Kris McDaniel argues that there are different ways in which things exist. For instance, past things don't exist in the same way as present things. Numbers don't exist in the same way as physical objects; nor do holes, which are real, but less real than what they are in. McDaniel's theory of being illuminates a wide range of metaphysical topics.
Friends of states of affairs and structural universals appeal to a relation, structure-making, that is allegedly a kind of composition relation: structure-making ?builds? facts out of particulars and universals, and ?builds? structural universals out of unstructured universals. D. M. Armstrong, an eminent champion of structures, endorses two interesting theses concerning composition. First, that structure-making is a composition relation. Second, that it is not the only (fundamental) composition relation: Armstrong also believes in a mode of composition that he calls mereological, and (...) which he takes to be the only kind of composition recognized by his philosophical adversaries, such as David Lewis. Armstrong, accordingly, is a kind of pluralist about compositional relations: there is more than one way to make wholes from parts. In this paper, I critically evaluate Armstrong's compositional pluralism. (shrink)
We argue that desire is an attitude that relates a person not to one proposition but rather to two, the first of which we call the object of the desire and the second of which we call the condition of the desire. This view of desire is initially motivated by puzzles about conditional desires. It is not at all obvious how best to draw the distinction between conditional and unconditional desires. In this paper we examine extant attempts to analyse conditional (...) desire. From the failures of those attempts, we draw a moral that leads us to the correct account of conditional desires. We then extend the account of conditional desires to an account of all desires. We attempt to explain the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic desire in light of our account of desire. We show how to use our account to solve Wollheim’s paradox of democracy and to save modus ponens. Finally, we extend the account of desire to related phenomena, such as conditional promises, intentions, and commands. (shrink)
The pressure to individuate propositions more finely than intensionally—that is, hyper-intensionally—has two distinct sources. One source is the philosophy of mind: one can believe a proposition without believing an intensionally equivalent proposition. The second source is metaphysics: there are intensionally equivalent propositions, such that one proposition is true in virtue of the other but not vice versa. I focus on what our theory of propositions should look like when it's guided by metaphysical concerns about what is true in virtue of (...) what. In this paper I articulate and defend a metaphysical theory of the individuation of propositions, according to which two propositions are identical just in case they occupy the same nodes in a network of invirtuation relations. Invirtuation is here taken to be a primitive relation of metaphysical explanation exemplified by propositions that, in conjunction with truth, defines the notion of true in virtue of. After formulating the theory, I compare it with a view.. (shrink)
I argue that extended simples are possible. The argument given here parallels an argument given elsewhere for the claim that the shape properties of material objects are extrinsic, not intrinsic as is commonly supposed. In the final section of the paper, I show that if the shape properties of material objects are extrinsic, the most popular argument against extended simples fails.
Recently, I’ve championed the doctrine that fundamentally different sorts of things exist in fundamentally different ways.1 On this view, what it is for an entity to be can differ across ontological categories.2 Although historically this doctrine was very popular, and several important challenges to this doctrine have been dealt with, I suspect that contemporary metaphysicians will continue to treat this view with suspicion until it is made clearer when one is warranted in positing different modes of existence.3 I address this (...) concern here. The question of when to posit ways of being is closely related to a more general question: when should one think that some philosophically interesting expression is analogous? Accordingly, my strategy here is as follows. First, I briefly explain my interpretation of ontological pluralism, the doctrine that there are ways of being.4 Second, I introduce the notion of an analogous term, and show how, on most ways of implementing ontological pluralism, “existence” is analogous. Third, I discuss two sufficient conditions for when one is warranted in claiming that a philosophically interesting term is analogous. Fourth, I present a series of ontological schemes, each of which satisfies at least one of the sufficient conditions. The upshot is this: if you are attracted to one of these ontologies, you have reason to believe in ways of being. The careful reader will have noted the apparent modesty of my conclusion. Unfortunately, I do not believe that one could ever be rationally required to believe in ways of being. Still, in general a metaphysic is a live option to the extent that it is shown to be rationally permissible to believe. Since the apparent consensus among contemporary analytic metaphysicians is that believing that things can exist in different ways is silly or confused, establishing the rational permissibility of belief in ways of being is a non-trivial task. Let us begin. (shrink)
Johannes von Kries’s Spielraum-theory is regarded as one of the most important philosophical contributions of the nineteenth century to an objective interpretation of probability. This paper aims at a critical and contextual analysis of von Kries’s approach: It is contextual insofar as it reconstructs the Spielraum-theory in the historical setting that formed his scientific and philosophical outlook. It is critical insofar as it unfolds systematic tensions and inconsistencies which are rooted in this context, especially in the grave change of mechanism (...) which took place in the late nineteenth century. In this regard, the paper focuses on von Kries’s understanding of natural laws and nomological knowledge in relation to his concept of objective probability. While the formal approach of the Spielraum-theory—as far as developed by von Kries—seems sound, his epistemological claims with respect to nomological knowledge sustain classical mechanism and are hence difficult to substantiate from the point of view of modern science. (shrink)
In this paper, I formulate, elucidate, and defend a version of modal realism with overlap, the view that objects are literally present at more than one possible world. The version that I defend has several interesting features: it is committed to an ontological distinction between regions of spacetime and material objects; it is committed to compositional pluralism, which is the doctrine that there is more than one fundamental part-whole relation; and it is the modal analogue of endurantism, which is the (...) doctrine that objects persist through time by being wholly present at each moment they are located. (shrink)
Peter van Inwagen presented a powerful argument against the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which I henceforth abbreviate as ‘PSR’. For decades, the consensus was that this argument successfully refuted PSR. However, now a growing consensus holds that van Inwagen’s argument is fatally flawed, at least when ‘sufficient reason’ is understood in terms of ground, for on this understanding, an ineliminable premiss of van Inwagen’s argument is demonstrably false and cannot be repaired. I will argue that this growing consensus is mistaken (...) and that a powerful argument relevantly similar to van Inwagen’s should still concern us, even when we understand ‘sufficient reason’ in terms of ground. (shrink)
Let us agree that everything that there is exists, and that to be, to be real, and to exist are one and the same. Does everything that there is exist to the same degree? Or do some things exist more than others? Are there gradations of being? I argue that some entities exist more than others. Moreover, many of the notions in play in contemporary metaphysical discourse, such as fundamentality, perfect naturalness, and grounding ought to be cashed out in terms (...) of degree of existence. (shrink)
It is widely agreed upon that aesthetic properties, such as grace, balance, and elegance, are perceived. I argue that aesthetic properties are experientially attributed to some non‐perceptible objects. For example, a mathematical proof can be experienced as elegant. In order to give a unified explanation of the experiential attribution of aesthetic properties to both perceptible and non‐perceptible objects, one has to reject the idea that aesthetic properties are perceived. I propose an alternative view: the affective account. I argue that the (...) standard case of experiential aesthetic property attribution is affective experience. (shrink)
I am attracted to ontological pluralism, the doctrine that some things exist in a different way than other things.1 For the ontological pluralist, there is more to learn about an object’s existential status than merely whether it is or is not: there is still the question of how that entity exists. By contrast, according to the ontological monist, either something is or it isn’t, and that’s all there is say about a thing’s existential status. We appear to be to be (...) ontological committed to what I will call almost nothings. Examples of almost nothings include holes, cracks, and shadows; almost nothings thrive in the absence of ‘positive’ entities such as donuts, walls, and sunlight. Let’s focus on holes, since the literature on them is voluminous.2 We quantify over holes, and even count them: we say, for example, that there are some holes in the cheese, seven to be precise. We ascribe features to them and talk as though they stand in relations: that hole is three feet wide, much wider than that tire over there. Holes apparently persist through time, as evidenced by the fact that my sweater has the same hole in it as the last time you saw me wear it. We even talk as though holes are causally efficacious: my ankle was badly sprained because I stepped in that hole in the sidewalk.3 It seems then that we believe in holes. If our beliefs are true, holes must enjoy some kind of reality. This puts the ontological monist in an uncomfortable position. According to her, everything that there is enjoys the same kind of reality, which is the kind of reality enjoyed by full-fledged concrete entities such as ourselves. She is committed to the unpleasant claim that holes are just as real as concretia, a claim that is apt to be met with incredulous stares by those not acquainted with contemporary metaphysics. Roy Sorensen (2008, p. 19) notes the tension almost nothings generate for ontological monists: ‘… it feels paradoxical to say that absences exist—but no better to say that absences do not exist’.. (shrink)
The problem of qualitative heterogeneity is to explain how an extended simple can enjoy qualitative variation across its spatial or temporal axes, given that it lacks both spatial and temporal parts. I discuss how friends of extended simples should address the problem of qualitative heterogeneity. I present a series of arguments designed to show that rather than appealing to fundamental distributional properties one should appeal to tiny and short-lived tropes. Along the way, issues relevant to debates about material composition, persistence (...) over time and existence monism are discussed.  . (shrink)
Heidegger distinguishes between things that are present-at-hand and things that are ready-to-hand. I argue that, in Heidegger, this distinction is between two sets of entities rather than between two ways of considering one and the same set of entities. I argue that Heidegger ascribes distinct temporal, essential, and phenomenological properties to these two different kinds of entities.
In a recent paper titled ' Simples ', Ned Markosian asks and answers the Simple Question, which is, 'under what circumstances is it true of some object that it has no proper parts?' Markosian 's answer to the simple question is MaxCon, which states that an object is a simple if and only if it is a maximally continuous object. I present several arguments against MaxCon.
Part I: Building blocks. 1. Folk convictions -- 2. Doubts about libertarianism -- 3. Nihilism and revisionism -- 4. Building a better theory -- Part II. A theory of moral responsibility. 5. The primacy of reasons -- 6. Justifying the practice -- 7. Responsible agency -- 8. Blame and desert -- 9. History and manipulation --10. Some conclusions.
Suppose that a material object is gunky: all of its parts are located in space, and each of its parts has a proper part. Does it follow from this hypothesis that the space in which that object resides must itself be gunky? I argue that it does not. There is room for gunky objects in a space that decomposes without remainder into mereological simples.
I argue that a solution to puzzles concerning the relationship ofobjects and their properties – a version of the `bundle' theory ofparticulars according to which ordinary objects are mereologicalfusions of monadic and relational tropes – is also a solution topuzzles of material constitution involving the allegedco-location of material objects. Additionally, two argumentsthat have played a prominent role in shaping the current debate,Mark Heller's argument for Four Dimensionalism and Peter vanInwagen's argument against Mereological Universalism, are shownto be unsound given this version (...) of the bundle theory. (shrink)
This paper has the aim of making Johannes von Kries’s masterpiece, Die Principien der Wahrscheinlichkeitsrechnung of 1886, a little more accessible to the modern reader in three modest ways: first, it discusses the historical background to the book ; next, it summarizes the basic elements of von Kries’s approach ; and finally, it examines the so-called “principle of cogent reason” with which von Kries’s name is often identified in the English literature.
Let’s start with compositional pluralism. Elsewhere I’ve defended compositional pluralism, which we can provisionally understand as the doctrine that there is more than one basic parthood relation. (You might wonder what I mean by “basic”. We’ll discuss this in a bit.) On the metaphysics I currently favor, there are regions of spacetime and material objects, each of which enjoy bear a distinct parthood relation to members of their own kind. Perhaps there are other kinds of objects that enjoy a kind (...) of parthood relation other than the ones enjoyed by material objects and regions of spacetime. Perhaps, for example, there are facts; I’ve been wavering over whether to embrace these entities for years now. However, I’m reasonably confident that if there are facts than the kind of parthood relation that facts bear to that which composes them is not the kind of parthood relation enjoyed by material objects or regions of spacetime. More on why I am reasonably confident later. (shrink)
Over the last few decades there has been a strong narrative turn within the humanities and social sciences in general and educational studies in particular. Especially Jerome Bruner’s theory of narrative as a specific ‘mode of knowing’ was very important for this growing body of work. To understand how the narrative mode works Bruner proposes to study narratives ‘at their far reach’—as an art form—and on several occasions he refers to the dramatistic pentad as an important method for ‘unpacking’ narratives. (...) The pentad proposed by Bruner to study narratives was developed by the American philosopher and rhetorician Kenneth Burke and is embedded in his general linguistic theory of dramatism. From an educational perspective Bruner’s reference to the work of Burke has not been elaborated upon thus far. In this paper we aim to take Bruner’s suggestion at hand and explore how his educational theory of narrative as a mode of knowing can indeed be enriched by Kenneth Burke’s theory and method of dramatism. We claim that specifically the rhetorical framework that is developed by dramatism offers an important perspective about perspectives for education in a context that is increasingly confronted with a plurality of interpretive frameworks. (shrink)
My reading of Tuvel’s defense of transracialism focuses on her critiques of three main objections to a transracial identity. Tuvel attempts to show how her defense of transracialism stands in the face of these objections. However, I argue that her position is not sufficiently immune to them. In other words, my response delineates the ways in which all three objections remain, and effectively undermine her argument in favor of transracial identities. Additionally, through the question of white allyship, I ask about (...) the moral and political consequences of choosing to identify as transracial. I show that, without a clear account of what an existential choice of racial transitioning implies for allyship across race, Tuvel does not sufficiently establish the differences between the historical constitutions of racialized and sexualized identities. In failing to engage with these moral/political implications, Tuvel’s position does not address the complex relationship between individual agency and collective accountability. (shrink)
The Frege-Russell view is that existence is a second-order property rather than a property of individuals. One of the most compelling arguments for this view is based on the premise that there is an especially close connection between existence and number. The most promising version of this argument is by C.J.F Williams (1981, 1992). In what follows, I argue that this argument fails. I then defend an account according to which both predications of number and existence attribute properties to individuals.
The distinction between "the two truths" was initially developed to resolve seeming contradictions in the Buddha's teachings.1 The Buddha teaches that persons should act compassionately, that persons will be reincarnated, and that persons do not exist. The first two lessons seem inconsistent with the third. Consistency could be restored by distinguishing kinds of truth: the first and second lessons are conventionally true, but it is conventionally but not ultimately true that persons exist.2In addition to this semantic distinction, there is an (...) ontological distinction between modes of being that also promises to restore consistency. As many note, "the two truths" is a distinction between entities at least as much as... (shrink)
Philosophical questions concerning parts and wholes have received a tremendous amount of the attention of contemporary analytic metaphysicians. In what follows, I discuss some of the central questions. The questions to be discussed are: how general is parthood? Are there different kinds of parthood or ways to be a part? Can two things be composed of the same parts? When does composition occur? Can material objects gain or lose parts? What is the logical form of the parthood relation enjoyed by (...) material objects? (shrink)
No university or research institution is immune to research misconduct or the more widespread problem of questionable research practices. To strengthen integrity in research, universities worldwide have developed education in research integrity. However, little is known about education in research integrity for PhD students in European research-intensive universities. We conducted a content analysis of didactic materials of 11 of the 23 members of the League of European Research Universities to map out the content, format, frequency, duration, timing, and compulsory status (...) of their training programmes and the characteristics of instructors of the onsite courses. Quantitative results revealed substantial variation in educational materials among the studied institutions. This variation might be because European research universities are free to design curricula without any requirements from the European, national, or institutional public funding channels. Given the challenges inherent to modern science and preventing misconduct, research institutions should empower future generations of researchers to engage in responsible research practices. To promote integrity in research among PhD students, we provide a set of recommendations for university-wide education in research integrity for doctoral trainees based on our investigation of educational resources. (shrink)
Direct-to-consumer genetic testing has been available for several years now, with varying degrees of regulation across different countries. Despite a restrictive legal framework it is possible for consumers to order genetic tests from companies located in other countries. However, German laypeople’s awareness and perceptions of DTC GT services is still unexplored. We conducted seven focus groups with German laypeople to explore their perceptions of and attitudes towards commercial genetic testing and its ethical implications. Participants were critical towards DTC GT. Criticism (...) was directed at health-related, predictive testing, while lifestyle tests were accepted and even welcomed to some extent. Participants expressed strong reservations regarding commercial provision of genetic diagnostics and expressed a lack of trust in respective companies. They preferred non-commercial distribution within the public healthcare system. Participants also expressed high expectations of physicians’ abilities to interpret information obtained via DTC GT companies and provide counseling. Legal restrictions on commercial distribution of genetic tests were opposed, with participants arguing that it should be available to consumers. DTC GT companies are not perceived as trustworthy when compared to the public healthcare system and its professional ethical standards and practices. Laypeople rated general consumer autonomy higher than their own concerns, thus recommending against strong legal regulation. We conclude that medicine’s trustworthiness may be negatively affected if commercial provision is not visibly opposed by the medical professions, while DTC GT companies may gain in trustworthiness if they adapt to standards and practices upheld in medicine. (shrink)
Open access to research data has become an issue in many contemporary sciences. One of them is Historical Climatology, a discipline drawing on archival materials to study the climate’s past. Based on fieldwork, the article explores the construction of a shared database by a group of historical climatologists and describes the strategies and hopes built into that infrastructure. I examine how the possession and provision of data relate to issues of recognition and legitimacy, thereby turning database construction into a practice (...) of social import. Further, I argue that taking into account the diversity of research materials from which climate data is constituted – historical documents, tree-rings, ice-cores, etc. – is crucial for apprehending both the status of distinct types of data and the status of distinct research groups in the scientific field under investigation here. (shrink)
I focus here on the teleological suspension of the ethical as it appears in Fear and Trembling. A common reading of Fear and Trembling is that it explores whether there are religious reasons for action that settle that one must do an action even when all the moral reasons for action tell against doing it. This interpretation has been contested. But I defend it by showing how the explicit teleological suspension of the ethical mirrors implicit teleological suspensions of the epistemological (...) and prudential, and by articulating how it might be necessary for God to suspend the ethical in order to forgive us for our wrongdoings to others. I also discuss whether God’s commands are implicitly conditional, whether religious reasons to act, believe, and forgive are in each case grounded in divine commands, and what role love plays in each type of teleological suspension. (shrink)
A conception of probability that can be traced back to Johannes von Kries is introduced: the “Spielraum” or range conception. Its close connection to the so-called method of arbitrary functions is highlighted. Possible interpretations of it are discussed, and likewise its scope and its relation to certain current interpretations of probability. Taken together, these approaches form a class of interpretations of probability in its own right, but also with its own problems. These, too, are introduced, discussed, and proposals in response (...) to them are surveyed, some of which also go back to von Kries. (shrink)
The paper confronts the disagreement argument for relativism about matters of taste, defending a specific form of contextualism. It is first considered whether the disagreement data might manifest an inviariantist attitude speakers pre-reflectively have. Semantic and ontological enlightenment should then make the impressions of disagreement vanish, or at least leave them as lingering ineffectual Müller-Lyer-like illusions; but it is granted to relativists that this does not fully happen. López de Sa’s appeal to presuppositions of commonality and Sundell’s appeal to metalinguistic (...) disagreement are discussed, and it is argued that, although they help to clarify the issues, they do not fully explain why such impressions remain under enlightenment. To do it, the paper develops a suggestion that other writers have made, that the lingering impression of disagreement is a consequence of a practical conflict, appealing to dispositions to practical coordination that come together with presuppositions of commonality in axiological matters. (shrink)
In our research and teaching we explore the value and the place of rhetoric in education. From a theoretical perspective we situate our work in different disciplines, inspired by major ‘turns’: linguistic, cultural, anthropological/ethnographic, interpretive, semiotic, narrative, literary, rhetorical etc. In this article we engage in the discussion about what all these turns might entail for education by elaborating on what it implies to read the world as a ‘text'—as is central in a semiotic approach—and by introducing new rhetoric in (...) general, and the work of the literary critic and rhetorician Kenneth Burke in particular, as a possible theoretical and methodological resource. We illustrate its application in the analysis of a fictional narrative. Our aim is to explore how an understanding of education as rhetoric can be integrated into the teacher education curriculum. (shrink)