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Samuel Elgin
University of California, San Diego
  1. The Semantic Foundations of Philosophical Analysis.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    I provide an analysis of sentences of the form ‘To be F is to be G’ in terms of exact truth-maker semantics—an approach that identifies the meanings of sentences with the states of the world directly responsible for their truth-values. Roughly, I argue that these sentences hold just in case that which makes something F is that which makes it G. This approach is hyperintensional, and possesses desirable logical and modal features. These sentences are reflexive, transitive and symmetric, and, if (...)
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  2.  58
    The Epistemology of Identity.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    The subject of this paper is the epistemology of identity: a general theory of knowledge, evidence and justification for the claim that one thing is identical to another. Although identity figures significantly in our epistemic lives, this is a topic that, to the best of my knowledge, has gone entirely unexplored. Initial attempts to integrate such an epistemology into existing theories of evidence---many of which are tailor-made for contingent propositions---are confounded by the necessity of identity. I defend a restricted form (...)
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  3.  58
    The Opacity of Definition.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    This paper is concerned with logical attributes of (real) definition. In particular, I argue that substitution principles give rise to reflexive definitions: cases in which something is directly and exclusively defined in terms of itself. Many maintain that definition is both substitutable and irreflexive, so these standard commitments are at odds. As a corollary, I demonstrate that the claims in ‘Real Definition’ Rosen (2015) are logically inconsistent. I close with a brief discussion of the implications this has for the opacity (...)
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  4.  37
    Knowledge is Closed Under Analytic Content.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    I defend a version of the closure principle in terms of analyticity: if an agent S knows that p, and if q is an analytic part of p, then S knows that q. I distinguish this view from other versions of closure, present novel necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge and close by arguing that contextualists are tacitly committed to this formulation of closure.
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  5.  47
    There Are No Metaphysical Primitives.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    Many metaphysicians posit primitives. These vary with respect to the theoretical work that they perform, but are all undefinable in more basic terms. I argue against the existence of metaphysical primitives on the grounds that, if they existed, they would be essentially primitive. However, if primitives were essentially primitive, then they would have an essence. Because they are primitive, they lack an essence, which undermines the original supposition that they are primitive. I close by mentioning some implications this has both (...)
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  6.  38
    Physicalism and the Identity of Identity Theories.Samuel Elgin - manuscript
    Type-identity theorists interpret physicalism as the claim that every property is identical to a physical property. Token-identity theorists interpret it as the claim that every particular is identical to a physical particular. The end of this paper is to undermine the distinction between the two. Drawing on recent work on generalized identities and truth-maker semantics, I demonstrate that these formulations of physicalism are logically equivalent. I then argue that each formulation has the resources to resolve problems that the other encounters.
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