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  1. Metaphysically Explanatory Unification.David Mark Kovacs - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-25.
    This paper develops and motivates a unification theory of metaphysical explanation, or as I will call it, Metaphysical Unificationism. The theory’s main inspiration is the unification account of scientific explanation, according to which explanatoriness is a holistic feature of theories that derive a large number of explananda from a meager set of explanantia, using a small number of argument patterns. In developing Metaphysical Unificationism, I will point out that it has a number of interesting consequences. The view offers a novel (...)
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  • On Occurrences of Types in Types.Wayne A. Davis - 2014 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (2):349-363.
    The different occurrences of a word in a sentence cannot be identified with the one word type, nor with its many tokens. What then are occurrences of a word? How can one type occur more than once in another type? Is the conception of ‘structural universals’ that leads to these questions incoherent, as Lewis maintained? I argue against the answer Wetzel suggested, which identifies sentences with functions from numbers to expressions, and propose instead that occurrences of one type in another (...)
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  • Prioritizing Platonism.Kelly Trogdon & Sam Cowling - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):2029-2042.
    Discussion of atomistic and monistic theses about abstract reality.
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  • Naturalness as a Constraint on Priors.Darren Bradley - forthcoming - Mind:fzz027.
    I argue that epistemologists should borrow the metaphysician’s concept of naturalness and assign higher priors to more natural hypotheses.
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  • Is Mathematics the Theory of Instantiated Structural Universals?Iulian D. Toader - 2013 - Transylvanian Review 22:132-142.
    The paper argues against defending realism about numbers on the basis of realism about instantiated structural universals. After presenting Armstrong’s theory of structural properties as instantiated universals and Lewis’s devastating criticism of it, I argue that several responses to this criticism are unsuccessful, and that one possible construal of structural universals via non-well-founded sets should be resisted by the mathematical realist.
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  • Structural Universals.A. R. J. Fisher - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (10):e12518.
    Structural universals are a kind of complex universal. They have been put to work in a variety of philosophical theories but are plagued with problems concerning their compositional nature. In this article, we will discuss the following questions. What are structural universals? Why believe in them? Can we give a consistent account of their compositional nature? What are the costs of doing so?
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  • Part‐Intrinsicality.J. Robert G. Williams - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):431-452.
    In some sense, survival seems to be an intrinsic matter. Whether or not you survive some event seems to depend on what goes on with you yourself —what happens in the environment shouldn’t make a difference. Likewise, being a person at a time seems intrinsic. The principle that survival seems intrinsic is one factor which makes personal fission puzzles so awkward. Fission scenarios present cases where if survival is an intrinsic matter, it appears that an individual could survive twice over. (...)
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  • Lewis on Reference and Eligibility.J. R. G. Williams - 2015 - In Barry Loewer & Jonathan Schaffer (eds.), A companion to David Lewis. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 367-382.
    This paper outlines Lewis’s favoured foundational account of linguistic representation, and outlines and briefly evaluates variations and modifications. Section 1 gives an opinionated exegesis of Lewis’ work on the foundations of reference—his interpretationism. I look at the way that the metaphysical distinction between natural and non-natural properties came to play a central role in his thinking about language. Lewis’s own deployment of this notion has implausible commitments, so in section 2 I consider variations and alternatives. Section 3 briefly considers a (...)
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  • Illusions of Gunk.J. Robert G. Williams - 2006 - Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):493–513.
    Worlds where things divide forever ("gunk" worlds) are apparently conceivable. The conceivability of such scenarios has been used as an argument against "nihilist" or "near-nihilist" answers to the special composition question. I argue that the mereological nihilist has the resources to explain away the illusion that gunk is possible.
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  • Reference Magnetism and the Reduction of Reference.J. R. G. Williams - manuscript
    *This work has turned into a bigger project, and some of it is published in "Lewis on reference".* Some things, argues Lewis, are just better candidates to be referents than others. Even at the cost of attributing false beliefs, we interpret people as referring to the most interesting kinds in their vicinity. How should this be accounted for? In section 1, I look at Lewis’s interpretationism, and the reference magnetism it builds in (not just for ‘perfectly natural’ properties, but for (...)
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  • The Partial Identity Account of Partial Similarity Revisited.Matteo Morganti - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (3):527-546.
    This paper provides a defence of the account of partial resemblances between properties according to which such resemblances are due to partial identities of constituent properties. It is argued, first of all, that the account is not only required by realists about universals à la Armstrong, but also useful (of course, in an appropriately re-formulated form) for those who prefer a nominalistic ontology for material objects. For this reason, the paper only briefly considers the problem of how to conceive of (...)
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  • Mereology, Modality and Magic.Katherine Hawley - 2010 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):117 – 133.
    If the property _being a methane molecule_ is a universal, then it is a structural universal: objects instantiate _being a methane molecule_ just in case they have the right sorts of proper parts arranged in the right sort of way. Lewis argued that there can be no satisfactory account of structural universals; in this paper I provide a satisfactory account.
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  • What Are Natural Kinds?Katherine Hawley & Alexander Bird - 2011 - Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):205-221.
    We articulate a view of natural kinds as complex universals. We do not attempt to argue for the existence of universals. Instead, we argue that, given the existence of universals, and of natural kinds, the latter can be understood in terms of the former, and that this provides a rich, flexible framework within which to discuss issues of indeterminacy, essentialism, induction, and reduction. Along the way, we develop a 'problem of the many' for universals.
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  • Instantiation as Location.Sam Cowling - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (3):667-682.
    Many familiar forms of property realism identify properties with sui generis ontological categories like universals or tropes and posit a fundamental instantiation relation that unifies objects with their properties. In this paper, I develop and defend locationism, which identifies properties with locations and holds that the occupation relation that unifies objects with their locations also unifies objects with their properties. Along with the theoretical parsimony that locationism enjoys, I argue that locationism resolves a puzzle for actualists regarding the ontological status (...)
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