In this paper I elicit a prediction from structural realism and compare it, not to a historical case, but to a contemporary scientific theory. If structural realism is correct, then we should expect physics to develop theories that fail to provide an ontology of the sort sought by traditional realists. If structure alone is responsible for instrumental success, we should expect surplus ontology to be eliminated. Quantum field theory (QFT) provides the framework for some of the best confirmed theories in (...) science, but debates over its ontology are vexed. Rather than taking a stand on these matters, the structural realist can embrace QFT as an example of just the kind of theory SR should lead us to expect. Yet, it is not clear that QFT meets the structuralist's positive expectation by providing a structure for the world. In particular, the problem of unitarily inequivalent representations threatens to undermine the possibility of QFT providing a unique structure for the world. In response to this problem, I suggest that the structuralist should endorse pluralism about structure. (shrink)
In a recent essay, Deery and Nahmias :1255–1276, 2017) utilize interventionism about causation to develop an account of causal sourcehood in order to defend compatibilism about free will and moral responsibility from manipulation arguments. In this paper, we criticize Deery and Nahmias’s analysis of sourcehood by drawing a distinction between two forms of causal invariance that can come into conflict on their account. We conclude that any attempt to resolve this conflict will either result in counterintuitive attributions of moral responsibility (...) or will undermine their response to manipulation arguments. (shrink)
Ontic structural realism (OSR) claims that all there is to the world is structure. But how can this slogan be turned into a worked-out metaphysics? Here I consider one potential answer: a metaphysical framework known as generalism (Dasgupta, 2009, 2016). According to the generalist, the most fundamental description of the world is not given in terms of individuals bearing properties, but rather, general facts about which states of affairs obtain. However, I contend that despite several apparent similarities between the positions, (...) generalism is unable to capture the two main motivations for OSR. I suggest instead that OSR should be construed as a meta-metaphysical position. (shrink)
A growing literature is premised on the claim that quantum mechanics provides evidence for metaphysical indeterminacy. But does it? None of the currently fashionable realist interpretations involve fundamental indeterminacy and the ‘standard interpretation’, to the extent that it can be made out, doesn't require indeterminacy either.
The ways in which space-time points and elementary particles are modeled share a curious feature: neither seems to specify which basic object has which properties. This chapter sketches the motivation for this claim and searches for an explanation for it. After reviewing several proposals, it argues for a view according to which objects occupy their place in a given relational structure essentially. This view, which is termed minimal structural essentialism, provides a metaphysical grounding for the physical equivalence of models related (...) by permutation. An interesting consequence of this position is that space-time points and elemental particles turn out to be individuals, albeit of a rather different sort than has traditionally been considered. (shrink)
The reaction to Darwin's Origin of Species varied in many countries according to the roles played by national scientific institutions and traditions and the attitudes of religious and political groups. The contributors to this volume, including M. J. S. Hodge, David Hull, and Roberto Moreno, gathered in 1972 at an international conference on the comparative reception of Darwinism. Their essays look at early pro- and anti-Darwinism arguments, and three additional comparative essays and appendices add a larger perspective. For this (...) paperback edition, Thomas F. Glick has added a new preface commenting on recent research. (shrink)
Ontic structural realism claims that all there is to the world is structure. But how can this slogan be turned into a worked-out metaphysics? Here I consider one potential answer: a metaphysical framework known as ‘generalism’. According to the generalist, the most fundamental description of the world is not given in terms of individuals bearing properties, but rather, general facts about which states of affairs obtain. However, I contend that despite several apparent similarities between the positions, generalism is unable to (...) capture the two main motivations for OSR. I suggest instead that OSR should be construed as a meta-metaphysical position. 1Introduction 2Motivations 2.1Theory change 2.2Permutation invariance 3Metaphysics 4Generalism 4.1Quantifier generalism 4.2Algebraic generalism 5Why Generalism Is Not Ontic Structural Realism 6Ontic Structural Realism as Meta-metaphysics 7Conclusion. (shrink)
Quantum entanglement has long been thought to be have deep metaphysical consequences. For example, it has been claimed to show that Humean supervenience is false or to involve a novel form of ontological holism. One way to avoid confronting the metaphysical consequences is to adopt some form of antirealism. In this paper we discuss two prominent strands in recent literature—wavefunction realism and “Super-Humeanism”—that appear quite different, but, as we see it, are instances of a more general strategy. In effect, what (...) these attempt to do is to diffuse the puzzle of entanglement by eliminating it. These interpretative movements are advertised as equally realist, but, we claim, fail to take an appropriately realist attitude towards entanglement. What we advocate instead is a genuine metaphysics of entanglement: instead of eliminating entanglement, develop a metaphysics that accounts for and explains it. (shrink)
Tim Maudlin has claimed that EPR’s Reality Criterion is analytically true. We argue that it is not. Moreover, one may be a subjectivist about quantum probabilities without giving up on objective physical reality. Thus, would-be detractors must reject QBism and other epistemic approaches to quantum theory on other grounds.
John Worrall (1989) famously claimed that structural realism is the best of both worlds; it enables one to endorse the best arguments for scientific realism and antirealism. In this paper, I argue that structural realism also enables one to combine two other seemingly inconsistent positions: realism and pluralism. Indeed, the very features which form the basis of the structural realist’s reply to the problem of theory change may be applied synchronically to allow for a pluralist structural realism. The resulting position (...) incorporates a robust variety of scientific pluralism unavailable to the traditional realist and thereby allows the structural realist to take seriously the pluralism apparent in scientific practice. (shrink)
Experiments demonstrating entanglement swapping have been alleged to challenge realism about entanglement. Seevinck claims that entangle- ment “cannot be considered ontologically robust” while Healey claims that entanglement swapping “undermines the idea that ascribing an entangled state to quantum systems is a way of representing some new, non-classical, physical relation between them.” My aim in this paper is to show that realism is not threatened by the possibility of entanglement swapping, but rather, it should be informed by the phenomenon. I argue—expanding (...) the argument of Timpson and Brown —that ordinary entanglement swapping cases present no new challenges for the realist. With respect to the delayed-choice variant discussed by Healey, I claim that there are two options available to the realist: deny these are cases of genuine swapping ) or allow for existence of entanglement between timelike separated regions. This latter option, while radical, is not incoherent and has been suggested in quite different contexts. While I stop short of claiming that the realist must take this option, doing so allows one to avoid certain costs associated with Egg’s “orthodox” account. I conclude by noting several important implication of entanglement swapping for how one thinks of entanglement generally. (shrink)
Experiments involving delayed-choice entanglement swapping seem to suggest that particles can become entangled after they’ve already been detected. This astonishing result is taken by some to undermine realism about entanglement. In this paper, I argue that one can offer a fully realist explanation of delayed-choice entanglement swapping by countenancing timelike entanglement relations. I argue that such an explanation—radical though it may be—isn’t incoherent and doesn’t invite paradox. I compare this approach to the antirealist alternative and a more deflationary realist strategy (...) defended by Egg, each of which face certain challenges. The upshot is that we should take seriously the possibility of timelike entanglement and seek to develop a framework for quantum theory which allows for it. (shrink)
Are space and time fundamental features of our world or might they emerge from something else? The Foundation of Reality brings together metaphysicians and philosophers of physics working on space, time, and fundamentality to address this timely question.
The Intellectualist thesis that know-how is a kind of propositional knowledge faces a simple problem: For any proposition p, it seems that one could know p without knowing how to do the activity in question. For example, it seems that one could know that w is a way to swim even if one didn't know how to swim oneself. In this paper I argue that this “sufficiency problem” cannot be adequately addressed by appealing to practical modes of presentation.
I argue that the experiences of everyday life are replete with aesthetic character, though this fact has been largely neglected within contemporary aesthetics. As against Dewey's account of aesthetic experience, I suggest that the fact that many everyday experiences are simple, lacking in unity or closure, and characterized by limited or fragmented awareness does not disqualify them from aesthetic consideration. Aesthetic attention to the domain of everyday experience may provide for lives of greater satisfaction and contribute to our ability to (...) pursue moral aims. (shrink)
The author congratulates Dr Brian Hurwitz, who recently reported the successful “intimidation” of an elderly competent widow into accepting badly needed therapy for a huge ulcerated carcinoma. He reports approvingly of the Israeli Patients' Rights Law, enacted in 1996, which demands detailed informed consent from competent patients before permitting treatment. But the law also provides an escape clause which permits coercing a competent patient into accepting life-saving therapy if an ethics committee feels that if treatment is imposed the patient will (...) give his/her consent retroactively. He suggests this approach as an appropriate middle road between overbearing paternalism and untrammelled autonomy. (shrink)
An account of the distinction between singular and general propositions should reflect the core ideas that have motivated the distinction. Those core ideas can be appreciated independently of many commitments regarding the metaphysics of propositions, but theorists with differing views on the latter have given quite different explanations of what it is for a proposition to be singular or general. Many of those explanations turn out not to reflect the core ideas adequately after all, either by misclassifying certain propositions or (...) by failing to be sufficiently informative. A more satisfactory account can be formulated by more directly elaborating on the background ideas motivating the distinction. The resulting account not only does better than its competitors, but is compatible with various views on the metaphysics of propositions. (shrink)
Anti-Intellectualists about know-how , following Ryle, hold that knowing how to do something is simply having the ability to do it. With qualifications, I defend this traditional view. The central motivation is drawn from observations about what is involved in learning to do something. Two sorts of ability are distinguished and the thesis is defended against putative counterexamples.
The body is a rich object for aesthetic inquiry. We aesthetically assess both our own bodies and those of others, and our felt bodily experiences have aesthetic qualities. The body features centrally in aesthetic experiences of visual art, theatre, dance and sports. It is also deeply intertwined with one's identity and sense of self. Artistic and media representations shape how we see and engage with bodies, with consequences both personal and political. This volume contains sixteen original essays by contributors in (...) philosophy, sociology, dance, disability theory, critical race studies, feminist theory, medicine, and law. They explore bodily beauty, sexual attractiveness, the role of images in power relations, the distinct aesthetics of disabled bodies, the construction of national identity, the creation of compassion through bodily presence, the role of bodily style in moral comportment, and the somatic aesthetics of racialized police violence. (shrink)
Appropriation art has often been thought to support the view that authorship in art is an outmoded or misguided notion. Through a thought experiment comparing appropriation art to a unique case of artistic forgery, I examine and reject a number of candidates for the distinction that makes artists the authors of their work while forgers are not. The crucial difference is seen to lie in the fact that artists bear ultimate responsibility for whatever objectives they choose to pursue through their (...) work, whereas the forger's central objectives are determined by the nature of the activity of forgery. Appropriation artists, by revealing that no aspect of the objectives an artist pursues are in fact built in to the concept of art, demonstrate artists' responsibility for all aspects of their objectives and, hence, of their products. This responsibility is constitutive of authorship and accounts for the interpretability of artworks. Far from undermining the concept of authorship in art, then, the appropriation artists in fact reaffirm and strengthen it. (shrink)
I shared Raanan Gillon’s1 surprise at Robert Veatch’s criticism of the white coat ceremonies,2 and I think that the points raised by Veatch were quite adequately countered by Gillon’s response. The provocative points raised by Veatch do stimulate some valuable critical thinking about the process, although I think Veatch was carried away a bit by hyperbole. To label the drama of the ceremony as “ominous” goes a bit far by any criterion.I should like to describe an oath taking initiation ceremony (...) in use at the Ben Gurion University Faculty of Health Sciences for almost three decades, its history, features, current practice, and conclusions. I believe that Veatch’s specific objections are addressed by our process and merit consideration by other institutions as well.When the medical school was founded in 1974 the then dean , Professor Moshe Prywes, met with the just entering class several weeks before the onset of the academic year during a summer preliminary orientation period . Professor Prywes, an imaginative, charismatic innovator with a flair for public relations and the dramatic, suggested to the entering class that they take the physician’s oath during the first weeks of the academic year, coinciding with their first exposure to patients . He explained that he wanted the students to regard themselves as already bearing responsibilities and duties, and not just rights. He saw them as “change agents” working to upgrade the medical care and the health of the patients and community, right from the first days of their schooling.I had just arrived in Israel as a new immigrant to assume the foundation professorship of medicine, coming from …. (shrink)
In 1968, Nelson Goodman made an observation about artistic forgery that has never been fully appreciated, though his discussion of forgery has received plenty of philosophical attention. Goodman describes the case in which you, the viewer, are confronted with an original work and a forgery that is, for you, perceptually indistinguishable from it. On the basis of lab tests, you know which of the works is forged, but you can see no difference between them. Nonetheless, Goodman says, the knowledge that (...) one of them is forged makes for an aesthetic difference between the works, for you, now. One reason is that this knowledge changes the way you look at the works, and the way you should look at them; it alters the sorts of scrutiny it is appropriate to apply. In fact, knowledge that one of the works is forged ‘assigns the present looking a role as training toward … perceptual discrimination’. (shrink)
In 1885, during initial discussions of J. C. Maxwell's celebrated thermodynamic demon, Whiting (1) observed that the demon-like velocity selection of molecules can occur in a gravitationally bound gas. Recently, a gravitational Maxwell demon has been proposed which makes use of this observation [D. P. Sheehan, J. Glick, and J. D. Means, Found. Phys. 30, 1227 (2000)]. Here we report on numerical simulations that detail its microscopic phase space structure. Results verify the previously hypothesized mechanism of its paradoxical behavior. (...) This system appears to be the only example of a fully classical mechanical Maxwell demon that has not been resolved in favor of the second law of thermodynamics. (shrink)
We motivate the idea that presupposition is a transparent attitude. We then explain why epistemic opacity is not a serious problem for Robert Stalnaker's theory of content and conversation. We conclude with critical remarks about John Hawthorne and Ofra Magidor's alternative theory.