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David Builes
Princeton University
  1. Center Indifference and Skepticism.David Builes - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Many philosophers have been attracted to a restricted version of the principle of indifference in the case of self-locating belief. Roughly speaking, this principle states that, within any given possible world, one should be indifferent between different hypotheses concerning who one is within that possible world, so long as those hypotheses are compatible with one’s evidence. My first goal is to defend a more precise version of this principle. After responding to several existing criticisms of such a principle, I argue (...)
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  2. The World Just Is the Way It Is.David Builes - 2021 - The Monist 104 (1):1-27.
    What is the relationship between objects and properties? According to a standard view, there are primitive individuals that ‘instantiate’ or ‘have’ various properties. According to a rival view, objects are mere ‘bundles’ of properties. While there are a number of reasons to be skeptical of primitive individuals, there are also a number of challenges that the bundle theorist faces. The goal of this paper is to formulate a view about the relationship between objects and properties that avoids many of the (...)
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  3. An Empirical Argument for Presentism.David Builes & Michele Odisseas Impagnatiello - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
    According to orthodoxy, our best physical theories strongly support Eternalism over Presentism. Our goal is to argue against this consensus, by arguing that a certain overlooked aspect of our best physical theories strongly supports Presentism over Eternalism.
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  4. Eight Arguments for First‐Person Realism.David Builes - 2024 - Philosophy Compass 19 (1):e12959.
    According to First-Person Realism, one's own first-person perspective on the world is metaphysically privileged in some way. After clarifying First-Person Realism by reference to parallel debates in the metaphysics of modality and time, I survey eight different arguments in favor of First-Person Realism.
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  5. Modal Idealism.David Builes - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind.
    I argue that it is metaphysically necessary that: (i) every fundamental entity is conscious, and (ii) every fundamental property is a phenomenal property.
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  6. Lawful Persistence.David Builes & Trevor Teitel - 2022 - Philosophical Perspectives 36 (1):5-30.
    The central aim of this paper is to use a particular view about how the laws of nature govern the evolution of our universe in order to develop and evaluate the two main competing options in the metaphysics of persistence, namely endurantism and perdurantism. We begin by motivating the view that our laws of nature dictate not only qualitative facts about the future, but also which objects will instantiate which qualitative properties. We then show that both traditional doctrines in the (...)
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  7. Why Aren’t I Part of a Whale?David Builes & Caspar Hare - 2023 - Analysis 83 (2):227-234.
    We start by presenting three different views that jointly imply that every person has many conscious beings in their immediate vicinity, and that the number greatly varies from person to person. We then present and assess an argument to the conclusion that how confident someone should be in these views should sensitively depend on how massive they happen to be. According to the argument, sometimes irreducibly de se observations can be powerful evidence for or against believing in metaphysical theories.
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  8. The Ineffability of Induction.David Builes - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 104 (1):129-149.
    My first goal is to motivate a distinctively metaphysical approach to the problem of induction. I argue that there is a precise sense in which the only way that orthodox Humean and non-Humean views can justify induction is by appealing to extremely strong and unmotivated probabilistic biases. My second goal is to sketch what such a metaphysical approach could possibly look like. After sketching such an approach, I consider a toy case that illustrates the way in which such a metaphysics (...)
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  9. A Humean Non-Humeanism.David Builes - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (3):1031-1048.
    How should we account for the extraordinary regularity in the world? Humeans and Non-Humeans sharply disagree. According to Non-Humeans, the world behaves in an extraordinarily regular way because of certain necessary connections in nature. However, Humeans have thought that Non-Humean views are metaphysically objectionable. In particular, there are two general metaphysical principles that Humeans have found attractive that are incompatible with all existing versions of Non-Humeanism. My goal in this paper is to develop a novel version of Non-Humeanism that is (...)
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  10. Dilating and contracting arbitrarily.David Builes, Sophie Horowitz & Miriam Schoenfield - 2020 - Noûs 56 (1):3-20.
    Standard accuracy-based approaches to imprecise credences have the consequence that it is rational to move between precise and imprecise credences arbitrarily, without gaining any new evidence. Building on the Educated Guessing Framework of Horowitz (2019), we develop an alternative accuracy-based approach to imprecise credences that does not have this shortcoming. We argue that it is always irrational to move from a precise state to an imprecise state arbitrarily, however it can be rational to move from an imprecise state to a (...)
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  11. Derivatives and Consciousness.David Builes - 2020 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 27 (9-10):87-103.
    Many philosophers of physics think that physical rates of change, like velocity or acceleration in classical physics, are extrinsic. Many philosophers of mind think that phenomenal properties, which characterize what it’s like to be an agent at a time, are intrinsic. I will argue that these two views can’t both be true. Given that these two views are in tension, we face an explanatory challenge. Why should there be any interesting connection between these physical quantities and consciousness in the first (...)
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  12. In defense of Countabilism.David Builes & Jessica M. Wilson - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (7):2199-2236.
    Inspired by Cantor's Theorem (CT), orthodoxy takes infinities to come in different sizes. The orthodox view has had enormous influence in mathematics, philosophy, and science. We will defend the contrary view---Countablism---according to which, necessarily, every infinite collection (set or plurality) is countable. We first argue that the potentialist or modal strategy for treating Russell's Paradox, first proposed by Parsons (2000) and developed by Linnebo (2010, 2013) and Linnebo and Shapiro (2019), should also be applied to CT, in a way that (...)
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  13. Time-Slice Rationality and Self-Locating Belief.David Builes - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (10):3033-3049.
    The epistemology of self-locating belief concerns itself with how rational agents ought to respond to certain kinds of indexical information. I argue that those who endorse the thesis of Time-Slice Rationality ought to endorse a particular view about the epistemology of self-locating belief, according to which ‘essentially indexical’ information is never evidentially relevant to non-indexical matters. I close by offering some independent motivations for endorsing Time-Slice Rationality in the context of the epistemology of self-locating belief.
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  14. A puzzle about rates of change.David Builes & Trevor Teitel - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (10):3155-3169.
    Most of our best scientific descriptions of the world employ rates of change of some continuous quantity with respect to some other continuous quantity. For instance, in classical physics we arrive at a particle’s velocity by taking the time-derivative of its position, and we arrive at a particle’s acceleration by taking the time-derivative of its velocity. Because rates of change are defined in terms of other continuous quantities, most think that facts about some rate of change obtain in virtue of (...)
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  15. A Paradox of Evidential Equivalence.David Builes - 2020 - Mind 129 (513):113-127.
    Our evidence can be about different subject matters. In fact, necessarily equivalent pieces of evidence can be about different subject matters. Does the hyperintensionality of ‘aboutness’ engender any hyperintensionality at the level of rational credence? In this paper, I present a case which seems to suggest that the answer is ‘yes’. In particular, I argue that our intuitive notions of independent evidence and inadmissible evidence are sensitive to aboutness in a hyperintensional way. We are thus left with a paradox. While (...)
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  16. Look at the time!David Builes - 2022 - Analysis 82 (1):15-23.
    I argue that we can get evidence for the temporal ontology of the universe simply by looking at the time. The argument is an extension of the ‘epistemic objection’ towards Growing Block theories.
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  17. Pluralism and the problem of purity.David Builes - 2019 - Analysis 79 (3):394-402.
    Ontological Pluralism is the thesis that there are different ways of being. In his recent paper, ‘The only way to be’, Trenton Merricks has presented an important challenge to Pluralism in the form of a dilemma. The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, I argue that Merricks’s argument against Pluralism, as stated, is unsound. I will argue that one horn of the dilemma is unproblematic for contemporary versions of Pluralism, defended by Jason Turner and Kris McDaniel, that are formulated (...)
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  18. Why Can’t There Be Numbers?David Builes - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    Platonists affirm the existence of abstract mathematical objects, and Nominalists deny the existence of abstract mathematical objects. While there are standard arguments in favor of Nominalism, these arguments fail to account for the necessity of Nominalism. Furthermore, these arguments do nothing to explain why Nominalism is true. They only point to certain theoretical vices that might befall the Platonist. The goal of this paper is to formulate and defend a simple, valid argument for the necessity of Nominalism that seeks to (...)
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  19. Ontology and Arbitrariness.David Builes - 2022 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 100 (3):485-495.
    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 (...)
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  20. Self‐Locating Evidence and the Metaphysics of Time.David Builes - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (2):478-490.
    I argue that different views in the metaphysics of time make different observational predictions in both classical and relativistic cases. Because different views in the metaphysics of time differ over which facts are merely indexical facts, they make different observational predictions about certain self-locating propositions. I argue for this thesis by distinguishing the three main updating procedures that apply in cases of self-locating uncertainty, and I present a series of cases which cumulatively show that every one of these updating procedures (...)
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  21. How to Ground Powers.David Builes - forthcoming - Analysis.
    According to the grounding theory of powers, fundamental physical properties should be thought of as qualities that ground dispositions. Although this view has recently been defended by many different philosophers, there is no consensus for how the view should be developed within a broader metaphysics of properties. Recently, Tugby has argued that the view should be developed in the context of a Platonic theory of properties, where properties are abstract universals. I will argue that the view should not be developed (...)
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  22. Experience and Time: A Metaphysical Approach.David Builes & Michele Odisseas Impagnatiello - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    What is the temporal structure of conscious experience? While it is popular to think that our most basic conscious experiences are temporally extended, we will be arguing against this view, on the grounds that it makes our conscious experiences depend on the future in an implausible way. We then defend an alternative view of the temporal structure of experience from a variety of different objections. Along the way, we hope to illustrate the wider philosophical ramifications of the relationship between experience (...)
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