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Daniel Nolan
University of Notre Dame
  1. Cosmic Loops.Daniel Nolan - 2018 - In Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and Its Structure. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 91-106.
    This paper explores a special kind of loop of grounding: cosmic loops. A cosmic loop is a loop that intuitively requires us to go "around" the entire universe to come back to the original ground. After describing several kinds of cosmic loop scenarios, I will discuss what we can learn from these scenarios about constraints on grounding; the conceivability of cosmic loops; the possibility of cosmic loops; and the prospects for salvaging local reflexivity, asymmetry and transitivity of grounding in a (...)
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  2. Naturalised Modal Epistemology.Daniel Nolan - 2017 - In R. Fischer & F. Leon (eds.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. pp. 7-27.
    The philosophy of necessity and possibility has flourished in the last half-century, but much less attention has been paid to the question of how we know what can be the case and what must be the case. Many friends of modal metaphysics and many enemies of modal metaphysics have agreed that while empirical discoveries can tell us what is the case, they cannot shed much light on what must be the case or on what non-actual possibilities there are. In this (...)
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  3. Impossible Fictions Part I: Lessons for Fiction.Daniel Nolan - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (2):1-12.
    Impossible fictions are valuable evidence both for a theory of fiction and for theories of meaning, mind and epistemology. This article focuses on what we can learn about fiction from reflecting on impossible fictions. First, different kinds of impossible fiction are considered, and the question of how much fiction is impossible is addressed. What impossible fiction contributes to our understanding of "truth in fiction" and the logic of fiction will be examined. Finally, our understanding of unreliable narrators and unreliable narration (...)
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  4. Imaginative Resistance and Modal Knowledge.Daniel Nolan - 2020 - Res Philosophica 97 (4):661-685.
    Readers of fictions sometimes resist taking certain kinds of claims to be true according to those fictions, even when they appear explicitly or follow from applying ordinary principles of interpretation. This "imaginative resistance" is often taken to be significant for a range of philosophical projects outside aesthetics, including giving us evidence about what is possible and what is impossible, as well as the limits of conceivability, or readers' normative commitments. I will argue that this phenomenon cannot do the theoretical work (...)
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  5. Creationism and Cardinality.Daniel Nolan & Alexander Sandgren - 2014 - Analysis 74 (4):615-622.
    Creationism about fictional entities requires a principle connecting what fictions say exist with which fictional entities really exist. The most natural way of spelling out such a principle yields inconsistent verdicts about how many fictional entities are generated by certain inconsistent fictions. Avoiding inconsistency without compromising the attractions of creationism will not be easy.
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  6. Causal Counterfactuals and Impossible Worlds.Daniel Nolan - 2017 - In Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Huw Price (eds.), Making a Difference. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 14-32.
    A standing challenge in the theory of counterfactuals is to solve the “deviation problem”. Consider ordinary counterfactuals involving an antecedent concerning a difference from the actual course of events at a particular time, and a consequent concerning, at least in part, what happens at a later time. In the possible worlds framework, the problem is often put in terms of which are the relevant antecedent worlds. Desiderata for the solution include that the relevant antecedent worlds be governed by the actual (...)
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  7. Utility Monsters for the Fission Age.Rachael Briggs & Daniel Nolan - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (2):392-407.
    One of the standard approaches to the metaphysics of personal identity has some counter-intuitive ethical consequences when combined with maximising consequentialism and a plausible doctrine about aggregation of consequences. This metaphysical doctrine is the so-called ‘multiple occupancy’ approach to puzzles about fission and fusion. It gives rise to a new version of the ‘utility monster’ problem, particularly difficult problems about infinite utility, and a new version of a Parfit-style ‘repugnant conclusion’. While the article focuses on maximising consequentialism for simplicity, the (...)
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  8. Conditionals and Curry.Daniel Nolan - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (10):2629-2647.
    Curry's paradox for "if.. then.." concerns the paradoxical features of sentences of the form "If this very sentence is true, then 2+2=5". Standard inference principles lead us to the conclusion that such conditionals have true consequents: so, for example, 2+2=5 after all. There has been a lot of technical work done on formal options for blocking Curry paradoxes while only compromising a little on the various central principles of logic and meaning that are under threat. -/- Once we have a (...)
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  9. Chance and Necessity.Daniel Nolan - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):294-308.
    A principle endorsed by many theories of objective chance, and practically forced on us by the standard interpretation of the Kolmogorov semantics for chance, is the principle that when a proposition P has a chance, any proposition Q that is necessarily equivalent to P will have the same chance as P. Call this principle SUB (for the substitution of necessary equivalents into chance ascriptions). I will present some problems for a theory of chance, and will argue that the best way (...)
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  10. A Consistent Reading of Sylvan's Box.Daniel Nolan - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):667-673.
    I argue that Graham Priest's story 'Sylvan's Box' has an attractive consistent reading. Priest's hope that this story can be used as an example of a non-trivial 'essentially inconsistent' story is thus threatened. I then make some observations about the role 'Sylvan's Box' might play in a theory of unreliable narrators.
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  11. Truthmakers and Predication.Daniel Nolan - 2008 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 4:171-192.
    To what extent do true predications correspond to truthmakers in virtue of which those predications are true? One sort of predicate which is often thought to not be susceptible to an ontological treatment is a predicate for instantiation, or some corresponding predication (trope-similarity or set-membership, for example). This paper discusses this question, and argues that an "ontological" approach is possible here too: where this ontological approach goes beyond merely finding a truthmaker for claims about instantiation. Along the way a version (...)
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  12. The Possibilities of History.Daniel Nolan - 2016 - Journal of the Philosophy of History 10 (3):441-456.
    _ Source: _Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 441 - 456 Several kinds of historical alternatives are distinguished. Different kinds of historical alternatives are valuable to the practice of history for different reasons. Important uses for historical alternatives include representing different sides of historical disputes; distributing chances of different outcomes over alternatives; and offering explanations of why various alternatives did _not_ in fact happen. Consideration of counterfactuals about what would have happened had things been different in particular ways plays particularly useful (...)
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  13. Methodological Naturalism in Metaethics.Daniel Nolan - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 659-673.
    Methodological naturalism arises as a topic in metaethics in two ways. One is the issue of whether we should be methodological naturalists when doing our moral theorising, and another is whether we should take a naturalistic approach to metaethics itself. Interestingly, these can come apart, and some naturalist programs in metaethics justify a non-scientific approach to our moral theorising. This paper discusses the range of approaches that fall under the general umbrella of methodological naturalism, and how naturalists view the role (...)
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  14. Impossibility and Impossible Worlds.Daniel Nolan - 2021 - In Otavio Bueno & Scott Shalkowski (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Modality. New York, USA: Routledge Press. pp. 40-48.
    Possible worlds have found many applications in contemporary philosophy: from theories of possibility and necessity, to accounts of conditionals, to theories of mental and linguistic content, to understanding supervenience relationships, to theories of properties and propositions, among many other applications. Almost as soon as possible worlds started to be used in formal theories in logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and elsewhere, theorists started to wonder whether impossible worlds should be postulated as well. In many applications, possible worlds (...)
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  15. Possible Worlds Semantics.Daniel Nolan - 2012 - In Gillian Russell & Delia Fara (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language. New York, USA: Routledge Press. pp. 242-252.
    This chapter provides an introduction to possible worlds semantics in both logic and the philosophy of language, including a discussion of some of the advantages and challenges for possible worlds semantics.
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  16. Are There States of Affairs? Yes.Daniel Nolan - 2017 - In Elizabeth Barnes (ed.), Current Controversies in Metaphysics. New York: Routledge Press. pp. 81-91.
    This paper makes a case that we should believe in the existence of worldly states of affairs.
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  17. Temporary Marriage.Daniel Nolan - 2015 - In Elizabeth Brake (ed.), After Marriage: Rethinking Marital Relationships. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 180-203.
    Parties to a temporary marriage agree in advance that their marriage will only last for a fixed period of time unless renewed: that it will automatically expire after two years, for instance, or five, or twenty. This paper defends the claim that temporary marriages deserve state recognition. The main argument for this is an application of a principle of marriage equality. Some other arguments for are also canvassed, including an argument from religious freedom, and a number of arguments against recognition (...)
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  18. Individuals Enough for Classes.Daniel Nolan - manuscript
    This paper builds on the system of David Lewis’s “Parts of Classes” to provide a foundation for mathematics that arguably requires not only no distinctively mathematical ideological commitments (in the sense of Quine), but also no distinctively mathematical ontological commitments. Provided only that there are enough individual atoms, the devices of plural quantification and mereology can be employed to simulate quantification over classes, while at the same time allowing all of the atoms (and most of their fusions with which we (...)
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  19. Hyperintensionality.Francesco Berto & Daniel Nolan - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An overview of hyperintensionality is provided. Hyperintensional languages have expressions with meanings that are more fine-grained than necessary equivalence. That is, the expressions may necessarily co-apply and yet be distinct in meaning. Adequately accounting for theories cast in hyperintensional languages is important in the philosophy of language; the philosophy of mind; metaphysics; and elsewhere. This entry presents a number of areas in which hyperintensionality is important; a range of approaches to theorising about hyperintensional matters; and a range of debates that (...)
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  20. Epistemic Dispositions: Reply to Turri and Bronner.Rachel Briggs & Daniel Nolan - 2012 - Logos and Episteme 3 (4):629-636.
    We reply to recent papers by John Turri and Ben Bronner, who criticise the dispositionalised Nozickian tracking account we discuss in “Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know.” We argue that the account we suggested can handle the problems raised by Turri and Bronner. In the course of responding to Turri and Bronner’s objections, we draw three general lessons for theories of epistemic dispositions: that epistemic dispositions are to some extent extrinsic, that epistemic dispositions can have manifestation conditions concerning circumstances where (...)
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  21. Infinite Barbarians.Daniel Nolan - 2019 - Ratio 32 (3):173-181.
    This paper discusses an infinite regress that looms behind a certain kind of historical explanation. The movement of one barbarian group is often explained by the movement of others, but those movements in turn call for an explanation. While their explanation can again be the movement of yet another group of barbarians, if this sort of explanation does not stop somewhere we are left with an infinite regress of barbarians. While that regress would be vicious, it cannot be accommodated by (...)
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  22. Impossible Fiction Part II: Lessons for Mind, Language and Epistemology.Daniel Nolan - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (2):1-12.
    Abstract Impossible fictions have lessons to teach us about linguistic representation, about mental content and concepts, and about uses of conceivability in epistemology. An adequate theory of impossible fictions may require theories of meaning that can distinguish between different impossibilities; a theory of conceptual truth that allows us to make useful sense of a variety of conceptual falsehoods; and a theory of our understanding of necessity and possibility that permits impossibilities to be conceived. After discussing these questions, strategies for resisting (...)
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  23. Lewis on Williamson: Evidence, Knowledge and Vagueness.Daniel Nolan - manuscript
    In May 1999, David Lewis sent Timothy Williamson an intriguing letter about knowledge and vagueness. This paper has a brief discussion of Lewis on evidence, and a longer discussion of a distinctive theory of vagueness Lewis puts forward in this letter, one rather different from standard forms of supervaluationism. Lewis's theory enables him to provide distinctive responses to the challenges to supervaluationism famously offered in chapter 5 of Timothy Williamson's 1994 book Vagueness. However these responses bring out a number of (...)
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  24. Marriage and its Limits.Daniel Nolan - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Marriages come in a very wide variety: if the reports of anthropologists and historians are to be believed, an extraordinarily wide variety. This includes some of the more unusual forms, including marriage to the dead; to the gods; and even to plants. This does suggest that few proposed marriage relationships would require 'redefining marriage': but on the other hand, it makes giving a general theory of marriage challenging. So one issue we should face is how accepting we should be of (...)
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  25. Stoic Trichotomies.Daniel Nolan - 2016 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 51:207-230.
    Chrysippus often talks as if there is a third option when we might expect that two options in response to a question are exhaustive. Things are true, false or neither; equal, unequal, or neither; the same, different, or neither.. and so on. There seems to be a general pattern here that calls for a general explanation. This paper offers a general explanation of this pattern, preserving Stoic commitments to excluded middle and bivalence, arguing that Chrysippus employs this trichotomy move when (...)
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  26. The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Abstract Metaphysics.Daniel Nolan - 2015 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 9:61-88.
    In Metaphysics A, Aristotle offers some objections to Plato’s theory of Forms to the effect that Plato’s Forms would not be explanatory in the right way, and seems to suggest that they might even make the explanatory project worse. One interesting historical puzzle is whether Aristotle can avoid these same objections to his own theory of universals. The concerns Aristotle raises are, I think, cousins of contemporary concerns about the usefulness and explanatoriness of abstract objects, some of which have recently (...)
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  27.  71
    What Would Lewis Do?Daniel Nolan - forthcoming - In Helen Beebee & Anthony Fisher (eds.), Perspectives on the Philosophy of David K. Lewis. Oxford University Press.
    David Lewis rejected consequentialism in ethics. However, two aspects of his meta-ethical views make it a challenge to see how consequentialism could be resisted. Lewis endorses a maximising conception of rationality, where to be rational is to maximise value of a certain sort; he appears to think it is possible to be both rational and moral; and yet he rejects conceptions of moral action as acting to maximise moral value. The second tension in Lewis's views arises from his meta-ethics. Lewis's (...)
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