I sketch here an intuitive picture of repeatable artworks as created types, which are individuated in part by historical paths (re)production. Although attractive, this view has been rejected by a number of authors on the basis of general claims about abstract objects. On consideration, however, these general claims are overgeneralizations, which whilst true of some abstracta, are not true of all abstract objects, and in particular, are not true of created types. The intuitive picture of repeatable artworks as created types (...) is, then, left in place. (shrink)
Are a material object, such as a statue, and its constituting matter, the clay, parts of one another? One wouldn't have thought so, and yet a number of philosophers have argued that they are. I review the arguments for this surprising claim showing how they all fail. I then consider two arguments against the view concluding that there are both pre-theoretical and theoretical considerations for denying that the statue and the clay are mutual parts.
Are counterfactuals with true antecedents and consequents automatically true? That is, is Conjunction Conditionalization: if (X & Y), then (X > Y) valid? Stalnaker and Lewis think so, but many others disagree. We note here that the extant arguments for Conjunction Conditionalization are unpersuasive, before presenting a family of more compelling arguments. These arguments rely on some standard theorems of the logic of counterfactuals as well as a plausible and popular semantic claim about certain semifactuals. Denying Conjunction Conditionalization, then, requires (...) rejecting other aspects of the standard logic of counterfactuals, or else our intuitive picture of semifactuals. (shrink)
The standard semantics for counterfactuals ensures that any counterfactual with a true antecedent and true consequent is itself true. There have been many recent attempts to amend the standard semantics to avoid this result. I show that these proposals invalidate a number of further principles of the standard logic of counterfactuals. The case against the automatic truth of counterfactuals with true components does not extend to these further principles, however, so it is not clear that rejecting the latter should be (...) a consequence of rejecting the former. Instead I consider how one might defuse putative counterexamples to the truth of true-true counterfactuals. (shrink)
Is A & C sufficient for the truth of ‘if A were the case, C would be the case’? Jonathan Bennett thinks not, although the counterexample he gives is inconsistent with his own account of counterfactuals. In any case, I argue that anyone who accepts the case of Morgenbesser's coin, as Bennett does, should reject Bennett’s counterexample. Moreover, I show that the principle underlying his counterexample is unmotivated and indeed false. More generally, I argue that Morgenbesser’s coin commits us to (...) the sufficiency of A & C for the truth of the corresponding counterfactual. (shrink)
I present and discuss a counterexample to Kendall Walton's necessary condition for fictionality that arises from considering serial fictions. I argue that although Walton has not in fact provided a necessary condition for fictionality, a more complex version of Walton's condition is immune from the counterexample.
The debate over Hypothetical Syllogism is locked in stalemate. Although putative natural language counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism abound, many philosophers defend Hypothetical Syllogism, arguing that the alleged counterexamples involve an illicit shift in context. The proper lesson to draw from the putative counterexamples, they argue, is that natural language conditionals are context-sensitive conditionals which obey Hypothetical Syllogism. In order to make progress on the issue, I consider and improve upon Morreau’s proof of the invalidity of Hypothetical Syllogism. The improved proof (...) relies upon the semantic claim that conditionals with antecedents irrelevant to the obtaining of an already true consequent are themselves true. Moreover, this semantic insight allows us to provide compelling counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism that are resistant to the usual contextualist response. (shrink)
Moti Mizrahi (2013) presents some novel counterexamples to Hypothetical Syllogism (HS) for indicative conditionals. I show that they are not compelling as they neglect the complicated ways in which conditionals and modals interact. I then briefly outline why HS should nevertheless be rejected.
Andrew McGonigal presents some interesting data concerning truth in serial fictions.1 Such data has been taken by McGonigal, Cameron and Caplan to motivate some form of contextualism or relativism. I argue, however, that many of these approaches are problematic, and that all are under-motivated as the data can be explained in a standard invariantist semantic framework given some independently plausible principles.
The argument from illusion attempts to establish the bold claim that we are never perceptually aware of ordinary material objects. The argument has rightly received a great deal critical of scrutiny. But here we develop a criticism that, to our knowledge, has not hitherto been explored. We consider the canonical form of the argument as it is captured in contemporary expositions. There are two stages to our criticism. First, we show that the argument is invalid. Second, we identify premises that (...) can be used to make the argument valid. But we argue that the obvious fixes are problematic. If our arguments are successful, we show that the argument from illusion is even more difficult to defend than is commonly acknowledged. (shrink)
Michael Dummett argues, against Saul Kripke, that there could have been unicorns. He then claims that this possibility shows that the logic of metaphysical modality is not S5, and, in particular, that the B axiom is false. Dummett’s argument against B, however, is invalid. I show that although there are number of ways to repair Dummett’s argument against B, each requires a controversial metaphysical or semantic commitment, and that, regardless of this, the case against B is undermotivated. Dummett’s case is (...) still of interest, however, as if his assumptions are correct, S5 has to go, with the natural culprit being S4. (shrink)
What are the prospects for a linguistic approach to ontology? Given that it seems that there are true subject-predicate sentences containing empty names, traditional linguistic approaches to ontology appear to be flawed. I argue that in order to determine what there is, we need to determine which sentences ascribe properties (and relations) to objects, and that there does not appear to be any formal criterion for this. This view is then committed to giving an account of what predicates do in (...) sentences when they do not ascribe properties. I sketch an approach to the varieties of predication. (shrink)
Dorothy Edgington’s work has been at the centre of a range of ongoing debates in philosophical logic, philosophy of mind and language, metaphysics, and epistemology. This work has focused, although by no means exclusively, on the overlapping areas of conditionals, probability, and paradox. In what follows, I briefly sketch some themes from these three areas relevant to Dorothy’s work, highlighting how some of Dorothy’s work and some of the contributions of this volume fit in to these debates.
Tim Crane's The Objects of Thought is, I think, a much needed corrective to standard ways that analytic philosophers think about nonexistence. It starts from our common sense thought and talk, and tries to carve out a position that can defend this starting point in the face of criticism. It is well-written, a pleasure to read, and largely clear. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the problems of nonexistence. In §1 I sketch Crane's central ideas about the nonexistent, (...) before turning to themes that I would like to have heard more about. In §2, I distinguish two problems of nonexistence, showing that whilst Crane solves one, he does not address the other. Although Crane did not seek to address both problems, I think we should recognize that there is this residual problem of nonexistence remaining. Next (§3), I argue that whilst Crane is correct to think that a negative free logic has to be rejected if we construe it as making a claim about grammatical subject-predicate sentences, we might be able to salvage it if we recognise a class of logical predicates. But whether this is possible or not, depends on the solution to the unaddressed problem of nonexistence. In the final two sections I briefly raise a concern about Crane's view of quantification, before making a suggestion about his view might be employed in addressing Geach's problem of intentional identity. (shrink)
A festschrift for Dorothy Edgington, containing contributions from Cleo Condoravdi, Dorothy Edgington, Kit Fine, Alan Hájek, John Hawthorne, Sabine Iatridou, Nick Jones, Rosanna Keefe, Angelika Kratzer, David Over, Daniel Rothschild, Robert Stalnaker, Scott Sturgeon, and Timothy Williamson.