According to the Self-Location Thesis, one’s own location can be among the things that visual experience represents, even when one’s body is entirely out of view. By contrast, the Minimal View denies this, and says that visual experience represents things only as "to the right", etc., and never as "to the right of me". But the Minimal View is phenomenologically inadequate: it cannot explain the difference between a visual experience of self-motion and one of an oppositely moving world. (...) To show this, I argue (i) that these experiences are different in an important respect, (ii) that this difference is genuinely experiential, (iii) that it is visual, (iv) that it is not purely phenomenal, and (v) that it cannot be identified with anything other than the apparent motion of the self. So the Self-Location Thesis is upheld: reports of one’s own motion can correspond to aspects of visual experiences every bit as basic to their contents as the apparent motion or rest of the things one has in view. (shrink)
Mental, mathematical, and moral facts are difficult to accommodate within an overall worldview due to the peculiar kinds of properties inherent to them. In this paper I argue that a significant class of social entities also presents us with an ontological puzzle that has thus far not been addressed satisfactorily. This puzzle relates to the location of certain social entities. Where, for instance, are organizations located? Where their members are, or where their designated offices are? Organizations depend on their (...) members for their existence, but the members of an organization can be where the organization is not. The designated office of an organization, however, need be little more than a mailbox. I argue that the problem can be solved by conceptualizing the relation between social entities and non-social entities as one of constitution, a relation of unity without identity. Constituted objects have properties that cannot be reduced to properties of the constituting objects. Thus, my attempt to solve the Location Problem results in an argument in favor of a kind of non-reductive materialism about the social. (shrink)
This article discusses two arguments in favor of perdurance. The first is Sider’s argument from vagueness, “one of the most powerful” in favor of perdurantism. I make the observation that endurantists have principled grounds to claim that the argument is unsound, at least if endurance is formulated in locative rather than mereological terms. Having made this observation, I use it to emphasize a somewhat neglected difference between endurantists and perdurantists with respect to their views on material objects. These views, in (...) the case of endurantists, lead to a further, less than conclusive but nevertheless interesting argument against endurantism—the anti-fundamentality argument—which I discuss and tentatively endorse. That argument posits that endurantists must take location to be a fundamental relation, and that this has as a consequence the metaphysical possibility of some rather unwelcome scenarios. Perdurantists may avoid this consequence by denying that location is fundamental, perhaps by embracing supersubstantivalism. (shrink)
I argue that from a very weak recombination principle and plausible assumptions about the nature of parthood and location it follows that it's possible that the mereological structure of the material world and that of spacetime fail to correspond to one another in very radical ways. I defend, moreover, that rejecting the possibility of such failures of correspondence leaves us with a choice of equally radical alternatives. I also discuss a few ways in which their possibility is relevant to (...) various debates in metaphysics. (shrink)
Recently, Cody Gilmore has deployed an ingenious case involving backwards time travel to highlight an apparent conflict between the theory that objects persist by perduring, and the thesis that wholly coincident objects are impossible. However, careful attention to the concepts of location and parthood that Gilmore’s cases involve shows that the perdurantist faces no genuine objection from these cases, and that the perdurantist has a number of plausible and dialectically appropriate ways to avoid the supposed conflict.
I develop two problems, which I call the problem of divine location and the problem of divine age, to challenge the theist belief that God created the universe. The problem of divine location holds that it is not clear where God existed before he created the universe. The problem of divine age holds that it is not clear how old God was when he created the universe. I explore several theist responses to these two problems, and argue that (...) all of them are problematic under the existing conceptions of space and time in physics. The philosophical magnitudes of these two problems are equal to that of the problem of evil. (shrink)
All of the current leading theories of location are parsimonious: they have at most one locative primitive, and the definitions of all of the other locative relations appeal to nothing beyond that primitive, mereological properties and relations, and basic logic. I argue that if we believe there can be extended, mereologically simple regions, we can construct cases that are incompatible with every possible parsimonious theory of location. In these cases, an object is contained within a simple region that (...) is larger than the object; that is, there is some region, r, and some object, x, are such that every subregion of r fails to be completely free of x, yet x fails to fill r. I argue that we ought to respond to this incompatibility by rejecting the analytic possibility of extended, simple regions. (shrink)
Perceptualists say that having a pain in a body part consists in perceiving the part as instantiating some property. I argue that perceptualism makes better sense of the connections between pain location and the experiences undergone by people in pain than three alternative accounts that dispense with perception. Turning to fellow perceptualists, I also reject ways in which David Armstrong and Michael Tye understand and motivate perceptualism, and I propose an alternative interpretation, one that vitiates a pair of objections—due (...) to John Hyman—concerning the meaning of ‘Amy has a pain in her foot’ and the idea of bodily sensitivity. Perceptualism, I conclude, remains our best account of the location of pains. (shrink)
We perceive things in the external world as spatially located both with respect to each other and to ourselves, such that they are in principle accessible from where we seem to be. I hear the door bang behind me; I feel the pen on the desk over to my right; and I see you walking beneath the line of pictures, from left to right in front of me. By displaying these spatial relations between its objects and us, the perceivers, perception (...) places us in the perceived world: our world and the world we perceive are one. Clearly this is not achieved by our continually perceiving ourselves along with the things around us, and thus recovering our position with respect to them. Indeed I shall argue that there are serious difficulties with the suggestion that this might be the basic mechanism for perceptual self- location. Furthermore, I shall argue that our existence as an element of the objective order cannot be inferred from the raw given in sense perception. Hence it cannot even be on the right lines as an answer to the question 'What is it for perception to represent its objects as environmental to the subject?', that it should present these objects, along with the perceiving subject himself, or along with something from which his existence in the perceived world could be deduced, in the very same frame so to speak. Nevertheless it yields him an awareness of himself as there in the wings of that scene, genuinely located with respect to the action, yet somehow not normally quite getting onto the stage. And I shall argue here, that perceptual contents succeed in being self-locating in this way in.. (shrink)
Recently, we have been presented with an argument against the intrinsicality of shape that appeals to a plausible Humean principle. According to the argument, if shape is intrinsic and the location relation is fundamental, then we cannot explain the necessary correlation between an object’s shape and the shape of its location. And, it is claimed, the Humean principle tells us that an unexplained necessary correlation like this one is unacceptable. In this paper I respond to this argument by (...) rejecting the favoured interpretation of the Humean principle. I claim that sometimes there are truths about what it means to stand in a given relation, even when that relation has no analysis.. These truths sometimes entail that the relata of the relation have certain features. And it is not problematic for truths about what it means to stand in a relation to be unexplained. I argue that it is plausible to take is located at to be such a relation; an object’s having exactly the same shape as the region it is located at is part of what it means to be located at that region. I conclude with an amended formulation of the Humean claim that still captures the spirit of the principle without threatening the intrinsicality of shape. (shrink)
According to the evolutionary hypothesis of Silverman and Eals (1992, Sex differences in spatial abilities: Evolutionary theory and data. In J. H. Barkow, L. Cosmides, & J. Tooby (Eds.), The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture (pp. 533–549). Oxford: Oxford University Press), women evolutionary hypothesis, women surpass men in object location memory as a result of a sexual division in foraging activities among early humans. After surveying the main anthropological information on ancestral sex-related foraging, we review (...) the evidence on how robust women’s advantage in object location memory is. This leads us to suggest that the functional understanding of this type of memory would benefit from comparing men and women in carefully designed and ecologically meaningful cognitive contexts involving, for instance, incidental versus intentional settings that call for either the absolute or relative encoding of the locations of common versus uncommon objects. (shrink)
According to the Particularist Theory of Events, events are real things that have a spatiotemporal location. I argue that some events do not have a spatial location in the sense required by the theory. These events are ordinary, nonmental events like Smith’s investigating the murder and Carol’s putting her coat on the chair. I discuss the significance of these counterexamples for the theory.
Memory for spatial location is typically biased, with errors trending toward the center of a surrounding region. According to the category adjustment model, this bias reflects the optimal, Bayesian combination of fine-grained and categorical representations of a location. However, there is disagreement about whether categories are malleable. For instance, can categories be redefined based on expert-level conceptual knowledge? Furthermore, if expert knowledge is used, does it dominate other information sources, or is it used adaptively so as to minimize (...) overall error, as predicted by a Bayesian framework? We address these questions using images of geological interest. The participants were experts in structural geology, organic chemistry, or English literature. Our data indicate that expertise-based categories influence estimates of location memory—particularly when these categories better constrain errors than alternative categories. Results are discussed with respect to the CAM. (shrink)
This paper argues for the following disjunction: either we do not live in a world with a branching temporal structure, or backwards time travel is nomologically impossible, given the initial state of the universe, or backwards time travel to our space-time location is impossible given large-scale facts about space and time. A fortiori, if backwards time travel to our location is possible, we do not live in a branching universe.
Self-locating attitudes and assertions provide a challenge to the received view of mental and linguistic intentionality. In this paper I try to show that the best way to meet this challenge is to adopt relativistic, centred possible worlds accounts for both belief and communication. First, I argue that self-locating beliefs support a centred account of belief. Second, I argue that self-locating utterances support a complementary centred account of communication. Together, these two claims motivate a unified centred conception of belief and (...) communication. (shrink)
I first offer a broad taxonomy of models of divine omnipresence in the Christian tradition, both past and present. I then examine the recent model proposed by Hud Hudson (2009, 2014) and Alexander Pruss (2013)—ubiquitous entension—and flag a worry with their account that stems from predominant analyses of the concept of ‘material object’. I then attempt to show that ubiquitous entension has a rich Latin medieval precedent in the work of Augusine and Anselm. I argue that the model of omnipresence (...) explicated by Augustine and Anselm has the resources to avoid the noted worry by offering an alternative account of the divide between the immaterial and the material. I conclude by considering a few alternative analyses of ‘material object’ that make conceptual room for a contemporary Christian theist to follow suite in thinking that at least some immaterial entities are literally spatially located when relating to the denizens of spacetime. (shrink)
Beliefs are commonly analyzed as binary relations between subjects and propositions. Perry and Lewis have shown that the standard account has difficulties in handling self-locating beliefs. Robert Stalnaker has recently put forward a version of the standard account that is supposed to overcome this problem. Stalnaker's motivation for defending the propositional account of belief is that it comes with a simple and powerful propositional model of communication. In this paper I argue that Stalnaker's proposal fails. The only way of upholding (...) the propositional account of belief is by abandoning the simple account of communication. (shrink)
The pivotal role of the relation part-of in the description of living organisms is widely acknowledged. Organisms are open systems, which means that in contradistinction to mechanical artifacts they are characterized by a continuous flow and exchange of matter. A closer analysis of the spatial relations in biological organisms reveals that the decision as to whether a given particular is part-of a second particular or whether it is only contained-in the second particular is often controversial. We here propose a rule-based (...) approach which allows us to decide on the basis of well-defined criteria which of the two relations holds between two anatomical objects, given that one spatially includes the other. We discuss the advantages and limitations of this approach, using concrete examples from human anatomy. (shrink)
There is a strong pull to the idea that there is some metaphysically interesting distinction between the fully real, objective, observer-independent qualities of things as they are in themselves, and the less-than-fully-real, subjective, observer-dependent qualities of things as they are for us. Call this distinction the primary/secondary quality distinction. The distinction between primary and secondary qualities is philosophically interesting because it is often quite attractive to draw such a distinction, and incredibly hard to spell it out in any kind of (...) satisfying and sensible way. I attempt such a spelling-out after first trying to pin down in more detail what we want from the primary/secondary quality distinction, and saying a bit about why that is such a hard thingto get. (shrink)
How could ecological thinking animate an epistemology capable of addressing feminist, multicultural, and other post-colonial concerns? Starting from an epistemological approach implicit in Rachel Carson's scientific practice, Lorraine Code elaborates the creative, restructuring resources of ecology for a theory of knowledge. She critiques the instrumental rationality, abstract individualism, and exploitation of people and places that western epistemologies of mastery have legitimated, to propose a politics of epistemic location, sensitive to the interplay of particularity and diversity, and focused on responsible (...) epistemic practice. (shrink)
Marr (1982) may have been one of the rst vision researchers to insist that in modeling vision it is important to separate the location of visual features from their type. He argued that in early stages of visual processing there must be “place tokens” that enable subsequent stages of the visual system to treat locations independent of what specic feature type was at that location. Thus, in certain respects a collinear array of diverse features could still be perceived (...) as a line, and under certain conditions could function as such in perceptual phenomena like the Poggendorf illusion. (shrink)