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  1. The Epistemological Challenge of Revisionary Metaphysics.Uriah Kriegel - 2013 - Philosophers' Imprint 13.
    This paper presents a systematic challenge to the viability of revisionary metaphysics. The challenge is to provide epistemic grounds on which one might justifiably believe that a revisionary-metaphysical theory in some area is more likely to be true than its competitors. I argue that upon close examination, the main candidates for providing such grounds — empirical evidence, intuition, and the theoretical virtues — all turn out to be unsatisfactory.
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  • A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 1980 - In Yuri Balashov & Alexander Rosenberg (eds.), Philosophy of Science: Contemporary Readings. Routledge. pp. 211.
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  • Sensations and Brain Processes.Jjc Smart - 1959 - Philosophical Review 68 (April):141-56.
    SUPPOSE that I report that I have at this moment a roundish, blurry-edged after-image which is yellowish towards its edge and is orange towards its centre. What is it that I am reporting?l One answer to this question might be that I am not reporting anything, that when I say that it looks to me as though there is a roundish yellowy orange patch of light On the wall I am expressing some sort of temptation, the temptation to say that (...)
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  • When is Parsimony a Virtue?Michael Huemer - 2009 - Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235):216-236.
    Parsimony is a virtue of empirical theories. Is it also a virtue of philosophical theories? I review four contemporary accounts of the virtue of parsimony in empirical theorizing, and consider how each might apply to two prominent appeals to parsimony in the philosophical literature, those made on behalf of physicalism and on behalf of nominalism. None of the accounts of the virtue of parsimony extends naturally to either of these philosophical cases. This suggests that in typical philosophical contexts, ontological simplicity (...)
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  • A Problem for the Alternative Difference Measure of Confirmation.Nevin Climenhaga - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (3):643-651.
    Among Bayesian confirmation theorists, several quantitative measures of the degree to which an evidential proposition E confirms a hypothesis H have been proposed. According to one popular recent measure, s, the degree to which E confirms H is a function of the equation P(H|E) − P(H|~E). A consequence of s is that when we have two evidential propositions, E1 and E2, such that P(H|E1) = P(H|E2), and P(H|~E1) ≠ P(H|~E2), the confirmation afforded to H by E1 does not equal the (...)
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  • Unconscious Cerebral Initiative and the Role of Conscious Will in Voluntary Action.Benjamin Libet - 1985 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 8 (4):529-66.
    Voluntary acts are preceded by electrophysiological (RPs). With spontaneous acts involving no preplanning, the main negative RP shift begins at about200 ms. Control experiments, in which a skin stimulus was timed (S), helped evaluate each subject's error in reporting the clock times for awareness of any perceived event.
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  • Quantitative Parsimony and Explanatory Power.Baker Alan - 2003 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (2):245-259.
    The desire to minimize the number of individual new entities postulated is often referred to as quantitative parsimony. Its influence on the default hypotheses formulated by scientists seems undeniable. I argue that there is a wide class of cases for which the preference for quantitatively parsimonious hypotheses is demonstrably rational. The justification, in a nutshell, is that such hypotheses have greater explanatory power than less parsimonious alternatives. My analysis is restricted to a class of cases I shall refer to as (...)
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  • Quantum Physics and the Identity of Indiscernibles.Steven French & Michael Redhead - 1988 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 39 (2):233-246.
    Department of History and Philosophy of Science. University of Cambridge, Free School Lane, Cambridge CB2 3RH This paper is concerned with the question of whether atomic particles of the same species, i. e. with the same intrinsic state-independent properties of mass, spin, electric charge, etc, violate the Leibnizian Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles, in the sense that, while there is more than one of them, their state-dependent properties may also all be the same. The answer depends on what exactly (...)
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  • Four-Dimensionalism.Theodore Sider - 1997 - Philosophical Review 106 (2):197-231.
    Persistence through time is like extension through space. A road has spatial parts in the subregions of the region of space it occupies; likewise, an object that exists in time has temporal parts in the various subregions of the total region of time it occupies. This view — known variously as four dimensionalism, the doctrine of temporal parts, and the theory that objects “perdure” — is opposed to “three dimensionalism”, the doctrine that things “endure”, or are “wholly present”.1 I will (...)
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  • Counterfactuals.D. Lewis - 1973 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 27 (4):403-405.
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  • Measuring Degrees of Confirmation.George N. Schlesinger - 1955 - Analysis 55 (3):208 - 212.
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  • A New Argument for Animalism.Stephan Blatti - 2012 - Analysis 72 (4):685-690.
    The view known as animalism asserts that we are human animals—that each of us is an instance of the Homo sapiens species. The standard argument for this view is known as the thinking animal argument . But this argument has recently come under attack. So, here, a new argument for animalism is introduced. The animal ancestors argument illustrates how the case for animalism can be seen to piggyback on the credibility of evolutionary theory. Two objections are then considered and answered.
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  • `Nature is the Realisation of the Simplest Conceivable Mathematical Ideas': Einstein and the Canon of Mathematical Simplicity.John D. Norton - 2000 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 31 (2):135-170.
    Einstein proclaimed that we could discover true laws of nature by seeking those with the simplest mathematical formulation. He came to this viewpoint later in his life. In his early years and work he was quite hostile to this idea. Einstein did not develop his later Platonism from a priori reasoning or aesthetic considerations. He learned the canon of mathematical simplicity from his own experiences in the discovery of new theories, most importantly, his discovery of general relativity. Through his neglect (...)
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  • Monism: The Priority of the Whole.Jonathan Schaffer - 2010 - Philosophical Review 119 (1):31-76.
    Consider a circle and a pair of its semicircles. Which is prior, the whole or its parts? Are the semicircles dependent abstractions from their whole, or is the circle a derivative construction from its parts? Now in place of the circle consider the entire cosmos (the ultimate concrete whole), and in place of the pair of semicircles consider the myriad particles (the ultimate concrete parts). Which if either is ultimately prior, the one ultimate whole or its many ultimate parts?
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  • On the Plurality of Worlds.David Lewis - 1986 - Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):42-47.
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  • Metaphysics as Modeling: The Handmaiden’s Tale.L. A. Paul - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (1):1-29.
    Critics of contemporary metaphysics argue that it attempts to do the hard work of science from the ease of the armchair. Physics, not metaphysics, tells us about the fundamental facts of the world, and empirical psychology is best placed to reveal the content of our concepts about the world. Exploring and understanding the world through metaphysical reflection is obsolete. In this paper, I will show why this critique of metaphysics fails, arguing that metaphysical methods used to make claims about the (...)
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  • A Future for Presentism.Craig Bourne - 2007 - Oxford University Press UK.
    How can we talk meaningfully about the past if it does not exist to be talked about? What gives time its direction? Is time travel possible? This defence of presentism - the view that only the present exists - makes an original contribution to a fast growing and exciting debate.
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  • Ockham's Razors: A User's Manual.Elliott Sober - 2015 - Cambridge University Press.
    Ockham's razor, the principle of parsimony, states that simpler theories are better than theories that are more complex. It has a history dating back to Aristotle and it plays an important role in current physics, biology, and psychology. The razor also gets used outside of science - in everyday life and in philosophy. This book evaluates the principle and discusses its many applications. Fascinating examples from different domains provide a rich basis for contemplating the principle's promises and perils. It is (...)
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  • Against Parthood.Theodore Sider - 2013 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 8:237–293.
    Mereological nihilism says that there do not exist (in the fundamental sense) any objects with proper parts. A reason to accept it is that we can thereby eliminate 'part' from fundamental ideology. Many purported reasons to reject it - based on common sense, perception, and the possibility of gunk, for example - are weak. A more powerful reason is that composite objects seem needed for spacetime physics; but sets suffice instead.
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  • Against Mereological Nihilism.Jonathan Tallant - 2014 - Synthese 191 (7):1511-1527.
    I argue that mereological nihilism fails because it cannot answer the special arrangement question: when is it true that the xs are arranged F-wise? I suggest that the answers given in the literature fail and that the obvious responses that could be made look to undermine the motivations for adopting nihilism in the first place.
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  • Contingentism in Metaphysics.Kristie Miller - 2010 - Philosophy Compass 5 (11):965-977.
    In a lot of domains in metaphysics the tacit assumption has been that whichever metaphysical principles turn out to be true, these will be necessarily true. Let us call necessitarianism about some domain the thesis that the right metaphysics of that domain is necessary. Necessitarianism has flourished. In the philosophy of maths we find it held that if mathematical objects exist, then they do of necessity. Mathematical Platonists affirm the necessary existence of mathematical objects (see for instance Hale and Wright (...)
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  • The Metaphysics within Physics.Tim Maudlin - 2007 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 69 (3):610-611.
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  • Explanation and Scientific Understanding.Michael Friedman - 1974 - Journal of Philosophy 71 (1):5-19.
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  • Quantum Ontology and Extensional Mereology.Claudio Calosi, Vincenzo Fano & Gino Tarozzi - 2011 - Foundations of Physics 41 (11):1740-1755.
    The present paper has three closely related aims. We first argue that Agazzi’s scientific realism about Quantum Mechanics is in line with Selleri’s and Tarozzi’s proposal of Quantum Waves. We then go on to formulate rigorously different metaphysical principles such as property compositional determinateness and mereological extensionalism. We argue that, contrary to widespread agreement, realism about Quantum Mechanics actually refutes only the former. Indeed we even formulate a new quantum mechanical argument in favor of extensionalism. We conclude by noting that, (...)
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  • The Contingency of Composition.Ross P. Cameron - 2007 - Philosophical Studies 136 (1):99-121.
    There is widespread disagreement as to what the facts are concerning just when a collection of objects composes some further object; but there is widespread agreement that, whatever those facts are, they are necessary. I am unhappy to simply assume this, and in this paper I ask whether there is reason to think that the facts concerning composition hold necessarily. I consider various reasons to think so, but find fault with each of them. I examine the theory of composition as (...)
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  • Quantitative Parsimony and the Metaphysics of Time: Motivating Presentism.Jonathan Tallant - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (3):688-705.
    In this paper I argue that presentism —the view that only present objects exist—can be motivated, at least to some degree, by virtue of the fact that it is more quantitatively parsimonious than rival views.
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  • Mereological Nihilism and Theoretical Unification.Andrew Brenner - 2015 - Analytic Philosophy 56 (4):318-337.
    Mereological nihilism (henceforth just "nihilism") is the thesis that composition never occurs. Nihilism has often been defended on the basis of its theoretical simplicity, including its ontological simplicity and its ideological simplicity (roughly, nihilism's ability to do without primitive mereological predicates). In this paper I defend nihilism on the basis of the theoretical unification conferred by nihilism, which is, roughly, nihilism's capacity to allow us to take fewer phenomena as brute and inexplicable. This represents a respect in which nihilism enjoys (...)
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  • Mereological Nihilism and the Special Arrangement Question.Andrew Brenner - 2015 - Synthese 192 (5):1295-1314.
    Mereological nihilism is the thesis that composite objects—objects with proper parts—do not exist. Nihilists generally paraphrase talk of composite objects F into talk of there being “xs arranged F-wise” . Recently several philosophers have argued that nihilism is defective insofar as nihilists are either unable to say what they mean by such phrases as “there are xs arranged F-wise,” or that nihilists are unable to employ such phrases without incurring significant costs, perhaps even undermining one of the chief motivations for (...)
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  • A Confutation of Convergent Realism.Larry Laudan - 1981 - Philosophy of Science 48 (1):19-49.
    This essay contains a partial exploration of some key concepts associated with the epistemology of realist philosophies of science. It shows that neither reference nor approximate truth will do the explanatory jobs that realists expect of them. Equally, several widely-held realist theses about the nature of inter-theoretic relations and scientific progress are scrutinized and found wanting. Finally, it is argued that the history of science, far from confirming scientific realism, decisively confutes several extant versions of avowedly 'naturalistic' forms of scientific (...)
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  • Against Simplicity.M. B. Willard - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (1):165-181.
    Sometimes metaphysicians appeal to simplicity as a reason to prefer one metaphysical theory to another, especially when a philosophical dispute has otherwise reached a state of equilibrium. In this paper, I show that given a Quinean conception of metaphysics, several initially plausible justifications for simplicity as a metaphysical criterion do not succeed. If philosophers wish to preserve simplicity as a metaphysical criterion, therefore, they must radically reconceive the project of metaphysics.
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  • Time and Physical Geometry.Hilary Putnam - 1967 - Journal of Philosophy 64 (8):240-247.
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  • Game Called on Account of Fog: Metametaphysics and Epistemic Dismissivism.M. B. Willard - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (1):1-14.
    Is arguing over ontology a mistake? A recent proposal by Karen Bennett suggests that some metaphysical disputes, such as those over constitution and composition, can be dismissed on epistemic grounds. Given that both sides in a dispute try to minimize the differences between them, there are no good metaphysical grounds for choosing between them. In this paper, I expand on her epistemic dismissivism, arguing that given the Quinean conception of the task and method of metaphysics, we are warranted in believing (...)
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  • Parsimony Arguments in Science and Philosophy—A Test Case for Naturalism P.Elliott Sober - 2009 - Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 83 (2):117 - 155.
    Parsimony arguments are advanced in both science and philosophy. How are they related? This question is a test case for Naturalismp, which is the thesis that philosophical theories and scientific theories should be evaluated by the same criteria. In this paper, I describe the justifications that attach to two types of parsimony argument in science. In the first, parsimony is a surrogate for likelihood. In the second, parsimony is relevant to estimating how accurately a model will predict new data when (...)
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  • Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution.Theodosius Dobzhansky - 1973 - American Biology Teacher 35:125-129.
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  • Simplicity as Evidence of Truth.Richard Swinburne - 1997
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  • Buddhism as Philosophy: An Introduction.Mark Siderits - 2007 - Hackett Pub. Co..
    In this clear, concise account, Siderits makes the Buddhist tradition accessible to a Western audience, offering generous selections from the canonical Buddhist texts and providing an engaging, analytical introduction to the basic tenets of Buddhist thought.
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  • Measuring Confirmation.David Christensen - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (9):437.
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  • Cartesian Skepticism and Inference to the Best Explanation.Jonathan Vogel - 1990 - Journal of Philosophy 87 (11):658-666.
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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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  • .Richard Swinburne - 1989 - Cambridge University Press.
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