What is it to be mentally healthy? In the ongoing movement to promote mental health, to reduce stigma and to establish parity between mental and physical health, there is a clear enthusiasm about this concept and a recognition of its value in human life. However, it is often unclear what mental health means in all these efforts and whether there is a single concept underlying them. Sometimes the initiatives for the sake of mental health are aimed just at reducing mental illness, thus implicitly identifying mental health with the absence of diagnosable psychiatric disease. More ambitiously, there are high-profile proposals to adopt a positive definition, identifying mental health with psychic or even overall wellbeing. We argue against both: a definition of mental health as mere absence of mental illness is too thin, too undemanding, and too closely linked to psychiatric value judgments, while the definition in terms of wellbeing is too demanding and potentially oppressive. As a compromise we sketch out a middle position. On this view mental health is a primary good, that is the psychological preconditions of pursuing any conception of the good life, including wellbeing, without being identical to wellbeing.
Albert Einstein (1879–1955) is well known as the most prominent
physicist of the twentieth century. His contributions to
twentieth-century philosophy of science, though of comparable
importance, are less well known. Einstein’s own philosophy of science
is an original synthesis of elements drawn from sources as diverse as
neo-Kantianism, conventionalism, and logical empiricism, its
distinctive feature being its novel blending of realism with a holist,
underdeterminationist form of conventionalism. Of special note is the
manner in which Einstein’s philosophical thinking was driven by and
contributed to the solution of problems first encountered in his work
Joane Petrizi (12th century)—the most significant Georgian
medieval philosopher—devoted intensive work to neo-Platonic
philosophy. He translated Nemesius of Emesa’s On the Nature of
Man into Georgian, a work which in that day attracted considerable
attention. Of particular importance is his Georgian translation of
Proclus’s Elementatio theologica, to which he also wrote a
step-by-step commentary. Petrizi’s commentary on the Elementatio
theologica represents a significant effort at reception inasmuch
as the Georgian philosopher interprets the work immanently, that is, on
the basis of Proclus’s philosophy itself.
Consider the following pairs of properties. (As is common in the
literature on this topic, this entry will use the words
‘property’ and ‘relation’ interchangeably. Properties in the usual sense are distinguished as
“monadic”, and relations in the usual sense as
“polyadic”.) Column 1
being a triangle
being a three-to-five sided figure none of whose sides is more
than one-and-a-half times as long as any other
intersecting at an angle of 90 degrees
intersecting at an angle of 87 degrees
being electrically charged
being negatively charged and not part of a fish
being composed entirely of carbon dioxide molecules
being a cappucino
being grue (Goodman
either green and observed before a certain time \(t\) or blue and not
observed before \(t\).
It is widely thought that there is an important argument to be made that starts with premises taken from the science of physics and ends with the conclusion of physicalism. Maybe the argument isn’t decisive, and maybe physics isn’t univocal on the topic. Still, surely there is some sort of physicsbased argument for physicalism to be made. My question in what follows is, just how should this argument go?
Semantic universals are properties of meaning shared by the languages of the world. We offer an explanation of the presence of such universals by measuring simplicity in terms of ease of learning, showing that expressions satisfying universals are simpler than those that do not according to this criterion. We measure ease of learning using tools from machine learning and analyze universals in a domain of function words (quantifiers) and content words (color terms). Our results provide strong evidence that semantic universals across both function and content words reflect simplicity as measured by ease of learning.
This is a work in analytic metaphysics, which addresses a cluster of interrelated issues at the interface of mereology and persistence over time. In particular, it outlines a defence of a version of Endurance Theory according to which every enduring object is either a mereo-logical simple or a mere sum of mereological simples. It includes, among other things, a proposal of a new way of framing the debate between Endurance Theory and Four-Dimensionalism, a defence of Endurance Theory over Four-Dimensionalism, arguments against the existence of compound substances, and a defence of a traditional metaphysical atom-ism according to which all objects are ultimately made up of microscopic simples.
In Material Beings, Peter van Inwagen argues that his view that there are no complex artifacts does not contradict (nearly?) universal human belief. The argument is based on his view that the propositions expressed by ordinary statements like “There are three valuable chairs in this room” do not entail the negation of the Radical Claim that there are no artifacts, for such a proposition does not entail that there exist chairs. …
There is a salient contrast in how theoretical representations are regarded. Some are regarded as revealing the nature of what they represent, as in familiar cases of theoretical identification in physical chemistry where water is represented as hydrogen hydroxide and gold is represented as the element with atomic number 79. Other theoretical representations are regarded as serving other explanatory aims without being taken individually to reveal the nature of what they represent, as in the representation of gold as a standard for pre-20th century monetary systems in economics or the representation of the meaning of an English sentence as a function from possible worlds to truth values in truth-conditional semantics. Call the first attitude towards a theoretical representation realist and the second attitude instrumentalist. Philosophical explanation purports to reveal the nature of whatever falls within its purview, so it would appear that a realist attitude towards its representations is a natural default. I offer reasons for skepticism about such default realism that emerge from attending to several case studies of philosophical explanation and drawing a general metaphilosophical moral from the foregoing discussion.
In Principia Ethica, G. E. Moore (1903) argued that goodness is a “non-natural” property and thereby sparked the so-called “naturalism vs. non-naturalism” debate in metaethics. This debate is still live, but unwell, today because, while much ink has been spilled defending both sides, there is a lack of consensus amongst parties to the debate (even within their own camps) about what exactly it would mean for normative properties to be non-natural in the first place. In fact, most naturalists and non-naturalists simply stipulate what they take “non-naturalism” to mean, rather than get bogged down in the tricky taxonomical question of what is the best way to characterize the view. For example, Jackson (1998), Shafer-Landau (2003), and Parfit (2011) stipulate that they take non-naturalism to be the view that some normative properties are not identical to descriptive properties, while Schroeder (2007), Chang (2013), Scanlon (2014), and Dunaway (2016) take non-naturalism to be the view that some normative facts are not fully grounded in – i.e. metaphysically explained by – non-normative facts.
This week, I’m blogging about my new book, The Epistemic Role of Consciousness (Oxford University Press, September 2019). Thanks to John Schwenkler for hosting me. Today, I’ll start by situating the project of the book within a broader landscape in the philosophy of mind.What is the role of phenomenal consciousness in our mental
Traditional oppositions are at least two-dimensional in the sense that they are built based on a famous bidimensional object called square of oppositions and on one of its extensions such as Blanche’s hexagon. Instead of two-dimensional objects, this article proposes a construction to deal with oppositions in a one-dimensional line segment.
In ‘Essence and Modality ’, Kit Fine (1994) proposes that for a proposition to be metaphysically necessary is for it to be true in virtue of the nature of all objects. Call this view Fine’s Thesis. This paper is a study of Fine’s Thesis in the context of Fine’s logic of essence (LE). Fine himself has offered his most elaborate defence of the thesis in the context of LE. His defence rests on the widely shared assumption that metaphysical necessity obeys the laws of the modal logic S5. In order to get S5 for metaphysical necessity, he assumes a controversial principle about the nature of all objects. I will show that the addition of this principle to his original system E5 leads to inconsistency with an independently plausible principle about essence. In response, I develop a theory that avoids this inconsistency while allowing us to maintain S5 for metaphysical necessity. However, I conclude that our investigation of Fine’s Thesis in the context of LE motivates the revisionary conclusion that metaphysical necessity obeys the principles of the modal logic S4, but not those of S5. I argue that this constitutes a distinctively essentialist challenge to the received view that the logic of metaphysical necessity is S5.
Too much of the contemporary ontological imagination is guided by the idea that the fundamental physical stuff in the world is discrete particles. Yet this is clearly dubious, since quantum mechanics (on non-Bohmian interpretations) suggests that the world is full of superpositions of states with different numbers of particles, while if discrete particles really exist, there had better be a well-defined number of them. …
The mathematical nature of modern physics suggests that mathematics is bound to play some role in explaining physical reality. Yet, there is an ongoing controversy about the prospects of mathematical explanations of physical facts and their nature. A common view has it that mathematics provides a rich and indispensable language for representing physical reality but that, ontologically, physical facts are not mathematical and, accordingly, mathematical facts cannot really explain physical facts. In what follows, I challenge this common view. I argue that, in addition to its representational role, in modern physics mathematics is constitutive of the physical. Granted the mathematical constitution of the physical, I propose an account of explanation in which mathematical frameworks, structures, and facts explain physical facts. In this account, mathematical explanations of physical facts are either species of physical explanations of physical facts in which the mathematical constitution of some physical facts in the explanans are highlighted, or simply explanations in which the mathematical constitution of physical facts are highlighted. In highlighting the mathematical constitution of physical facts, mathematical explanations of physical facts deepen and increase the scope of the understanding of the explained physical facts. I argue that, unlike other accounts of mathematical explanations of physical facts, the proposed account is not subject to the objection that mathematics only represents the physical facts that actually do the explanation. I conclude by briefly considering the implications that the mathematical constitution of the physical has for the question of the unreasonable effectiveness of the use of mathematics in physics.
Must a theory of quantum gravity have some truth to it if it can recover general relativity in some limit of the theory? This paper answers this question in the negative by indicating that general relativity is multiply realizable in quantum gravity. The argument is inspired by spacetime functionalism – multiple realizability being a central tenet of functionalism – and proceeds via three case studies: induced gravity, thermodynamic gravity, and entanglement gravity. In these, general relativity in the form of the Einstein field equations can be recovered from elements that are either manifestly multiply realizable or at least of the generic nature that is suggestive of functions. If general relativity, as argued here, can inherit this multiple realizability, then a theory of quantum gravity can recover general relativity while being completely wrong about the posited microstructure. As a consequence, the recovery of general relativity cannot serve as the ultimate arbiter that decides which theory of quantum gravity that is worthy of pursuit, even though it is of course not irrelevant either qua quantum gravity. Thus, the recovery of general relativity in string theory, for instance, does not guarantee that the stringy account of the world is on the right track; despite sentiments to the contrary among string theorists.
My topic is concept empiricism and its historical antecedents. Concept empiricism, like all other forms of empiricism, grants a special and central role to experience. But concept empiricism should be distinguished from empiricism in epistemology and philosophy of science, which claim experience has central role in accounting for the justification of our beliefs and the nature of our scientific theories. Concept empiricism, on the other hand, is an empiricist thesis in the philosophy of mind, a thesis which claims that the capacity for thought depends on perception. More specifically, it is a claim about concepts, which are the constituents of thoughts and that in virtue of which thoughts have their content. Concept empiricism claims that all concepts derive in some sense from perceptual experience. The view is well-expressed by the Medieval slogan ‘nihil est in intellectu quod non prius fuerit in sensu’; ‘there is nothing in the intellect which was not first in the senses’.
Metaphysicians typically distinguish sharply between grounding and causation, and philosophers of science typically distinguish sharply between causal and non-causal explanation, but there has been surprisingly little discussion of how exactly to draw these distinctions. In this paper I argue that six of the most obvious criteria fail to capture the intended distinction between causation and grounding. I propose and defend an alternative criterion in terms of the principles mediating the dependency, and I explore some of the implications of this criterion for the possibility of simultaneous causation in physics.
Contrary to widely shared opinion in analytic metaphysics, E.J. Lowe argues against the existence of relations in his posthumously published paper There are probably no relations (2016). In this article, I assess Lowe’s eliminativist strategy, which aims to show that all contingent “relational facts” have a monadic foundation in modes characterizing objects. Second, I present two difficult ontological problems supporting eliminativism about relations. Against eliminativism, metaphysicians of science have argued that relations might well be needed in the best a posteriori motivated account of the structure of reality. Finally, I argue that, by analyzing relational inherence, trope theory offers us a completely new approach to relational entities and avoids the hard problems motivating eliminativism.
A basic way of evaluating metaphysical theories is to ask whether they give satisfying (not necessarily truthful!) answers to the questions they set out to resolve. I propose an account of “third-order” virtue that tells us what it takes for certain kinds of metaphysical theories to do so. We should think of these theories as recipes. I identify three good-making features of recipes and show that they translate to third-order theoretical virtues. I apply the view to two theories— mereological universalism and plenitudinous platonism—and draw out their third-order virtues and vices. One lesson is that there is an important difference between essentially and non-essentially third-order vicious theories. I also argue that if a theory is essentially third-order vicious, it cannot be assessed for more standard “second-order” theoretical virtues and vices, like parsimony. This motivates the idea that third-order virtues are distinct from second-order ones. Finally, I suggest that the relationship between truth, progress, and third-order virtue is more complex than it seems.
The aim of this paper is to investigate counterfactual logic and its implications for the modal status of mathematical claims. It is most directly a response to an ambitious program by Yli-Vakkuri and Hawthorne (2018), who seek to establish that mathematics is committed to its own necessity. I claim that their argument fails to establish this result for two reasons. First, the system of counterfactual logic they develop is provably equivalent to appending Deduction Theorem to a T modal logic. It is neither new nor surprising that the combination of T with Deduction Theorem results in necessitation; this has been widely known since the formalization of modal logic in the 1960’s. Indeed, it is precisely for this reason that Deduction Theorem is almost universally rejected in modal contexts. Absent a reason to accept Deduction Theorem in this case, we remain without a compelling argument for the necessity of mathematics. Second, their assumptions force our hand on controversial debates within counterfactual logic. In particular, they license counterfactual strengthening— the inference from ‘If A were true then C would be true’ to ‘If A and B were true then C would be true’—which many reject. Many philosophers are thus unable to avail themselves of this result.
Any philosophy of mathematics deserving the name “logicism” must hold that mathematical truths are in some sense logical truths. Today, a typical characterization of a logical truth is one that remains true under all (re)interpretations of its non-logical vocabulary. Put a bit crudely, this means that something can be a logical truth only if all other statements of the same form are also true. “Fa ⊃ (Rab ⊃ Fa)” can be a logical truth because not only it, but all propositions of the form “p ⊃ (q ⊃ p)” are true. It does not matter what “F”, “R”, “a” and “b” mean, or what specific features the objects meant have. Applying this conception of a logical truth in the context of logicism seems to present an obstacle. “Five is prime”, at least on the surface, is a simple subject-predicate assertion, and obviously, not all subject-predicate assertions are true. How, then could this be a logical truth? Similarly, “7 > 5” asserts a binary relation, but obviously not all binary relations hold. In what follows, I shall call this the logical form problem for logicism.
The conservation of energy and momentum have been viewed as undermining Cartesian mental causation since the 1690s. Modern discussions of the topic tend to use mid-19th century physics, neglecting both locality and Noether’s theorem and its converse. The relevance of General Relativity (GR) has rarely been considered. But a few authors have proposed that the non-localizability of gravitational energy and consequent lack of physically meaningful local conservation laws answers the conservation objection to mental causation: conservation already fails in GR, so there is nothing for minds to violate.
The success of science, especially physics, is often invoked as contrasting with the degeneration of world-views involving immaterial persons. A popular question from the 17th century to the 21st is how human minds/souls could interact with bodies in light of physical conservation laws. Leibniz invented this objection and wielded it to motivate his novel non-interactionist dualism, pre-established harmony. A historical treatment of how this objection has been made over the centuries vis-a-vis the growth of knowledge of physics and logical persuasiveness is desirable. Given the massive amount of material, selectivity is necessary. This paper covers the period until Euler. While physics has of course advanced subsequently, most of these advances are either irrelevant or perhaps even harmful to Leibniz’s objection (except General Relativity). Many of the most important advances, such as the connection between symmetries and conservation laws (known to Lagrange in the early 19th century), were in any case unknown to philosophers. The 18th century debate involved leading figures in an era when physics and philosophy were less separated. Thus the 18th century debate, normatively construed, is instructive for today.
Iamblichus (ca. 242–ca. 325) was a Syrian Neoplatonist and
disciple of Porphyry of Tyre, the editor of Plotinus’ works. One
of the three major representatives of early Neoplatonism (the third
one being Plotinus himself), he exerted considerable influence among
later philosophers belonging to the same tradition, such as Proclus,
Damascius, and Simplicius. His work as a Pagan theologian and exegete
earned him high praise and made a decisive contribution to the
transformation of Plotinian metaphysics into the full-fledged system
of the fifth-century school of Athens, at that time the major school
of philosophy, along with the one in Alexandria.
D.M.Armstrong’s A Materialist Theory of the Mind is a prime source of many ideas that are still widely discussed in contemporary philosophy of mind (see Armstrong 1968). Among these are: • The causal or functionalist analysis of belief as a state apt to cause a certain sort of behavior; and the correlative analysis of a purpose (i.e., an intention or desire) as an information sensitive mental cause; • The analysis of perception in terms of belief: perception as the getting of belief about one’s immediate surroundings; • The analysis of other mental states in terms of perception, and so ultimately in terms of belief: sensation as a sort of perception of one’s own body, introspection a sort of perception of one’s own mind; • The analysis of a conscious mental state as a state that is the target of a certain sort of introspection, or inner perception; and • The distinctive two-premise argument for the identity of mental states with physical states of the central nervous system. The first premise of the argument, which follows from his causal analysis, is that mental states are states apt to produce a certain sort of behaviour. The second, empirical, premise is that c- fibers firing and other neurophysiological states are in fact states apt to produce that sort of behaviour. The conclusion is that mental states are physical states.
Many philosophers think truthmaker theory offers a correspondence theory of truth. Despite the similarities, however, this identification cannot be correct. Truthmaker theory offers no theory of truth, nor can it be employed to offer an acceptable substantive theory of truth. Instead, truthmaker theory takes truth for granted. Though truthmaker theory is not a correspondence theory, it shares with it the same motivational basis—that truth is worldly—and better accounts for what is pre-theoretically compelling about correspondence theories. As a result, those at all attracted to correspondence theory (including many deflationists) should reject it and accept truthmaker theory instead.
We compare the notions of genericity and arbitrariness on the basis of the realist import of the method of forcing. We argue that Cohen’s Theorem, similarly to Cantor’s Theorem, can be considered a meta-theoretical argument in favor of the existence of uncountable collections. Then we discuss the effects of this meta-theoretical perspective on Skolem’s Paradox. We conclude discussing how the connection between arbitrariness and genericity can offer arguments in favor of Forcing Axioms.
There is a strong philosophical intuition that direct study of the brain can and will constrain the development of psychological theory. When this intuition is tested against case studies on the neurophysiology and psychology of perception and memory, it turns out that psychology has led the way toward knowledge of neurophysiology. An abstract argument is developed to show that psychology can and must lead the way in neuro— scientific study of mental function. The opposing intuition is based on mainly weak arguments about the fundamentality or objectivity of physics or physiology in relation to psychology.
J. N. Findlay was a twentieth century South African philosopher who
taught at universities in South Africa, New Zealand, England, and
North America. He was respected for his analytical abilities, and is
credited by Arthur Prior with being the founder of tense logic. In the
philosophy of mind and language, he maintained the tradition of
Brentano, Meinong, and Husserl against the contrary tradition of
Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein. In a series of Gifford lectures, he
argued for a mystical metaphysics that was very much influenced by
Plotinus and by Hindu and Buddhist scriptures. The abbreviations for citations to books are listed at the beginning
of the Bibliography.