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Matthew Slater
Bucknell University
  1.  26
    A Pragmatic Approach to the Possibility of de-Extinction.Matthew H. Slater & Hayley Clatterbuck - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1-2):4.
    A number of influential biologists are currently pursuing efforts to restore previously extinct species. But for decades, philosophers of biology have regarded “de-extinction” as conceptually incoherent. Once a species is gone, it is gone forever. We argue that a range of metaphysical, biological, and ethical grounds for opposing de-extinction are at best inconclusive and that a pragmatic stance that allows for its possibility is more appealing.
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  2.  28
    Cell Types as Natural Kinds.Matthew H. Slater - 2013 - Biological Theory 7 (2):170-179.
    Talk of different types of cells is commonplace in the biological sciences. We know a great deal, for example, about human muscle cells by studying the same type of cells in mice. Information about cell type is apparently largely projectible across species boundaries. But what defines cell type? Do cells come pre-packaged into different natural kinds? Philosophical attention to these questions has been extremely limited [see e.g., Wilson (Species: New Interdisciplinary Essays, pp 187–207, 1999; Genes and the Agents of Life, (...)
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  3. Macromolecular Pluralism.Matthew H. Slater - 2009 - Philosophy of Science 76 (5):851-863.
    Different chemical species are often cited as paradigm examples of structurally delimited natural kinds. While classificatory monism may thus seem plausible for simple molecules, it looks less attractive for complex biological macromolecules. I focus on the case of proteins that are most plausibly individuated by their functions. Is there a single, objective count of proteins? I argue that the vagaries of function individuation infect protein classification. We should be pluralists about macromolecular classification.
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  4. Where No Mind Has Gone Before: Exploring Laws in Distant and Lonely Worlds.Matthew H. Slater & Chris Haufe - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (3):265-276.
    Do the laws of nature supervene on ordinary, non-nomic matters of fact? Lange's criticism of Humean supervenience (HS) plays a key role in his account of natural laws. Though we are sympathetic to his account, we remain unconvinced by his criticism. We focus on his thought experiment involving a world containing nothing but a lone proton and argue that it does not cast sufficient doubt on HS. In addition, we express some concern about locating the lawmakers in an ontology of (...)
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  5.  49
    Monism on the One Hand, Pluralism on the Other.Matthew H. Slater - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (1):22-42.
    In this paper, I consider ways of responding to critiques of natural kinds monism recently suggested from the pluralist camp. Even if monism is determined to be untenable in certain domains (say, about species), it might well be tenable in others. Chemistry is suggested to be such a monist‐friendly domain. Suggestions of trouble for chemical kinds can be defused by attending to the difference between monism as a metaphysical thesis and as a claim about classification systems. Finally, I consider enantiomers (...)
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  6.  8
    Denialism as Applied Skepticism: Philosophical and Empirical Considerations.Matthew H. Slater, Joanna K. Huxster, Julia E. Bresticker & Victor LoPiccolo - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-20.
    The scientific community, we hold, often provides society with knowledge—that the HIV virus causes AIDS, that anthropogenic climate change is underway, that the MMR vaccine is safe. Some deny that we have this knowledge, however, and work to undermine it in others. It has been common to refer to such agents as “denialists”. At first glance, then, denialism appears to be a form of skepticism. But while we know that various denialist strategies for suppressing belief are generally effective, little is (...)
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  7.  21
    Review: Muhammad Ali Khalidi's Natural Categories and Human Kinds: Classification in the Natural and Social Sciences. [REVIEW]Matthew H. Slater - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (4):1017-1023.
  8.  48
    Introduction: Lessons From the Scientific Butchery.Matthew H. Slater & Andrea Borghini - 2013 - In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science. MIT Press.
    Good chefs know the importance of maintaining sharp knives in the kitchen. What’s their secret? A well-worn Taoist allegory offers some advice. The king asks about his butcher’s impressive knifework. “Ordinary butchers,” he replied “hack their way through the animal. Thus their knife always needs sharpening. My father taught me the Taoist way. I merely lay the knife by the natural openings and let it find its own way through. Thus it never needs sharpening” (Kahn 1995, vii; see also Watson (...)
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  9. The Necessity of Time Travel (On Pain of Indeterminacy).Matthew H. Slater - 2005 - The Monist 88 (3):362-369.
    There is a tension between the “growing block” account of time (closed past, open future) and the possibility of backwards time travel. If Tim the time traveler can someday travel backwards through time, then he has (in a certain sense) already been. He might discover this fact before (in another sense) he goes. Hence a dilemma: it seems that either Tim’s future is determined in an odd way or cases of (temporary) ontic indeterminate identity are possible. Either Tim cannot avoid (...)
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  10. 10. The Facts of the Matter: A Discussion of Norton's Material Theory of Induction The Facts of the Matter: A Discussion of Norton's Material Theory of Induction (Pp. 188-197). [REVIEW]Marc Ereshefsky, Mohan Matthen, Matthew H. Slater, Alex Rosenberg, D. M. Kaplan, Kevin Js Zollman, Peter Vanderschraaf, J. McKenzie Alexander, Andreas Hüttemann & Gordon Belot - 2005 - Philosophy of Science 72 (1).
  11. Carving Nature at its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science.Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.) - 2011 - Cambridge, MA, USA: MIT Press.
    Are there natural kinds of things around which our theories cut? The essays in this volume offer reflections by a distinguished group of philosophers on a series of intertwined issues in the metaphysics and epistemology of classification.
  12.  19
    A Contextualist Reply to the Direct Argument.Matthew H. Slater - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 125 (1):115-137.
    The Direct Argument for the incompatibility of moral responsibility and determinism is designed to side-step complaints given by compatibilist critiques of the so-called Transfer Argument. I argue that while it represents an improvement over the Transfer Argument, it loses some of its plausibility when we reflect on some metalogical issues about normal modal modeling and the semantics of natural language. More specifically, the crucial principle on which the Direct Argument depends appears doubtful where context plays a role in evaluation of (...)
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  13.  21
    How to Justify Teaching False Science.Matthew H. Slater - 2008 - Science Education 92 (3):526-542.
    We often knowingly teach false science. Such a practice conflicts with a prima facie pedagogical value placed on teaching only what’s true. I argue that only a partial dissolution of the conflict is possible: the proper aim of instruction in science is not to provide an armory of facts about what things the world contains, how they interact, and so on, but rather to contribute to an understanding of how science as a human endeavor works and what sorts of facts (...)
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  14.  9
    Pluto and the Platypus: An Odd Ball and an Odd Duck — On Classificatory Norms.Matthew H. Slater - 2017 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 61:1-10.
    Some astronomers believe that we have discovered that Pluto is not a planet. I contest this assessment. Recent discoveries of trans-Neptunian Pluto-sized objects do not require that we exclude Pluto from the planets. But the obvious alternative, that classificatory revision is a matter of arbitrary choice, is also unpalatable. I argue that this classificatory controversy — which I compare to the controversy about the classification of the platypus — illustrates how our classificatory practices are laden with normative commitments of a (...)
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  15. Playing for the Same Team Again.Matthew H. Slater & Achille C. Varzi - 2007 - In Jerry L. Walls & Gregory Bassham (eds.), Basketball and Philosophy. Thinking Outside the Paint. University of Kentucky Press. pp. 220–234.
    How many championships have the Lakers won? Fourteen, if one counts those won in Minneapolis; nine, otherwise. Which is the correct answer? Is it even obvious that there is a correct answer? One is tempted to identify a team with its players. But teams, like ordinary objects, seem to survive gradual turnover of their parts. Suppose players from the Lakers are gradually replaced, one by one, over the years. We have the intuition that the team persists through this change, even (...)
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  16.  42
    A Novel Exercise for Teaching the Philosophy of Science.Gary Hardcastle & Matthew H. Slater - 2014 - Philosophy of Science 81 (5):1184-1196.
    We describe a simple, flexible exercise that can be implemented in the philosophy of science classroom: students are asked to determine the contents of a closed container without opening it. This exercise has revealed itself as a useful platform from which to examine a wide range of issues in the philosophy of science and may, we suggest, even help us think about improving the public understanding of science.
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  17.  14
    Anchoring in Ecosystemic Kinds.Matthew H. Slater - 2018 - Synthese 195 (4):1487-1508.
    The world contains many different types of ecosystems. This is something of a commonplace in biology and conservation science. But there has been little attention to the question of whether such ecosystem types enjoy a degree of objectivity—whether they might be natural kinds. I argue that traditional accounts of natural kinds that emphasize nomic or causal–mechanistic dimensions of “kindhood” are ill-equipped to accommodate presumptive ecosystemic kinds. In particular, unlike many other kinds, ecosystemic kinds are “anchored” to the contingent character of (...)
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  18.  35
    Recent Texts in Metaphysics. [REVIEW]Matthew H. Slater - 2009 - Teaching Philosophy 32 (3):285-296.
    A teacher of analytic metaphysics faces a bewildering array of textbook and anthology options. Which should one choose? Thisdepends, of course, on one’s course and goals as instructor. This comparative book review will survey several options—both longstanding and recent to press—from a pedagogical perspective. The options are not exclusive. Many are natural complements and would work nicely with other collections or single-author texts. I shall focus my attention here on six texts (in this order): two textbooks, one by Peter van (...)
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  19.  53
    A Reflection on Our Freedom.Matthew H. Slater - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (2):327-330.
    Many Compatibilists seem to suppose that discover that we lived in a deterministic world would not unseat our confidence that many of our actions are nevertheless free. Here's a short story about such confidence becoming unseated.
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  20. The Indeterminacy Problem for Species-as-Individuals.Matthew H. Slater - manuscript
    Of those who believe that biological species are real, the dominant metaphysics of species is that they are individuals. While the arguments for this view have been thoroughly criticized in the last quarter thirty years, comparatively less effort has been spent trying to show that the view is actually false. My primary concern in the present paper is to detail a metaphysical problem for the species-as-individuals thesis that should at least give potential adherents great pause. Second, I will sketch a (...)
     
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  21. How Necessary is the Past? Reply to Campbell.Matthew H. Slater - manuscript
    Joe Campbell has identified an apparent flaw in van Inwagen’s Consequence Argument. It apparently derives a metaphysically necessary conclusion from what Campbell argues is a contingent premise: that the past is in some sense necessary. I criticise Campbell’s examples attempting to show that this is not the case (in the requisite sense) and suggest some directions along which an incompatibilist could reconstruct her argument so as to remain immune to Campbell’s worries.
     
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  22.  22
    Minimalism and Coincidence: Comments on Varzi.Matthew H. Slater - 2003 - Dialectica 57 (3):323–329.
    Achille Varzi [2000] has suggested a nice response to the familiar argument purporting to establish the existence of perfectly coinciding objects – objects which, if they existed, would trouble mereological extensionality and the “Minimalist View” of ontology. The trick is to defend Minimalism without tarnishing its status as a meta-principle: that is, without making any firstorder ontological claims. Varzi’s response, though seeming to allow for a comfortable indifference about metaphysical matters peripheral to Minimalism, is not general enough to stave off (...)
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  23.  1
    Minimalism and Coincidence: Comments on Varzi.Matthew H. Slater - 2003 - Dialectica 57 (3):323-329.
    Achille Varzi [2000] has suggested a nice response to the familiar argument purporting to establish the existence of perfectly coinciding objects ‐ objects which, if they existed, would trouble mereological extensionality and the “Minimalist View” of ontology. The trick is to defend Minimalism without tarnishing its status as a meta‐principle: that is, without making any first‐ order ontological claims. Varzi's response, though seeming to allow for a comfortable indifference about metaphysical matters peripheral to Minimalism, is not general enough to stave (...)
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  24.  22
    Reference and Referring.William P. Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.) - 2012 - MIT Press.
    These fifteen original essays address the core semantic concepts of reference and referring from both philosophical and linguistic perspectives. After an introductory essay that casts current trends in reference and referring in terms of an ongoing dialogue between Fregean and Russellian approaches, the book addresses specific topics, balancing breadth of coverage with thematic unity. The contributors, all leading or emerging scholars, address trenchant neo-Fregean challenges to the direct reference position; consider what positive claims can be made about the mechanism of (...)
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  25.  7
    The Environment: Philosophy, Science, and Ethics.William P. Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.) - 2012 - MIT Press.
    Philosophical reflections on the environment began with early philosophers' invocation of a cosmology that mixed natural and supernatural phenomena. Today, the central philosophical problem posed by the environment involves not what it can teach us about ourselves and our place in the cosmic order but rather how we can understand its workings in order to make better decisions about our own conduct regarding it. The resulting inquiry spans different areas of contemporary philosophy, many of which are represented by the fifteen (...)
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  26. Are Species Real? An Essay on the Metaphysics of Species.Matthew H. Slater - 2013 - Palgrave-Macmillan.
  27. Time and Identity.Matthew H. Slater - 2010 - Bradford.
     
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