Fragmentalism is the view that reality is not a metaphysically unified place, but fragmented in a certain sense, and constituted by incompatible facts across such fragments. It was introduced by Kit Fine in a discussion of tense realist theories of time. Here I discuss the conceptual foundations of fragmentalism, identify several open questions in Fine’s characterization of the view, and propose an understanding of fragmentalism that addresses these open questions.
Metaphysical views typically draw some distinction between reality and appearance, endorsing realism about some subject matters and antirealism about others. There are different conceptions of how best to construe antirealist theories. A simple view has it that we are antirealists about a subject matter when we believe that this subject matter fails to obtain. This paper discusses an alternative view, which I will call the fundamentality-based conception of antirealism. We are antirealists in this sense when we think that the relevant (...) matter fails to be constitutive of fundamental reality. The following discussion will not rely on any particular understanding of fundamental reality, covering conceptions based on grounding, naturalness and truthmaking, to name three salient ones. This paper argues that there are serious issues with fundamentality-based metaphysics. It will be argued that: the fundamentality-based approach shapes and restricts our realist and antirealist views in unsatisfying ways, that it is unable to handle the conflicting facts that lie across the envisaged ‘layers’ of the metaphysically structured world, and that the methodological reasons for adopting the fundamentality-based approach fail. The paper will conclude with a diagnosis of the discussed issues, identifying a common source. (shrink)
Objects often manifest themselves in incompatible ways across perspectives that are epistemically on a par. The standard response to such cases is to deny that the properties that things appear to have from different perspectives are properties that things really have out there. This type of response seems worrying: too many properties admit of perspectival variance and there are good theoretical reasons to think that such properties are genuinely instantiated. So, we have reason to explore views on which things can (...) have the incompatible properties they appear to have across perspectives. This paper explores the view that things can have incompatible properties if the world is not a metaphysically unified place but is instead fragmented. There is a sensible notion of co-obtainment, on which two facts can each obtain without co-obtaining. Using this notion, we can step back from our embedded perspectives on the world without deeming the contents of those perspectives to be mere appearances. This renders th.. (shrink)
This paper proposes a view of time that takes passage to be the most basic temporal notion, instead of the usual A-theoretic and B-theoretic notions, and explores how we should think of a world that exhibits such a genuine temporal passage. It will be argued that an objective passage of time can only be made sense of from an atemporal point of view and only when it is able to constitute a genuine change of objects across time. This requires that (...) passage can flip one fact into a contrary fact, even though neither side of the temporal passage is privileged over the other. We can make sense of this if the world is inherently perspectival. Such an inherently perspectival world is characterized by fragmentalism, a view that has been introduced by Fine in his ‘Tense and Reality’ (2005). Unlike Fine's tense-theoretic fragmentalism though, the proposed view will be a fragmentalist view based in a primitive notion of passage. (shrink)
Fragmentalism was first introduced by Kit Fine in his ‘Tense and Reality’. According to fragmentalism, reality is an inherently perspectival place that exhibits a fragmented structure. The current paper defends the fragmentalist interpretation of the special theory of relativity, which Fine briefly considers in his paper. The fragmentalist interpretation makes room for genuine facts regarding absolute simultaneity, duration and length. One might worry that positing such variant properties is a turn for the worse in terms of theoretical virtues because such (...) properties are not involved in physical explanations and hence theoretically redundant. It will be argued that this is not right: if variant properties are indeed instantiated, they will also be involved in straightforward physical explanations and hence not explanatorily redundant. Hofweber and Lange, in their ‘Fine’s Fragmentalist Interpretation of Special Relativity’, object that the fragmentalist interpretation is in tension with the right explanation of the Lorentz transformations. It will be argued that their objection targets an inessential aspect of the fragmentalist framework and fails to raise any serious problem for the fragmentalist interpretation of special relativity. (shrink)
Critical thinking is in vogue - in colleges and universities as well as in elementary and secondary schools. This fact alone is enough to give us pause: seldom do shifts in academic fashion happen concurrently at all educational levels.
Composition as identity is the view that a whole is identical to its parts taken collectively. Such a view raises the question of how the same portion of reality can be both one thing and many things. A primitivist view holds that there is no explanation to be had and that we simply need to accept that being one thing and being many things are compatible. One might think that we can do better by resorting to relativization. A relativist view (...) may seem to explain how the same portion of reality can be both one thing and many things on the basis of the assumption that the portion of reality is these ways relative to different ‘concepts’ or ‘counts’. This paper discusses whether relativization truly leads to a satisfactory explanation of how something can be both one thing and many things. The conclusion will be that, when we consider the current accounts of the involved parameters, these relativizations make no explanatory progress. (shrink)
Word of the inauguration of a newsletter on the program in Analytical Thinking that is based in the School of Education at Texas Wesleyan College is indeed welcome. Knowing the energy and expertise of the two administrators of the program, Dean Joe Mitchell and Professor Ronald Reed, I have no doubt that the newsletter will be a success, and I shall look forward to receiving every issue.
The aim of philosophy for children (P4C) is to stimulate children to think carefully, to develop better reasoning and judgments, and to engage in the analysis of some general but ill-defined concepts. A different sort of approach is exemplified by Gareth Matthews, who demonstrates how adults attuned to philosophy can engage children in conversations that disclose and enlarge upon the philosophical dimension of children’s thinking. There are still other approaches. In this essay, I outline many of the highlights in the (...) development of philosophy for children of the last twenty years, and conclude with comments about a philosophy of childhood. (shrink)
Non-indoctrinational moral education involves teaching children to engage in ethical inquiry. This means that, since ethical inquiry has the status of a craft, the students will be apprentices in that craft. The classroom becomes, for this purpose, a community of ethical inquiry - an ethical atelier where students learn the tools, methods, practices and procedures which craftsmen associated with that tradition customarily utilize. It is only when one is adept at the generic procedures of reasoning that one can be adept (...) at specifically moral reasoning, but to make the transition possible, the generic procedures should be taught within the humanistic and critical context of philosophy, and within the setting of a community of ethical inquiry. (shrink)
Objects often manifest themselves in incompatible ways across perspectives that are on a par. Phenomena of this kind have been responsible for crucial revisions to our conception of the world, both philosophical and scientific. The standard response to them is to deny that the way things appear from different perspectives are ways things really are out there, a response that is based on an implicit metaphysical assumption that the world is a unified whole. This dissertation explores the possibility that this (...) assumption is false, that the world is fragmented instead of unified. On the proposed understanding of such worldly fragmentation, there is a notion of co-obtainment according to which two facts may obtain without co-obtaining. Since not every fact that obtains also co-obtains with every other fact, two incompatible facts may both obtain, as long as they do not co-obtain in the introduced sense. The possibility of such fragmentation sheds new light on a range of phenomena. It allows us to explore a view of time that takes the notion of passage as its defining primitive. It bolsters a no-subject view of experience against the objection that it leads to solipsism. It allows a realist view about colours to withstand the objection from conflicting appearances. And, it makes room for a view on which things really have the properties that are attributed to objects and events across different frames of reference, such as length, mass, duration and simultaneity. Overall, fragmentalism changes the way in which the manifest image feeds into an objective conception of the world: what is manifest to us is not misleading in what sort of properties it shows the world to have, it's only misleading in making it seem more unified than it really is. (shrink)
For Lipman, philosophy needs to approximate human interests by being dramatized, as proposed here with a new viewpoint: to reveal life is to reveal drama. The life of a philosopher is revitalized in a comprehensive re-telling, in the philosophical question and the reflective concerns of wh..