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Neil E. Williams [9]Neil W. Williams [5]Neil Williams [4]Neil Edward Williams [2]
Neil H. Williams [2]
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Neil E. Williams
State University of New York, Buffalo
Neil W. Williams
University of Roehampton
  1. A Dispositional Theory of Possibility.Andrea Borghini & Neil E. Williams - 2008 - Dialectica 62 (1):21–41.
    – The paper defends a naturalistic version of modal actualism according to which what is metaphysically possible is determined by dispositions found in the actual world. We argue that there is just one world—this one—and that all genuine possibilities are anchored by the dispositions exemplified in this world. This is the case regardless of whether or not those dispositions are manifested. As long as the possibility is one that would obtain were the relevant disposition manifested, it is a genuine possibility. (...)
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  2. Against Atomic Individualism in Plural Subject Theory.Neil W. Williams - 2012 - Phenomenology and Mind 3:65-81.
    Within much contemporary social ontology there is a particular methodology at work. This methodology takes as a starting point two or more asocial or atomic individuals. These individuals are taken to be perfectly functional agents, though outside of all social relations. Following this, combinations of these individuals are considered, to deduce what constitutes a social group. Here I will argue that theories which rely on this methodology are always circular, so long as they purport to describe the formation of all (...)
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  3.  69
    Arthritis and Nature's Joints.Neil E. Williams - 2011 - In Michael O'Rourke, Joseph Keim Campbell & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science. MIT Press.
    This chapter focuses on the view that diseases comprise natural kinds and how this view is in conflict with the essentialist picture of natural kinds as championed by Kripke and Putnam. This essentialist depiction of natural kinds contends that in order for a class of entities to be a natural kind, it is required that all and only members of the class instantiate very specific properties that explain the presence of any other properties typically associated with being a member of (...)
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  4.  83
    Static And Dynamic Dispositions.Neil Edward Williams - 2005 - Synthese 146 (3):303-324.
    When it comes to scientific explanation, our parsimonious tendencies mean that we focus almost exclusively on those dispositions whose manifestations result in some sort of change – changes in properties, locations, velocities and so on. Following this tendency, our notion of causation is one that is inherently dynamic, as if the maintenance of the status quo were merely a given. Contrary to this position, I argue that a complete concept of causation must also account for dispositions whose manifestations involve no (...)
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  5. Puzzling Powers: The Problem of Fit.Neil E. Williams - 2010 - In Anna Marmodoro (ed.), The Metaphysics of Powers: Their Grounding and Their Manifestations. Routledge. pp. 84--105.
    – The conjunction of three plausible theses about the nature of causal powers—that they are intrinsic, that their effects are produced mutually, and that the manifestations they are for are essential to them—leads to a problem concerning the ability of causal powers to work together to produce manifestations. I call this problem the problem of fit. Fortunately for proponents of a power-based metaphysic, the problem of fit is not insurmountable. Fit can be engineered if powers are properties whose natures are (...)
     
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  6.  92
    The Ungrounded Argument is Unfounded: A Response to Mumford.Neil Edward Williams - 2009 - Synthese 170 (1):7-19.
    Arguing against the claim that every dispositional property is grounded in some property other than itself, Stephen Mumford presents what he calls the ‘Ungrounded Argument’. If successful, the Ungrounded Argument would represent a major victory for anti-Humean metaphysics over its Humean rivals, as it would allow for the existence of primitive modality. Unfortunately, Humeans need not yet be worried, as the Ungrounded Argument is itself lacking in grounding. I indicate where Mumford’s argument falls down, claiming that even the dispositions of (...)
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  7. Dispositions and the Argument From Science.Neil E. Williams - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (1):71 - 90.
    Central to the debate between Humean and anti-Humean metaphysics is the question of whether dispositions can exist in the absence of categorical properties that ground them (that is, where the causal burden is shifted on to categorical properties on which the dispositions would therefore supervene). Dispositional essentialists claim that they can; categoricalists reject the possibility of such ?baseless? dispositions, requiring that all dispositions must ultimately have categorical bases. One popular argument, recently dubbed the ?Argument from Science?, has appeared in one (...)
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  8.  82
    Putting Powers Back on Multi-Track.Neil E. Williams - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (3):581-595.
    Power theorists are divided on the question of whether individual powers are single-track (for a single manifestation type) or are multi-track (capable of producing distinct manifestation types for distinct stimuli). EJ Lowe has recently defended single-tracking, arguing that the multi-tracker can provide no adequate reason for treating powers as capable of having multiple manifestation types, and claiming that putative instances of multi-track powers are either single-track powers in need of unifying descriptions or are merely several single-track powers. I respond to (...)
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  9.  5
    Amorphic Kinds: Cluster’s Last Stand?Neil E. Williams - 2018 - Biology and Philosophy 33 (1 - 2):1-19.
    I raise a puzzle case for “cluster” accounts of natural kinds—the homeostatic property cluster and stable property cluster accounts, especially—on the basis of their expected treatment of the metaphysics of certain disease kinds. Some kinds, I argue, fail to exhibit the co-instantiated property clusters these cluster views take to be constitutive of natural kinds. Some genetic diseases, for example, have archetypical instances with few or none of the pathological processes or symptoms associated with the kind: their instances are typified by (...)
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  10.  17
    Powers: Necessity and Neighborhoods.Neil Williams - 2014 - American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (4):357-372.
    It is commonplace among friends of irreducible causal powers to depict powers as producing their characteristic manifestations as a matter of metaphysical necessity. That is to say that when a power finds itself in those circumstances that stimulate it, it cannot help but be exercised: its effects must occur. The result is a metaphysic that depicts the world not as loose and separate but as united by the strongest glue; this is but one way in which the world as understood (...)
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  11. Putnam's Traditional Neo-Essentialism.Neil E. Williams - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242):151 - 170.
    Recently, several philosophers have defended what might be called `neo-essentialism' about natural kinds. Their views purport to improve upon the traditional essentialism of Kripke and Putnam by rejecting the claim that essences must be comprised of intrinsic properties. I argue that this so-called break from traditional essentialism is not a break at all, because the widespread interpretation of Putnam according to which he takes essences to be intrinsic is mistaken. Putnam makes no claim to the effect that essences of natural (...)
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  12.  25
    Practical Grounds for Belief: Kant and James on Religion.Neil W. Williams & Joe Saunders - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (4):1269-1282.
    Both Kant and James claim to limit the role of knowledge in order to make room for faith. In this paper, we argue that despite some similarities, their attempts to do this come apart. Our main claim is that, although both Kant and James justify our adopting religious beliefs on practical grounds, James believes that we can—and should—subsequently assess such beliefs on the basis of evidence. We offer our own account of this evidence and discuss what this difference means for (...)
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  13.  7
    Pragmatism and Justice.Neil W. Williams - forthcoming - Contemporary Political Theory:1-4.
  14.  19
    Absolutism, Relativism and Anarchy: Alain Locke and William James on Value Pluralism.Neil W. Williams - 2017 - Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 53 (3):400.
    It would not be an exaggeration to say that pluralism was central to the philosophical thought of William James. Repeatedly, James claimed that the difference between monism and pluralism was the "most pregnant" in philosophy.1 Radical empiricism, James's distinctive metaphysical vision, was first introduced as the view that pluralism was a plausible hypothesis about the permanent state of the world, and this pluralism continued to be a central feature of his philosophy in later years.2The assertion that pluralism was a valid (...)
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  15.  79
    The Factory Model of Disease.Neil Williams - 2007 - The Monist 90 (4):555-584.
    The aim of the paper is to give an ontologically informed account of disease that can aid in the construction of disease ontologies. The paper begins by distinguishing cases of diseases from what are purely structural abnormalities, referred to as ‘disorders’. The paper then presents a causal model apt for the understanding of disease that distinguishes diseases from both their causes and their potential effects. The analysis of disease defended treats disease in terms of distortions of standard cellular network processes, (...)
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  16.  16
    Kidnapping an Ugly Child: Is William James a Pragmaticist?Neil W. Williams - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (1):154-175.
    Since the term ‘pragmatism’ was first coined, there have been debates about who is or is not a ‘real’ pragmatist, and what that might mean. The division most often drawn in contemporary pragmatist scholarship is between William James and Charles Peirce. Peirce is said to present a version of pragmatism which is scientific, logical and objective about truth, whereas James presents a version which is nominalistic, subjectivistic and leads to relativism. The first person to set out this division was in (...)
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  17.  69
    Do Zombies Hunger for Humean Brains?Neil E. Williams - 2007 - SWIF Philosophy of Mind Review 6 (2):62-72.
    John Heil’s From an Ontological Point of View (Heil 2003) is a tremendous philosophical work. The neo-Lockean ontology the reader finds within its 267 pages is a sensible and refreshing alternative to the neo-Humean ontologies which presently occupy the vast majority of the metaphysical literature. What Heil offers is a much needed change in perspective. Nor are the strengths of the book limited to Heil’s willingness to approach central metaphysical problems in largely untried and unpopular way; the book is very (...)
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  18.  10
    Erdös Paul, Hajnal András, Máté Attila, and Rado Richard. Combinatorial Set Theory: Partition Relations for Cardinals. Studies in Logic and the Foundations of Mathematics, Vol. 106; Disquisitiones Mathematicae Hungaricae, Vol. 13. North-Holland Publishing Company, Amsterdam, New York, and Oxford, and Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1984, 347 Pp. [REVIEW]Neil H. Williams - 1988 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 53 (1):310-312.
  19.  17
    Review of Peter Unger, Philosophical Papers: Volumes 1 & 2[REVIEW]Neil E. Williams - 2007 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (2).
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  20.  4
    Review: Paul Erdos, Andras Hajnal, Attila Mate, Richard Rado, Combinatorial Set Theory: Partition Relations for Cardinals. [REVIEW]Neil H. Williams - 1988 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 53 (1):310-312.
  21. Intrinsic Powers.Neil Williams - unknown
    – Common to most realist accounts of powers is the claim that they are intrinsic properties. Most arguments presented in defence of the intrinsicality thesis have as their targets reductive treatments of powers that conceive of powers as relations between the object described as possessing the power and either some previous manifestation event or the laws of nature. However, even if these arguments are successful, they fail to establish that powers are intrinsic properties; at best they demonstrate the irreducibility of (...)
     
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  22. The Problem of Dispositional Fit.Neil Williams - unknown
    – The conjunction of three plausible theses about the nature of causal powers (that they are intrinsic, that their effects are produced mutually, and that their effects are necessary) leads to a problem concerning the ability of causal powers to work together. After presenting the problem and the three theses in question, I argue that despite giving rise to the problem, none of the three theses is such that it should be abandoned. Instead, I argue that an account of causal (...)
     
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