1. 49472.929175
    In this series of posts, I will raise some issues for the logical pluralism of Beall & Restall (hereafter 'B&R') - a much-discussed, topic-revivifying view in the philosophy of logic. My study of their view was prompted by Mark Colyvan, whose course on Philosophy of Logic at Sydney Uni I'm helping to teach this year. …
    Found 13 hours, 44 minutes ago on Tristan Haze's blog
  2. 279094.929239
    One of the central philosophical debates prompted by general relativity concerns the status of the metric field. A number of philosophers have argued that the metric field should no longer be regarded as part of the background arena in which physical fields evolve; it should be regarded as a physical field itself. Earman and Norton write, for example, that the metric tensor in general relativity ‘incorporates the gravitational field and thus, like other physical fields, carries energy and momentum’.1 Indeed, they baldly claim that according to general relativity ‘geometric structures, such as the metric tensor, are clearly physical fields in spacetime’.2 On such a view, spacetime itself— considered independently of matter—has no metrical properties, and the mathematical object that best represents spacetime is a bare topological manifold. As Rovelli puts the idea: ‘the metric/gravitational field has acquired most, if not all, the attributes that have characterized matter (as opposed to spacetime) from Descartes to Feynman...
    Found 3 days, 5 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  3. 394508.929256
    Within the context of the Quine-Putnam indispensability argument, one discussion about the status of mathematics is concerned with the ‘Enhanced Indispensability Argument’, which makes explicit in what way mathematics is supposed to be indispensable in science, namely explanatory. If there are genuine mathematical explanations of empirical phenomena, an argument for mathematical platonism could be extracted by using inference to the best explanation. The best explanation of the primeness of the life cycles of Periodical Cicadas is genuinely mathematical, according to Baker (2005, 2009). Furthermore, the result is then also used to strengthen the platonist position (e.g. Baker 2017a). We pick up the circularity problem brought up by Leng (2005) and Bangu (2008). We will argue that Baker’s attempt to solve this problem fails, if Hume’s Principle is analytic. We will also provide the opponent of the Enhanced Indispensability Argument with the so-called ‘interpretability strategy’, which can be used to come up with alternative explanations in case Hume’s Principle is non-analytic.
    Found 4 days, 13 hours ago on PhilSci Archive
  4. 789091.92927
    The combination of panpsychism and priority monism leads to priority cosmopsychism, the view that the consciousness of individual sentient creatures is derivative of an underlying cosmic consciousness. It has been suggested that contemporary priority cosmopsychism parallels central ideas in the Advaita Vedānta tradition. The paper offers a critical evaluation of this claim. It argues that the Advaitic account of consciousness cannot be characterized as an instance of priority cosmopsychism, points out the differences between the two views, and suggests an alternative positioning of the Advaitic canon within the contemporary debate on monism and panpsychism.
    Found 1 week, 2 days ago on PhilPapers
  5. 923658.929283
    My grad student Christian Williams and I finished this paper just in time for him to talk about it at SYCO: • John Baez and Christian Williams, Enriched Lawvere theories for operational semantics. Abstract. …
    Found 1 week, 3 days ago on Azimuth
  6. 1010565.929296
    We demonstrate how deep and shallow embeddings of functional programs can coexist in the Coq proof assistant using meta-programming facilities of MetaCoq. While deep embeddings are useful for proving meta-theoretical properties of a language, shallow embeddings allow for reasoning about the functional correctness of programs.
    Found 1 week, 4 days ago on Bas Spitters's site
  7. 1038049.929309
    Sometimes theists wonder how God’s beliefs track particular portions of reality, e.g. contingent states of affairs, or facts regarding future free actions. In this article I sketch a general model for how God’s beliefs track reality. God’s beliefs track reality in much the same way that propositions track reality, namely via grounding. Just as the truth values of true propositions are generally or always grounded in their truthmakers, so too God’s true beliefs are grounded in the subject matters of those beliefs (i.e. God believes that p in virtue of the fact that p). This is not idle speculation, since my proposal allows the theist to account for God’s true beliefs regarding causally inert portions of reality.
    Found 1 week, 5 days ago on Andrew Brenner's site
  8. 1210804.929328
    Absolutism about mass within Newtonian Gravity claims that mass ratios obtain in virtue of absolute masses. Comparativism denies this. Defenders of comparativism promise to recover all the empirical and theoretical virtues of absolutism, but at a lower ‘metaphysical cost’. This paper develops a Machian form of comparativism about mass in Newtonian Gravity, obtained by replacing Newton’s constant in the law of Universal Gravitation by another constant divided by the sum over all masses. Although this form of comparativism is indeed empirically equivalent to the absolutist version of Newtonian Gravity—thereby meeting the challenge posed by the comparativist’s bucket argument—it is argued that the explanatory power and metaphysical parsimony of comparativism (and especially its Machian form) are highly questionable.
    Found 2 weeks ago on PhilSci Archive
  9. 1273660.929344
    In this paper, I develop and defend a new adverbial theory of perception. I first present a semantics for direct-object perceptual reports that treats their object-positions as supplying adverbial modifiers, and I show how this semantics definitively solves the many-property problem for adverbialism. My solution is distinctive in that it articulates adverbialism from within a well-established formal semantic framework and ties adverbialism to a plausible semantics for perceptual reports in English. I then go on to present adverbialism as a theory of the metaphysics of perception. The metaphysics I develop treats adverbial perception as a directed activity: it is an activity with success conditions. When perception is successful, the agent bears a relation to a concrete particular, but perception need not be successful; this allows perception to be fundamentally non-relational. The result is a novel formulation of adverbialism that eliminates the need for representational contents, but also treats successful and unsuccessful perceptual events as having a fundamental common factor.
    Found 2 weeks ago on PhilPapers
  10. 1339302.929357
    According to rationalists, synthetic a priori propositions convey new knowledge, whereas analytic propositions are non-informative or vacuous conceptual truths. However, as we argue in this article, each a priori proposition is necessarily true because of its semantic constituents and the way they are combined, and hence can be transformed into its equivalent analytic form. So each synthetic a priori proposition conveys only non-informative conceptual truths like analytic propositions.
    Found 2 weeks, 1 day ago on PhilSci Archive
  11. 1390228.929373
    What are restaurants, and what is their relationship to the buildings they occupy? I will explore two puzzles that arise when trying to answer these questions. The first puzzle is that, while there is good reason to think that restaurants are constituted by the buildings they occupy, there also is good reason to think that they can exist without being constituted by anything and that nothing that’s constituted can ever become unconstituted. The second is that, while there is good reason to think that restaurants are material objects, there also is good reason to think that they exhibit a certain kind of mind-dependence that no material object can have.
    Found 2 weeks, 2 days ago on PhilPapers
  12. 1390267.929386
    I maintain that intrinsic value is the fundamental concept of axiology. Many contemporary philosophers disagree; they say the proper object of value theory is final value. I examine three accounts of the nature of final value: the first claims that final value is non-instrumental value; the second claims that final value is the value a thing has as an end; the third claims that final value is ultimate or non-derivative value. In each case, I argue that the concept of final value described is either identical with the classical notion of intrinsic value or is not a plausible candidate for the primary concept of axiology.
    Found 2 weeks, 2 days ago on PhilPapers
  13. 1676126.9294
    Metaphysical orthodoxy holds that a privileged minority of properties carve reality at its joints. These are the so-called fundamental properties. This thesis concerns the contemporary philosophical debate about the nature of fundamental properties. In particular, it aims to answer two questions: (1) What is the most adequate conception of fundamental properties? (2) What is the “big picture” world-view that emerges by adopting such a conception? I argue that a satisfactory answer to both questions requires us to embrace a novel conception of powerful qualities, according to which properties are at once dispositional and qualitative. By adopting the proposed conception of powerful qualities, an original theory of fundamental properties comes to light. I call it Dual-Aspect Account. In this thesis, I defend the Dual-Aspect Account and its superiority with respect to rival views of fundamental properties. I illustrate this claim by examining Dispositionalism, the view defended among others by Alexander Bird and Stephen Mumford, Categoricalism, which has been advocated notably by David Lewis and David Armstrong, and the Identity Theory of powerful qualities, primarily championed by C. B. Martin and John Heil. The latter is the standard conception of powerful qualities. However, in the literature, the Identity Theory faces the charge of contradiction. A preliminary task is therefore to show that a conception of powerful qualities is coherent. To accomplish this aim, I introduce the notion of an aspect of a property. On this interpretation, powerful qualities can be thought of as having dispositional and qualitative aspects. I show that such a conception allows us to disambiguate the claim that a property’s dispositionality is identical with its qualitativity, and evade the charge of contradiction. Aspects bring us other theoretical benefits. I illustrate this claim by showing how the Dual-Aspect Account offers us a promising theory of resemblance. I then compare its merits with David Armstrong’s theory of partial identity. The conclusion of this thesis is that the Dual-Aspect Account is better suited to capturing the world as we find it in everyday life and scientific investigation as compared to the theoretical positions examined.
    Found 2 weeks, 5 days ago on PhilPapers
  14. 1676156.929427
    The problem of synthetic judgements touches on the question of whether philosophy can draw independent statements about reality in the first place. For Kant, the synthetic judgements a priori formulate the conditions of the possibility for objectively valid knowledge. Despite the principle fallibility of its statements, modern science aims for objective knowledge. This gives the topic of synthetic a priori unbroken currency. This paper aims to show that a modernized version of transcendental philosophy, if it is to be feasible at all, must “bid farewell” to the concept of being “free of empiricism” or the “purity” of the a priori. Approaches to this end can already been found in Kant’s reflections on non-pure synthetic knowledge. Moreover, the a priori validity of knowledge does not exclude the possibility that it can be discovered empirically. In keeping with Kant, Fries and Nelson anticipated this separation (usually first attributed to Reichenbach) between the validity and discovery context of knowledge and pointed out that the a priori could be discovered empirically, but never proven.
    Found 2 weeks, 5 days ago on PhilPapers
  15. 2034271.92945
    The hole argument purports to show that all spacetime theories of a certain form are in-deterministic, including the General Theory of Relativity. The argument has given rise to an industry of searching for a metaphysics of spacetime that delivers the right modal implications to rescue determinism. In this paper, I first argue that certain prominent extant replies to the hole argument—namely, those that appeal to an essentialist doctrine about spacetime—fail to deliver the requisite modal implications. As part of my argument, I show that threats to determinism of the sort brought out by the hole argument are more general than has heretofore been recognized. I then use these results to propose a novel essentialist doctrine about spacetime that successfully rescues determinism, what I call sufficiency metric essentialism. However, I go on to argue that once we realize what an essentialist doctrine about spacetime must look like in order to address the hole argument, we should reject all such doctrines, because they can’t fulfill their ambition of improving on standard modal replies to the argument. I close by suggesting some lessons for future work on spacetime and the metaphysics of physics more broadly, and also drawing some general morals for contemporary metaphysics, in particular about (i) whether essence can be used to articulate a precise structuralist doctrine, and (ii) the relationship between essence and modality. Call a proposition qualitative just in case it’s not about any particular objects; call all other propositions haecceitistic (I’ll also call these non-qualitative propositions). For example, the proposition that someone is sitting is qualitative, whereas the proposition that Larry is sitting is haecceitistic. Call a property F qualitative just in case the proposition that something has F is qualitative; call all other properties haecceitistic or non-qualitative.
    Found 3 weeks, 2 days ago on PhilPapers
  16. 2070337.929464
    At the boundaries of metaphysics and natural philosophy lies a fascinating medieval dispute over the way qualitative change takes place. Although modern philosophy has had little to say about this issue, anyone who needs properties or dispositions to do serious explanatory work should attend to how such qualitative features of reality intensify and diminish. For now, the most sophisticated such accounts are to be found in the later Middle Ages.
    Found 3 weeks, 2 days ago on Robert Pasnau's site
  17. 2073748.929478
    Yesterday, I was rereading Philip Pettit's 2018 article "Consciousness Incorporated". Due to some vocabulary mismatch, I find his exact commitments on group phenomenal consciousness not entirely clear [note 1]. …
    Found 3 weeks, 3 days ago on The Splintered Mind
  18. 2141419.929493
    Philosophers in the seventeenth century engaged in a range of debates about modality, including its nature (what it is for something to be necessary, possible, or impossible), scope (what is necessary, possible, or impossible), and knowability (how, if at all, we can know modal facts). They also debated the explanation or ground of modality: that in virtue of which something is necessary, possible, or impossible. My interest in this essay is to explore this latter debate, and to tentatively defend two theses about it.
    Found 3 weeks, 3 days ago on Anat Schechtman's site
  19. 2333541.929513
    In ‘Essence and Modality’, Kit Fine proposes that instead of explaining the notion of essence in terms of metaphysical necessity, we should understand metaphysical necessity as a special case of essence: For each class of objects, be they concepts or individuals or entities of some other kind, will give rise to its own domain of necessary truths, the truths which flow from the nature of the objects in question. The metaphysically necessary truths can then be identified with the propositions which are true in virtue of the nature of all objects whatever. (Fine, 1994, p.9) Call the view that for a proposition to be metaphysically necessary is for it to be true in virtue of the nature of all objects whatsoever Fine’s Thesis.
    Found 3 weeks, 6 days ago on Andreas Ditter's site
  20. 2412495.929531
    According to a certain kind of naïve or folk understanding of physical matter, everyday ‘solid’ objects are composed of a homogeneous, gap-less substance, with sharply defined boundaries, which wholly fills the space they occupy. A further claim is that our perceptual experience of the environment represents or indicates that the objects around us conform to this sort of conception of physical matter. Were this further claim correct, it would mean that the way that the world appears to us in experience conflicts with the deliverances of our best current scientific theories in the following respect: perceptual experience would be intrinsically misleading concerning the structure of physical matter. I argue against this further claim. Experience in itself is not committed to, nor does it provide evidence for, any such conception of the nature of physical matter. The naïve/folk conception of matter in question cannot simply be ‘read-off’ from perceptual appearances.
    Found 3 weeks, 6 days ago on PhilPapers
  21. 2648478.929544
    Timothy Williamson has argued that our capacity for metaphysical modal judgement comes along with our capacity for counterfactual judgement. This passage gives a flavour of his view: Humans evolved under no pressure to do philosophy. …
    Found 1 month ago on Tristan Haze's blog
  22. 2678600.929557
    The Hole Argument can be extended to exclude everything. I will argue that there is nothing in the metaphysical commitment of a substantival manifold which makes it especially susceptible to the Hole Argument; other objects are just as susceptible to its terrors. These casualties of the hole demonstrate how critically the Hole Argument hinges on our notion of determinism and not on the diffeomorphic freedom of general relativity (GR). Just as Earman and Norton [11] argue that we should not let our metaphysics run roughshod over the structure of our physical theories, so I will argue that, in particular, we should not uncritically allow our metaphysics to dictate what our physical theories must determine. The central conviction which drives the arguments of this paper is that deterministic theories are not required to determine for future moments what they cannot determine for any present or past moments.
    Found 1 month ago on PhilSci Archive
  23. 2795035.929572
    that whenever a statement ϕ(a) in the first-order language of set theory is true in the set-theoretic universe V , then it is also true in a proper inner model W  V . A stronger principle, the ground-model reflection principle, asserts that any such ϕ(a) true in V is also true in some non-trivial ground model of the universe with respect to set forcing. These principles each express a form of width reflection in contrast to the usual height reflection of the Levy–Montague reflection theorem. They are each equiconsistent with ZFC and indeed Π2-conservative over ZFC, being forceable by class forcing while preserving any desired rank-initial segment of the universe. Furthermore, the inner-model reflection principle is a consequence of the existence of sufficient large cardinals, and lightface formulations of the reflection principles follow from the maximality principle MP and from the inner-model hypothesis IMH. We also consider some questions concerning the expressibility of the principles.
    Found 1 month ago on Neil Barton's site
  24. 3210958.929585
    When one looks at philosophical theories of perception one can see three broad classes of theoretical approaches. These are sometimes known as ‘relationalism’ and ‘representationalism’ (and ‘disjunctivism’). …
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on Richard Brown's blog
  25. 3431259.9296
    In a recent paper (Synthese, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229- 019-02101-3), Oldofredi presents a critical analysis of my mentalistic formulation of the measurement problem of quantum mechanics. Here I answer these criticisms, and explain more clearly why the formulation is helpful to understand and solve the measurement problem.
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  26. 3517893.929613
    Metametaphysics concerns foundational metaphysics. Questions of foundational metaphysics include: What is the subject matter of metaphysics? What are its aims? What is the methodology of metaphysics? Are metaphysical questions coherent? If so, are they substantive or trivial in nature? Some have claimed that the notion of grounding is useful in addressing such questions. In this chapter, we introduce some core debates about whether—and, if so, how—grounding should play a role in metametaphysics.
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on Kelly Trogdon's site
  27. 3651792.929626
    Immanuel Kant coined the term der ontologische Beweis as a name for an argument that had been invented by Descartes and had later been refined by Leibniz and the members of the Wolff–Baumgarten school. At some point in the nineteenth century, the term began also to be applied to a rather different argument that had been devised by St Anselm over five hundred years before Descartes wrote his Meditations on First Philosophy. Apparently the word Beweis was not regarded by Kant (and has not been regarded by later philosophers writing in German) as an ‘achievement term’; for Kant, there could be a Beweis that was incorrect or a failure, the Cartesio-Leibnizian argument of course being a case in point. But, although the usual English translation of Beweis is ‘proof’, Anglophone philosophers (none of whom, perhaps, believes that the Anselmian or the Cartesian arguments demonstrate their conclusions) are very strongly inclined to hear ‘proof’ as an achievement term, and, for that reason, generally prefer ‘ontological argument’ to ‘ontological proof’. The term ‘ontological argument’ has, for the last half-century or so, also been applied to various arguments that are significantly different from both those arguments, certain modal arguments that are due largely to the work of Charles Hartshorne and Alvin Plantinga. There is, therefore, no one argument that can be called the ontological argument, and it has become common to speak of ‘ontological arguments’. Even this term, however, is suspect, for it is not obvious that the arguments that are generally collectively referred to as ‘ontological arguments’ have enough in common to justify a taxonomy of argument that includes just them and excludes all other arguments for the existence of God.
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on Peter van Inwagen's site
  28. 3665197.929639
    Approaches to quantum gravity often involve the disappearance of space and time at the fundamental level. The metaphysical consequences of this disappearance are profound, as is illustrated with David Lewis’s analysis of modality. As Lewis’s possible worlds are unified by the spatiotemporal relations among their parts, the non-fundamentality of spacetime—if borne out—suggests a serious problem for his analysis: his pluriverse, for all its ontological abundance, does not contain our world. Although the mere existence—as opposed to the fundamentality—of spacetime must be recovered from the fundamental structure in order to guarantee the empirical coherence of the non-spatiotemporal fundamental theory, it does not suffice to salvage Lewis’s theory of modality from the charge of rendering our actual world impossible.
    Found 1 month, 1 week ago on PhilSci Archive
  29. 3961696.929654
    Revisionary ontologies seem to go against our common sense convictions about which material objects exist. These views face the so-called Problem of Reasonableness: they have to explain why reasonable people don’t seem to accept the true ontology. Most approaches to this problem treat the mismatch between the ontological truth and ordinary belief as superficial or not even real. By contrast, I propose what I call the “uncompromising solution”. First, I argue that our beliefs about material objects were influenced by evolutionary forces that were independent of the ontological truth. Second, I draw an analogy between the Problem of Reasonableness and the New Evil Demon Problem and argue that the revisionary ontologist can always find a positive epistemic status to characterize ordinary people’s beliefs about material objects. Finally, I address the worry that the evolutionary component of my story also threatens to undermine the best arguments for revisionary ontologies.
    Found 1 month, 2 weeks ago on PhilPapers
  30. 4001964.929669
    Timothy Williamson is mainly right, I think. He defends armchair philosophy as a variety of armchair science, like mathematics, or computer modeling in evolutionary theory, economics, statistics, and I agree that this is precisely what philosophy is, at its best: working out the assumptions and implications of any serious body of thought, helping everyone formulate the best questions to ask, and then leaving the empirical work to the other sciences. Philosophy—at its best—is to other inquiries roughly as theoretical physics is to experimental physics. You can do it in the armchair, but you need to know a lot about the phenomena with which the inquiry deals.
    Found 1 month, 2 weeks ago on Daniel Dennett's site