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Material Beings

Philosophy 67 (259):126-127 (1990)

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  1. Mereological Nihilism: Keeping It Simple.Simon D. Thunder - 2017 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (4):278-287.
    (Mereological) nihilism states that there are no composite objects—there are only sub-atomic particles such as quarks. Nihilism’s biggest rival, (mereological) universalism, posits vast numbers of composite objects in addition to the sub-atomic particles, and so nihilism appears to be the more ontologically parsimonious of the two theories. If this is the case, it’s a significant result for the nihilist: ontological parsimony is almost always thought to be a theoretical virtue, so a nihilist victory in the parsimony stakes gives us a (...)
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  • Composition and the Will of God.Eric Yang & Stephen T. Davis - 2017 - In T. Ryan Byerly & Eric J. Silverman (eds.), Paradise Understood: New Philosophical Essays About Heaven. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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  • It Ain’T Easy: Fictionalism, Deflationism, and Easy Arguments in Ontology.Gabriele Contessa - 2016 - Mind 125 (499):763-773.
    Fictionalism and deflationism are two moderate meta-ontological positions that try to occupy a middle ground between the extremes of heavy-duty realism and hard-line eliminativism. Deflationists believe that the existence of certain entities (e.g.: numbers) can be established by means of ‘easy’ arguments—arguments that, supposedly, rely solely on uncontroversial premises and trivial inferences. Fictionalists, however, find easy arguments unconvincing. Amie Thomasson has recently argued that, in their criticism of easy arguments, fictionalists beg the question against deflationism and that the fictionalist alternative (...)
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  • Varieties of Animalism.Allison Krile Thornton - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (9):515-526.
    Animalism in its basic form is the view that we are animals. Whether it is a thesis about anything else – like what the conditions of our persistence through time are or whether we're wholly material things – depends on the facts about the persistence conditions and ontology of animals. Thus, I will argue, there are different varieties of animalism, differing with respect to which other theses are taken in conjunction with animalism in its basic form. The different varieties of (...)
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  • Composition as Identity: A Study in Ontology and Philosophical Logic.Einar Bohn - unknown
    In this work I first develop, motivate, and defend the view that mereological composition, the relation between an object and all its parts collectively, is a relation of identity. I argue that this view implies and hence can explain the logical necessity of classical mereology, the formal study of the part-whole relation. I then critically discuss four contemporary views of the same kind. Finally, I employ my thesis in a recent discussion of whether the world is fundamentally one in number.
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  • DE NATURA RERUM - Scripta in Honorem Professoris Olli Koistinen Sexagesimum Annum Complentis.Hemmo Laiho & Arto Repo (eds.) - 2016 - Turku: University of Turku.
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  • Space Emergence in Contemporary Physics: Why We Do Not Need Fundamentality, Layers of Reality and Emergence.Baptiste Le Bihan - 2018 - Disputatio 10 (49):71-95.
    ‘Space does not exist fundamentally: it emerges from a more fundamental non-spatial structure.’ This intriguing claim appears in various research programs in contemporary physics. Philosophers of physics tend to believe that this claim entails either that spacetime does not exist, or that it is derivatively real. In this article, I introduce and defend a third metaphysical interpretation of the claim: reductionism about space. I argue that, as a result, there is no need to subscribe to fundamentality, layers of reality and (...)
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  • Bradley's Reductio of Relations and Formal Ontological Relations.Jani Hakkarainen & Markku Keinänen - 2016 - In Hemmo Laiho & Arto Repo (eds.), DE NATURA RERUM - Scripta in honorem professoris Olli Koistinen sexagesimum annum complentis. Turku: University of Turku. pp. 246-261.
    In this paper, we argue that formal ontological relations avoid Bradley's reductio of relations, including his famous relation regress.
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  • Were You a Part of Your Mother?Elselijn Kingma - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):609-646.
    Is the mammalian embryo/fetus a part of the organism that gestates it? According to the containment view, the fetus is not a part of, but merely contained within or surrounded by, the gestating organism. According to the parthood view, the fetus is a part of the gestating organism. This paper proceeds in two stages. First, I argue that the containment view is the received view; that it is generally assumed without good reason; and that it needs substantial support if it (...)
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  • Quantifier Variance and the Collapse Argument.Jared Warren - 2015 - Philosophical Quarterly 65 (259):241-253.
    Recently a number of works in meta-ontology have used a variant of J.H. Harris's collapse argument in the philosophy of logic as an argument against Eli Hirsch's quantifier variance. There have been several responses to the argument in the literature, but none of them have identified the central failing of the argument, viz., the argument has two readings: one on which it is sound but doesn't refute quantifier variance and another on which it is unsound. The central lesson I draw (...)
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  • Material Constitution is Ad Hoc.Jeroen Smid - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (2):305-325.
    The idea that two objects can coincide—by sharing all their proper parts, or matter—yet be non-identical, results in the “Problem of Coincident Objects”: in what relation do objects stand if they are not identical but share all their proper parts? One solution is to introduce material constitution. In this paper, I argue that this is ad hoc since, first, this solution cannot be generalized to solve similar problems, and, second, there are pseudo cases of coincidence that should not trigger the (...)
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  • Animalism, Abortion, and a Future Like Ours.Andrea Sauchelli - 2019 - Journal of Ethics 23 (3):317-22.
    Marquis’ future-like-ours argument against the morality of abortion assumes animalism—a family of theories according to which we are animals. Such an assumption is theoretically useful for various reasons, e.g., because it provides the theoretical underpinning for a reply to the contraception-abstinence objection. However, the connection between the future-like-ours argument and one popular version of animalism can prove lethal to the former, or so I argue in this paper.
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  • Vagueness, Multiplicity and Parts.Daniel P. Nolan - 2006 - Noûs 40 (4):716–737.
    There’s an argument around from so-called “linguistic theories of vagueness”, plus some relatively uncontroversial considerations, to powerful metaphysical conclusions. David Lewis employs this argument to support the mereological principle of unrestricted composition, and Theodore Sider employs a similar argument not just for unrestricted composition but also for the doctrine of temporal parts. This sort of argument could be generalised, to produce a lot of other less palatable metaphysical conclusions. However, arguments to Lewis’s and Sider’s conclusions on the basis of considerations (...)
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  • Defending Contingentism in Metaphysics.Kristie Miller - 2009 - Dialectica 63 (1):23-49.
    Metaphysics is supposed to tell us about the metaphysical nature of our world: under what conditions composition occurs; how objects persist through time; whether properties are universals or tropes. It is near orthodoxy that whichever of these sorts of metaphysical claims is true is necessarily true. This paper looks at the debate between that orthodox view and a recently emerging view that claims like these are contingent, by focusing on the metaphysical debate between monists and pluralists about concrete particulars. This (...)
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  • Vague Objects with Sharp Boundaries.Jiri Benovsky - 2015 - Ratio 28 (1):29-39.
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  • Symposium on Writing the Book of the World.Theodore Sider - 2013 - Analysis 73 (4):751-770.
    This is a symposium on my book, Writing the Book of the World, containing a precis from me, criticisms from Contessa, Merricks, and Schaffer, and replies by me.
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  • Naïve Realism, Hallucination, and Causation: A New Response to the Screening Off Problem.Alex Moran - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):368-382.
    This paper sets out a novel response to the ‘screening off problem’ for naïve realism. The aim is to resist the claim (which many naïve realists accept) that the kind of experience involved in hallucinating also occurs during perception, by arguing that there are causal constraints that must be met if an hallucinatory experience is to occur that are never met in perceptual cases. Notably, given this response, it turns out that, contra current orthodoxy, naïve realists need not adopt any (...)
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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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  • Many, but Almost One.David K. Lewis - 1993 - In Keith Cambell, John Bacon & Lloyd Reinhardt (eds.), Ontology, Causality and Mind: Essays on the Philosophy of D. M. Armstrong. Cambridge University Press. pp. 23-38.
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  • The Razor Argument of Metaphysics A.9.José Edgar González-Varela - 2018 - Phronesis 63 (4):408-448.
    I discuss Aristotle’s opening argument against Platonic Forms in _Metaphysics_ A.9, ‘the Razor’, which criticizes the introduction of Forms on the basis of an analogy with a hypothetical case of counting things. I argue for a new interpretation of this argument, and show that it involves two interesting objections against the introduction of Forms as formal causes: one concerns the completeness and the other the adequacy of such an explanatory project.
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  • The Necessity of Metaphysics.Tuomas E. Tahko - 2008 - Dissertation, Durham University
    The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate that metaphysics is a necessary discipline -- necessary in the sense that all areas of philosophy, all areas of science, and in fact any type of rational activity at all would be impossible without a metaphysical background or metaphysical presuppositions. Because of the extremely strong nature of this claim, it is not possible to put forward a very simple argument, although I will attempt to construct one. A crucial issue here is what (...)
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  • I trabocchetti della rappresentazione spaziale.Roberto Casati & Achille C. Varzi - 1999 - Sistemi Intelligent 11 (1):7–28.
    This is a position article summarizing our approach to the philosophy of space and spatial representation. Our concern is mostly methodological: above all, we argue that a number of philosophical puzzles that arise in this field—puzzles concerning the nature of spatial entities, their material and mereological constitution, their relationship with the space that they occupy—stem from a confusion between semantic issues and true metaphysical concerns.
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  • Vagueness in Geography.Achille C. Varzi - 2001 - Philosophy and Geography 4 (1):49–65.
    Some have argued that the vagueness exhibited by geographic names and descriptions such as ‘Albuquerque’, ‘the Outback’, or ‘Mount Everest’ is ultimately ontological: these terms are vague because they refer to vague objects, objects with fuzzy boundaries. I take the opposite stand and hold the view that geographic vagueness is exclusively semantic, or conceptual at large. There is no such thing as a vague mountain. Rather, there are many things where we conceive a mountain to be, each with its precise (...)
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  • Relativity and Three Four‐Dimensionalisms.Cody Gilmore, Damiano Costa & Claudio Calosi - 2016 - Philosophy Compass 11 (2):102-120.
    Relativity theory is often said to support something called ‘the four-dimensional view of reality’. But there are at least three different views that sometimes go by this name. One is ‘spacetime unitism’, according to which there is a spacetime manifold, and if there are such things as points of space or instants of time, these are just spacetime regions of different sorts: thus space and time are not separate manifolds. A second is the B-theory of time, according to which the (...)
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  • A Trope Nominalist Theory of Natural Kinds.Markku Keinänen - 2015 - In Ghislain Guigon & Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra (eds.), Nominalism about Properties. Routledge. pp. 156-174.
    In this chapter, I present the first systematic trope nominalist approach to natural kinds of objects. It does not identify natural kinds with the structures of mind-independent entities (objects, universals or tropes). Rather, natural kinds are abstractions from natural kind terms and objects belong to a natural kind if they satisfy their mind-independent application conditions. By relying on the trope theory SNT (Keinänen 2011), I show that the trope parts of a simple object determine the kind to which it belongs. (...)
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  • Persistence and Responsibility.Neal A. Tognazzini - 2010 - In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Harry Silverstein (eds.), Time and Identity. MIT Press.
    In this paper I argue that adopting a perdurance view of persistence through time does not lead to skepticism about moral responsibility, despite what many theorists have thought.
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  • Minds, Composition, and Hume's Skepticism in the Appendix.Jonathan Cottrell - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (4):533-569.
    This essay gives a new interpretation of Hume's second thoughts about minds in the Appendix, based on a new interpretation of his view of composition. In Book 1 of the Treatise, Hume argued that, as far as we can conceive it, a mind is a whole composed by all its perceptions. But—this essay argues—he also held that several perceptions form a whole only if the mind to which they belong supplies a “connexion” among them. In order to do so, it (...)
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  • Is Ontological Revisionism Uncharitable?Chris Daly & David Liggins - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):405-425.
    Some philosophers deny the existence of composite material objects. Other philosophers hold that whenever there are some things, they compose something. The purpose of this paper is to scrutinize an objection to these revisionary views: the objection that nihilism and universalism are both unacceptably uncharitable because each of them implies that a great deal of what we ordinarily believe is false. Our main business is to show how nihilism and universalism can be defended against the objection. A secondary point is (...)
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  • Conceivability, Possibility and the Resurrection of Material Beings.Thomas Atkinson - 2016 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 80 (2):115-132.
    In his 1998 postscript to ‘The Possibility of Resurrection’ Peter van Inwagen argues that the scenario he describes by which God might resurrect a human organism, even though probably not true, is still conceivable and, consequently, ‘serves to establish a possibility’, namely, the metaphysical possibility of the resurrection of material beings. Van Inwagen, however, has also argued in favour of ‘modal scepticism’ [van Inwagen in, God, knowledge and mystery: essays in philosophical theology, Cornell University Press, Ithaca 1995b, pp. 11–12; van (...)
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  • Biological-Mereological Coincidence.Judith K. Crane - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 161 (2):309-325.
    This paper presents and defends an account of the coincidence of biological organisms with mereological sums of their material components. That is, an organism and the sum of its material components are distinct material objects existing in the same place at the same time. Instead of relying on historical or modal differences to show how such coincident entities are distinct, this paper argues that there is a class of physiological properties of biological organisms that their coincident mereological sums do not (...)
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  • Combining Minds: A Defence of the Possibility of Experiential Combination.Luke Roelofs - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    This thesis explores the possibility of composite consciousness: phenomenally conscious states belonging to a composite being in virtue of the consciousness of, and relations among, its parts. We have no trouble accepting that a composite being has physical properties entirely in virtue of the physical properties of, and relations among, its parts. But a long­standing intuition holds that consciousness is different: my consciousness cannot be understood as a complex of interacting component consciousnesses belonging to parts of me. I ask why: (...)
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  • Living Words: Meaning Underdetermination and the Dynamic Lexicon.Peter Ludlow - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    Peter Ludlow shows how word meanings are much more dynamic than we might have supposed, and explores how they are modulated even during everyday conversation. The resulting view is radical, and has far-reaching consequences for our political and legal discourse, and for enduring puzzles in the foundations of semantics, epistemology, and logic.
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  • Moral Epistemology: The Mathematics Analogy.Justin Clarke-Doane - 2014 - Noûs 48 (2):238-255.
    There is a long tradition comparing moral knowledge to mathematical knowledge. In this paper, I discuss apparent similarities and differences between knowledge in the two areas, realistically conceived. I argue that many of these are only apparent, while others are less philosophically significant than might be thought. The picture that emerges is surprising. There are definitely differences between epistemological arguments in the two areas. However, these differences, if anything, increase the plausibility of moral realism as compared to mathematical realism. It (...)
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  • Nothing is Alive.Jiri Benovsky - 2017 - Think 16 (47):115-125.
    Finding an adequate definition of "life" has proven to be a tricky affair. In this article, I discuss the idea that nothing is really alive: we only say so. I shall argue that 'being alive' is not a genuine property of things, and that it only reflects the way we think and talk about things. An eliminativist strategy will then allow us to free ourselves from the burden of having to find a definition of life, and will allow us to (...)
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  • What Do the Folk Think About Composition and Does It Matter?Daniel Z. Korman & Chad Carmichael - 2017 - In David Rose (ed.), Experimental Metaphysics. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 187-206.
    Rose and Schaffer (forthcoming) argue that teleological thinking has a substantial influence on folk intuitions about composition. They take this to show (i) that we should not rely on folk intuitions about composition and (ii) that we therefore should not reject theories of composition on the basis of intuitions about composition. We cast doubt on the teleological interpretation of folk judgments about composition; we show how their debunking argument can be resisted, even on the assumption that folk intuitions have a (...)
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  • Carnap’s Epistemological Critique of Metaphysics.Darren Bradley - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):2247-2265.
    Many who take a dismissive attitude towards metaphysics trace their view back to Carnap’s ‘Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology’. But the reason Carnap takes a dismissive attitude to metaphysics is a matter of controversy. I will argue that no reason is given in ‘Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology’, and this is because his reason for rejecting metaphysical debates was given in ‘Pseudo-Problems in Philosophy’. The argument there assumes verificationism, but I will argue that his argument survives the rejection of verificationism. The root (...)
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  • Sorting Out Aspects of Personhood.Arto Laitinen - 2007 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (5-6):248-270.
    This paper examines how three central aspects of personhood — the capacities of individuals, their normative status, and the social aspect of being recognized — are related, and how personhood depends on them. The paper defends first of all a ‘basic view’that while actual recognition is among the constitutive elements of full personhood, it is the individual capacities (and not full personhood) which ground the basic moral and normative demands concerning treatment of persons. Actual recognition depends analyti- cally on such (...)
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  • Personales Leben Und Menschlicher Tod: Personale Identität Als Prinzip der Biomedizinischen Ethik, by Michael Quante. [REVIEW]Arto Laitinen - 2007 - European Journal of Philosophy 15 (2):306–313.
    Issues of personal identity are relevant in biomedical ethics, but in what way? The mainclaim that structures Quante’s book is that the debates about bioethics and medical ethicshave not been sufficiently clear about the different meanings of ‘personal identity’. Hedistinguishes four questions: 1)conditions of personhood (what properties and capacitiesmust a thing have to be a person: consciousness? self-consciousness? consciousness of timeand one’s persistence in time? rationality? capacity to recognize others and communicate with them?), 2) the question of unity or synchronous (...)
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  • Music and Vague Existence.David Friedell - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (4):437-449.
    I explain a tension between musical creationism and the view that there is no vague existence. I then suggest ways to reconcile these views. My central conclusion is that, although some versions of musical creationism imply vague existence, others do not. I discuss versions of musical creationism held by Jerrold Levinson, Simon Evnine, and Kit Fine. I also present two new versions. I close by considering whether the tension is merely an instance of a general problem raised by artifacts, both (...)
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  • A Proposed Taxonomy of Eliminativism.Bernardo Pino - 2017 - Co-herencia 14 (27):181-213.
    In this paper, I propose a general taxonomy of different forms of eliminativism. In order to do so, I begin by exploring eliminativism from a broad perspective, providing a comparative picture of eliminativist projects in different domains. This exploration shows that eliminativism is a label used for a family of related types of eliminativist arguments and claims. The proposed taxonomy is an attempt to systematise those arguments and claims.
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  • Surviving Death: How to Refute Termination Theses.Robert Francescotti - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (2):178-197.
    When deciding how ‘death’ should be defined, it is helpful to consider cases in which vital functions are restored to an organism long after those vital functions have ceased. Here I consider whether such restoration cases can be used to refute termination theses. Focusing largely on the termination thesis applied to human animals, I develop a line of argument from the possibility of human restoration to the conclusion that in many actual cases, human animals continue to exist after they die. (...)
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  • Mereological Nihilism and Puzzles About Material Objects.Bradley Rettler - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    Mereological nihilism is the view that no objects have proper parts. Despite how counter‐intuitive it is, it is taken quite seriously, largely because it solves a number of puzzles in the metaphysics of material objects – or so its proponents claim. In this article, I show that for every puzzle that mereological nihilism solves, there is a similar puzzle that (a) it doesn’t solve, and (b) every other solution to the original puzzle does solve. Since the solutions to the new (...)
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  • Diachronic Metaphysical Building Relations: Towards the Metaphysics of Extended Cognition.Michael David Kirchhoff - 2014 - Dissertation, Macquarie University
    In the thesis I offer an analysis of the metaphysical underpinnings of the extended cognition thesis via an examination of standard views of metaphysical building (or, dependence) relations. -/- In summary form, the extended cognition thesis is a view put forth in naturalistic philosophy of mind stating that the physical basis of cognitive processes and cognitive processing may, in the right circumstances, be distributed across neural, bodily, and environmental vehicles. As such, the extended cognition thesis breaks substantially with the still (...)
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  • Mereological Composition and Plural Quantifier Semantics.Manuel Lechthaler & Ceth Lightfield - 2018 - Philosophia 46 (4):943-958.
    Mereological universalists and nihilists disagree on the conditions for composition. In this paper, we show how this debate is a function of one’s chosen semantics for plural quantifiers. Debating mereologists have failed to appreciate this point because of the complexity of the debate and extraneous theoretical commitments. We eliminate this by framing the debate between universalists and nihilists in a formal model where these two theses about composition are contradictory. The examination of the two theories in the model brings clarity (...)
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  • Composition and the Logic of Location: An Argument for Regionalism.Cody Gilmore & Matt Leonard - forthcoming - Mind:fzy052.
    Ned Markosian (2014) has recently defended a new theory of composition, which he calls regionalism: some material objects xx compose something if and only if there is a material object located at the fusion of the locations of xx. Markosian argues that regionalism follows from what he calls the subregion theory of parthood (STP). Korman and Carmichael (2016) agree. We provide countermodels to show that regionalism does not follow from (STP), even together with fourteen potentially implicit background principles. We then (...)
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  • Could a Middle Level Be the Most Fundamental?Sara Bernstein - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    Debates over what is fundamental assume that what is most fundamental must be either a “top” level (roughly, the biggest or highest-level thing), or a “bottom” level (roughly, the smallest or lowest-level things). Here I sketch an alternative to top-ism and bottom-ism, the view that a middle level could be the most fundamental, and argue for its plausibility. I then suggest that this view satisfies the desiderata of asymmetry, irreflexivity, transitivity, and well-foundedness of fundamentality, that it is on par with (...)
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  • A Sudden Collapse to Nihilism.Roberto Loss - 2018 - Philosophical Quarterly 68 (271):370-375.
    According to Composition is Identity, a whole is literally identical to the plurality of its parts. According to Mereological Nihilism, nothing has proper parts. In this note, it is argued that Composition is Identity can be shown to entail Mereological Nihilism in a much more simple and direct way than the one recently proposed by Claudio Calosi.
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  • Nonclassical Minds and Indeterminate Survival.J. Robert G. Williams - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (4):379-428.
    Revisionary theories of logic or truth require revisionary theories of mind. This essay outlines nonclassically based theories of rational belief, desire, and decision making, singling out the supervaluational family for special attention. To see these nonclassical theories of mind in action, this essay examines a debate between David Lewis and Derek Parfit over what matters in survival. Lewis argued that indeterminacy in personal identity allows caring about psychological connectedness and caring about personal identity to amount to the same thing. The (...)
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  • Decision-Making Under Indeterminacy.J. Robert G. Williams - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.
    Decisions are made under uncertainty when there are distinct outcomes of a given action, and one is uncertain to which the act will lead. Decisions are made under indeterminacy when there are distinct outcomes of a given action, and it is indeterminate to which the act will lead. This paper develops a theory of (synchronic and diachronic) decision-making under indeterminacy that portrays the rational response to such situations as inconstant. Rational agents have to capriciously and randomly choose how to resolve (...)
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  • Requirements on Reality.J. Robert G. Williams - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia Benjamin Schnieder (ed.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality. Cambridge University Press. pp. 165-185.
    There are advantages to thrift over honest toil. If we can make do without numbers we avoid challenging questions over the metaphysics and epistemology of such entities; and we have a good idea, I think, of what a nominalistic metaphysics should look like. But minimizing ontology brings its own problems; for it seems to lead to error theory— saying that large swathes of common-sense and best science are false. Should recherche philosophical arguments really convince us to give all this up? (...)
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