity problem for Humeanism about the laws of nature.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):1-21.
    According to Humeanism about the laws, the laws of nature are nothing over and above certain kinds of regularities about particular facts. Humeanism has often been accused of circularity: according to scientific practice laws often explain their instances, but on the Humean view they also reduce to the mosaic, which includes those instances. In this paper I formulate the circularity problem in a way that avoids a number of controversial assumptions routinely taken for granted in the literature, and against which (...)
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  11. Constitution and Dependence.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy 117 (3):150-177.
    Constitution is the relation that holds between an object and what it is made of: statues are constituted by the lumps of matter they coincide with; flags, one may think, are constituted by colored pieces of cloth; and perhaps human persons are constituted by biological organisms. Constitution is often thought to be a.
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  12. Modality.David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 348-360.
    A survey of the connection between grounding and modality, in particular supervenience. The survey explores three possible connections between grounding and supervenience: (1) supervenience can be analyzed in terms of grounding, (2) grounded facts supervene on their grounds, and (3) grounding and supervenience overlap in their theoretical roles.
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  13. Deflationary Nominalism and Puzzle Avoidance.David Mark Kovacs - 2019 - Philosophia Mathematica 27 (1):88-104.
    In a series of works, Jody Azzouni has defended deflationary nominalism, the view that certain sentences quantifying over mathematical objects are literally true, although such objects do not exist. One alleged attraction of this view is that it avoids various philosophical puzzles about mathematical objects. I argue that this thought is misguided. I first develop an ontologically neutral counterpart of Field’s reliability challenge and argue that deflationary nominalism offers no distinctive answer to it. I then show how this reasoning generalizes (...)
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  14.  46
    The Question of Iterated Causation.David Mark Kovacs - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    This paper is about what I call the Question of Iterated Causation (QIC): for any instance of causation in which c1…ck cause effect e, what are the causes of c1…ck’s causing of e? In short: what causes instances of causation or, as I will refer to these instances, the “causal goings‐on”? A natural response (which I call “dismissivism”) is that this is a bad question because causal goings‐on aren’t apt to be caused. After rebutting several versions of dismissivism, I consider (...)
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    There Is No Distinctively Semantic Circularity Objection to Humean Laws.David Mark Kovacs - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-12.
    Humeans identify the laws of nature with universal generalizations that systematize rather than govern the particular matters of fact. Humeanism is frequently accused of circularity: laws explain their instances, but Humean laws are, in turn, grounded by those instances. Unfortunately, this argument trades on controversial assumptions about grounding and explanation that Humeans routinely reject. However, recently an ostensibly semantic circularity objection has been offered, which seeks to avoid reading such assumptions into the Humean view. This paper argues that the new (...)
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    What is Priority Monism?David Mark Kovacs - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2873-2893.
    In a series papers, Jonathan Schaffer defended priority monism, the thesis that the cosmos is the only fundamental material object, on which all other objects depend. A primitive notion of dependence plays a crucial role in Schaffer’s argu- ments for priority monism. The goal of this paper is to scrutinize this notion and also to shed new light on what is at stake in the debate. I present three familiar arguments for priority monism and point out that each relies on (...)
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  17. What Do We Want to Know When We Ask the Simple Question?David Mark Kovacs - 2014 - Philosophical Quarterly 64 (255):254-266.
    The Simple Question (SQ) asks: “What are the necessary and jointly sufficient conditions any x must satisfy in order for it to be true that x is a simple?” The main motivation for asking SQ stems from the hope that it could teach us important lessons for material-object ontology. It is universally accepted that a proper answer to it has to be finite, complete and devoid of mereological expressions. This paper argues that we should stop treating SQ as the central (...)
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  18.  61
    Ricki Bliss and Graham Priest (Eds.): Reality and Its Structure: Essays in Fundamentality. [REVIEW]David Mark Kovacs - 2019 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 17.
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    Thomas Hofweber: Ontology and the Ambitions of Metaphysics. [REVIEW]David Mark Kovacs - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (11):623-628.
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  20. David Rose (Ed.): Experimental Metaphysics. [REVIEW]David Mark Kovacs - 2017 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 15.
     
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  21. Self-Making and Subpeople.David Mark Kovacs - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophy.
    On many currently popular ontologies of material objects, we share our place with numerous shorter-lived things (“subpeople”, to borrow a term from Eric Olson) that came into existence after we did or will go out of existence before we will. Subpeople are intrinsically indistinguishable from possible people, and as several authors (Eric Olson, Mark Johnston, A.P. Taylor) pointed out, this raises grave ethical concerns: it threatens to make any sacrifice for long-term goals impermissible, as well as to undermine our standard (...)
     
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