Physical objects are the most familiar of all objects, and yet the concept of a physicalobject remains elusive. Any six-year-old can give you a dozen examples of physical objects, and most people with at least one undergraduate course in philosophy can also give examples of non-physical objects. But if asked to produce a definition of ‘physicalobject’ that adequately captures the distinction between the physical and the nonphysical, the average person can (...) offer little more than hand-waving. (shrink)
Two main claims are defended in this paper: first, that typical disputes in the literature about the ontology of physical objects are merely verbal; second, that the proper way to resolve these disputes is by appealing to common sense or ordinary language. A verbal dispute is characterized not in terms of private idiolects, but in terms of different linguistic communities representing different positions. If we imagine a community that makes Chisholm's mereological essentialist assertions, and another community that makes Lewis's (...) four-dimensionalist assertions, the members of each community speak the truth in their respective languages. This follows from an application of the principle of interpretive charity to the two communities. (shrink)
HOW WE BECOME AWARE OF PHYSICAL OBJECTS OVER AND ABOVE THE PERCEPTUAL ACTS OF SEEING COLOR, SHAPES AND HEARING SOUNDS, ETC., IS A QUESTION THAT HAS OCCUPIED MANY CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHERS OF SENSE-PERCEPTION. DID ARISTOTLE EVER FACE THIS PROBLEM, AND IF HE DID, HOW DID HE DEAL WITH IT? THIS ARTICLE DISCUSSES THIS QUESTION AND CONCLUDES THAT THE ANSWER TO IT CAN BE FOUND "DE INSOMNIAS" IN ARISTOTLE'S DISCUSSION OF DREAMS AND ILLUSIONS. THERE IS AN ACT AFFIRMATION ("PHESIN") CARRIED OUT (...) BY THE CONTROLLING AND DISCRIMINATING SENSE ("TO KURION KAI TO EPIKRINON") WHICH DOES THIS. "FOR, SPEAKING GENERALLY, THE CONTROLLING POWER ("ERXE") AFFIRMS ("PHESIN") THE REPORT GIVEN BY EACH SENSE UNLESS SOME MORE AUTHORITATIVE POWER CONTRADICTS IT.". (shrink)
The topic of this paper I would like to divide into two other questions than that of its title. The first question is the historical one and sounds like this: Why had Tarski chosen physical objects as truth-bearers in his original work from 1933 about truth in formalized languages?1 This historical problem may be still of importance not only from a historical point of view. Tarski’s truth-definition is still seen as one of undeniable importance for any contemporary philosophical analysis (...) of truth. (shrink)
Two main claims are defended in this paper: first, that typical disputes in the literature about the ontology of physical objects are merely verbal; second, that the proper way to resolve these disputes is by appealing to common sense or ordinary language. A verbal dispute is characterized not in terms of private idiolects, but in terms of different linguistic communities representing different positions. If we imagine a community that makes Chisholm’s mereological essentialist assertions, and another community that makes Lewis’s (...) four-dimensionalist assertions, the members of each community speak the truth in their respective languages. This follows from an application of the principle of interpretive charity to the two communities. (shrink)
The "object theoretic operational view" suggests a new structure of physical knowledge. This view takes branches of physics as basic units. Its main concepts are primary (PIO) and secondary (SIO) ideal objects with the explicit definition of SIO through PIO and the implicit definition of PIOs within appropriate systems of statements, called a "nucleus of a branch of physics" (NBP). Within an NBP (which has a definite structure) the focus shifts from discovering "laws of nature" to definition of (...) a physicalobject (system) and its states, and the distinct notion "measurable" replaces the vague notion "observable". On this basis the roles of physical models and measurements within physics, as well as two types (PIO- and SIO- type) of theories, activity, and experiment are discussed, and a different junction of "realism” and "constructivism" is presented. (shrink)
In recent decades, a view of identity I call Sortalism has gained popularity. According to this view, if a is identical to b, then there is some sortal S such that a is the same S as b. Sortalism has typically been discussed with respect to the identity of objects. I argue that the motivations for Sortalism about object-identity apply equally well to event-identity. But Sortalism about event-identity poses a serious threat to the view that mental events are token (...) identical to physical events: A particular mental event m is identical with a particular physical event p only if there is a sortal S such that m and p are both Ss. If there is no such sortal, the doctrine of token-identity is not true. I argue here that we have no good reason for thinking that there is any such sortal. (shrink)
A study in the philosophy of mind, centred on the problem of 'intentionality' the sense in which emotions can be said to have objects, their relation to these objects, and the implications of this relation for our understanding of human action and behaviour. Dr Wilson sets his enquiry against a broad historical background on what distinguishes man from inanimate objects by describing both Cartesian view of man is matter plus mind and the neo-Wittgensteinian view that there is a dynamic behavioural (...) difference – causal notions being often inapplicable to human action. Dr Wilson goes on to show the controversies and arguments that arise from the notion of intentionality cannot be analysed in causal terms. Dr Wilson believes that this notion can be shown causally and sets out to prove it. Finally, he brings this argument to a larger context mentioning that it has far-reaching effects in natural and social sciences. (shrink)
I argue that the semantic thesis of direct reference and the meta- physical thesis of the supervenience of the non-physical on the physical cannot both be true. The argument ﬁrst develops a necessary condition for supervenience, a so-called conditional locality requirement, which is then shown to be incompatible with some physicalobject having object dependent properties, which in turn is required for the thesis of direct reference to be true. We apply this argument to (...) formulate a new argument against the claim that a thisness is analyzable in purely general terms, one that does not rely on complete symmetry nor the falsity of the identity of indiscernibles. I outline a strategy at the end how the conclusion could be avoided, at a price. (shrink)
The debate over physicalism in philosophy of mind can be seen as concerning an inconsistent tetrad of theses: if physicalism is true, a priori physicalism is true; a priori physicalism is false; if physicalism is false, epiphenomenalism is true; epiphenomenalism is false. This paper argues that one may resolve the debate by distinguishing two conceptions of the physical: on the theory-based conception, it is plausible that is true and is false; on the object-based conception, it is plausible that (...) is true and is false. The paper also defends and explores the version of physicalism that results from this strategy. (shrink)
The purpose of this book is to develop a terminological structure in which private perceptions can be discussed publicly without bringing into existence the usual unnecessary philosophical problems of confused usage of language. chisholm displays an appraisive, quasi-ethical use of language, whereby he claims that a thing has some particular sensible property is to have adequate evidence that it actually does have that property. (staff).
In this paper I set out to solve the problem of how the world as we experience it, full of colours and other sensory qualities, and our inner experiences, can be reconciled with physics. I discuss and reject the views of J. J. C. Smart and Rom Harré. I argue that physics is concerned only to describe a selected aspect of all that there is – the causal aspect which determines how events evolve. Colours and other sensory qualities, lacking causal (...) efficacy, are ignored by physics and cannot be predicted by physical theory. Even though physics is silent about sensory qualities, they nevertheless exist objectively in the world – in one sense of “objective” at least. (shrink)
Schaffer (2010) argues that the internal relatedness of all things, no matter how it is conceived, entails priority monism. He claims that a sufficiently pervasive internal relation among objects implies the priority of the whole, understood as a concrete object. This paper shows that at least in the case of an internal relatedness of all things conceived in terms of physical intentionality - one way to understand dispositions - priority monism not only doesn't follow but also is precluded. (...) We conclude that the internal relatedness of all things is compatible with several different ontologies (including varieties of pluralism) but entails nothing concerning dependence between concrete objects. (shrink)
The necessary but not sufficient conditions for biological informational concepts like signs, symbols, memories, instructions, and messages are (1) an object or referent that the information is about, (2) a physical embodiment or vehicle that stands for what the information is about (the object), and (3) an interpreter or agent that separates the referent information from the vehicle’s material structure, and that establishes the stands-for relation. This separation is named the epistemic cut, and explaining clearly how the (...) stands-for relation is realized is named the symbol-matter problem. (4) A necessary physical condition is that all informational vehicles are material boundary conditions or constraints acting on the lawful dynamics of local systems. It is useful to define a dependency hierarchy of information types: (1) syntactic information (i.e., communication theory), (2) heritable information acquired by variation and natural selection, (3) non-heritable learned or creative information, and (4) measured physical information in the context of natural laws. High information storage capacity is most reliably implemented by discrete linear sequences of non-dynamic vehicles, while the execution of information for control and construction is a non-holonomic dynamic process. The first epistemic cut occurs in self-replication. The first interpretation of base sequence information is by protein folding; the last interpretation of base sequence information is by natural selection. Evolution has evolved senses and nervous systems that acquire non-heritable information, and only very recently after billions of years, the competence for human language. Genetic and human languages are the only known complete general purpose languages. They have fundamental properties in common, but are entirely different in their acquisition, storage and interpretation. (shrink)
Thomas Hofweber argues that the thesis of direct reference is incompatible with physicalism, the claim that the nonphysical supervenes on the physical. According to Hofweber, direct reference implies that some physical objects have object-dependent properties, such as being Jones’s brother, which depend on particular objects for their existence and identity. Hofweber contends that if some physical objects have object-dependent properties, then Local-Local Supervenience (the physicalist doctrine on which he concentrates) fails. In this note, we argue (...) that Hofweber has failed to show that the possession by physical objects of object-dependent properties implies the falsity of Local-Local Supervenience. (shrink)
Because the visual system cannot process all of the objects, colors, and features present in a visual scene, visual attention allows some visual stimuli to be selected and processed over others. Most research on visual attention has focused on spatial or location-based attention, in which the locations occupied by stimuli are selected for further processing. Recent research, however, has demonstrated the importance of objects in organizing (or segregating) visual scenes and guiding attentional selection. Because of the long history of spatial (...) attention research, theories of spatial attention are more mature than theories of other visual processes, such as object segregation and object attention. In the present paper, I outline a biased competition account of object segregation and attention, following similar accounts that have been developed for spatial attention (Desimone and Duncan, 1995). In my biased competition account, I seek to understand how some objects can be segregated and selected over other objects in a complex visual scene. Under this account, there are two sources of visual information that allow an object to be processed over other objects: bottom-up information carried by the physical stimulus and top-down information based on an observer's goals. I use the biased competition account to combine many diverse findings from the object segregation and attention literatures into a common framework. (shrink)
There is general agreement that from the first few months of life, our apprehension of physical objects accords, in some sense, with certain principles. In one philosopher's locution, we are 'perceptually sensitive' to physical principles describing the behavior of objects. But in what does this accordance or sensitivity consist? Are these principles explicitly represented or merely 'implemented'? And what sort of explanation do we accomplish in claiming that our object perception accords with these principles? My main goal (...) here is to suggest answers to these questions. I argue that the object principles are not explicitly represented, first addressing some confusion in the debate about what that means. On the positive side, I conclude that the principles supply a competence account, at Marr's computational level, and that they function like natural constraints in vision. These are among their considerable explanatory benefits - benefits endowed by rules and principles in other cognitive domains as well. Characterizing the explanatory role of the object principles is my main project here, but in pursuing certain sub-goals I am led to other conclusions of interest in their own right. I address an argument that the object principles are explicitly represented which assumes that object perception is substantially thought-like. This provokes a jaunt off the main path which leads to interesting territory: the boundary between thought and perception. I argue that object apprehension is much closer to perception than to thought on the spectrum between the two. (shrink)
The concept of a physicalobject has figured prominently in the history of philosophy, and is probably more important now than it has ever been before. Yet the question What are physical objects?, i.e., What is the correct analysis of the concept of a physicalobject?, has received surprisingly little attention. The purpose of this paper is to address this question. I consider several attempts at answering the question, and give my reasons for preferring one (...) of them over its rivals. The account of physical objects that I recommend---the Spatial Location Account---defines physical objects as objects with spatial locations. The intuitive idea behind the Spatial Location Account is this. Objects from all of the different ontological categories---physical objects; non-physical objects like souls, if there are any; propositions; universals; etc.---have this much in common: they all exist in time. But not all of them exist in space. The ones that exist in time and space, i.e., the ones that have spatial locations, are the ones that count as physical objects. (shrink)
The paper has three objectives: to expound a set-theoretical triplet model of concepts; to introduce some triplet relations (symbolic, logical, and mathematical formalization; equivalence, intersection, disjointness) between object concepts, and to instantiate them by relations between certain physicalobject concepts.
Two Themes to the Course: a.) How are we to understand the contrast between direct and indirect or immediate and mediate perception? b.) Is there any cogent reason to think we don’t have sense experience of the world around us?
The concept of a physicalobject has figured prominently in the history of philosophy, and is probably more important now than it has ever been before. Yet the question What are physical objects?, i.e., What is the correct analysis of the concept of a physicalobject?, has received surprisingly little attention. The purpose of this paper is to address this question. I consider several attempts at answering the question, and give my reasons for preferring one (...) of them over its rivals. The account of physical objects that I recommend-the Spatial Location Account-defines physical objects as objects with spatial locations. The intuitive idea behind the Spatial Location Account is this. Objects from all of the different ontological categories-physical objects; non-physical objects like souls, if there are any; propositions; universals; etc.-have this much in common: they all exist in time. But not all of them exist in space. The ones that exist in time and space, i.e., the ones that have spatial locations, are the ones that count as physical objects. (shrink)