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Thomas D. Bontly [8]Thomas David Bontly [1]
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Thomas Bontly
University of Connecticut
  1. Proportionality, Causation, and Exclusion.Thomas D. Bontly - 2005 - Philosophia 32 (1-4):331-348.
  2. The Supervenience Argument Generalizes.Thomas D. Bontly - 2002 - Philosophical Studies 109 (1):75-96.
    In his recent book, Jaegwon Kim argues thatpsychophysical supervenience withoutpsychophysical reduction renders mentalcausation `unintelligible'. He also claimsthat, contrary to popular opinion, his argumentagainst supervenient mental causation cannot begeneralized so as to threaten the causalefficacy of other `higher-level' properties:e.g., the properties of special sciences likebiology. In this paper, I argue that none ofthe considerations Kim advances are sufficientto keep the supervenience argument fromgeneralizing to all higher-level properties,and that Kim's position in fact entails thatonly the properties of fundamental physicalparticles are causally efficacious.
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  3.  97
    Modified Occam's Razor: Parsimony, Pragmatics, and the Acquisition of Word Meaning.Thomas D. Bontly - 2005 - Mind and Language 20 (3):288–312.
    Advocates of linguistic pragmatics often appeal to a principle which Paul Grice called Modified Occam's Razor: 'Senses are not to be multiplied beyond necessity'. Superficially, Grice's principle seems a routine application of the principle of parsimony ('Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity'). But parsimony arguments, though common in science, are notoriously problematic, and their use by Griceans faces numerous objections. This paper argues that Modified Occam's Razor makes considerably more sense in light of certain assumptions about the processes (...)
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  4.  66
    Exclusion, Overdetermination, and the Nature of Causation.Thomas D. Bontly - 2005 - Journal of Philosophical Research 30:261-282.
    A typical thesis of contemporary materialism holds that mental properties and events supervene on, without being reducible to, physical properties and events. Many philosophers have grown skeptical about the causal efficacy of irreducibly supervenient properties, however, and one of the main reasons is an assumption about causation which Jaegwon Kim calls the causal exclusion principle. I argue here that this principle runs afoul of cases of genuine causal overdetermination.Many would argue that causal overdetermination is impossible anyway, but a careful analysis (...)
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  5. Conversational Implicature and the Referential Use of Descriptions.Thomas D. Bontly - 2005 - Philosophical Studies 125 (1):1 - 25.
    This paper enters the continuing fray over the semantic significance of Donnellan’s referential/attributive distinction. Some holdthat the distinction is at bottom a pragmatic one: i.e., that the difference between the referential use and the attributive use arises at the level of speaker’s meaning rather the level of sentence-or utterance-meaning. This view has recently been challenged byMarga Reimer andMichael Devitt, both of whom argue that the fact that descriptions are regularly, that is standardly, usedto refer defeats the pragmatic approach. The present (...)
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  6.  95
    What is an Empirical Analysis of Causation?Thomas D. Bontly - 2006 - Synthese 151 (2):177-200.
    Philosophical accounts of causation have traditionally been framed as attempts to analyze the concept of a cause. In recent years, however, a number of philosophers have proposed instead that causation be empirically reduced to some relation uncovered by the natural sciences: e.g., a relation of energy transfer. This paper argues that the project of empirical analysis lacks a clearly defined methodology, leaving it uncertain how such views are to be evaluated. It proposes several possible accounts of empirical analysis and argues (...)
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  7.  24
    Climate Change, Intergenerational Justice, and the Non-Identity Effect.Thomas D. Bontly - 2020 - Intergenerational Justice Review 5 (2).
    Do we owe it to future generations, as a requirement of justice, to take action to mitigate anthropogenic climate change? This paper examines the implications of Derek Parfit’s notorious non-identity problem for that question. An argument from Jörg Tremmel that the non-identity effect of climate policy is “insignificant” is examined and found wanting, and a contrastive, difference-making approach for comparing different choices’ non-identity effects is developed. Using the approach, it is argued that the non-identity effect of a given policy response (...)
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  8.  40
    The Things We Mean.Thomas D. Bontly - 2005 - Review of Metaphysics 58 (4):916-917.
    A pleonastic entity is one whose existence can be validly inferred from statements making no reference to that entity. For instance, properties are pleonastic entities, since we can infer from “Sam is a goat” the pleonastic equivalent “Sam has the property of being a goat.” Inferences of this sort, which Schiffer calls something-from-nothing transformations, are conceptually valid; they are licensed by the concept of a property, since having the concept of a property just is knowing such things as that all (...)
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