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Matt Duncan
Rhode Island College
  1. Animalism is Either False of Uninteresting (Perhaps Both).Matt Duncan - 2021 - American Philosophical Quarterly 58 (2):187-200.
    “We are animals.” That’s what animalists say—that’s their slogan. But what animalists mean by their slogan varies. Many animalists are adamant that what they mean—and, indeed, what the true animalist thesis is—is that we are identical to animals (human animals, to be precise). But others say that’s not enough. They say that the animalist thesis has to be something more—perhaps that we are essentially or most fundamentally human animals. This paper argues that, depending on how we understand it, animalism is (...)
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  2. Knowledge of Things.Matt Duncan - 2020 - Synthese 197 (8):3559-3592.
    As I walk into a restaurant to meet up with a friend, I look around and see all sorts of things in my immediate environment—tables, chairs, people, colors, shapes, etc. As a result, I know of these things. But what is the nature of this knowledge? Nowadays, the standard practice among philosophers is to treat all knowledge, aside maybe from “know-how”, as propositional. But in this paper I will argue that this is a mistake. I’ll argue that some knowledge is (...)
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  3. Acquaintance.Matt Duncan - 2021 - Philosophy Compass 16 (3):e12727.
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  4.  74
    The Self Shows Up in Experience.Matt Duncan - 2019 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 10 (2):299-318.
    I can be aware of myself, and thereby come to know things about myself, in a variety of different ways. But is there some special way in which I—and only I—can learn about myself? Can I become aware of myself by introspecting? Do I somehow show up in my own conscious experiences? David Hume and most contemporary philosophers say no. They deny that the self shows up in experience. However, in this paper I appeal to research on schizophrenia—on thought insertion, (...)
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  5. Subjectivity as Self-Acquaintance.Matt Duncan - 2018 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 25 (3-4):88-111.
    Subjectivity is that feature of consciousness whereby there is something it is like for a subject to undergo an experience. One persistent challenge in the study of consciousness is to explain how subjectivity relates to, or arises from, purely physical brain processes. But, in order to address this challenge, it seems we must have a clear explanation of what subjectivity is in the first place. This has proven challenging in its own right. For the nature of subjectivity itself seems to (...)
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  6.  67
    Experience is Knowledge.Matt Duncan - 2021 - In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind, Vol. 1. Oxford, UK: pp. 106-129.
    It seems like experience plays a positive—even essential—role in generating some knowledge. The problem is, it’s not clear what that role is. To see this, suppose that when your visual system takes in information about the world around you it skips the experience step and just automatically and immediately generates beliefs in you about your surroundings. A lot of philosophers think that, in such a case, you would (or at least could) still know, via perception, about the world around you. (...)
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  7. We Are Acquainted with Ourselves.Matt Duncan - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (9):2531-2549.
    I am aware of the rain outside, but only in virtue of looking at a weather report. I am aware of my friend, but only because I hear her voice through my phone. Thus, there are some things that I’m aware of, but only indirectly. Many philosophers believe that there are also some things of which I am directly aware. The most plausible candidates are experiences such as pains, tickles, visual sensations, etc. In fact, the philosophical consensus seems to be (...)
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  8. I Think Therefore I Persist.Matt Duncan - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4):740-756.
    Suppose that you're lying in bed. You just woke up. But you're alert. Your mind is clear and you have no distractions. As you lie there, you think to yourself, ‘2 + 2 = 4.’ The thought just pops into your head. But, wanting to be sure of your mathematical insight, you once again think ‘2 + 2 = 4’, this time really meditating on your thought. Now suppose that you're sitting in an empty movie theatre. The lighting is normal (...)
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  9. Propositions Are Not Simple.Matt Duncan - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (2):351-366.
    Some philosophers claim that propositions are simple—i.e., lack parts. In this paper, I argue that this claim is mistaken. I start with the widely accepted claim that propositions are the objects of beliefs. Then I argue that the objects of beliefs have parts. Thus, I conclude that propositions are not simple. My argument for the claim that the objects of beliefs have parts derives from the fact that beliefs are productive and systematic. This fact lurks in the background of debates (...)
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  10.  82
    A Renewed Challenge to Anti-Criterialism.Matt Duncan - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (1):165-182.
    In virtue of what do things persist through time? Are there criteria of their identities through time? Anti-criterialists say no. One prominent challenge to anti-criterialism comes in two steps. The first step is to show that anti-criterialists are committed specifically to the claim that there are no informative metaphysically sufficient conditions for identity through time. The second step is to show that this commitment yields absurd results. Each step of this challenge is open to objection. However, in what follows, I (...)
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  11. What It's Like To Have a Cognitive Home.Matt Duncan - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):66-81.
    Many people believe that the mind is an epistemic refuge of sorts. The idea is that when it comes to certain core mental states, one’s being in such a state automatically puts one in a position to know that one is in that state. This idea has come under attack in recent years. One particularly influential attack comes from Timothy Williamson (2000), who argues that there is no central core of states or conditions—mental or otherwise—to which we are guaranteed epistemic (...)
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  12. A New Argument for the Phenomenal Approach to Personal Persistence.Matt Duncan - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (7):2031-2049.
    When it comes to personal identity, two approaches have long ruled the roost. The first is the psychological approach, which has it that our persistence through time consists in the continuance of certain of our psychological traits, such as our memories, beliefs, desires, or personality. The second is the biological approach, according to which personal persistence consists in continuity in our physical or biological makeup. Amid the bipartite reign of these approaches, a third contender has emerged: the phenomenal approach. On (...)
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  13. Two Russellian Arguments for Acquaintance.Matt Duncan - 2017 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3):461-474.
    Bertrand Russell [1912] argued that we are acquainted with our experiences. Although this conclusion has generated a lot of discussion, very little has been said about Russell's actual arguments for it. This paper aims to remedy that. I start by spelling out two Russellian arguments for acquaintance. Then I show that these arguments cannot both succeed. For if one is sound, the other isn't. Finally, I weigh our options with respect to these arguments, and defend one option in particular. I (...)
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  14. Consumerism, Aristotle and Fantastic Mr. Fox.Matt Duncan - 2015 - Film-Philosophy 19 (1):249-269.
    Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox is about Mr. Fox's attempt to flourish as both a wild animal and a consumer. As such, this film raises some interesting and difficult questions about what it means to be a member of a certain kind, what is required to flourish as a member of that kind, and how consumerism either promotes or inhibits such flourishing. In this paper I use Fantastic Mr. Fox as an entry point into an examination of the relationship between (...)
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