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Profile: Joshua D. K. Brown (Gustavus Adolphus College)
  1.  45
    Natural Objects.Joshua D. K. Brown - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-18.
    This paper introduces a framework for thinking about ontological questions—in particular, the Special Composition Question—and shows how the framework might help support something like an account of restricted composition. The framework takes the form of an account of natural objects, in analogy with David Lewis’s account of natural properties. Objects, like properties, come in various metaphysical grades, from the fundamental, fully objective, perfectly natural objects to the nomologically otiose, maximally gerrymandered, perfectly non-natural objects. The perfectly natural objects, I argue, are (...)
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  2.  26
    Chemical Atomism: A Case Study in Confirmation and Ontology.Joshua D. K. Brown - 2015 - Synthese 192 (2):453-485.
    Quine, taking the molecular constitution of matter as a paradigmatic example, offers an account of the relation between theory confirmation and ontology. Elsewhere, he deploys a similar ontological methodology to argue for the existence of mathematical objects. Penelope Maddy considers the atomic/molecular theory in more historical detail. She argues that the actual ontological practices of science display a positivistic demand for “direct observation,” and that fulfillment of this demand allows us to distinguish molecules and other physical objects from mathematical abstracta. (...)
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  3.  43
    A New Semantics for Vagueness.Joshua D. K. Brown & James W. Garson - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (1):65-85.
    Intuitively, vagueness involves some sort of indeterminacy: if Plato is a borderline case of baldness, then there is no fact of the matter about whether or not he’s bald—he’s neither bald nor not bald. The leading formal treatments of such indeterminacy—three valued logic, supervaluationism, etc.—either fail to validate the classical theorems, or require that various classically valid inference rules be restricted. Here we show how a fully classical, yet indeterminist account of vagueness can be given within natural semantics, an alternative (...)
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