Many phenomena appear to be indeterminate, including material macro-object boundaries, predicates or properties admitting of borderline cases, and certain open future claims. Here I provide an account of indeterminacy in metaphysical, rather than semantic or epistemic, terms. Previous such accounts have been "meta-level" accounts, taking metaphysical indeterminacy (MI) to involve its being indeterminate which of various determinate states of affairs obtain. On my alternative, "object-level" account, MI involves its being determinate (or just plain true) that an indeterminate (less than maximally (...) specific) SOA obtains. I more specifically suggest that MI involves an object's (i) having a determinable property, but (ii) not having any unique determinate of that determinable. I motivate the needed extension of the traditional understanding of determinables, then argue that a determinable-based account of MI accommodates, in intuitive and intelligible fashion, indeterminacy in macro-object boundaries and the open future, while satisfactorily treating the usual concerns to accounts of MI stemming from Evans's argument and the problem of the many. (shrink)
Sydney Shoemaker's "Subset Account" offers a new take on determinable properties and the realization relation as well as a defense of non-reductive physicalism from the problem of mental causation. At the heart of this account are the claims that (1) mental properties are determinable properties and (2) the causal powers that individuate a determinable property are a proper subset of the causal powers that individuate the determinates of that property. The second claim, however, has led to the (...) accusation that the effects caused by the instantiation of a determinable property will also be caused by the instantiation of the determinates of that propertyâ€”so instead of solving the problem of mental causation, the Subset Account ends up guaranteeing that the effects of mental properties (and all other types of determinable property) will be causally overdetermined! In this paper, I explore this objection. I argue that both sides in this debate have failed to engage the question at the heart of the objection: Given that both a determinable property and its determinates have the power to cause some effect (E), does it follow that both will actually cause E when the relevant conditions obtain? To make genuine progress towards answering this question, we need to take a serious look at the metaphysics of causation. With the debate properly reframed and issues about the metaphysics of causation front and center, I explore the question of whether the Subset Account is doomed to result in problematic causal overdetermination. (shrink)
The properties colored and red stand in a special relation. Namely, red is a determinate of colored, and colored is determinable relative to red. Many other properties are similarly related. The determination relation is an interesting topic of logical investigation in its own right, and the prominent philosophical inquiries into this relation have, accordingly, operated at a high level of abstraction.1 It is time to return to these investigations, not just as a logical amusement, but for the payoffs such (...) investigation can yield in solving some basic metaphysical problems. The goal in what follows is twofold. First, I argue for a novel understanding of the determination relation. Second, this understanding is applied to yield insights into property instance (e.g., trope) individuation, how different property types can share an instance, the relation between property types and property instances, as well as applications to causation (mental causation, in particular). (shrink)
Several essays in this volume exploit the idea that in visual experience, and in other forms of consciousness, something is present to consciousness, or phenomenally present to the experiencing subject. This is a venerable idea. Hume, for example, understood conscious experience in terms of the various items ‘present to the mind’. However, it is not obvious how the idea should be understood and there are grounds for worrying that there is no good way of making it precise. Here I explore (...) a way of making precise the idea that properties of things, such as their shapes and colours, are present to us in visual experience. I argue that this important idea is coherent, well motivated and empirically plausible, provided that we reject two traditional assumptions: that maximally determinate properties, rather than just determinable properties, are visually present; that we can tell through introspection exactly which properties are visually present to us. (shrink)
This paper presents a puzzle or antinomy about the role of properties in causation. In theories of properties, a distinction is often made between determinable properties, like red, and their determinates, like scarlet (see Armstrong 1978, volume II). Sometimes determinable properties are cited in causal explanations, as when we say that someone stopped at the traffic light because it was red. If we accept that properties can be among the relata of causation, then it can be argued that (...) there are good reasons for allowing that some of these are determinable properties. On the other hand, there are strong arguments in the metaphysics of properties to treat properties as sparse in David Lewis’s (1983) sense. But then it seems that we only need to believe in the most determinate properties: particular shades of colour, specific masses, lengths and so on. And if we also agree with Lewis that sparse properties are ‘the ones relevant to causal powers’ (1983: 13) it seems we must conclude that if properties are relevant to causation at all, then all of these are determinate properties. I call this ‘the antinomy of determinable causation’. On the one hand, we have a good argument for the claim that determinable properties can be causes, if any properties are. I call this the Thesis. But on the other hand, we have a good argument for the claim that only the most determinate properties can be causes, if any properties are. I call this the Antithesis. Clearly, we need to reject either the Thesis or the.. (shrink)
In this paper I aim to answer two questions: Can spin be treated as a determinable? Can a treatment of spin as a determinable be used to understand quantum indeterminacy? In response to the first question I show that the relations among spin number, spin components and spin values cannot be captured by a single determination relation; instead we need to look at spin number and spin value separately. In response to the second question I discuss three ways (...) in which the determinables model might be modified to account for indeterminacy, and argue that none of them is fully successful in helping us to understand quantum indeterminacy. (shrink)
Do determinable properties such as colour, mass, and height exist in addition to their corresponding determinates, being red, having a mass of 1 kilogram, and having a height of 2 metres? Optimists say yes, pessimists say no. Among the latter are Carl Gillett and Bradley Rives who argue that optimism leads to systematic overdetermination of causal powers and hence should be rejected on the grounds that the position is ontologically unparsimonious. In this paper I defend optimism against this charge (...) by showing that overdetermination of causal powers cannot plausibly be avoided when grounding what I call joint powers. It is therefore not clear why the optimist should be worried about the overdetermination of causal powers that follows from positing determinable properties. (shrink)
This paper outlines a heterodox and largely unexplored conception of objecthood according to which the notion of an individual object is a determinable. §1 outlines the view. §2 argues that the view is incompatible with a natural analysis of kind membership and, as a consequence, undermines the Quinean distinction between ontology and ideology. The view is then used to alleviate one source of Quinean hostility towards non-trivial restrictions on de re possibility in §3, and to elucidate Fine’s neo-Aristoteltian, non-modal (...) conception of essence in §4. §5 concludes. (shrink)
I present, motivate, and defend a theory of properties. Its novel feature is that it takes entire determinables-together-with-their-determinates as its units of analysis. This, I argue, captures the relations of entailment and exclusion among properties, solves the problem of extensionality, and points the way towards an actualist analysis of modality.
A reconstruction of Johnson's main contributions to philosophy is provided. Johnson's theories are grounded on his distinction between "substantives" and "adjectives", which governs the oppositions between (1) particular and universal, (2) determinandum and determinans in thought, (3) acts of separation and discrimination, (4) subject and predicate, (5) thing and quality, (6) substance and determination, (7) proposition and fact, (8) external and internal relations, (9) extension and intension. While substantives divide between continuants and occurrents, adjectives are fundamentally distinguishable into determinables and (...) determinates. The immediate (Stout, Broad) and later (Prior, Carnap, Searle, Armstrong, Hautamäki and Johansson) reception of Johnson's distinction between determinables and determinates is also discussed. (shrink)
The article confronts Cornelius Castoriadis's philosophy of 'the imaginary institution of society' with issues of innovation in a knowledge society and outlines a new notion of innovation as creative organization. It will take a critical approach to innovation from a historical perspective of postwar systems theory and introduce Castoriadis's philosophy as an interesting option in this regard. It proceeds in four parts: (a) First, it debates the limits of the commonplace metaphor of diffusion and adoption in today's debate on innovation. (...) (b) Second, it will present aspects of Castoriadis's thought as an alternative, in particular his debate on imagination and the proto-institution of legein/teukhein — ordered action. (c) On this background it will treat a case from the Danish innovation industry, the firm Zentropa WorkZ's programme of 'Dramatic Innovation' as an interesting example of an innovation format addressing creativity. (d) In conclusion, it will briefly debate creative knowledge formation in a knowledge society by pondering relations between innovation and current science. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophers commonly suppose that any fundamental entities there may be are maximally determinate. More generally, they commonly suppose that, whether or not there are fundamental entities, any determinable entities there may be are grounded in, hence less fundamental than, more determinate entities. So, for example, Armstrong takes the physical objects constituting the presumed fundamental base to be “determinate in all respects” (1961, 59), and Lewis takes the properties characterizing things “completely and without redundancy” to be “highly specific” (1986, (...) 60). Here I look at the usually cited reasons for these suppositions as directed against the case of determinable properties, in particular, and argue that none is compelling (Sections 1 to 3). The discussion in Section 3 moreover identifies positive reason for taking some determinable properties to be part of a fundamental (or relatively fundamental) base. I close (Section 4) by noting certain questions arising from the possibility of fundamental determinables, as directions for future research. (shrink)
How can mental properties bring about physical effects, as they seem to do, given that the physical realizers of the mental goings-on are already sufficient to cause these effects? This question gives rise to the problem of mental causation (MC) and its associated threats of causal overdetermination, mental causal exclusion, and mental causal irrelevance. Some (e.g., Cynthia and Graham Macdonald, and Stephen Yablo) have suggested that understanding mental-physical realization in terms of the determinable/determinate relation (henceforth, 'determination') provides the key (...) to solving the problem of MC: if mental properties are determinables of their physical realizers, then (since determinables and determinates are distinct, yet don't causally compete) all three threats may be avoided. Not everyone agrees that determination can do this good work, however. Some (e.g., Douglas Ehring, Eric Funkhauser, and Sven Walter) object that mental-physical realization can't be determination, since such realization lacks one or other characteristic feature of determination. I argue that on a proper understanding of the features of determination key to solving the problem of MC these arguments can be resisted. (shrink)
Whether or not one endorses realism about colour, it is very tempting to regard realism about determinable colours such as green and yellow as standing or falling together with realism about determinate colours such as unique green or green31. Indeed some of the most prominent representatives of both sides of the colour realism debate explicitly endorse the idea that these two kinds of realism are so linked. Against such theorists, the present paper argues that one can be a realist (...) about the determinable colours of objects, and thus hold that most of the colour ascriptions made by competent speakers are literally true, while denying that there are any positive facts of the matter as to the determinate colours of objects. The result is a realistic colour realism that can certify most of our everyday colour ascriptions as literally correct, while acknowledging the data regarding individual variation. (shrink)
Several philosophers (e.g., Ehring (Nous (Detroit, Mich.) 30:461–480, 1996 ); Funkhouser (Nous (Detroit, Mich.) 40:548–569, 2006 ); Walter (Canadian Journal of Philosophy 37:217–244, 2007 ) have argued that there are metaphysical differences between the determinable-determinate relation and the realization relation between mental and physical properties. Others have challenged this claim (e.g., Wilson (Philosophical Studies, 2009 ). In this paper, I argue that there are indeed such differences and propose a “mechanistic” account of realization that elucidates why these differences hold. (...) This account of realization incorporates two distinct roles that mechanisms play in the realization of mental (and other special science) properties which are implicit, but undeveloped, in the literature—what I call “constitutive” and “integrative” mechanisms. I then use these two notions of mechanism to clarify some debates about the relations between realization, multiple realizability, and irreducibility. (shrink)
It is widely held that some properties are more natural than others and that, as David Lewis put it, “an adequate theory of properties is one that recognises an objective difference between natural and unnatural properties” (Lewis 1983, p. 347). The general line of thought is that such ‘elitism’ about properties is justified as it can give simple and elegant solutions to a number of old metaphysical and philosophical problems. My aim is to analyze what these natural properties are: super-determinates (...) or determinable (or maybe both) and argue that all three of these options would lead to serious difficulties for metaphysical elitism and would prevent natural properties from fulfilling their supposed grand explanatory role. (shrink)
Universals are usually considered to be universal properties. Since tropes are particular properties, if there are only tropes, there are no universals. However, universals might be thought of not only as common properties, but also as common aspects (“determinable universals”) and common wholes (“concrete universals”). The existence of these two latter concepts of universals is fully compatible with the assumption that all properties are particular. This observation makes possible three different trope theories, which accept tropes and no universals, tropes (...) and determinable universals and tropes and concrete universals. (shrink)
Does the notion of ground, as it has recently been employed by metaphysicians, point to a single unified phenomenon? Jonathan Schaffer holds that the phenomenon of grounding exhibits the unity characteristic of a single genus. In defense of this hypothesis, Schaffer proposes to take seriously the analogy between causation and grounding. More specifically, Schaffer argues that both grounding and causation are best approached through a single formalism, viz., that utilized by structural equation models of causation. In this paper, I present (...) several concerns which suggest that the structural equation model does not transfer as smoothly from the case of causation to the case of grounding as Schaffer would have us believe. If it can in fact be shown that significant differences surface in how the formalism in question applies to the two types of phenomena in question, Schaffer’s attempt at establishing an analogy between grounding and causation has thereby been weakened and, as a result, the application of the Unity Hypothesis to the case of grounding once again stands in need of justification. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to argue that the phenomenal similarity between perceiving and visualizing can be explained by the similarity between the structure of the content of these two different mental states. And this puts important constraints on how we should think about perceptual content and the content of mental imagery.
This is a comprehensive discussion of determinables, determinates, and their relation ('determination', for short), covering the historical development of these notions, the theoretical options for understanding them, and certain of their contemporary applications.
Motivated by the seeming structure of the sciences, metaphysical emergence combines broadly synchronic dependence coupled with some degree of ontological and causal autonomy. Reflecting the diverse, frequently incompatible interpretations of the notions of dependence and autonomy, however, accounts of emergence diverge into a bewildering variety. Here I argue that much of this apparent diversity is superficial. I first argue, by attention to the problem of higher-level causation, that two and only two strategies for addressing this problem accommodate the genuine emergence (...) of special science entities. These strategies in turn suggest two distinct schema for metaphysical emergence---'Weak' and 'Strong' emergence, respectively. Each schema imposes a condition on the powers of entities taken to be emergent: Strong emergence requires that higher-level features have more token powers than their dependence base features, whereas Weak emergence requires that higher-level features have a proper subset of the token powers of their dependence base features. Importantly, the notion of “power” at issue here is metaphysically neutral, primarily reﬂecting commitment just to the plausible thesis that what causes an entity may bring about are associated with how the entity is---that is, with its features. (shrink)
I argued in Nanay 2010 that we cannot characterize perceptual content without reference to attention. Here, I defend this account from three objections raised by Jagnow 2011. This mainly takes the form of clarifying some details not sufficiently elaborated in the original article and dispelling some potential misunderstandings.
In the first part of this paper, I argue against the view that laws of nature are contingent, by attacking a necessary condition for its truth within the framework of a conception of laws as relations between universals. I try to show that there is no independent reason to think that universals have an essence independent of their nomological properties. However, such a non-qualitative essence is required to make sense of the idea that different laws link the same universals in (...) different possible worlds. In the second part, I give a positive argument for the necessity of at least some laws of nature, by showing with the example of a paradigmatic law of association that it consists in an internal relation between two universals which are determinables of the same class of determinates, where this relation is essential to both. Furthermore, I show that the necessity of laws of association could be accommodated within David Lewis' Humean metaphysics, but that it is incompatible with David Armstrong's combinatorialism. (shrink)
Philosophers and scientists are concerned with the why and the how of things. Questions like the following are so much grist for the philosopher’s and scientist’s mill: How can we be free and yet live in a deterministic universe?, How do neural processes give rise to conscious experience?, Why does conscious experience accompany certain physiological events at all?, How is a three-dimensional perception of depth generated by a pair of two-dimensional retinal images?. Since Belnap and Steel’s pioneering work on the (...) logic of questions, Van Fraassen has managed to apply their approach in constructing an account of the logic of why-questions. Comparatively little, by contrast, has been written on the logic of how-questions despite the apparent centrality of questions such as How is it possible for us to be both free and determined? to philosophical enterprise.1 In what follows I develop a logic for how-questions of various sorts including how-questions of cognitive resolution, how-questions of manner, how-questions of method, of means, and of mechanism. (shrink)
The focus of this commentary is what Andy Clark takes to be the most groundbreaking of the philosophical import of the ‘bidirectional hierarchical model of brain functions’, namely, the claim that perceptual representations represent probabilities. This is what makes his account Bayesian and this is a philosophical or theoretical conclusion that neuroscientists and psychologists are also quick and happy to draw. My claim is that nothing in the ‘bidirectional hierarchical models of brain functions’ implies that perceptual representations are probabilistic, or (...) that they represent or ‘encode probability density distributions’. There is a much more parsimonious way of describing the representations in the bidirectional hierarchical model of brain functions: they attribute properties to objects (or to the perceived scene) that are not fully determinate. (shrink)
It has recently been suggested that a distinctive metaphysical relation---"Grounding"---is ultimately at issue in contexts where some goings-on are said to hold "in virtue of"", be (constitutively) "metaphysically dependent on", or be "nothing over and above" some others (see Fine 2001, Schaffer 2009, and Rosen 2010). Grounding is supposed to do good work (better than merely modal notions, in particular) in illuminating metaphysical dependence. I argue that Grounding is also unsuited to do this work. To start, Grounding alone cannot do (...) this work, for bare claims of Grounding leave open such basic questions as whether Grounded goings-on exist, whether they are reducible to or rather distinct from Grounding goings-on, whether they are efficacious, and so on; but in the absence of answers to such basic questions, we are not in position to assess the associated claim or theses concerning metaphysical dependence. There is no avoiding appeal to the specific metaphysical relations typically at issue in investigations into dependence---e.g., type or token identity, functional realization, classical mereological parthood, the set membership relation, the proper subset relation, the determinable/determinate relation, and so on---that are typically at issue in contexts where metaphysical dependence is at issue, and which are capable of answering these questions. But, I argue, once the specific relations are on the scene, there is no need for Grounding, either as tracking a coarse-grained but still useful level of investigation, as needed for the specific relations to fix the direction of priority, or as unifying the specific relations. (shrink)
A variety of relations widely invoked by philosophers—composition, constitution, realization, micro-basing, emergence, and many others—are species of what I call ‘building relations’. I argue that they are conceptually intertwined, articulate what it takes for a relation to count as a building relation, and argue that—contra appearances—it is an open possibility that these relations are all determinates of a common determinable, or even that there is really only one building relation.
After many years of enduring the drought and famine of Quinean ontology and Carnapian meta-ontology, the notion of ground, with its distinctively philosophical flavor, finally promises to give metaphysicians something they can believe in again and around which they can rally: their very own metaphysical explanatory connection which apparently cannot be reduced to, or analyzed in terms of, other familiar idioms such as identity, modality, parthood, supervenience, realization, causation or counterfactual dependence. Often, phenomena such as the following are cited as (...) putative examples of grounding connections: systematic connections between entire realms of facts (mental/physical; moral/natural; etc.); truthmaking (e.g., the relation between the truth of the proposition that snow is white and snow’s being white); logical cases (e.g., the connection between conjunctive facts or disjunctive facts and their constituent facts); the determinate/determinable relation (e.g., the relation between something’s being maroon and its being red). I argue in this paper that classifying all of these phenomena as exhibiting grounding connections does not achieve much in the way of illumination. In fact, by treating a collection of phenomena which is in fact heterogeneous as though it were homogeneous, we have, if anything, taken a dialectical step backward. (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)
I argue that perceptual content is always affected by the allocation of one’s attention. Perception attributes determinable and determinate properties to the perceived scene. Attention makes (or tries to make) our perceptual attribution of properties more determinate. Hence, a change in our attention changes the determinacy of the properties attributed to the perceived scene.
I argue that an adequate account of non-reductive realization must guarantee satisfaction of a certain condition on the token causal powers associated with (instances of) realized and realizing entities---namely, what I call the 'Subset Condition on Causal Powers' (first introduced in Wilson 1999). In terms of states, the condition requires that the token powers had by a realized state on a given occasion be a proper subset of the token powers had by the state that realizes it on that occasion. (...) Accounts of non-reductive realization conforming to this condition are implementing what I call 'the powers-based subset strategy'. I focus on the crucial case involving mental and brain states; the results may be generalized, as appropriate. I ﬁrst situate and motivate the strategy by attention to the problem of mental causation; I make the case, in schematic terms, that implementation of the strategy makes room (contra Kim 1989, 1993, 1998, and elsewhere) for mental states to be ontologically and causally autonomous from their realizing physical states, without inducing problematic causal overdetermination, and compatible with both Physicalism and Non-reduction; and I show that several contemporary accounts of non-reductive realization (in terms of functional realization, parthood, and the determinable/determinate relation) are plausibly seen as implementing the strategy. As I also show, implementation of the powers-based strategy does not require endorsement of any particular accounts of either properties or causation---indeed, a categoricalist contingentist Humean can implement the strategy. The schematic location of the strategy in the space of available responses to the problem of mental (more generally, higher-level) causation, as well as the fact that the schema may be metaphysically instantiated, strongly suggests that the strategy is, appropriately generalized and instantiated, sufficient and moreover necessary for non-reductive realization. I go on to defend the sufficiency and necessity claims against a variety of objections, considering, along the way, how the powers-based subset strategy fares against competing accounts of purportedly non-reductive realization in terms of supervenience, token identity, and constitution. (shrink)
It is a familiar point that many ordinary dispositions are multi-track, that is, not fully and adequately characterisable by a single conditional. In this paper, I argue that both the extent and the implications of this point have been severely underestimated. First, I provide new arguments to show that every disposition whose stimulus condition is a determinable quantity must be infinitely multi-track. Secondly, I argue that this result should incline us to move away from the standard assumption that dispositions (...) are in some way importantly linked to conditionals, as presupposed by the debate about various versions of the ‘conditional analysis’ of dispositions. I introduce an alternative conception of dispositionality, which is motivated by linguistic observations about dispositional adjectives and links dispositions to possibility instead of conditionals. I argue that, because of the multi-track nature of dispositions, the possibility-based conception of dispositions is to be preferred. (shrink)
Awareness is a two-place determinable relation some determinates of which are seeing, hearing, etc. Abstract objects are items such as universals and functions, which contrast with concrete objects such as solids and liquids. It is uncontroversial that we are sometimes aware of concrete objects. In this paper I explore the more controversial topic of awareness of abstract objects. I distinguish two questions. First, the Existence Question: are there any experiences that make their subjects aware of abstract objects? Second, the (...) Grounding Question: if an experience makes its subject aware of an abstract object, in virtue of what does it do so? I defend the view that intuitions, specifically mathematical intuitions, sometimes make their subjects aware of abstract objects. In defending this view, I develop an account of the ground of intuitive awareness. (shrink)
Grounding, understood as a primitive posit operative in contexts where metaphysical dependence is at issue, is not able on its own to do any substantive work in characterizing or illuminating metaphysical dependence---or so I argue in 'No Work for a Theory of Grounding' (Inquiry, 2014). Such illumination rather requires appeal to specific metaphysical relations---type or token identity, functional realization, the determinable-determinate relation, the mereological part-whole relation, and so on---of the sort typically at issue in these contexts. In that case, (...) why posit 'big-G' Grounding in addition to the 'small-g' grounding relations already in the metaphysician's toolkit? The best reasons for doing so stem from the Unity argument, according to which the further posit of Grounding is motivated as an apt unifier of the specific relations, and the Priority argument, according to which Grounding is needed in order to fix the direction of priority of the specific relations. I previously considered versions of these arguments, and argued that they did not succeed; in two papers, however, Jonathan Schaffer aims to develop a better version of the Unity argument, and offers certain objections to my reasons for rejecting the Priority argument. Here I consider these new arguments for Grounding. (shrink)
Direction of fit theories usually claim that beliefs are such that they “aim at truth” or “ought to fit” the world and desires are such that they “aim at realization” or the world “ought to fit” them. This essay argues that no theory of direction of fit is correct. The two directions of fit are supposed to be determinations of one and the same determinable two-place relation, differing only in the ordering of favored terms. But there is no such (...)determinable because of ineliminable asymmetries between the way that beliefs “aim at truth” and the way that desires “aim at realization.” This essay traces the ills of direction of fit theory to a misunderstanding of Anscombe and proposes a cure that distinguishes theoretical and practical thought by appeal to a distinction between thought in the form of a state and thought in the form of an event. (shrink)
Mainstream moral theories deal with situations in which the outcome of each possible action is well-determined and knowable. In order to make ethics relevant for problems of risk and uncertainty, moral theories have to be extended so that they cover actions whose outcomes are not determinable beforehand. One approach to this extension problem is to develop methods for appraising probabilistic combinations of outcomes. This approach is investigated and shown not to solve the problem. An alternative approach is then developed. (...) Its starting-point is that everyone has a prima facie moral right not to be exposed to risk. However, this right can be overridden if the risk-exposure is part of an equitable system for risk-taking that works to the advantage of the individual risk-exposed person. (shrink)
It is obvious both that some changes are too small for us to perceive and that we can perceive constant motion. Yet according to Fara, these two facts are in conflict, and one must be rejected. I show that conflict arises only from accepting a `zoëtrope conception' of change experience, according to which change experience is analysed in terms of a series of very short-lived sensory atoms, each lacking in dynamic content. On pain of denying the phenomenologically obvious, we must (...) reject the zoëtrope conception. I offer an alternative account, according to which the dynamic content of our experience at short timescales is metaphysically dependent on the content of experience over longer timescales. Moreover, at short timescales such content is purely determinable. (shrink)
An electron clearly has the property of having a charge of þ1.6 10 19 coulombs, but does it also have the property of being charged ? Philosophers have worried whether so-called ‘determinable’ predicates, such as ‘is charged’, actually refer to determinable properties in the way they are happy to say that determinate predicates, such as ‘has a charge of þ1.6 10 19 coulombs’, refer to determinate properties. The distinction between determinates and determinables is itself fairly new, dating only (...) to its definition by the Cambridge logician W. E. Johnson early in the last century.1 But despite its newly minted condition the distinction has found little currency in on-going philosophical debates. Or at least until recently. Renewed interest in realist positions about properties, and arguments that the determinable-determinate relation may hold the key to understanding mental causation, have thrust Johnson’s distinction to the fore. With this new attention has also come new ‘optimistic’ positions that endorse the existence of determinable properties. David Armstrong, Evan Fales, and Sydney Shoemaker, among others, have all defended such optimistic accounts that take determinable predicates, such as ‘is charged’, to refer to determinable properties.2 In this paper, our goal is to carefully assess optimism and to argue that a pessimistic view, which rejects the existence of determinable properties, is actually the appropriate default position. (shrink)
Are the following propositions true of the colors: No object can be more than one determinable or determinate color all over at the same time (Incompatibility); the colors of objects are mind-independent (Objectivism); and most human observers usually perceive the colors of objects veridically in typical conditions (Veridicality)? One reason to think not is that the empirical literature appears to support the proposition that there is mass perceptual disagreement about the colors of objects amongst human observers in typical conditions (...) (P-Disagreement). In this article, we defend Incompatibility, Objectivism, and Veridicality by calling into question whether the empirical literature really supports P-Disagreement. (shrink)
Intentionalism about visual experiences is the view according to which the phenomenal character of a visual experience supervenes on the content of this experience. One of the most influential objections to this view is about blur: seeing a fuzzy contour clearly and seeing a sharp contour blurrily have different phenomenal character but the same content. I argue that this objection does not work if we understand perceptual content simply, and not particularly controversially, as partly constituted by the sum total of (...) perceptually attributed properties, some determinable, some determinate. (shrink)
Larry Hardin has been the most steadfast and influential critic of physicalist theories of color over the last 20 years. In their modern form these theories originated with the work of Smart and Armstrong in the 1960s and 1970s1 and Hardin appropriately concentrated on their views in his initial critique of physicalism.2 In his most recent contribution to this project3 he attacks Michael Tye’s recent attempts to defend and extend color physicalism.4 Like Byrne and Hilbert5, Tye identifies color with the (...) reflecting properties of objects (“reflectance physicalism”). Specifically, the determinate and determinable colors are identified with types of reflectances. (Setting some complications aside, the reflectance of an object is the proportion of light that it reflects at each wavelength in the visible spectrum.) These reflectance types are, in the terminology of Hilbert, anthropocentric—in the terminology of Lewis6, they are not very “natural”. (shrink)