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What Do the Folk Think about Composition and Does it Matter?

In David Rose (ed.), Experimental Metaphysics. London: Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 187-206 (2017)

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  1. Ordinary Objects.Daniel Z. Korman - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An encyclopedia entry which covers various revisionary conceptions of which macroscopic objects there are, and the puzzles and arguments that motivate these conceptions: sorites arguments, the argument from vagueness, the puzzles of material constitution, arguments against indeterminate identity, arguments from arbitrariness, debunking arguments, the overdetermination argument, and the problem of the many.
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  • Objects: Nothing Out of the Ordinary.Daniel Z. Korman - 2015 - Oxford University Press UK.
    One of the central questions of material-object metaphysics is which highly visible objects there are right before our eyes. Daniel Z. Korman defends a conservative view, according to which our ordinary, natural judgments about which objects there are are more or less correct. He begins with an overview of the arguments that have led people away from the conservative view, into revisionary views according to which there are far more objects than we ordinarily take there to be or far fewer. (...)
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  • Quantifier Variance and Realism: Essays in Metaontology.Eli Hirsch - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
    A sense of unity -- Basic objects : a reply to Xu -- Objectivity without objects -- The vagueness of identity -- Quantifier variance and realism -- Against revisionary ontology -- Comments on Theodore Sider's four dimensionalism -- Sosa's existential relativism -- Physical-object ontology, verbal disputes, and common sense -- Ontological arguments : interpretive charity and quantifier variance -- Language, ontology, and structure -- Ontology and alternative languages.
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  • Toward a Commonsense Answer to the Special Composition Question.Chad Carmichael - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):475-490.
    The special composition question is the question, ‘When do some things compose something?’ The answers to this question in the literature have largely been at odds with common sense, either by allowing that any two things compose something, or by denying the existence of most ordinary composite objects. I propose a new ‘series-style’ answer to the special composition question that accords much more closely with common sense, and I defend this answer from van Inwagen's objections. Specifically, I will argue that (...)
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  • Folk Mereology is Teleological.David Rose & Jonathan Schaffer - 2017 - Noûs 51 (2):238-270.
    When do the folk think that mereological composition occurs? Many metaphysicians have wanted a view of composition that fits with folk intuitions, and yet there has been little agreement about what the folk intuit. We aim to put the tools of experimental philosophy to constructive use. Our studies suggest that folk mereology is teleological: people tend to intuit that composition occurs when the result serves a purpose. We thus conclude that metaphysicians should dismiss folk intuitions, as tied into a benighted (...)
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  • Brutal Composition.Ned Markosian - 1998 - Philosophical Studies 92 (3):211 - 249.
    According to standard, pre-philosophical intuitions, there are many composite objects in the physical universe. There is, for example, my bicycle, which is composed of various parts - wheels, handlebars, molecules, atoms, etc. Recently, a growing body of philosophical literature has concerned itself with questions about the nature of composition.1 The main question that has been raised about composition is, roughly, this: Under what circumstances do some things compose, or add up to, or form, a single object? It turns out that (...)
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  • Real Wholes, Real Parts: Mereology Without Algebra.Peter Simons - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (12):597-613.
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  • Real Wholes, Real Parts: Mereology Without Algebra.Peter Simons - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (12):597-613.
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  • Material Beings.Peter van Inwagen - 1993 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (3):701-708.
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  • Individualism and the Mental.Tyler Burge - 1979 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 4 (1):73-122.
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  • Survey-Driven Romanticism.Simon Cullen - 2010 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):275-296.
    Despite well-established results in survey methodology, many experimental philosophers have not asked whether and in what way conclusions about folk intuitions follow from people’s responses to their surveys. Rather, they appear to have proceeded on the assumption that intuitions can be simply read off from survey responses. Survey research, however, is fraught with difficulties. I review some of the relevant literature—particularly focusing on the conversational pragmatic aspects of survey research—and consider its application to common experimental philosophy surveys. I argue for (...)
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  • Strange Kinds, Familiar Kinds, and the Charge of Arbitrariness.Daniel Z. Korman - 2010 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics:119-144.
    Particularists in material-object metaphysics hold that our intuitive judgments about which kinds of things there are and are not are largely correct. One common argument against particularism is the argument from arbitrariness, which turns on the claim that there is no ontologically significant difference between certain of the familiar kinds that we intuitively judge to exist (snowballs, islands, statues, solar systems) and certain of the strange kinds that we intuitively judge not to exist (snowdiscalls, incars, gollyswoggles, the fusion of the (...)
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  • Are Philosophers Expert Intuiters?Jonathan M. Weinberg, Chad Gonnerman, Cameron Buckner & Joshua Alexander - 2010 - Philosophical Psychology 23 (3):331-355.
    Recent experimental philosophy arguments have raised trouble for philosophers' reliance on armchair intuitions. One popular line of response has been the expertise defense: philosophers are highly-trained experts, whereas the subjects in the experimental philosophy studies have generally been ordinary undergraduates, and so there's no reason to think philosophers will make the same mistakes. But this deploys a substantive empirical claim, that philosophers' training indeed inculcates sufficient protection from such mistakes. We canvass the psychological literature on expertise, which indicates that people (...)
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  • Eliminativism and the Challenge From Folk Belief.Daniel Z. Korman - 2009 - Noûs 43 (2):242-264.
    Virtually everyone agrees that, even after having presented the arguments for their positions, proponents of revisionary philosophical theories are required to provide some sort of account of the conflict between their theories and what the folk believe. I examine various strategies for answering the challenge from folk belief. The examination proceeds as a case study, whose focus is eliminativism about ordinary material objects. I critically assess eliminativist attempts to explain folk belief by appeal to paraphrase, experience, and intuition.
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  • Two Defenses of Common-Sense Ontology.Uriah Kriegel - 2011 - Dialectica 65 (2):177-204.
    In a series of publications, Eli Hirsch has presented a sustained defense of common-sense ontology. Hirsch's argument relies crucially on a meta-ontological position sometimes known as ‘superficialism’. Hirsch's argument from superficialism to common-sense ontology is typically resisted on the grounds that superficialism is implausible. In this paper, I present an alternative argument for common-sense ontology, one that relies on (what I argue is) a much more plausible meta-ontological position, which I call ‘constructivism’. Note well: I will not quite argue that (...)
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  • Ready-Mades: Ontology and Aesthetics.Simon J. Evnine - 2013 - British Journal of Aesthetics 53 (4):407-423.
    I explore the interrelations between the ontological and aesthetic issues raised by ready-mades such as Duchamp’s Fountain. I outline a hylomorphic metaphysics which has two central features. First, hylomorphically complex objects have matter to which they are not identical. Secondly, when such objects are artefacts (including artworks), it is essential to them that they are the products of creative work on their matter. Against this background, I suggest that ready-mades are of aesthetic interest because they pose a dilemma. Is there (...)
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  • Ordinary Objects.Amie Thomasson - 2009 - Analysis 69 (1):173-174.
    In recent analytic metaphysics, the view that ‘ordinary inanimate objects such as sticks and stones, tables and chairs, simply do not exist’ has been defended by some noteworthy writers. Thomasson opposes such revisionary ontology in favour of an ontology that is conservative with respect to common sense. The book is written in a straightforward, methodical and down-to-earth style. It is also relatively non-specialized, enabling the author and her readers to approach problems that are often dealt with in isolation in a (...)
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  • Material Beings.Peter VAN INWAGEN - 1990 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
    The topic of this book is material objects. Like most interesting concepts, the concept of a material object is one without precise boundaries.
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  • In Defense of Mereological Universalism.Michael C. Rea - 1998 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (2):347-360.
    This paper defends Mereological Universalism(the thesis that, for any set S of disjoint objects, there is an object that the members of S compose. Universalism is unpalatable to many philosophers because it entails that if there are such things as my left tennis shoe, W. V. Quine, and the Taj Mahal, then there is another object that those three things compose. This paper presents and criticizes Peter van Inwagen's argument against Universalism and then presents a new argument in favor of (...)
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  • The Metaphysics of Everyday Life: An Essay in Practical Realism.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2007 - Cambridge University Press.
    Lynne Rudder Baker presents and defends a unique account of the material world: the Constitution View. In contrast to leading metaphysical views that take everyday things to be either non-existent or reducible to micro-objects, the Constitution View construes familiar things as irreducible parts of reality. Although they are ultimately constituted by microphysical particles, everyday objects are neither identical to, nor reducible to, the aggregates of microphysical particles that constitute them. The result is genuine ontological diversity: people, bacteria, donkeys, mountains and (...)
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  • Ordinary Objects.Amie Thomasson (ed.) - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
    Arguments that ordinary inanimate objects such as tables and chairs, sticks and stones, simply do not exist have become increasingly common and increasingly prominent. Some are based on demands for parsimony or for a non-arbitrary answer to the special composition question; others arise from prohibitions against causal redundancy, ontological vagueness, or co-location; and others still come from worries that a common sense ontology would be a rival to a scientific one. Until now, little has been done to address these arguments (...)
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  • A Materialist Metaphysics of the Human Person.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2003 - Mind 112 (445):148-151.
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  • Quantifier Variance and Realism.Eli Hirsch - 2002 - Philosophical Issues 12 (1):51-73.
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  • Philosophical Expertise and the Burden of Proof.Timothy Williamson - 2011 - Metaphilosophy 42 (3):215-229.
    Abstract: Some proponents of “experimental philosophy” criticize philosophers' use of thought experiments on the basis of evidence that the verdicts vary with truth-independent factors. However, their data concern the verdicts of philosophically untrained subjects. According to the expertise defence, what matters are the verdicts of trained philosophers, who are more likely to pay careful attention to the details of the scenario and track their relevance. In a recent article, Jonathan M. Weinberg and others reply to the expertise defence that there (...)
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  • A Teleological Answer to the Special Composition Question.Jason Bowers - 2019 - Dialectica 73 (1-2):231-246.
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  • Tracking Instability in Our Philosophical Judgments: Is It Intuitive?Jennifer Wright - 2013 - Philosophical Psychology 26 (4):485-501.
    Skepticism about the epistemic value of intuition in theoretical and philosophical inquiry fueled by the empirical discovery of irrational bias (e.g., the order effect) in people's judgments has recently been challenged by research suggesting that people can introspectively track intuitional instability. The two studies reported here build upon this, the first by demonstrating that people are able to introspectively track instability that was experimentally induced by introducing conflicting expert opinion about certain cases, and the second by demonstrating that it was (...)
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  • Realism and Human Kinds.Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3):580-609.
    It is often noted that institutional objects and artifacts depend on human beliefs and intentions and so fail to meet the realist paradigm of mind-independent objects. In this paper I draw out exactly in what ways the thesis of mind-independence fails, and show that it has some surprising consequences. For the specific forms of mind-dependence involved entail that we have certain forms of epistemic privilege with regard to our own institutional and artifactual kinds, protecting us from certain possibilities of ignorance (...)
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  • In Defense of Mereological Universalism.Michael C. Rea - 1998 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 58 (2):347-360.
    This paper defends Mereological Universalism(the thesis that, for any set S of disjoint objects, there is an object that the members of S compose. Universalism is unpalatable to many philosophers because it entails that if there are such things as my left tennis shoe, W. V. Quine, and the Taj Mahal, then there is another object that those three things compose. This paper presents and criticizes Peter van Inwagen's argument against Universalism and then presents a new argument in favor of (...)
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  • Material Beings.Peter VAN INWAGEN - 1990 - Philosophy 67 (259):126-127.
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  • Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View.Lynne Rudder Baker - 2000 - Cambridge University Press.
    What is a human person, and what is the relation between a person and his or her body? In her third book on the philosophy of mind, Lynne Rudder Baker investigates what she terms the person/body problem and offers a detailed account of the relation between human persons and their bodies. Baker's argument is based on the 'Constitution View' of persons and bodies, which aims to show what distinguishes persons from all other beings and to show how we can be (...)
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  • The Theory and Practice of Experimental Philosophy.Justin Sytsma & Jonathan Livengood - 2015 - Broadview Press.
    In recent years, developments in experimental philosophy have led many thinkers to reconsider their central assumptions and methods. It is not enough to speculate and introspect from the armchair - philosophers must subject their claims to scientific scrutiny, looking at evidence and in some cases conducting new empirical research. "The Theory and Practice of Experimental Philosophy" is an introduction and guide to the systematic collection and analysis of empirical data in academic philosophy. This book serves two purposes: first, it examines (...)
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  • On Intuitional Stability: The Clear, the Strong, and the Paradigmatic.Jennifer Cole Wright - 2010 - Cognition 115 (3):491-503.
    Skepticism about the epistemic value of intuition in theoretical and philosophical inquiry has recently been bolstered by empirical research suggesting that people’s concrete-case intuitions are vulnerable to irrational biases (e.g., the order effect). What is more, skeptics argue that we have no way to ‘‘calibrate” our intuitions against these biases and no way of anticipating intuitional instability. This paper challenges the skeptical position, introducing data from two studies that suggest not only that people’s concrete-case intuitions are often stable, but also (...)
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  • Quantifier Variance and Realism.Eli Hirsch - 2002 - Noûs 36 (s1):51-73.
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  • Realism and Human Kinds.Amie L. Thomasson - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3):580–609.
    It is often noted that institutional objects and artifacts depend on human beliefs and intentions and so fail to meet the realist paradigm of mind-independent objects. In this paper I draw out exactly in what ways the thesis of mind-independence fails, and show that it has some surprising consequences. For the specific forms of mind-dependence involved entail that we have certain forms of epistemic privilege with regard to our own institutional and artifactual kinds, protecting us from certain possibilities of ignorance (...)
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  • The Constitution Question.Ryan Wasserman - 2004 - Noûs 38 (4):693 - 710.
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  • The Problem of the Many, Many Composition Questions, and Naive Mereology.David H. Sanford - 1993 - Noûs 27 (2):219-228.
    Naive mereology studies ordinary, common-sense beliefs about part and whole. Some of the speculations in this article on naive mereology do not bear directly on Peter van Inwagen's "Material Beings". The other topics, (1) and (2), both do. (1) Here is an example of Peter Unger's "Problem of the Many". How can a table be a collection of atoms when many collections of atoms have equally strong claims to be that table? Van Inwagen invokes fuzzy sets to solve this problem. (...)
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  • Conjoining.H. Scott Hestevold - 1981 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 41 (3):371-385.
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  • Experimental Attacks on Intuitions and Answers.John Bengson - 2013 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (3):495-532.
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  • A Materialist Metaphysics of the Human Person.Hud Hudson - 2001 - Cornell University Press.
    Introduction In the first four chapters of this book, I develop and defend a monistic account of human persons according to which human persons are highly ...
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  • Can There Be a Discipline of Philosophy? And Can It Be Founded on Intuitions?Ernest Sosa - 2011 - Mind and Language 26 (4):453-467.
    This paper takes up the critique of armchair philosophy drawn by some experimental philosophers from survey results. It also takes up a more recent development with increased methodological sophistication. The argument based on disagreement among respondents suggests a much more serious problem for armchair philosophy and puts in question the standing of our would-be discipline.
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  • The Constitution Question. RyanWasserman - 2004 - Noûs 38 (4):693–710.
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  • Intention, History, and Artifact Concepts.Paul Bloom - 1996 - Cognition 60 (1):1-29.
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