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Profile: L. A. Paul (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
  1.  32
    Transformative Experience.L. A. Paul - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    How should we make choices when we know so little about our futures? L. A. Paul argues that we must view life decisions as choices to make discoveries about the nature of experience. Her account of transformative experience holds that part of the value of living authentically is to experience our lives and preferences in whatever ways they evolve.
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  2. What You Can't Expect When You 'Re Expecting'.L. A. Paul - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (2):1-23.
    It seems natural to choose whether to have a child by reflecting on what it would be like to actually have a child. I argue that this natural approach fails. If you choose to become a parent, and your choice is based on projections about what you think it would be like for you to have a child, your choice is not rational. If you choose to remain childless, and your choice is based upon projections about what you think it (...)
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  3. Building the World From its Fundamental Constituents.L. A. Paul - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 158 (2):221-256.
    In this paper, I argue that the spatiotemporalist approach way of modeling the fundamental constituents, structure, and composition of the world has taken a wrong turn. Spatiotemporalist approaches to fundamental structure take the fundamental nature of the world to be spatiotemporal: they take the category of spatiotemporal to be fundamental. I argue that the debates over the nature of the fundamental space in the physics show us that (i) the fact that it is conceivable that the manifest world could be (...)
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  4. Metaphysics as Modeling: The Handmaiden's Tale.L. A. Paul - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):1-29.
    Critics of contemporary metaphysics argue that it attempts to do the hard work of science from the ease of the armchair. Physics, not metaphysics, tells us about the fundamental facts of the world, and empirical psychology is best placed to reveal the content of our concepts about the world. Exploring and understanding the world through metaphysical reflection is obsolete. In this paper, I will show why this critique of metaphysics fails, arguing that metaphysical methods used to make claims about the (...)
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  5. Temporal Experience.L. A. Paul - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (7):333-359.
    The question I want to explore is whether experience supports an antireductionist ontology of time, that is, whether we should take it to support an ontology that includes a primitive, monadic property of nowness responsible for the special feel of events in the present, and a relation of passage that events instantiate in virtue of literally passing from the future, to the present, and then into the past.
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  6. Logical Parts.L. A. Paul - 2002 - Noûs 36 (4):578–596.
    I argue for a property mereology and for mereological bundle theory. I then apply this theory to the one over many problem (universals) and puzzles concerning persistence and material constitution.
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  7.  44
    First Personal Modes of Presentation and the Structure of Empathy.L. A. Paul - 2016 - Inquiry 60 (3):189-207.
    I argue that we can understand the de se by employing the subjective mode of presentation or, if one’s ontology permits it, by defending an abundant ontology of perspectival personal properties or facts. I do this in the context of a discussion of Cappelen and Dever’s recent criticisms of the de se. Then, I discuss the distinctive role of the first personal perspective in discussions about empathy, rational deference, and self-understanding, and develop a way to frame the problem of lacking (...)
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  8.  37
    Transformative Experience: Replies to Pettigrew, Barnes and Campbell.L. A. Paul - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (3):794-813.
    Summary of Transformative Experience by L.A. Paul and replies to symposiasts. Discussion of undefined values, preference change, authenticity, experiential value, collective minds, mind control.
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  9. Causation and Counterfactuals.L. A. Paul, E. J. Hall & J. Collins (eds.) - 2004
    One philosophical approach to causation sees counterfactual dependence as the key to the explanation of causal facts: for example, events c (the cause) and e (the effect) both occur, but had c not occurred, e would not have occurred either. The counterfactual analysis of causation became a focus of philosophical debate after the 1973 publication of the late David Lewis's groundbreaking paper, "Causation," which argues against the previously accepted "regularity" analysis and in favor of what he called the "promising alternative" (...)
     
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  10. Aspect Causation.L. A. Paul - 2000 - Journal of Philosophy 97 (4):235.
    A theory of the causal relate as aspects or property instances is developed. A supposed problem for transitivity is assessed and then resolved with aspects as the causal relata.
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  11. Coincidence as Overlap.L. A. Paul - 2006 - Noûs 40 (4):623–659.
    I discuss puzzles involving coinciding material objects (such as statues and their constitutive lumps of clay) and propose solutions.
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  12.  25
    The Subjectively Enduring Self.L. A. Paul - forthcoming - In Ian Phillips (ed.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Temporal Experience. Routledge.
    The self can be understood in objective metaphysical terms as a bundle of properties, as a substance, or as some other kind of entity on our metaphysical list of what there is. Such an approach explores the metaphysical nature of the self when regarded from a suitably impersonal, ontological perspective. It explores the nature and structure of the self in objective reality, that is, the nature and structure of the self from without. This is the objective self. I am taking (...)
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  13.  20
    A One Category Ontology.L. A. Paul - forthcoming - In John A. Keller (ed.), Freedom, Metaphysics, and Method: Themes from van Inwagen. Oxford University Press.
    I defend a one category ontology: an ontology that denies that we need more than one fundamental category to support the ontological structure of the world. Categorical fundamentality is understood in terms of the metaphysically prior, as that in which everything else in the world consists. One category ontologies are deeply appealing, because their ontological simplicity gives them an unmatched elegance and spareness. I’m a fan of a one category ontology that collapses the distinction between particular and property, replacing it (...)
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  14. A New Role for Experimental Work in Metaphysics.L. A. Paul - 2010 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (3):461-476.
    Recent work in philosophy could benefit from paying greater attention to empirical results from cognitive science involving judgments about the nature of our ordinary experience. This paper describes the way that experimental and theoretical results about the nature of ordinary judgments could—and should—inform certain sorts of enquiries in contemporary philosophy, using metaphysics as an exemplar, and hence defines a new way for experimental philosophy and cognitive science to contribute to traditional philosophical debates.
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  15. The Puzzles of Material Constitution.L. A. Paul - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (7):579-590.
    Monists about material constitution typically argue that when Statue is materially constituted by Clay, Statue is just Clay. Pluralists about material constitution deny that constitution is identity: Statue is not just Clay. When Clay materially constitutes Statue, Clay is not identical to Statue. I discuss three familiar puzzles involving grounding, overdetermination and conceptual issues, and develop three new puzzles stemming from the connection between mereological composition and material constitution: a mereological puzzle, an asymmetry puzzle, and a structural puzzle.
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  16.  14
    Transformative Choice: Discussion and Replies.L. A. Paul - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (2):473-545.
    In “What you can’t expect when you’re expecting,” I argue that, if you don’t know what it’s like to be a parent, you cannot make this decision rationally—at least, not if your decision is based on what you think it would be like for you to become a parent. My argument hinges on the idea that becoming a parent is a transformative experience. This unique type of experience often transforms people in a deep and personal sense, and in the process, (...)
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  17. Mereological Bundle Theory.L. A. Paul - forthcoming - In Hans Burkhardt, Johanna Seibt & Guido Imaguire (eds.), Handbook of Mereology. Philosophia Verlag.
    Bundle theory takes objects to be bundles of properties. Some bundle theorists take objects to be bundles of instantiated universals, and some take objects to be bundles of tropes. Tropes are instances of properties: some take instantiated universals to be tropes, while others deny the existence of universals and take tropes to be ontologically fundamental. Historically, the bundling relation has been taken to be a primitive relation, not analyzable in terms of or ontologically reducible to some other relation, and has (...)
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  18. The Context of Essence. [REVIEW]L. A. Paul - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1):170-184.
    I address two related questions: first, what is the best theory of how objects have de re modal properties? Second, what is the best defence of essentialism given the variability of our modal intuitions? I critically discuss several theories of how objects have their de re modal properties and address the most threatening antiessentialist objection to essentialism: the variability of our modal intuitions. Drawing on linguistic treatments of vagueness and ambiguity, I show how essentialists can accommodate the variability of modal (...)
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  19. Counterfactuals and Causation: History, Problems, and Prospects.John Collins, Ned Hall & L. A. Paul - 2004 - In John Collins, Ned Hall & Laurie Paul (eds.), Causation and Counterfactuals. MIT Press. pp. 1--57.
    Among the many philosophers who hold that causal facts1 are to be explained in terms of—or more ambitiously, shown to reduce to—facts about what happens, together with facts about the fundamental laws that govern what happens, the clear favorite is an approach that sees counterfactual dependence as the key to such explanation or reduction. The paradigm examples of causation, so advocates of this approach tell us, are examples in which events c and e— the cause and its effect— both occur, (...)
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  20.  11
    Transformative Treatments.L. A. Paul & Kieran Healy - 2016 - Noûs 50 (4).
    Contemporary social-scientific research seeks to identify specific causal mechanisms for outcomes of theoretical interest. Experiments that randomize populations to treatment and control conditions are the “gold standard” for causal inference. We identify, describe, and analyze the problem posed by transformative treatments. Such treatments radically change treated individuals in a way that creates a mismatch in populations, but this mismatch is not empirically detectable at the level of counterfactual dependence. In such cases, the identification of causal pathways is underdetermined in a (...)
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  21.  89
    Truth Conditions of Tensed Sentence Types.L. A. Paul - 1997 - Synthese 111 (1):53-72.
    Quentin Smith has argued that the new tenseless theory of time is faced with insurmountable problems and should be abandoned in favour of the tensed theory of time. Smith;s main argument attacks the fundamental premise of the tenseless theory: that tenseless truth conditions for tokens of tensed sentences adequately capture the meaning of tensed sentences. His position is that tenseless truth conditions cannot explain the logical relations between tensed sentences, thus the tensed theory must be accepted. Against Smith, this paper (...)
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  22.  4
    Transformative Treatments.L. A. Paul & Kieran Healy - 2017 - Noûs 51 (1).
    Contemporary social-scientific research seeks to identify specific causal mechanisms for outcomes of theoretical interest. Experiments that randomize populations to treatment and control conditions are the “gold standard” for causal inference. We identify, describe, and analyze the problem posed by transformative treatments. Such treatments radically change treated individuals in a way that creates a mismatch in populations, but this mismatch is not empirically detectable at the level of counterfactual dependence. In such cases, the identification of causal pathways is underdetermined in a (...)
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  23. Metaphysically Reductive Causation.Ned Hall & L. A. Paul - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (1):9-41.
    There are, by now, many rival, sophisticated philosophical accounts of causation that qualify as ‘metaphysically reductive’. This is a good thing: these collective efforts have vastly improved our understanding of causation over the last 30 years or so. They also put us in an excellent position to reflect on some central methodological questions: What exactly is the point of offering a metaphysical reduction of causation? What philosophical scruples ought to guide the pursuit of such a reduction? Finally, how should answers (...)
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  24. Limited Realism: Cartwright on Natures and Laws.L. A. Paul - 2002 - Philosophical Books:xx-yy.
    A leaf falls to the ground, wafting lazily on the afternoon breeze. Clouds move across the sky, and birds sing. Are these events governed by universal laws of nature, laws that apply everywhere without exception, subsuming events such as the falling of the leaf, the movement of the clouds and the singing of the birds? Are such laws part of a small set of fundamental laws, or descended from such a set, which govern everything there is in the world?
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  25.  68
    Categorical Priority and Categorical Collapse.L. A. Paul - 2013 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):89-113.
    I explore some of the ways that assumptions about the nature of substance shape metaphysical debates about the structure of Reality. Assumptions about the priority of substance play a role in an argument for monism, are embedded in certain pluralist metaphysical treatments of laws of nature, and are central to discussions of substantivalism and relationalism. I will then argue that we should reject such assumptions and collapse the categorical distinction between substance and property.
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  26. In Defense of Essentialism.L. A. Paul - 2006 - Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):333–372.
    If an object has a property essentially, it has that property in every possible world according to which it exists.2 If an object has a property accidentally, it does not have that property in every possible world according to which it exists. Claims about an object’s essential or accidental properties are de re modal claims, and essential and accidental properties are de re modal properties. Take an object’s modal profile to specify its essential properties and the range of its accidental (...)
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  27.  58
    Realism About Structure and Kinds.L. A. Paul - 2013 - In Stephen Mumford & Matthew Tugby (eds.), Metaphysics and Science. Oxford University Press.
    In 1976, Hilary Putnam set forth his model-theoretic argument, claiming that it showed that the semantic realist’s program1 was ‘unintelligible’, since it implied, contra the realist view, that reference is radically indeterminate. Although I find the conclusion that reference is indeterminate unattractive, I argue that the descriptivist position needs to be supplemented with a premise about the sorts of kinds or structure that our world includes. The need for this premise gives a counterintuitive result: the descriptivist account of reference makes (...)
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  28. 13 Constitutive Overdetermination.L. A. Paul - 2007 - In J. K. Campbell, M. O'Rourke & H. S. Silverstein (eds.), Causation and Explanation. MIT Press. pp. 4--265.
    Our best philosophical and scientific pictures of the world organize material objects into a hierarchy or levels or layers- microparticles at the bottom, molecules, cells, and persons at higher layers. Are objects at higher layers identical to the sums of objects at lower layers that constitute them? (Note that this question is different from the question of whether composition- as opposed to constitution- is identity.).
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  29. Keeping Track of the Time: Emending the Counterfactual Analysis of Causation.L. A. Paul - 1998 - Analysis 58 (3):191–198.
    Counterfactual analyses of causation can provide elegant analyses of many cases of causation. However, they fail to give intuitively correct analyses of cases involving a commonplace variety of late preemptive causation. I argue that a small emendation can solve the problem.
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  30.  27
    Précis of Transformative Experience.L. A. Paul - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (3):760-765.
    I summarize the main argument of Transformative Experience (OUP 2014). The book develops familiar examples from classical philosophical debates, as well as original examples, to argue that an agent’s decision to undergo a transformative experience—an experience constituted by radical personal and epistemic change for the agent—must either be authentic or irrational, but not both. The Precis of Transformative Experience walks the reader through the main ideas involved in epistemically and personally transformative experiences, the problems they pose for rational decision-making, and (...)
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  31. Problems with Late Preemption.L. A. Paul - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):48–53.
    In response to counterexamples involving late preemption, David Lewis (1986) revised his original (1973) counterfactual analysis of causation to include the notion of quasi-dependence. Jonardon Ganeri, Paul Noordhof and Murali Ramachandran (1998) argue that their ‘PCA*-analysis’ of causation solves the problem of late preemption and is superior to Lewis’s analysis. I show that neither quasi-dependence nor the PCA*-analysis solves the problem of late preemption.
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  32.  6
    Problems with Late Preemption.L. A. Paul - 1998 - Analysis 58 (1):48-53.
    A new version of the late preemption problem, establishing the difficulty of managing redundant causation for metaphysical analyses of causation.
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  33.  15
    Is Our Ordinary Way of Choosing to Have Children Rational?L. A. Paul - unknown
    This paper argues that if you choose to have a child by consulting your preferences, where your preferences are based upon projections about what it would be like for you to have a child, your choice is not rational. The problem is not a problem for decision theory, for decision theory has the resources to handle the problem if we change the mode of decision-making. The problem is rather a problem for our ordinary conception of major life-changing decisions as rational (...)
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  34.  66
    The Worm at the Root of the Passions: Poetry and Sympathy in Mill's Utilitarianism.L. A. Paul - 2009 - Utilitas 10 (1):83.
    This paper explores J.S. Mill's theory of poetry and experience and its relation to his utilitarianism.
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  35.  5
    Keeping Track of the Time: Emending the Counterfactual Analysis of Causation.L. A. Paul - 1998 - Analysis 58 (3):191-198.
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  36.  3
    II—L. A. Paul: Categorical Priority and Categorical Collapse.L. A. Paul - 2013 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1):89-113.
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  37. Causation: A User's Guide.L. A. Paul & Ned Hall - 2013 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Causation is at once familiar and mysterious. Neither common sense nor extensive philosophical debate has led us to anything like agreement on the correct analysis of the concept of causation, or an account of the metaphysical nature of the causal relation. Causation: A User's Guide cuts a clear path through this confusing but vital landscape. L. A. Paul and Ned Hall guide the reader through the most important philosophical treatments of causation, negotiating the terrain by taking a set of examples (...)
     
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  38. Experience and the Arrow.L. A. Paul - 2014 - In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. pp. 175-193.
    The debate over the temporal arrow is a debate over what fundamental ontology is needed for the temporal asymmetry of the universe, which determines the fact that time seems to be oriented or directed from earlier to later. This temporal asymmetry underlies (or, as some might argue, is the same as) the asymmetrical fact that the past is fixed while the future is open, as well as the global asymmetries of counterfactual, causal and agential direction. I explore the metaphysics of (...)
     
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  39. Experience, Metaphysics, and Cognitive Science.L. A. Paul - 2016 - In Justin Sytsma & Wesley Buckwalter (eds.), Blackwell Companion to Experimental Philosophy. Wiley. pp. 419-433.
    This chapter presents an opinionated account of how to understand the contributions of experience, especially with respect to the role of cognitive science, in developing and assessing metaphysical theories of reality. I develop a methodological basis for the idea that, independently of work in experimental philosophy focused on explications of concepts, contemporary metaphysical theories with a role for experiential evidence can be fruitfully connected to empirical work in psychology, especially cognitive science. My argument is not that cognitive science should replace (...)
     
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