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Sam Cowling
Denison University
  1. Ideological Parsimony.Sam Cowling - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3889-3908.
    The theoretical virtue of parsimony values the minimizing of theoretical commitments, but theoretical commitments come in two kinds : ontological and ideological. While the ontological commitments of a theory are the entities it posits, a theory’s ideological commitments are the primitive concepts it employs. Here, I show how we can extend the distinction between quantitative and qualitative parsimony, commonly drawn regarding ontological commitments, to the domain of ideological commitments. I then argue that qualitative ideological parsimony is a theoretical virtue. My (...)
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  2. The Modal View of Essence.Sam Cowling - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):248-266.
    According to the modal view, essence admits of reductive analysis in exclusively modal terms. Fine (1994) argues that modal view delivers an inadequate analysis of essence. This paper defends the modal view from Fine's challenge. This defense proceeds by examining the disagreement between Finean primitivists and Quinean eliminativists about essence. In order to model this disagreement, a distinction between essence and a separable concept, nature, is required. This distinction is then used to show that Fine's challenge is misdirected and therefore (...)
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  3. Prioritizing Platonism.Kelly Trogdon & Sam Cowling - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Some see concrete foundationalism as providing the central task for sparse ontology, that of identifying which concreta ground other concreta but aren’t themselves grounded by concreta. There is, however, potentially much more to sparse ontology. The thesis of abstract foundationalism, if true, provides an additional task: identifying which abstracta ground other abstracta but aren’t themselves grounded by abstracta. We focus on two abstract foundationalist theses—abstract atomism and abstract monism—that correspond to the concrete foundationalist theses of priority atomism and priority monism. (...)
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  4. No Simples, No Gunk, No Nothing.Sam Cowling - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (1):246-260.
    Mereological realism holds that the world has a mereological structure – i.e. a distribution of mereological properties and relations. In this article, I defend Eleaticism about properties, according to which there are no causally inert non-logical properties. I then present an Eleatic argument for mereological anti-realism, which denies the existence of both mereological composites and mereological simples. After defending Eleaticism and mereological anti-realism, I argue that mereological anti-realism is preferable to mereological nihilism. I then conclude by examining the thesis that (...)
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  5. Non-Qualitative Properties.Sam Cowling - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (2):275-301.
    The distinction between qualitative properties like mass and shape and non-qualitative properties like being Napoleon and being next to Obama is important, but remains largely unexamined. After discussing its theoretical significance and cataloguing various kinds of non-qualitative properties, I survey several views about the nature of this distinction and argue that all proposed reductive analyses of this distinction are unsatisfactory. I then defend primitivism, according to which the distinction resists reductive analysis.
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  6.  75
    How to Be Omnipresent.Sam Cowling & Wesley D. Cray - 2017 - American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (3):223-234.
    Attributions of omnipresence, most familiar within the philosophy of religion, typically take the omnipresence of an entity to either consist in that entity's occupation of certain regions or be dependent upon other of that entity's attributes, such as omnipotence or omniscience. This paper defends an alternative conception of omnipresence that is independent of other purported divine attributes and dispenses with occupation. The resulting view repurposes the metaphysics of necessitism and permanentism, taking omnipresent entities to be those entities that exist at (...)
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  7.  97
    Instantiation as Location.Sam Cowling - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (3):667-682.
    Many familiar forms of property realism identify properties with sui generis ontological categories like universals or tropes and posit a fundamental instantiation relation that unifies objects with their properties. In this paper, I develop and defend locationism, which identifies properties with locations and holds that the occupation relation that unifies objects with their locations also unifies objects with their properties. Along with the theoretical parsimony that locationism enjoys, I argue that locationism resolves a puzzle for actualists regarding the ontological status (...)
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  8. The Limits of Modality.Sam Cowling - 2011 - Philosophical Quarterly 61 (244):473-495.
    It is commonly assumed that all propositions have modal profiles and therefore bear their truth-values either contingently or necessarily. I argue against this commonly assumed view and in defence of amodalism, according to which certain true propositions are neither necessarily nor contingently true, but only true simpliciter. I consider three arguments against ‘possible-worlds theories’, which hold that modal concepts are to be analysed in terms of possible worlds. Although each of these arguments targets a different version of possible-worlds theory, these (...)
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  9. Haecceitism.Sam Cowling - 2015 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  10.  47
    Conceivability Arguments for Haecceitism.Sam Cowling - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):4171-4190.
    According to haecceitism, some maximal possibilities differ even while they are qualitatively indiscernible. Since haecceitism is a modal thesis, it is typically defended by appeal to conceivability arguments. These arguments require us to conceive of qualitatively indiscernible possibilities that differ only with respect to the identity of the individuals involved. This paper examines a series of conceivability arguments for haecceitism and a variety of anti-haecceitist responses. It concludes that there is no irresistible conceivability argument for haecceitism even while anti-haecceitist responses (...)
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  11. Advice for Eleatics.Sam Cowling - forthcoming - In Chris Daly (ed.), Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods.
    Eleaticism ties ontology to causality by denying the impossibility of causally inert entities. This paper examines some challenges regarding the proper formulation and general plausibility of Eleaticism. After suggesting how Eleatics ought to respond to these challenges, I consider the prospects for extending Eleaticism from ontology to ideology by requiring all primitive ideology to be causal in nature. Surprisingly enough, the resulting view delivers an eternalist and possibilist metaphysical picture in the neighborhood of Lewisian modal realism.
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  12. The Way of Actuality.Sam Cowling - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (2):231-247.
    In this paper, I defend an indexical analysis of the abstract-concrete distinction within the framework of modal realism. This analysis holds the abstract-concrete distinction to be conceptually inseparable from the distinction between the actual and the merely possible, which is assumed to be indexical in nature. The resulting view contributes to the case for modal realism by demonstrating how its distinctive resources provide a reductive analysis of the abstract-concrete distinction. This indexical analysis also provides a solution to a sceptical problem (...)
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  13.  20
    Ontology and the Ambitions of Metaphysics.Sam Cowling - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (271):403-406.
    Ontology and the Ambitions of Metaphysics. By Hofweber Thomas.
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  14. Haecceitism for Modal Realists.Sam Cowling - 2012 - Erkenntnis 77 (3):399-417.
    In this paper, I examine the putative incompatibility of three theses: (1) Haecceitism, according to which some maximal possibilities differ solely in terms of the non-qualitative or de re possibilities they include; (2) Modal correspondence, according to which each maximal possibility is identical with a unique possible world; (3) Counterpart theory, according to which de re modality is analyzed in terms of counterpart relations between individuals. After showing how the modal realism defended by David Lewis resolves this incompatibility by rejecting (...)
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  15. Kantian Humility and Ontological Categories.Sam Cowling - 2010 - Analysis 70 (4):659-665.
  16.  2
    No Simples, No Gunk, No Nothing.Sam Cowling - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (2):246-260.
    Mereological realism holds that the world has a mereological structure – i.e. a distribution of mereological properties and relations. In this article, I defend Eleaticism about properties, according to which there are no causally inert non‐logical properties. I then present an Eleatic argument for mereological anti‐realism, which denies the existence of both mereological composites and mereological simples. After defending Eleaticism and mereological anti‐realism, I argue that mereological anti‐realism is preferable to mereological nihilism. I then conclude by examining the thesis that (...)
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  17.  20
    Resemblance.Sam Cowling - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (4):e12401.
    Our ordinary judgments and our metaphysical theories share a common commitment to facts about resemblance. The nature of resemblance is, however, a matter of no small controversy. This essay examines some of the pressing questions that arise regarding the status and structure of resemblance. Among those to be discussed in what follows: what kinds of resemblance relations are there? Can resemblance be analyzed in terms of the sharing of properties? Is resemblance an objective or subjective matter? What, if any, resemblance (...)
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  18.  36
    God and Necessity by Brian Leftow.Sam Cowling - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):1-3.
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  19. Hud Hudson, The Metaphysics of Hyperspace.Sam Cowling - 2009 - Philosophy in Review 29 (3):189.
     
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  20.  24
    Joe Salerno, Ed. New Essays on the Knowability Paradox. Reviewed By.Sam Cowling - 2010 - Philosophy in Review 30 (3):220-222.
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  21.  19
    Robin Jeshion, Ed. , New Essays on Singular Thought . Reviewed By.Sam Cowling - 2011 - Philosophy in Review 31 (6):434-437.
  22.  19
    Carolyn Swanson , Reburial of Nonexistents. Reconsidering the Russell-Meinong Debate . Reviewed By.Sam Cowling - 2012 - Philosophy in Review 32 (5):431-435.
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  23. Mark Kalderon, Ed., Fictionalism in Metaphysics Reviewed By.Sam Cowling - 2006 - Philosophy in Review 26 (3):197-199.
     
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  24. Keith Hossack, The Metaphysics of Knowledge Reviewed By.Sam Cowling - 2008 - Philosophy in Review 28 (5):341-343.
     
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  25.  14
    Michael Jubien, Possibility Reviewed By.Sam Cowling - 2010 - Philosophy in Review 30 (1):47-49.
  26.  6
    Time: A Philosophical Introduction, by James Harrington.Sam Cowling - 2016 - Teaching Philosophy 39 (4):537-540.
  27. Abstract Entities.Sam Cowling - 2017 - Routledge.
    Think of a number, any number, or properties like _fragility_ and _humanity_. These and other abstract entities are radically different from concrete entities like electrons and elbows. While concrete entities are located in space and time, have causes and effects, and are known through empirical means, abstract entities like meanings and possibilities are remarkably different. They seem to be immutable and imperceptible and to exist "outside" of space and time. This book provides a comprehensive critical assessment of the problems raised (...)
     
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  28. Mark Kalderon, Ed., Fictionalism in Metaphysics. [REVIEW]Sam Cowling - 2006 - Philosophy in Review 26:197-199.
     
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