This book espouses an innovative theory of scientific realism in which due weight is given to mathematics and logic. The authors argue that mathematics can be understood realistically if it is seen to be the study of universals, of properties and relations, of patterns and structures, the kinds of things which can be in several places at once. Taking this kind of scientific platonism as their point of departure, they show how the theory of universals can account for probability, laws (...) of nature, causation, and explanation, and explore the consequences in all these fields. This will be an important book for all philosophers of science, logicians, and metaphysicians, and their graduate students. The readership will also include those outside philosophy interested in the interrelationship of philosophy and science. (shrink)
Humean supervenience is the doctrine that there are no necessary connections in the world. David Lewis identifies one big bad bug to the programme of providing Humean analyses for apparently non-Humean features of the world. The bug is chance. We put the bug under the microscope, and conclude that chance is no special problem for the Humean.
Traditionally, forces are causes of a special sort. Forces have been conceived to be the direct or immediate causes of things. Other sorts of causes act indirectly by producing forces which are transmitted in various ways to produce various effects. However, forces are supposed to act directly without the mediation of anything else. But forces, so conceived, appear to be occult. They are mysterious, because we have no clear conception of what they are, as opposed to what they are postulated (...) to do; and they seem to be hidden from direct observations. There is, therefore, strong initial motivation for trying to eliminate forces from physics. Furthermore, as we shall explain, powerful arguments can be mounted to show that theories with forces can always be recast as theories without them. Hence it seems that forces should be eliminated, in the interests of simplicity. We argue, however, that forces should not be eliminated--just differently construed. For the effect of elimination is to leave us without any adequate account of the causal relationships forces were postulated to explain. And this would remain the case, even if forces could be identified with some merely dispositional properties of physical systems. In our view, forces are species of the causal relation itself, and as such have a different ontological status from the sorts of entities normally considered to be related as causes to effects. (shrink)
The world contains not only causes and effects, but also causal relations holding between causes and effects. Because causal relations enter into the structure of the world, their presence has various modal and probabilistic consequences. Causation and “necessary and sufficient conditions” do often go hand in hand. Causation, however, is a robust ingredient within the world itself, whereas modalities and probabilities supervene on the nature of the world as a whole, and on the resulting relations between one possible world and (...) others. Some modalities, therefore, are essentially causal; but causation is not essentially modal.19. (shrink)
In this paper a method is proposed for empirically determining simultaneity at a distance within the special theory of relativity. It is argued that this method is independent of Einstein's signalling method and provides a basis for denying the conventionality of distant simultaneity.
Vectors, we will argue, are not just mathematical abstractions. They are also physical properties--universals. What make them distinctive are the rich and varied essences of these universals, and the complex pattern of internal relations which hold amongst them.
Frank Jackson argued, in an astronomically frequently cited paper on 'Epiphenomenal qualia '[Jackson 1982 that materialism must be mistaken. His argument is called the knowledge argument. Over the years since he published that paper, he gradually came to the conviction that the conclusion of the knowledge argument must be mistaken. Yet he long remained totally unconvinced by any of the very numerous published attempts to explain where his knowledge argument had gone astray. Eventually, Jackson did publish a diagnosis of the (...) reasons why, he now thinks, his knowledge argument against materialism fails to prove the falsity of materialism [Jackson 2005. He argues that you can block the knowledge argument against materialism - but only if you tie yourself to a dubious doctrine called representationalism. We argue that the knowledge argument fails as a refutation of either representational or nonrepresentational materialism. It does, however, furnish both materialists and dualists with a successful argument for the existence of distinctively first-person modes of acquaintance with mental states. Jackson's argument does not refute materialism: but it does bring to the surface significant features of thought and experience, which many dualists have sensed, and most materialists have missed. (shrink)
It is widely agreed that constant conjunction is a necessary condition for a proposit'2on such as 'Every A is a B' being a law) That is each A is also a B (where A and B are kinds of events, objects states of affairs, or whatever) or the property of being an A is always conjoined with the property of being a B. It is also widely agreed that this cannot be the whole story. How can we distinguish accidental generalisations (...) from laws? Why is it that 'Every massive object attracts every other massive object' is taken as a law, while 'Every golden object is less than a million kilograms (say) in mass' is not? Both are true universally, do not make reference to particular entities or places or times, and so on and so forth, and yet they are given vastly different ontological and/or epistemic status. This is the problem of laws. (shrink)
We argue that it is a mistake to approach goodman's new riddle of induction by demarcating projectible from non-Projectible predicates and hypotheses, And put forward an alternative way of looking at the whole question.
The authors argue, against Frank Jackson, that weakness (and strength) of will involves higher-order mental states. The authors hold that this is compatible with a decision-theoretic belief-desire psychology of human action.
An analysis of indefinite probability statements has been offered by Jackson and Pargetter (1973). We accept that this analysis will assign the correct probability values for indefinite probability claims. But it does so in a way which fails to reflect the epistemic state of a person who makes such a claim. We offer two alternative analyses: one employing de re (epistemic) probabilities, and the other employing de dicto (epistemic) probabilities. These two analyses appeal only to probabilities which are accessible to (...) a person who makes an indefinite probability judgment, and yet we prove that the probabilities which either of them assigns will always be equivalent to those assigned by the Jackson and Pargetter analysis. (shrink)
Indefinite probability statements can be analysed in terms of statements which attribute probability to propositions. Therefore, there is no need to find a special place in probability theory for them; once we have an adequate account of statements that straightforwardly attribute probability to propositions, we will automatically have an adequate account of indefinite probability statements.