33 found
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  1. Abstracta and Abstraction in Trope Theory.A. R. J. Fisher - 2020 - Philosophical Papers 49 (1):41-67.
    Trope theory is a leading metaphysical theory in analytic ontology. One of its classic statements is found in the work of Donald C. Williams who argued that tropes qua abstract particulars are the very alphabet of being. The concept of an abstract particular has been repeatedly attacked in the literature. Opponents and proponents of trope theory alike have levelled their criticisms at the abstractness of tropes and the associated act of abstraction. In this paper I defend the concept of a (...)
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  2. Instantiation in Trope Theory.A. R. J. Fisher - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (2):153-164.
    The concept of instantiation is realized differently across a variety of metaphysical theories. A certain realization of the concept in a given theory depends on what roles are specified and associated with the concept and its corresponding term as well as what entities are suited to fill those roles. In this paper, the classic realization of the concept of instantiation in a one-category ontology of abstract particulars or tropes is articulated in a novel way and defended against unaddressed objections.
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  3. Musical Works as Structural Universals.A. R. J. Fisher - 2023 - Erkenntnis 88 (3):1245-67.
    In the ontology of music the Aristotelian theory of musical works is the view that musical works are immanent universals. The Aristotelian theory (hereafter Musical Aristotelianism) is an attractive and serviceable hypothesis. However, it is overlooked as a genuine competitor to the more well-known theories of Musical Platonism and nominalism. Worse still, there is no detailed account in the literature of the nature of the universals that the Aristotelian identifies musical works with. In this paper, I argue that the best (...)
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  4. Priority monism, partiality, and minimal truthmakers.A. R. J. Fisher - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (2):477-491.
    Truthmaker monism is the view that the one and only truthmaker is the world. Despite its unpopularity, this view has recently received an admirable defence by Schaffer :307–324, 2010b). Its main defect, I argue, is that it omits partial truthmakers. If we omit partial truthmakers, we lose the intimate connection between a truth and its truthmaker. I further argue that the notion of a minimal truthmaker should be the key notion that plays the role of constraining ontology and that truthmaker (...)
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  5. Structural universals.A. R. J. Fisher - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (10):e12518.
    Structural universals are a kind of complex universal. They have been put to work in a variety of philosophical theories but are plagued with problems concerning their compositional nature. In this article, we will discuss the following questions. What are structural universals? Why believe in them? Can we give a consistent account of their compositional nature? What are the costs of doing so?
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  6. Temporal experience and the present in George P. Adams’ eternalism.A. R. J. Fisher - 2023 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 31 (2):355-376.
    In the early twentieth century, many philosophers in America thought that time should be taken seriously in one way or another. George P. Adams (1882-1961) argued that the past, present and future are all real but only the present is actual. I call this theory ‘actualist eternalism’. In this paper, I articulate his novel brand of eternalism as one piece of his metaphysical system and I explain how he argued for the view in light of the best explanations of temporal (...)
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  7. David Lewis, Donald C. Williams, and the History of Metaphysics in the Twentieth Century.A. R. J. Fisher - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (1):3--22.
    The revival of analytic metaphysics in the latter half of the twentieth century is typically understood as a consequence of the critiques of logical positivism, Quine’s naturalization of ontology, Kripke’s Naming and Necessity, clarifications of modal notions in logic, and the theoretical exploitation of possible worlds. However, this explanation overlooks the work of metaphysicians at the height of positivism and linguisticism that affected metaphysics of the late twentieth century. Donald C. Williams is one such philosopher. In this paper I explain (...)
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  8. On Lewis against magic: a study of method in metaphysics.A. R. J. Fisher - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2335-2353.
    David Lewis objected to theories that posit necessary connections between distinct entities and to theories that involve a magical grasping of their primitives. In On the Plurality of Worlds, Lewis objected to nondescript ersatzism on these grounds. The literature contains several reconstructions of Lewis’ critique of nondescript ersatzism but none of these interpretations adequately address his main argument because they fail to see that Lewis’ critique is based on broader methodological considerations. I argue that a closer look at his methodology (...)
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  9.  7
    Grace A. de Laguna’s Theory of Universals: A Powers Ontology of Properties and Modality.A. R. J. Fisher - 2022 - Australasian Philosophical Review 6 (1):39-48.
    In this paper I examine Grace A. de Laguna’s theory of universals in its historical context and in relation to contemporary debates in analytic metaphysics. I explain the central features of her theory, arguing that her theory should be classified as a form of immanent realism and as a powers ontology. I then show in what ways her theory affords a theory of modality in terms of potentialities and discuss some of its consequences along the way.
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  10.  52
    Marking the Centenary of Samuel Alexander’s Space, Time and Deity.A. R. J. Fisher (ed.) - 2021 - Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
    Samuel Alexander was an important figure in the rise of realism in the early twentieth century. Alongside Moore and Russell he forwarded the cause of realism in England with a systematic exposition of a realist metaphysics in his magnum opus Space, Time and Deity (1920). This volume is a collection of essays on Alexander’s philosophy, ranging from his metaphysics of spacetime, theory of categories, epistemology and account of perception, naturalism, and interpretations of reactions by R.G. Collingwood and John Anderson.
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  11. Donald C. Williams’s defence of real metaphysics.A. R. J. Fisher - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (2):332-355.
    In the middle of last century metaphysics was widely criticized, ridiculed, and committed to the flames. During this period a handful of philosophers, against several anti-metaphysical trends, defended metaphysics and articulated novel metaphysical doctrines. Donald C. Williams was one of these philosophers. But while his contributions to metaphysics are well known his defence of metaphysics is not and yet it played a key part in the development and revival of metaphysics. In this paper I present his defence of metaphysics in (...)
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  12. Truthmaking and Fundamentality.A. R. J. Fisher - 2016 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (4):448-473.
    I apply the notion of truthmaking to the topic of fundamentality by articulating a truthmaker theory of fundamentality according to which some truths are truth-grounded in certain entities while the ones that don't stand in a metaphysical-semantic relation to the truths that do. I motivate this view by critically discussing two problems with Ross Cameron's truthmaker theory of fundamentality. I then defend this view against Theodore Sider's objection that the truthmaking approach to fundamentality violates the purity constraint. Truthmaker theorists can (...)
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  13. Bennett on Parts Twice Over.A. R. J. Fisher - 2013 - Philosophia 41 (3):757-761.
    In this paper I outline the main features of Karen Bennett’s (Australasian Journal of Philosophy 1–21, 2011) non-classical mereology, and identify its methodological costs. I argue that Bennett’s mereology cannot account for the composition of structural universals because it cannot explain the mereological difference between isomeric universals, such as being butane and being isobutane. I consider responses, which come at costs to the view.
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  14.  25
    Samuel Alexander and the Psychological Origins of Realism.A. R. J. Fisher - 2021 - In Marking the Centenary of Samuel Alexander’s Space, Time and Deity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 165-91.
    This chapter explores the philosophical development of Alexander’s empiricism, interest in experimental psychology, and its connection to realism and its subsequent rise in the early twentieth century. His early interests are most notably his rejection of British idealism and an empiricist tendency derived in part from classical empiricism and empirical developments in psychology. It is argued that Alexander arrives at realism through his work on psychology, thus revealing that the rise of realism has some psychological origins. His philosophical method is (...)
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  15. Samuel Alexander's Theory of Categories.A. R. J. Fisher - 2015 - The Monist 98 (3):246-67.
    Samuel Alexander was one of the first realists of the twentieth century to defend a theory of categories. He thought that the categories are genuinely real and grounded in the intrinsic nature of Space-Time. I present his reduction of the categories in terms of Space-Time, articulate his account of categorial structure and completeness, and offer an interpretation of what he thought the nature of the categories really were. I then argue that his theory of categories has some advantages over competing (...)
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  16.  42
    Introduction: the importance of properties.A. R. J. Fisher & Anna-Sofia Maurin - 2024 - In A. R. J. Fisher & Anna-Sofia Maurin (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Properties. London: Routledge.
    In this chapter, we introduce the perennial and sometimes sprawling topic of properties, with a brief historical sketch from Ancient to Modern philosophy throughout various cultures and traditions. We argue that the importance of properties can be shown by explaining what explanatory work they can do in philosophical theorising across many areas of philosophy. The chapters in this volume do just that in their specific ways. We also outline the structure of the volume and summarise each Part, first describing the (...)
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  17.  52
    The Elements and Patterns of Being: Essays in Metaphysics.A. R. J. Fisher (ed.) - 2018 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    Donald C. Williams was a key figure in the development of analytic philosophy. This book will be the definitive source for his highly original work, which did much to bring metaphysics back into fashion. It presents six classic papers and six previously unpublished, revealing his full philosophical vision for the first time.
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  18. Samuel Alexander's Early Reactions to British Idealism.A. R. J. Fisher - 2017 - Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 23 (2):169-196.
    Samuel Alexander was a central figure of the new wave of realism that swept across the English-speaking world in the early twentieth century. His Space, Time, and Deity (1920a, 1920b) was taken to be the official statement of realism as a metaphysical system. But many historians of philosophy are quick to point out the idealist streak in Alexander’s thought. After all, as a student he was trained at Oxford in the late 1870s and early 1880s as British Idealism was beginning (...)
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  19. Pure Hypocrisy.Tony Lynch & A. R. J. Fisher - 2012 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 19 (1):32-43.
    We argue that two main accounts of hypocrisy— the deception-based and the moral-non-seriousness-based account—fail to capture a specific kind of hypocrite who is morally serious and sincere "all the way down." The kind of hypocrisy exemplified by this hypocrite is irreducible to deception, self-deception or a lack of moral seriousness. We call this elusive and peculiar kind of hypocrisy, pure hypocrisy. We articulate the characteristics of pure hypocrisy and describe the moral psychology of two kinds of pure hypocrites.
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  20. The Pareto Argument for Inequality Revisited.A. R. J. Fisher & Edward F. McClennen - manuscript
    One of the more obscure arguments for Rawls’ difference principle dubbed ‘the Pareto argument for inequality’ has been criticised by G. A. Cohen (1995, 2008) as being inconsistent. In this paper, we examine and clarify the Pareto argument in detail and argue (1) that justification for the Pareto principles derives from rational selfinterest and thus the Pareto principles ought to be understood as conditions of individual rationality, (2) that the Pareto argument is not inconsistent, contra Cohen, and (3) that the (...)
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  21. Causal and Logical Necessity in Malebranche’s Occasionalism.A. R. J. Fisher - 2011 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 41 (4):523-548.
    The famous Cartesian Nicolas Malebranche (1638-1715) espoused the occasionalist doctrine that ‘there is only one true cause because there is only one true God; that the nature or power of each thing is nothing but the will of God; that all natural causes are not true causes but only occasional causes’ (LO, 448, original italics). One of Malebranche’s well-known arguments for occasionalism, known as, the ‘no necessary connection’ argument (or, NNC ) stems from the principle that ‘a true cause… is (...)
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  22. Naturalness, Arbitrariness, and Serious Ontology.A. R. J. Fisher - 2022 - In Helen Beebee & A. R. J. Fisher (eds.), Perspectives on the Philosophy of David K. Lewis. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 134-53.
    David Lewis is typically interpreted as a class nominalist. One consequence of class nominalism, which he embraced, is that the reduction of ordered pairs, triples, etc to unordered sets of sets is conventional. The reaction by his Australian counterparts D.M. Armstrong and Peter Forrest was that Lewis was not being ontologically serious. This chapter evaluates this debate over serious ontology. It is argued that in one sense Lewis is ontologically serious, but that his additional commitment to structuralism about classes should (...)
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  23. Examination of Merricks' Primitivism about Truth.A. R. J. Fisher - 2014 - Metaphysica 15 (2):281-98.
    Trenton Merricks argues for and defends a novel version of primitivism about truth : being true is a primitive monadic but non-intrinsic property. This examination consists of the following triad: a critical discussion of Merricks’ argument for his view, a rejection of his objection against Paul Horwich’s minimalist theory of truth, and a direct objection against his view on the grounds that it entails being true is a mysterious and suspicious property. The conclusion is that Merricks’ primitivism should be rejected.
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  24. The Two Davids and Australian Materialism.A. R. J. Fisher - 2022 - In Peter R. Anstey & David Braddon-Mitchell (eds.), Armstrong's Materialist Theory of Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 29-51.
    This chapter by Fisher continues the theme of the relation between Armstrong and Lewis, only Fisher casts the net far wider. He begins by arguing that there were at least two different lines of influence from early twentieth-century behaviourism to the identity theory: one through logical positivism and the other through ordinary language philosophy, the latter involving Place and Smart, and Lewis and Armstrong. It was Armstrong and Lewis who were to have a profound influence on subsequent developments in analytic (...)
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  25. C.D. Broad on Things and Processes: A Process Ontology of Tropes.A. R. J. Fisher - 2022 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 39 (4):385-406.
    In Examination of McTaggart's Philosophy, C.D. Broad advanced a distinctive ontology of things and processes. He argues that neither things nor processes are reduced to each other but instead are reduced to some further kind of entity: “absolute process.” This paper will present Broad's theory of absolute processes and argue that they are best understood as tropes by developing a version of Donald C. Williams's trope ontology. This process ontology of tropes is then defended against objections in the contemporary metaphysics (...)
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  26.  47
    Philosophical Letters of David K. Lewis: Volume 2: Mind, Language, Epistemology.Helen Beebee & A. R. J. Fisher (eds.) - 2020 - Oxford University Press.
    The life-long correspondence of David K. Lewis, one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, reveals the development, breadth, and depth of his philosophy in its historical context. The second of this two volume collection focuses on his contributions to philosophical questions of language, mind, and epistemology.
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  27.  41
    Correction to: On Lewis against magic: a study of method in metaphysics.A. R. J. Fisher - 2020 - Synthese 197 (11):4743-4743.
    Please note that this article belongs to the Special Issue on the Legacy of David Lewis but was included in issue 195:5 by mistake. It should be regarded as part of this selection of articles.
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  28.  9
    Introduction.A. R. J. Fisher - 2021 - In Marking the Centenary of Samuel Alexander’s Space, Time and Deity. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 1-20.
    In this Introduction, Alexander and his work are outlined in its historical context with an account of his place in the history of philosophy. The background and motivation of the work is given along with a description of the organisation and content of the chapters that follow. Justification is also given for the inclusion of three posthumous papers by Alexander and how these posthumous papers relate to the newly commissioned essays.
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  29.  72
    Philosophical Letters of David K. Lewis: Volume 1: Causation, Modality, Ontology.Helen Beebee & A. R. J. Fisher (eds.) - 2020 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    The life-long correspondence of David K. Lewis, one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, reveals the development, breadth, and depth of his philosophy in its historical context. The first of this two volume collection of letters focuses on his contributions to metaphysics, arguably where he made his greatest impact.
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  30.  25
    Perspectives on the Philosophy of David K. Lewis.Helen Beebee & A. R. J. Fisher (eds.) - 2022 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    David K. Lewis (1941-2001) was unquestionably one of the most important analytic philosophers of the twentieth century, writing papers and books, largely but not exclusively in metaphysics, that set the intellectual agenda across a huge variety of topics in the last three decades. Some twenty years after his death, this collection of essays reflects the historical importance of Lewis's work by bringing together a range of scholarly reflections on his work. The essays consider a range of topics including the nature (...)
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  31.  94
    The Routledge Handbook of Properties.A. R. J. Fisher & Anna-Sofia Maurin (eds.) - 2024 - London: Routledge.
    The Routledge Handbook of Properties is an outstanding reference source to this perennial topic and is the first major volume of its kind. Essential reading for anyone studying and researching metaphysics, metametaphysics, and ontology.
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  32. Composition as Identity. [REVIEW]A. R. J. Fisher - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267):409-412.
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  33. Personal identity: Complex or simple? Gasser Georg and Stefan Matthias, eds. Cambridge university press, 2012. XI + 259 pp. $95 (hardback). [REVIEW]A. R. J. Fisher - 2013 - Dialogue 52 (4):1-3.