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Phil Corkum
University of Alberta
  1. Aristotle on Ontological Dependence.Phil Corkum - 2008 - Phronesis 53 (1):65 - 92.
    Aristotle holds that individual substances are ontologically independent from nonsubstances and universal substances but that non-substances and universal substances are ontologically dependent on substances. There is then an asymmetry between individual substances and other kinds of beings with respect to ontological dependence. Under what could plausibly be called the standard interpretation, the ontological independence ascribed to individual substances and denied of non-substances and universal substances is a capacity for independent existence. There is, however, a tension between this interpretation and the (...)
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  2. Ontological Dependence and Grounding in Aristotle.Phil Corkum - 2016 - Oxford Handbooks Online in Philosophy 1.
    The relation of ontological dependence or grounding, expressed by the terminology of separation and priority in substance, plays a central role in Aristotle’s Categories, Metaphysics, De Anima and elsewhere. The article discusses three current interpretations of this terminology. These are drawn along the lines of, respectively, modal-existential ontological dependence, essential ontological dependence, and grounding or metaphysical explanation. I provide an opinionated introduction to the topic, raising the main interpretative questions, laying out a few of the exegetical and philosophical options that (...)
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  3. Aristotle on Mathematical Truth.Phil Corkum - 2012 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (6):1057-1076.
    Both literalism, the view that mathematical objects simply exist in the empirical world, and fictionalism, the view that mathematical objects do not exist but are rather harmless fictions, have been both ascribed to Aristotle. The ascription of literalism to Aristotle, however, commits Aristotle to the unattractive view that mathematics studies but a small fragment of the physical world; and there is evidence that Aristotle would deny the literalist position that mathematical objects are perceivable. The ascription of fictionalism also faces a (...)
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  4. Is 'Cause' Ambiguous?Phil Corkum - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179:2945-71.
    Causal pluralists hold that that there is not just one determinate kind of causation. Some causal pluralists hold that ‘cause’ is ambiguous among these different kinds. For example, Hall (2004) argues that ‘cause’ is ambiguous between two causal relations, which he labels dependence and production. The view that ‘cause’ is ambiguous, however, wrongly predicts zeugmatic conjunction reduction, and wrongly predicts the behaviour of ellipsis in causal discourse. So ‘cause’ is not ambiguous. If we are to disentangle causal pluralism from the (...)
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  5. Aristotle on Predication.Phil Corkum - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (3):793-813.
    A predicate logic typically has a heterogeneous semantic theory. Subjects and predicates have distinct semantic roles: subjects refer; predicates characterize. A sentence expresses a truth if the object to which the subject refers is correctly characterized by the predicate. Traditional term logic, by contrast, has a homogeneous theory: both subjects and predicates refer; and a sentence is true if the subject and predicate name one and the same thing. In this paper, I will examine evidence for ascribing to Aristotle the (...)
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  6. Ancient.Phil Corkum - 2020 - In Michael J. Raven (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding. New York: pp. 20-32.
    Is there grounding in ancient philosophy? To ask a related but different question: is grounding a useful tool for the scholar of ancient philosophy? These questions are difficult, and my goal in this paper is not so much to give definitive answers as to clarify the questions. I hope to direct the student of contemporary metaphysics towards passages where it may be fruitful to look for historical precedent. But I also hope to offer the student of ancient philosophy some guidance (...)
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  7. This.Phil Corkum - 2019 - Ancient Philosophy Today 1 (1):38-63.
    The expression tode ti, commonly translated as ‘a this’, plays a key role in Aristotle’s metaphysics. Drawing lightly on theories of demonstratives in contemporary linguistics, I discuss the expres...
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  8.  90
    A Mereological Reading of the Dictum de Omni et Nullo.Phil Corkum - forthcoming - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie.
    When Aristotle introduces the perfect moods, he refers back to the dictum de omni et nullo, a semantic condition for universal affirmations and negations. There recently has been renewed interest in the question whether the dictum validates the assertoric syllogistic. I rehearse evidence that Aristotle provides a mereological semantics for universal affirmations and negations, and note that this semantics entails a nonstandard reading of the dictum, under which the dictum, in the presence of a minimal logical apparatus, indeed validates the (...)
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  9. Aristotle on Nonsubstantial Individuals.Phil Corkum - 2009 - Ancient Philosophy 29 (2):289-310.
    As a first stab, call a property recurrent if it can be possessed by more than one object, and nonrecurrent if it can be possessed by at most one object. The question whether Aristotle holds that there are nonrecurrent properties has spawned a lively and ongoing debate among commentators over the last forty-five years. One source of textual evidence in the Categories, drawn on in this debate, is Aristotle’s claim that certain properties are inseparable from what they are in. Here (...)
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  10. Philosophy's Past: Cognitive Values and the History of Philosophy.Phil Corkum - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research:1-22.
    Recent authors hold that the role of historical scholarship within contemporary philosophical practice is to question current assumptions, to expose vestiges or to calibrate intuitions. On these views, historical scholarship is dispensable, since these roles can be achieved by nonhistorical methods. And the value of historical scholarship is contingent, since the need for the role depends on the presence of questionable assumptions, vestiges or comparable intuitions. In this paper I draw an analogy between scientific and philosophical practice, in order to (...)
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  11. Presentism, Truthmakers and Distributional Properties.Phil Corkum - 2014 - Synthese 191 (14):3427-46.
    Presentists face a challenge from truthmaker theory: if you hold both that the only existing objects are presently existing and that truth supervenes on being, then you will be hard pressed to identify some existent on which a given true but traceless claim about the past supervenes. One reconciliation strategy, advocated by Cameron (2011), is to appeal to distributional properties so to serve as presently existing truthmakers for past truths. I argue that a presentist ought to deny that distributional properties (...)
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  12. Aristotle on Artifactual Substances.Phil Corkum - 2023 - Metaphysics 6 (1):24-36.
    It is standardly held that Aristotle denies that artifacts are substances. There is no consensus on why this is so, and proposals include taking artifacts to lack autonomy, to be merely accidental unities, and to be impermanent. In this paper, I argue that Aristotle holds that artifacts are substances. However, where natural substances are absolutely fundamental, artifacts are merely relatively fundamental—like any substance, an artifact can ground such nonsubstances as its qualities; but artifacts are themselves partly grounded in natural substances. (...)
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  13. Empty Negations and Existential Import in Aristotle.Phil Corkum - 2018 - Apeiron 51 (2):201-219.
    Aristotle draws what are, by our lights, two unusual relationships between predication and existence. First, true universal affirmations carry existential import. If ‘All humans are mortal’ is true, for example, then at least one human exists. And secondly, although affirmations with empty terms in subject position are all false, empty negations are all true: if ‘Socrates’ lacks a referent, then both ‘Socrates is well’ and ‘Socrates is ill’ are false but both ‘Socrates is not well’ and ‘Socrates is not ill’ (...)
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  14. Attention, Perception, and Thought in Aristotle.Phil Corkum - 2010 - Dialogue 49 (2):199-222.
    In the first part of the paper, I’ll rehearse an argument that perceiving that we see and hear isn’t a special case of perception in Aristotle but is rather a necessary condition for any perception whatsoever: the turning of one’s attention to the affection of the sense organs. In the second part of the paper, I’ll consider the thesis that the activity of the active intellect is analogous to perceiving that we see and hear.
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  15. Critical notice for Michail Peramatzis's Priority in Aristotle's Metaphysics, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2011.Phil Corkum - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (1):136-156.
    I discuss Peramatzis's (2011) argument that the form of a natural substance is essentially enmattered and so contains a material component.
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  16. Salience and metaphysical explanation.Phil Corkum - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):10771-10792.
    Metaphysical explanations, unlike many other kinds of explanation, are standardly thought to be insensitive to our epistemic situation and so are not evaluable by cognitive values such as salience. I consider a case study that challenges this view. Some properties are distributed over an extension. For example, the property of being polka-dotted red on white, when instantiated, is distributed over a surface. Similar properties have been put to work in a variety of explanatory tasks in recent metaphysics, including: providing an (...)
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