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Phillip Bricker
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  1. Composition as a Kind of Identity.Phillip Bricker - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (3):264-294.
    Composition as identity, as I understand it, is a theory of the composite structure of reality. The theory’s underlying logic is irreducibly plural; its fundamental primitive is a generalized identity relation that takes either plural or singular arguments. Strong versions of the theory that incorporate a generalized version of the indiscernibility of identicals are incompatible with the framework of plural logic, and should be rejected. Weak versions of the theory that are based on the idea that composition is merely analogous (...)
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  2. Concrete Possible Worlds.Phillip Bricker - 2008 - In Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics. Blackwell. pp. 111--134.
    In this chapter, I survey what I call Lewisian approaches to modality: approaches that analyze modality in terms of concrete possible worlds and their parts. I take the following four theses to be characteristic of Lewisian approaches to modality. (1) There is no primitive modality. (2) There exists a plurality of concrete possible worlds. (3) Actuality is an indexical concept. (4) Modality de re is to be analyzed in terms of counterparts, not transworld identity. After an introductory section in which (...)
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  3. Island Universes and the Analysis of Modality.Phillip Bricker - 2001 - In G. Preyer & F. Siebelt (eds.), Reality and Humean Supervenience: Essays on the Philosophy of David Lewis. Rowman & Littlefield.
    It follows from Humean principles of plenitude, I argue, that island universes are possible: physical reality might have 'absolutely isolated' parts. This makes trouble for Lewis's modal realism; but the realist has a way out. First, accept absolute actuality, which is defensible, I argue, on independent grounds. Second, revise the standard analysis of modality: modal operators are 'plural', not 'individual', quantifiers over possible worlds. This solves the problem of island universes and confers three additional benefits: an 'unqualified' principle of compossibility (...)
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  4. Absolute Actuality and the Plurality of Worlds.Phillip Bricker - 2006 - Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):41–76.
    According to David Lewis, a realist about possible worlds must hold that actuality is relative: the worlds are ontologically all on a par; the actual and the merely possible differ, not absolutely, but in how they relate to us. Call this 'Lewisian realism'. The alternative, 'Leibnizian realism', holds that actuality is an absolute property that marks a distinction in ontological status. Lewis presents two arguments against Leibnizian realism. First, he argues that the Leibnizian realist cannot account for the contingency of (...)
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  5.  21
    Ontological Commitment.Phillip Bricker - 2014 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  6.  5
    Modal Matters: Essays in Metaphysics.Phillip Bricker - 2020 - Oxford University Press.
    This volume contains eighteen papers, three with new postscripts, that were written over the past 35 years. Five of the papers have not been previously published. Together they provide a comprehensive account of modal reality—the realm of possible worlds—from a Humean perspective, with excursions into neighboring topics in metaphysics. Part 1 sketches an account of reality as a whole, both the mathematical and the modal, defending a form of plenitudinous realism: every consistent proposition is true of some portion of reality. (...)
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  7. The Fabric of Space: Intrinsic Vs. Extrinsic Distance Relations.Phillip Bricker - 1993 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 18 (1):271-294.
    In this chapter, I evaluate various conceptions of distance. Of the two most prominent, one takes distance relations to be intrinsic, the other extrinsic. I recommend pluralism: different conceptions can peacefully coexist as long as each holds sway over a distinct region of logical space. But when one asks which conception holds sway at the actual world, one conception stands out. It is the conception of distance embodied in differential geometry, what I call the Gaussian conception. On this conception, all (...)
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  8. Isolation and Unification: The Realist Analysis of Possible Worlds.Phillip Bricker - 1996 - Philosophical Studies 84 (2-3):225 - 238.
    If realism about possible worlds is to succeed in eliminating primitive modality, it must provide an 'analysis' of possible world: nonmodal criteria for demarcating one world from another. This David Lewis has done. Lewis holds, roughly, that worlds are maximal unified regions of logical space. So far, so good. But what Lewis means by 'unification' is too narrow, I think, in two different ways. First, for Lewis, all worlds are (almost) 'globally' unified: at any world, (almost) every part is directly (...)
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  9.  52
    Composition as Identity, Leibniz’s Law, and Slice-Sensitive Emergent Properties.Phillip Bricker - forthcoming - Synthese:1-21.
    Moderate composition as identity holds that there is a generalized identity relation, “being the same portion of reality,” of which composition and numerical identity are distinct species. Composition is a genuine kind of identity; but unlike numerical identity, it fails to satisfy Leibniz’s Law. A composite whole and its parts differ with respect to their numerical properties: the whole is one; the parts are many. Moderate composition as identity faces the challenge: how, in the absence of Leibniz’s Law, can one (...)
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  10. Truthmaking: With and Without Counterpart Theory.Phillip Bricker - 2015 - In Barry Loewer & Jonathan Schaffer (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to David Lewis. Blackwell.
    According to the Truthmaker Principle: every truth has a truthmaker. Attempts to come to grips with the Truthmaker Principle played a prominent role in Lewis’s metaphysical writings over the last fifteen years of his career. Although Lewis agreed that the truth of propositions must somehow be ontologically grounded, the Truthmaker Principle was too strong: it conflicted with two of Lewis’s most fundamental metaphysical assumptions, the uniqueness of composition and the Humean denial of necessary connections. Lewis endorsed instead a weaker principle: (...)
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  11. Plenitude of Possible Structures.Phillip Bricker - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (11):607-619.
    Which mathematical structures are possible, that is, instantiated by the concrete inhabitants of some possible world? Are there worlds with four-dimensional space? With infinite-dimensional space? Whence comes our knowledge of the possibility of structures? In this paper, I develop and defend a principle of plenitude according to which any mathematically natural generalization of possible structure is itself possible. I motivate the principle pragmatically by way of the role that logical possibility plays in our inquiry into the world.
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  12. Prudence.Phillip Bricker - 1980 - Journal of Philosophy 77 (7):381-401.
    The article explicates a notion of prudence according to which an agent acts prudently if he acts so as to satisfy not only his present preferences, but his past and future preferences as well. A simplified decision-theoretic framework is developed within which three analyses of prudence are presented and compared. That analysis is defended which can best handle cases in which an agent's present act will affect his future preferences.
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  13. The Relation Between General and Particular: Entailment Vs. Supervenience.Phillip Bricker - 2006 - In Dean Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, vol. 2. Oxford University Press. pp. 251-287.
    Some argue, following Bertrand Russell, that because general truths are not entailed by particular truths, general facts must be posited to exist in addition to particular facts. I argue on the contrary that because general truths (globally) supervene on particular truths, general facts are not needed in addition to particular facts; indeed, if one accepts the Humean denial of necessary connections between distinct existents, one can further conclude that there are no general facts. When entailment and supervenience do not coincide (...)
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  14.  28
    Mass Terms and Model-Theoretic Semantics.Phillip Bricker & Harry C. Bunt - 1988 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 53 (2):653.
  15. David Lewis: On the Plurality of Worlds.Phillip Bricker - 2006 - In John Shand (ed.), Central Works of Philosophy, Vol. 5: The Twentieth Century: Quine and After. Acumen Publishing.
    David Lewis's book 'On the Plurality of Worlds' mounts an extended defense of the thesis of modal realism, that the world we inhabit the entire cosmos of which we are a part is but one of a vast plurality of worlds, or cosmoi, all causally and spatiotemporally isolated from one another. The purpose of this article is to provide an accessible summary of the main positions and arguments in Lewis's book.
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  16.  90
    Quantified Modal Logic and the Plural De Re.Phillip Bricker - 1989 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 14 (1):372-394.
    Modal sentences of the form "every F might be G" and "some F must be G" have a threefold ambiguity. in addition to the familiar readings "de dicto" and "de re", there is a third reading on which they are examples of the "plural de re": they attribute a modal property to the F's plurally in a way that cannot in general be reduced to an attribution of modal properties to the individual F's. The plural "de re" readings of modal (...)
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  17.  41
    Is There a Humean Account of Quantities?Phillip Bricker - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):26-51.
    Humeans have a problem with quantities. A core principle of any Humean account of modality is that fundamental entities can freely recombine. But determinate quantities, if fundamental, seem to violate this core principle: determinate quantities belonging to the same determinable necessarily exclude one another. Call this the problem of exclusion. Prominent Humeans have responded in various ways. Wittgenstein, when he resurfaced to philosophy, gave the problem of exclusion as a reason to abandon the logical atomism of the Tractatus with its (...)
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  18.  88
    The Methodology of Modal Logic as Metaphysics.Phillip Bricker - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (3):717-725.
  19. Reducing Possible Worlds to Language.Phillip Bricker - 1987 - Philosophical Studies 52 (3):331 - 355.
    The most commonly heard proposals for reducing possible worlds to language succumb to a simple cardinality argument: it can be shown that there are more possible worlds than there are linguistic entities provided by the proposal. In this paper, I show how the standard proposals can be generalized in a natural way so as to make better use of the resources available to them, and thereby circumvent the cardinality argument. Once it is seen just what the limitations are on these (...)
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  20.  41
    The Metaphysics of Modality.Phillip Bricker - 1988 - Philosophical Review 97 (1):127.
  21.  82
    The Four-Category Ontology: A Metaphysical Foundation for Natural Science.Phillip Bricker - 2009 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (4):675-678.
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  22.  18
    Philosophical Perspectives on Newtonian Science.Phillip Bricker & R. I. G. Hughes (eds.) - 1990 - MIT Press.
    These original essays explore the philosophical implications of Newton's work.
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  23.  68
    Reality and Humean Supervenience: Essays on the Philosophy of David Lewis.Gerhard Preyer, Frank Siebelt, D. M. Armstrong, Jonathan Bennett, John Bigelow, Daniel Bonevac, Phillip Bricker, Peter Forrest, Terence Horgan, Harold W. Noonan, Paul Teller & Michael Tye (eds.) - 2001 - Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    Reality and Humean Supervenience confronts the reader with central aspects in the philosophy of David Lewis, whose work in ontology, metaphysics, logic, probability, philosophy of mind, and language articulates a unique and systematic foundation for modern physicalism.
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  24.  64
    Absolute Time Versus Absolute Motion: Comments on Lawrence Sklar.Phillip Bricker - 1990 - In Phillip Bricker & R. I. G. Hughes (eds.), Philosophical Perspectives on Newtonian Science. MIT Press. pp. 77--91.
    An attempt to clarify how the problem of absolute time and the problem of absolute motion relate to one another, especially with respect to causal attributions involving time and motion.
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  25. Realism Without Parochialism.Phillip Bricker - forthcoming - In Modal Matters: Essays in Metaphysics. Oxford University Press.
    I am a realist of a metaphysical stripe. I believe in an immense realm of "modal" and "abstract" entities, of entities that are neither part of, nor stand in any causal relation to, the actual, concrete world. For starters: I believe in possible worlds and individuals; in propositions, properties, and relations (both abundantly and sparsely conceived); in mathematical objects and structures; and in sets (or classes) of whatever I believe in. Call these sorts of entity, and the reality they comprise, (...)
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  26.  35
    Properties.Phillip Bricker - 1996 - In Donald Borchert (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Philosophy Supplement. SImon and Schuster Macmillan.
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  27. Review of Travels in Four Dimensions: The Enigmas of Space and Time[REVIEW]Phillip Bricker - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):453-458.
  28.  32
    The Concept of Time. [REVIEW]Phillip Bricker - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (4):629.
  29.  32
    Review of Modality, Morality, and Belief: Essays in Honor of Ruth Barcan Marcus[REVIEW]Phillip Bricker - 1997 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 62 (1):328-330.
  30.  20
    ROBIN LE POIDEVIN Travels in Four Dimensions: The Enigmas of Space and Time Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2003 Hardback £18.00 ISBN 0-19-875254-7. [REVIEW]Phillip Bricker - 2006 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2):453-458.
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  31.  24
    Identity.Phillip Bricker - 1996 - In Donald Borchert (ed.), The Encylopedia of Philosophy Supplement. Simon and Schuster Macmillan.
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  32.  14
    Bunt Harry C.. Mass Terms and Model-Theoretic Semantics. Cambridge Studies in Linguistics, No. 42. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Etc. 1985, Xiii + 325 Pp. [REVIEW]Phillip Bricker - 1988 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 53 (2):653-656.
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  33.  17
    Review of The Concept of Time[REVIEW]Phillip Bricker - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (4):629-632.
    Part 2 is concerned, in chapter 4, with semantic features of dates and duration terms, and, in chapter 5, with the conventionality of measurements of duration, and the incoherence of durationless instants.
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  34.  6
    Omnibus Review. [REVIEW]Phillip Bricker - 1997 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 62 (1):328-330.
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Diana Raffman, Nicholas Asher, Modality, Morality, and Belief, Essays in Honor of Ruth Barcan Marcus.Terence Parsons, Ruth Barcan Marcus and the Barcan Formula.Robert Stalnaker, The Interaction of Modality with Quantification and Identity.Maxwell J. Cresswell, S1 is not so Simple.David Kaplan, A Problem in Possible-world Semantics.Charles Parsons, Structuralism and the Concept of Set.
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  35. Worlds and Propositions: The Structure and Ontology of Logical Space.Phillip Bricker - 1983 - Dissertation, Princeton University
    In sections 1 through 5, I develop in detail what I call the standard theory of worlds and propositions, and I discuss a number of purported objections. The theory consists of five theses. The first two theses, presented in section 1, assert that the propositions form a Boolean algebra with respect to implication, and that the algebra is complete, respectively. In section 2, I introduce the notion of logical space: it is a field of sets that represents the propositional structure (...)
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