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David Liggins
University of Manchester
  1. Abstract Expressionism and the Communication Problem.David Liggins - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3):599-620.
    Some philosophers have recently suggested that the reason mathematics is useful in science is that it expands our expressive capacities. Of these philosophers, only Stephen Yablo has put forward a detailed account of how mathematics brings this advantage. In this article, I set out Yablo’s view and argue that it is implausible. Then, I introduce a simpler account and show it is a serious rival to Yablo’s. 1 Introduction2 Yablo’s Expressionism3 Psychological Objections to Yablo’s Expressionism4 Introducing Belief Expressionism5 Objections and (...)
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  2. In Defence of Error Theory.Chris Daly & David Liggins - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 149 (2):209-230.
    Many contemporary philosophers rate error theories poorly. We identify the arguments these philosophers invoke, and expose their deficiencies. We thereby show that the prospects for error theory have been systematically underestimated. By undermining general arguments against all error theories, we leave it open whether any more particular arguments against particular error theories are more successful. The merits of error theories need to be settled on a case-by-case basis: there is no good general argument against error theories.
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  3. Quine, Putnam, and the ‘Quine–Putnam’ Indispensability Argument.David Liggins - 2008 - Erkenntnis 68 (1):113 - 127.
    Much recent discussion in the philosophy of mathematics has concerned the indispensability argument—an argument which aims to establish the existence of abstract mathematical objects through appealing to the role that mathematics plays in empirical science. The indispensability argument is standardly attributed to W. V. Quine and Hilary Putnam. In this paper, I show that this attribution is mistaken. Quine's argument for the existence of abstract mathematical objects differs from the argument which many philosophers of mathematics ascribe to him. Contrary to (...)
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  4. Truthmakers and Explanation.David Liggins - 2005 - In Helen Beebee & Julian Dodd (eds.), Truthmakers: The Contemporary Debate. Clarendon Press. pp. 105--115.
    Truthmaker theory promises to do some useful philosophical work: equipping us to argue against phenomenalism and Rylean behaviourism, for instance, and helping us decide what exists (Lewis 1999, 207; Armstrong 1997, 113-119). But it has proved hard to formulate a truthmaker theory that is both useful and believable. I want to suggest that a neglected approach to truthmakers – that of Ian McFetridge – can surmount some of the problems that make other theories of truthmaking unattractive. To begin with, I’ll (...)
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  5. Weaseling and the Content of Science.David Liggins - 2012 - Mind 121 (484):997-1005.
    I defend Joseph Melia’s nominalist account of mathematics from an objection raised by Mark Colyvan.
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  6. In Defence of Existence Questions.Chris Daly & David Liggins - 2014 - Monist 97 (7):460–478.
    Do numbers exist? Do properties? Do possible worlds? Do fictional characters? Many metaphysicians spend time and effort trying to answer these and other questions about the existence of various entities. These inquiries have recently encountered opposition: a group of philosophers, drawing inspiration from Aristotle, have argued that many or all of the existence questions debated by metaphysicians can be answered trivially, and so are not worth debating. Our task is to defend existence questions from the neo-Aristotelians' attacks.
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  7. Deferentialism.Chris Daly & David Liggins - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 156 (3):321-337.
    There is a recent and growing trend in philosophy that involves deferring to the claims of certain disciplines outside of philosophy, such as mathematics, the natural sciences, and linguistics. According to this trend— deferentialism , as we will call it—certain disciplines outside of philosophy make claims that have a decisive bearing on philosophical disputes, where those claims are more epistemically justified than any philosophical considerations just because those claims are made by those disciplines. Deferentialists believe that certain longstanding philosophical problems (...)
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  8. Is There a Good Epistemological Argument Against Platonism?David Liggins - 2006 - Analysis 66 (2):135–141.
    Platonism in the philosophy of mathematics is the doctrine that there are mathematical objects such as numbers. John Burgess and Gideon Rosen have argued that that there is no good epistemological argument against platonism. They propose a dilemma, claiming that epistemological arguments against platonism either rely on a dubious epistemology, or resemble a dubious sceptical argument concerning perceptual knowledge. Against Burgess and Rosen, I show that an epistemological anti- platonist argument proposed by Hartry Field avoids both horns of their dilemma.
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  9. 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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  10. Truthmakers and Dependence.David Liggins - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality. Cambridge University Press. pp. 254.
    This paper discusses the significance of non-causal dependence for truthmaker theory. After introducing truthmaker theory (section 1), I discuss a challenge to it levelled by Benjamin Schnieder. I argue that Schnieder’s challenge can be met once we acknowledge the existence of non-causal dependence and of explanations which rely on it (sections 2 to 5). I then mount my own argument against truthmaker theory, based on the notion of non-causal dependence (sections 6 and 7).
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  11. Animalism and Deferentialism.Chris Daly & David Liggins - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (4):605-609.
    Animalism is the theory that we are animals: in other words, that each of us is numerically identical to an animal. An alternative theory maintains that we are not animals but that each of us is constituted by an animal. Call this alternative theory neo-Lockean constitutionalism or Lockeanism for short. Stephan Blatti (2012) offers to advance the debate between animalism and Lockeanism by providing a new argument for animalism. In this note, we present our own objection to Blatti's argument, and (...)
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  12. Modal Fictionalism and Possible-Worlds Discourse.David Liggins - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (2):151-60.
    The Brock-Rosen problem has been one of the most thoroughly discussed objections to the modal fictionalism bruited in Gideon Rosen’s ‘Modal Fictionalism’. But there is a more fundamental problem with modal fictionalism, at least as it is normally explained: the position does not resolve the tension that motivated it. I argue that if we pay attention to a neglected aspect of modal fictionalism, we will see how to resolve this tension—and we will also find a persuasive reply to the Brock-Rosen (...)
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  13. Nihilism Without Self-Contradiction.David Liggins - 2008 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62:177-196.
    in Robin Le Poidevin (ed.) Being: Developments in Contemporary Metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Peter van Inwagen claims that there are no tables or chairs. He also claims that sentences such as ‘There are chairs here’, which seem to imply their existence, are often true. This combination of views opens van Inwagen to a charge of self-contradiction. I explain the charge, and van Inwagen’s response to it, which involves the claim that sentences like ‘There are tables’ shift their truth-conditions between (...)
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  14. Truthmakers and the Groundedness of Truth.David Liggins - 2008 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108 (1pt2):177-196.
    Truthmaker theorists claim that for every truth, there is something in virtue of which it is true—or, more cautiously, that for every truth in some specified class of truths, there is something in virtue of which it is true. I argue that it is hard to see how the thought that truth is grounded in reality lends any support to truthmaker theory.
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  15. Anti-Nominalism Reconsidered.David Liggins - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226):104–111.
    Many philosophers of mathematics are attracted by nominalism – the doctrine that there are no sets, numbers, functions, or other mathematical objects. John Burgess and Gideon Rosen have put forward an intriguing argument against nominalism, based on the thought that philosophy cannot overrule internal mathematical and scientific standards of acceptability. I argue that Burgess and Rosen’s argument fails because it relies on a mistaken view of what the standards of mathematics require.
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