Objects

Edited by Daniel Z. Korman (University of California at Santa Barbara)
Assistant editor: Andrew Higgins (Illinois State University)
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  1. Meinongian Merits and Maladies.Samuel Hoadley-Brill - manuscript
    According to what has long been the dominant school of thought in analytic meta-ontology––defended not only by W. V. O. Quine, but also by Bertrand Russell, Alvin Plantinga, Peter van Inwagen, and many others––the meaning of ‘there is’ is identical to the meaning of ‘there exists.’ The most (in)famous aberration from this view is advanced by Alexius Meinong, whose ontological picture has endured extensive criticism (and borderline abuse) from several subscribers to the majority view. Meinong denies the identity of being (...)
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  2. Translation and Metaphysics: A Case for Fictional Characters.Italo Lins Lemos - 2020 - Cadernos de Tradução 40 (1):110-126.
    If different translations of the same literary work have different syntaxes and semantics, how are they supposed to be about one and the same fictional character? In order to answer this question it’s necessary to (a) know what fictional characters are and (b) present reference conditions for them. Relying on Amie Thomasson’s (1999, 2003, 2007) and Saul Kripke’s (1980, 2013) works I argue that fictional characters are abstract artifacts whose reference is fixed by the baptism performed by an author; and (...)
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  3. Abstract Objects and the Core-Periphery Distinction in the Ontological and the Conceptual Domain of Natural Language.Friederike Moltmann - 2020 - In José Luis Falguera & María De La Martínez Vidal (eds.), Abstract Objects: For and Against. Springer. pp. 255-276.
    This paper elaborates distinctions between a core and a periphery in the ontological and the conceptual domain associated with natural language. The ontological core-periphery distinction is essential for natural language ontology and is the basis for the central thesis of my 2013 book Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language, namely that natural language permits reference to abstract objects in its periphery, but not its core.
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  4. Sympathy for the Scientist: Re-Calibrating a Heideggerian Critique of Metaphysics.Jonathan Morgan - manuscript
    This paper attempts to develop an ethico-aesthetic framework for enriching one's life and ethical outlook. Drawing primarily from Nietzsche, Foucault, and Heidegger, an argument is made that Heidegger's understanding of this issue was mistaken. The ontological crisis of modernity is not the overt influence of mathematics as a worldview over poetics and more traditionally aesthetic approaches. It is the rampant mis-and over-application of abstraction within one's view of the world while denying the material realities of life as we live it. (...)
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  5. Towards an Account of Epistemic Luck for Necessary Truths.James Collin - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (4):483-504.
    Modal epistemologists parse modal conditions on knowledge in terms of metaphysical possibilities or ways the world might have been. This is problematic. Understanding modal conditions on knowledge this way has made modal epistemology, as currently worked out, unable to account for epistemic luck in the case of necessary truths, and unable to characterise widely discussed issues such as the problem of religious diversity and the perceived epistemological problem with knowledge of abstract objects. Moreover, there is reason to think that this (...)
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  6. Towards a Pluralist Theory of Singular Thought.Michele Palmira - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):3947-3974.
    This paper investigates the question of how to correctly capture the scope of singular thinking. The first part of the paper identifies a scope problem for the dominant view of singular thought maintaining that, in order for a thinker to have a singular thought about an object o, the thinker has to bear a special epistemic relation to o. The scope problem has it is that this view cannot make sense of the singularity of our thoughts about objects to which (...)
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  7. Chapter 6: Reifying Terms.Friederike Moltmann - 2013 - In Abstract Objects and the Semantics of Natural Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    This chapter develops a semantics for 'reifying terms' of the sort 'the proposition that S', 'the fact that S', 'the property of being P', 'the number eight', 'the concept horse', 'the truth value true', 'the kind humane being'. This semantics is developed within the broader perspective of the ontology of natural language involving abstract objects only at its periphery, not its core.
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  8. Nominalization, Specification, and Investigation.Richard Lawrence - 2017 - Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley
    Frege famously held that numbers play the role of objects in our language and thought, and that this role is on display when we use sentences like "The number of Jupiter's moons is four". I argue that this role is an example of a general pattern that also encompasses persons, times, locations, reasons, causes, and ways of appearing or acting. These things are 'objects' simply in the sense that they are answers to questions: they are the sort of thing we (...)
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  9. Can Emotions Have Abstract Objects? The Example of Awe.Fredericks Rachel - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (3):733-746.
    Can we feel emotions about abstract objects, assuming that abstract objects exist? I argue that at least some emotions can have abstract objects as their intentional objects and discuss why this conclusion is not just trivially true. Through critical engagement with the work of Dacher Keltner and Jonathan Haidt, I devote special attention to awe, an emotion that is particularly well suited to show that some emotions can be about either concrete or abstract objects. In responding to a possible objection, (...)
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  10. Categoricity, Open-Ended Schemas and Peano Arithmetic.Adrian Ludușan - 2015 - Logos and Episteme 6 (3):313-332.
    One of the philosophical uses of Dedekind’s categoricity theorem for Peano Arithmetic is to provide support for semantic realism. To this end, the logical framework in which the proof of the theorem is conducted becomes highly significant. I examine different proposals regarding these logical frameworks and focus on the philosophical benefits of adopting open-ended schemas in contrast to second order logic as the logical medium of the proof. I investigate Pederson and Rossberg’s critique of the ontological advantages of open-ended arithmetic (...)
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  11. Abstract Entities in a Presentist World.Aldo Filomeno - 2016 - Metaphysica 17 (2):177-193.
    How can a metaphysics of abstract entities be built upon a metaphysics of time? In this paper, I address the question of how to accommodate abstract entities in a presentist world. I consider both the traditional metaontological approach of unrestricted fundamental quantification and then ontological pluralism. I argue that under the former we need to impose two constraints in the characterization of presentism in order to avoid undesired commitments to abstract entities: we have to characterize presentism as a thesis only (...)
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  12. Created and Uncreated Things.Michelle Panchuk - 2016 - International Philosophical Quarterly 56 (1):99-112.
    Theistic activism and theistic conceptual realism attempt to relieve the tension between transcendent realism about universals and a strong aseity-sovereignty doctrine. Paradoxically, both theories seem to imply that God is metaphysically prior and metaphysically posterior to his own nature. In this paper I critique one attempt to respond to this worry and offer a neo-Augustinian solution in its place. I demonstrate that Augustine’s argument for forms as ideas in the mind of God strongly suggests that only created beings need universals (...)
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  13. Modes of Being and Forms of Predication.Philippe Descola - 2015 - In Channa van Dijk, Eva van der Graaf, Michiel den Haan, Rosa de Jong, Christiaan Roodenburg, Dyane Til & Deva Waal (eds.), Under Influence - Philosophical Festival Drift (2014). Omnia. pp. 30-43.
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  14. Reconstructing Aquinas's Process of Abstraction.Liran Shia Gordon - 2018 - Heythrop Journal 59 (4):639-652.
    Aquinas’s process of abstraction of the particular thing into a universal concept is of pivotal importance for grounding his philosophy and theology in a natural framework. Much has been said and written regarding Aquinas’s doctrine of abstraction, yet recent studies still consider it to be ‘nothing more than a kind of magic.’ This problematic claim is not without foundation, for in trying to understand exactly how this process works, we are constantly faced with an unbridgeable abyss and the repeated vague (...)
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  15. Creationism and Cardinality.Daniel Nolan & Alexander Sandgren - 2014 - Analysis 74 (4):615-622.
    Creationism about fictional entities requires a principle connecting what fictions say exist with which fictional entities really exist. The most natural way of spelling out such a principle yields inconsistent verdicts about how many fictional entities are generated by certain inconsistent fictions. Avoiding inconsistency without compromising the attractions of creationism will not be easy.
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  16. Institutionen und die kategoriale Ontologie.Ludger Jansen - 2005 - In Gerhard Schönrich (ed.), Institutionen und ihre Ontologie. Ontos. pp. 45-57.
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  17. On the Type-Token Relationships.Urszula Wybraniec-Skardowska - 1986 - Bulletin of the Section of Logic 15 (4):164-168.
    The two-fold ontological character of linguistic objects revealed due to the distinction between “type” and “token” introduced by Ch. S. Peirce can be a base of the two-fold, both theoretical and axiomatic, approach to the language. Referring to some ideas included in A. A. Markov’s work [1954] (in Russian) on Theory of Algorithms and in some earlier papers of the author, the problem of formalization of the concrete and abstract words theories raised by J. Słupecki was solved. The construction of (...)
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  18. Universals: The Contemporary Debate by Fraser MacBride. [REVIEW]Rodrigo Cid - 2012 - Filosofia Unisinos 13 (3).
    O problema no qual se inserem nominalismo e realismo, diz-nos MacBride, é o de como explicar as características repetidas das coisas. Enquanto o realista nos diz que as características repetidas se explicam por serem universais, ou seja, por serem as naturezas comuns que várias coisas compartilham, o nominalista nos diz que é possível explicar essas características repetidas com apenas particulares concretos (sem universais).
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  19. The Necessary and the Possible de Michael Loux.Rodrigo Cid - 2011 - Filosofia Unisinos 12 (3).
    Neste capítulo, Loux apresenta alguns problemas com relação às modalidades e algumas das relações entre elas e o vocabulário dos mundos possíveis, expondo as duas principais posições ontológicas com relação a tais mundos e às modalidades e com relação à natureza das modalidades, a saber, o possibilismo e o actualismo, defendidos respectivamente por Lewis e Plantinga. Essas são teorias inconsistentes entre si, que intentam nos dizer se os mundos possíveis são concretos ou abstratos e se existe algo além do que (...)
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  20. The Way of Actuality.Sam Cowling - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (2):231-247.
    In this paper, I defend an indexical analysis of the abstract-concrete distinction within the framework of modal realism. This analysis holds the abstract-concrete distinction to be conceptually inseparable from the distinction between the actual and the merely possible, which is assumed to be indexical in nature. The resulting view contributes to the case for modal realism by demonstrating how its distinctive resources provide a reductive analysis of the abstract-concrete distinction. This indexical analysis also provides a solution to a sceptical problem (...)
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  21. Two Concepts of Completing an Infinite Number of Tasks.Jeremy Gwiazda - 2013 - The Reasoner 7 (6):69-70.
    In this paper, two concepts of completing an infinite number of tasks are considered. After discussing supertasks, equisupertasks are introduced. I suggest that equisupertasks are logically possible.
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  22. What Is a Singular Term?Richard Heck - manuscript
    This paper discusses the question whether it is possible to explain the notion of a singular term without invoking the notion of an object or other ontological notions. The framework here is that of Michael Dummett's discussion in Frege: Philosophy of Language. I offer an emended version of Dummett's conditions, accepting but modifying some suggestions made by Bob Hale, and defend the emended conditions against some objections due to Crispin Wright. This paper dates from about 1989. It originally formed part (...)
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  23. Truth in Fiction.Franck Lihoreau (ed.) - 2011 - Ontos Verlag.
    The essays collected in this volume are all concerned with the connection between fiction and truth. This question is of utmost importance to metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophical logic and epistemology, raising in each of these areas and at their intersections a large number of issues related to creation, existence, reference, identity, modality, belief, assertion, imagination, pretense, etc. All these topics and many more are addressed in this collection, which brings together original essays written from various points of view by (...)
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  24. Abstract Artifacts in Pretence.Sarah Sawyer - 2002 - Philosophical Papers 31 (2):183-198.
    Abstract In this paper I criticise a recent account of fictional discourse proposed by Nathan Salmon. Salmon invokes abstract artifacts as the referents of fictional names in both object- and meta-fictional discourse alike. He then invokes a theory of pretence to forge the requisite connection between object-fictional sentences and meta-fictional sentences, in virtue of which the latter can be assigned appropriate truth-values. I argue that Salmon's account of pretence renders his appeal to abstract artifacts as the referents of fictional names (...)
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  25. Fictionalia as Modal Artifacts.Jeffrey Goodman - 2010 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 80 (1):21-46.
    Th ere is much controversy surrounding the nature of the relation between fictional individuals and possible individuals. Some have argued that no fictional individual is a possible individual; others have argued that (some) fictional individuals just are (merely) possible individuals. In this paper, I off er further grounds for believing the theory of fictional individuals defended by Amie Thomasson,viz., Artifactualism, by arguing that her view best allows one to make sense of this puzzling relation. More specifically, when we realize that (...)
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  26. The Internal and the External in Linguistic Explanation.Brian Epstein - 2008 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 8 (22):77-111.
    Chomsky and others have denied the relevance of external linguistic entities, such as E-languages, to linguistic explanation, and have questioned their coherence altogether. I discuss a new approach to understanding the nature of linguistic entities, focusing in particular on making sense of the varieties of kinds of “words” that are employed in linguistic theorizing. This treatment of linguistic entities in general is applied to constructing an understanding of external linguistic entities.
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  27. Time, Causation, and Abstract Objects.Martin Lin - manuscript
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  28. Two Kinds of Universals and Two Kinds of Collections.Friederike Moltmann - 2004 - Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (6):739 - 776.
    This paper argues for an ontological distinction between two kinds of universals, 'kinds of tropes' such as 'wisdom' and properties such as 'the property of being wise'. It argues that the distinction is parallel to that between two kinds of collections, pluralities such as 'the students' and collective objects such as 'the class'. The paper argues for the priortity of distributive readings with pluralities on the basis of predicates of extent or shape, such 'large' or 'long'.
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  29. Getting Realistic About Nominalism.Mark Sharlow - manuscript
    In this paper I examine critically the relationship between the realist and nominalist views of abstract objects. I begin by pointing out some differences between the usage of existential statements in metaphysics and the usage of such statements in disciplines outside of philosophy. Then I propose an account of existence that captures the characteristic intuitions underlying the latter kind of usage. This account implies that abstract object existence claims are not as ontologically extravagant as they seem, and that such claims (...)
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  30. I Am an Abstraction, Therefore I Am.Mark Sharlow - manuscript
    In this paper I examine a new variant of the well-known idea that the self is an abstract object. I propose a simple model of the self as a property of temporal slices of a body's history. I argue that this model, when combined with even a modest realism with regard to properties, implies that the self has many of the chief features traditionally attributed to selves. I conclude that this model allows one to reconcile the full reality of the (...)
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  31. Platonizing the Abstract Self.Mark Sharlow - manuscript
    In this note I examine the two main differences between Plato's and Dennett's views of the self as an abstract object. I point out that in the presence of certain forms of ontological realism, abstract-object theories of the self are compatible with the full reality of the self. I conclude with some remarks on the relationship between ontology and ethics.
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Abstract Objects, Misc
  1. Main Questions of Metaphysics.Jani Hakkarainen - manuscript
    The handout of my talk at the Nordic Network in Metaphysics webinar on Friday 2/10/2020.
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  2. The Limits of Classical Mereology: Mixed Fusions and the Failures of Mereological Hybridism.Joshua Kelleher - 2020 - Dissertation, The University of Queensland
    In this thesis I argue against unrestricted mereological hybridism, the view that there are absolutely no constraints on wholes having parts from many different logical or ontological categories, an exemplar of which I take to be ‘mixed fusions’. These are composite entities which have parts from at least two different categories – the membered (as in classes) and the non-membered (as in individuals). As a result, mixed fusions can also be understood to represent a variety of cross-category summation such as (...)
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  3. The Metaphysics of Establishments.Daniel Z. Korman - 2020 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (3):434-448.
    I present two puzzles about the metaphysics of stores, restaurants, and other such establishments. I defend a solution to the puzzles, according to which establishments are not material objects and...
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  4. The Ontology of Words: Realism, Nominalism, and Eliminativism.James Miller - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (7).
    What are words? What makes two token words tokens of the same word-type? Are words abstract entities, or are they (merely) collections of tokens? The ontology of words tries to provide answers to these, and related questions. This article provides an overview of some of the most prominent views proposed in the literature, with a particular focus on the debate between type-realist, nominalist, and eliminativist ontologies of words.
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  5. Physical Processes, Their Life and Their History.Gilles Kassel - 2020 - Applied Ontology 15 (2):109-133.
    Here, I lay the foundations of a high-level ontology of particulars whose structuring principles differ radically from the 'continuant' vs. 'occurrent' distinction traditionally adopted in applied ontology. These principles are derived from a new analysis of the ontology of “occurring” or “happening” entities. Firstly, my analysis integrates recent work on the ontology of processes, which brings them closer to objects in their mode of existence and persistence by assimilating them to continuant particulars. Secondly, my analysis distinguishes clearly between processes and (...)
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  6. The Problem of Creation and Abstract Artifacts.Nurbay Irmak - forthcoming - Synthese:1-14.
    Abstract artifacts such as musical works and fictional entities are human creations; they are intentional products of our actions and activities. One line of argument against abstract artifacts is that abstract objects are not the kind of objects that can be created. This is so, it is argued, because abstract objects are causally inert. Since creation requires being caused to exist, abstract objects cannot be created. One common way to refute this argument is to reject the causal inefficacy of abstracta. (...)
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  7. How Can Mathematical Objects Be Real but Mind-Dependent?Hazhir Roshangar - manuscript
    Taking mathematics as a language based on empirical experience, I argue for an account of mathematics in which its objects are abstracta that describe and communicate the structure of reality based on some of our ancestral interactions with their environment. I argue that mathematics as a language is mostly invented, and it is mind-dependent in a specific sense. However, the bases of mathematics will characterize it as a real, non-fictional science of structures.
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  8. Hilbert on Consistency as a Guide to Mathematical Reality.Fiona T. Doherty - 2017 - Logique Et Analyse 237:107-128.
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  9. Why Can’T I Change Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony?David Friedell - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):805-824.
    Musical works change. Bruckner revised his Eighth Symphony. Ella Fitzgerald and many other artists have made it acceptable to sing the jazz standard “All the Things You Are” without its original verse. If we accept that musical works genuinely change in these ways, a puzzle arises: why can’t I change Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony? More generally, why are some individuals in a privileged position when it comes to changing musical works and other artifacts, such as novels, films, and games? I give (...)
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  10. A Contingency Interpretation of Information Theory as a Bridge Between God’s Immanence and Transcendence.Philippe Gagnon - 2020 - In Michael Fuller, Dirk Evers, Anne L. C. Runehov, Knut-Willy Sæther & Bernard Michollet (eds.), Issues in Science and Theology: Nature – and Beyond. Cham: Springer. pp. 169-185.
    This paper investigates the degree to which information theory, and the derived uses that make it work as a metaphor of our age, can be helpful in thinking about God’s immanence and transcendance. We ask when it is possible to say that a consciousness has to be behind the information we encounter. If God is to be thought about as a communicator of information, we need to ask whether a communication system has to pre-exist to the divine and impose itself (...)
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  11. Logic and Ontology of Language.Urszula Wybraniec-Skardowska - 2019 - In Bartłomiej Skowron (ed.), Contemporary Polish Ontology. Berlin/Boston: DE GRUYTER, MOUTON. pp. 109-132.
    The main purpose of the paper is to outline the formal-logical, general theory of language treated as a particular ontological being. The theory itself is called the ontology of language, because it is motivated by the fact that the language plays a special role: it reflects ontology and ontology reflects the world. Language expressions are considered to have a dual ontological status. They are understood as either concretes, that is tokens – material, physical objects, or types – classes of tokens, (...)
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  12. Prioritizing Platonism.Kelly Trogdon & Sam Cowling - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):2029-2042.
    Discussion of atomistic and monistic theses about abstract reality.
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  13. A Geneticist's Roadmap to Sanity.Gilbert B. Côté - manuscript
    World news can be discouraging these days. In order to counteract the effects of fake news and corruption, scientists have a duty to present the truth and propose ethical solutions acceptable to the world at large. -/- By starting from scratch, we can lay down the scientific principles underlying our very existence, and reach reasonable conclusions on all major topics including quantum physics, infinity, timelessness, free will, mathematical Platonism, happiness, ethics and religion, all the way to creation and a special (...)
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  14. Nominalism.Ghislain Guigon - 2019 - Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    ‘Nominalism’ refers to a family of views about what there is. The objects we are familiar with (e.g. hands, laptops, cookies, and trees) can be characterized as concrete and particular. Nominalists agree that there are such things. But one group of nominalists denies that anything is non-particular and another group denies that anything is non-concrete. These two sorts of nominalism, referred to as ‘nominalism about universals’ and ‘nominalism about abstract objects’, have common motivations in contemporary philosophy.
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  15. Why is There Something Rather Than Nothing? A Probabilistic Answer Examined.Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra - 2018 - Philosophy 93 (4):505-521.
    Peter van Inwagen has given an answer to the question ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’. His answer is: Because there being nothing is as improbable as anything can be: it has probability 0. Here I shall examine his argument for this answer and I shall argue that it does not work because no good reasons have been given for two of the argument’s premises and that the conclusion of the argument does not constitute an answer to the question (...)
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  16. Meinong, Defective Objects, and Logical Paradox.William J. Rapaport - 1982 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 18 (1):17-39.
    Alexius Meinong developed a notion of defective objects in order to account for various logical and psychological paradoxes. The notion is of historical interest, since it presages recent work on the logical paradoxes by Herzberger and Kripke. But it fails to do the job it was designed for. However, a technique implicit in Meinong's investigation is more successful and can be adapted to resolve a similar paradox discovered by Romane Clark in a revised version of Meinong's Theory of Objects due (...)
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  17. What Do We See in Museums?Graham Oddie - 2016 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 79:217-240.
    I address two related questions. First: what value is there in visiting a museum and becoming acquainted with the objects on display? For art museums the answer seems obvious: we go to experience valuable works of art, and experiencing valuable works of art is itself valuable. In this paper I focus on non-art museums, and while these may house aesthetically valuable objects, that is not their primary purpose, and at least some of the objects they house might not be particularly (...)
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  18. Category Theory and Set Theory as Theories About Complementary Types of Universals.David P. Ellerman - 2017 - Logic and Logical Philosophy 26 (2):1-18.
    Instead of the half-century old foundational feud between set theory and category theory, this paper argues that they are theories about two different complementary types of universals. The set-theoretic antinomies forced naïve set theory to be reformulated using some iterative notion of a set so that a set would always have higher type or rank than its members. Then the universal u_{F}={x|F(x)} for a property F() could never be self-predicative in the sense of u_{F}∈u_{F}. But the mathematical theory of categories, (...)
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  19. How Are Language Changes Possible?Takashi Iida - 2009 - In M. Okada (ed.), Ontology and Phenomenology: Franco-Japanese Collaborative Lectures. Keio University. pp. 75-96.
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