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Michael J. Raven
University of Victoria
  1. Fundamentality without Foundations.Michael J. Raven - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3):607-626.
    A commonly held view is that a central aim of metaphysics is to give a fundamental account of reality which refers only to the fundamental entities. But a puzzle arises. It is at least a working hypothesis for those pursuing the aim that, first, there must be fundamental entities. But, second, it also seems possible that the world has no foundation, with each entity depending on others. These two claims are inconsistent with the widely held third claim that the fundamental (...)
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  2. Explaining essences.Michael J. Raven - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (4):1043-1064.
    This paper explores the prospects of combining two views. The first view is metaphysical rationalism : all things have an explanation. The second view is metaphysical essentialism: there are real essences. The exploration is motivated by a conflict between the views. Metaphysical essentialism posits facts about essences. Metaphysical rationalism demands explanations for all facts. But facts about essences appear to resist explanation. I consider two solutions to the conflict. Exemption solutions attempt to exempt facts about essences from the demand for (...)
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  3. The bases of truths.Michael J. Raven - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (7):2153-2174.
    This paper concerns a distinction between circumstantial truths that hold because of the circumstances and acircumstantial truths that hold regardless of, or transcend, the circumstances. Previous discussions of the distinction tended to focus on its applications, such as to modality, logical truth, and essence. This paper focuses on developing the distinction largely, but not entirely, in abstraction from its potential applications. As such, the paper’s main contribution is to further clarify the distinction itself. An indirect contribution is to help guide (...)
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  4. A Puzzle for Social Essences.Michael J. Raven - 2022 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 8 (1):128-148.
    The social world contains institutions, groups, objects, and more. This essay explores a puzzle about the essences of social items. There is widespread consensus against social essences because of problematic presuppositions often made about them. But it is argued that essence can be freed from these presuppositions and their problems. Even so, a puzzle still arises. In a Platonic spirit, essences in general seem detached from the world. In an Aristotelian spirit, social essences in particular seem embedded in the world. (...)
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