Stephen Mumford and Alexander Bird disagree about which properties are powers and, correspondingly, about the extent of the philosophical work to which powers may be put. Unfortunately, there is an important respect in which these authors are talking past each other and so the reason for their disagreement remains obscured. I highlight what has gone wrong in their recent exchange, attempt to clear up the confusion and pinpoint the true source of their disagreement. My hope is to redirect the efforts (...) of these authors and their followers onto more pressing foundational issues in the metaphysics of powers. (shrink)
This is a review of "Properties and Propositions: The Metaphysics of Higher-Order Logic" by Robert Trueman. Following an overview of the main themes of the book, I discuss the metaphysical presuppositions of Trueman's Fregean notation for predicate abstraction and evaluate his argument for strict typing.
This dissertation explores the prospects of postdeflationary substantive theorizing about truth. Postdeflationary theories define the concept of truth or the property of being a true truthbearer in a way that respects the deflationary desiderata of clarity, purity, and permissiveness with truth-aptness, without a necessary commitment to the core negative thesis of the deflationary approach. Postdeflationary substantive theories further acknowledge the complexity and explanatory utility of truth in understanding and defining other concepts and phenomena. The motivation for pursuing this study arises (...) from the so-called contemporary crisis of truth, where a substantive understanding of truth is subjected to widespread skepticism, critique, and even cynicism both inside and outside of philosophy in formal and mundane discourse. To better understand this crisis, particular attention is directed towards the deflationary critique of substantive theories of truth, which is a prevalent point of discussion in contemporary literature on western analytic philosophy. By exploring the limits and philosophical sustainability of deflationary critique of substantive accounts of truth, valuable insight is gained about the contemporary crisis of truth and the potential for substantive theorizing about truth in general. This dissertation composes of an introduction and four original research publications that address two connected themes: exploration of the philosophical sustainability of deflationary critique of substantive theories of truth, and exploration of the prospects for development of the now popular substantive pluralist theories of truth. These themes constitute both negative and positive aspects in relation to analyzing the prospects of postdeflationary substantive theorizing about truth. The first part of this dissertation focuses on arguing against the widespread deflationary readings of W.V.O. Quine’s truth, who is widely interpreted as a prominent and influential deflationist in both the secondary literature on his philosophy and contemporary truth-theoretic debates more broadly conceived. The first essay demonstrates that Quine’s immanent conception of truth involves commitments that are incompatible with general and theory-specific framings of the deflationary thesis. The second essay demonstrates conflicts between Quine’s views and what has in recent literature been argued as strong and moderate variants of the deflationary thesis. In conclusion, these essays demonstrate that the widespread deflationary readings of Quine’s truth are mistaken, thus removing a prominent thinker from the deflationists ranks while simultaneously casting suspicion towards the philosophical sustainability of the deflationary approach in general. The second part of this dissertation explores the prospects of postdeflationary substantive theorizing about truth by analyzing the limits and prospects for development of the increasingly popular substantive pluralist theories. The third essay explores different ways in which semantic ambiguity poses trouble for current pluralist models. The fourth essay argues that to achieve the theoretical desiderata that pluralists ask from discourse domains, the latter ought to be individuated on ontological rather than topical grounds. In conclusion, these essays demonstrate that while current pluralist models involve shortcomings, they encompass potential for development and provide a viable prospect for sustainable postdeflationary substantive theorizing about truth. (shrink)
There is a tension between Dispositionalism––the view that all metaphysical modality is grounded in actual irreducible dispositional properties––and the possibility of time travel. This is due to the fact that Dispositionalism makes it much harder to solve a potentiality-based version of the grandfather paradox. We first present a potentiality-based version of the grandfather paradox, stating that the following theses are inconsistent: 1) time travel is possible, 2) powers fully ground modality, 3) self-defeating actions are impossible, 4) time-travellers retain their intrinsic (...) powers upon time-travelling, and 5) time-travellers are ordinary agents with basic intrinsic potentialities. We then consider a number of potential solutions, and find them wanting. We argue that the metaphysical impossibility of performing a self-defeating action acts as a necessary perfect mask––while time-travel lets us “slip” the potentiality under the mask, thus generating the contradiction. We conclude considering what are the options for the dispositionalist. (shrink)
A Third-Person-Based or Third-Personal Judgment-Dependent account of mental content implies that, as an a priori matter, facts about a subject’s mental content are precisely captured by the judgments of a second-person or an interpreter. Alex Byrne, Bill Child, and others have discussed attributing such a view to Donald Davidson. This account significantly departs from a First-Person-Based or First-Personal Judgment-Dependent account, such as Crispin Wright’s, according to which, as an a priori matter, facts about intentional content are constituted by the judgments (...) of the subject herself, formed under certain optimal or cognitively ideal conditions. I will argue for two claims: (1) Attributing a Third-Personal Judgment-Dependent account to Davidson is unjustified; Davidson’s view is much closer to a non-reductionist First-Personal Judgment-Dependent account. (2) Third-Personal accounts rest on a misconstrual of the role of an interpreter in the First-Personal accounts; the notion of an interpreter still plays an essential role in the latter ones. (shrink)
What is absolutely unrestricted quantification? We distinguish two theoretical roles and identify two conceptions of absolute generality: maximally strong generality and maximally inclusive generality. We also distinguish two corresponding kinds of absolute domain. A maximally strong domain contains every potential counterexample to a generalisation. A maximally inclusive domain is such that no domain extends it. We argue that both conceptions of absolute generality are legitimate and investigate the relations between them. Although these conceptions coincide in standard settings, we show how (...) they diverge under more complex assumptions about the structure of meaningful predication, such as cumulative type theory. We conclude by arguing that maximally strong generality is the more theoretically valuable conception. (shrink)
As we understand them, dispositions are relatively uncontroversial 'predicatory' properties had by objects disposed in certain ways. By contrast, powers are hypothetical 'ontic' properties posited in order to explain dispositional behaviour. Chapter 1 outlines this distinction in more detail. Chapter 2 offers a summary of the issues surrounding analysis of dispositions and various strategies in contemporary literature to address them, including one of our own. Chapter 3 describes some of the important questions facing the metaphysics of powers including why they're (...) worth positing, and how they might metaphysically explain laws of nature and modality. (shrink)
I motivate and develop a use-based semantic theory in opposition to the dominant paradigm in philosophical and linguistic semantics. Drawing inspiration from Wilfrid Sellars, I argue that contemporary semantic theories are faced with a basic problem of explanatory circularity. These theories universally presuppose that worldly knowledge of such things as properties or sets of possible worlds precedes and underlies knowledge of meaning. However, I argue that it is only through learning a language--mastering the rules governing the use of the expressions (...) belonging to that language--that speakers can possibly have knowledge of the worldly entities appealed to by semanticists at the base level of their semantic theories. In response to this fundamental problem, I develop a formal semantic framework in which the meaning of a sentence is understood directly in terms of its role in discourse. In contrast to existing semantic frameworks, this framework does not presuppose speakers' worldly knowledge, and so is actually able to explain it. The result is not just a new kind of semantic theory, but a new conception of the relation between meaning and the world. (shrink)
The notion of (weak) metaphysical emergence proposed by Jessica M. Wilson hopefully enriches our inter-level metaphysical toolbox. However, there are criticisms about Wilson’s allegedly overstated theoretical neutrality, when applying her theory to the formulation of non-reductive physicalism. I start this project by arguing that Wilsonian weak emergentists cannot be neutral to the nature of properties. Later, I propose the dual-aspect model of properties—that a property is represented by both its quiddity and its causal powers—to help Wilsonian emergentists i) differentiate weak (...) emergence from strong emergence qualitatively, ii) defend the non-reductiveness of emergent-level properties, and iii) explain why many emergent-level laws are ceteris paribus laws. To summarize, I believe the dual-aspect model of properties can provide Wilsonian emergentism an ontological foundation. (shrink)
In Spinoza’s ontology, there are only two categories of existing items: an independent entity that is one substance, and dependent entities that are infinite modes; “nothing exists external to the intellect except substances and their affections”(Proof of 1.P.4). Nevertheless, Spinoza introduces a third notion, ‘attribute’, that is defined as “what the intellect perceives of substance as constituting its essence” (1.d.4). Spinoza’s metaphysics is known for the doctrine of substance monism that indicates that only one substance exists. Spinoza, however, explicitly states (...) that “substance consisting of infinite attributes, each of which expresses eternal and infinite essence, necessarily exists.” These remarks create a perplexing puzzle regarding the ontological status of attributes in Spinoza’s philosophy. In the literature, in general, there are two opposite interpretations: the realist view (i.e., Curley (1988)) according to which attributes are real substances; and the anti-realist interpretation (i.e., Wolfson (1934)) that holds that attributes are not metaphysically real. In this paper, I provide some textual evidence from Spinoza’s works that contradicts both mentioned the realist and the anti-realist interpretations. As an alternative, I put forward a new account according to which attributes are real and objective; nevertheless, they should not be understood as distinct things in Spinoza's metaphysics. (shrink)
To date, no scientific study has found reliable evidence of an afterlife; the mechanism of consciousness is two of the most challenging questions. Here, I show the hypotheses for consciousness and the probability of an afterlife through three simple thought experiments and theoretical evidence. I demonstrate the problems of consciousness, intelligence, and the brain's relationship with remaining neuroscience, physics, and psychology; and why new philosophy, physics, and psychology are needed to fulfill the gaps in the research objectives. Furthermore, I discuss (...) how and why I suggest the strong probability of a continuum of consciousness -life after death. Findings show no alternatives other than the afterlife. In other words, I did not find different ways to discuss the results of those experiments yet. I discuss how and why new findings might help evolve well-being and make a better world. (shrink)
Pluralists believe in the occurrence of numerically distinct spatiotemporal coincident objects. They argue that there are coincident objects that share all physical and spatiotemporal properties and relations; nevertheless, they differ in terms of modal and some other profiles. Appealing to the grounding problem according to which nothing can ground the modal differences between coincident objects, monists reject the occurrence of coincident objects. In the first part of this paper, I attempt to show that the dispute between monists and pluralists cannot (...) be settled based upon the grounding problem tout court. I argue that the grounding problem or a very similar problem is a challenge for all monists and pluralists alike if they are ontologically committed to the existence of composite objects as independent entities. In the final part, adopting the Aristotelian account of essence, I propose a solution that enables pluralists to plausibly ground modal differences between coincident objects. (shrink)
This paper gives a perspectival overview of the semantics of potential property-referring terms and presents new and surprising generalizations about explicit property-referring terms like 'the property of being wise', which raise fundamental issues regarding ontology and learnability and a core-periphery distinction in natural language ontology.
I discuss the idea that the objects of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus are propertyless bare particulars, an idea defended by Leonard Goddard and Brenda Judge in their monograph, The Metaphysics of the Tractatus. I present the difficulties that Goddard and Judge raise for this construal concerning the idea that Tractarian objects have natures that determine their possibilities of combination, and I assess the solution they propose. I offer an alternative construal of the notion with which these difficulties can be overcome.
I defend the view that propositions are a kind of property which is true iff it is instantiated. I discuss how we should think about propositional attitudes on this sort of view, and explain why I favor this sort of view over the more familiar Chisholm/Lewis view that attitudes are self-ascriptions of properties. I conclude by raising, and briefly discussing, two problems for the kind of view of propositions I favor.
A study in the ontology of perceptual ‘meaning’, especially with regard to the fact that any particular meaning is always potentially replaceable by its polar opposite. -/- We’re picking up a thread here from where we left off in the previous article (Spiritual metaphysics #1) and taking another look at an aspect of the features of any basic perception. Disregarding (for now) the fact that all perceptions (of whatever kind; mental or sense perceptual) are always, as it were, ‘illumined’ by (...) their knowability, there is another remarkable (not to say astonishing!) ability inherent to perception which, though we are all well aware of it, yet we strangely refuse to entertain and explore its implications seriously. This prevents us from reaching a stage (in our thinking) where a kind of ‘transformative insight’ might occur. We seem to prefer instead to remain in a blinkered ‘mode of thought’ — a way of thinking and conceiving — which condemns us to remain in a type of straightened normality and ordinariness which, with a bit of sustained exploration and inquiry and intellectual analysis, we can actually ‘transcend’. Whether or not this is something we would want to do, is a question for each individual. It should be stressed again and again, however, that this supposed ‘transcendence’ has nothing whatsoever to do with meditation, mindfulness or any altered state of consciousness: it is wholly and purely a matter of coming to a ‘mental’ (meaning intellectual) insight. (shrink)
In many different ontological debates, anti-arbitrariness considerations push one towards two opposing extremes. For example, in debates about mereology, one may be pushed towards a maximal ontology (mereological universalism) or a minimal ontology (mereological nihilism), because any intermediate view seems objectionably arbitrary. However, it is usually thought that anti-arbitrariness considerations on their own cannot decide between these maximal or minimal views. I will argue that this is a mistake. Anti-arbitrariness arguments may be used to motivate a certain popular thesis in (...) the philosophy of mathematics that rules out the maximalist view in many different ontological debates. (shrink)
Higher-order logic augments first-order logic with devices that let us generalize into grammatical positions other than that of a singular term. Some recent metaphysicians have advocated for using these devices to raise and answer questions that bear on many traditional issues in philosophy. In contrast to these 'higher-order metaphysicians', traditional metaphysics has often focused on parallel, but importantly different, questions concerning special sorts of abstract objects: propositions, properties and relations. The answers to the higher-order and the property-theoretic questions may coincide (...) sometimes but will often come apart. I argue that when they do, the higher-order questions are closer to the metaphysical action and so it would be better for these debates to proceed in higher-order terms. (shrink)
Certain realists about properties and relations identify them with universals. Furthermore, some hold that for a wide range of meaningful predicates, the semantic contribution to the propositions expressed by the sentences in which those predicates figure is the universal expressed by the predicate. I here address ontological issues raised by predicates first introduced to us via works of fiction and whether the universal realist should accept that any such predicates express universals. After assessing arguments by Braun, D. and Sawyer, S. (...) for fictional universal anti-realism, I propose a novel, Kripke-inspired argument for the same conclusion. I ultimately defend the claim that while this argument presents the strongest case for fictional universal anti-realism, it is nonetheless unsound. I conclude that nothing stands in the way of accepting that some fictional predicates express fictional universals. (shrink)
Bird reveals an important problem at the heart of Armstrong’s theory of laws of nature: to explain how a law necessitates its corresponding regularity, Armstrong is committed to a vicious regress. In his very brief response, Armstrong gestures towards an argument that, as he admits, is more of a “speculation.” Later, Barker and Smart argue that a very similar problem threatens Bird’s dispositional monist theory of laws of nature and he is committed to a similar vicious regress. In this paper, (...) first, I construct Armstrong’s would-be argument in response to Bird. Second, I argue that his response makes his account of laws and natural properties incompatible with science. Finally, I argue that Armstrong’s strategy to address Bird’s criticism can be used, quite ironically, to defuse Barker and Smart’s argument against Bird. (shrink)
This paper discusses a puzzle, the heart of which is this question: How is it that real individuals can resemble fictional individuals? It seems that any answer given by one who has taken a stand on the ontology of fictional individuals will come with significant drawbacks. An Anti-Realist will have to explain, or explain away, the apparent truth of our positive assertions of resemblance, while a Realist will have to explain how we are to understand resemblance in light of either (...) the further claim that fictional characters are not associated with properties in the same way real individuals are, or that fictional characters are nonexistent or nonactual. I here survey the different Realist and Anti-Realist strategies in hopes that reflection on (mainly the drawbacks of) each will aid those who are curious about ontologies which may include fictionalia. (shrink)
According to the worm theory, persons are (maximal) aggregates of person-stages existing at different times. Personites, on the other hand, are non-maximal aggregates of stages that are nonetheless very much like persons. Their existence appears to make instances of prudential self-sacrifice morally problematic: the personites that exist at the time of the sacrifice but not at the time of the reward seem to be unfairly exploited. Instances of punishment appear to give rise to a similar problem. We argue that these (...) impressions arise from a mistaken assumption about which beings are the primary bearers of properties such as suffering, receiving compensation (in the future) and having (previously) committed a crime. According to the worm theory, stages, rather than persons or personites, possess these properties. Persons and personites have these properties only in a derivative sense. As we show, once this clarification and related ones are made, the apparent moral problems raised by the existence of personites dissolve. (shrink)
In this paper, we make a case for the disjunctive view of phenomenal consciousness: consciousness is essentially disjunctive in being either physical or non-physical in the sense that it has both physical and non-physical possible instances. We motivate this view by showing that it undermines two well-known conceivability arguments in philosophy of mind: the zombie argument for anti-physicalism, and the anti-zombie argument for physicalism. By appealing to the disjunctive view, we argue that two hitherto unquestioned premises of these arguments are (...) false. Furthermore, making use of the resources of this view, we formulate distinct forms of both physicalism and anti-physicalism. On these formulations, it is easy to see how physicalists and anti-physicalists can accommodate the modal intuitions of their opponents regarding zombies and anti-zombies. We conclude that these formulations of physicalism and anti-physicalism are superior to their more traditional counterparts. (shrink)
This article challenges a particular form of Eliminative Materialism as presented in the work, "Quining Qualia" where Dr. Daniel Dennett argues that qualia, as he defines it, does not exist. The paper underscores the contradictory nature of Dennett's "Intuition Pumps" and shows how he assumes the very notion he proports to defeat namely, that first-person (or subjective) conscious experience, commonly termed "qualia," exists.
Subverting a once widely held Quinean paradigm, there is a growing consensus among philosophers of logic that higher-order quantifiers (which bind variables in the syntactic position of predicates and sentences) are a perfectly legitimate and useful instrument in the logico-philosophical toolbox, while neither being reducible to nor fully explicable in terms of first-order quantifiers (which bind variables in singular term position). This article discusses the impact of this quantificational paradigm shift on metaphysics, focussing on theories of properties, propositions, and identity, (...) as well as on the metaphysics of modality. (shrink)
According to Wright’s Judgement-Dependent account of intention, facts about a subject’s intentions can be taken to be constituted by facts about the subject’s best opinions about them formed under certain optimal conditions. This paper aims to defend this account against three main objections which have been made to it by Boghossian, Miller and implicitly by Wright himself. It will be argued that Miller’s objection is implausible because it fails to take into account the partial-determination claim in this account. Boghossian’s objection (...) also fails because it is based on an unjustified reductionist reading of Wright’s account. However, Wright’s own attempt to resist Boghossian’s objection seems to display a shift from his Judgement-Dependent account to an Interpretationist account of self-knowledge, in which case Wright’s new account would face the same problem which he himself has previously put forward in the case of Davidson’s Interpretationist account of self-knowledge. Nonetheless, I will argue that Wright does not need to make such a move because Boghossian’s objection is not applicable to his account. (shrink)
Working with the assumption that properties depend for their instantiation on substances, I argue against a unitary analysis of instantiation. On the standard view, a property is instantiated just in case there is a substance that serves as the bearer of the property. But this view cannot make sense of how properties that are mind-dependent depend for their instantiation on minds. I consider two classes of properties that philosophers often take to be mind-dependent: sensible qualities like color and bodily sensations (...) like itches. Given that the mind is never itself literally red or itchy, we cannot explain the instantiation of these qualities as a matter of their having a mental bearer. Appealing to insights from Berkeley, I defend a view on which a property can be instantiated not in virtue of having a bearer—mental or material—but rather in virtue of being the object of a conscious act of perception. In the second half of the paper, I suggest that the best account of sensible qualities and bodily sensations ultimately makes use of both varieties of instantiation. (shrink)
Inspired both by our ordinary understanding of the world and by reflection on science, anti-Humeanism is a growing trend in metaphysics. Anti-Humeans reject the Lewisian doctrine of Humean supervenience that the world is “just one little thing and then another”, and argue instead that dispositions, powers, or capacities provide connection and activity in nature. But how exactly are we to understand the shared commitment of this anti-Humean movement? I argue that this kind of anti-Humeanism, at its most general level, is (...) to be understood neither as a view about ontology nor about fundamentality, but rather as a specific claim about what explains what. (shrink)
The debate over persistence currently involves three competing theories—one three-dimensionalist theory called “endurantism” and two four-dimensionalist theories called “perdurantism” and “exdurantism.” This inner debate between the latter two persistence theories is what I aim to clarify, and ultimately, I argue that perdurantism is superior to exdurantism because exdurantism is too extravagant in counting ordinary objects in the world. Extravagant for the reason that objects in their entirety are bound to their momentary stages, and there is practically an interminable number of (...) these stages, which is not reasonable when counting in the ordinary world. (shrink)
What are the prospects for a linguistic approach to ontology? Given that it seems that there are true subject-predicate sentences containing empty names, traditional linguistic approaches to ontology appear to be flawed. I argue that in order to determine what there is, we need to determine which sentences ascribe properties (and relations) to objects, and that there does not appear to be any formal criterion for this. This view is then committed to giving an account of what predicates do in (...) sentences when they do not ascribe properties. I sketch an approach to the varieties of predication. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss a connection between quidditism and the Lewisian principle of recombination. I begin by reconstructing a typical characterisation of a Lewisian principle of recombination, followed by an explanation of quidditism. In the remainder, I argue that a proponent of a Lewisian principle of recombination cannot endorse quidditism without some important modifications of her view.
Aristotle gives a surprisingly broad menu of examples of something being accidental to something else. But the breadth of these examples seems to threaten a basic feature of accidentality, namely its asymmetry. ‘Accident’ has different senses, and one might think that that fact offers a way out, but some examples resist such an understanding. The best way forward, I argue, is to take accidentality to be contextual: relative to some context or condition, something might be accidental to something else; relative (...) to another context or condition, the latter might be accidental to the former. (shrink)
Marks individually or in combination constitute images that represent objects. How do those images represent those objects? Marks vary in style, both between and within images. Images also vary in style. How do those styles relate to each other and to the objects that those images represent? Referencing a diverse range of images, we answer the first question with a response-dependence theory of image representation derived from Mark Johnston, differentiating Lockean primary qualities of marks from secondary qualities of images. We (...) answer the second question with a perceptual theory of style derived from Paul Grice, differentiating physical style from image style, and representing conventionally from representing conversationally. (shrink)
What is the experience of someone who is “colour-blind” like? This paper presents the results of a study that uses qualitative research methods to better understand the lived experience of colour blindness. Participants were asked to describe their experiences of a variety of coloured stimuli, both with and without EnChroma glasses—glasses which, the manufacturers claim, enhance the experience of people with common forms of colour blindness. More generally, the paper provides a case study in the nascent field of experimental philosophy (...) of experience. (shrink)
I offer the first sustained defence of the claim that ugliness is constituted by the disposition to disgust. I advance three main lines of argument in support of this thesis. First, ugliness and disgustingness tend to lie in the same kinds of things and properties (the argument from ostensions). Second, the thesis is better placed than all existing accounts to accommodate the following facts: ugliness is narrowly and systematically distributed in a heterogenous set of things, ugliness is sometimes enjoyed, and (...) ugliness sits opposed to beauty across a neutral midpoint (the argument from proposed intensions). And third, ugliness and disgustingness function in the same way in both giving rise to representations of contamination (the argument from the law of contagion). In making these arguments, I show why prominent objections to the thesis do not succeed, cast light on some of the artistic functions of ugliness, and, in addition, demonstrate why a dispositional account of disgustingness is correct, and present a novel problem for warrant-based accounts of disgustingness (the ‘too many reasons’ problem). (shrink)
ABSTRACT Lewtas  recently articulated an argument claiming that emergent conscious causal powers are impossible. In developing his argument, Lewtas makes several assumptions about emergence, phenomenal consciousness, categorical properties, and causation. We argue that there are plausible alternatives to these assumptions. Thus, the proponent of emergent conscious causal powers can escape Lewtas’s challenge.
According to presentism, everything that exists is present. According to the truthmaker principle, for every true proposition there is a truthmaker – an entity that suffices for the truth of that proposition. According to realism about the past, there are true propositions about the past. Together these claims necessitate presently existing truthmakers for truths about the past (presentist truthmakers). Cameron (2010) argues that temporal distributional properties (TDPs) can play the role of presentist truthmakers. Corkum (2014) argues that they cannot. I (...) argue against Corkum’s objections. In §2, I introduce and outline the motivation for TDPs. In §3, I show that unless TDPs are stipulated to be fundamental, as Cameron does, they can be reduced to temporal non–distributional properties, which are unable to play the role of presentist truthmakers. In §4, I argue against Corkum’s two objections to Cameron’s stipulation. Corkum’s first objection is that Cameron has no grounds on which to stipulate that TDPs are fundamental, and that the reducibility of TDPs to temporal non–distributional properties (as discussed in §3) shows that they are not. I argue that the burden of proof is not on Cameron to argue that TDPs are fundamental, but on Corkum to argue that they are not, and that to argue from the reducibility of TDPs to their non–fundamentality is to beg the question against Cameron: the reduction is only possible once their non–fundamentality is assumed. Corkum’s second objection is that if Cameron is allowed to stipulate that TDPs are fundamental in order to escape objections, then Bigelow's (1996) account is allowed to make the same move, rendering Cameron’s account redundant. I argue that the cases are asymmetric: the alternative account faces a legitimate objection whilst Cameron’s account does not. (shrink)
This is a commentary on Laurence Maloney’s chapter in Mausfeld R., and Heyer, D. (Eds.): Colour Perception: Mind and the Physical World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. I discuss two related proposals as to the nature of object color formulated by Maloney. On the first proposal colors are photoreceptor excitations; on the second, they are fundamental, universal reflectance characteristics of terrestrial surfaces. I argue that the second proposal is suitable for purposes of color objectivism, whereas the first one is not. (...) However, if we look at Maloney’s – and Brian Wandell’s – models of color vision and color constancy more thoroughly, not even the second version supports absolutist versions of color objectivism, according to which observer-independent reflectance properties determine, or are identical to, the phenomenal character of color experience. (shrink)
Dispositionality and qualitativity are key notions to describe the world that we inhabit. Dispositionality is a matter of what a thing is disposed to do in certain circumstances. Qualitativity is a matter of how a thing is like. According to the Identity Theory of powers, every fundamental property is at once dispositional and qualitative, or a powerful quality. Canonically, the Identity Theory holds a contentious identity claim between a property’s dispositionality and its qualitativity. In the literature, this view faces a (...) contradiction objection that undermines its merits. We should therefore consider an alternative version that does not embrace the identity claim. My aim is to show that we can enjoy the benefits of the Identity Theory without embracing the identity between the dispositional and the qualitative. I shall argue that a distinction between two senses of dispositionality and qualitativity serves the purpose. I will then discuss three readings of the identity claim that can be formulated in light of such a distinction. I will conclude that even if the identity were to fail in any of the suggested readings, it would be possible to hold an account of fundamental powerful qualities. (shrink)
The grounding problem is related to the puzzle of numerically distinct spatiotemporally coincident objects. Suppose Lumpl –a lump of clay– and Goliath – the statue – are created and later destroyed, simultaneously. They would share all of their physical and spatiotemporal properties and relations. But, Goliath and Lumpl have different modal and sortal properties, which would suggest they are distinct entities, while at the same time entirely co-located. This issue creates a puzzle and raises the question of how two distinct (...) objects can be entirely colocated. Thus, on the one hand, monists (opponents of coincident objects) argue that even though we have given that thing two different names, we should keep in mind that Lumpl and Goliath, for as long as they exist, are entirely similar in terms of their physical and spatiotemporal structures. On the other hand, however, the lump and the statue have different properties. So, pluralists claim that based on Leibniz‘s law, Lumpl and Goliath would be distinct coincident objects. Monists have challenged the possibility and plausibility of the occurrence of coincident objects by the grounding problem: they think that if we accept pluralism, we have to deal with the thorny problem of what grounds the alleged modal differences between Lumpl and Goliath, given that they are similar in all their physical and spatiotemporal aspects. Some monists suspect that pluralists will not be able to find plausible grounds by means of which to explain Lumpl and Goliath‘s modal (and other) differences, and therefore conclude that the grounding problem is a compelling reason to reject pluralism as an untenable approach towards the puzzle of coincident objects. In this thesis, I attempt to show that the grounding problem, contrary to the false advertisement of some monists, does not seriously threaten the possibility and plausibility of the pluralism concerning the existence of numerically distinct spatiotemporally coincident objects. Underlining the plausibility and possibility of the pluralists‘ position, I specify most parts of this thesis as an investigation into how the grounding problem can be solved in support of pluralism. Various solutions to this problem have been proposed by pluralists from different standpoints. In general, most of these significant solutions, based upon general strategies they follow, can be classified into these two categories: the solutions which appeal to the supervenience relations (supervenience-based solutions), and the solutions which take primitivist approaches (primitivist strategies). My research proposes to take up the validity of the aforementioned strategies, and I assess them in relation to the pluralists‘ ability to solve the grounding problem. I argue that both supervenience-based solutions and the some of primitivist strategies – including the modal plenitude, sortal, and identity-based primitivism – are not winning strategies to settle the grounding problem. Considering the point mentioned, I put forward a new account of the primitivist solution to the grounding problem based on the Aristotelian notion of essence which I call ‗essential primitivism‘. I argue that the primitive essences of coincident objects can properly ground the modal and sortal properties making coincident objects distinct. (shrink)
Quantum entanglement poses a challenge to the traditional metaphysical view that an extrinsic property of an object is determined by its intrinsic properties. So structural realists might be tempted to cite quantum entanglement as evidence for structural realism. I argue, however, that quantum entanglement undermines structural realism. If we classify two entangled electrons as a single system, we can say that their spin properties are intrinsic properties of the system, and that we can have knowledge about these intrinsic properties. Specifically, (...) we can know that the parts of the system are entangled and spatially separated from each other. In addition, the concept of supervenience neither illuminates quantum entanglement nor helps structural realism. (shrink)