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David A. Denby [7]David Denby [4]David J. Denby [1]
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David A. Denby
Tufts University
  1. Essence and Intrinsicality.David Denby - 2014 - In Robert M. Francescotti (ed.), Companion to Intrinsic Properties. De Gruyter. pp. 87-109.
    In the first half of this paper, I argue that essential properties are intrinsic and that this permits a modal analysis of essence that is immune the sort of objections raised by Fine. In the second half, I argue that intrinsic properties collectively have a certain structure and that this accounts for some observations about essences: that things are essentially determinate; that things often have properties within a certain range essentially; and that the essential properties of things are their core (...)
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  2. The Distinction Between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties.David A. Denby - 2006 - Mind 115 (457):1-17.
    I propose an analysis of the metaphysically important distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties, and, in the process, provide a neglected model for the analysis of recalcitrant distinctions generally. First, I recap some difficulties with Kim's well-known (1982) proposal and its recent descendants. Then I define two independence relations among properties and state a ‘quasi-logical’ analysis of the distinction in terms of them. Unusually, my proposal is holistic, but I argue that it is in a certain kind of equilibrium and (...)
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  3. Determinable Nominalism.David A. Denby - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 102 (3):297--327.
    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.
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  4. In Defence of Magical Ersatzism.David A. Denby - 2006 - In Philosophical Quarterly. pp. 161-74.
    David Lewis' objection to a generic theory of modality which he calls ‘magical ersatzism’ is that its linchpin, a relation he calls ‘selection’, must be either an internal or an external relation, and that this is unintelligible either way. But the problem he points out with classifying selection as internal is really just an instance of the general problem of how we manage to grasp underdetermined predicates, is not peculiar to magical ersatzism, and is amenable to some familiar solutions. He (...)
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  5. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties: A Reply to Hoffmann-Kolss: Discussions.David A. Denby - 2010 - Mind 119 (475):773-782.
    In response to Hoffmann-Kolss, I modify my account of the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic properties previously published in this journal. I also strengthen the reason I gave to think my account pins down the distinction uniquely.
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  6. In Defence of Magical Ersatzism.David A. Denby - 2006 - Philosophical Quarterly 56 (223):161–174.
    David Lewis' objection to a generic theory of modality which he calls ‘magical ersatzism’ is that its linchpin, a relation he calls ‘selection’, must be either an internal or an external relation, and that this is unintelligible either way. But the problem he points out with classifying selection as internal is really just an instance of the general problem of how we manage to grasp underdetermined predicates, is not peculiar to magical ersatzism, and is amenable to some familiar solutions. He (...)
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    Herder: Culture, Anthropology and the Enlightenment.David Denby - 2005 - History of the Human Sciences 18 (1):55-76.
    The anthropological sensibility has often been seen as growing out of opposition to Enlightenment universalism. Johann Gottfried Herder is often cited as an ancestor of modern cultural relativism, in which cultures exist in the plural. This article argues that Herder’s anthropology, and anthropology generally, are more closely related to Enlightenment thought than is generally considered. Herder certainly attacks Enlightenment abstraction, the arrogance of its Eurocentric historical teleology, and argues the case for a proto-hermeneutical approach which emphasizes embeddedness, horizon, the usefulness (...)
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  8.  82
    Generating Possibilities.David Denby - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 141 (2):191-207.
    Our knowledge of the most basic alternative possibilities can be thought of as generated recursively from what we know about the actual world. But what are the generating principles? According to one view, they are recombinational: roughly, alternative possibilities are generated by “patching together” parts of distinct worlds or “blotting out” parts of worlds to yield new worlds. I argue that this view is inadequate. It is difficult to state in a way that is true and non-trivial, and anyway fails (...)
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    Metaphysical Theories of Modality: Properties, Relations and Possibilities.David A. Denby - 1997 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
    Many theories assimilate the idioms of modality to those of quantification; they hold that so-and-so is possible iff there is a "world" at which it is true that so-and-so. "Modal realism" identifies worlds with certain concrete particulars, and truth at a world with what is true of it. Rival "ersatz" theories identify worlds with certain abstract entities and identify what is true at them with what they represent. ;David Lewis argues that pre-theoretic modal intuitions are best explained by modal realism. (...)
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  10. Philosophical Quarterly.David A. Denby - 2006
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    A Note on Analysing Substancehood.David Denby - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (3):473 – 484.
    I propose an analysis of the notion of a substance. I define two 'quasi-logical' independence relations, and state the analysis in terms of the distribution of these relations among substances and properties generally. This analysis treats the categories of substance and property as mutually dependent. To show that it (probably) states a sufficient condition for substance, I argue that it is in a certain kind of equilibrium. This illustrates a promising general approach to analysing fundamental metaphysical notions.
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