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To Be F Is To Be G

Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):39-134 (2016)

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  1. Essence, Modality, and Identity.Fabrice Correia & Alexander Skiles - forthcoming - Mind.
    In a recent article forthcoming in MIND, Leech (2020) presents a challenge for essentialist accounts of metaphysical modality: why should it be that essences imply corresponding necessities? Leech’s main focus is to argue that one cannot overcome the challenge by utilizing an account of essence in terms of generalized identity due to Correia and Skiles (2019), on pain of circularity. In this reply, we will show how to use identity-based essentialism to bridge ‘epistemic’ and ‘explanatory’ understandings of this alleged essence-to-necessity (...)
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  • Identity and Aboutness.Benjamin Brast-McKie - forthcoming - Journal of Philosophical Logic.
    This paper develops a theory of propositional identity which distinguishes necessarily equivalent propositions that differ in subject-matter. Rather than forming a Boolean lattice as in extensional and intensional semantic theories, the space of propositions forms a non-interlaced bilattice. After motivating a departure from tradition by way of a number of plausible principles for subject-matter, I will provide a Finean state semantics for a novel theory of propositions, presenting arguments against the convexity and nonvacuity constraints which Fine (2016, 2017a,b) introduces. I (...)
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  • On Higher-Order Logical Grounds.Peter Fritz - 2020 - Analysis 80 (4):656-666.
    Existential claims are widely held to be grounded in their true instances. However, this principle is shown to be problematic by arguments due to Kit Fine. Stephan Krämer has given an especially simple form of such an argument using propositional quantifiers. This note shows that even if a schematic principle of existential grounds for propositional quantifiers has to be restricted, this does not immediately apply to a corresponding non-schematic principle in higher-order logic.
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  • A Simple Proof of Grounding Internality.Adam Lovett - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (3):154-166.
    Some people think that grounding is a type of identity. And some people think that grounding connections hold necessarily. I show that, under plausible assumptions, if grounding is a type of identity, then grounding connections hold necessarily.
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  • The Puzzles of Ground.Adam Lovett - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (9):2541-2564.
    I outline and provide a solution to some paradoxes of ground.
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  • Grounding, Essence, And Identity.Fabrice Correia & Alexander Skiles - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):642-670.
    Recent metaphysics has turned its focus to two notions that are—as well as having a common Aristotelian pedigree—widely thought to be intimately related: grounding and essence. Yet how, exactly, the two are related remains opaque. We develop a unified and uniform account of grounding and essence, one which understands them both in terms of a generalized notion of identity examined in recent work by Fabrice Correia, Cian Dorr, Agustín Rayo, and others. We argue that the account comports with antecedently plausible (...)
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  • What is it to be located?Matt Leonard - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-19.
    The literature suggests two main answers to the question of what it is for a material object to be located at a region of spacetime. Both have a number of virtues. However, both suffer from well-known problems. According to one answer, location is a primitive relation with no informative metaphysical analysis. But this makes a number of necessary truths seem mysterious and leaves them unexplained. According to the other answer, to be located at a region is just to be identical (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Moral Explanations.Daniel Fogal & Olle Risberg - 2020 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 15.
    It’s commonly held that particular moral facts are explained by ‘natural’ or ‘descriptive’ facts, though there’s disagreement over how such explanations work. We defend the view that general moral principles also play a role in explaining particular moral facts. More specifically, we argue that this view best makes sense of some intuitive data points, including the supervenience of the moral upon the natural. We consider two alternative accounts of the nature and structure of moral principles—’the nomic view’ and ‘moral platonism’—before (...)
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  • The Logic of Opacity.Andrew Bacon & Jeffrey Sanford Russell - 2019 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1):81-114.
    We explore the view that Frege's puzzle is a source of straightforward counterexamples to Leibniz's law. Taking this seriously requires us to revise the classical logic of quantifiers and identity; we work out the options, in the context of higher-order logic. The logics we arrive at provide the resources for a straightforward semantics of attitude reports that is consistent with the Millian thesis that the meaning of a name is just the thing it stands for. We provide models to show (...)
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  • Unrestricted Quantification and the Structure of Type Theory.Nicholas K. Jones & Salvatore Florio - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (1):44-64.
    Semantic theories based on a hierarchy of types have prominently been used to defend the possibility of unrestricted quantification. However, they also pose a prima facie problem for it: each quantifier ranges over at most one level of the hierarchy and is therefore not unrestricted. It is difficult to evaluate this problem without a principled account of what it is for a quantifier to be unrestricted. Drawing on an insight of Russell’s about the relationship between quantification and the structure of (...)
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  • Retraction and testimonial justification: a new problem for the assurance view.Matthew Vermaire - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3959-3972.
    The Assurance View, as advanced by Angus Ross and Richard Moran, makes the epistemology of testimony a matter of interpersonal commitments and entitlements. More specifically, I argue, their position is best understood as claiming that for someone’s belief to be testimonially justified is for some speaker to bear illocutionary responsibility for its truth. With this understanding in hand, I present a problem for the view that has so far escaped attention, a problem deriving from the wide freedom we have to (...)
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  • Supersubstantivalism and the Argument From Harmony.Matt Leonard - forthcoming - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy.
    The core doctrine of supersubstantivalism is that material objects are identical to their spacetime locations. One powerful consideration for the view is the argument from harmony—supersubstantivalism, it is claimed, is in a position to offer an elegant explanation of a number of platitudes concerning objects and their locations. However, I will argue that identifying material objects with their locations does not provide a satisfying explanation of harmony. What the supersubstantivalist needs is not a theory about the identity of objects, but (...)
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  • Propositions and Cognitive Relations.Nicholas K. Jones - 2019 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 119 (2):157-178.
    There are two broad approaches to theorizing about ontological categories. Quineans use first-order quantifiers to generalize over entities of each category, whereas type theorists use quantification on variables of different semantic types to generalize over different categories. Does anything of import turn on the difference between these approaches? If so, are there good reasons to go type-theoretic? I argue for positive answers to both questions concerning the category of propositions. I also discuss two prominent arguments for a Quinean conception of (...)
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  • Two Sorts of Constitutivism.Jeremy David Fix - 2019 - Analytic Philosophy.
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  • The Theory of Every Thing: Toward a Symmetry-Based Metaphysics of Matter.David Schroeren - 2020 - Dissertation, Princeton University
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  • The Ontology of a Theory.Lorenzo Cocco - unknown
    This paper defends two claims about the criterion of commitment of W.V.O Quine. The first claim is that the criterion can be made extensional. The second is that a proper formulation becomes an analytic truth. We spend a few preliminary sections clarifying our intended notion of ontological commitment. We will not go very far in our investigation of the criterion if we do not distinguish the things a theory postulates, what its adherents, or anybody else, believe in, and which of (...)
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  • Logical Combinatorialism.Andrew Bacon - 2020 - Philosophical Review 129 (4):537-589.
    In explaining the notion of a fundamental property or relation, metaphysicians will often draw an analogy with languages. The fundamental properties and relations stand to reality as the primitive predicates and relations stand to a language: the smallest set of vocabulary God would need in order to write the “book of the world.” This paper attempts to make good on this metaphor. To that end, a modality is introduced that, put informally, stands to propositions as logical truth stands to sentences. (...)
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  • Debunking Arguments and Metaphysical Laws.Jonathan Barker - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):1829-1855.
    I argue that one’s views about which “metaphysical laws” obtain—including laws about what is identical with what, about what is reducible to what, and about what grounds what—can be used to deflect or neutralize the threat posed by a debunking explanation. I use a well-known debunking argument in the metaphysics of material objects as a case study. Then, after defending the proposed strategy from the charge of question-begging, I close by showing how the proposed strategy can be used by certain (...)
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  • Symmetry Fundamentalism: A Case Study From Classical Physics.David Schroeren - 2020 - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    Physicists have suggested what I call symmetry fundamentalism: the view that symmetries are fundamental aspects of physical reality and that these aspects are more fundamental than what one might ordinarily think of as the fundamental building blocks of the world, such as elementary particles. The goal of this paper is to develop an ontology for classical particle mechanics that provides a precise instance of symmetry fundamentalism.
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  • Essence Without Fundamentality.Agustin Rayo - 2015 - Theoria : An International Journal for Theory, History and Fundations of Science 30 (3):349-363.
    I argue for a conception of essence that does not rely on distinctions of metaphysical fundamentality.
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  • Properties.Francesco Orilia & Michele Paolini Paoletti - 2020 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    2020 update of the entry "Properties".
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  • The Metaphysics of Invariance.David Schroeren - manuscript
    Fundamental physics contains an important link between properties of elementary particles and continuous symmetries of particle systems. For example, properties such as mass and spin are said to be 'associated' with specific continuous symmetries. -/- These 'associations' have played a key role in the discovery of various new particle kinds, but more importantly: they are thought to provide a deep insight into the nature of physical reality. The link between properties and symmetries has been said to call for a radical (...)
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  • Essential Properties Are Super-Explanatory: Taming Metaphysical Modality.Marion Godman, Antonella Mallozzi & David Papineau - 2020 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association (3):1-19.
    This paper aims to build a bridge between two areas of philosophical research, the structure of kinds and metaphysical modality. Our central thesis is that kinds typically involve super-explanatory properties, and that these properties are therefore metaphysically essential to natural kinds. Philosophers of science who work on kinds tend to emphasize their complexity, and are generally resistant to any suggestion that they have “essences”. The complexities are real enough, but they should not be allowed to obscure the way that kinds (...)
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  • Higher-Order Metaphysics and the Tropes Versus Universals Dispute.Lukas Skiba - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Higher-order realists about properties express their view that there are properties with the help of higher-order rather than first-order quantifiers. They claim two types of advantages for this way of formulating property realism. First, certain gridlocked debates about the nature of properties, such as the immanentism versus transcendentalism dispute, are taken to be dissolved. Second, a further such debate, the tropes versus universals dispute, is taken to be resolved. In this paper I first argue that higher-order realism does not in (...)
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  • Classical Opacity.Michael Caie, Jeremy Goodman & Harvey Lederman - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (3):524-566.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • What is Morality?Kieran Setiya - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Argues, against Anscombe, that Aristotle had the concept of morality as an interpersonal normative order: morality is justice in general. For an action to be wrong is not for it to warrant blame, or to wrong another person, but to be something one should not do that one has no right to do. In the absence of rights, morality makes no sense.
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  • The Levels of the Empirical Sciences.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    It is the aim of this paper to develop and defend an interpretation of level of scientific discipline within the truth-maker framework. In particular, I exploit the mereological relation of proper parthood, which is integral to truth-maker semantics, in order to provide an account of scientific level.
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  • Essence, Modality and Identity.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    Many metaphysicians maintain that there is a close connection between essence and modality; if an object a necessarily bears property F , then it is metaphysically necessary that Fa (or, perhaps, it is metaphysically necessary that Fa if a exists). Recently, Leech (Forthcoming) has argued that this connection lacks an adequate explanation. In particular, she argues that identity doesn't explain the link between essence and modality. In contrast, I argue that identity provides the resources to undermine Leech’s explanatory demand.
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  • Modality is Not Explainable by Essence.Carlos Romero - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274):121-141.
    Some metaphysicians believe that metaphysical modality is explainable by the essences of objects. In §II, I spell out the definitional view of essence, and in §III, a working notion of metaphysical explanation. Then, in §IV, I consider and reject five natural ways to explain necessity by essence: in terms of the principle that essential properties can't change, in terms of the supposed obviousness of the necessity of essential truth, in terms of the logical necessity of definitions, in terms of Fine's (...)
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  • From Essence to Necessity Via Identity.Jessica Leech - forthcoming - Mind:fzaa012.
    An essentialist theory of modality claims that the source of possibility and necessity lies in essence, where essence is then not to be defined in terms of necessity. Hence such theories owe us an account of why it is that the essences of things give rise to necessities in the way required. A new approach to understanding essence in terms of the notion of generalized identity promises to answer this challenge by appeal to the necessity of identity. I explore the (...)
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  • Explanatory Distance.Elanor Taylor - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
    When a train operator tells us that our train will be late ‘because of delays’, their attempt at explanation fails because there is insufficient distance between the explanans and the explanandum. In this paper, I motivate and defend an account of ‘explanatory distance’, based on the idea that explanations give information about dependence. I show that this account offers useful resources for addressing problem cases, including recent debates about grounding explanation, and the historical case of Molière’s dormitive virtue.
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  • The Semantic Foundations of Philosophical Analysis.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    I provide an analysis of sentences of the form ‘To be F is to be G’ in terms of exact truth-maker semantics—an approach that identifies the meanings of sentences with the states of the world directly responsible for their truth-values. Roughly, I argue that these sentences hold just in case that which makes something F is that which makes it G. This approach is hyperintensional, and possesses desirable logical and modal features. These sentences are reflexive, transitive and symmetric, and, if (...)
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  • Metaphysical Underdetermination as a Motivational Device.Steven French - unknown
    The view that quantum particles cannot be regarded as individuals was articulated in the early days of the 'quantum revolution' and became so well-entrenched that French and Krause called it 'the Received View'. However it was subsequently shown that quantum statistics is in fact compatible with a metaphysics of particle individuality, subject to certain caveats. As a consequent it has been claim that there exists a kind of underdetermination of the metaphysics by the physics which in turn has been used (...)
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  • Asymmetries in the Value of Existence.Jacob M. Nebel - 2019 - Philosophical Perspectives 33 (1):126-145.
    According to asymmetric comparativism, it is worse for a person to exist with a miserable life than not to exist, but it is not better for a person to exist with a happy life than not to exist. My aim in this paper is to explain how asymmetric comparativism could possibly be true. My account of asymmetric comparativism begins with a different asymmetry, regarding the (dis)value of early death. I offer an account of this early death asymmetry, appealing to the (...)
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  • The Significance Argument for the Irreducibility of Consciousness.Adam Pautz - 2017 - Philosophical Perspectives 31 (1):349-407.
    The Significance Argument (SA) for the irreducibility of consciousness is based on a series of new puzzle-cases that I call multiple candidate cases. In these cases, there is a multiplicity of physical-functional properties or relations that are candidates to be identified with the sensible qualities and our consciousness of them, where those candidates are not significantly different. I will argue that these cases show that reductive materialists cannot accommodate the various ways in which consciousness is significant. I also will argue (...)
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  • The Opacity of Definition.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    This paper is concerned with logical attributes of (real) definition. In particular, I argue that substitution principles give rise to reflexive definitions: cases in which something is directly and exclusively defined in terms of itself. Many maintain that definition is both substitutable and irreflexive, so these standard commitments are at odds. As a corollary, I demonstrate that the claims in ‘Real Definition’ Rosen (2015) are logically inconsistent. I close with a brief discussion of the implications this has for the opacity (...)
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  • The Epistemology of Identity.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    The subject of this paper is the epistemology of identity: a general theory of knowledge, evidence and justification for the claim that one thing is identical to another. Although identity figures significantly in our epistemic lives, this is a topic that, to the best of my knowledge, has gone entirely unexplored. Initial attempts to integrate such an epistemology into existing theories of evidence---many of which are tailor-made for contingent propositions---are confounded by the necessity of identity. I defend a restricted form (...)
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  • How Fine-Grained is Reality?Peter Fritz - 2017 - Filosofisk Supplement 13 (2):52-57.
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  • Essence and Cause: Making Something Be What It Is.Riin Sirkel - 2018 - Discipline Filosofiche 28 (1):89-112.
    Aristotle frequently describes essence as a “cause” or “explanation”, thus ascribing to essence some sort of causal or explanatory role. This explanatory role is often explicated by scholars in terms of essence “making the thing be what it is” or “making it the very thing that it is”. I argue that this is problematic, at least on the assumption that “making” expresses an explanatory relation, since it violates certain formal features of explanation. I then consider whether Aristotle is vulnerable to (...)
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  • Ground Grounded.Theodore Sider - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):747-767.
    Most facts of grounding involve nonfundamental concepts, and thus must themselves be grounded. But how? The leading approaches—due to Bennett, deRosset, and Dagupta—are subject to objections. The way forward is to deny a presupposition common to the leading approaches, that there must be some simple formula governing how grounding facts are grounded. Everyone agrees that facts about cities might be grounded in some complex way about which we know little; we should say the same about the facts of grounding themselves. (...)
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  • An Argument For Necessitism.Jeremy Goodman - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):160-182.
    This paper presents a new argument for necessitism, the claim that necessarily everything is necessarily something. The argument appeals to principles about the metaphysics of quantification and predication which are best seen as constraints on reality’s fineness of grain. I give this argument in section 4; the impatient reader may skip directly there. Sections 1-3 set the stage by surveying three other arguments for necessitism. I argue that none of them are persuasive, but I think it is illuminating to consider (...)
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  • Making Semantics for Essence.Justin Zylstra - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (8):859-876.
    ABSTRACTIn this paper, I develop a truthmaker semantics for essence and use the semantics to investigate the explanatory role of essence.
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  • Intrinsic Properties and Relations.Jan Plate - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (8):783-853.
    This paper provides an analysis of the intrinsic/extrinsic distinction, as applied both to properties and to relations. In contrast to other accounts, the approach taken here locates the source of a property’s intrinsicality or extrinsicality in the manner in which that property is ‘logically constituted’, and thus – plausibly – in its nature or essence, rather than in e.g. its modal profile. Another respect in which the present proposal differs from many extant analyses lies in the fact that it does (...)
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  • Contingent Existence and the Reduction of Modality to Essence.Trevor Teitel - 2019 - Mind 128 (509):39-68.
    This paper first argues that we can bring out a tension between the following three popular doctrines: (i) the canonical reduction of metaphysical modality to essence, due to Fine, (ii) contingentism, which says that possibly something could have failed to be something, and (iii) the doctrine that metaphysical modality obeys the modal logic S5. After presenting two such arguments (one from the theorems of S4 and another from the theorems of B), I turn to exploring various conclusions we might draw (...)
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  • Unified Foundations for Essence and Ground.Kit Fine - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (2):296-311.
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  • Knowledge of Objective Modality.Margot Strohminger & Juhani Yli-Vakkuri - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (5):1155-1175.
    The epistemology of modality has focused on metaphysical modality and, more recently, counterfactual conditionals. Knowledge of kinds of modality that are not metaphysical has so far gone largely unexplored. Yet other theoretically interesting kinds of modality, such as nomic, practical, and ‘easy’ possibility, are no less puzzling epistemologically. Could Clinton easily have won the 2016 presidential election—was it an easy possibility? Given that she didn’t in fact win the election, how, if at all, can we know whether she easily could (...)
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  • Radical Anti‐Disquotationalism.Andrew Bacon - 2018 - Philosophical Perspectives 32 (1):41-107.
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  • Perspectivism.Jeremy Goodman & Harvey Lederman - forthcoming - Noûs.
    Consider the sentence “Lois knows that Superman flies, but she doesn’t know that Clark flies”. In this paper we defend a Millian contextualist semantics for propositional attitude ascriptions, according to which ordinary uses of this sentence are true but involve a mid-sentence shift in context. Absent any constraints on the relevant parameters of context sensitivity, such a semantics would be untenable: it would undermine the good standing of systematic theorizing about the propositional attitudes, trivializing many of the central questions of (...)
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  • Constitutive and Consequentialist Essence.Justin Zylstra - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (3):190-199.
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • How to Unify.Nicholas K. Jones - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5.
    This paper evaluates the argument for the contradictoriness of unity, that be- gins Priest’s recent book One. The argument is seen to fail because it does not adequately differentiate between different forms of unity. This diagnosis of the argument’s failure is used as a basis for two consistent accounts of unity. The paper concludes by arguing that reality contains two absolutely fundamental and unanalysable forms of unity, which are in principle presupposed by any theory of anything. These fundamental forms of (...)
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