Philosophical Progress and blog posts found on 17 July 20182018-07-17T23:59:00Z2018-07-17T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2018-07-17://<b>Bronwyn Finnigan: <a href="">Can We Reinvent Ourselves?</a></b> (pdf, 1398 words)<br /> <div>Is self-transformation possible and, if so, how can it be achieved? An initial reading of Buddhist philosophy might suggest a simple but perhaps unilluminating answer. The Buddha taught that attachment to self is a central cause of human suffering. It underpins many of the psychological states that detract from our happiness and that we might wish to change. However, the Buddha also taught that attachment to self is rooted in ignorance because there is, in fact, no self. Taken at face value, this might seem to suggest that self-transformation is not possible because there is no self to transform. You can’t change what’s not there.</div><br /> <b>Claus Beisbart, John D. Norton: <a href="">Why Monte Carlo Simulations Are Inferences and Not Experiments</a></b> (pdf, 10097 words)<br /> <div>Monte Carlo simulations arrive at their results by introducing randomness, sometimes derived from a physical randomizing device. Nonetheless, we argue, they open no new epistemic channels beyond that already employed by traditional simulations: the inference by ordinary argumentation of conclusions from assumptions built into the simulations. We show that Monte Carlo simulations cannot produce knowledge other than by inference, and that they resemble other computer simulations in the manner in which they derive their conclusions. Simple examples of Monte Carlo simulations are analysed to identify the underlying inferences.</div><br /> <b>Francesca Boccuni, Jack Woods: <a href="">Structuralist Neologicism</a></b> (pdf, 8961 words)<br /> <div>Neofregeanism and structuralism are among the most promising recent approaches to the philosophy of mathematics. Yet both have serious costs. We develop a view, structuralist neologicism, which retains the central advantages of each while avoiding their more serious costs. The key to our approach is using arbitrary reference to explicate how mathematical terms, introduced by abstraction principles like Hume’s, refer. Focusing on numerical terms, we argue that this allows us to treat abstraction principles as implicit definitions serving to determine all (known) properties of the numbers, achieving a key neofregean advantage, while preserving the key structuralist advantage that which objects play the number role doesn’t matter.</div><br /> <b>Howard Sankey: <a href="">Science, Common Sense and Reality</a></b> (pdf, 5722 words)<br /> <div>An interest in metaphysics is now fashionable in a way not seen since before the rise of logical positivism. Diverse factors have contributed to this trend. But in the philosophy of science a significant role has been played by the emergence of scientific realism as the new orthodoxy following the demise of positivism.</div><br /> <b>John D. Norton: <a href="">Brownian Computation is Thermodynamically Irreversible</a></b> (pdf, 11335 words)<br /> <div>Brownian computers are supposed to illustrate how logically reversible mathematical operations can be computed by physical processes that are thermodynamically reversible or nearly so. In fact, they are thermodynamically irreversible processes that are the analog of an uncontrolled expansion of a gas into a vacuum.</div><br /> <b>John D. Norton: <a href="">What Was Einstein’s “Fateful Prejudice”?</a></b> (pdf, 33113 words)<br /> <div>In the later pages of the notebook, as Einstein let general covariance slip away, he devised and abandoned a new proposal for his gravitational field equations. This same proposal, revived nearly three years later, opened passage to his final theory. In abandoning it in the notebook, Einstein had all but lost his last chance of deliverance. This chapter reports and develops our group’s accounts of this decision. Einstein’s later accounts of this decision blame it upon what he called the “fateful prejudice” of misinterpreting the Christoffel symbols. We suggest that Einstein’s aberrant use and understanding of coordinate systems and coordinate conditions was as important as another fateful prejudice.</div><br /> <b>John D. Norton: <a href="">Ignorance and Indifference</a></b> (pdf, 10691 words)<br /> <div>The epistemic state of complete ignorance is not a probability distribution. In it, we assign the same, unique, ignorance degree of belief to any contingent outcome and each of its contingent, disjunctive parts. That this is the appropriate way to represent complete ignorance is established by two instruments, each individually strong enough to identify this state. They are the principle of indifference (PI) and the notion that ignorance is invariant under certain redescriptions of the outcome space, here developed into the ‘principle of invariance of ignorance’ (PII). Both instruments are so innocuous as almost to be platitudes. Yet the literature in probabilistic epistemology has misdiagnosed them as paradoxical or defective since they generate inconsistencies when conjoined with the assumption that an epistemic state must be a probability distribution. To underscore the need to drop this assumption, I express PII in its most defensible form as relating symmetric descriptions and show that paradoxes still arise if we assume the ignorance state to be a probability distribution. <b>1. Introduction.</b> In one ideal, a logic of induction would provide us with a belief state representing total ignorance that would evolve towards different belief states as new evidence is learned. That the Bayesian system cannot be such a logic follows from well-known, elementary considerations. In familiar paradoxes to be discussed here, the notion that indifference over outcomes requires equality of probability rapidly leads to contradictions. If our initial ignorance is sufficiently great, there are so many ways to be indifferent that the resulting equalities contradict the additivity of the probability calculus. We can properly assign equal probabilities in a prior probability distribution only if our ignorance is not complete and we know enough to be able to identify which is the right partition of the outcome space over which to exercise indifference. While a zero value can denote ignorance in alternative systems such as that of Shafer-Dempster, representing ignorance by zero probability fails in more than one way.</div><br /> <b>John D. Norton: <a href="">Waiting for Landauer</a></b> (pdf, 15141 words)<br /> <div>Landauer's Principle asserts that there is an unavoidable cost in thermodynamic entropy creation when data is erased. It is usually derived from incorrect assumptions, most notably, that erasure must compress the phase space of a memory device or that thermodynamic entropy arises from the probabilistic uncertainty of random data. Recent work seeks to prove Landauer’s Principle without using these assumptions. I show that the processes assumed in the proof, and in the thermodynamics of computation more generally, can be combined to produce devices that both violate the second law and erase data without entropy cost, indicating an inconsistency in the theoretical system. Worse, the standard repertoire of processes selectively neglects thermal fluctuations. Concrete proposals for how we might measure dissipationlessly and expand single molecule gases reversibly are shown to be fatally disrupted by fluctuations. Reversible, isothermal processes on molecular scales are shown to be disrupted by fluctuations that can only be overcome by introducing entropy creating, dissipative processes.</div><br /> <b>John D. Norton: <a href="">On Thought Experiments: Is There More to the Argument?</a></b> (pdf, 5273 words)<br /> <div>Thought experiments in science are merely picturesque argumentation. I support this view in various ways, including the claim that it follows from the fact that thought experiments can err but can still be used reliably. The view is defended against alternatives proposed by my cosymposiasts. <b>1. Introduction.</b> A scientist—a Galileo, Newton, Darwin or Einstein— presents us with some vexing problem. We are perplexed. In a few words of simple prose, the scientist then conjures up an experiment, purely in thought. We follow, replicating its falling bodies or spinning buckets in our minds, and our uncertainty evaporates. We know the resolution and somehow we sense that we knew it all along. That moment of realization is exquisite, and it is difficult to resist the sense that something of profound epistemic moment has just transpired.</div><br /> <b>John D. Norton: <a href="">A Conjecture on Einstein, the Independent Reality of Spacetime Coordinate Systems and the Disaster of 1913</a></b> (pdf, 15218 words)<br /> <div>Two fundamental errors led Einstein to reject generally covariant gravitational field equations for over two years as he was developing his general theory of relativity. The first is well known in the literature. It was the presumption that weak, static gravitational fields must be spatially flat and a corresponding assumption about his weak field equations. I conjecture that a second hitherto unrecognized error also defeated Einstein's efforts. The same error, months later, allowed the hole argument to convince Einstein that all generally covariant gravitational field equations would be physically uninteresting.</div><br /> <b>John D. Norton: <a href="">Curie’s Truism</a></b> (pdf, 5265 words)<br /> <div>Curie’s principle asserts that every symmetry of a cause manifests as a symmetry of the effect. It can be formulated as a tautology that is vacuous until it is instantiated. However, instantiation requires us to know the correct way to map causal terminology onto the terms of a science. Causal metaphysics has failed to provide a unique, correct way to carry out the mapping. Thus, successful or unsuccessful instantiation merely reflects our freedom of choice in the mapping.</div><br /> <b>Jussi Suikkanen: <a href="">Contextualism, Moral Disagreement, and Proposition Clouds</a></b> (pdf, 10025 words)<br /> <div>I understand Contextualism to be the following semantic framework for understanding the meaning of moral terms. Consider the sentence ‘eating meat is wrong’. According to Contextualism, this <i>sentence</i> does not have truth-conditional content because ‘… is wrong’ is not a predicate that has a fixed property as its semantic value. Rather, on this view, its meaning consists merely of a ‘character’ which can be understood as a function from contexts of use to fixed contents (Kaplan 1989). Contextualism thus claims that, due to what the predicate means, only in a context of use ‘… is wrong’ will have a specific property as its semantic value – the context plays an ineliminable role in determining what that property is.</div><br /> <b>Laura Bringmann, Markus Eronen: <a href="">Heating up the measurement debate: What psychologists can learn from the history of physics</a></b> (pdf, 8453 words)<br /> <div><b></b>Discussions of psychological measurement are largely disconnected from issues of measurement in the natural sciences. We show that there are interesting parallels and connections between the two, by focusing on a real and detailed example (temperature) from the history of science. More specifically, our novel approach is to study the issue of validity based on the history of measurement in physics, which will lead to three concrete points that are relevant for the validity debate in psychology. First of all, studying the causal mechanisms underlying the measurements can be crucial for evaluating whether the measurements are valid. Secondly, psychologists would benefit from focusing more on the robustness of measurements. Finally, we argue that it is possible to make good science based on (relatively) bad measurements, and that the explanatory success of science can contribute to justifying the validity of measurements.</div><br /> <b>Lydia McGrew: <a href="">What Grandma Can’t Know</a></b> (pdf, 4903 words)<br /> <div>It has long been an attraction of Reformed apologetics that it validates the beliefs of Christians with no special philosophical or historical training. Surely, it seems, it should not be necessary for the little child, the kindly old lady, or the hard-working farmer, not called to abstract argument, to have explicit evidences for Christian belief in order to be epistemically justified in it. In this context, the evidentialist is easily cast as the grumpy uncle of the Christian family, setting impossibly high standards for ordinary people and perhaps even for himself, and implying that God is not pleased by a childlike act of faith. By arguing for the instigation of the Holy Spirit or some other spiritual faculty available to the unlearned, Reformed apologists champion the intuitively plausible position that one need not be a philosopher to hold legitimately to Christian belief.</div><br /> <b>Markus Eronen: <a href="">Explaining the Brain: Ruthless Reductionism or Multilevel Mechanisms?</a></b> (pdf, 2533 words)<br /> <div>Mechanistic explanation and metascientific reductionism are two recent and widely discussed approaches to explanation and reduction in neuroscience. I will argue that these are incompatible and that mechanistic explanation has a stronger case, especially when it is combined with James Woodward’s manipulationist model of causal explanation.</div><br /> <b>Markus I. Eronen: <a href="">Pluralistic Physicalism and the Causal Exclusion Argument</a></b> (pdf, 7094 words)<br /> <div>There is a growing consensus among philosophers of science that scientific endeavors of understanding the human mind or the brain exhibit explanatory pluralism. Relatedly, several philosophers have in recent years defended an interventionist approach to causation that leads to a kind of causal pluralism. In this talk, I explore the consequences of these recent developments in philosophy of science for some of the central debates in philosophy of mind. First, I argue that if we adopt explanatory pluralism and the interventionist approach to causation, our understanding of physicalism has to change, and this leads to what I call pluralistic physicalism. Secondly, I show that this pluralistic physicalism is not endangered by the causal exclusion argument.</div><br /> <b>Eric Schliesser's blog: <a href="">On Race and the Enlightenment</a></b> (html, 1274 words)<br /> <div>The key ingredients of modern racism are: a scientific or pseudoscientific theory of fixed differences between human “species”; an emphasis on group or collective identity; a stress on national culture and ephemeral spiritual differences rather than institutions to explain differences in societal outcomes. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Eric Schliesser's blog: <a href="">On Eugenics, Armed Robots, and Sparta; (Asimov's Libertarian Utopia)</a></b> (html, 1194 words)<br /> <div>Now Sparta in its hey day consisted of a relatively small number of Spartiates, the only full citizens, plus a somewhat larger number of second class individuals, the Perioeci, and a really large number of outright slaves, the Helots. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 16 July 20182018-07-16T23:59:00Z2018-07-16T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2018-07-16://<b>Andrew M. Bailey: <a href="">No Luck for Modal Luck Theory</a></b> (pdf, 825 words)<br /> <div>Bad and good luck alike can do you in—morally or epistemically speaking. For luck undermines the moral or epistemic credit that might have otherwise been coming your way. So it's no surprise that thinking about luck is all the rage these days—among philosophers, that is. Many accounts of luck are <i>modal</i>. They say that luck is at least in part a matter of what could have been. So you enjoy good luck in some respect, for example, just if that condition is good for you and things could very well have gone otherwise. There's something to the thought, no doubt. But in this note, I will show that one important expression of it is wrong. My target: Consensus: <i>S</i> is lucky with respect to event <i>e</i> only if: possibly, <i>e</i> does not occur. Put differently: <i>S</i> is lucky with respect to proposition <i>p</i> only if: possibly, <i>p</i> is false. Everyone who gives a modal account of luck endorses Consensus. To be sure, the modal theorists disagree about details (some maintain, for example, that worlds in which <i>e</i> does not occur must be sufficiently nearby to actuality; others say there are additional conditions on luck that concern control and interests). But Consensus or theses that obviously entail it are widely endorsed.</div><br /> <b>Clayton Peterson: <a href="">Methodological empiricism and the choice of measurement models in social sciences</a></b> (pdf, 11415 words)<br /> <div>Realism is generally assumed as the correct position with regards to psychological research and the measurement of psychological attributes in psychometrics. Borsboom et al. (2003), for instance, argued that the choice of a reflective measurement model necessarily implies a commitment to the existence of psychological constructs as well as a commitment to the belief that empirical testing of measurement models can justify their correspondence with real causal structures. Hood (2013) deemphasized Borsboom et al.’s position and argued that the choice of a reflective measurement model does not necessarily require ontological commitments, though, in his view, it does necessitate a commitment to minimal epistemic realism. Although these arguments are formulated with regard to psychological research, they can actually be generalized to other disciplines in social sciences that use similar methodologies and statistical techniques. In Hood’s opinion, empiricism does not suffice to provide an adequate account of the choice of reflective measurement models given that this choice requires an appeal to causal explanations. In this paper, we argue against Hood and answer this challenge, providing epistemic foundations for social science research that do not appeal to realism.</div><br /> <b>David Wiens: <a href="">The Best and the Rest: On the Role of Ideals in Comparative Evaluation</a></b> (pdf, 13574 words)<br /> <div><b></b>Political theorists sometimes defend the value of idealistic normative theories by arguing that they help specify principles for evaluating feasible solutions to political problems. But this defense is ambiguous between three interpretations, two of which I show to be nonstarters. The third interpretation says (roughly) that a description of a normatively ideal society can provide useful information about the evaluative criteria that we should use when comparing social possibilities. I show why that this claim rings hollow as a defense of idealistic normative theories. Put roughly, because ideal theories bracket the causes and consequences of many real-world social problems, they have little to say about the criteria that are most helpful for evaluating solutions to these problems. One upshot is that, if specifying principles of comparative evaluation is a principal task of political theory, then we need nonideal theory as much as — if not more than — ideal theory.</div><br /> <b>JB Manchak: <a href="">On Feyerabend, General Relativity, and ‘Unreasonable’ Universes</a></b> (pdf, 6783 words)<br /> <div>I investigate the principle anything goes within the context of general relativity. After a few preliminaries, I show a sense in which the universe is unknowable from within this context; I suggest that we ‘keep our options open’ with respect to competing models of it. Given the state of affairs, proceeding counter-inductively seems to be especially appropriate; I use this method to blur some of the usual lines between ‘reasonable’ and ‘unreasonable’ models of the universe. Along the way, one is led to a useful collection of variant theories of general relativity – each theory incompatible with the standard formulation. One may contrast one variant theory with another in order to understand foundational questions within ‘general relativity’ in a more nuanced way. I close by sketching some of the work ahead if we are to embrace such a pluralistic methodology.</div><br /> <b>Joshua Habgood-Coote: <a href="">Stop Talking about Fake News!</a></b> (pdf, 12951 words)<br /> <div>Since 2016, there has been an explosion of academic work and journalism that fixes its subject matter using the terms ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’. In this paper, I argue that this terminology is not up to scratch, and that academics and journalists ought to completely stop using the terms ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’. I set out three arguments for abandonment. First, that ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ do not have stable public meanings, entailing that they are either nonsense, context-sensitive, or contested. Secondly, that these terms are unnecessary, because we already have a rich vocabulary for thinking about epistemic dysfunction. Thirdly, I observe that ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ have propagandistic uses, meaning that using them legitimates anti-democratic propaganda, and runs the risk of smuggling bad ideology into conversations.</div><br /> <b>Michael Baumgartner, Christoph Falk: <a href="">Boolean difference-making: a modern regularity theory of causation</a></b> (pdf, 11767 words)<br /> <div>A regularity theory of causation analyses type-level causation in terms of Boolean difference-making. The essential ingredient that helps this theoretical framework overcome the well-known problems of Hume’s and Mill’s classical regularity theoretic proposals is a principle of non-redundancy: only redundancy-free Boolean dependency structures track causation. The first part of this paper argues that the recent regularity theoretic literature has not consistently implemented this principle, for it disregarded two important types of redundancies: componential and structural redundancies. The second part then develops a new variant of a regularity theory that does justice to all types of redundancies and, thereby, provides the first all-inclusive notion of Boolean difference-making.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Aristotelianism, Classical Theism and Presentism</a></b> (html, 385 words)<br /> <div>A fundamental commitment of Aristotelianism seems to be that all reality supervenes on substances and accidents. If according to worlds w1 and w2 there are the same substances and accidents, then w1 = w2. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 15 July 20182018-07-15T23:59:00Z2018-07-15T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2018-07-15://<b>Anjan Chakravartty: <a href="">Feelings in Guts and Bones: Reply to Lewis, Magnus, and Strevens</a></b> (pdf, 4688 words)<br /> <div>In Scientific Ontology, I attempt to describe the nature of our investigations into what there is and associated theorizing in a way that respects the massive contributions of the sciences to this endeavor, and yet does not shy away from the fact that the endeavor itself is inescapably permeated by philosophical commitments. While my interest is first and foremost in what we can learn from the sciences about ontology, it quickly extends to issues that go well beyond scientific practices themselves, for two reasons. For one thing, it is not merely the case that philosophical considerations are relevant to ontological judgments even in the sciences; additionally, there are good philosophical reasons to believe that different assessments of these considerations are rationally permissible, which entails that rational agents may well come to different conclusions about scientific ontology in ways that admit of no ultimate resolution, in principle. Secondly, given this defensible variability of assessment, we have good reason to regard some disputes about whether particular patches of ontological theorizing deserve the label ‘‘scientific,’’ as opposed to ‘‘non-’’ or ‘‘un-scientific,’’ as ultimately irresolvable as well. All of this may be controversial, but I take it to be a true description of our precariously human epistemic condition in the realm of ontology.</div><br /> <b>Hallvard Lillehammer: <a href="">Companions in guilt: entailment, analogy, and absorbtion</a></b> (pdf, 8145 words)<br /> <div>In this paper, I do three things. First, I say what I mean by a ‘companions in guilt’ argument in meta-ethics. Second, I distinguish between two kinds of argument within this family, which I call ‘arguments by entailment’ and ‘arguments by analogy’. Third, I explore the prospects for companions in guilt arguments by analogy. During the course of this discussion, I identify a distinctive variety of argument, which I call ‘arguments by absorption’. I argue that this variety of argument (at least in the version considered here) inherits some of the weaknesses of standard arguments by analogy and entailment without obviously adding to their strength.</div><br /> <b>Luca Moretti, Tommaso Piazza: <a href="">The many ways of the basing relation</a></b> (pdf, 8613 words)<br /> <div>A subject S&#39;s belief that Q is well-grounded if and only if it is based on a reason of S that gives S propositional justification for Q. Depending on the nature of S&#39;s reason, the process whereby S bases her belief that Q on it can vary. If S&#39;s reason is non-doxastic–– like an experience that Q or a testimony that Q––S will need to form the belief that Q as a spontaneous and immediate response to that reason. If S&#39;s reason is doxastic––like a belief that P––S will need to infer her belief that Q from it. The distinction between these two ways in which S&#39;s beliefs can be based on S&#39;s reasons is widely presupposed in current epistemology but––we argue in this paper––is not exhaustive. We give examples of quite ordinary situations in which a well-grounded belief of S appears to be based on S&#39;s reasons in neither of the ways described above. To accommodate these recalcitrant cases, we introduce the notion of enthymematic inference and defend the thesis that S can base a belief that Q on doxastic reasons P1, P2, …, Pn via inferring enthymematically Q from P1, P2, …, Pn.</div><br /> <b>Michael Baumgartner, Lorenzo Casini, Beate Krickel: <a href="">Horizontal Surgicality and Mechanistic Constitution</a></b> (pdf, 6930 words)<br /> <div>While ideal (surgical) interventions are acknowledged by many as valuable tools for the analysis of causation, recent discussions have shown that, since there are no ideal interventions on upper-level phenomena that non-reductively supervene on their underlying mechanisms, interventions cannot—contrary to a popular opinion—ground an informative analysis of constitution. This has led some to abandon the project of analyzing constitution in interventionist terms. By contrast, this paper defines the notion of a <i>horizontally surgical intervention</i>, and argues that, when combined with some innocuous metaphysical principles about the relation between upper and lower levels of mechanisms, that notion delivers a sufficient condition for constitution. This, in turn, strengthens the case for an interventionist analysis of constitution.</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 14 July 20182018-07-14T23:59:00Z2018-07-14T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2018-07-14://<b>Diego Machuca: <a href="">Epistemology in Latin America</a></b> (html, 10075 words)<br /> <div>After presenting the current situation of epistemological research in Latin America and part of its history, this entry will address five topics: skepticism (especially in its Pyrrhonian stripe), core epistemology, formal epistemology, Wittgenstein’s thought in connection with epistemology and skepticism, and epistemology of law. It should be noted from the outset that the entry does not purport to provide a comprehensive account of epistemology in Latin America, but rather to paint a general picture of it by focusing on the main issues that have been discussed within that field. We will take into consideration the work of those scholars who have written (in Spanish, Portuguese, or English) on epistemological issues independently of both whether they are currently based in Latin America and whether they have worked in a non-Latin American country for a considerable part of their careers.</div><br /> <b>Jessica Moss: <a href="">What is Imitative Poetry and Why is it Bad?</a></b> (pdf, 13301 words)<br /> <div>Plato’s argument against poetry in <i>Republic</i> 10 is perplexing. He condemns not <i>all</i> poetry, but only “however much of it is imitative (<i>hosê mimêtikê</i>)” (595a). A metaphysical charge against certain works of poetry – that they are forms of imitation, “at a third remove from the truth” – is thus used to justify an ethical charge: that these works cripple our thought and corrupt our souls.</div><br /> <b>Luis Rosa: <a href="">Knowledge grounded on pure reasoning</a></b> (pdf, 8949 words)<br /> <div>In this paper I deal with epistemological issues that stem from the hypothesis that reasoning is not only a means of transmitting knowledge from premise-beliefs to conclusion-beliefs, but also a primary source of knowledge in its own right. The idea is that one can gain new knowledge on the basis of suppositional reasoning. After making some preliminary distinctions, I argue that there are no good reasons to think that purported examples of knowledge grounded on pure reasoning are just examples of premise-based inferences in disguise. Next, I establish what kinds of true propositions can to a first approximation be known on the basis of pure reasoning. Finally, I argue that beliefs that are competently formed on the basis of suppositional reasoning satisfy both externalist and internalist criteria of justification.</div><br /> <b>Philosophy, et cetera: <a href="">Acts, Attitudes, and the Separateness of Persons</a></b> (html, 1100 words)<br /> <div>I previously explained how Seth Lazar's first objection to my view was confused. His second, however, is more interesting. Lazar writes: Chappell thinks the objection has to do only with attitudes. His token-pluralistic utilitarianism can, in its deontic verdicts, be extensionally identical to token-monistic utilitarianism (according to which only aggregate well-being is non-instrumentally valuable), but preferable since it encourages us to adopt the appropriate attitude to the losses inflicted in the pursuit of the overall good. &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 13 July 20182018-07-13T23:59:00Z2018-07-13T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2018-07-13://<b>: <a href="">Disjunctive Antecedent Conditionals</a></b> (pdf, 14228 words)<br /> <div>Disjunctive antecedent conditionals (DACs)—conditionals of the form if A or B, C—sometimes seem to entail both of their simplifications (if A, C; if B, C) and sometimes seem not to. I argue that this behavior reveals a genuine ambiguity in DACs. Along the way, I discuss a new observation about the role of focal stress in distinguishing the two interpretations of DACs. I propose a new theory, according to which the surface form of a DAC underdetermines its logical form: on one possible logical form, if A or B, C does entail both of its simplifications, while on the other, it does not.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Skiles: <a href="">There is no haecceitic Euthyphro problem</a></b> (pdf, 3460 words)<br /> <div>Consider the view that each individual possesses a <i>haecceity</i>: a non-qualitative property the instantiation of which is both necessary and sufficient to be that very individual. One reason to believe in the existence of haecceities – perhaps <i>the</i> reason, and certainly the most influential – is that they are required to explain why any one individual is numerically distinct from another even when the two are qualitatively exactly alike, as it is with the pair of iron spheres famously discussed by Max Black (1952). According to this line of reasoning, what explains why Black’s iron spheres are <i>two</i> in number cannot merely be a difference in their qualitative properties. Rather, it is the fact that they possess two different haecceities, the numerical distinctness of which is taken as brute.</div><br /> <b>Chris Dorst: <a href="">Humean Laws, Explanatory Circularity, and the Aim of Scientific Explanation</a></b> (pdf, 11248 words)<br /> <div>Humean accounts of laws of nature maintain that the laws are certain sorts of regularities in the particular matters of fact. For example, according to Lewis’s Best System Account (“BSA”), the laws are the regularities of that systematization of the particular matters of fact which best balances the desiderata of simplicity and strength. A common objection to Humean views like the BSA is that they render the laws unable to play the explanatory role that is traditionally attributed to them in scientific practice, wherein the laws are routinely used to explain the occurrences of natural phenomena. The worry, roughly, is that if the laws are just regularities in the particular matters of fact, then they cannot also explain the particular matters of fact, for that would seem to be dangerously close to a circular explanation of the particular matters of fact by themselves. As Maudlin puts it: If the laws are nothing but generic features of the Humean Mosaic, then there is a sense in which one cannot appeal to those very laws to explain the particular features of the Mosaic itself: the laws are what they are in virtue of the Mosaic rather than vice versa. (Maudlin 2007, p. 172) Recently there has been a renewed interest in this sort of argument against Humeanism. In his (2012), Loewer defends Humeanism from the charge of explanatory circularity, suggesting that the worry only arises if we fail to distinguish between scientific and metaphysical explanations: the laws scientifically explain the particular matters of fact, but the particular matters of fact metaphysically explain the laws (according to the Humean). Loewer thinks that the fact that there are two different kinds of explanation here precludes any worrying kind of circularity.</div><br /> <b>David B. Hershenov: <a href="">Vague Existence Implies Vague Identity</a></b> (pdf, 11620 words)<br /> <div>I take issue with the claim that one can accept <i>de re</i> vague existence without <i>de re</i> vague identity. Whether we should endorse both is not my main concern here. My thesis is that one can’t have vague existence without vague identity. Thus I will show that far more philosophers are implicitly committed by their acceptance of vague existence to vague identity than explicitly so committed. But if vague identity is impossible, philosophers should reject vague existence as well.</div><br /> <b>David B. Hershenov: <a href="">The Thesis of Vague Objects and Unger’s Problem of the Many</a></b> (pdf, 4366 words)<br /> <div>Unger’s problem of the many arises when it is assumed that entities have a determinate boundary, although this border occurs in a grey area where the object’s component stuff falls off, i.e., becomes scarcer. For instance, a cloud consists mostly of water droplets grouped together. At the cloud’s center, the droplets are tightly bunched together. As we move away from the clear center of the cloud, the water droplets will gradually lessen. It is the thinning of the droplets on the outskirts of the cloud that pose a problem: How do we determine the exact border of the cloud in this grey area?</div><br /> <b>David Hershenov: <a href="">Who Doesn’t Have a Problem of Too Many Thinkers?</a></b> (pdf, 2977 words)<br /> <div>Animalists accuse the advocates of psychological approaches of identity of having to suffer a Problem of Too many Thinkers. Eric Olson, for instance, is an animalist who maintains that if the person is spatially coincident but numerically distinct from the animal, then provided that the person can use its brain to think, so too can the physically indistinguishable animal. However, not all defenders of psychological views of identity assume the spatial coincidence of the person and the animal. Jeff McMahan and lately Derek Parfit claim we are roughly brain-size, composed of just those parts of the human animal that directly produce thought. They claim to avoid the Problem of Too Many Thinkers because it is the brain-sized person who truly thinks, while the animal thinks only in a derivative sense in virtue of having a thinking proper part. Waiting in the wings are some dualists who claim that all materialist accounts fail to avoid the Problem of Too Many Thinkers.</div><br /> <b>David Hershenov: <a href="">Olson’s Account of Function and Substance Concepts</a></b> (pdf, 7029 words)<br /> <div>Eric Olson claims that “person” is not a substance term like “organism” or “animal.” In an early section entitled “Movers and Thinkers” of his book <i>The Human Animal: Identity without Psychology</i>, Olson puts forth an argument that “person” should be understood as a functional term like “locomotor.” The strategy Olson pursues there against those who would bestow substancehood on persons involves showing how counterintuitive it would be to hold such a position about locomotors. He then suggests that the same skepticism that readers harbor towards the substantial nature of locomotors should be extended to persons.</div><br /> <b>David Hershenov: <a href=",%20Dignity%20and%20Degradation.pdf">Death, Dignity and Degradation</a></b> (pdf, 8470 words)<br /> <div>Many people believe that diseases and injuries which cause a significant deterioration in mental capabilities are undignified. A significant number of these people profess that they would rather die than live in a childlike state brought on by Alzheimer’s disease or some ailment with similar effects. They claim to find little to value in such undignified states. While I would not deny that the intrinsic value of persons in such impaired cognitive states is much less than what was possessed before the onset of their injury or illness, I do not believe such states are undignified. There are Kantian philosophers, most notably David Velleman, who insist that the complete absence or a considerable loss in reasoning capabilities results in an undignified state. However, I think there is considerable linguistic evidence for maintaining that the lack of reason and value, or their presence but at low levels, is not undignified. For example, despite their having little or no reason, we don’t consider newborns, very young children or the retarded to be undignified, while we do so label adults who could act but don’t in ways that respect the value of themselves or others. This suggests that to be undignified one must have the capacity to act appropriately and fail to do so. I believe that we can infer from this that adults whose rational capacities are destroyed by disease are no more undignified than those individuals who early in life don’t have the capacity to respond to value.</div><br /> <b>David Hershenov: <a href="">Shoemaker’s Problem of Too Many Thinkers</a></b> (pdf, 5648 words)<br /> <div>Psychological approaches to personal identity are distinguished from body and biological accounts of identity by the former’s insistence that some kind of mind is essential for our persistence. A problem arises for those psychological approaches that are committed to the person being spatially coincident with, but distinct from the human animal and body. (For the purposes of this paper, the human animal will be identified with the organic body.) If the person can think, then it would appear that the human animal can also. The person and the animal share the same brain as well as every other atom of every other organ. Given this physical identity and the fact that they both have the same causal relations to the environment and linguistic community, why then should only one of the two beings have the ability to think? Such mental duplication appears inevitable on pain of violating the supervenience of the mental on the physical, construing the latter to include causal ties to the environment as well as the physical properties of the animal. And if both can think then there arises what Olson called the “epistemic problem” of being unable to know whether one is the human animal or the person. The dilemma that both the person and the human animal can think has been labeled by Sydney Shoemaker “The Problem of Too Many Minds.” I prefer to call it the problem of too many thinkers since it could be that two thinkers share one mind much as conjoined twins could share one bruise.</div><br /> <b>Edward N. Zalta: <a href="">Two (Related) World Views</a></b> (pdf, 11451 words)<br /> <div>During the past two decades, the late Hector-Neri Casta˜neda developed a theory of <i>guises</i>, and applied that theory to the analysis of thought, language, and the structure of the world. Casta˜neda was deeply impressed by the uniformity of our thought processes, and in particular, by the fact that thoughts about existing objects were fundamentally similar in nature to thoughts about fictions. This impression had such a hold upon his imagination that he concluded that all of the objects of thought, i.e., all of the objects about which we think, are on an ontological par. He postulated a basic realm of such objects, which he called ‘guises’, and analyzed thought and language as primarily about guises. Indeed, he went one step further, and supposed that ordinary objects such as people, tables, chairs, etc., which we confront everyday in our perceptions, were nothing more than systems of such guises. Clearly, if the world consists of (systems of) guises, then thoughts about guises just are thoughts about the world. This is how Casta˜neda unified his metaphysics.</div><br /> <b>Edward N. Zalta: <a href="">Natural Numbers and Natural Cardinals as Abstract Objects: A Partial Reconstruction of Frege’s Grundgesetze in Object Theory</a></b> (pdf, 19540 words)<br /> <div>In this paper, I derive a theory of numbers from a more general theory of abstract objects. The distinguishing feature of this derivation is that it involves no appeal to mathematical primitives or mathematical theories.</div><br /> <b>Edward N. Zalta: <a href="">A Philosophical Conception of Propositional Modal Logic</a></b> (pdf, 9134 words)<br /> <div>The definitions of propositional modal logic are traditionally formulated in the following way. First, a formal language is defined, usually with atomic formulas <i>p, q, . . .</i> and complex formulas involving the connectives <i>¬</i>, <i>→</i> and the <i>2</i> operator. Models <b>M</b> for this language are then defined as triples <i>?</i><b>W</b><i>,</i> <b>R</b><i>,</i> <b>V</b><i>?</i> in which <b>W</b> is a nonempty set of worlds, <b>R</b> is an accessibility relation, and <b>V</b> is a valuation function that maps each atomic sentence of the formal language to a set of worlds. Truth (at a world, in a model), validity, and logical consequence are then defined as semantic properties of, or relations among, sentences of the language.</div><br /> <b>Edward N. Zalta: <a href="">Replies to the Critics</a></b> (pdf, 4945 words)<br /> <div>Menzel’s commentary is a tightly focused, extended argument and it may be summarized as follows: (a) though Zalta gathers a range of phenomena under a small set of concepts, unfortunately, the framework is a possibilist one; (b) Zalta justifies possibilism by arguing that it provides the simplest and most natural explanation and analysis of such phenomena as ordinary modal discourse; but (c) by taking the modal operator as primitive, Zalta doesn’t really offer any genuine analysis or explanation of modal discourse and so cannot establish the superiority of his possibilism.</div><br /> <b>Edward N. Zalta: <a href="">Mally’s Determinates and Husserl’s Noemata</a></b> (pdf, 5872 words)<br /> <div>In this paper I compare passages from two philosophically important texts and conclude that they have fundamental ideas in common. What makes this comparison and conclusion interesting is that the texts come from two different traditions in philosophy, the analytic and the phenomenological. In 1912, Ernst Mally published <i>Gegenstandstheoretische Grundlagen der Logik und Logistik</i> , an analytic work containing a combination of formal logic and metaphysics. In 1913, Edmund Husserl published <i>Ideen zu einer reinen Ph¨anomenologie und ph¨anomenologischen Philosophie</i>, a seminal work in phenomenology in which <i>noemata</i> are defined and given a crucial role in directing our mental states. In the passages from these two texts reproduced below, I show that the abstract ‘determinates’ postulated by Mally in [1912] are assigned much the same role that Husserl assigned to noemata in [1913]. Though Mally’s determinates are not as highly structured as Husserl’s noemata, they have a feature that explains how they manage to play the role assigned to them. The corresponding feature is missing, or at least, not emphasized Published in <i>Ernst Mally—Versuch einer Neubewertung</i> , A. Hieke (ed.), St. Augustin: Academia-Verlag, 1998, pp. 9–28.</div><br /> <b>Edward N. Zalta: <a href="">Reflections on Mathematics</a></b> (pdf, 5720 words)<br /> <div>Though the philosophy of mathematics encompasses many kinds of questions, my response to the five questions primarily focuses on the prospects of developing a unified approach to the metaphysical and epistemological issues concerning mathematics. My answers will be framed from within a single conceptual framework. By ‘conceptual framework’, I mean an explicit and formal listing of primitive notions and first principles, set within a well-understood background logic. In what follows, I shall assume the primitive notions and first principles of the (formalized and) axiomatized theory of abstract objects, which I shall sometimes refer to as ‘object theory’. These notions and principles are mathematics-free, consisting only of metaphysical and logical primitives. The first principles assert the existence, and comprehend a domain, of abstract objects, and in this domain we can identify (either by definition or by other means) logical objects, natural mathematical objects, and theoretical mathematical objects. These formal principles and identifications will help us to articulate answers not only to the five questions explicitly before us, but also to some of the other fundamental questions in the philosophy of mathematics raised below.</div><br /> <b>John Nolt: <a href="">Free Logic</a></b> (html, 13129 words)<br /> <div>Classical logic requires each singular term to denote an object in the domain of quantification—which is usually understood as the set of “existing” objects. Free logic does not. Free logic is therefore useful for analyzing discourse containing singular terms that either are or might be empty. A term is empty if it either has no referent or refers to an object outside the domain. Most free logics have been first-order, their quantifiers ranging over individuals. Recently, however, some work on higher-order free logics has appeared. Corine Besson (2009) argues that internalist theories of natural kinds require second-order free logics whose quantifiers range over kinds, and she finds precedent for this idea ranging as far back as Cocchiarella (1986).</div><br /> <b>Joulia Smortchkova: <a href="">Seeing goal-directedness: a case for social perception</a></b> (doc, 11152 words)<br /> <div>This paper focuses on social perception, an area of research that lies at the interface between the philosophy of perception and the scientific investigation of human social cognition. Some philosophers and psychologists appeal to resonance mechanisms to show that intentional and goal-directed actions can be perceived. Against these approaches, I show that there is a class of simple goal-directed actions, whose perception does not rely on resonance. I discuss the role of the STS (superior temporal sulcus) as the possible neural correlate of perception of goal-directed actions. My proposal is intermediate between claims according to which we perceive intentional actions and claims according to which we cannot perceive goal-directed actions.</div><br /> <b>M. Eddon: <a href="">Intrinsicality and Hyperintensionality</a></b> (pdf, 9950 words)<br /> <div>The standard counterexamples to David Lewis’s account of intrinsicality involve two sorts of properties: identity properties and necessary properties. Proponents of the account have attempted to deflect these counterexamples in a number of ways. This paper argues that none of these moves are legitimate. Furthermore, this paper argues that no account along the lines of Lewis’s can succeed, for an adequate account of intrinsicality must be sensitive to hyperintensional distinctions among properties.</div><br /> <b>M. Eddon: <a href="">Intrinsic Explanations and Numerical Representations</a></b> (pdf, 8515 words)<br /> <div>In his (1980), Hartry Field argues that good explanations of physical phenomena are “intrinsic explanations.” Roughly, an<i> intrinsic explanation</i> of some phenomenon is one that invokes objects that are causally relevant to the phenomenon to be explained. For instance, an explanation of the structure of spacetime that appeals to spacetime points and the relations they stand in is an intrinsic explanation, while one that appeals to causally irrelevant entities like numbers is an extrinsic explanation. More carefully, let us say that a predicate <i>F</i> is an <i>intrinsic predicate iff</i> whether <i>F</i>(<i>x1</i>, …, <i>xn</i>) obtains does not depend on anything other than <i>x1</i>, …, <i>xn</i>, and the relations among them. Let us say that a fact is an <i>intrinsic fact iff</i> the predicates it involves are intrinsic predicates. Finally, let us say that an explanation is an <i>intrinsic explanation iff</i> it only involves intrinsic facts and intrinsic predicates.</div><br /> <b>Roman Frigg, Charlotte Werndl: <a href="">Can Somebody Please Say What Gibbsian Statistical Mechanics Says?</a></b> (pdf, 12666 words)<br /> <div>Gibbsian statistical mechanics (GSM) is the most widely used version of statistical mechanics among working physicists. Yet a closer look at GSM reveals that it is unclear what the theory actually says and how it bears on experimental practice. The root cause of the difficulties is the status of the Averaging Principle, the proposition that what we observe in an experiment is the ensemble average of a phase function. We review different stances toward this principle, and eventually present a coherent interpretation of GSM that provides an account of the status and scope of the principle.</div><br /> <b>Selmer Bringsjord, Naveen Sundar Govindarajulu: <a href="">Artificial Intelligence</a></b> (html, 29511 words)<br /> <div>Artificial intelligence (AI) is the field devoted to building artificial animals (or at least artificial creatures that – in suitable contexts – <i>appear</i> to be animals) and, for many, artificial persons (or at least artificial creatures that – in suitable contexts – <i>appear</i> to be persons).<sup>[ 1 ]</sup> Such goals immediately ensure that AI is a discipline of considerable interest to many philosophers, and this has been confirmed (e.g.) by the energetic attempt, on the part of numerous philosophers, to show that these goals are in fact un/attainable. On the constructive side, many of the core formalisms and techniques used in AI come out of, and are indeed still much used and refined in, philosophy: first-order logic and its extensions; intensional logics suitable for the modeling of doxastic attitudes and deontic reasoning; inductive logic, probability theory, and probabilistic reasoning; practical reasoning and planning, and so on.</div><br /> <b>Van Inwagen: <a href=",%20Zimmerman%20&%20Materialist%20Resurrection.pdf">Zimmerman and the Materialist Conception of Resurrection</a></b> (pdf, 10072 words)<br /> <div>Peter van Inwagen rejects the dualist conception of an immaterial soul. Since there is no soul that leaves the body at the moment of death, the prospect of an afterlife will depend upon the resurrection of the dead human being. Van inwagen doubts that resurrection can occur where the dead have not been preserved in a condition nearly identical to that in which they took their last breath. He contends that even God cannot reassemble the molecules of a cremated individual in a manner that will make the miraculously assembled person one and the same as the individual cremated. Instead, it will be a qualitatively identical duplicate that God has assembled. Thus van Inwagen’s religious beliefs and his materialism lead him to suggest that at the moment we die, God replaces the newly dead form with a simulacrum and stores the preserved body somewhere for the resurrection.</div><br /> <b>New APPS: <a href="">Chicago Antitrust and Neoliberalism’s Blindspots</a></b> (html, 1484 words)<br /> <div>By Gordon Hull As Foucault emphasizes in Birth of Biopolitics, one of the signal moves in American neoliberalism is the extension of economic analysis into all aspects of life. As he puts it, the American neoliberals “try to use the market economy and the typical analyses of the market economy to decipher non-market relationships and phenomena which are not strictly and specifically economic but what we call social phenomena” (BB 239-40). &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 12 July 20182018-07-12T23:59:00Z2018-07-12T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2018-07-12://<b>David A. Denby: <a href="">In Defence of Magical Ersatzism</a></b> (pdf, 6517 words)<br /> <div>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 provides no compelling grounds for thinking that classifying selection as external is unintelligible, and his argument has a false presupposition. I conclude that magical ersatzism is still a viable option in the metaphysics of modality.</div><br /> <b>David A. Denby: <a href="">The Distinction between Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties</a></b> (pdf, 7352 words)<br /> <div>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 so probably pins down the target distinction uniquely. Finally, I suggest diagnoses of the previous failed attempts to analyse the distinction. We intuitively distinguish ‘intrinsic’ from ‘extrinsic’ properties. Roughly, any property whose instantiation by some individual is a matter of the nature of that individual alone, regardless of the nature or existence of any distinct individual, is intrinsic; all other properties are extrinsic. So, for example, redness, roundness and being 3kg are intrinsic, while being one metre away, being the fattest, and being an uncle are extrinsic.</div><br /> <b>Holly Lawford-Smith: <a href="">What’s Wrong with Collective Punishment?</a></b> (pdf, 7457 words)<br /> <div>Holly Lawford-Smith is a senior lecturer in political philosophy at the University of Melbourne. She held previous positions at the University of Sheffield and the Australian National University. She is currently interested in collective action, collective agency, and collective responsibility, and also their applications in climate ethics, the ethics of consumption, and the ethics of privilege.</div><br /> <b>J. Dmitri Gallow: <a href="">Updating for Externalists</a></b> (pdf, 16764 words)<br /> <div>T he character I’ll call ‘the internalist’ holds that your evidence can never fail to tell you what your total evidence is. If your total evidence is <i>e</i> , then you must have the evidence that your total evidence is <i>e</i> . The character I’ll call ‘the externalist’ denies this (§1). An <i>update</i> is a strategy for revising your degrees of belief, or <i>credences</i>, in response to the outcome of an experiment. The internalist has their update: upon learning <i>e</i> , adopt your pre-experimental credences conditional on <i>e</i> . This is the rule of conditionalization. Salow (forthcoming) teaches that if the externalist adopts conditionalization, then they will be capable of engaging in deliberate self-delusion—designing experiments which are guaranteed to raise their credence that <i>ϕ</i> as high as they like, independent of whether <i>ϕ</i> is true or false (§3). This is not rational inquiry, and no sensible epistemology will call it such. The externalist should reject conditionalization. So the externalist is in need of an update. I have one to offer (§4).</div><br /> <b>Korbinian Rüger: <a href="">On <I>Ex Ante</I> Contractualism</a></b> (pdf, 8844 words)<br /> <div>Contractualism is a claims-based model of moral rightness. It is the view, brought forward most notably by T. M. Scanlon, that an action is right if and only if it is justifiable to all. An action is justifiable to all just when it is licensed by a principle that cannot be reasonably rejected by any single individual.1 Further, a principle can only be reasonably rejected for personal reasons. Contractualism thus construed excludes impersonal reasons derived from, for example, the overall value of an outcome. It thereby denies the permissibility of interpersonal aggregation of harms and benefits to determine which action is right. In situations in which individuals have competing claims to be helped, we always ought to pursue the policy that satisfies the single strongest individual claim, or, in converse, minimizes the strongest individual complaint against it, by following “the principle whose implications are most acceptable to the person to whom it is least acceptable.”2 This implication of contractualism clearly demarcates the view from thoroughly aggregative theories like utilitarianism. I here understand utilitarianism as standard act utilitarianism, where we always ought to pursue the action that will lead to the greatest (expected) sum total of well-being. The difference between the two rival theories becomes apparent in cases like: <i>Death versus Headaches:</i> We can either save Ann from a terminal illness or prevent any number of different people from suffering a mild headache. By virtue of what Ann stands to lose, her claim to be saved from death is clearly greater than any other individual claim to be spared a headache. Under contractualism we therefore ought to save her. This is the case irrespective of how many people stand to suffer a headache. Under utilitarianism, on the other hand, our answer will depend on the number of people that we could spare the headache.</div><br /> <b>Michael Wallner: <a href="">The ground of ground, essence, and explanation</a></b> (pdf, 11600 words)<br /> <div>This paper is about the so-called meta-grounding question, i.e. the question of what grounds grounding facts of the sort ‘<i>φ</i> is grounded in <i>Γ</i> ’. An answer to this question is pressing since some plausible assumptions about grounding and fundamentality entail that grounding facts must be grounded. There are three different accounts on the market which each answer the meta-grounding question differently: Bennett’s and deRosset’s “Straight Forward Account” (SFA), Litland’s “Zero-Grounding Account” (ZGA), and “Grounding Essentialism” (GE). I argue that if grounding is to be regarded as metaphysical explanation (i.e. if <i>unionism</i> is true), (GE) is to be preferred over (ZGA) and (SFA) as only (GE) is compatible with a crucial consequence of the thought that grounding <i>is</i> metaphysical explanation. In this manner the paper contributes not only to discussions about the ground of ground but also to the ongoing debate concerning the relationship between ground, essence, and explanation.</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Faith and fear</a></b> (html, 258 words)<br /> <div>Every so often I worry that my fear of death (which, I have to confess, is more a fear of non-existence than a fear of hell) shows that I lack faith in the afterlife. I think this is a mistaken worry. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Alexander Pruss's Blog: <a href="">Presentism and the mereology of events</a></b> (html, 623 words)<br /> <div>According to presentism, non-present events do not exist. Now consider a particular season S of fencing consisting of a dozen fencing meets M1, M2, ..., M12 as well as practices and recovery days on other days. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>The Splintered Mind: <a href="">Two Ways of Being a Group Mind: Synchronic vs. Diachronic</a></b> (html, 1391 words)<br /> <div>Based on last week's post, I am now seeing ads for sunglasses everywhere, as if to say "Welcome, Eric, to the internet hypermind! Did you say SUNGLASSES?!" Speaking of hyperminds.... I want to distinguish two ways of being a group mind, since I know you care immensely about the cognitive architecture of group minds I'm a dork. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>Scott Aaronson's blog: <a href="">Customers who liked this quantum recommendation engine might also like its dequantization</a></b> (html, 1045 words)<br /> <div>I’m in Boulder, CO right now for the wonderful Boulder summer school on quantum information, where I’ll be lecturing today and tomorrow on introductory quantum algorithms. But I now face the happy obligation of taking a break from all the lecture-preparing and schmoozing, to blog about a striking new result by a student of mine—a result that will probably make an appearance in my lectures in well. &hellip;</div><br /> <b>wo's weblog: <a href="">Imaginary Foundations</a></b> (html, 718 words)<br /> <div>Imaginary Foundations Posted on Thursday, 12 Jul 2018 My paper "Imaginary Foundations" has been accepted at Ergo (after rejections from Phil Review, Mind, Phil Studies, PPR, Nous, AJP, and Phil Imprint). &hellip;</div><br /> Articles and blog posts found on 11 July 20182018-07-11T23:59:00Z2018-07-11T23:59:00ZPhilosophical,2018-07-11://<b>Alexander Dinges: <a href="">Relativism and conservatism</a></b> (pdf, 8415 words)<br /> <div>Relativism and contextualism have been suggested as candidate semantics for “knowledge” sentences. I argue that relativism faces a problem concerning the preservation of beliefs in memory. Contextualism has been argued to face a similar problem. I argue that contextualists, unlike relativists, can respond to the concern. The overall upshot is that contextualism is superior to relativism in at least one important respect.</div><br /> <b>Hartry Field: <a href="">The Semantic Paradoxes and the Paradoxes of Vagueness</a></b> (pdf, 22976 words)<br /> <div>Both in dealing with the semantic paradoxes and in dealing with vagueness and indeterminacy, there is some temptation to weaken classical logic: in particular, to restrict the law of excluded middle. The reasons for doing this are somewhat different in the two cases. In the case of the semantic paradoxes, a weakening of classical logic (presumably involving a restriction of excluded middle) is required if we are to preserve the naive theory of truth without inconsistency. In the case of vagueness and indeterminacy, there is no worry about inconsistency; but a central intuition is that we must reject the factual status of certain sentences, and it hard to see how we can do that while claiming that the law of excluded middle applies to those sentences. So despite the different routes, we have a similar conclusion in the two cases.</div><br /> <b>Hartry Field: <a href="">Is the Liar Sentence Both True and False?</a></b> (pdf, 10406 words)<br /> <div>There are many reasons why one might be tempted to reject certain instances of the law of excluded middle. And it is initially natural to take ‘reject’ to mean ‘deny’, that is, ‘assert the negation of’. But if we assert the negation of a disjunction, we certainly ought to assert the negation of each disjunct (since the disjunction is weaker than the disjuncts). So asserting ¬(A ∨ ¬A) should lead us to assert both ¬A and ¬¬A. But to assert both a sentence (¬A) and its negation is, in at least one sense of the phrase, to assert a contradiction. Accepting contradictions would be intolerable if contradictions implied everything: we would be logically committed to every imaginable absurdity. But there are &#34;paraconsistent logics&#34; where contradictions in the above sense (pairs consisting of B and ¬B, for some B) don’t entail everything.</div><br /> <b>Hartry Field: <a href="">Properties, Propositions and Conditionals</a></b> (pdf, 22345 words)<br /> <div>Section 1 discusses properties and propositions, and some of the motivation for an account in which property instantiation and propositional truth behave "naively". Section 2 generalizes a standard Kripke construction for naive properties and propositions, in a language with modal operators but no conditionals. Whereas Kripke uses a 3-valued value space, the generalized account allows for a broad array of value spaces, including the unit interval [0,1]. This is put to use in Section 3, where I add to the language a conditional suitable for restricting quanti?cation. The shift from a value space based on the "mini-space" {0, 2 , 1} to one based on the "mini-space" [0,1] leads to more satisfactory results than I was able to achieve in previous work: a vast variety of paradoxical sentences can now be treated very simply. In Section 4 I make a further addition to the language, a conditional modeled on the ordinary English conditional, paying particular attention to how it interacts with the restricted quanti?er conditional. This is all done in the [0,1] framework, and two alternatives are considered for how the ordinary conditional is to be handled; one of them results from adding a tweak to a construction by Ross Brady.</div><br /> <b>Hartry Field: <a href="">Solving the Paradoxes, Escaping Revenge</a></b> (pdf, 33464 words)<br /> <div>It is “the received wisdom” that any intuitively natural and consistent resolution of a class of semantic paradoxes immediately leads to other paradoxes just as bad as the first. This is often called the “revenge problem”. Some proponents of the received wisdom draw the conclusion that there is no hope of any natural treatment that puts all the paradoxes to rest: we must either live with the existence of paradoxes that we are unable to treat, or adopt artificial and ad hoc means to avoid them. Others (“dialetheists”) argue that we can put the paradoxes to rest, but only by licensing the acceptance of some contradictions (presumably in a paraconsistent logic that prevents the contradictions from spreading everywhere).</div><br /> <b>Hartry Field: <a href="">Variations on a Theme by Yablo</a></b> (pdf, 12149 words)<br /> <div>Naive truth theory is, roughly, the theory of truth that in classical logic leads to well-known paradoxes (such as the Liar paradox and the Curry paradox). One response to these paradoxes is to weaken classical logic by restricting the law of excluded middle and introducing a conditional not defined from the other connectives in the usual way. In &#34;New Grounds for Naive Truth Theory&#34; ([12]), Steve Yablo develops a new version of this response, and cites three respects in which he deems it superior to a version that I’ve advocated in several papers. I think he’s right that my version was non-optimal in some of these respects (one and a half of them, to be precise); however, Yablo’s own account seems to me to have some undesirable features as well. In this paper I will explore some variations on his account, and end up tentatively advocating a synthesis of his account and mine (one that is somewhat closer to mine than to his).</div><br /> <b>Henry Ian Schiller: <a href="">Acquaintance and First Person Attitude Reports</a></b> (pdf, 3522 words)<br /> <div>It is often assumed that singular thought requires that an agent be epistemically acquainted with the object the thought is about. However, it can sometimes truthfully be said of someone that they have a belief about an object, despite not being interestingly epistemically acquainted with that object. In defense of an epistemic acquaintance constraint on singular thought, it is thus often claimed that belief ascriptions are context-sensitive, and do not always track the contents of an agent’s mental states. This paper uses first-person attitude reports to argue that contextualism about belief ascriptions does not present an adequate defense of an acquaintance constraint on singular thought.</div><br /> <b>Hrishikesh Joshi: <a href="">Is Liberalism Committed to its Own Demise?</a></b> (pdf, 3524 words)<br /> <div>Are immigration restrictions compatible with liberalism? Recently, Christopher Freiman and Javier Hidalgo have argued that immigration restrictions conflict with the core commitments of liberalism.1 A society with immigration restrictions in place may well be optimal in some desired respects, but it is not <i>liberal</i>, they argue. So if you care about liberalism more deeply than you care about immigration restrictions, you should give up on restrictionism. You cannot hold on to both. I argue here that many restrictions on contractual, economic, and associational liberties seem to be justified by considerations other than liberty—thus the (undischarged) task for Freiman and Hidalgo is to tell us why such restrictions are justified but immigration restrictions are not. Moreover, even if this worry can be addressed, I argue, liberalism is not committed to its own demise in scenarios where there exist large enough numbers of would-be immigrants who accept and endorse illiberal norms in a way that is sufficiently resistant to change. Such a commitment requires thinking of border coercion as violating an <i>absolute</i> deontological constraint. This, I contend, is implausible.</div><br /> <b>J.J. Cunningham: <a href="">Knowledgeably Responding to Reasons</a></b> (pdf, 11008 words)<br /> <div>Jennifer Hornsby (2007a, 2007b, 2008) has defended the following <i>Reasons-Knowledge Thesis</i>, where the ‘because’ at issue is a rationalising ‘because’: <b>(RKT)</b> Necessarily, if S φs because p then S knows that p Hornsby argues for (RKT) by appeal to a certain type of Gettier case which is intended to generate the intuition that the agent in that case does not φ because p. Since the agent also does not know that p, an abductive argument for (RKT) is made available. Other adherents of (RKT) include Unger (1975), Hyman (1999, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2015), Marcus (2012), McDowell (2013), and Roessler (2014). Of those, all but Roessler argue for (RKT) in the same way Hornsby does.</div><br /> <b>Marius Baumann: <a href="">Parfit, Convergence, and Underdetermination</a></b> (pdf, 13705 words)<br /> <div>One especially persistent concern for moral realism takes its force from the observation that there are widespread and deep disagreements when it comes to moral issues. How could there be a truth of the matter in a field so pervaded by often fundamental dissent? This worry is at the root of what has been aptly called the <i>argument from moral disagreement</i>. Recently, Derek Parfit has provided us with a highly remarkable defense of moral realism against this argument. In his 2011 <i>On What Matters</i>, Parfit aims to show that the best versions of three of the most important families of moral theories—namely Kantianism, consequentialism, and contractualism—actually agree about what is right and wrong, forbidden, mandatory, or permissible. This, he argues, strengthens the case for moral realism vis-à-vis the argument from disagreement. If our best moral theories turn out to be in agreement about what is right and wrong, we have reason to be more optimistic about the prospect of truth in ethics.1</div><br /> <b>Massimo Renzo: <a href="">Helping the Rebels</a></b> (pdf, 7966 words)<br /> <div>It is a striking feature of revolutionary wars that they often fail to meet the requirement of having a reasonable chance of success—despite otherwise meeting the traditional <i>jus ad bellum</i> principles—unless other states or international institutions militarily intervene to support the insurgents. Thus, the very permissibility of waging such wars, which are necessary to end some of the most tyrannical regimes we are familiar with, often depends on military intervention being permissible. In this respect, the permissibility of intervention becomes a precondition of the permissibility of rebellion against tyranny. The latter might not be permissible if the former is not. On the other hand, intervention tends to significantly increase the length of revolutions and civil wars.1 This is partly for the obvious reason that when intervention takes place weapons take longer to run out, and partly because intervening parties tend to feel the costs of these wars (both economic and human) less than locals, and thus have less of an incentive to end hostilities. Indeed, their interest is often to escalate the conflict when the side they support faces defeat (as in the Syrian case).</div><br /> <b>D. G. Mayo's blog: <a href="">S. Senn: Personal perils: are numbers needed to treat misleading us as to the scope for personalised medicine? (Guest Post)</a></b> (html, 1935 words)<br /> <div>Personal perils: are numbers needed to treat misleading us as to the scope for personalised medicine? A common misinterpretation of Numbers Needed to Treat is causing confusion about the scope for personalised medicine. &hellip;</div><br />