This article offers a novel, conservative account of material constitution, one that incorporates sortal essentialism and features a theory of dominant sortals. It avoids coinciding objects, temporal parts, relativizations of identity, mereological essentialism, anti-essentialism, denials of the reality of the objects of our ordinary ontology, and other departures from the metaphysic implicit in ordinary ways of thinking. Defenses of the account against important objections are found in Burke 1997, 2003, and 2004, as well as in the often neglected six paragraphs (...) that conclude section V of this article. (shrink)
On the most popular account of material constitution, it is common for a material object to coincide precisely with one or more other material objects, ones that are composed of just the same matter but differ from it in sort. I argue that there is nothing that could ground the alleged difference in sort and that the account must be rejected.
Dion is a full-bodied man. Theon is that part of him which consists of all of him except his left foot. What becomes of Dion and Theon when Dion’s left foot is amputated? Employing the doctrine of sortal essentialism, I defend a surprising answer last defended by Chrysippus: that Dion survives while the seemingly unscathed Theon perishes. For replies to critics, see my publications of 1997 and (especially) 2004.
I aim to show that there are cases in which an ordinary material object exists intermittently. Afterwards there are a few words about the consequences of acknowledging such cases, but what is of more interest is the route by which the conclusion is reached. When deciding among competing descriptions of the cases considered, I have tried to reduce to a minimum the role of intuitive judgment, and I have based several arguments on "metaphysical principles," two of which I have defended.
Mobile phones are reportedly the most rapidly expanding e-reading device worldwide. However, the embodied, cognitive and affective implications of smartphone-supported fiction reading for leisure (m-reading) have yet to be investigated empirically. Revisiting the theoretical work of digitization scholar Anne Mangen, we argue that the digital reading experience is not only contingent on patterns of embodied reader–device interaction (Mangen, 2008 and later) but also embedded in the immediate environment and broader situational context. We call this the situation constraint. Its application to (...) Mangen’s general framework enables us to identify four novel research areas, wherein m-reading should be investigated with regard to its unique affordances. The areas are reader–device affectivity, situated embodiment, attention training and long-term immersion. (shrink)
Dion is a full-bodied man. Theon is that part of him which consists of all of him except his left foot. What becomes of Dion and Theon when Dion’s left foot is amputated? In Burke 1994, employing the doctrine of sortal essentialism, I defended a surprising position last defended by Chrysippus: that Dion survives while the seemingly unscathed Theon perishes. This paper defends that position against objections by Stone, Carter, Olson, and others. Most notably, it offers a novel, conservative solution (...) to the many-thinkers problem, a solution that enables us to accept the existence of brain-containing person-parts while denying that those person-parts are thinking, conscious beings. (shrink)
It is hard to see why the head and other brain-containing parts of a person are not themselves persons, or at least thinking, conscious beings. Some theorists have sought to reconcile us to the existence of thinking person-parts. Others have sought to avoid them, but have relied on radical theories at odds with the metaphysic implicit in ordinary ways of thinking. This paper offers a novel, conservative solution, one on which the heads and other brain-containing parts of persons do exist (...) but are neither persons, thinkers, nor conscious beings. A much briefer statement of the solution is found in section 5 of Burke 2004. (shrink)
An argumentative passage that might appear to be an instance of denying the antecedent will generally admit of an alternative interpretation, one on which the conditional contained by the passage is a preface to the argument rather than a premise of it. On this interpretation. which generally is a more charitable one, the conditional plays a certain dialectical role and, in some cases, a rhetorical role as well. Assuming only a very weak principle of exigetical charity, I consider what it (...) would take to justify the less charitable interpretation. I then present evidence that those conditions are seldom met. Indeed, I was unable to find a single published argument that can justifiably be charged with denying the antecedent. (shrink)
In this paper, I offer a novel, conservative solution to the puzzle of Tibbles the cat. I do not criticize the existing solutions or the theories within which they are embedded. I am content to offer an alternative, one that relies on the recently resurgent doctrine of Aristotelian essentialism. My solution, unlike some of its competitors, is applicable to the full range of cases in which, as with Tib and Tibbles, there is the threat of coinciding objects. In section 1, (...) I present the solution. In sections II-IV, I defend it against four objections. (shrink)
The “staccato run,” in which a runner stops infinitely often while running from one point to another, is a prototypical “superfeat,” that is, a feat involving the completion in a finite time of an infinite sequence of distinct acts. There is no widely accepted demonstration that superfeats are impossible logically, but I argue here, contra Grunbaüm, that they are impossible dynamically. Specifically, I show that the staccato run is excluded by Newton’s three laws of motion, when those laws are supplemented (...) with a defensible philosophical judgment. (shrink)
Suppose that five minutes ago, to our astonishment, a healthy, full-grown duck suddenly popped into existence on the table in front of us. Suppose further that there was no first time at which the duck existed but rather a last time, T, at which it had yet to exist. Then for each time t at which the duck has existed, there is an explanation of why the duck existed at t: there was a time t’ earlier than t but later (...) than T such that the duck existed at t’, and it was only to be expected that a healthy duck would survive the brief period from t’ to t. But would these explanations remove the mystery? Taken collectively, would they explain why the duck has existed since T rather than never having existed at all? Presumably not. But if not, this seems to discredit the style of explanation offered by Hume and Edwards for the infinite regress they hypothesize of causes and effects. (shrink)
David Fairchild explains that sport is an evocative symbolic system that demonstrates the apparently ‘natural’ division of humans into two separate and dichotomous genders, and also demonstrates the apparently ‘genetically based’ hierarchy between the genders in terms of sporting results. Additionally, this hierarchy of performance translates into a hierarchy of authority, such that men occupy the most powerful positions in coaching, administration and the sports media. The initial section of this paper will follow on from Fairchild to suggest some changes (...) that are necessary before women will gain semantic authority over their participation in sport. The paper will then suggest that the expansion of the discursive space in sport to include alternate standpoints produced by women [and other marginalised groups] can follow tactics employed by feminist standpoint theorists to expand discursive space in other fields. The final section of the paper will look at how a feminist politics in discursive sport will need to challenge what William Morgan has suggested is the recently acquired dominant position of ‘interpretative broad internalism’ in sport philosophy as one of the foundational underpinnings of internalism explains sport as a perfect practice. This underpinning has been used in substantive practice to undermine the knowledges of women athletes and commentators. This final section will look at some examples of translating private authorship into political authority for women in sport. (shrink)
This paper1 uses concepts of anxiety and Foucauldian governmentality to investigate the ways that the discourses supporting the ban on performance-enhancing drugs in sport have been manipulated and broadened to treat this issue as a public policy and health issue rather than an example of rule violation in sport. Some effects of this expansion include the broadening of drug testing to include testing for recreational drugs, the intrusion of both central governments and scientific experts into the issue and the curtailment (...) of civil liberties for athletes. A further effect has been the perpetration of injustices against athletes under the guise of such injustices being necessary to maintain the integrity of sport. (shrink)
The separation of men’s and women’s competitions in the sporting world has been suggested as a necessary protection for female athletes against the superior athletic performances of male athletes. The comparison of the most elite performers in these two categories maintains the historical pattern of viewing male sport and the male athlete as the standard, and female sport and the female athlete as the inferior ‘other’. This paper argues for a transformative utilization of the separation of men’s and women’s sports (...) by female athletes and sporting organizations. Female sporting organizations may creatively change the rules and practices of the malestandard, so as to challenge the historical patterning of sport. This paper will use the image of the cyborg, and the motivation behind cyborg politics, to call for creativity in dealing with the ban on drugs in sport. (shrink)
This paper examines the quest for the quantification of the predicate, as discussed by W.S. Jevons, and relates it to the discussion about universals and particulars between Plato and Aristotle. We conclude that the quest for the quantification of the predicate can only be achieved by stripping the syllogism from its metaphysical heritage.
Is it logically possible to perform a "superfeat"? That is, is it logically possible to complete, in a finite time, an infinite sequence of distinct acts? In opposition to the received view, I argue that all physical superfeats have kinematic features that make them logically impossible.
The anti-doping policy of the Gay Games offers an interesting exemplification of the treatment–enhancement distinction. Some Gay Games athletes require steroids to deal with the effects of HIV or for sexual reassignment, and the practice community had to negotiate coordinating conventions with regard to steroid use that remained committed to the deeper conventions of Gay Games sport. This paper will investigate the way that this policy emanated from the type of participatory social practice community that would be necessary for any (...) sport to challenge the anti-doping fundamentalism within contemporary sports. (shrink)
Graham Priest has focused attention on an intriguing but neglected paradox posed by José Benardete in 1964. Benardete viewed the paradox as a threat to the intelligibility of the spatial and temporal continua and offered several different versions of it. Priest has selected one of those versions and formalized it. Although Priest has succeeded nicely in sharpening the paradox, the version he chose to formalize has distracting and potentially problematic features that are absent from some of Benardete's other versions. I (...) offer a formalization of a simpler version of the paradox, the one that presents most plainly Benardete's challenge to the spatial continuum. Proposed resolutions of Benardete's paradox should address this version of the paradox as well as the one formalized by Priest. (shrink)
The objective of this article is to review extant empirical studies of empathy in narrative reading in light of (i) contemporary literary theory, and (ii) neuroscientific studies of empathy, and to discuss how a closer interplay between neuroscience and literary studies may enhance our understanding of empathy in narrative reading. An introduction to some of the philosophical roots of empathy is followed by tracing its application in contemporary literary theory, in which scholars have pursued empathy with varying degrees of conceptual (...) precision, often within the context of embodied/enactive cognition. The presentation of empirical literary studies of empathy is subsequently contextualized by an overview of psychological and neuroscientific aspects of empathy. Highlighting points of convergence and divergence, the discussion illustrates how findings of empirical literary studies align with recent neuroscientific research. The article concludes with some prospects for future empirical research, suggesting that digitization may contribute to advancing the scientific knowledge of empathy in narrative reading. (shrink)
Logic and Proofs, developed at Carnegie Mellon, is the only instructional program that can support a computer-taught course (not just a computer-assisted course) in modern symbolic logic. I describe and assess the program. Then, drawing on my twenty years of experience, initially with Patrick Suppes’ Valid (no longer available), recently with Logic and Proofs, I discuss the very substantial benefits, as well as the challenges, when offering symbolic logic via a computer-taught course.
Logic and Proofs, developed at Carnegie Mellon, is the only instructional program that can support a computer-taught course in modern symbolic logic. First I provide a description and an assessment of the program. Then, drawing on my twenty years of experience, initially with Patrick Suppes’ Valid, recently with Logic and Proofs, I discuss the benefits and challenges, both sizable, when offering symbolic logic via a computer-taught course.
(The version now posted is a revision of what was posted earlier. Final version now published.) The article gives a novel argument to show that there is sense of 'exists' suitable for posing a substantive issue between presentists and eternalists. It then seeks to invigorate a neglected variety of presentism. There are seven doctrines, widely accepted even among presentists, that create problems for presentism. Without distinguishing existence and being, presentists can comfortably reject all seven. Doing so would dispose of the (...) majority of presentism’s problems. Further, it would enable presentists to reduce A-judgments to B-judgments, thereby insulating presentism from doubts about the intelligibility of A-theories. For reasons indicated very briefly, it might also make presentism less difficult to reconcile with special relativity, though the point is not pursued here. (shrink)