We present an analysis of counterfactuals in terms of stories and combine it with an account similar to Walton’s account of truth in fiction to yield truth conditions for counterfactuals. We discuss unusual features of this account, and compare it to other main approaches. In particular, we argue that our analysis succeeds in accounting for counterpossibles and counterfactuals with true antecedents while the other two main approaches fail, and we give reasons for thinking that it is important to have an (...) adequate account of these two areas. (shrink)
In this paper, I will defend modalfictionalism. The paper has two parts. In thefirst part, I will suggest a revised version ofmodal fictionalism which can avoid certaintechnical problems. In the second part, I willpropose a nominalized version of modalfictionalism and a general scheme offictionalism for the nominalist.
In this paper, I will argue that Radfords real question is not the conceptual one, as it is usually taken, but the causal one, and show that Waltons account, which treats Radfords puzzle as the conceptual question, is not a satisfactory solution to it. I will also argue that contrary to what Walton claims, the causal question is not only important, but also closely related to the conceptual and normative questions. What matters is not that Walton has not solved Radfords (...) puzzle per se, but that he has not recognized the importance of this puzzle. While doing this, I will suggest a revision to the cognitive theory of emotion. (shrink)
The standard definition of an instantaneous temporal part cannot properly deal with cases involving time travel. This paper provides a new definition of an instantaneous temporal part by appealing to David Lewis's distinction between external time and personal time. The new definition avoids the problems because it does not allow more than one instantaneous temporal part of an object at each moment of its personal time. We argue that this new definition, combined with our new perdurantist semantic thesis, deals with (...) cases of time travel successfully. (shrink)
I defend pretence hermeneutic fictionalism against the Autism Objection. The objection is this: since people with autism have no difficulty in engaging with mathematics even if they cannot pretend, it is not the case that engagement with mathematics involves pretence. I show that a previous response to the objection is inadequate as a defence of the kind of pretence hermeneutic fictionalism put forward as a semantic thesis about the discourse in question. I claim that a more general response to the (...) Autism Objection is to deny the premise that people with autism cannot pretend. To motivate this response, I appeal to psychological studies suggesting that people with autism can understand pretence and they can pretend under certain conditions. Finally, I provide explanations for why it is the case that people with autism do not have a problem with engaging in mathematics whereas they have so much difficulty with other kinds of figurative language and pretence. (shrink)
I defend a unified fictionalism about modality and mathematics. First, I defend each view separately against internal objections. Then, I attempt a unified fictionalism by giving an analysis of truth in fiction which is neither modal nor platonistic. Finally, I explore the prospects for nominalistic unified fictionalism. ;In the first chapter, I defend modal fictionalism: the view that statements about possible worlds are best understood as claims about the content of a fiction, the 'many-worlds story'. I address the Brock-Rosen objection (...) that the fictionalist is a modal realist despite himself. I argue that Noonan's solution, the best response so far, is inadequate, and then offer an alternative fictionalist translation scheme for modal statements. ;In the second chapter, I defend mathematical fictionalism. Mathematical fictionalism is the view that mathematics is best understood as a fiction whose value is quite independent of its truth-value. Field argues for fictionalism in this sense by constructing nominalistic alternatives to standard physical theories. The aim is to establish that mathematical entities are 'dispensable for the purposes of science', and so to undermine the only reason we might have for believing in the literal truth of standard mathematics. I address an objection that the nominalization of current science would not suffice to establish the 'dispensability' of mathematical entities in the epistemologically relevant sense. I argue that there is a plausible interpretation of the indispensability argument according to which successful nominalization would establish that it is unreasonable to believe in mathematical entities. ;The most important challenge for any attempt at a unified fictionalism is to provide an account of truth in fiction that is neither implicitly modal nor implicitly platonistic. To this end, I offer in the third chapter an analysis of truth in a story which is based on a modified version of Walton's account of truth in fiction. ;A second challenge is to show that the timelessness and necessity of modal truth are compatible with the view that fictions are contingent and temporally restricted entities. In the final chapter, I argue this problem constitutes a genuine obstacle for a unified nominalistic fictionalism. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine Takashi Yagisawa’s response to van Inwagen’s ontic objection against David Lewis. Van Inwagen criticizes Lewis’s commitment to the absolutely unrestricted sense of ‘there is,’ and Yagisawa claims that by adopting modal tenses he avoids commitment to absolutely unrestricted quantification. I argue that Yagisawa faces a problem parallel to the one Lewis faces. Although Yagisawa officially rejects the absolutely unrestricted sense of a quantifying expression, he is still committed to the absolutely unrestricted sense of ‘is a (...) real.’. (shrink)
In this paper, I present a very interesting observation about identity in fiction. I call it the phenomenon of identity without interchangeability. It is the phenomenon that two names that have the same referent cannot be used interchangeably in some context. I argue that the phenomenon of identity without interchangeability holds in the dream context, the fictional context in a narrow sense, and the fictional context in an extended sense. I then show one application of the phenomenon in defending Kendall (...) Walton’s account of fiction against Fred Kroon’s objections to him. (shrink)
According to the standard definition of time travel due to David Lewis, an object time travels if and only if the separation in time between departure and arrival does not equal the duration of its journey. After arguing that the standard definition of time travel is inadequate by discussing a world with circular time, I suggest a new definition of time travel that does not fail in situations involving circular time.
Many people do not really believe fortune-telling, but they do not dismiss it as a complete nonsense, either. Their attitude toward it is ambivalent, and this ambivalence requires explanation. In this paper, I propose a thesis which can explain their ambivalent attitude toward fortune-telling by appealing to the concept of prop-oriented make-believe. I argue that if we understand fortune-telling as practiced and enjoyed by these people as prop oriented-make-believe, we can best explain and understand the ambivalent attitude toward it.
Gilmore proposes a new definition of ‘dead’ in response to Fred Feldman’s earlier definition in terms of ‘lives’ and ‘dies.’ In this paper, I critically examine Gilmore’s new definition. First, I explain what his definition is and how it is an improvement upon Feldman’s definition. Second, I raise an objection to it by noting that it fails to rule out the possibility of a thing that dies without becoming dead.
In his 2003 paper, “Does the Existence of Mathematical Objects Make a Difference?”, Alan Baker criticizes what he terms the ‘Makes No Difference’ (MND) argument by arguing that it does not succeed in undermining platonism. In this paper, I raise two objections. The first objection is that Baker is wrong in claiming that the premise of the MND argument lacks a truth-value. The second objection is that the theory of counterlegals which he appeals to in his argument is incompatible with (...) actual scientific practice. I conclude that we ought not to accept Baker’s claim. (shrink)
In this paper, I suggest a new interpretation of the argument given in Proslogium 3 which can be derived from the passage. My suggestion is that the argument in Proslogium 3 can be read as a sub argument for the premise (3) of the ontological argument given in Proslogium 2. This premise says God can be conceived to exist in reality. But the fool might refuse to accept this premise by claiming that perhaps God is a logically impossible object, and (...) thus it cannot be conceived to exist in reality. My new interpretation is that the argument in Proslogium 3 is to support premise (3) of the ontological argument by showing that God can be conceived to exist in reality, that it is not a logically impossible object. After suggesting a new interpretation of the argument, I defend it against two possible objections. (shrink)
Jason Stanley raises an important objection to hermeneutic fictionalism. The objection is called “The Autism Objection.” In this paper, I examine Stanley’s objection and defend hermeneutic fictionalism against it. After I show that the Autism Objection assumes the metarepresentational theory of pretense, I argue, mainly based on recent psychological studies, that pretense does not require the metarepresentational capacity. By doing this, I show that there are no good reasons to accept one of the premises the Autism Objection, that people with (...) autism lack the capacity to pretend. Finally, I mention two limitations of this paper. (shrink)
Stuart Brock criticizes two kinds of descriptivist views developed in response to Saul Kripke’s modal argument. In this paper, I raise an objection to Brock’s criticism of the world-indexed view by arguing that he fails to distinguish between ∃x(AF!x) and A∃x(F!x).
In his book Worlds and Individuals: Possible and Otherwise, Takashi Yagisawa Yagisawa argues that his own theory is better than Lewis’s theory by showing that his own theory can deal with important objections to modal realism more successfully than Lewis’s. In particular, Yagisawa claims that by adopting modal tenses, he can respond to many important objections to modal realism in a uniform way. In this paper, I argue that Lewis can also successfully respond to Peacocke’s objection in an exactly parallel (...) way to Yagisawa’s by distinguishing existence at the actual world from existence at other possible worlds and that Yagisawa’s response to van Inwagen’s objection does not succeed. I conclude that Yagisawa fails to show that his own theory is better than Lewis’s. (shrink)
ABSTRACTStandard theories treat A→C and A→D as equivalent when C and D coincide on A. However, Yablo's incremental conditional does not behave in this way. Consider the following: a = b→Fa. a = b→Fb.According to Yablo, the real content of is Fb and the real content of is Fa. In worlds where a = b is true, both and have the same truth-value. However, ‘Fa can come apart truth-value-wise from Fb in worlds where a isn't b.’ In this paper, I (...) argue that this feature of Yablo's incremental conditional makes his if-thenism incompatible with fictionalism. (shrink)
The Quine-Putnam indispensability argument runs as follows: We have reason to believe in Fs if Fs are indispensable to our best available science. Mathematical entities are indispensable to our best available science. Therefore, we have reason to believe in mathematical entities.According to the standard understanding, in order to refute the argument the nominalist has to show that mathematical entities are dispensable by providing an at least as good theory of the same phenomena that is not ontologically committed to mathematical entities. (...) Most philosophers who write in this area, including John Burgess, Mark Colyvan, Hartry Field, Penelope Maddy, and Gideon Rosen, accept the standard understanding. Many nominalists who accept the standard understanding propose nominalistic paraphrases or alternatives, claiming that these are either equally good or better than our current scientific theories. Platonists deny that they are either equally good or better. (shrink)
In his 2003 paper, "Does the Existence of Mathematical Objects Make a Difference?", Alan Baker criticizes what he terms the 'Makes No Difference' argument by arguing that it does not succeed in undermining platonism. In this paper, I raise two objections. The first objection is that Baker is wrong in claiming that the premise of the MND argument lacks a truth-value. The second objection is that the theory of counterlegals which he appeals to in his argument is incompatible with actual (...) scientific practice. I conclude that we ought not to accept Baker's claim. (shrink)