Rather infamously, Kit Fine provided a series of counter‐examples which purport to show that attempts to understand essence in terms of metaphysical necessity are ‘fundamentally misguided’. Here, my aim is to put forward a new version of modalism that is, I argue, immune to Fine's counter‐examples. The core of this new modalist account is a sparseness restriction, such that an object's essential properties are those sparse properties it has in every world in which it exists. After first motivating this sparseness (...) restriction, I proceed to show how the resulting sparse modalism circumvents Fine's original counter‐examples. After dismissing a potential problem concerning the membership relation, I conclude that, as at least one form of modalism is viable, the project of understanding essence in terms of metaphysical necessity is not so fundamentally misguided after all. (shrink)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a claim of metaphysical modality, in possession of good alethic standing, must be in want of an essentialist foundation. Or at least so say the advocates of the reductive-essence-first view, according to which all modality is to be reductively defined in terms of essence. Here, I contest this bit of current wisdom. In particular, I offer two puzzles—one concerning the essences of non-compossible, complementary entities, and a second involving entities whose essences are modally (...) ‘loaded’—that together strongly call into question the possibility of reducing modality to essence. (shrink)
Are the objects and events that take place in Virtual Reality genuinely real? Those who answer this question in the affirmative are realists, and those who answer in the negative are irrealists. In this paper we argue against the realist position, as given by Chalmers (2017), and present our own preferred irrealist account of the virtual. We start by disambiguating two potential versions of the realist position—weak and strong— and then go on to argue that neither is plausible. We then (...) introduce a Waltonian variety of ictionalism about the virtual, arguing that this sort of irrealist approach avoids the problems of the realist positions, fits with a unifying theory of representational works, and offers a better account of the phenomenology of engaging in virtual experiences. (shrink)
We offer an original argument for the existence of universal fictions—that is, fictions within which every possible proposition is true. Specifically, we detail a trio of such fictions, along with an easy-to-follow recipe for generating more. After exploring several consequences and dismissing some objections, we conclude that fiction, unlike reality, is unlimited when it comes to truth.
Rather infamously, Kit Fine provided a series of counter-examples which purport to show that the modalist program of analysing essence in terms of metaphysical necessity is fundamentally misguided. Several would-be modalists have since responded, attempting to save the position from this Finean Challenge. This paper evaluates and rejects a trio of such responses, from Della Rocca, Zalta, and Gorman. But I’m not here arguing for Fine’s conclusion – ultimately, this is a fight amongst friends, with Della Rocca, Zalta, Gorman, and (...) I all wanting to be modalists, but disagreeing on the details. As such, while my primary aim is to show what’s wrong with this trio, the secondary aim is demonstrating how what’s right about them in fact pushes one towards my own sparse modalist account. So while the primary conclusion of this paper is negative, the secondary, positive, conclusion is that modalists shouldn’t give up hope – plausible responses to Fine are still out there. (shrink)
The past decade and a half has seen an absolute explosion of literature discussing the structure of reality. One particular focus here has been on the fundamental. However, while there has been extensive discussion, numerous fundamental questions about fundamentality have not been touched upon. In this chapter, I focus on one such lacuna about the modal strength of fundamentality. More specifically, I am interested in exploring the contingent fundamentality thesis - that is, the idea that the fundamentalia are only contingently (...) fundamental (or, in property-terms, that the property of being fundamental is not a (weakly) necessary property). And while I think this thesis is plausible – indeed, I show here that it lurks in the unexamined shadows/assumptions of some fairly prominent positions – as far as I can tell, nothing has been said either for or against it. Here, I hope to fix this by giving the thesis a proper airing. In this way, this chapter represents a first-pass at exploring not only the modal status of fundamentality, but also offers a starting point for examining broader issues about the relationship between fundamentality and modality. (shrink)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a claim of metaphysical modality, in possession of good alethic standing, must be in want of an essentialist foundation. Or at least so say the advocates of thereductive-essence-firstview, according to which all modality is to be reductively defined in terms of essence. Here, I contest this bit of current wisdom. In particular, I offer two puzzles—one concerning the essences of non-compossible, complementary entities, and a second involving entities whose essences are modally ‘loaded’—that together (...) strongly call into question the possibility of reducing modality to essence. (shrink)
General consensus has it that contingencies lack the requisite modal umph to serve as explanations for the modal status of necessities. The central aim of this paper is to show that this received opinion is incorrect: contingent necessity-makers are in fact possible. To do so, I identify certain conditions the satisfaction of which entail the possibility of contingent necessity-makers. I then argue for two broad instances where these conditions are satisfied. Consequently, the associated necessities in fact have contingent necessity-makers.
Bare particularism is a constituent ontology according to which substances—concrete, particular objects like people, tables, and tomatoes—are complex entities constituted by their properties and their bare particulars. Yet, aside from this description, much about bare particularism is fundamentally unclear. In this paper, I attempt to clarify this muddle by elucidating the key metaphysical commitments underpinning any plausible formulation of the position. So the aim here is primarily catechismal rather than evangelical—I don’t intend to convert anyone to bare particularism, but, by (...) looking at a series of questions, to instead specify what, if one is a bare particularist, one is committed to. Along the way, I address three major objections: a classic objection about whether bare particulars have properties, a new objection raised by Bailey, and an understanding objection that questions some of the position’s resources. (shrink)
Are properties perfectly natural (or not) relative to worlds, or are they perfectly natural (or not) tout court? That is, could there be a property P that is instanti-ated at worlds w1 and w2, and is perfectly natural at w1 but not at w2? Here, we offer an original argument for the non-world-relativity of perfect naturalness. Along the way, we reply to a prima facie compelling argument for the contin-gency of perfect naturalness, based upon the connection between natural prop-erties and (...) laws of nature. (shrink)
In this paper, we make a case for the disjunctive view of phenomenal consciousness: consciousness is essentially disjunctive in being either physical or non-physical in the sense that it has both physical and non-physical possible instances. We motivate this view by showing that it undermines two well-known conceivability arguments in philosophy of mind: the zombie argument for anti-physicalism, and the anti-zombie argument for physicalism. By appealing to the disjunctive view, we argue that two hitherto unquestioned premises of these arguments are (...) false. Furthermore, making use of the resources of this view, we formulate distinct forms of both physicalism and anti-physicalism. On these formulations, it is easy to see how physicalists and anti-physicalists can accommodate the modal intuitions of their opponents regarding zombies and anti-zombies. We conclude that these formulations of physicalism and anti-physicalism are superior to their more traditional counterparts. (shrink)
How can you steal something that doesn’t exist? This question confronts those of us who take an irrealist view of virtual objects and agree with the Supreme Court of the Netherlands that robbery took place when two boys used non-virtual violence to coerce a third boy into relinquishing his virtual amulet and mask. Here we outline this Puzzle of Virtual Theft, along with the closely related Puzzle of Virtual Value. After demonstrating how these puzzles are deeply problematic for the irrealist, (...) we go on to sketch a solution that not only circumscribes the puzzles but also offers a framework by which legal scholars can make sense within existing legal codes of the new phenomenon of virtual theft. (shrink)
Recently, Kroedel and Schulz have argued that the exclusion problem—which states that certain forms of non-reductive physicalism about the mental are committed to systematic and objectionable causal overdetermination—can be solved by appealing to grounding. Specifically, they defend a principle that links the causal relations of grounded mental events to those of grounding physical events, arguing that this renders mental–physical causal overdetermination unproblematic. Here, we contest Kroedel and Schulz’s result. We argue that their causal-grounding principle is undermotivated, if not outright false. (...) In particular, we contend that the principle has plausible counterexamples, resulting from the fact that some mental states are not fully grounded by goings on ‘in our heads’ but also require external factors to be included in their full grounds. We draw the sceptical conclusion that it remains unclear whether non-reductive physicalists can plausibly respond to the exclusion argument by appealing to considerations of grounding. (shrink)
ABSTRACTHow is it that we can rationally assert that sport outcomes do not really matter, while also seeming to care about them to an absurd degree? This is the so-called puzzle of sport. The broadly Waltonian solution to the puzzle has it that we make-believe the outcomes matter. Recently, Stear has critiqued this Waltonian solution, raising a series of five objections. He has also leveraged these objections to motive his own contextualist solution to the puzzle. The aim of this paper (...) is to defend the Waltonian solution. The general upshot is that, contra Stear, a make-believe based solution to the puzzle is viable after all. (shrink)
Recently, Xhignesse has argued that the principle of poetic licence, which roughly states that any class of propositions is true in some possible fiction, ought to be rejected. Here, we defend PPL from Xhignesse’s objection by demonstrating that, properly understood, his purported counter-example case is either irrelevant or unproblematic. The upshot is that Xhignesse has given us no reason to reject PPL.
As Vetter says, we are at the “beginning of the debate, not the end” (2015: 300) when it comes to evaluating her potentiality-based account of metaphysical modality. This paper contributes to this developing debate by highlighting three problems for Vetter’s account. Specifically, I begin (§1) by articulating some relevant details of Vetter’s potentiality-based view. This leads to the first issue (§2), concerning unclarity in the idea of degrees of potentiality. Similarly, the second issue (§3) raises trouble for Vetter’s proposed individuation (...) conditions for potentialities. Finally, the third issue (§4) is about apparently unmanifestable intrinsic potentialities, and suggests that there might be some deeper problems with anchoring metaphysical possibilities in concrete objects. More generally, though the issues detailed here are problematic, I do not take them to be fatal. However, they do show that, at minimum, further clarification of Vetter’s potentiality view is required. As Vetter says, we are at the “beginning of the debate, not the end” (2015: 300) when it comes to evaluating her potentiality-based account of metaphysical modality. This paper contributes to this developing debate by highlighting three problems for Vetter’s account. Specifically, I begin (§1) by articulating some relevant details of Vetter’s potentiality-based view. This leads to the first issue (§2), concerning unclarity in the idea of degrees of potentiality. Similarly, the second issue (§3) raises trouble for Vetter’s proposed individuation conditions for potentialities. Finally, the third issue (§4) is about apparently unmanifestable intrinsic potentialities, and suggests that there might be some deeper problems with anchoring metaphysical possibilities in concrete objects. More generally, though the issues detailed here are problematic, I do not take them to be fatal. However, they do show that, at minimum, further clarification of Vetter’s potentiality view is required. (shrink)
Here, we focus on the underexplored fictional relevance of videogame glitches. For this purpose, we will make use philosophical theories on fiction, as well as standard suggestions about how best to deal with unintended errors within fiction. Focusing on glitches like that of Red Dead Redemption’s "manimals", we argue that glitches, more than any kinds of mistakes in traditional, non-interactive fictions, can actually have a significant influence on the fictional worlds of the work in which they appear. In particular, we (...) will show that some glitches generate new fictional content without this content being intended by a videogame’s creators, and will offer practical ways for dealing with the inconsistencies that inevitably accompany such glitch-generated fictions. (shrink)
Lange has argued that contingencies lack the modal strength to be necessity-makers. Here, I argue that Lange’s case turns upon a faulty premise, and that there is no obvious fixes he might pursue. The general upshot is that his argument gives us no reason to think that contingencies could not be necessity-makers after all.
Many have offered moral objections to video games, with various critics contending that they depict and promote morally dubious attitudes and behaviour. However, few have offered moral arguments in favour of video games. In this chapter, we develop one such positive moral argument. Specifically, we argue that video games offer one of the only morally acceptable methods for acquiring some ethical knowledge. Consequently, we have (defeasible) moral reasons for creating, distributing, and playing certain morally educating video games.
This brief note critically assesses the central arguments in Morato’s recent contribution to the growing literature on Blackburn’s dilemma about necessity. In particular, I demonstrate that neither of Morato’s two novel reconstructions of the dilemma’s contingency horn succeed, since both turn on false premises; and, Morato fails to adequately motivate his own response to these reconstructions. The upshot is that Morato has set himself a pair of flawed problems, then offered a flawed solution.
The meanings of words seem to change over time. But while there is a growing body of literature in linguistics and philosophy about meaning change, there has been little discussion about the metaphysical underpinnings of meaning change. The central aim of this paper is to push this discussion forward by surveying the terrain and advocating for a particular metaphysical picture. In so doing, we hope to clarify various aspects of the nature of meaning change, as well as prompt future philosophical (...) investigation into this topic. More specifically, this paper has two parts. The first, broadly exploratory, part surveys various metaphysical accounts of meaning change. The goal here is to lay out the terrain, thereby highlighting some key choice points. Then, in the second part, after critiquing Prosser’s (Philosophy Phenomenol Res 100(3):657–676, 2020) exdurantism about ‘mental files’, we sketch and defend the enduring senses view of meaning change. (shrink)
The aim of this chapter is broadly exploratory: we want to better understand online affective manipulation and what, if anything, is morally problematic about it. To do so, we begin by pulling apart various forms of online affective manipulation. We then proceed to discuss why online affective manipulation is properly categorized as manipulative, as well as what is wrong with (online) manipulation more generally. Building on this, we next argue that, at its most extreme, online affective manipulation constitutes a novel (...) form of affective injustice that we call affective powerlessness. To demonstrate this, we introduce the notions of affective injustice and affective powerlessness and show how several forms of online affective manipulation leave users in this state. The upshot is that this chapter gives us a better grip on the nature of online affective manipulation, as well some tools to help us understand when and why it is morally problematic. (shrink)
Emotions play an important role in both sport and games, from the pride and joy of victory, the misery and shame of defeat, and the anger and anxiety felt along the way. This volume brings together experts in the philosophy of sport and games and experts in the philosophy of emotion to investigate this important area of research. The book discusses the role of the emotions for both participants and spectators of sports and games, including detailed discussions of suffering, shame, (...) anger, anxiety, misery and hatred. It also investigates the issues of collective emotions in relation to sport such as the shared joy of a football crowd when their team scores a goal. In addition, this volume examines the role of pretence and make believe in emotional reactions to sport. In so doing, it makes important contributions both to the philosophy of sport and to the philosophy of emotions, which will be of interest to researchers and students in both fields. (shrink)
While recent history has seen significant debate concerning the nature and extension of essence, comparatively little attention has been paid to the epistemology of essence. This is strange, as, plausibly, what answers we give to the metaphysical questions about essence will (or should) be partially constrained by our essence epistemology. Here, I aim to go some way towards filling this lacuna. In particular, I here argue that there is no plausible epistemic story available for non-modal accounts of essence. In particular, (...) existing accounts of essence epistemology cannot explain how we are able to know that something is genuinely essential, rather than merely necessary. One consequence is that modal accounts of essence – which only needs to supply an epistemology for a non-hyperintensional notion – look that much more plausible. (shrink)