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Real Definition

Analytic Philosophy 56 (3):189-209 (2015)

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  1. Metaphysical Constraints, Primitivism, and Reduction.Michael Bertrand - forthcoming - Journal of the American Philosophical Association:1-19.
    The argument from absence of analysis infers primitivism about some x from the absence of a reductive analysis of x. But philosophers use the word ‘primitive’ to mean many distinct things. I argue that there is a robust sense of ‘primitive’ present in the metaphysics literature that cannot be inferred via the AAA. Successfully demonstrating robust primitivism about some x requires showing two things at once: that a reduction of x is not possible and that an explanatorily deep characterization of (...)
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  • Two Sorts of Constitutivism.Jeremy David Fix - forthcoming - Analytic Philosophy.
    Some things, but only some things, are by nature subject to standards. Why? I explain a constitutivist answer to this question in terms of certain genera possessing essential properties which their particulars can possess or lack. When something is by nature subject to a standard, it is so subject because it is a particular of a genus with such properties, and it is subject to a standard with respect to those very properties. I then explain the account of the nature (...)
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  • Kind‐Dependent Grounding.Alex Moran - 2018 - Analytic Philosophy 59 (3):359-390.
    Are grounding claims fully general in character? If an object a is F in virtue of being G, does it follow that anything that’s G is F for that reason? According to the thesis of Weak Formality, the answer here is ‘yes’. In this paper, however, I argue that there is philosophical utility in rejecting this thesis. More exactly, I argue that two currently unresolved problems in contemporary metaphysics can be dealt with if we hold that there can be cases (...)
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  • Collective Essence and Monotonicity.Justin Zylstra - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (5):1087-1101.
    This paper focuses on the concept of collective essence: that some truths are essential to many items taken together. For example, that it is essential to conjunction and negation that they are truth-functionally complete. The concept of collective essence is one of the main innovations of recent work on the theory of essence. In a sense, this innovation is natural, since we make all sorts of plural predications. It stands to reason that there should be a distinction between essential and (...)
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  • There Are No Reasons for Affective Attitudes.Barry Maguire - 2018 - Mind 127 (507):779-805.
    A dogma of contemporary ethical theory maintains that the nature of normative support for affective attitudes is the very same as the nature of normative support for actions. The prevailing view is that normative reasons provide the support across the board. I argue that the nature of normative support for affective attitudes is importantly different from the nature of normative support for actions. Actions are indeed supported by reasons. Reasons are gradable and contributory. The support relations for affective attitudes are (...)
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  • Physicalism and the Identity of Identity Theories.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    Type-identity theorists interpret physicalism as the claim that every property is identical to a physical property. Token-identity theorists interpret it as the claim that every particular is identical to a physical particular. The end of this paper is to undermine the distinction between the two. Drawing on recent work on generalized identities and truth-maker semantics, I demonstrate that these formulations of physicalism are logically equivalent. I then argue that each formulation has the resources to resolve problems that the other encounters.
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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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  • The Paradox of Decrease and Dependent Parts.Alex Moran - 2018 - Ratio 31 (3):273-284.
    This paper is concerned with the paradox of decrease. Its aim is to defend the answer to this puzzle that was propounded by its originator, namely, the Stoic philosopher Chrysippus. The main trouble with this answer to the paradox is that it has the seemingly problematic implication that a material thing could perish due merely to extrinsic change. It follows that in order to defend Chrysippus’ answer to the paradox, one has to explain how it could be that Theon is (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Mortals: Death, Immortality, and Personal Time.Cody Gilmore - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (12):3271-3299.
    Personal time, as opposed to external time, has a certain role to play in the correct account of death and immortality. But saying exactly what that role is, and what role remains for external time, is not straightforward. I formulate and defend accounts of death and immortality that specify these roles precisely.
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  • Social Construction and Grounding.Aaron M. Griffith - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):393-409.
    The aim of this paper is to bring recent work on metaphysical grounding to bear on the phenomenon of social construction. It is argued that grounding can be used to analyze social construction and that the grounding framework is helpful for articulating various claims and commitments of social constructionists, especially about social identities, e.g., gender and race. The paper also responds to a number of objections that have been leveled against the application of grounding to social construction from Elizabeth Barnes, (...)
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  • Can Russellian Monism Solve the Mind-Body Problem?Adam Pautz - manuscript
    I develop a new argument against Russellian Monism about consciousness.
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  • Grounding, Essence, And Identity.Fabrice Correia & Alexander Skiles - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (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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  • 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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  • The Unity of Grounding.Selim Berker - 2018 - Mind 127 (507):729-777.
    I argue—contra moderate grounding pluralists such as Kit Fine and more extreme grounding pluralists such as Jessica Wilson—that there is fundamentally only one grounding/in-virtue-of relation. I also argue that this single relation is indispensable for normative theorizing—that we can’t make sense of, for example, the debate over consequentialism without it. It follows from what I argue that there is no metaethically-pure normative ethics.
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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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  • Symmetry Fundamentalism.David Schroeren - unknown
    Physicists have suggested what I call symmetry fundamentalism: the view that symmetries are fundamental aspects of physical reality and that these aspects are metaphysically prior to 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 give symmetry fundamentalism a precise metaphysical underpinning by articulating an ontology which makes transparent what aspects of fundamental reality correspond to symmetries, and which explains precisely how these aspects can (...)
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  • Normativity All the Way Down: From Normative Realism to Pannormism.Einar Bohn - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):4107-4124.
    In this paper, I provide an argument for pannormism, the view according to which there are normative properties all the way down. In particular, I argue for what I call the trickling down principle, which says that if there is a metaphysically basic normative property, then, if whatever instantiates it has a ground, that ground instantiates it as well.
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  • Essence Without Fundamentality.Agustín Rayo - 2015 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 30 (3):349-363.
    I argue for a conception of essence that does not rely on distinctions of metaphysical fundamentality.
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  • Essence and Mere Necessity.Jessica Leech - 2018 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82:309-332.
    Recently, a debate has developed between those who claim that essence can be explained in terms of de re modality (modalists), and those who claim that de re modality can be explained in terms of essence (essentialists). The aim of this paper is to suggest that we should reassess. It is assumed that either necessity is to be accounted for in terms of essence, or that essence is to be accounted for in terms of necessity. I will argue that we (...)
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  • Which Concepts Should We Use?: Metalinguistic Negotiations and The Methodology of Philosophy.David Plunkett - 2015 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (7-8):828-874.
    This paper is about philosophical disputes where the literal content of what speakers communicate concerns such object-level issues as ground, supervenience, or real definition. It is tempting to think that such disputes straightforwardly express disagreements about these topics. In contrast to this, I suggest that, in many such cases, the disagreement that is expressed is actually one about which concepts should be employed. I make this case as follows. First, I look at non-philosophical, everyday disputes where a speaker employs a (...)
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  • Debunking Arguments and Metaphysical Laws.Jonathan Barker - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    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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  • Scanlon’s Modal Metaphysics.Gideon Rosen - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (6):856-876.
    In Being Realistic About Reasons T. M. Scanlon argues that particular fact about reasons are explained by contingent non-normative facts together with pure normative principles. A question then arises about the modal status of these pure principles. Scanlon maintains that they are necessary in a sense, and suggests that they are ‘metaphysically’ necessary. I argue that the best view for Scanlon to take, given his other commitments, is that these pure normative principles are metaphysically contingent in some cases and necessary (...)
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  • Information, Security, Privacy, and Anonymity : Definitional and Conceptual Issues.Björn Lundgren - 2018 - Dissertation, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
    This doctoral thesis consists of five research papers that address four tangential topics, all of which are relevant for the challenges we are facing in our socio-technical society: information, security, privacy, and anonymity. All topics are approached by similar methods, i.e. with a concern about conceptual and definitional issues. In Paper I—concerning the concept of information and a semantic conception thereof—it is argued that the veridicality thesis is false. In Paper II—concerning information security—it is argued that the current leading definitions (...)
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  • Questions and Answers: Metaphysical Explanation and the Structure of Reality.Naomi Thompson - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (1):98-116.
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  • Belief as the Power to Judge.Nicholas Koziolek - forthcoming - Topoi:1-10.
    A number of metaphysicians of powers have argued that we need to distinguish the actualization of a power from the effects of that actualization. This distinction, I argue, has important consequences for the dispositional theory of belief. In particular, it suggests that dispositionalists have in effect been trying to define belief, not in terms of its actualization, but instead in terms of the effects of its actualization. As a general rule, however, powers are to be defined in terms of their (...)
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  • Social Construction: Big-G Grounding, Small-G Realization.Aaron Griffith - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):241-260.
    The goal of this paper is to make headway on a metaphysics of social construction. In recent work, I’ve argued that social construction should be understood in terms of metaphysical grounding. However, I agree with grounding skeptics like Wilson that bare claims about what grounds what are insufficient for capturing, with fine enough grain, metaphysical dependence structures. To that end, I develop a view on which the social construction of human social kinds is a kind of realization relation. Social kinds, (...)
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  • On Ground as a Guide to Realism.Emad H. Atiq - 2018 - Ratio 31 (2):165-178.
    According to Fine (among others), a nonbasic factual proposition must be grounded in facts involving those of its constituents that are both real and fundamental. But the principle is vulnerable to several dialectically significant counterexamples. It entails, for example, that a logical Platonist cannot accept that true disjunctions are grounded in the truth of their disjuncts; that a Platonist about mathematical objects cannot accept that sets are grounded in their members; and that a color primitivist cannot accept that an object’s (...)
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  • Real Definitions.Fabrice Correia - 2017 - Philosophical Issues 27 (1):52-73.
    I offer and defend an account of real definitions. I put forward two versions of the account, one formulated in terms of the notion of generalised identity and of a suitable notion of grounding, and the other one formulated in terms of the former notion and of a suitable notion of comparative joint-carvingness. Given a plausible assumption, and turn out to be equivalent. I give a sketch of a unified account of the three notions involved in and from which the (...)
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  • Philosophical Analysis: The Concept Grounding View.Joachim Horvath - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (3):724-750.
    Philosophical analysis was the central preoccupation of 20th-century analytic philosophy. In the contemporary methodological debate, however, it faces a number of pressing external and internal challenges. While external challenges, like those from experimental philosophy or semantic externalism, have been extensively discussed, internal challenges to philosophical analysis have received much less attention. One especially vexing internal challenge is that the success conditions of philosophical analysis are deeply unclear. According to the standard textbook view, a philosophical analysis aims at a strict biconditional (...)
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  • Fittingness.Christopher Howard - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12542.
    The normative notion of fittingness figures saliently in the work of a number of ethical theorists writing in the late nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries and has in recent years regained prominence, occupying an important place in the theoretical tool kits of a range of contemporary writers. Yet the notion remains strikingly undertheorized. This article offers a (partial) remedy. I proceed by canvassing a number of attempts to analyze the fittingness relation in other terms, arguing that none is fully adequate. In (...)
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  • Definition and Impossibility.Stephen Steward - 2017 - Analytic Philosophy 58 (4):409-412.
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  • Note on Definition and Impossibility.Alisabeth Ayars - 2017 - Analytic Philosophy 58 (4):413-417.
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  • Pure Logic of Iterated Full Ground.Jon Erling Litland - 2018 - Review of Symbolic Logic 11 (3):411-435.
    This article develops the Pure Logic of Iterated Full Ground (PLIFG), a logic of ground that can deal with claims of the form “ϕ grounds that (ψ grounds θ)”—what we call iterated grounding claims. The core idea is that some truths Γ ground a truth ϕ when there is an explanatory argument (of a certain sort) from premisses Γ to conclusion ϕ. By developing a deductive system that distinguishes between explanatory and nonexplanatory arguments we can give introduction rules for operators (...)
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  • Property Identity.Paul Audi - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (12):829-840.
    The question of how properties are individuated is extremely important. Consider the following proposals. To be in pain is to be in a certain neurological state. To be red is to appear red to normal observers in standard conditions. To be obligatory is to maximize the good. Each makes a claim of property identity. Each is a substantive metaphysical thesis of wide interest. None can be studied with due scrutiny in the absence of a general account of property identity. Here, (...)
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  • The Essence of Grounding.Justin Zylstra - forthcoming - Synthese.
    I develop a reduction of grounding to essence. My approach is to think about the relation between grounding and essence on the model of a certain conceptof existential dependence. I extend this concept of existential dependence in a coupleof ways and argue that these extensions provide a reduction of grounding to essenceif we use sorted variables that range over facts and take it that for a fact to obtain is forit to exist. I then use the account to resolve various (...)
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  • Essence with Ground.Justin Zylstra - 2018 - Analytic Philosophy 59 (2):193-207.
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  • Upward Grounding.T. Scott Dixon - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1):48-78.
    Realists about universals face a question about grounding. Are things how they are because they instantiate the universals they do? Or do they instantiate those universals because they are how they are? Take Ebenezer Scrooge. You can say that Scrooge is greedy because he instantiates greediness, or you can say that Scrooge instantiates greediness because he is greedy. I argue that there is reason to prefer the latter to the former. I develop two arguments for the view. I also respond (...)
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