ABSTRACT According to edenic idealism, our ordinary object terms refer to items in the manifest world—the world of primitive objects and properties presented in experience. I motivate edenic idealism as a response to scenarios where it is difficult to match the objects in experience with corresponding items in the external world. I argue that edenic idealism has important semantic advantages over realism: it is the most intuitive view of what we are actually talking about when we use terms for objects.
Recently, many philosophers have claimed that the world has an ordered, hierarchical structure, where entities at lower ontological levels are said to metaphysically ground entities at higher ontological levels. Other philosophers have recently claimed that our language has an ordered, hierarchical structure. Semantically primitive sentences are said to conceptually ground less primitive sentences. It’s often emphasized that metaphysical grounding is a relation between things out in the world, not a relation between our sentences. But conflating these relations is easy to (...) do, given that both types of grounding are expressed by non-causal “in-virtue-of” claims. The purpose of this paper is to clarify the relation between metaphysical and conceptual grounding. I argue that conceptual and metaphysical grounding are exclusive: if a given in-virtue-of claim involves conceptual grounding, then it does not involve metaphysical grounding. I also develop some heuristics for deciding which type of grounding is relevant in a given case. These heuristics suggest that many proposed cases of metaphysical grounding do not actually involve metaphysical grounding at all. (shrink)
In this paper, I clarify the relation between two types of grounding: metaphysical and conceptual. Metaphysical grounding relates entities at more and less fundamental ontological levels. Conceptual grounding relates semantically primitive sentences and semantically derivative sentences. It is important to distinguish these relations given that both types of grounding can underwrite non-causal “in-virtue-of” claims. In this paper, I argue that conceptual and metaphysical grounding are exclusive: if a given in-virtue-of claim involves conceptual grounding, then it does not involve metaphysical grounding. (...) I then present two heuristics for deciding which type of grounding is relevant to a given case. These heuristics suggest that certain proposed cases of metaphysical grounding may not actually involve metaphysical grounding at all. (shrink)
According to the idealist, facts about phenomenal experience determine facts about the physical world. Any such view must account for illusions: cases where there is a discrepancy between the physical world and our experiences of it. In this paper, I critique some recent idealist treatments of illusions before presenting my own preferred account. I then argue that, initial impressions notwithstanding, it is actually the realist who has difficulties properly accounting for illusions.
Many idealists have thought that realism raises epistemological problems. The worry is that, if it is possible for truths about ordinary objects to outstrip our experiences in the ways that realists typically suppose, we could never be justified in our beliefs about objects. Few contemporary theorists find this argument convincing; philosophers have offered a variety of responses to defend the epistemology of our object judgments under the assumption of realism. But in this paper, I offer a new type of epistemic (...) argument against realism which is immune to the standard responses in the literature. In addition to raising a challenge for realism, the epistemology of our object judgments has implications for how the idealist should develop her own positive metaphysical view. So in the second half of this paper, I discuss how the idealist should understand the dependence between objects and our experiences if she is to secure epistemic advantages over the realist. (shrink)
ABSTRACTAccording to many naturalists, our ordinary conception of the world is in tension with the scientific image: the conception of the world provided by the natural sciences. But in this paper, I present a critique of naturalism with precedents in the post-Kantian idealist tradition. I argue that, when we consider our actual linguistic behavior, there is no evidence that the truth of our ordinary judgments hinges on what the scientific image turns out to be like. I then argue that the (...) best explanation of this result is that the norms and presuppositions operating in ordinary discourse are different from the norms and presuppositions operating in scientific discourse. So naturalistic attempts to undermine the manifest image are illegitimate attempts to critique a practice ‘from the outside’. (shrink)
Many theorists have proposed that we can use the principle of indifference to defeat the inductive sceptic. But any such theorist must confront the objection that different ways of applying the principle of indifference lead to incompatible probability assignments. Huemer offers the explanatory priority proviso as a strategy for overcoming this objection. With this proposal, Huemer claims that we can defend induction in a way that is not question-begging against the sceptic. But in this article, I argue that the opposite (...) is true: if anything, Huemer’s use of the principle of indifference supports the rationality of inductive scepticism. (shrink)
Structural realists claim that we should endorse only what our scientific theories say about the structure of the unobservable world. But according to Newman’s Objection, the structural realist’s claims about unobservables are trivially true. In recent years, several theorists have offered responses to Newman’s Objection. But a common complaint is that these responses “give up the spirit” of the structural realist position. In this paper, I will argue that the simplest way to respond to Newman’s Objection is to return to (...) one of the standard motivations for adopting structural realism in the first place: the No Miracles Argument. Far from betraying the spirit of structural realism, the solution I present is available to any theorist who endorses this argument. (shrink)
ABSTRACT Certain features of our conceptual scheme seem necessary for subjects with our basic nature: we cannot imagine humans accomplishing their basic projects without having a conceptual scheme with these features. Other aspects of our conceptual scheme seem more contingent: we can imagine communities effectively using a somewhat different conceptual scheme. Conceptual cartography is the project of investigating the necessity and contingency of the various features of conceptual schemes. The project of conceptual cartography has not received much explicit methodological attention. (...) But in this paper, I argue that conceptual cartography has important implications for the study of conceptual engineering. I also provide a general framework for thinking about conceptual cartography. (shrink)
Laws of nature have various roles in scientific practice. It is widely agreed that an adequate theory of lawhood ought to align with the roles that scientists assign to the laws. But philosophers disagree over whether Humean laws or non-Humean laws are better at filling these roles. In this paper, I provide an argument for settling this dispute. I consider possible situations in which scientists receive conclusive evidence that—according to the non-Humean—falsifies their beliefs about the laws, but which—according to the (...) Humean—does not falsify their beliefs about the laws. I argue that, in these possible scenarios, all law-related aspects of scientific practice would remain unchanged. In other words, scientists would treat the regularities “preferred” by the Humean as the laws of nature. On this basis, I conclude that non-Humean laws fail to align with scientific practice. (shrink)