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Michael Townsen Hicks [11]Michael R. Hicks [7]Michael Hicks [6]Michael A. Hicks [1]
Michael T. Hicks [1]
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Michael R. Hicks
Miami University, Ohio
Michael Townsen Hicks
University of Birmingham
  1. Dynamic Humeanism.Michael Townsen Hicks - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):983-1007.
    Humean accounts of laws of nature fail to distinguish between dynamic laws and static initial conditions. But this distinction plays a central role in scientific theorizing and explanation. I motivate the claim that this distinction should matter for the Humean, and show that current views lack the resources to explain it. I then develop a regularity theory that captures this distinction. My view takes empirical accessibility to be one of the primary features of laws, and I identify features laws must (...)
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  2.  77
    Breaking the explanatory circle.Michael Townsen Hicks - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (2):533-557.
    Humeans are often accused of positing laws which fail to explain or are involved in explanatory circularity. Here, I will argue that these arguments are confused, but not because of anything to do with Humeanism: rather, they rest on false assumptions about causal explanation. I’ll show how these arguments can be neatly sidestepped if one takes on two plausible commitments which are motivated independently of Humeanism: first, that laws don’t directly feature in scientific explanation and second, the view that explanation (...)
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  3. Humean laws and circular explanation.Michael Townsen Hicks & Peter van Elswyk - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (2):433-443.
    Humeans are often accused of accounting for natural laws in such a way that the fundamental entities that are supposed to explain the laws circle back and explain themselves. Loewer (2012) contends this is only the appearance of circularity. When it comes to the laws of nature, the Humean posits two kinds of explanation: metaphysical and scientific. The circle is then cut because the kind of explanation the laws provide for the fundamental entities is distinct from the kind of explanation (...)
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  4. Derivative Properties in Fundamental Laws.Michael Townsen Hicks & Jonathan Schaffer - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (2).
    Orthodoxy has it that only metaphysically elite properties can be invoked in scientifically elite laws. We argue that this claim does not fit scientific practice. An examination of candidate scientifically elite laws like Newton’s F = ma reveals properties invoked that are irreversibly defined and thus metaphysically non-elite by the lights of the surrounding theory: Newtonian acceleration is irreversibly defined as the second derivative of position, and Newtonian resultant force is irreversibly defined as the sum of the component forces. We (...)
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  5. How Chance Explains.Michael Townsen Hicks & Alastair Wilson - forthcoming - Noûs.
    What explains the outcomes of chance processes? We claim that their setups do. Chances, we think, mediate these explanations of outcome by setup but do not feature in them. Facts about chances do feature in explanations of a different kind: higher-order explanations, which explain how and why setups explain their outcomes. In this paper, we elucidate this ‘mediator view’ of chancy explanation and defend it from a series of objections. We then show how it changes the playing field in four (...)
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  6.  50
    Sellars, Price, and the Myth of the Given.Michael R. Hicks - 2020 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 8 (7).
    Wilfrid Sellars's "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind" begins with an argument against sense-datum epistemology. There is some question about the validity of this attack, stemming in part from the assumption that Sellars is concerned with epistemic foundationalism. This paper recontextualizes Sellars's argument in two ways: by showing how the argument of EPM relates to Sellars's 1940s work, which does not concern foundationalism at all; and by considering the view of H.H. Price, Sellars's teacher at Oxford and the only classical (...)
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  7.  54
    What Everyone Should Say about Symmetries.Michael Townsen Hicks - 2019 - Philosophy of Science 86 (5):1284-1294.
    The laws of nature have an internal explanatory structure. This leads to interesting questions for metaphysicians of laws. What is the nature of this explanation? Marc Lange has recently argued in favor of metalaws: higher-order laws governing other laws, of which symmetry principles may be an example. Lange argues that his view, unlike its competitors, can make sense of the explanatory power of symmetries. I agree with Lange about the explanatory structure of laws but disagree with him about the nature (...)
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  8.  66
    Humeanism and the Pragmatic Turn.Michael Townsen Hicks, Siegfried Jaag & Christian Loew - forthcoming - In Humean Laws for Human Agents. Oxford University Press.
    A central question in the philosophy of science is: What is a law of nature? Different answers to this question define an important schism: Humeans, in the wake of David Hume, hold that the laws of nature are nothing over and above what actually happens and reject irreducible facts about natural modality (Lewis, 1983, 1994; cf. Miller, 2015). According to Non-Humeans, by contrast, the laws are metaphysically fundamental (Maudlin, 2007) or grounded in primitive modal structures, such as dispositional essences of (...)
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  9.  58
    Isolation, not locality.Heather Demarest & Michael Townsen Hicks - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (3):607-619.
    There is a long tradition of preferring local theories to ones that posit lawful or causal influence at a spacetime distance. In this paper, we argue against this preference. We argue that nonlocality is scientifically unobjectionable and that nonlocal theories can be known. Scientists can gather evidence for them and confirm them in much the same way that they do for local theories. We think these observations point to a deeper constraint on scientific theorizing and experimentation: the (quasi‐) isolation of (...)
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  10.  41
    Wilfrid Sellars and the task of philosophy.Michael R. Hicks - 2021 - Synthese 198 (10):9373-9400.
    Critical attention to Wilfrid Sellars’s “Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man” (PSIM) has focused on the dubious Peircean optimism about scientific convergence that underwrites Sellars’s talk of “the” scientific image. Sellars’s ultimate Peircean ontology has led Willem deVries, for instance, to accuse him of being a naturalistic “monistic visionary.” But this complaint of monism misplays the status of the ideal end of science in Sellars’s thinking. I propose a novel reading of PSIM, foregrounding its opening methodological reflections. On this (...)
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  11. Pretense and fiction-directed thought.Michael R. Hicks - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (6):1549-1573.
    Thought about fictional characters is special, and needs to be distinguished from ordinary world-directed thought. On my interpretation, Kendall Walton and Gareth Evans have tried to show how this serious fiction-directed thought can arise from engagement with a kind of pretending. Many criticisms of their account have focused on the methodological presupposition, that fiction-directed thought is the appropriate explanandum. In the first part of this paper, I defend the methodological claim, and thus the existence of the problem to which pretense (...)
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  12.  34
    The Presentational Use of Descriptions.Michael R. Hicks - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy 60 (4):361-384.
    Discussing Keith Donnellan's distinction between attributive and referential uses of descriptions, Gareth Evans considered a speaker he found it natural to describe as having “given expression to” a singular thought, though he insisted she was not referring to the person she has in mind. On accounts otherwise similar to Evans's, to express a singular thought just is to refer. Thus, as he does not explain why this speaker might speak this way, it is tempting to ignore this as a slip. (...)
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  13.  38
    Counterparts and Counterpossibles: Impossibility without Impossible Worlds.Michael Townsen Hicks - 2022 - Journal of Philosophy 119 (10):542-574.
    Standard accounts of counterfactuals with metaphysically impossible antecedents take them to by trivially true. But recent work shows that nontrivial countermetaphysicals are frequently appealed to in scientific modeling and are indispensable for a number of metaphysical projects. I focus on three recent discussions of counterpossible counterfactuals, which apply counterpossibles in both scientific and metaphysical modeling. I show that a sufficiently developed modal counterpart theory can provide a semantics for a wide range of counterpossibles without any inconsistent possibilities or other forms (...)
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  14.  49
    Idealism, quietism, conceptual change: Sellars and McDowell on the knowability of the world.Michael R. Hicks - 2022 - Giornali di Metafisica 44 (1):51-71.
    Both Wilfrid Sellars and John McDowell reject Kant’s conclusion that the world is fundamentally unknowable, and on similar grounds: each invokes conceptual change, what I call the diachronic instability of a conceptual scheme. The similarities end there, though. It is important to Sellars that the world is only knowable at “the end of inquiry” – he rejects a commonsense realism like McDowell’s for its inability to fully appreciate diachronic instability. To evaluate this disagreement, I consider Timothy Williamson’s argument that the (...)
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  15.  53
    Making Fit Fit.Michael Townsen Hicks - 2017 - Philosophy of Science 84 (5):931-943.
    Reductionist accounts of objective chance rely on a notion of fit, which ties the chances at a world to the frequencies at that world. Here, I criticize extant measures of the fit of a chance system and draw on recent literature in epistemic utility theory to propose a new model: chances fit a world insofar as they are accurate at that world. I show how this model of fit does a better job of explaining the normative features of chance, its (...)
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  16.  29
    Singular mental abilities.Michael R. Hicks - 2022 - European Journal of Philosophy 30 (2):639-660.
    European Journal of Philosophy, Volume 30, Issue 2, Page 639-660, June 2022.
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  17. A note on pretense and co-reference.Michael Hicks - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (3):395 - 400.
    Anna Pautz has recently argued that the pretense theory of thought about fiction cannot explain how two people can count as thinking about the same fictional character. This is based on conflating pretending and the serious thought that can be based on pretend. With this distinction in place, her objections are groundless.
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  18.  13
    Third Conference of the GWP.Michael T. Hicks, Andreas Hüttemann & Martin Voggenauer - 2022 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 53 (1):1-3.
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  19.  54
    Connotation and Frege's Semantic Dualism.Michael R. Hicks - 2019 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 36 (4):377-398.
    The traditional distinction between Millian and Fregean theories of names presupposes that what Mill calls ‘connotation’ lines up with what Frege calls ‘sense.’ This presupposition is false. Mill’s talk of connotation is an attempt to bring into view the line of thought that crystallizes in Frege’s distinction between concept and object. This latter is the semantic dualism of my title.
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  20. Humean Laws for Human Agents.Christian Loew, Siegfried Jaag & Michael Townsen Hicks (eds.) - forthcoming - Oxford UP.
  21.  53
    Naturalism in Action.Michael Hicks - 2009 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 52 (6):609-635.
    Can a naturalist earn the right to talk of a shared empirical world? Hume famously thought not, and contemporary stipulative naturalists infer from this inability that the demand is somehow unnatural. The critical naturalist, by contrast, claims to earn that right. In this paper, I motivate critical naturalism, arguing first that stipulative naturalism is question begging, and second, that the pessimism it inherits from Hume about whether the problem can be solved is misplaced. Hume's mistake was to mis-identify exemplary contexts (...)
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  22.  13
    Keith Dockray, Henry V. Stroud, Eng.: Tempus, 2004. Pp. 255; black-and-white figures. $45. [REVIEW]Michael A. Hicks - 2006 - Speculum 81 (2):501-502.
  23.  9
    J. S. Bothwell, Falling from Grace: Reversal of Fortune and the English Nobility, 1075–1455. Manchester, Eng., and New York: Manchester University Press, 2008. Pp. xv, 269; 15 black-and-white figures. $85. Distributed in the U.S. by Palgrave, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010. [REVIEW]Michael Hicks - 2010 - Speculum 85 (4):939-941.
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  24.  8
    Energeia and "The Work Itself".Michael Hicks - 1987 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 21 (3):69-75.
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  25.  9
    Serialism and Comprehensibility: A Guide for the Teacher.Michael Hicks - 1991 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 25 (4):75.
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  26.  6
    Soothing the Savage Beast: A Note on Animals and Music.Michael Hicks - 1984 - Journal of Aesthetic Education 18 (4):47.
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