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Nina Emery
Mount Holyoke College
  1. Laws and Their Instances.Nina Emery - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (6):1535-1561.
    I present an argument for the view that laws ground their instances. I then outline two important consequences that follow if we accept the conclusion of this argument. First, the claim that laws ground their instances threatens to undermine a prominent recent attempt to make sense of the explanatory power of Humean laws by distinguishing between metaphysical and scientific explanation. And second, the claim that laws ground their instances gives rise to a novel argument against the view that grounding relations (...)
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  2. The Governing Conception of Laws.Nina Emery - forthcoming - Ergo.
    In her paper, “The Non-Governing Conception of Laws,” Helen Beebee argues that it is not a conceptual truth that laws of nature govern, and thus that one need not insist on a metaphysical account of laws that makes sense of their governing role. I agree with the first point but not the second. Although it is not a conceptual truth, the fact that laws govern follows straightforwardly from an important (though under-appreciated) principle of scientific theory choice combined with a highly (...)
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  3. Mooreanism in Metaphysics From Mooreanism in Physics.Nina Emery - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    I argue that the way the world appears to be plays an important role in standard scientific practice, and that therefore the way the world appears to be ought to play a similar role in metaphysics as well. I then show how the argument bears on a specific first-order debate in metaphysics—the debate over whether there are composite objects. This debate is often thought to be a paradigm case of a metaphysical debate that is largely insulated from scientific considerations, and (...)
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  4.  84
    Chance, Possibility, and Explanation.Nina Emery - 2015 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1):95-120.
    I argue against the common and influential view that non-trivial chances arise only when the fundamental laws are indeterministic. The problem with this view, I claim, is not that it conflicts with some antecedently plausible metaphysics of chance or that it fails to capture our everyday use of ‘chance’ and related terms, but rather that it is unstable. Any reason for adopting the position that non-trivial chances arise only when the fundamental laws are indeterministic is also a reason for adopting (...)
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  5. Against Radical Quantum Ontologies.Nina Emery - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):564-591.
    Some theories of quantum mechanical phenomena endorse wave function realism, according to which the physical space we inhabit is very different from the physical space we appear to inhabit. In this paper I explore an argument against wave function realism that appeals to a type of simplicity that, although often overlooked, plays a crucial role in scientific theory choice. The type of simplicity in question is simplicity of fit between the way a theory says the world is and the way (...)
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  6. Chance, Possibility, and Explanation.Nina Emery - 2013 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (1):axt041.
    I argue against the common and influential view that non-trivial chances arise only when the fundamental laws are indeterministic. The problem with this view, I claim, is not that it conflicts with some antecedently plausible metaphysics of chance or that it fails to capture our everyday use of ‘chance’ and related terms, but rather that it is unstable. Any reason for adopting the position that non-trivial chances arise only when the fundamental laws are indeterministic is also a reason for adopting (...)
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  7. Actualism Without Presentism? Not by Way of the Relativity Objection.Nina Emery - 2019 - Noûs 53 (4):963-986.
    Actualism is the view that only actually existing things exist. Presentism is the view that only presently existing things exist. In this paper, I argue that being an actualist without also being a presentist is not as easy as many philosophers seem to think. A common objection to presentism is that there is an unavoidable conflict between presentism and relativity theory. But actualists who do not wish to be presentists cannot point to this relativity objection alone to support their position. (...)
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  8.  68
    Temporal Ersatzism and Relativity.Nina Emery - 2021 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 99 (3):490-503.
    ABSTRACT Temporal eliminativism is the view that the present is privileged because past and future entities do not exist. Temporal ersatzism is the view that the present is privileged because, although past and future entities exist, they are not concrete. I argue that shifting from temporal eliminativism to temporal ersatzism can help to address objections to the former theory that are due to relativity theory—but only if temporal ersatzism is understood in a fairly specific way and only in so far (...)
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  9. The Metaphysical Consequences of Counterfactual Skepticism.Nina Emery - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):399-432.
    A series of recent arguments purport to show that most counterfactuals of the form if A had happened then C would have happened are not true. These arguments pose a challenge to those of us who think that counterfactual discourse is a useful part of ordinary conversation, of philosophical reasoning, and of scientific inquiry. Either we find a way to revise the semantics for counterfactuals in order to avoid these arguments, or we find a way to ensure that the relevant (...)
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  10. Impossible Worlds and Metaphysical Explanation: Comments on Kment’s Modality and Explanatory Reasoning.Nina Emery & Christopher S. Hill - 2017 - Analysis 77 (1):134-148.
    In this critical notice of Kment's _Modality and Explanatory Reasoning_, we focus on Kment’s arguments for impossible worlds and on a key part of his discussion of the interactions between modality and explanation – the analogy that he draws between scientific and metaphysical explanation.
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  11.  88
    Temporal Ersatzism.Nina Emery - 2017 - Philosophy Compass 12 (9):e12441.
    Temporal ersatzism is the view that past entities exist, but are not concrete. The view is analogous to modal ersatzism, according to which merely possible worlds exist, but are not concrete. The goal of this paper is to give the reader a sense of the scope of available temporal ersatzist views, the ways in which the analogy with modal ersatzism may be helpful in characterizing and defending those views, and the sorts of considerations that are relevant when evaluating particular versions (...)
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  12. Actualism, Presentism and the Grounding Objection.Nina Emery - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (1):23-43.
    Presentism is the view that only presently existing things exist. Actualism is the view that only actually existing things exist. Although these views have much in common, the position we take with respect to one of them is not usually thought to constrain the position that we may take toward the other. In this paper I argue that this standard attitude deserves further scrutiny. In particular, I argue that the considerations that motivate one common objection to presentism—the grounding objection—threaten to (...)
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  13.  37
    Quantum Correlations and the Explanatory Power of Radical Metaphysical Hypotheses.Nina Emery - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-24.
    I argue that, in at least one important sense, the hypothesis that you are a brain in a vat provides better explanations than the explanations provided by standard ways of interpreting our best scientific theories. This puts pressure on anyone who—like me!—wishes to resist taking this radical hypothesis seriously when doing science and scientifically-informed metaphysics. Insofar as our resistance is justified, it can’t be justified simply by claiming that the brain in a vast hypothesis is explanatorily impoverished.
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  14.  62
    Chance and Determinism.Nina Emery - 2022 - In Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.), Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Physics. Routledge.
    This chapter focuses on the relations between objective probabilities in physical theories at different levels. In general philosophy of probability, it is frequently assumed that a fundamental deterministic theory cannot support probabilistic phenomena at any higher level, or more generally that there cannot be non-trivial probabilities in higher-level theories that are not encoded in probabilities at the lower level. These assumptions face significant challenges from some well-understood physical theories – I focus on statistical mechanics and Bohmian mechanics – where a (...)
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  15. Review of Alastair Wilson (Ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. [REVIEW]Nina Emery - 2015 - Notre Dame Philosophical Review.
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