Paul Sheehy has argued that the modal realist cannot satisfactorily allow for the necessity of God's existence. In this short paper I show that she can, and that Sheehy only sees a problem because he has failed to appreciate all the resources available to the modal realist. God may be an abstract existent outside spacetime or He may not be: but either way, there is no problem for the modal realist to admit that He exists at every concrete possible world.
‘Metaphysics’, said Bradley, ‘is the finding of bad reasons for what we believe on instinct, but to find these reasons is no less an instinct.’ This idea that reasoning is both instinctive and feeble is reminiscent of Hume; except that reasons in Hume tend to serve as the solvent rather than the support of instinctive beliefs. Instinct leads us to play backgammon with other individuals whom we assume inhabit a world which exists independently of our own perception and which will (...) continue to exist tomorrow in a similar fashion to today. However, when instinct leads us also to reason about these beliefs they are all subject to sceptical attack. Their defence provides a challenge, a challenge which in thumbnail histories of the subject is met by Kant. He does this by use of a powerful new form of argument which he calls transcendental argument and which, in my opinion, provides not only reasons but also good reasons for the defence of some of our most central instinctive beliefs. The strategy involved in this kind of argument is to reflect on the necessary preconditions for comprehensible experience. In this way, some beliefs which are subject to sceptical attack, such as that there is a causal order between objects which exist independently of our experience of them, can be found to be the essential preconditions for having comprehensible experience at all. The reason for accepting them is, therefore, that they are the necessary preconditions of having any beliefs at all; and this provides a good, rather than a bad, reason for accepting these particular instinctive beliefs. (shrink)
The Right and the Good, a classic of twentieth-century philosophy by the eminent scholar Sir David Ross, is now presented in a new edition with a substantial introduction by Philip Stratton-Lake, a leading expert on Ross. Ross's book is the pinnacle of ethical intuitionism, which was the dominant moral theory in British philosophy for much of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Intuitionism is now enjoying a considerable revival, and Stratton-Lake provides the context for a proper understanding (...) of Ross's great work today. (shrink)
Ross P. Cameron argues that the flow of time is a genuine feature of reality. He suggests that the best version of the A-Theory is a version of the Moving Spotlight view, according to which past and future beings are real, but there is nonetheless an objectively privileged present. Cameron argues that the Moving Spotlight theory should be viewed as having more in common with Presentism than with the B-Theory. Furthermore, it provides the best account of truthmakers for claims (...) about what was or will be the case. Cameron goes on to defend an account of the open future, and argues that this is a better account than that available to the Growing Block theory. (shrink)
The philosophy department in Edinburgh is in David Hume tower; the philosophy faculty at Cambridge is in Sidgwick Avenue. In one way, no competition. Everybody has heard of Hume, whereas even the anybody who's anybody may not have heard of Sidgwick. Yet in another way, Sidgwick wins this arcane contest. For if David Hume, contradicting the Humean theory of personal identity, were to return to Edinburgh, he would not recognize the tower. Whereas, if someone with more success in rearousing spirits (...) than Sidgwick himself had could now produce him, Sidgwick would know the avenue. For he planned it; he partially paid for it; and he pushed it past the local opposition. He was its creator. And creator not just of the avenue: if Sidgwick is not quite the only begetter, it was he more than anyone who was responsible for building the school of philosophy in Cambridge which is being celebrated in this series of articles. (shrink)
Ross, Alf Loar, Brian, Editor.Directives and Norms. New York: Humanities Press, . ix, 188 pp. Reprint available April 2009 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN-13: 978-1-58477-961-2. ISBN-10: 1-58477-961-6. Cloth with dust jacket. $65.00 * Reprint of the first American edition. One of the most interesting jurists of the post-World War II era, Ross [1899-1979] was a legal and moral philosopher, scholar of international law and the leading representative of Scandinavian Legal Realism. This book and On Law and Justice (...) (1958) are his principal works. In Directives and Norms Ross asks whether imperatives (or, to use his term, 'directives') are subject to logic in the same way as indicatives. He shows the difference between indicative and directive discourse and explains the concepts 'directive' and 'norm' as they function in the social sciences, especially in the study of law. A contemporary essay in the Modern Law Review (32:544), though critical of this work, was still impressed by its "clear and convincing account" of these processes. (shrink)
Throughout the twentieth century, the classical logic of Frege and Russell dominated the field of formal logic. But, as Ross Brady argues, a new type of weak relevant logic may prove to be better equipped to present new solutions to persistent paradoxes. _Universal Logic _begins with an overview of classical and relevant logic and discusses the limitations of both in analyzing certain paradoxes. It is the first text to demonstrate how the main set-theoretic and semantic paradoxes can be solved (...) in a systematic way and as such will be of great interest to both scholars and students of logic. (shrink)
The connection between whole and part is intimate: not only can we share the same space, but I’m incapable of leaving my parts behind; settle the nonmereological facts and you thereby settle what is a part of what; wholes don’t seem to be an additional ontological commitment over their parts. Composition as identity promises to explain this intimacy. But it threatens to make the connection too intimate, for surely the parts could have made a different whole and the whole have (...) had different parts. In this paper I attempt to offer an account of parthood that is intimate enough but not too intimate: the parts generate the whole, but they are not themselves the whole. (shrink)
I address an intuition commonly endorsed by metaphysicians, that there must be a fundamental layer of reality, i.e., that chains of ontological dependence must terminate: there cannot be turtles all the way down. I discuss applications of this intuition with reference to Bradley’s regress, composition, realism about the mental and the cosmological argument. I discuss some arguments for the intui- tion, but argue that they are unconvincing. I conclude by making some suggestions for how the intuition should be argued for, (...) and discussing the ramiﬁcations of giving the justiﬁcation I think best. (shrink)
What are the ontological commitments of a sentence? In this paper I offer an answer from the perspective of the truthmaker theorist that contrasts with the familiar Quinean criterion. I detail some of the benefits of thinking of things this way: they include making the composition debate tractable without appealing to a neo-Carnapian metaontology, making sense of neo-Fregeanism, and dispensing with some otherwise recalcitrant necessary connections.
In this paper I further elucidate and defend a metaontological position that allows you to have a minimal ontology without embracing an error-theory of ordinary talk. On this view 'there are Fs' can be strictly and literally true without bringing an ontological commitment to Fs. Instead of a sentence S committing you to the things that must be amongst the values of the variables if it is true, I argue that S commits you to the things that must exist as (...) truthmakers for S if it is true. I rebut some recent objections that have been levelled against this metaontological view. (shrink)
A question, long discussed by legal scholars, has recently provoked a considerable amount of philosophical attention: ‘Is it ever appropriate to base a legal verdict on statistical evidence alone?’ Many philosophers who have considered this question reject legal reliance on bare statistics, even when the odds of error are extremely low. This paper develops a puzzle for the dominant theories concerning why we should eschew bare statistics. Namely, there seem to be compelling scenarios in which there are multiple sources of (...) incriminating statistical evidence. As we conjoin together different types of statistical evidence, it becomes increasingly incredible to suppose that a positive verdict would be impermissible. I suggest that none of the dominant views in the literature can easily accommodate such cases, and close by offering a diagnosis of my own. (shrink)
There is widespread disagreement as to what the facts are concerning just when a collection of objects composes some further object; but there is widespread agreement that, whatever those facts are, they are necessary. I am unhappy to simply assume this, and in this paper I ask whether there is reason to think that the facts concerning composition hold necessarily. I consider various reasons to think so, but find fault with each of them. I examine the theory of composition as (...) identity, but argue that the version of this doctrine that entails universalism is implausible. I consider the claim that the a priority of such facts leads to their necessity, but give a defence of substantial contingent a priori truths. I ask whether the contingency of such facts would lead to unwelcome possibilities, but argue that the worrying looking possibilities can be blocked if it is desired. Next, I argue against the thought that the Lewis-Sider argument against restricted composition might give us reason to accept the necessity of universalism. Lastly, I respond to two objections from the 2006 BSPC. I conclude in favour of the contingency of the facts concerning when some things compose some thing. (shrink)
Plenitude, roughly, the thesis that for any non-empty region of spacetime there is a material object that is exactly located at that region, is often thought to be part and parcel of the standard Lewisian package in the metaphysics of persistence. While the wedding of plentitude and Lewisian four-dimensionalism is a natural one indeed, there are a hand-full of dissenters who argue against the notion that Lewisian four-dimensionalism has exclusive rights to plentitude. These ‘promiscuous’ three-dimensionalists argue that a temporalized version (...) of plenitude is entirely compatible with a three-dimensional ontology of enduring entities. While few would deny the coherence of such a position, and much work has been done by its proponents to appease critics, there has been surprisingly little by way of exploring the various forms such an ontology might take as well as the potential advantages of one plenitudinous three-dimensional ontology over another. Here I develop a novel form of plenitudinous three-dimensionalism, what John Hawthorne (Metaphysical essays, 2006a, b) has called “Neo-Aristotelian Plenitude,” and argue that if one is inclined to endorse an abundant three-dimensional ontology, one is wise to opt for a plenitude of accidental unities. (shrink)
Oxford Scholarly Classics brings together a number of great academic works from the archives of Oxford University Press. Reissued in a uniform series design, they will enable libraries, scholars, and students to gain fresh access to some of the finest scholarship of the last century.
When there is truth, there must be some thing (or things) to account for that truth: some thing(s) that couldn’t exist and the true proposition fail to be true. That is the truthmaker principle. True propositions are made true by entities in the mind-independently existing external world. The truthmaker principle seems attractive to many metaphysicians, but many have wanted to weaken it and accept not that every true proposition has a truthmaker but only that some important class of propositions require (...) truthmakers.1 Let us, following Armstrong, call the claim that all true propositions, without exception, have a truthmaker, Truthmaker Maximalism. Why might one be tempted to the spirit of truthmaker theory but reject Truthmaker Maximalism? Well, you might deny that necessary truths need truthmakers, for one, and insist that only contingent truths have truthmakers. But I think it’s fair to say that the most common motivation for rejecting maximalism concerns negative truths. The thought that negative truths are exempt from the demand for truthmakers could be justified in one of two ways: there is the claim that we don’t need truthmakers for negative truths, and there is the claim that we can’t have.. (shrink)
In this book, Alison Ross engages in a detailed study of Walter Benjamin’s concept of the image, exploring the significant shifts in Benjamin’s approach to the topic over the course of his career. Using Kant’s treatment of the topic of sensuous form in his aesthetics as a comparative reference, Ross argues that Benjamin’s thinking on the image undergoes a major shift between his 1924 essay on ‘Goethe’s Elective Affinities ,’ and his work on The Arcades Project from 1927 (...) up until his death in 1940 . The two periods of Benjamin’s writing share a conception of the image as a potent sensuous force able to provide a frame of existential meaning. In the earlier period this function attracts Benjamin’s critical attention, whereas in the later he mobilises it for revolutionary outcomes. The book gives a critical treatment of the shifting assumptions in Benjamin’s writing about the image that warrant this altered view. It draws on hermeneutic studies of meaning, scholarship in the history of religions and key texts from the modern history of aesthetics to track the reversals and contradictions in the meaning functions that Benjamin attaches to the image in the different periods of his thinking. Above all, it shows the relevance of a critical consideration of Benjamin’s writing on the image for scholarship in visual culture, critical theory, aesthetics and philosophy more broadly. (shrink)
According to Ross Cameron's version of the moving spotlight theory of time, (1) Past and future entities exist; (2) the properties and relations they have are those they have now; but nevertheless (3) there are no fundamental past- or future-tensed facts; instead, tensed facts are made true by fundamental facts about the possession of temporal distributional properties and facts about how old things are. I argue that the account isn't sufficiently distinct from the B-theory to fit the usual A-theorist's (...) tastes and arguments, since i) like the traditional spotlight it consists of a B-theoretic metaphysics with one small A-theoretic element tacked on, and since ii) in a sense it does not admit fundamental change. I also argue that the proposed grounding of tensed facts in tenseless facts does not work in certain cases. (shrink)
I first offer a broad taxonomy of models of divine omnipresence in the Christian tradition, both past and present. I then examine the recent model proposed by Hud Hudson (2009, 2014) and Alexander Pruss (2013)—ubiquitous entension—and flag a worry with their account that stems from predominant analyses of the concept of ‘material object’. I then attempt to show that ubiquitous entension has a rich Latin medieval precedent in the work of Augusine and Anselm. I argue that the model of omnipresence (...) explicated by Augustine and Anselm has the resources to avoid the noted worry by offering an alternative account of the divide between the immaterial and the material. I conclude by considering a few alternative analyses of ‘material object’ that make conceptual room for a contemporary Christian theist to follow suite in thinking that at least some immaterial entities are literally spatially located when relating to the denizens of spacetime. (shrink)
Many have been tempted to invoke a primitive notion of grounding to describe the way in which some features of reality give rise to others. Jessica Wilson argues that such a notion is unnecessary to describe the structure of the world: that we can make do with specific dependence relations such as the part–whole relation or the determinate–determinable relation, together with a notion of absolute fundamentality. In this paper I argue that such resources are inadequate to describe the particular ways (...) in which some parts of reality give rise to others, and thus that we do in fact need grounding. (shrink)
This paper deals with a collection of concerns that, over a period of time, led the author away from the Routley–Meyer semantics, and towards proof- theoretic approaches to relevant logics, and indeed to the weak relevant logic MC of meaning containment.
This interview with Bernard Stiegler’s long-time translator and collaborator, Daniel Ross, examines the connections between different periods of Stiegler’s work, thought, writing and activism. Moving from the three volumes of Technics and Time to the final large-scale collaborative project of The Internation, the discussion concentrates on Stiegler’s conceptualization of ‘protentionality’, hope and care for a world confronted by climate crises, entropy and computational economic reconfigurations of work, economy and imaginations for futural possibilities. The interview foreshadows the special issue on (...) The Internation project planned by Bishop and Stiegler for TCS that will appear in the near future. (shrink)
I argue that the truthmaker theorist should be a priority monist if she wants to avoid commitment to mysterious necessary connections. In section 1 I briefly discuss the ontological options available to the truthmaker theorist. In section 2 I develop the argument against truthmaker theory from the Humean denial of necessary connections. In section 3 I offer an account of when necessary connections are objectionable. In section 4 I use this criterion to narrow down the options from section 1. In (...) section 5 I argue that the account leads us to priority monism. (shrink)
Orthodoxy says that the thesis that composition is identity entails universalism: the claim that any collection of entities has a sum. If this is true it counts in favour of CAI, since a thesis about the nature of composition that settles the otherwise intractable special composition question is desirable. But I argue that it is false: CAI is compatible with the many forms of restricted composition, and SCQ is no easier to answer given CAI than otherwise. Furthermore, in seeing why (...) this is the case we reveal an objection to CAI: that it allows for the facts concerning what there is to be settled whilst leaving open the question about what is identical to what. (shrink)
W. D. Ross is commonly considered to be a generalist about prima facie duty but a particularist about absolute duty. That is, many philosophers hold that Ross accepts that there are true moral principles involving prima facie duty but denies that there are any true moral principles involving absolute duty. I agree with the former claim: Ross surely accepts prima facie moral principles. However, in this paper, I challenge the latter claim. Ross, I argue, is no (...) more a particularist about absolute duty than a utilitarian or a Kantian is. While this conclusion is interesting in its own right, it is also important, I argue, because it prevents us from overlooking Ross's criterion of moral obligation and because it may have implications on the broader debate between particularists and generalists. (shrink)
This paper attempts to locate, within an actualist ontology, truthmakers for modal truths: truths of the form or . In Sect. 1 I motivate the demand for substantial truthmakers for modal truths. In Sect. 21 criticise Armstrong's account of truthmakers for modal truths. In Sect. 31 examine essentialism and defend an account of what makes essentialist attributions true, but I argue that this does not solve the problem of modal truth in general. In Sect. 41 discuss, and dismiss, a theistic (...) account of the source of modal truth proposed by Alexander Pruss. In Sect. 5 I offer a means of (dis)solving the problem. (shrink)
James Ross developed a simple and powerful argument for the immateriality of the intellect, an argument rooted in the Aristotelian-Scholastic tradition while drawing on ideas from analytic philosophers Saul Kripke, W. V. Quine, and Nelson Goodman. This paper provides a detailed exposition and defense of the argument, filling out aspects that Ross left sketchy. In particular, it elucidates the argument’s relationship to its Aristotelian-Scholastic and analytic antecedents, and to Kripke’s work especially; and it responds to objections or potential (...) objections to be found in the work of contemporary writers like Peter Dillard, Robert Pasnau, Brian Leftow, and Paul Churchland. (shrink)
This paper employs (and defends where needed) a familiar four-part methodology for assessing moral theories. This methodology makes the most popular kind of moral pluralism--here called Ross-style pluralism--look extremely attractive. The paper contends, however, that, if rule-consequentialism's implications match our considered moral convictions as well as Ross-style pluralism's implications do, the methodology makes rule-consequentialism look even more attractive than Ross-style pluralism. The paper then attacks two arguments recently put forward in defence of Ross-style pluralism. One of (...) these arguments is that no moral theory containing some single normative principle to justify general pro tanto duties can do justice to the ineliminable role of judgment in moral thinking. The other argument is that no such theory is plausible in light of the fact that our moral ideas come from disparate historical sources. (shrink)
This paper examines the inferential framework employed by Palaeolithic cognitive archaeologists, using the work of Wynn and Coolidge as a case study. I begin by distinguishing minimal-capacity inferences from cognitive-transition inferences. Minimal-capacity inferences attempt to infer the cognitive prerequisites required for the production of a technology. Cognitive-transition inferences use transitions in technological complexity to infer transitions in cognitive evolution. I argue that cognitive archaeology has typically used cognitive-transition inferences informed by minimal-capacity inferences, and that this reflects a tendency to favour (...) cognitive explanations for transitions in technological complexity. Next I look at two alternative explanations for transitions in technological complexity: the demographic hypothesis and the environmental hypothesis. This presents us with a dilemma: either reject these alternative explanations or reject traditional cognitive-transition inferences. Rejecting the former is unappealing as there is strong evidence that demographic and environmental influences play some causal role in technological transitions. Rejecting the latter is unappealing as it means abandoning the idea that technological transitions tell us anything about transitions in hominin cognitive evolution. I finish by briefly outlining some conceptual tools from the philosophical literature that might help shed some light on the problem. (shrink)
Works of music do not appear to be concrete objects; but they do appear to be created by composers, and abstract objects do not seem to be the kind of things that can be created. In this paper I aim to develop an ontological position that lets us salvage the creativity intuition without either adopting an ontology of created abstracta or identifying musical works with concreta. I will argue that there are no musical works in our ontology, but nevertheless the (...) English sentences we want to hold true are literally true. I rely on a meta-ontological view whereby ‘a exists’ can be true without committing us to an entity that is a. This meta-ontological view is illustrated by its application to the familiar example of the statue and the clay. I argue that my account of musical ontology fares better on the balance of costs and benefits than its rivals. (shrink)