Many philosophers take purportedly logical cases of ground ) to be obvious cases, and indeed such cases have been used to motivate the existence of and importance of ground. I argue against this. I do so by motivating two kinds of semantic determination relations. Intuitions of logical ground track these semantic relations. Moreover, our knowledge of semantics for first order logic can explain why we have such intuitions. And, I argue, neither semantic relation can be a species of ground even (...) on a quite broad conception of what ground is. Hence, without a positive argument for taking so-called ‘logical ground’ to be something distinct from a semantic determination relation, we should cease treating logical cases as cases of ground. (shrink)
Logical realism is the view that there is logical structure in the world. I argue that, if logical realism is true, then we are deeply ignorant of that logical structure: either we can’t know which of our logical concepts accurately capture it, or none of our logical concepts accurately capture it at all. I don’t suggest abandoning logical realism, but instead discuss how realists should adjust their methodology in the face of this ignorance.
Abstract‘Logical Realism’ is taken to mean many different things. I argue that if reality has a privileged structure, then a view I call metaphysical logical realism is true. The view says that, first, there is ‘One True Logic’; second, that the One True Logic is made true by the mind‐and‐language‐independent world; and third, that the mind‐and‐language‐independent world makes it the case that the One True Logic is better than any other logic at capturing the structure of reality. Along the way, (...) I discuss a few alternatives, and clarify two distinct kinds of metaphysical logical realism. (shrink)
I explore the view that metaphysics is essentially imaginative. I argue that the central goal of metaphysics on this view is understanding, not truth. Metaphysics-as-essentially-imaginative provides novel answers to challenges to both the value and epistemic status of metaphysics.
I argue for an account of grasping, or understanding that, on which we grasp via a higher-order mental act of Husserlian fulfillment. Fulfillment is the act of matching up the objects of our phenomenally presentational experiences with those of our phenomenally representational thought. Grasping-by-fulfilling is importantly different from standard epistemic aims, in part because it is phenomenal rather than inferential. (I endorse Bourget’s 2017 arguments to that effect.) I show that grasping-by-fulfilling cannot be a species of propositional knowledge or belief, (...) and that it is not essentially connected to justification. I motivate a revisionary epistemology on which achieving propositional knowledge and coming to grasp are dual epistemic aims. My account makes sense of a common occurrence—that we are often unmoved to act on our beliefs until we come to phenomenally experience them in some way. It also explains puzzling features of human inquiry. (shrink)
I argue that, in order for us to be justified in believing that two theories are metaphysically equivalent, we must be able to conceive of them as unified into a single theory, which says nothing over and above either of them. I propose one natural way of precisifying this condition, and show that the quantifier variantist cannot meet it. I suggest that the quantifier variantist cannot meet the more general condition either, and argue that this gives the metaphysical realist a (...) way to rule out theses like quantifier variance without appealing to fundamentality, grounding, or "levels" of reality. (shrink)
This paper tries to disentangle two aims of inquiry in philosophy. I discuss some cases where these aims seem to come apart in the metaphysics of science and then draw some broader conclusions about philosophical inquiry. -/- (Committed to: S. Goldberg and M. Walker, Attitude in Philosophy, Oxford University Press.).
A basic way of evaluating metaphysical theories is to ask whether they give satisfying answers to the questions they set out to resolve. I propose an account of “third-order” virtue that tells us what it takes for certain kinds of metaphysical theories to do so. We should think of these theories as recipes. I identify three good-making features of recipes and show that they translate to third-order theoretical virtues. I apply the view to two theories—mereological universalism and plenitudinous platonism—and draw (...) out their third-order virtues and vices. One lesson is that there is an important difference between essentially and non-essentially third-order vicious theories. I also argue that if a theory is essentially third-order vicious, it cannot be assessed for more standard “second-order” theoretical virtues and vices, like parsimony. This motivates the idea that third-order virtues are distinct from second-order ones. Finally, I suggest that the relationship between truth, progress, and third-order virtue is more complex than it seems. (shrink)
Martin Luther King Jr. claimed that “the salvation of the world lies in the hands of the maladjusted”. I elaborate on King’s claim by focusing on the way in which we treat and understand ‘maladjustment’ that is responsive to severe trauma (e.g. PTSD that is a result of military combat or rape). Mental healthcare and our social attitudes about mental illness and disorder will prevent us from recognizing real injustice that symptoms of mental illness can be appropriately responding to, unless (...) we recognize that many emotional states (and not just beliefs!) that constitute those symptoms are warranted by the circumstances they are responsive to. I argue that there is a failure to distinguish between PTSD symptoms that are warranted emotional responses to trauma and those that are not. This results in us focusing our attention on “fixing” the agent internally, but not on fixing the world. It is only by centering questions of warrant that we will be able to understand and expose the relationship between agents’ internal mental states and their oppression. But we also need to ask when someone’s emotional response is unwarranted by their experience (as in the case of someone who develops PTSD after a non-traumatic event). If we fail to do this—as, I claim, both our mental healthcare and the broader social world fail to do—we treat warranted and unwarranted emotions as on a par. This undermines the epistemic judgment of the agent who has warranted PTSD symptoms, resulting in her failing to trust her evaluation of whether her emotional response to her own trauma is warranted by that trauma, and thus failing to recognize her own oppression. (shrink)
Philosophers of science often assume that logically equivalent theories are theoretically equivalent. I argue that two theses, anti-exceptionalism about logic (which says, roughly, that logic is not a priori, that it is revisable, and that it is not special or set apart from other human inquiry) and logical realism (which says, roughly, that differences in logic reflect genuine metaphysical differences in the world), make trouble for both this commitment and the closely related commitment to theories being closed under logical consequence. (...) I provide three arguments. The first two show that anti-exceptionalism about logic provides an epistemic challenge to both the closure and the equivalence claims; the third shows that logical realism provides a metaphysical challenge to both the closure and the equivalence claims. Along the way, I show that there are important methodological upshots for metaphysicians and philosophers of logic. In particular, there are lessons to be drawn about certain conceptions of naturalism as constraining the possibilities for metaphysics and the philosophy of logic. (shrink)