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Mark Colyvan [92]M. Colyvan [12]
  1. There is No Easy Road to Nominalism.M. Colyvan - 2010 - Mind 119 (474):285-306.
    Hartry Field has shown us a way to be nominalists: we must purge our scientific theories of quantification over abstracta and we must prove the appropriate conservativeness results. This is not a path for the faint hearted. Indeed, the substantial technical difficulties facing Field's project have led some to explore other, easier options. Recently, Jody Azzouni, Joseph Melia, and Stephen Yablo have argued that it is a mistake to read our ontological commitments simply from what the quantifiers of our best (...)
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  2. An Inferential Conception of the Application of Mathematics.Otávio Bueno & Mark Colyvan - 2011 - Noûs 45 (2):345-374.
    A number of people have recently argued for a structural approach to accounting for the applications of mathematics. Such an approach has been called "the mapping account". According to this view, the applicability of mathematics is fully accounted for by appreciating the relevant structural similarities between the empirical system under study and the mathematics used in the investigation ofthat system. This account of applications requires the truth of applied mathematical assertions, but it does not require the existence of mathematical objects. (...)
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  3.  83
    Paraconsistent Vagueness: Why Not?Dominic Hyde & Mark Colyvan - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Logic 6 (3):107-121.
    The idea that the phenomenon of vagueness might be modelled by a paraconsistent logic has been little discussed in contemporary work on vagueness, just as the idea that paraconsistent logics might be fruitfully applied to the phenomenon of vagueness has been little discussed in contemporary work on paraconsistency. This is prima facie surprising given that the earliest formalisations of paraconsistent logics presented in Jáskowski and Halldén were presented as logics of vagueness. One possible explanation for this is that, despite initial (...)
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  4.  73
    Disagreement Behind the Veil of Ignorance.Ryan Muldoon, Chiara Lisciandra, Mark Colyvan, Carlo Martini, Giacomo Sillari & Jan Sprenger - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):377-394.
    In this paper we argue that there is a kind of moral disagreement that survives the Rawlsian veil of ignorance. While a veil of ignorance eliminates sources of disagreement stemming from self-interest, it does not do anything to eliminate deeper sources of disagreement. These disagreements not only persist, but transform their structure once behind the veil of ignorance. We consider formal frameworks for exploring these differences in structure between interested and disinterested disagreement, and argue that consensus models offer us a (...)
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  5. Problems With the Argument From Fine Tuning.Mark Colyvan, Jay L. Garfield & Graham Priest - 2005 - Synthese 145 (3):325-338.
    The argument from fine tuning is supposed to establish the existence of God from the fact that the evolution of carbon-based life requires the laws of physics and the boundary conditions of the universe to be more or less as they are. We demonstrate that this argument fails. In particular, we focus on problems associated with the role probabilities play in the argument. We show that, even granting the fine tuning of the universe, it does not follow that the universe (...)
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  6. The Indispensability of Mathematics.Mark Colyvan - 2001 - Oxford University Press.
    This book not only outlines the indispensability argument in considerable detail but also defends it against various challenges.
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  7. The Explanatory Power of Phase Spaces.Aidan Lyon & Mark Colyvan - 2008 - Philosophia Mathematica 16 (2):227-243.
    David Malament argued that Hartry Field's nominalisation program is unlikely to be able to deal with non-space-time theories such as phase-space theories. We give a specific example of such a phase-space theory and argue that this presentation of the theory delivers explanations that are not available in the classical presentation of the theory. This suggests that even if phase-space theories can be nominalised, the resulting theory will not have the explanatory power of the original. Phase-space theories thus raise problems for (...)
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  8.  57
    Road Work Ahead: Heavy Machinery on the Easy Road.M. Colyvan - 2012 - Mind 121 (484):1031-1046.
    In this paper I reply to Jody Azzouni, Otávio Bueno, Mary Leng, David Liggins, and Stephen Yablo, who offer defences of so-called ‘ easy road ’ nominalist strategies in the philosophy of mathematics.
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  9. Relative Expectation Theory.Mark Colyvan - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (1):37-44.
    Games such as the St. Petersburg game present serious problems for decision theory.1 The St. Petersburg game invokes an unbounded utility function to produce an infinite expectation for playing the game. The problem is usually presented as a clash between decision theory and intuition: most people are not prepared to pay a large finite sum to buy into this game, yet this is precisely what decision theory suggests we ought to do. But there is another problem associated with the St. (...)
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  10. Indexing and Mathematical Explanation.Alan Baker & Mark Colyvan - 2011 - Philosophia Mathematica 19 (3):323-334.
    We discuss a recent attempt by Chris Daly and Simon Langford to do away with mathematical explanations of physical phenomena. Daly and Langford suggest that mathematics merely indexes parts of the physical world, and on this understanding of the role of mathematics in science, there is no need to countenance mathematical explanation of physical facts. We argue that their strategy is at best a sketch and only looks plausible in simple cases. We also draw attention to how frequently Daly and (...)
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  11. Mathematics and Aesthetic Considerations in Science.Mark Colyvan - 2002 - Mind 111 (441):69-74.
  12. A Field Guide to the Philosophy of Ecology.Mark Colyvan, William Grey, Jay Odenbaugh & Stefan Linquist - unknown
    Philosophical interest in ecology is relatively new. Standard texts in the philosophy of biology pay little or no attention to ecology (though Sterelny and Griffiths 1999 is an exception). This is in part because the science of ecology itself is relatively new, but whatever the reasons for the neglect in the past, the situation must change. A good philosophical understanding of ecology is important for a number of reasons. First, ecology is an important and fascinating branch of biology with distinctive (...)
     
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  13. Mathematics: Truth and Fiction? Review of Mark Balaguer's Platonism and Anti-Platonism in Mathematics.Mark Colyvan & Edward N. Zalta - 1999 - Philosophia Mathematica 7 (3):336-349.
    Mark Balaguer’s project in this book is extremely ambitious; he sets out to defend both platonism and fictionalism about mathematical entities. Moreover, Balaguer argues that at the end of the day, platonism and fictionalism are on an equal footing. Not content to leave the matter there, however, he advances the anti-metaphysical conclusion that there is no fact of the matter about the existence of mathematical objects.1 Despite the ambitious nature of this project, for the most part Balaguer does not shortchange (...)
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  14.  54
    How Mathematics Can Make a Difference.Sam Baron, Mark Colyvan & David Ripley - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17.
    Standard approaches to counterfactuals in the philosophy of explanation are geared toward causal explanation. We show how to extend the counterfactual theory of explanation to non-causal cases, involving extra-mathematical explanation: the explanation of physical facts by mathematical facts. Using a structural equation framework, we model impossible perturbations to mathematics and the resulting differences made to physical explananda in two important cases of extra-mathematical explanation. We address some objections to our approach.
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  15. The Ontological Commitments of Inconsistent Theories.Mark Colyvan - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (1):115 - 123.
    In this paper I present an argument for belief in inconsistent objects. The argument relies on a particular, plausible version of scientific realism, and the fact that often our best scientific theories are inconsistent. It is not clear what to make of this argument. Is it a reductio of the version of scientific realism under consideration? If it is, what are the alternatives? Should we just accept the conclusion? I will argue (rather tentatively and suitably qualified) for a positive answer (...)
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  16. A Topological Sorites.Zach Weber & Mark Colyvan - 2010 - Journal of Philosophy 107 (6):311-325.
    This paper considers a generalisation of the sorites paradox, in which only topological notions are employed. We argue that by increasing the level of abstraction in this way, we see the sorites paradox in a new, more revealing light—a light that forces attention on cut-off points of vague predicates. The generalised sorites paradox presented here also gives rise to a new, more tractable definition of vagueness.
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  17. Resolving Disagreement Through Mutual Respect.Carlo Martini, Jan Sprenger & Mark Colyvan - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (4):881-898.
    This paper explores the scope and limits of rational consensus through mutual respect, with the primary focus on the best known formal model of consensus: the Lehrer–Wagner model. We consider various arguments against the rationality of the Lehrer–Wagner model as a model of consensus about factual matters. We conclude that models such as this face problems in achieving rational consensus on disagreements about unknown factual matters, but that they hold considerable promise as models of how to rationally resolve non-factual disagreements.
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  18. Mathematical Recreation Versus Mathematical Knowledge.Mark Colyvan - 2007 - In Mary Leng, Alexander Paseau & Michael D. Potter (eds.), Mathematical Knowledge. Oxford University Press. pp. 109--122.
  19. Just What is Vagueness?Otávio Bueno & Mark Colyvan - 2012 - Ratio 25 (1):19-33.
    We argue that standard definitions of ‘vagueness’ prejudice the question of how best to deal with the phenomenon of vagueness. In particular, the usual understanding of ‘vagueness’ in terms of borderline cases, where the latter are thought of as truth-value gaps, begs the question against the subvaluational approach. According to this latter approach, borderline cases are inconsistent (i.e., glutty not gappy). We suggest that a definition of ‘vagueness’ should be general enough to accommodate any genuine contender in the debate over (...)
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  20. Indispensability Arguments in the Philosophy of Mathematics.Mark Colyvan - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    One of the most intriguing features of mathematics is its applicability to empirical science. Every branch of science draws upon large and often diverse portions of mathematics, from the use of Hilbert spaces in quantum mechanics to the use of differential geometry in general relativity. It's not just the physical sciences that avail themselves of the services of mathematics either. Biology, for instance, makes extensive use of difference equations and statistics. The roles mathematics plays in these theories is also varied. (...)
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  21.  13
    Ecological Orbits: How Planets Move and Populations Grow.Lev Ginzburg & Mark Colyvan - unknown
    The main focus of the book is the presentation of the 'inertial' view of population growth. This view provides a rather simple model for complex population dynamics, and is achieved at the level of the single species without invoking species interactions. An important part of this account is the maternal effect. Investment of mothers in the quality of their daughters makes the rate of reproduction of the current generation depend not only on the current environment, but also on the environment (...)
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  22. Scientific Realism and Mathematical Nominalism: A Marriage Made in Hell.Mark Colyvan - unknown
    The Quine-Putnam Indispensability argument is the argument for treating mathematical entities on a par with other theoretical entities of our best scientific theories. This argument is usually taken to be an argument for mathematical realism. In this chapter I will argue that the proper way to understand this argument is as putting pressure on the viability of the marriage of scientific realism and mathematical nominalism. Although such a marriage is a popular option amongst philosophers of science and mathematics, in light (...)
     
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  23. Philosophical Issues in Ecology: Recent Trends and Future Directions.Mark Colyvan, William Grey, Paul E. Griffiths, Jay Odenbaugh & Stefan Linquist - 2009 - Ecology and Society 14 (2).
    A good philosophical understanding of ecology is important for a number of reasons. First, ecology is an important and fascinating branch of biology, with distinctive philosophical issues. Second, ecology is only one small step away from urgent political, ethical, and management decisions about how best to live in an apparently fragile and increasingly-degraded environment. Third, philosophy of ecology, properly conceived, can contribute directly to both our understanding of ecology and help with its advancement. Philosophy of ecology can thus be seen (...)
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  24. (Book Review) Ontological Independence as the Mark of the Real. [REVIEW]Mark Colyvan - 2005 - Philosophia Mathematica 13 (2):216-225.
  25. Paradox Without Satisfaction.OtáVio Bueno & Mark Colyvan - 2003 - Analysis 63 (2):152–156.
    Consider the following denumerably infinite sequence of sentences: (s1) For all k > 1, sk is not true. (s2) For all k > 2, sk is not true. (s3) For all k > 3, sk is not true.
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  26. Can the Eleatic Principle Be Justified?Mark Colyvan - 1998 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 28 (3):313 - 335.
    The Eleatic Principle or causal criterion is a causal test that entities must pass in order to gain admission to some philosophers’ ontology.1 This principle justifies belief in only those entities to which causal power can be attributed, that is, to those entities which can bring about changes in the world. The idea of such a test is rather important in modern ontology, since it is neither without intuitive appeal nor without influential supporters. Its supporters have included David Armstrong (1978, (...)
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  27. Environmental Ethics and Decision Theory: Fellow Travellers or Bitter Enemies?Mark Colyvan & Katie Steele - 2011 - In Kevin deLaplante, Bryson Brown & Kent Peacock (eds.), Philosophy of Ecology. Elsevier Science Publishers. pp. 285--300.
    On the face of it, ethics and decision theory give quite different advice about what the best course of action is in a given situation. In this paper we examine this alleged conflict in the realm of environmental decision-making. We focus on a couple of places where ethics and decision theory might be thought to be offering conflicting advice: environmental triage and carbon trading. We argue that the conflict can be seen as conflicts about other things (like appropriate temporal scales (...)
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  28. The Miracle of Applied Mathematics.Mark Colyvan - 2001 - Synthese 127 (3):265-277.
    Mathematics has a great variety ofapplications in the physical sciences.This simple, undeniable fact, however,gives rise to an interestingphilosophical problem:why should physical scientistsfind that they are unable to evenstate their theories without theresources of abstract mathematicaltheories? Moreover, theformulation of physical theories inthe language of mathematicsoften leads to new physical predictionswhich were quite unexpected onpurely physical grounds. It is thought by somethat the puzzles the applications of mathematicspresent are artefacts of out-dated philosophical theories about thenature of mathematics. In this paper I argue (...)
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  29. Heaps of Gluts and Hyde-Ing the Sorites.JC Beall & Mark Colyvan - 2001 - Mind 110 (438):401--408.
    JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.
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  30. The Galilean Turn in Population Ecology.Mark Colyvan & Lev R. Ginzburg - 2003 - Biology and Philosophy 18 (3):401-414.
    The standard mathematical models in population ecology assume that a population's growth rate is a function of its environment. In this paper we investigate an alternative proposal according to which the rate of change of the growth rate is a function of the environment and of environmental change. We focus on the philosophical issues involved in such a fundamental shift in theoretical assumptions, as well as on the explanations the two theories offer for some of the key data such as (...)
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  31. The Biodiversity Bank Cannot Be a Lending Bank.Michael A. Mccarthy, Mark Colyvan & Brendan A. Wintle - unknown
    “Offsetting” habitat destruction has widespread appeal as an instrument for balancing economic growth with biodiversity conservation. Requiring proponents to pay the nontrivial costs of habitat loss encourages sensitive planning approaches. Offsetting, biobanking, and biodiverse carbon sequestration schemes will play an important role in conserving biodiversity under increasing human pressures. However, untenable assumptions in existing schemes are undermining their benefits. Policies that allow habitat destruction to be offset by the protection of existing habitat are guaranteed to result in further loss of (...)
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  32. Applying Inconsistent Mathematics.Mark Colyvan - unknown
    At various times, mathematicians have been forced to work with inconsistent mathematical theories. Sometimes the inconsistency of the theory in question was apparent (e.g. the early calculus), while at other times it was not (e.g. pre-paradox na¨ıve set theory). The way mathematicians confronted such difficulties is the subject of a great deal of interesting work in the history of mathematics but, apart from the crisis in set theory, there has been very little philosophical work on the topic of inconsistent mathematics. (...)
     
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  33. Evidence-Based Policy: Promises and Challenges.Mark Colyvan & Adam La Caze - unknown
    Evidence-based policy is gaining support in many areas of government and in public affairs more generally. In this paper we outline what evidence—based policy is then discuss its strengths and weaknesses. In particular, we argue that it faces a serious challenge to provide a plausible account of evidence. This account needs to be at least in the spirit of the hierarchy of evidence subscribed to by evidence-based medicine (from which evidence—based policy derives its name and inspiration). Yet evidence-based policy’s hierarchy (...)
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  34. Yablo's Paradox Rides Again: A Reply to Ketland.Otávio Bueno & Mark Colyvan - unknown
    Yablo’s paradox is generated by the following (infinite) list of sentences (called the Yablo list): (s1) For all k > 1, sk is not true. (s2) For all k > 2, sk is not true. (s3) For all k > 3, sk is not true. . . . . . . . .
     
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  35. The Natural Environment is Valuable but Not Infinitely Valuable.Mark Colyvan, James Justus & Helen M. Regan - unknown
    It has been argued in the conservation literature that giving conservation absolute priority over competing interests would best protect the environment. Attributing infinite value to the environment or claiming it is ‘priceless’ are two ways of ensuring this priority (e.g. Hargrove 1989; Bulte and van Kooten 2000; Ackerman and Heinzerling 2002; McCauley 2006; Halsing and Moore 2008). But such proposals would paralyse conservation efforts. We describe the serious problems with these proposals and what they mean for practical applications, and we (...)
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  36. Environmental Philosophy: Beyond Environmental Ethics.Mark Colyvan - unknown
    Environmental ethics concerns itself with ethical issues arising from the relationship between humans and the natural environment. Of particular interest are ethical considerations in relation to human efforts to conserve the natural environment. Some of the key environmental ethics issues are whether environmental value is intrinsic or instrumental, whether biodiversity is valuable in itself or whether it is an indicator of some other value(s), and what the appropriate time scale is for conservation planning. But there is much more to environmental (...)
     
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  37. Is Probability the Only Coherent Approach to Uncertainty?Mark Colyvan - unknown
    In this article, I discuss an argument that purports to prove that probability theory is the only sensible means of dealing with uncertainty. I show that this argument can succeed only if some rather controversial assumptions about the nature of uncertainty are accepted. I discuss these assumptions and provide reasons for rejecting them. I also present examples of what I take to..
     
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  38.  88
    Tolerating Gluts.Zach Weber, David Ripley, Graham Priest, Dominic Hyde & Mark Colyvan - 2014 - Mind 123 (491):813-828.
  39. A Year in the Life.Mark Colyvan - unknown
    Time is perceived very differently from different vantage points. A year in the life of a primary-school student, for instance, is a very long time—somewhere between 1/5 and 1/ 12 of a primary-school child’s life. When you tlirow in the massive amount a child learns in any one year, compared with the diminishing returns that conspire against us later in life, a child’s year is more like a decade in adult years. But for a primary-school teacher, a school year is (...)
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  40. Analogical Thinking in Ecology: Looking Beyond Disciplinary Boundaries.Mark Colyvan & Lev R. Ginzburg - 2010 - The Quarterly Review of Biology 85 (2):171--182.
    ABSTRACT We consider several ways in which a good understanding of modern techniques and principles in physics can elucidate ecology, and we focus on analogical reasoning between these two branches of science. Analogical reasoning requires an understanding of both sciences and an appreciation of the similarities and points of contact between the two. In the current ecological literature on the relationship between ecology and physics, there has been some misunderstanding about the nature of modern physics and its methods. Physics is (...)
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  41. Is It a Crime to Belong to a Reference Class.Mark Colyvan, Helen M. Regan & Scott Ferson - 2001 - Journal of Political Philosophy 9 (2):168–181.
    ON DECEMBER 10, 1991 Charles Shonubi, a Nigerian citizen but a resident of the USA, was arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport for the importation of heroin into the United States.1 Shonubi's modus operandi was ``balloon swallowing.'' That is, heroin was mixed with another substance to form a paste and this paste was sealed in balloons which were then swallowed. The idea was that once the illegal substance was safely inside the USA, the smuggler would pass the balloons and (...)
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  42. The Undeniable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Special Sciences.Mark Colyvan - unknown
    In many of the special sciences, mathematical models are used to provide information about specified target systems. For instance, population models are used in ecology to make predictions about the abundance of real populations of particular organisms. The status of mathematical models, though, is unclear and their use is hotly contested by some practitioners. A common objection levelled against the use of these models is that they ignore all the known, causally-relevant details of the often complex target systems. Indeed, the (...)
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  43. Modelling the Moral Dimension of Decisions.Mark Colyvan, Damian Cox & Katie Steele - 2010 - Noûs 44 (3):503-529.
  44. Ranking in Threatened Species Classification.Mark Colyvan - unknown
    JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.
     
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  45. Legal Decisions and the Reference-Class Problem.Mark Colyvan - unknown
    There has been a long history of discussion on the usefulness of formal methods in legal settings.1 Some of the recent debate has focussed on foundational issues in statistics, in particular, how the reference-class problem affects legal decisions based on certain types of statistical evidence.2 Here we examine aspects of this debate, stressing why the reference-class problem presents serious difficulties for the kinds of statistical inferences under consideration and the relevance of this for the use of statistics in the courtroom. (...)
     
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  46. Causal Explanation and Ontological Commitment.Mark Colyvan - 1999 - In Uwe Meixner Peter Simons (ed.), Metaphysics in the Post-Metaphysical Age. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. pp. 1--141.
  47. Mating, Dating, and Mathematics: It's All in the Game.Mark Colyvan - unknown
    Why do people stay together in monogamous relationships? Love? Fear? Habit? Ethics? Integrity? Desperation? In this paper I will consider a rather surprising answer that comes from mathematics. It turns out that cooperative behaviour, such as mutually-faithful marriages, can be given a firm basis in a mathematical theory known as game theory. I will suggest that faithfulness in relationships is fully accounted for by narrow self interest in the appropriate game theory setting. This is a surprising answer because faithful behaviour (...)
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  48. Time Enough for Explanation.Sam Baron & Mark Colyvan - 2016 - Journal of Philosophy 113 (2):61-88.
    The present paper advances an analogy between cases of extra-mathematical explanation and cases of what might be termed ‘extra-logical explanation’: the explanation of a physical fact by a logical fact. A particular case of extra-logical explanation is identified that arises in the philosophical literature on time travel. This instance of extra-logical explanation is subsequently shown to be of a piece with cases of extra-mathematical explanation. Using this analogy, we argue extra-mathematical explanation is part of a broader class of non-causal explanation. (...)
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  49. The Locals Love to Jig: A Baggee's Guide to New England Climbing.Mark Colyvan - unknown
    The recent publication of a couple of guidebooks to some of the many crags around Armidale (in the New England area of northern New South Wales) has resulted in a bit of interest from outof-towners. (So far guides have been published on Dome Wall and Moonbi, arguably the best two crags in the district.) This article aims to give a bit of inside information on some of the climbs and, hopefully, entice some new blood (and splintered bone) to the area. (...)
     
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  50. Vagueness and Truth.Mark Colyvan - unknown
    In philosophy of logic and elsewhere, it is generally thought that similar problems should be solved by similar means. This advice is sometimes elevated to the status of a principle: the principle of uniform solution. In this paper I will explore the question of what counts as a similar problem and consider reasons for subscribing to the principle of uniform solution.
     
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