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Fundamental Properties of Fundamental Properties

In Karen Bennett Dean Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Volume 8. pp. 78-104 (2013)

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  1. A substantial problem for priority monism.Martin Glazier - 2023 - Ratio 36 (4):347-353.
    Priority monism is the doctrine that there is exactly one substance: the whole concrete cosmos. This paper develops an objection to priority monism. The objection is that although every substance is necessarily a substance, for the priority monist the cosmos is not necessarily a substance. It follows that the cosmos is not a substance and so priority monism is false. The priority monist's pluralist opponent, I argue, can avoid a parallel objection to her view.
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  • Fundamentality And Modal Freedom.Jennifer Wang - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):397-418.
    A fundamental entity is an entity that is ‘ontologically independent’; it does not depend on anything else for its existence or essence. It seems to follow that a fundamental entity is ‘modally free’ in some sense. This assumption, that fundamentality entails modal freedom (or ‘FEMF’ as I shall label the thesis), is used in the service of other arguments in metaphysics. But as I will argue, the road from fundamentality to modal freedom is not so straightforward. The defender of FEMF (...)
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  • Building and modal recombination.Jennifer Wang - 2020 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (7):745-757.
    ABSTRACT In Making Things Up, Bennett defends an impressive array of theses surrounding the notion of building. My focus is on Bennett’s use of modal recombination principles in her arguments, including in particular the principle that contingent fundamental entities are freely recombinable. I have argued that such principles are motivated by mere intuition, and that we have reasons to reject them. I discuss how worries about modal recombination principles affect three of her key arguments, which concern whether building is necessitating, (...)
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  • On Armstrong’s Radical Absolutism.Julien Tricard - 2022 - Metaphysica 23 (1):95-115.
    Within the metaphysics of quantity, the debate rages between Absolutism and Comparativism. In retrospect, Armstrong appears to be an absolutist, for he claims that magnitudes like being 1 kg in mass are intrinsic properties of particulars, in virtue of which relations like being twice as massive as hold. More importantly, his theory is an instance of what I call ‘Radical Absolutism’, for he does not merely argue that relations are grounded in magnitudes, but also tries to explain how they “flow (...)
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  • Intrinsicality and determinacy.Erica Shumener - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (11):3349-3364.
    Comparativism maintains that physical quantities are ultimately relational in character. For example, an object’s having 1 kg rest mass depends on the relations it stands in to other objects in the universe. Comparativism, its advocates allege, reveals that quantities are not metaphysically mysterious: Quantities are reducible to familiar relations holding among physical objects. Modal accounts of intrinsicality—such as Lewis’s duplication account or Langton and Lewis’s combinatorial account—are popular accounts preserving many of our core intuitions regarding which properties are intrinsic. I (...)
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  • Explaining identity and distinctness.Erica Shumener - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):2073-2096.
    This paper offers a metaphysical explanation of the identity and distinctness of concrete objects. It is tempting to try to distinguish concrete objects on the basis of their possessing different qualitative features, where qualitative features are ones that do not involve identity. Yet, this criterion for object identity faces counterexamples: distinct objects can share all of their qualitative features. This paper suggests that in order to distinguish concrete objects we need to look not only at which properties and relations objects (...)
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  • Ethics Without Numbers.Jacob M. Nebel - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    This paper develops and explores a new framework for theorizing about the measurement and aggregation of well-being. It is a qualitative variation on the framework of social welfare functionals developed by Amartya Sen. In Sen’s framework, a social or overall betterness ordering is assigned to each profile of real-valued utility functions. In the qualitative framework developed here, numerical utilities are replaced by the properties they are supposed to represent. This makes it possible to characterize the measurability and interpersonal comparability of (...)
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  • Following logical realism where it leads.Michaela Markham McSweeney - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):117-139.
    Logical realism is the view that there is logical structure in the world. I argue that, if logical realism is true, then we are deeply ignorant of that logical structure: either we can’t know which of our logical concepts accurately capture it, or none of our logical concepts accurately capture it at all. I don’t suggest abandoning logical realism, but instead discuss how realists should adjust their methodology in the face of this ignorance.
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  • Quantity Tropes and Internal Relations.Markku Keinänen, Antti Keskinen & Jani Hakkarainen - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (3):519-534.
    In this article, we present a new conception of internal relations between quantity tropes falling under determinates and determinables. We begin by providing a novel characterization of the necessary relations between these tropes as basic internal relations. The core ideas here are that the existence of the relata is sufficient for their being internally related, and that their being related does not require the existence of any specific entities distinct from the relata. We argue that quantity tropes are, as determinate (...)
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  • Personal Identity, Consciousness, and Joints in Nature.Cody Gilmore - 2015 - The Journal of Ethics 19 (3-4):443-466.
    Many philosophers have thought that the problem of personal identity over time is not metaphysically deep. Perhaps the debate between the rival theories is somehow empty or is a ‘merely verbal dispute’. Perhaps questions about personal identity are ‘nonsubstantive’ and fit more for conceptual analysis and close attention to usage than for theorizing in the style of serious metaphysics, theorizing guided by considerations of systematicity, parsimony, explanatory power, and aiming for knowledge about the objective structure of the world. I discuss (...)
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  • Could Charge and Mass be Universals?Marian J. R. Gilton - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3):624-644.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • A Survey of Logical Realism.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2021 - Synthese 198 (5):4775-4790.
    Logical realism is a view about the metaphysical status of logic. Common to most if not all the views captured by the label ‘logical realism’ is that logical facts are mind- and language-independent. But that does not tell us anything about the nature of logical facts or about our epistemic access to them. The goal of this paper is to outline and systematize the different ways that logical realism could be entertained and to examine some of the challenges that these (...)
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  • Quantitative Properties.M. Eddon - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (7):633-645.
    Two grams mass, three coulombs charge, five inches long – these are examples of quantitative properties. Quantitative properties have certain structural features that other sorts of properties lack. What are the metaphysical underpinnings of quantitative structure? This paper considers several accounts of quantity and assesses the merits of each.
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  • Intrinsic Explanations and Numerical Representations.M. Eddon - 2014 - In Robert M. Francescotti (ed.), Companion to Intrinsic Properties. De Gruyter. pp. 271-290.
    In Science Without Numbers (1980), Hartry Field defends a theory of quantity that, he claims, is able to provide both i) an intrinsic explanation of the structure of space, spacetime, and other quantitative properties, and ii) an intrinsic explanation of why certain numerical representations of quantities (distances, lengths, mass, temperature, etc.) are appropriate or acceptable while others are not. But several philosophers have argued otherwise. In this paper I focus on arguments from Ellis and Milne to the effect that one (...)
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  • Parthood and naturalness.M. Eddon - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (12):3163-3180.
    Is part of a perfectly natural, or fundamental, relation? Philosophers have been hesitant to take a stand on this issue. One reason for this hesitancy is the worry that, if parthood is perfectly natural, then the perfectly natural properties and relations are not suitably “independent” of one another. In this paper, I argue that parthood is a perfectly natural relation. In so doing, I argue that this “independence” worry is unfounded. I conclude by noting some consequences of the naturalness of (...)
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  • Physical Magnitudes.Marco Dees - 2018 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (4):817-841.
    Scientific properties come in degrees: elephants are more massive than mice. Are facts like these fundamental or can they be explained in other terms? This article argues that the structure of physical quantities like mass reduces to facts about the role that mass plays in the laws of nature. On this view elephants are more massive than mice partly in virtue of the fact that elephants are harder to throw around.
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  • Recombining non-qualitative reality.Sam Cowling - 2021 - Synthese 198 (3):2273-2295.
    Haecceitism and Hume’s Dictum are each controversial theses about necessity and possibility. According to haecceitism, there are qualitatively indiscernible possible worlds that differ only with respect to which individuals occupy which qualitative roles. According to Hume’s Dictum, there are no necessary connections between distinct entities or, as Humeans sometimes put it, reality admits of “free recombination” so any entities can co-exist or fail to co-exist. This paper introduces a puzzle that results from the combination of haecceitism and Hume’s Dictum. This (...)
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  • Ideological parsimony.Sam Cowling - 2013 - Synthese 190 (17):3889-3908.
    The theoretical virtue of parsimony values the minimizing of theoretical commitments, but theoretical commitments come in two kinds : ontological and ideological. While the ontological commitments of a theory are the entities it posits, a theory’s ideological commitments are the primitive concepts it employs. Here, I show how we can extend the distinction between quantitative and qualitative parsimony, commonly drawn regarding ontological commitments, to the domain of ideological commitments. I then argue that qualitative ideological parsimony is a theoretical virtue. My (...)
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  • The Nomic Likelihood Account of Laws.Christopher J. G. Meacham - 2023 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9 (9):230-284.
    An adequate account of laws should satisfy at least five desiderata: it should provide a unified account of laws and chances, it should yield plausible relations between laws and chances, it should vindicate numerical chance assignments, it should accommodate dynamical and non-dynamical chances, and it should accommodate a plausible range of nomic possibilities. No extant account of laws satisfies these desiderata. This paper presents a non-Humean account of laws, the Nomic Likelihood Account, that does.
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  • A Defense of Hume's Dictum.Cameron Gibbs - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst
    Is the world internally connected by a web of necessary connections or is everything loose and independent? Followers of David Hume accept the latter by upholding Hume’s Dictum, according to which there are no necessary connections between distinct existences. Roughly put, anything can coexist with anything else, and anything can fail to coexist with anything else. Hume put it like this: “There is no object which implies the existence of any other if we consider these objects in themselves.” Since Hume’s (...)
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  • Structuring reality.Naomi Margaret Claire Thompson - 2014 - Dissertation, University of Birmingham
    This thesis explores attempts to characterise the structure of reality. Three notions stand out: Lewisian naturalness, Sider’s ‘structure’, and grounding, where the latter has become the most popular way to characterise the structure of reality in the contemporary literature. I argue that none of these notions, as they are currently understood, are suited for limning the metaphysical structure of reality. In the first part of the thesis I argue that, by the lights of the relevant theories, both naturalness and structure (...)
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  • Fundamentality.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2023 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The notion of fundamentality, as it is used in metaphysics, aims to capture the idea that there is something basic or primitive in the world. This metaphysical notion is related to the vernacular use of “fundamental”, but philosophers have also put forward various technical definitions of the notion. Among the most influential of these is the definition of absolute fundamentality in terms of ontological independence or ungroundedness. Accordingly, the notion of fundamentality is often associated with these two other technical notions.
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  • Dimensional Analysis: Essays on the Metaphysics and Epistemology of Quantities.Mahmoud Jalloh - 2023 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
    This dissertation draws upon historical studies of scientific practice and contemporary issues in the metaphysics and epistemology of science to account for the nature of physical quantities. My dissertation applies this integrated HPS approach to dimensional analysis—a logic for quantitative physical equations which respects the distinct dimensions of quantities (e.g. mass, length, charge). Dimensional analysis and its historical development serve both as subjects of study and as a sources for solutions to contemporary problems. The dissertation consists primarily of three related (...)
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  • The Π-Theorem as a Guide to Quantity Symmetries and the Argument Against Absolutism.Mahmoud Jalloh - forthcoming - In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    In this paper a symmetry argument against quantity absolutism is amended. Rather than arguing against the fundamentality of intrinsic quantities on the basis of transformations of basic quantities, a class of symmetries defined by the Π-theorem is used. This theorem is a fundamental result of dimensional analysis and shows that all unit-invariant equations which adequately represent physical systems can be put into the form of a function of dimensionless quantities. Quantity transformations that leave those dimensionless quantities invariant are empirical and (...)
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  • Is Naturalness Natural?Naomi Thompson - 2015 - American Philosophical Quarterly 53 (4):381-396.
    The perfectly natural properties and relations are special—they are all and only those that "carve nature at its joints." They act as reference magnets, form a minimal supervenience base, figure in fundamental physics and in the laws of nature, and never divide duplicates within or between worlds. If the perfectly natural properties are the (metaphysically) important ones, we should expect being a perfectly natural property to itself be one of the (perfectly) natural properties. This paper argues that being a perfectly (...)
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  • The dual nature of properties: the powerful qualities view reconsidered.Joaquim Giannotti - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Glasgow
    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: What is the most adequate conception of fundamental properties? 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 (...)
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  • Conceptual evaluation: epistemic.Alejandro Pérez Carballo - 2020 - In Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen & David Plunkett (eds.), Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 304-332.
    On a view implicitly endorsed by many, a concept is epistemically better than another if and because it does a better job at ‘carving at the joints', or if the property corresponding to it is ‘more natural' than the one corresponding to another. This chapter offers an argument against this seemingly plausible thought, starting from three key observations about the way we use and evaluate concepts from en epistemic perspective: that we look for concepts that play a role in explanations (...)
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  • Naturalness.Cian Dorr & John Hawthorne - 2013 - In Karen Bennett & Dean Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics: Volume 8. Oxford University Press. pp. 1.
    Lewis's notion of a "natural" property has proved divisive: some have taken to the notion with enthusiasm, while others have been sceptical. However, it is far from obvious what the enthusiasts and the sceptics are disagreeing about. This paper attempts to articulate what is at stake in this debate.
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  • The Metaphysical Basis of Logic.Michaela McSweeney - 2016 - Dissertation, Princeton University
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  • Philosophy of Mathematics for the Masses : Extending the scope of the philosophy of mathematics.Stefan Buijsman - 2016 - Dissertation, Stockholm University
    One of the important discussions in the philosophy of mathematics, is that centered on Benacerraf’s Dilemma. Benacerraf’s dilemma challenges theorists to provide an epistemology and semantics for mathematics, based on their favourite ontology. This challenge is the point on which all philosophies of mathematics are judged, and clarifying how we might acquire mathematical knowledge is one of the main occupations of philosophers of mathematics. In this thesis I argue that this discussion has overlooked an important part of mathematics, namely mathematics (...)
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