Lewis on magnetism: Reply to Janssen-Lauret and Macbride
Posted on Friday, 19 Jul 2019
In my 2014 paper "Against Magnetism", I
argued that the meta-semantics Lewis defended in "Putnam's Paradox" and pp.45-49
of "New Work" is (a) unattractive, (b) does not fit what Lewis wrote about
meta-semantics elsewhere, and (c) was never Lewis's considered view. …
I argue that a general logic of definitions must tolerate ω-inconsistency. I present a semantical scheme, S, under which some definitions imply ω-inconsistent sets of sentences. I draw attention to attractive features of this scheme, and I argue that S yields the minimal general logic of definitions. I conclude that any acceptable general logic should permit definitions that generate ω- inconsistency. This conclusion gains support from the application of S to the theory of truth. Keywords Circular definitions, revision theory, truth, paradox, McGee’s Theorem, omega-inconsistent theories.
Pythagoreanism is the very surprising view that “all is number”. If Pythagoreanism is true, then when Ernie asserted that a certain episode of Sesame Street was brought to you by the number three, his assertion’s bizarre implication that the episode in question was brought to you by some number or other is true. (Of course he may still have been wrong about which number.) Very surprising indeed. Could Pythagoreanism possibly be true? And why in the world would anyone believe it? Those are good questions. But in §1 I first try to get clear on what the view is. As it turns out, there are actually several views that are all reasonable ways to precisify the basic Pythagorean idea. Then, I return to the good questions. In §2 I try to understand why in the world anyone would believe at least some version of Pythagoreanism. And in §3 I try to determine whether any version of Pythagoreanism could possibly be true. Interestingly, the best objections I uncover in §3 have no application to the versions that in §2 I argue we have some reason to believe.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License <www.philosophersimprint.org/019028/> Predicate Containment. For true singular propositions, the predicate’s semantic value contains the subject’s semantic value. I’ll call this standard type of semantics logical extensionalism since it treats the truth (or falsity) of a singular proposition as if it depends on whether the predicate’s extension contains the subject’s semantic value. For ease of expression, I’ll call any variant of logical extensionalism an extensional approach.
Since each of those acts plausibly fulfils the instruction, anyone trying to say something summary about what substantial features they share has a problem. The profusion and diversity of imagination’s putative kinds, roles, and capabilities might well lead you to think that nothing interesting or important unites them. Nonetheless, much recent work implicitly shares a quite general approach to imaginative phenomena: the imitation theory, according to which imaginative experiences are imitations of other experiences, and the attitudes they involve are likewise imitations of counterpart attitudes.
of the first section of the fifty-fourth of Francisco Suárez’s Metaphysical Disputations (DM). At this point in the Metaphysical Disputations, all we know is that beings of reason are not real (DM 1.1.4–6, XXV, 3a–4a; 54, prol.1, XXVI, 1015a). So the first question of DM 54.1 is this: are there beings that are not real? At first glance this question seems absurd. If something is a being, how could it fail to be real? The first position reported by Suárez takes just this line. According to this negative position, a being of reason is made up [fictum], just as Pegasus is made up. But clearly such things do not have being: “it is a contradiction to say that there is such a being, since what is only made up [fingitur] does not have being [non est]” (DM 54.1.2, XXVI, 1015b).
One of the central debates in contemporary metaphysics is the debate about the persistence of substances through time. One of the most popular views in this debate is fourdimensionalism, according to which substances persist through time by having different temporal parts at different times.
Let me introduce to you the topic of modal model theory, injecting some ideas from modal logic into the traditional subject of model theory in mathematical logic. For example, we may consider the class of all models of some first-order theory, such as the class of all graphs, or the class of all groups, or all fields or what have you. …
On the face of it, there are two types of essentialism. We may say that such and such is essential to a kind, and we may say that such and such is essential to an individual. Thus, supposing that Travis is in fact a bachelor, being unmarried is presumably not essential to him, though unmarriedness seems to be essential to the kind BACHELOR . Qua bachelors, bachelors are essentially unmarried; Travis himself is not. But does it make sense to attribute essential properties to an individual in itself, not considered as something of this or that kind? A negative answer might have always been in the air; in print, one may think particularly of Quine and Locke. It is partly against this background that Kripke’s discussions of essential properties of individuals in the early 1970s was considered revolutionary.
Gödel's ontological proof is interpreted in a logically clear and sensible way without empirical and theological implications - rendering it mostly tautological interpretation-wise. Gödel's ontological argument thus cannot be said to prove existence of God. The real value of Gödel's ontological proof lies on the modal collapse consequence.
The paper investigates the relations between Hausdorff and non-Hausdorff manifolds as objects of General Relativity. We show that every non-Hausdorff manifold can be seen as a result of gluing together some Hausdorff manifolds. In the light of this result, we investigate a modal interpretation of a non-Hausdorff differential manifold, according to which it represents a bundle of alternative spacetimes, all of which are compatible with a given initial data set.
Roderick Milton Chisholm is widely regarded as one of the most
creative, productive, and influential American philosophers of the
20th Century. Chisholm worked in epistemology,
metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and
other areas. His work constitutes a grand philosophical system
somewhat in the manner of Leibniz or Descartes. Chisholm
continually refined — and sometimes utterly revised — his
views. He was a prolific writer. The bibliography of his
written work in [LLP] contains citations of 320 items, including
journal articles, reviews, and books. His work in epistemology
alone would probably guarantee his position as an outstanding figure in
Jacques Lefèvre d’Étaples (c. 1450–1536)
taught philosophy at the University of Paris from around 1490 to 1508,
and then applied his erudition and textual scholarship to biblical
studies and religious reform. Lefèvre traveled to Italy in
1491, 1500, and 1507. There he sought out Ermolao Barbaro, Giovanni
Pico della Mirandola, Marsilio Ficino, Angelo Poliziano, and other
famous humanists. He himself became famous for the many introductions,
commentaries, and editions relating to philosophical works he
published in Paris. These repackaged the full range of philosophical
studies, from his early interests in mathematics and natural magic, to
the entire curriculum of university logic, natural philosophy, moral
philosophy, and metaphysics.
Russellian monism is a theory in the metaphysics of mind, on which a
single set of properties underlies both consciousness and the most
basic entities posited by physics. The theory is named for Bertrand
Russell, whose views about consciousness and its place in nature were
informed by a structuralist conception of theoretical physics. On such
a structuralist conception, physics describes the world in terms of
its spatiotemporal structure and dynamics (changes within that
structure) and says nothing about what, if anything, underlies that
structure and dynamics. For example, as it is sometimes put, physics
describes what mass and charge do, e.g., how they dispose
objects to move toward or away from each other, but not what mass and
Since Leibniz’s time, Cartesian mental causation has been criticized for violating the conservation of energy and momentum. (Non-epiphenomenalist property dualism is analogous.) Many dualist responses clearly fail. But conservation laws have important neglected features generally undermining the objection. Conservation is local, holding first not for the universe, but for everywhere separately. The energy (or momentum, etc.) in any volume changes only due to what flows through the boundaries (no teleportation). Constant total energy holds if the global summing-up of local conservation laws converges; it probably doesn’t in reality. Energy (momentum) conservation holds if there is symmetry, the sameness of the laws over time (space). Thus, if there are time-places where symmetries fail due to nonphysical influence, conservation laws fail there and then, while holding elsewhere, such as refrigerators and stars. Noether’s converse first theorem shows that conservation laws imply symmetries. Thus conservation trivially nearly entails the causal closure of the physical. But expecting conservation to hold in the brain (without looking) simply assumes the falsehood of Cartesianism. Hence Leibniz’s objection begs the question. Empirical neuroscience is another matter. So is Einstein’s General Relativity: far from providing a loophole, General Relativity makes mental causation harder.
Call the explanation of one mathematical fact by another an intra-mathematical explanation. To date, there has been a tendency to approach the topic of intra-mathematical explanation by investigating the distinction between explanatory and non-explanatory proofs (see, for instance, [14; 22; 31]). This is very natural since it is widely acknowledged that some proofs are explanatory while others are not [16, p. 879]. Still, focussing exclusively on proofs as the only locus of explanation in mathematics is a mistake [15; 24]. That would be to prejudice the question of where explanations in mathematics are to be found.
Philosophers are approaching a consensus that biological individuality, including evolutionary individuality, comes in degrees. Graded evolutionary individuality presents a puzzle when juxtaposed with another widely embraced view: that evolutionary individuality follows from being a selectable member of a Darwinian population. Population membership is, on the orthodox view, a bivalent condition, so how can members of Darwinian populations vary in their degree of individuality? This article offers a solution to the puzzle, by locating difference in degree of evolutionary individuality at the level of population lineages, some of which are more Darwinian than others. In doing so, it sheds light on graded individuality in overlapping and nested population lineages, such as those that arise in multilevel selection and symbiotic collectives.
Lewis’s epistemology, along with his philosophy of mind and philosophy of language, leaves no room for enquiry into non-contingent matters. Yet much of Lewis’s metaphysics seems to be engaged in precisely this kind of enquiry. What did Lewis think he was doing? And whatever he thought, how can we make sense of what he was doing? More broadly still, how should we think of metaphysical enquiry if we like the kind of epistemology Lewis defended? These are the questions I want to tackle. I’ll begin by reviewing Lewis’s epistemology. It is in many ways an empiricist epistemology, of the kind that made other philosophers skeptical or hostile towards metaphysics. Yet Lewis was neither skeptical nor hostile towards metaphysics. I’ll discuss two ways of resolving this tension (without abandoning the empiricist epistemology); then I’ll talk about what difference the resulting picture makes for Lewis’s philosophy.
Medieval theories of the transcendentals present an explication of
the concept of ‘being’ (ens) in terms of the
so-called ‘most common notions’ (communissima),
such as ‘one’ (unum), ‘true’
(verum), and ‘good’ (bonum), and explain
the inner relations and order between these concepts. In contrast to
early modern accounts of the transcendental, these medieval theories
regard the transcendental notions as properties of being and deal with
the transcendentals within a conception of metaphysics as a ‘real
science’ (scientia realis). The introduction of
the doctrine of the transcendentals fundamentally transformed the
medieval conception of metaphysics: it became the ‘common
science’, the ‘transcendental science’, and
‘first philosophy’ in a new sense.
What are intuitions? Stereotypical examples may suggest they are the results of common intellectual reflexes. But some intuitions defy the stereotype: there are hard-won intuitions which take deliberate effort to have, improved intuitions which contravene how matters naively seem to us, and expertly guided intuitions in which an expert in some domain guides a novice toward having an intuition he or she would not have had otherwise. I argue that reflection on these three phenomena motivates a conception of intuition that emphasizes its phenomenology over its etiology, as well as its grounding in malleable problem-solving abilities.
Most approaches to quantum gravity suggest that relativistic spacetime is not fundamental, but instead emerges from some non-spatiotemporal structure. This paper investigates the implications of this suggestion for the possibility of time travel in the sense of the existence of closed timelike curves in some relativistic spacetimes. In short, will quantum gravity reverse or strengthen general relativity’s verdict that time travel is possible?
It is commonly held that quantification requires a form of ‘individuation’ (see Kratzer, 1995, von Fintel, 2004). This note is concerned with the ontology of the plural individuals denoted by a plural noun like twins. Its main goal is to explain what type of object plural nouns like twins denote and why, and in what sense, this object qualifies as an ‘individual’. We also explain why plural nouns like squares do denote an object that qualifies as an ‘individual’.
For Knox, ‘spacetime’ is to be defined functionally, as that which picks out a structure of local inertial frames. Assuming that Knox is motivated to construct this functional definition of spacetime on the grounds that it appears to identify that structure which plays the operational role of spacetime—i.e., that structure which is actually surveyed by physical rods and clocks built from matter fields—we identify in this paper important limitations of her approach: these limitations are based upon the fact that there is a gap between inertial frame structure and that which is operationally significant in the above sense. We present five concrete cases in which these two notions come apart, before considering various ways in which Knox’s spacetime functionalism might be amended in light of these issues.
Non-symmetric relations allow for differential application. A binary relation R can hold of a and b in two different ways: . aRb and . bRa. Different states of affairs result from completing R by means of a and b, depending on the order in which a and b are combined with R. The extension of a binary non-symmetric relation is, accordingly, not to be understood in terms of a set of unordered pairs. One has to operate with a structured conception of the extension of a relation, for instance in terms of ordered pairs, that not only considers which things R relates, but also the order in which it relates them.
This chapter explores some of the relations between Quine’s and Carnap’s metaontological stances on the one hand, and contemporary work in the metaphysics of time, on the other. Contemporary metaphysics of time, like analytic metaphysics in general, grew out of the revival of the discipline that Quine’s critique of the logical empiricists (such as Carnap) made possible. At the same time, the metaphysics of time has, in some respects, strayed far from its Quinean roots. This chapter examines some likely Quinean and Carnapian reactions to elements of the contemporary scene.
In the Resolution of the Second Antinomy of the first Critique and the Dynamics chapter of the Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Sciences, Kant presents his critical views on mereology, the study of parts and wholes. He endorses an unusual position: Matter is said to be infinitely divisible without being infinitely divided. It would be mistaken to think that matter consists of infinitely many parts—rather, parts “exist only in the representation of them, hence in the dividing”. This view, according to which parts are created through division somehow, was criticized as obscure early on, and has not received much attention since. Against this trend, I show how a coherent position, which I call Mereological Conceptualism, can be extracted from the sparse textual basis. There was a time when the dispute respecting monads employed such general attention, and was conducted with so much warmth, that it forced its way into company of every description, that of the guard-room not excepted. There was scarcely a lady at court who did not take a decided part in favour of monads or against them. In a word, all conversation was engrossed by monads – no other subject could find admission.
Materialists about human persons think that we are material through and through—wholly material beings. Those who endorse materialism more widely think that everything is material through and through. But what is it to be wholly material? In this article, I answer that question. I identify and defend a definition or analysis of ‘wholly material’.
Does the sense of smell involve the perception of odor objects? General discussion of perceptual objecthood centers on three criteria: stimulus representation, perceptual constancy, and figure-ground segregation. These criteria, derived from theories of vision, have been applied to olfaction in recent philosophical debates about psychology. An inherent problem with such framing of olfactory objecthood is that philosophers explicitly ignore the constitutive factors of the sensory systems that underpin the implementation of these criteria. The biological basis of odor coding is fundamentally different from the coding principles of the visual system. This article analyzes the three measures of perceptual objecthood against the biological background of the olfactory system. It contrasts the coding principles in olfaction with the visual system to show why these criteria of objecthood fail to be instantiated in odor perception. The argument demonstrates that olfaction affords perceptual categorization without the need to form odor objects.
In light of the very interesting interview with Dave Chalmers in the Opinionator I thought I would revisit some of my objections to the notion of artificial consciousness (AC). I am somewhat of a skeptic about artificial consciousness in a way that I am not about AGI (artificial general intelligence). …
Jeffrey Brower has recently articulated a way to make sense of the doctrine of divine simplicity using resources from contemporary truthmaker theory. Noël Saenz has advanced two objections to Brower’s account, arguing that it violates constraints on adequate metaphysical explanations at various points. I argue that Saenz’s objections fail to show that Brower’s account is explanatorily inadequate.