Quantities like mass and temperature are properties that come in degrees. And those degrees (e.g. 5 kg) are properties that are called the magnitudes of the quantities. Some philosophers (e.g., Byrne 2003; Byrne & Hilbert 2003; Schroer 2010) talk about magnitudes of phenomenal qualities as if some of our phenomenal qualities are quantities. The goal of this essay is to explore the anti-physicalist implication of this apparently innocent way of conceptualizing phenomenal quantities. I will first argue for a metaphysical thesis (...) about the nature of magnitudes based on Yablo’s proportionality requirement of causation. Then, I will show that, if some phenomenal qualities are indeed quantities, there can be no demonstrative concepts about some of our phenomenal feelings. That presents a significant restriction on the way physicalists can account for the epistemic gap between the phenomenal and the physical. I’ll illustrate the restriction by showing how that rules out a popular physicalist response to the Knowledge Argument. (shrink)
A formal theory of quantity T Q is presented which is realist, Platonist, and syntactically second-order (while logically elementary), in contrast with the existing formal theories of quantity developed within the theory of measurement, which are empiricist, nominalist, and syntactically first-order (while logically non-elementary). T Q is shown to be formally and empirically adequate as a theory of quantity, and is argued to be scientifically superior to the existing first-order theories of quantity in that it does (...) not depend upon empirically unsupported assumptions concerning existence of physical objects (e.g. that any two actual objects have an actual sum). The theory T Q supports and illustrates a form of naturalistic Platonism, for which claims concerning the existence and properties of universals form part of natural science, and the distinction between accidental generalizations and laws of nature has a basis in the second-order structure of the world. (shrink)
According to comparativist theories of quantities, their intrinsic values are not fundamental. Instead, all the quantity facts are grounded in scale-independent relations like "twice as massive as" or "more massive than." I show that this sort of scale independence is best understood as a sort of metaphysical symmetry--a principle about which transformations of the non-fundamental ontology leave the fundamental ontology unchanged. Determinism--a core scientific concept easily formulated in absolutist terms--is more difficult for the comparativist to define. After settling on (...) the most plausible comparativist understanding of determinism, I offer some examples of physical systems that the comparativist must count as indeterministic although the relevant physical theory gives deterministic predictions. Several morals are drawn. In particular: comparativism is metaphysically contingent if true, and it is most natural for a comparativist to accept an at-at theory of motion. (shrink)
Kant's special metaphysics is intended to provide the a priori foundation for Newtonian science, which is to be achieved by exhibiting the a priori content of Newtonian concepts and laws. Kant envisions a two-step mathematical construction of the dynamical concept of matter involving a geometrical construction of matter’s bulk and a symbolic construction of matter’s density. Since Newton himself defines quantity of matter in terms of bulk and density, there is no reason why we shouldn’t interpret Kant’s Dynamics (...) as a defence of a Newtonian concept of matter. When Kant’s reasoning is understood in relation to his criteria for mathematical construction, it is possible to maintain that matter theory is central to the Metaphysical Foundations, but that this does not undermine Kant’s stated aim of giving an a priori foundation for Newtonian science. (shrink)
Pt. I. Zeno and the metaphysics of quantity. Zeno's paradox of measure -- Tractarian nominalism -- Logical atoms and combinatorial possibility -- Strict coherence, sigma coherence, and the metaphysics of quantity -- pt. II. Coherent degrees of belief. Higher-order degrees of belief -- A mistake in dynamic coherence arguments? -- Dynamic coherence and probability kinematics -- Updating, supposing, and MAXENT -- The structure of radical probabilism -- Diachronic coherence and radical probabilism -- pt. III. Induction. Carnapian (...) inductive logic for Markov chains -- Carnapian inductive logic and Bayesian statistics -- Bayesian projectability. (shrink)
The principles of Kant's pure physics (conservation of quantity of matter, inertia, equality of action and reaction) are a priori in the same sense as are the principles of the understanding. We account for the empirical content of physics by showing that the pure principles operate as rules for generating wellformed empirical descriptions, and as rules for analysis of motion. The relationship between the metaphysics of matter and empirical descriptions is neither deductive, nor as loose as Buchdahl alleges. (...) Belief that a priori principles will apply to empirical cases requires acceptance of methodological presuppositions, chief among which is the principle of affinity. (shrink)
The paper outlines a tentative genealogy of the Platonic metaphysics of sight by thematizing pre-Platonic thought, particularly Heraclitus and Parmenides. By “metaphysics of sight” it understands the features of Platonic-Aristotelian metaphysics expressed with the help of visual metaphors. It is argued that the Platonic metaphysics of sight can be regarded as the result of a synthesis of the Heraclitean and Parmenidean approaches. In pre-Platonic thought, the visual paradigm is still marginal. For Heraclitus, the basic structure of (...) being is its discursive articulation (logos) into conceptual pairs of binary opposites, an articulation that at the same time binds differences together into a tensional unity. The fundamental grasping of this ultimate unity-in-difference is conceived primarily through acoustic terms as a non-sensory “hearing.” For Parmenides, the ultimate unity of contraries is based on the capacity of thinking (noos) to intend anything as present; in fragment B 4, the exclusive relationship of thinking to intelligible presence is finally visualized in terms of a seeing or looking (leusso). (shrink)
The relevance of analytic metaphysics has come under criticism: Ladyman & Ross, for instance, have suggested do discontinue the field. French & McKenzie have argued in defense of analytic metaphysics that it develops tools that could turn out to be useful for philosophy of physics. In this article, we show first that this heuristic defense of metaphysics can be extended to the scientific field of applied ontology, which uses constructs from analytic metaphysics. Second, we elaborate on (...) a parallel by French & McKenzie between mathematics and metaphysics to show that the whole field of analytic metaphysics, being useful not only for philosophy but also for science, should continue to exist as a largely autonomous field. (shrink)
This essay expounds Avicenna’s doctrine of the analogy of being and examine the function it plays in his Metaphysics of the Healing. In the first part addresses the question: What is Avicenna’s doctrine of the analogy of being? The essay begins by situating Avicenna’s doctrine of the analogy of being within the epistemological framework of his account of metaphysics as an Aristotelian science. It then explicates Avicenna’s own presentation of analogy within his account of names of univocity, analogy, (...) resemblance, and equivocity, and elucidates his division of absolute and relational analogies. The second part probes the question: Is Avicenna’s doctrine of the analogy of being consistent with his account of the subject of metaphysics as being qua being? This part shows why Avicenna rejects that being is univocal and presents two ways for interpreting consistently his doctrine of the analogical character of being qua being. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to provide an interpretation of Feyerabend's metaphysics of science as found in late works like Conquest of Abundance and Tyranny of Science. Feyerabend's late metaphysics consists of an attempt to criticize and provide a systematic alternative to traditional scientific realism, a package of views he sometimes referred to as “scientific materialism.” Scientific materialism is objectionable not only on metaphysical grounds, nor because it provides a poor ground for understanding science, but because it (...) implies problematic claims about the epistemic and cultural authority of science, claims incompatible with situating science properly in democratic societies. I show how Feyerabend's metaphysical view, which I call “the abundant world” or “abundant realism,” constitute a sophisticated and challenging form of ontological pluralism that makes interesting connections with contemporary philosophy of science and issues of the political and policy role of science in a democratic society. (shrink)
Ever since David Lewis argued for the indispensibility of natural properties, they have become a staple of mainstream metaphysics. This dissertation is a critical examination of natural properties. What roles can natural properties play in metaphysics, and what structure do natural properties have? In the first half of the dissertation, I argue that natural properties cannot do all the work they are advertised to do. In the second half of the dissertation, I look at questions relating to the (...) structure of natural properties. I argue that the metric structure of fundamental quantitative properties cannot be reduced to mereological structure, and I argue that the simplistic picture of natural properties as monadic must be abandoned in light of theories of fundamental physics. (shrink)
This is a review of Craig Dilworth's The Metaphysics of Science (Dordrecht, Springer, 2007). The book propounds an immensely important idea. Science makes metaphysical presuppositions. Unfortunately, Dilworth ignores work that has been done on this issue which takes the matter much further than he does.
We outline Ladyman's 'metaphysical' or 'ontic' form of structuralrealism and defend it against various objections. Cao, in particular, has questioned theview of ontology presupposed by this approach and we argue that by reconceptualisingobjects in structural terms it offers the best hope for the realist in thecontext of modern physics.
I argue that different views in the metaphysics of time make different observational predictions in both classical and relativistic cases. Because different views in the metaphysics of time differ over which facts are merely indexical facts, they make different observational predictions about certain self-locating propositions. I argue for this thesis by distinguishing the three main updating procedures that apply in cases of self-locating uncertainty, and I present a series of cases which cumulatively show that every one of these (...) updating procedures distinguishes eternalism and presentism in both classical and relativistic settings. (shrink)
This paper explores the development of Leibniz’s metaphysics of the Incarnation in the context of his philosophy. In particular it asks to what extent Leibniz’s repeated endorsement of the traditional analogy between the union in humankind of soul (mind) and body, and the union in Christ of divine and human natures, could be accommodated by his more general metaphysical doctrines. Such an investigation highlights some of the deepest commitments in Leibniz’s theory of substance as well as detect in it (...) some unresolved tensions. The paper comes to the conclusion that puzzling points of Leibniz’s metaphysics of the Incarnation, rather than being problems specific to his theology, uncover tensions in his theory of substance as such – tensions converging on the vexed question of whether there can or cannot be genuine corporeal substances in Leibniz’s mature philosophy. (shrink)
This article introduces and motivates the notion of a “properly extensive” quantity by means of a puzzle about the reliability of certain canonical length measurements. An account of these measurements’ success, I argue, requires a modally robust connection between quantitative structure and mereology that is not mediated by the dynamics and is stronger than the constraints imposed by “mere additivity.” I outline what it means to say that length is not just extensive but properly so and then briefly sketch (...) an application of proper extensiveness to the project of providing a reductive ground for metric quantitative structure. (shrink)
Several advocates of the lively field of “metaphysics of science” have recently argued that a naturalistic metaphysics should be based solely on current science, and that it should replace more traditional, intuition-based, forms of metaphysics. The aim of the present paper is to assess that claim by examining the relations between metaphysics of science and general metaphysics. We show that the current metaphysical battlefield is richer and more complex than a simple dichotomy between “metaphysics (...) of science” and “traditional metaphysics”, and that it should instead be understood as a three dimensional “box”, with one axis distinguishing “descriptive metaphysics” from “revisionary metaphysics,” a second axis distinguishing a priori from a posteriori metaphysics, and a third axis distinguishing “commonsense metaphysics”, “traditional metaphysics” and “metaphysics of science.” We use this three-dimensional figure to shed light on the project of current metaphysics of science, and to demonstrate that, in many instances, the target of that project is not defined with enough precision and clarity. (shrink)
In this paper, I suggest an outline of a new interpretation of core issues in Spinoza’s metaphysics and philosophy of mind. I argue for three major theses. (1) In the first part of the paper I show that the celebrated Spinozistic doctrine commonly termed “the doctrine of parallelism” is in fact a confusion of two separate and independent doctrines of parallelism. Hence, I argue that our current understanding of Spinoza’s metaphysics and philosophy of mind is fundamentally flawed. (2) (...) The clarification and setting apart of the two doctrines will also put us in a position to present my second major thesis and address one of the more interesting and enduring problems in Spinoza’s metaphysics: how can the attribute of thought be, on the one hand, isomorphic with any other attribute, and yet, on the other hand, be isomorphic with God himself, who has infinitely many attributes? In the second part of the paper, I present Spinoza’s solution to this problem. I argue that the number and order of modes is the same in all attributes. Yet, modes of Thought, unlike modes of any other attribute, have an infinitely-faceted internal structure so that one and the same idea represents infinitely many modes by having infinitely many facets (or aspects). (3) This new understanding of the inner structure of ideas in Spinoza will lead us to my third thesis in which I explain and solve another old riddle in Spinoza’s metaphysics: his insistence on the impossibility of the human mind knowing any of God’s infinite attributes other than Thought and Extension. In the third part, I show some of the major ramifications of my new interpretation and respond to some important objections. In my conclusion I discuss the philosophical importance of my interpretation. I explain why Spinoza could not embrace reductive idealism in spite of the preeminence he grants to the attribute of Thought. I argue that Spinoza is a dualist -- not a mind-body dualist, as he is commonly conceived to be, but rather a dualist of Thought and Being. Finally, I suggest that Spinoza’s position on the mind-body issue breaks with the traditional categories and ways of addressing the subject by suggesting a view which grants clear primacy to Thought without accepting any idealist reduction of bodies to thought. (shrink)
In this piece I address the question of how the two parts of the *Metaphysics of Morals* are to be related to each other through invocation of the notion of practical schematism. In the process I argue that understanding the notion of moral teleology will help us address the relationship between Kant's principles of right, virtue and the categorical imperative.
The Metaphysics of Relations is an anthology of thirteen original papers plus an introduction, addressing the philosophical issue of relations from a contemporary and historical perspective. The result is a remarkably coherent whole, where the different papers shed light on each other even though very few of them explicitly address interconnections. As a consequence, the book works really well as an introduction to the philosophical issue on relations, while the individual papers represent cutting edge research on the particular issues (...) that they focus on. The mix of contemporary and historical perspectives means you get a snapshot view of the contemporary issues, as well as insights into their historical development. (shrink)
Thoroughgoing relativists typically dismiss the realist conviction that competing theories describe just one definite and mind-independent world-structure on the grounds that such theories fail to be relatively translatable even though they are equally correct. This line of argument allegedly brings relativism into direct conflict with the metaphysics of realism. I argue that this relativist line of reasoning is shaky by deriving a theorem about relativistic inquiry in formal epistemology—more specifically, in the approach Kevin Kelly has dubbed “logic of reliable (...) inquiry”. According to the theorem, two scientists, who share some background knowledge but follow different appropriately reliable methods, will converge to relatively formally translatable competing theories, even if meaning, truth, logic and evidence are allowed to vary in time depending on each scientist’s conjectures, actions, or conceptual choices. Some final remarks on the relevance of the theorem to the incommensurability thesis that has vexed twentieth century philosophy of science are adduced. (shrink)
The Metaphysics of Morals is Kant's major work in applied moral philosophy in which he deals with the basic principles of rights and of virtues. It comprises two parts: the 'Doctrine of Right', which deals with the rights which people have or can acquire, and the 'Doctrine of Virtue', which deals with the virtues they ought to acquire. Mary Gregor's translation, revised for publication in the Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy series, is the only complete translation of (...) the whole text, and includes extensive annotation on Kant's difficult and sometimes unfamiliar vocabulary. A new introduction by Roger Sullivan sets the work in its historical and philosophical context. This volume will be of wide interest to students of ethics and of legal and political philosophy. (shrink)
This book explores the dispositional and categorical debates on the metaphysics of properties. It defends the view that all fundamental properties and relations are contingently categorical, while also examining alternative accounts of the nature of properties. Drawing upon both established research and the author's own investigation into the broader discipline of the metaphysics of science, this book provides a comprehensive study of the many views and opinions regarding a most debatable topic in contemporary metaphysics.
The Metaphysics of Knowledge presents the thesis that knowledge is an absolutely fundamental relation, with an indispensable role to play in metaphysics, philosophical logic, and philosophy of mind and language. Knowledge has been generally assumed to be a propositional attitude like belief. But Keith Hossack argues that knowledge is not a relation to a content; rather, it a relation to a fact. This point of view allows us to explain many of the concepts of philosophical logic in terms (...) of knowledge. Hossack provides a theory of facts as structured combinations of particulars and universals, and presents a theory of content as the property of a mental act that determines its value for getting knowledge. He also defends a theory of representation in which the conceptual structure of a content is taken to picture the fact it represents. This permits definitions to be given of reference, truth, and necessity in terms of knowledge. Turning to the metaphysics of mind and language, Hossack argues that a conscious state is one that is identical with knowledge of its own occurrence. This allows us to characterize subjectivity, and, by illuminating the "I"-concept, allows us to gain a better understanding of the concept of a person. Language is then explained in terms of knowledge, as a device used by a community of persons for exchanging knowledge by testimony. The Metaphysics of Knowledge concludes that knowledge is too fundamental to be constituted by something else, such as one's functional or physical state; other things may cause knowledge, but do not constitute it. (shrink)
Hegelian ethics, which gives pride of place to the roles and relations that give substance to our moral life, is seen as a rejection of Kant's a priori treatment of morality, moral law and moral agency. Analysis of the so-called religious writings from the late 1790s to the early 1800s, 'The Positivity of the Christian Religion', the 'Love' fragment, and the essay 'On the Scientific Treatment of Natural Law', shows Hegel engaging profoundly with recognizably Kantian problems of moral metaphysics (...) about moral agency, the moral law, nature and freedom. The almost experimental approach of these early pieces yields independently interesting results as well as offering an important insight into the development of Hegel's thought. (shrink)
This paper aims to better motivate the naturalization of metaphysics by identifying and criticizing a class of theories I call 'free range metaphysics'. I argue that free range metaphysics is epistemically inadequate because the constraints on its content — consistency, simplicity, intuitive plausibility, and explanatory power — are insufficiently robust and justificatory. However, since free range metaphysics yields clarity-conducive techniques, incubates science, and produces conceptual and formal tools useful for scientifically engaged philosophy, I do not recommend (...) its discontinuation. I do recommend, however, ending the discipline's bad faith. That is, I urge that free range metaphysics not be taken to have fully satisfactory epistemic credentials over and above its pragmatic ones. (shrink)
An examination of Deleuze’s reading of Spinoza, that focuses on how Spinoza becomes a significant figure in Deleuze’s project of tracing an alternative lineage in the history of philosophy, which, by distancing itself from Hegelian idealism, culminates in the construction of a philosophy of difference. By exploiting the implication of the differential point of view of the infinitesimal calculus in his reading of Spinoza, Deleuze presents Spinoza’s metaphysics as determined according to a ‘logic of expression’. This logic is offered (...) as an alternative to the Hegelian dialectical logic. The main argument of the book is that Deleuze redeploys Spinoza, or the Spinozist concepts that he extracts from Spinoza’s philosophy, to mobilise his philosophy of difference as an alternative to the dialectical philosophy determined by the Hegelian dialectic logic. (shrink)
In this paper we consider the emerging position in metaphysics that artifact functions characterize real kinds of artifacts. We analyze how it can circumvent an objection by David Wiggins (Sameness and substance renewed, 2001, 87) and then argue that this position, in comparison to expert judgments, amounts to an interesting fine-grained metaphysics: taking artifact functions as (part of the) essences of artifacts leads to distinctions between principles of activity of artifacts that experts in technology have not yet made. (...) We show, moreover, that our argument holds not only in the artifactual realm but also in biology: taking biological functions as (part of the) essences of organs leads to distinctions between principles of activity of organs that biological experts have not yet made. We run our argument on the basis of analyses of artifact and biological functions as developed in philosophy of technology and of biology, thus importing results obtained outside of metaphysics into the debate on ontological realism. In return, our argument shows that a position in metaphysics provides experts reason for trying to detect differences between principles of activities of artifacts and organs that have not been detected so far. (shrink)
While considerable ink has been spilt over the rejection of idealism by Bertrand Russell and G.E. Moore at the end of the 19th Century, relatively little attention has been directed at Russell’s A Critical Exposition of the Philosophy of Leibniz, a work written in the early stages of Russell’s philosophical struggles with the metaphysics of Bradley, Bosanquet, and others. Though a sustained investigation of that work would be one of considerable scope, here I reconstruct and develop a two-pronged argument (...) from the Philosophy of Leibniz that Russell fancied—as late as 1907—to be the downfall of the traditional category of substance. Here, I suggest, one can begin to see Russell’s own reasons—arguments largely independent of Moore—for the abandonment of idealism. Leibniz, no less than Bradley, adhered to an antiquated variety of logic: what Russell refers to as the subject-predicate doctrine of logic. Uniting this doctrine with a metaphysical principle of independence—that a substance is prior to and distinct from its properties—Russell is able to demonstrate that neither a substance pluralism nor a substance monism can be consistently maintained. As a result, Russell alleges that the metaphysics of both Leibniz and Bradley has been undermined as ultimately incoherent. Russell’s remedy for this incoherence is the postulation of a bundle theory of substance, such that the category of “substance” reduces to the most basic entities—properties. (shrink)
In his Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, Kant presents the “pure part” of natural science – that is, the a priori principles holding of matter. This special metaphysics of matter is, Kant claims, grounded on the general metaphysics of nature described in the System of Principles of his first Critique. This chapter develops a comprehensive account of Kant’s framework for natural science that touches on interpretive issues that arise in the transition from general to special metaphysics and (...) that outlines his dynamics and its limitations. (shrink)
Each inhabitant of our world Gilbert calls an id quod est or subsistens. Its main constituents are the subsistentiae and these are accompanied by the 'accidents', quantity and quality. The subsistent owes its status to a collection of inferior members of the Aristotelian class of accidents, which to Gilbert 's mind are rather 'accessories' or 'attachments from without'. The term 'substantia' is used both to stand for substance and substantial form, i.e., that by which something is subsistent. The collection (...) of subsistentiae or the forma totius is called natura. However, 'natura' is also used to stand for either just one subsistentia or all the forms found in a subsistens even including its 'accidental' forms. The inclusion of all kinds of accidents is seldom found in the intension of the word 'natura'. One of the key notions featuring in Gilbert 's ontology is esse aliquid. 'To be a-something' has a threefold import. First, it means 'to be only some thing', and to miss perfection. Second, it has the positive sense of 'being a something', i.e. 'being determinate and well-delineated', not indefinite, not formless that is. Third, 'to be a something' implies concreteness, corporealness and singularity. (shrink)
"This paper examines Kant's moral theory and compares it with certain key aspects of oriental (especially Buddhist) moral philosophy. In both cases, we focus on the suggestion that there may be a connection between a person's physical health and moral state. Special attention is paid to the nature of pain, illness, and personal happiness and to their mutual interrelationships. A frequently ignored feature of Kant's approach to morality is his preoccupation with health, and his attempt to interpret it in terms (...) of the moral law. An obvious antithesis of the health-moral imperative would be an illness-pathological imperative; we will regard both as forms imposed on our experience by the human mind. We demonstrate that the Kantian path to understanding the “moral metaphysics of medicine” can be supported by Tibetan medicine and Buddhist ethics. What Buddhism understands as moral law, or “Sila”, corresponds directly to Kant's theory. In both cases, health is the supreme judge that demonstrates whether or not our moral state is justifiable. Our principal intention is to show that, through the power of mind, a person’s moral state can--and in fact does--influence the body, having as its expression either health or illness. By considering the relevance of the Kantian interpretation of morality to medicine, we regard proper attention to the former as the surest path to the goal of maintaining personal health.". (shrink)
How can we, or should we, talk about God? What concepts are involved in the concept of a Supreme Being? This book is about the search to reconcile modern metaphysics with traditional theism--focusing on the seminal work of Austin Farrer who was Warden of Keble College, Oxford until his death in 1968, and one of the most original and important philosophers of religion of this century. Conti traces the evolution of Ferrar's thought and shows why he preferred a "personalist" (...) approach over Aristotle's metaphysics of "being.". (shrink)
Metaphysics and science have a long but troubled relationship. In the twentieth century the Logical Positivists argued metaphysics was irrelevant and that philosophy should be guided by science. However, metaphysics and science attempt to answer many of the same, fundamental questions: What are laws of nature? What is causation? What are natural kinds? -/- In this book, Markus Schrenk examines and explains the central questions and problems in the metaphysics of science. He reviews the development of (...) the field from the early modern period through to the latest research, systematically assessing key topics including -/- dispositions, counterfactual conditionals, laws of nature, causation, natural kinds, essence, necessity. -/- With the addition of chapter summaries and annotated further reading, Metaphysics of Science is a much-needed, clear and informative survey of this exciting area of philosophical research. It is essential reading for students and scholars of philosophy of science and metaphysics. (shrink)
This provocative book refurbishes the traditional account of freedom of will as reasons-guided "agent" causation, situating its account within a general metaphysics. O'Connor's discussion of the general concept of causation and of ontological reductionism v. emergence will specially interest metaphysicians and philosophers of mind.
This study aims to propose a rational reconstruction of the theory-core ofWittgenstein's Tractatus, in order to bring into prominence its theoreticaland philosophical sources, its epistemological nature and metaphysical significance.The main idea of my approach is that when we take due account of the scientific andphilosophical context of the Tractatus, we see that its central philosophicalinnovation is a new form of metaphysics, namely a structural theory of representation.``I am not interested in constructing a building,so much as in having a perspicuous (...) view of the foundation of possible buildings.''. (shrink)
This study aims to propose a rational reconstruction of the theory-core of Wittgenstein's "Tractatus", in order to bring into prominence its theoretical and philosophical sources, its epistemological nature and metaphysical significance. The main idea of my approach is that when we take due account of the scientific and philosophical context of the "Tractatus", we see that its central philosophical innovation is a new form of metaphysics, namely a structural theory of representation.
Two arguments have recently been advanced that Maxwell-Boltzmann particles are indistinguishable just like Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac particles. Bringing modal metaphysics to bear on these arguments shows that ontological indistinguishability for classical particles does not follow. The first argument, resting on symmetry in the occupation representation for all three cases, fails since peculiar correlations exist in the quantum context as harbingers of ontic indistinguishability, while the indistinguishability of classical particles remains purely epistemic. The second argument, deriving from the classical limits (...) of quantum statistical partition function, embodies a conceptual confusion. After clarifying the doctrine of haecceitism, a third argument is considered that attempts to deflate metaphysical concerns altogether by showing that the phase-space and distribution-space representations of MB-statistics have contrary haecceitistic import. Careful analysis shows this argument to fail as well, leaving de re modality unproblematically grounding particle identity in the classical context while genuine puzzlement about the underlying ontology remains for quantum statistics. (shrink)
Graham Priest presents a ground-breaking account of the semantics of intentional language--verbs such as "believes," "fears," "seeks," or "imagines." Towards Non-Being proceeds in terms of objects that may be either existent or non-existent, at worlds that may be either possible or impossible. The book will be of central interest to anyone who is concerned with intentionality in the philosophy of mind or philosophy of language, the metaphysics of existence and identity, the philosophy of fiction, the philosophy of mathematics, or (...) cognitive representation in AI. (shrink)
Despite the importance of the variational principles of physics, there have been relatively few attempts to consider them for a realistic framework. In addition to the old teleological question, this paper continues the recent discussion regarding the modal involvement of the principle of least action and its relations with the Humean view of the laws of nature. The reality of possible paths in the principle of least action is examined from the perspectives of the contemporary metaphysics of modality and (...) Leibniz's concept of essences or possibles striving for existence. I elaborate a modal interpretation of the principle of least action that replaces a classical representation of a system's motion along a single history in the actual modality by simultaneous motions along an infinite set of all possible histories in the possible modality. This model is based on an intuition that deep ontological connections exist between the possible paths in the principle of least action and possible quantum histories in the Feynman path integral. I interpret the action as a physical measure of the essence of every possible history. Therefore only one actual history has the highest degree of the essence and minimal action. To address the issue of necessity, I assume that the principle of least action has a general physical necessity and lies between the laws of motion with a limited physical necessity and certain laws with a metaphysical necessity. (shrink)
If you are a realist about groups there are three main theories of what to identify groups with. I offer reasons for thinking that two of those theories fail to meet important desiderata. The third option is to identify groups with sets, which meets all of the desiderata if only we take care over which sets they are identified with. I then canvass some possible objections to that third theory, and explain how to avoid them.
This paper proposes a causal-dispositional account of rule-following as it occurs in reasoning and intentional agency. It defends this view against Kripke’s (1982) objection to dispositional accounts of rule-following, and it proposes a solution to the problem of deviant causal chains. In the first part, I will outline the causal-dispositional approach. In the second part, I will follow Martin and Heil’s (1998) realist response to Kripke’s challenge. I will propose an account that distinguishes between two kinds of rule-conformity and two (...) kinds of rule-following, and I will defend the realist approach against two challenges that have recently been raised by Handfield and Bird (2008). In the third part, I will turn to the problem of deviant causal chains, and I will propose a new solution that is partly based on the realist account of rule-following. (shrink)
When I say that my conception of metaphysics is Aristotelian, or neo-Aristotelian, this may have more to do with Aristotle’s philosophical methodology than his metaphysics, but, as I see it, the core of this Aristotelian conception of metaphysics is the idea that metaphysics is the first philosophy . In what follows I will attempt to clarify what this conception of metaphysics amounts to in the context of some recent discussion on the methodology of metaphysics (...) (e.g. Chalmers et al . (2009), Ladyman and Ross (2007)). There is a lot of hostility towards the Aristotelian conception of metaphysics in this literature: for instance, the majority of the contributors to the Metametaphysics volume assume a rather more deflationary, Quinean approach towards metaphysics. In the process of replying to the criticisms towards Aristotelian metaphysics put forward in recent literature I will also identify some methodological points which deserve more attention and ought to be addressed in future research. (shrink)
In this paper I aim to show that the philosophy of Mihai Şora can both be seen as a phenomenological treatment of being and as a general theory of being in its most rigorous sense. At least, this philosophy could be designated as a phenomenological ontology which opens up itself towards an originally metaphysical perspective based on a specific type of knowledge of the sort of “global disclosure”. I will argue too that within Şora's philosophy one can have a twofold (...) approach: one starts from what we could call the phenomenology of the “common givenness” (“ordinary/ quotidian givenness”) and then proceeds (in a phenomenological manner) to a general theory of being, which is represented in Şora's philosophy by the constitution of the model of the “sphere with the null ray”; the second commences with the treatment of the ontological model as such (the model, which is already formed, represents in the end the symbolic structure of reality), that is, from this “general theory of being” (or of the constitution of being) and then advances step by step towards various (phenomenological) applications of this ontological model to the multifaceted spheres of the domain of being (the sphere of language, of temporality, of ethics, of the social, of politics, etc.). (shrink)
This book propounds an immensely important idea. Science makes metaphysical presuppositions. I must, however, at once declare an interest. For well over thirty years I have myself been expounding and arguing for just this idea.
This paper responds to two aspects of Ralph Johnson's Manifest Rationality (2000). The first is his critique of deductivism. The second is his failure to make room for some species of argument (e.g., visual and kisceral arguments) proposed by recent commentators. In the first case, Johnson holds that argumentation theorists have adopted a notion of argument which is too narrow. In the second, that they have adopted one which is too broad. I discuss the case Johnson makes for both claims, (...) and possible objections to his analysis. (shrink)