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Mark K. Spencer
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota
Joshua Spencer
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Quayshawn Spencer
University of Pennsylvania
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  1. Conceivability and Possibility.Joshua Spencer - 2018 - In Graham Oppy (ed.), Ontological Arguments. pp. 214-237.
    Some people might be tempted by modal ontological arguments from the possibility that God exists to the conclusion that God in fact exists. They might also be tempted to support the claim that possibly God exists by appealing to the conceivability of God’s existence. In this chapter, I introduce three constraints on an adequate theory of philosophical conceivability. I then consider and develop both imagination-based accounts of conceivability and conceptual coherence-based accounts of conceivability. Finally, I return to the modal ontological (...)
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  2. On the Explanatory Demands of the Special Composition Question.Joshua Spencer - forthcoming - Synthese:1-14.
    The Special Composition Question may be formulated as follows: for any xs whatsoever, what are the metaphysically necessary and jointly sufficient conditions in virtue of which there is a y such that those xs compose y? But what is the scope of the sought after explanation? Should an answer merely explain compositional facts, or should it explain certain ontological facts as well? On one natural reading, the question seeks an explanation of both the compositional facts and the ontological; the question (...)
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  3.  46
    Review of Arif Ahmed (Ed.), Newcomb's Problem. [REVIEW]Jack Spencer - 2019 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2019.
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  4. All Things Must Pass Away.Joshua Spencer - 2012 - Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 7:67.
    Are there any things that are such that any things whatsoever are among them. I argue that there are not. My thesis follows from these three premises: (1) There are two or more things; (2) for any things, there is a unique thing that corresponds to those things; (3) for any two or more things, there are fewer of them than there are pluralities of them.
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  5. Liberation Pragmatism: Dussel and Dewey in Dialogue.Alex Sager & Albert R. Spencer - 2016 - Contemporary Pragmatism 13 (4):1-22.
    Enrique Dussel and John Dewey share commitments to philosophical theory and practice aimed at addressing human problems, democratic modes of inquiry, and progressive social reform, but also maintain productive differences in their fundamental starting point for political philosophy and their use of the social sciences. Dussel provides a corrective to Dewey’s Eurocentrism and to his tendency to underplay the challenges of incorporating marginalized populations by insisting that social and political philosophy begin from the perspective of the marginalized and excluded. Simultaneously, (...)
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  6. Ways of Being.Joshua Spencer - 2012 - Philosophy Compass 7 (12):910-918.
    Ontological pluralism is the view that there are ways of being. Ontological pluralism is enjoying a revival in contemporary metaphysics. We want to say that there are numbers, fictional characters, impossible things, and holes. But, we don’t think these things all exist in the same sense as cars and human beings. If they exist or have being at all, then they have different ways of being. Fictional characters exist as objects of make‐believe and holes exist as absences in objects. But, (...)
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  7. A Tale of Two Simples.Joshua Spencer - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 148 (2):167 - 181.
    A material simple is a material object that has no proper parts. Some philosophers have argued for the possibility of extended simples. Some have even argued for the possibility of heterogeneous simples or simples that have intrinsic variations across their surfaces. There is a puzzle, though, that is meant to show that extended, heterogeneous simples are impossible. Although several plausible responses have been given to this puzzle, I wish to reopen the case against extended, heterogeneous simples. In this paper, I (...)
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  8. What Time Travelers Cannot Not Do (but Are Responsible for Anyway).Joshua Spencer - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 166 (1):149-162.
    The Principle of Alternative Possibilities is the intuitive idea that someone is morally responsible for an action only if she could have done otherwise. Harry Frankfurt has famously presented putative counterexamples to this intuitive principle. In this paper, I formulate a simple version of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities that invokes a course-grained notion of actions. After warming up with a Frankfurt-Style Counterexample to this principle, I introduce a new kind of counterexample based on the possibility of time travel. At (...)
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  9. Musical Materialism and the Inheritance Problem.C. Tillman & J. Spencer - 2012 - Analysis 72 (2):252-259.
    Some hold that musical works are fusions of, or coincide with, their performances. But if performances contain wrong notes, won't works inherit that property? We say ‘no’.
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  10. Counting on Strong Composition as Identity to Settle the Special Composition Question.Joshua Spencer - 2017 - Erkenntnis 82 (4):857-872.
    Strong Composition as Identity is the thesis that necessarily, for any xs and any y, those xs compose y iff those xs are non-distributively identical to y. Some have argued against this view as follows: if some many things are non-distributively identical to one thing, then what’s true of the many must be true of the one. But since the many are many in number whereas the one is not, the many cannot be identical to the one. Hence is mistaken. (...)
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  11. Strong Composition as Identity and Simplicity.Joshua Spencer - 2013 - Erkenntnis 78 (5):1177-1184.
    The general composition question asks “what are the necessary and jointly sufficient conditions any xs and any y must satisfy in order for it to be true that those xs compose that y?” Although this question has received little attention, there is an interesting and theoretically fruitful answer. Namely, strong composition as identity (SCAI): necessarily, for any xs and any y, those xs compose y iff those xs are identical to y. SCAI is theoretically fruitful because if it is true, (...)
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  12. HeX and the Single Anthill: Playing Games with Aunt Hillary.J. M. Bishop, S. J. Nasuto, T. Tanay, E. B. Roesch & M. C. Spencer - 2015 - In Vincent Müller (ed.), Fundamental Issues of Artificial Intelligence. Springer. pp. 367-389.
    In a reflective and richly entertaining piece from 1979, Doug Hofstadter playfully imagined a conversation between ‘Achilles’ and an anthill (the eponymous ‘Aunt Hillary’), in which he famously explored many ideas and themes related to cognition and consciousness. For Hofstadter, the anthill is able to carry on a conversation because the ants that compose it play roughly the same role that neurons play in human languaging; unfortunately, Hofstadter’s work is notably short on detail suggesting how this magic might be achieved1. (...)
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  13. Necessity of Origins and Multi-Origin Art.Joshua Spencer & Chris Tillman - 2019 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (7):741-754.
    ABSTRACTThe Necessity of Origins is the thesis that, necessarily, if a material object wholly originates from some particular material, then it could not have wholly originated from any significantly non-overlapping material. Several philosophers have argued for this thesis using as a premise a principle that we call ‘Single Origin Necessity’. However, we argue that Single Origin Necessity is false. So any arguments for The Necessity of Origins that rely on Single Origin Necessity are unsound. We also argue that the Necessity (...)
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  14. Unnecessary Existents.Joshua Spencer - 2013 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6):766-775.
    Timothy Williamson has argued for the radical conclusion that everything necessarily exists. In this paper, I assume that the conclusion of Williamson’s argument is more incredible than the denial of his premises. Under the assumption that Williamson is mistaken, I argue for the claim that there are some structured propositions which have constituents that might not have existed. If those constituents had not existed, then the propositions would have had an unfilled role; they would have been gappy. This gappy propositions (...)
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  15. The Problem of Empty Names and Russellian Plenitude.Joshua Spencer - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (3):1-18.
    ‘Ahab is a whaler’ and ‘Holmes is a whaler’ express different propositions, even though neither ‘Ahab’ nor ‘Holmes’ has a referent. This seems to constitute a theoretical puzzle for the Russellian view of propositions. In this paper, I develop a variant of the Russellian view, Plenitudinous Russellianism. I claim that ‘Ahab is a whaler’ and ‘Holmes is a whaler’ express distinct gappy propositions. I discuss key metaphysical and semantic differences between Plenitudinous Russellianism and Traditional Russellianism and respond to objections that (...)
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  16. Two Mereological Arguments Against the Possibility of an Omniscient Being.Joshua T. Spencer - 2006 - Philo 9 (1):62-72.
    In this paper I present two new arguments against the possibility of an omniscient being. My new arguments invoke considerations of cardinality and resemble several arguments originally presented by Patrick Grim. Like Grim, I give reasons to believe that there must be more objects in the universe than there are beliefs. However, my arguments will rely on certain mereological claims, namely that Classical Extensional Mereology is necessarily true of the part-whole relation. My first argument is an instance of a problem (...)
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  17.  24
    The Theory of Christ's Ethics.Frederick Augustus Morland Spencer - 1929 - G. Allen & Unwin.
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