Two competing views in sparse ontology are monism and pluralism. In Trogdon 2009 I propose an account of intrinsicality that I argue is both compatible with monism and pluralism and independently plausible. Skiles 2009 argues that my account fails on both fronts. In this note I respond to his two objections.
According to priority monism there are many concrete entities and there is one, the cosmos, that is ontologically prior to all the others. I begin by clarifying this thesis as well as its main rival, priority atomism. I show how the disagreement between the priority monist and atomist ultimately turns on how the thesis of concrete foundationalism is implemented. While it’s standard to interpret priority monism as being metaphysically non-contingent, I show that there are two competing, prima facie plausible conceptions (...) of metaphysical necessity—the essence-based and law-based conceptions—on which it is reasonable to view its modal status differently. This, I suggest, is good for the priority monist—various objections to the thesis presuppose that it’s metaphysically non-contingent, while there are arguments for the thesis that don’t make the presupposition. (shrink)
Recent interest in the nature of grounding is due in part to the idea that purely modal notions are too coarse‐grained to capture what we have in mind when we say that one thing is grounded in another. Grounding not being purely modal in character, however, is compatible with it having modal consequences. Is grounding a necessary relation? In this article I argue that the answer is ‘yes’ in the sense that propositions corresponding to full grounds modally entail propositions corresponding (...) to what they ground. The argument proceeds upon two substantive principles: the first is that there is a broadly epistemic constraint on grounding, while the second links this constraint with Fine's Aristotelian notion of essence. Many think grounding is necessary in something like the sense specified above, but just why it's necessary is an issue that hasn't been carefully addressed. If my argument is successful, we now know why grounding is necessary. (shrink)
I argue that there is an important similarity between causation and grounding. In particular I argue that, just as there is a type of scientific explanation that appeals to causal mechanisms—causal-mechanical explanation—there is a type of metaphysical explanation that appeals to grounding mechanisms—grounding-mechanical explanation. The upshot is that the role that grounding mechanisms play in certain metaphysical explanations mirrors the role that causal mechanisms play in certain scientific explanations. In this light, it becomes clear that grounding-mechanical explanations make crucial contributions (...) to the evaluation of a variety of important philosophical theses, including priority monism and physicalism. (shrink)
The primary goal of this chapter is to set out and clarify some of the central issues and disputes concerning grounding (alternatively, the in virtue of relation, priority, metaphysical explanation, and so on). I begin by introducing a taxonomy of positions that proceeds upon a cluster of related issues including, for example, whether our talk of grounding in philosophical discourse is univocal. Then I consider the logical form of grounding statements as well as the structural principles that govern grounding. Next, (...) I take up the matter of how the notions of grounding, modality, and reduction interact. I close with a brief discussion of the grounds for true grounding claims. (shrink)
Central to the programme of sparse ontology is a hierarchical view of reality; the basic entities form the sparse structure of being, while the derivative entities form the abundant superstructure. Priority pluralism and priority monism are both theses of sparse ontology. Roughly speaking, the priority pluralist claims that wholes and their properties ontologically depend on parts and their properties, while the priority monist claims that it goes the other way around. In this paper I focus on Ted Sider's recent argument (...) that priority monism is probably false because it is incompatible with our best account of intrinsicality. In response I propose an account of intrinsicality that is compatible with both priority monism and priority pluralism. I argue that the account, in addition to having the virtue of being neutral between priority monism and priority pluralism, is independently plausible. (shrink)
Rae Langton and David Lewis have proposed an account of "intrinsic property" that makes use of two notions: being independent of accompaniment and being natural. We find the appeal to the first of these promising; the second notion, however, we find mystifying. In this paper we argue that the appeal to naturalness is not acceptable and offer an alternative definition of intrinsicality. The alternative definition makes crucial use of a notion commonly used by philosophers, namely, the notion of one property (...) being had in virtue of another property. We defend our account against three arguments for thinking that this "in virtue of" notion is unacceptable in this context. We also take a look at a variety of cases in which the definition might be applied and defend it against potential counterexamples. The upshot, we think, is a modest but adequate account of what we understand by "intrinsic property.". (shrink)
According to experiential revelation, phenomenal concepts reveal the nature of the phenomenal properties they refer to. Some see experiential revelation as posing a direct challenge to physicalism. The basic idea is this: given experiential revelation, were phenomenal properties physical/functional in nature they would be presented as such when you think of them under phenomenal concepts, but phenomenal concepts don’t present their referents in this way. I argue that, while this argument on a plausible reconstruction fails, the thesis of experiential revelation (...) nevertheless indirectly challenges physicalism. In particular, it potentially undermines the so-called phenomenal concept strategy, a key defense maneuver of the physicalist for responding to dualist arguments concerning experience. The moral is that issues concerning revelation do indeed pose a problem for physicalism, but not for the reasons you might think. (shrink)
According to metaphysical foundationalism, it’s necessary that any non-fundamental entity be fully grounded by fundamental entities. Jonathan Schaffer has recently proposed an argument for metaphysical foundationalism that appeals to the notion of reality inheritance. After clarifying the argument, I argue that it is unsuccessful. Then I suggest that there are more plausible arguments that appeal to the notion of causal capacity inheritance instead. But, as these arguments target special cases of metaphysical foundationalism, I conclude that if considerations involving inheritance are (...) to provide a route to metaphysical foundationalism, the route will be indirect. (shrink)
Materialism, as traditionally conceived, has a contingent side and a necessary side. The necessity of materialism is reflected by the metaphysics of realization, while its contingency is a matter of accepting the possibility of Cartesian worlds, worlds in which our minds are roughly as Descartes describes them. In this paper we argue that the necessity and the contingency of materialism are in conflict. In particular, we claim that if mental properties are realized by physical properties in the actual world, Cartesian (...) worlds are impossible. (shrink)
One central issue concerning philosophical methodology is this: what concepts should go into our philosophical toolbox? That is to say, what notions are appropriate to rely on in doing philosophy? This issue is relevant not only to how we should go about addressing philosophical problems but also how we’re to formulate those problems in the first place. There is a burgeoning literature on the notion of grounding. I’m a proponent of grounding – I think the notion of grounding is coherent (...) and theoretically useful.1 Supposing that the notion of grounding belongs in our philosophical toolbox, what consequences might this have for familiar philosophical problems? In this chapter I focus on what Jackson calls placement problems, problems concerning how the manifest facts “fit into” the world given that the world is ultimately physical in nature. If we formulate placement problems in terms of grounding, we should expect new possibilities to open up with respect to how to solve them. My goal in this chapter is to show that this is precisely what happens with respect to the content placement problem, the problem of how to fit facts concerning mental content into the actual world given that it’s ultimately physical in nature. (shrink)
A major stumbling block for non-reductive physicalism is Kim’s disjunctive property objection. In this paper I bring certain issues in sparse ontology to bear on the objection, in particular the theses of priority monism and priority pluralism. Priority pluralism (or something close to it, anyway) is a common ontological background assumption, so in the first part of the paper I consider whether the disjunctive property objection applies with equal force to non-reductive physicalism on the assumption that priority monism is instead (...) true. I ultimately conclude that non-reductive physicalism still faces a comparable problem. In the second part, I argue, surprisingly enough, that what I call ‘fine-grained reductionism’, a particular version of which Kim proposes as an alternative to non-reductive physicalism, may work better in the monist framework than the pluralist one. I conclude that issues in sparse ontology, therefore, are more relevant to the debate about physicalism than one may have thought. (shrink)
Stoljar’s book has three parts. In the first part, he discusses the “problem of experience”: though we have experiences, it isn’t clear that the experiential fits into the actual world, given that the actual world is fundamentally non-experiential. Stoljar focuses on what he views as one facet of the problem of experience, the “logical problem”, which consists of three jointly inconsistent claims: (T1) there are experiential truths; (T2) if there are experiential truths, every experiential truth is entailed by some non-experiential (...) truth; and (T3) if there are experiential truths, not every experiential truth is entailed by some non-experiential truth. The logical problem is a problem, according to Stoljar, because each of T1–T3 is prima facie plausible. In the second part, Stoljar sets out his solution to the logical problem, the “epistemic view”, and defends it against various objections. According to the epistemic view, (i) we’re ignorant of a special type of empirical experience-relevant non-experiential truth; (ii) were we to come to understand truths of this type, we would see that the modal arguments against physicalism (i.e. the zombie and knowledge arguments) fail; and (iii) given (i) and (ii), we should reject T3 in order to resolve the logical problem. In the third part Stoljar argues that alternative solutions to the logical problem either fail or collapse into the epistemic view. While this is certainly the most careful and extended defense of the epistemic view to date (a view, by the way, in various forms, with which many seem to find sympathy), the epistemic view as Stoljar develops it faces a formidable problem. The central problem.. (shrink)
What is it for a work of art to be complete? In this article, we argue that an artwork is complete just in case the artist has acquired a completion disposition with respect to her work—a disposition grounded in certain cognitive mechanisms to refrain from making significant changes to the work. We begin by explaining why the complete/incomplete distinction with respect to artworks is both practically and philosophically significant. Then we consider and reject two approaches to artwork completion. Finally, we (...) set out and defend our own account. (shrink)
Chapter 1 is devoted to taking care of some preliminary issues. I begin by distinguishing those states of awareness in virtue of which we’re acquainted with the phenomenal characters of our experiences from those states of awareness some claim are at the very nature of experience. Then I reconcile the idea that experience is transparent with the claim that we can be acquainted with phenomenal character. -/- In Chapter 2 I set up a dilemma that is the primary focus of (...) the dissertation. In the first part of this chapter I argue that phenomenal acquaintance has three key features, what I call its ‘directness’, ‘thickness’, and ‘infallibility’. In the second part I argue, however, that it’s really quite puzzling how thoughts about phenomenal character (or any thoughts, for that matter) could have them. In the next two chapters I consider how we might resolve the dilemma described above. -/- I begin in Chapter 3 by considering an account of phenomenal acquaintance inspired by Bertrand Russell’s discussion of acquaintance. The general idea here is to excise mental representation from phenomenal acquaintance, and I ultimately reject the proposal. -/- Chapter 4 is the core chapter of the dissertation. In it I propose an account of phenomenal acquaintance that doesn’t excise mental representation. My account is comprised of three theses. First, token experiences are complex and have instances of phenomenal properties as components. Second, instances of phenomenal properties are mental representations, and they represent themselves. Third, the attention relevant to phenomenal acquaintance is underwritten by self-representation. I argue that my account explains how phenomenal acquaintance is direct, thick, and infallible, thereby resolving our dilemma. -/- I argue in Chapter 5 that my account of phenomenal acquaintance explains why there is an explanatory gap between the phenomenal and non-phenomenal truths. Accordingly, I conclude that the explanatory gap doesn’t pose a problem for physicalism. Here I implement what has come to be called the ‘phenomenal concept strategy’ for responding to the challenge posed by the explanatory gap. (shrink)
We argue that uncomputability and classical scepticism are both re ections of inductive underdetermination, so that Church's thesis and Hume's problem ought to receive equal emphasis in a balanced approach to the philosophy of induction. As an illustration of such an approach, we investigate how uncomputable the predictions of a hypothesis can be if the hypothesis is to be reliably investigated by a computable scienti c method.
Philosophical logicians proposing theories of rational belief revision have had little to say about whether their proposals assist or impede the agent's ability to reliably arrive at the truth as his beliefs change through time. On the other hand, reliability is the central concern of formal learning theory. In this paper we investigate the belief revision theory of Alchourron, Gardenfors and Makinson from a learning theoretic point of view.
Between 1787, and the end of his life in 1832, Bentham turned his attention to the development and application of economic ideas and principles within the general structure of his legislative project. For seventeen years this interest was manifested through a number of books and pamphlets, most of which remained in manuscript form, that develop a distinctive approach to economic questions. Although Bentham was influenced by Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, he (...) neither adopted a Smithian vocabulary for addressing questions of economic principle and policy, nor did he accept many of the distinctive features of Smith's economic theory. One consequence of this was that Bentham played almost no part in the development of the emerging science of political economy in the early nineteenth century. The standard histories of economics all emphasize how little he contributed to the mainstream of late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century debate by concentrating attention on his utilitarianism and the psychology of hedonism on which it is premised. Others have argued that the calculating nature of his theory of practical reason reduced the whole legislative project to a crude attempt to apply economics to all aspects of social and political life. Put at its simplest this argument amounts to the erroneous claim that Bentham's science of legislation is reducible to the science of political economy. A different but equally dangerous error would be to argue that because Bentham's conception of the science of legislation comprehends all the basic forms of social relationships, there can be no science of political economy as there is no autonomous sphere of activity governed by the principles of economics. This approach is no doubt attractive from an historical point of view given that the major premise of this argument is true, and that many of Bentham's ‘economic’ arguments are couched in terms of his theory of legislation. Yet it fails to account for the undoubted importance of political economy within Bentham's writings, not just on finance, economic policy, colonies and preventive police, but also in other aspects of his utilitarian public policy such as prison reform, pauper management, and even constitutional reform. All of these works reflect a conception of political economy in its broadest terms. However, this conception of political economy differs in many respects from that of Bentham's contemporaries, and for this reason Bentham's distinctive approach to problems of economics and political economy has largely been misunderstood. (shrink)
It is well known that Augustine, Boethius, Anselm and Aquinas participated in a tradition of philosophical theology which determined God to be simple, perfect, immutable and timelessly eternal. Within the parameters of such an Hellenic understanding of the divine nature, they sought a clarification of one of the fundamental teachings of their Christian faith, the doctrine of the Trinity. These classical theists were not dogmatists, naively unreflective about the very possibility of their project. Aquinas, for instance, explicitly worried about and (...) fought to dispel the seeming contradiction between the philosophical requirement of divine simplicity and the creedal insistence on a threefold personhood in God. 1 Nevertheless, doubts abound. Philosophers otherwise friendly to Classical Theism still remain unsure about the coherence of affirming a God that is at once absolutely simple and triune. 2 A less friendly critic has even suggested that the theory of divine simplicity pressured Augustine and his medieval followers away from recognizing that real complexity within the life of God which Trinitarianism expresses. 3. (shrink)
Man has the urge to thrust against the limits of language. Think for instance about one's astonishment that anything exists. This astonishment cannot be expressed in the form of a question and there is no answer to it. Anything we can say must, a priori, be nonsense.
With a book as wide ranging and insightful as Barry's Justice as Impartiality, it is perhaps a little churlish to criticize it for paying insufficient attention to one's own particular interests. That said, in what follows I am going to do just that and claim that in an important sense Barry does not take utilitarianism seriously. Utilitarianism does receive some discussion in Barry's book, and in an important section which I will discuss he even appears to concede that utilitarianism provides (...) a rival though ultimately inadequate theory of justice. Nevertheless, utilitarianism is not considered a rival to ‘justice as impartiality’ in the way that ‘justice as mutual advantage’ and ‘justice as reciprocity’ are. One response, and perhaps the only adequate response, would be to construct a rival utilitarian theory. I cannot provide such a theory in this paper, and I certainly would be very cautious about claiming that I could provide such a theory elsewhere. What I want to suggest is that utilitarianism is a genuine third theory to contrast with ‘justice as mutual advantage’ and ‘justice as impartiality’ – ‘justice as reciprocity’ being merely a hybrid of ‘justice as mutual advantage’, at least as Barry presents it. I also want to argue that it poses a more significant challenge to a contractualist theory such as Barry's than his discussion of utilitarianism reveals. (shrink)
People can be disgusted by the concrete and by the abstract -- by an object they find physically repellent or by an ideology or value system they find morally abhorrent. Different things will disgust different people, depending on individual sensibilities or cultural backgrounds. In _Yuck!_, Daniel Kelly investigates the character and evolution of disgust, with an emphasis on understanding the role this emotion has come to play in our social and moral lives. Disgust has recently been riding a swell (...) of scholarly attention, especially from those in the cognitive sciences and those in the humanities in the midst of the "affective turn." Kelly proposes a cognitive model that can accommodate what we now know about disgust. He offers a new account of the evolution of disgust that builds on the model and argues that expressions of disgust are part of a sophisticated but largely automatic signaling system that humans use to transmit information about what to avoid in the local environment. He shows that many of the puzzling features of moral repugnance tinged with disgust are by-products of the imperfect fit between a cognitive system that evolved to protect against poisons and parasites and the social and moral issues on which it has been brought to bear. Kelly's account of this emotion provides a powerful argument against invoking disgust in the service of moral justification. (shrink)
The past thirty years have seen a surge of empirical research into political decision making and the influence of framing effects--the phenomenon that occurs when different but equivalent presentations of a decision problem elicit different judgments or preferences. During the same period, political philosophers have become increasingly interested in democratic theory, particularly in deliberative theories of democracy. Unfortunately, the empirical and philosophical studies of democracy have largely proceeded in isolation from each other. As a result, philosophical treatments of democracy have (...) overlooked recent developments in psychology, while the empirical study of framing effects has ignored much contemporary work in political philosophy. In Framing Democracy, Jamie Terence Kelly bridges this divide by explaining the relevance of framing effects for normative theories of democracy. -/- Employing a behavioral approach, Kelly argues for rejecting the rational actor model of decision making and replacing it with an understanding of choice imported from psychology and social science. After surveying the wide array of theories that go under the name of democratic theory, he argues that a behavioral approach enables a focus on three important concerns: moral reasons for endorsing democracy, feasibility considerations governing particular theories, and implications for institutional design. Finally, Kelly assesses a number of methods for addressing framing effects, including proposals to increase the amount of political speech, mechanisms designed to insulate democratic outcomes from flawed decision making, and programs of public education. (shrink)
Through discussion of phenomenological and analytic traditions such as the philosophical problems of perceptual content, the content of demonstrative thoughts and the unity of proposition, Kelly explains that these concepts are not as alien to one another as most people believe.
Drawing extensively on Bentham's unpublished civil and distributive law writings, classical and recent Bentham scholarship, and contemporary work in moral and political philosophy, Kelly here presents the first full-length exposition and sympathetic defense of Bentham's unique utilitarian theory of justice. Kelly shows how Bentham developed a moderate welfare-state liberal theory of justice with egalitarian leanings, the aim of which was to secure the material and political conditions of each citizen's pursuit of the good life in cooperation with each (...) other. A striking and original addition to the growing literature on Bentham's legal and political thought, this incisive study also makes a valuable contribution to contemporary political philosophy. (shrink)
Although philosophers have characteristically taken the view that art is a vehicle of some universal meaning or truth, art historians emphasize the concrete, historical location of the individual work of art. Is aesthetics capable of sustaining these two approaches? Or, as Michael Kelly argues: Is art actually determined by its historical particularity? His book covers the views of four philosophers--Heidegger, Adorno, Derrida, and Danto--ultimately iconoclasts, despite their significant philosophical engagement with the arts.
Fitz-Herbert, John; Kelly, Gerard The 'pastoral care of the sick' is one of the important responses to the gospel that occurs in almost every parish. Faithful Sunday parishioners visit other parishioners week-in and week-out. They put into deed the concern of the believing community for the one who is unable to gather with the Sunday community for eucharist. They bring holy communion as well as friendship and their pastoral concern to the person being visited. Sometimes it happens that this (...) may be the only visitor the one who is housebound welcomes into their home during the week. A truly terrifying thought in this age that proclaims to value connectedness and being linked into one or more networks! (shrink)
Michael Kelly is the author of 68 entries altogether. The New Oxford Companion to Literature in French is far more than a simple revision of the original Oxford Companion to French Literature, published in 1959, and described by The Listener as the `standard work of reference for English-speaking enquirers into French literature'. As the change in title implies, this completely new work presents an authoritative guide not only to ten centuries of literature produced in the territory now called France, (...) but also to the rich literary output of other French-speaking countries around the world. The scope of the Companion is deliberately open and inclusive, challenging and extending the traditional canon. Literature is understood in a broad sense, ranging from strip cartoon and pamphlet to tragedy and epic, and particular attention is devoted to francophone writing from outside France. Written by an international team of specialists, entries cover individual authors and works - over 3,000 of them - from the troubadours to Césaire, and from La Princesse de Clèves to La Vie mode d'emploi. Each is discussed in detail within their historical, cultural, and intellectual context. Among the new features of the Companion are the substantial essay-entries, reflecting up-to-date scholarship and theoretical debates on topics such as: - literary movements and genres - historical subjects such as chivalry, or Occupation and Resistance in wartime France - movements of thought from Scholasticism to feminism - linguistic topics - the sciences - the arts and media, including opera, cinema, and press. (shrink)
Kelly, Gerard There has always been a tension between the justice and the mercy of God. The two seem very uneasy companions. In the mind of some, justice and mercy are mutually exclusive. This, then, plays out in society and the way we practise justice. From my point of view, as a theologian, there is a genuine theological question here and it concerns how we understand God, and as a consequence how we understand the relationship between justice and mercy. (...) On the one hand, the traditional metaphysical starting point for the doctrine of God leaves little room for the mercy of God since God as perfect Being cannot suffer-to suffer would be a deficiency.1 On the other hand, there is a strong tradition, particularly since the Reformation, of the justice of God, where justice is an expression of the mercy of God. Yet this tradition struggles today to have an impact on religious consciousness. The theological question also has implications for the wider society. If Western society is no longer being shaped by the Christian faith, then the meaning of both mercy and justice may undergo change in such a way that they become incompatible. I will explore this question by referring to three articles that have appeared in popular journalism. This will lead me to a theological examination of mercy and justice. (shrink)
A step-by-step guide to Foucault's History of Sexuality Volume I, The Will to Knowledge. Mark Kelly systematically unpacks the intricacies of Foucault's dense and sometimes confusing exposition, in a straightforward way, putting it in its historical and theoretical context.
Table of contents : 1. The beginnings of phenomenology: Husserl and his predecessors Richard Cobb-Stevens, Boston College 2. Philosophy of existence 1: Heidegger Jacques Taminiaux, University of Louvain, Belgium 3. Philosophy of existence 2: Sartre Thomas Flynn, Emory University 4. Philosophy of existence 3: Merleau-Ponty Bernard Cullen, Queen's University, Belfast 5. Philosophies of religion: Jaspers, Marcel, Levinas William Desmond, Loyola College 6. Philosophies of science: Mach, Duhem, Bachelard Babette Babich, Fordham University 7. Philosophies of Marxism: Gramsci, Lukacs, Benjamin, Althusser Michael (...)Kelly, University of Southampton 8. Critical theory: from Adorno to Habermas David Rasmussen, Boston College 9. Hermeneutics: Gadamer, Ricoeur Gary Madison, McMaster University 10. Italian idealism and after: Croce, Gentile, Vattimo Giacomo Rinaldi, University of Urbino, Italy 11. French structuralism and after: Barthes, Lacan, Lévi-Strauss, Foucault Hugh Silverman, State University of New York at Stony Brook 12. French feminism and after: de Beauvoir, Kristeva, Irigaray, Cixious Alison Ainley, Oxford Brookes University 13. Deconstruction Simon Critchley, Essex University 14. Derrida Timothy Mooney, Essex University 15. Postmodernist theory: Lyotard, Baudrillard Thomas Docherty, Trinity College, Dublin. (shrink)
Kelly, Gerard There can be no doubting that the Second Vatican Council has had a remarkable impact on the Catholic Church and its people in Australia. Many would argue that the council's influence extends far beyond the Catholic Church and touches other churches.