Results for 'William J. Chopik'

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  1. Syntactic Semantics: Foundations of Computational Natural Language Understanding.William J. Rapaport - 1988 - In James H. Fetzer (ed.), Aspects of AI. Kluwer Academic Publishers.
    This essay considers what it means to understand natural language and whether a computer running an artificial-intelligence program designed to understand natural language does in fact do so. It is argued that a certain kind of semantics is needed to understand natural language, that this kind of semantics is mere symbol manipulation (i.e., syntax), and that, hence, it is available to AI systems. Recent arguments by Searle and Dretske to the effect that computers cannot understand natural language are discussed, and (...)
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  2. Semiotic Systems, Computers, and the Mind: How Cognition Could Be Computing.William J. Rapaport - 2012 - International Journal of Signs and Semiotic Systems 2 (1):32-71.
    In this reply to James H. Fetzer’s “Minds and Machines: Limits to Simulations of Thought and Action”, I argue that computationalism should not be the view that (human) cognition is computation, but that it should be the view that cognition (simpliciter) is computable. It follows that computationalism can be true even if (human) cognition is not the result of computations in the brain. I also argue that, if semiotic systems are systems that interpret signs, then both humans and computers are (...)
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  3. Syntax, Semantics, and Computer Programs.William J. Rapaport - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):309-321.
    Turner argues that computer programs must have purposes, that implementation is not a kind of semantics, and that computers might need to understand what they do. I respectfully disagree: Computer programs need not have purposes, implementation is a kind of semantic interpretation, and neither human computers nor computing machines need to understand what they do.
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  4. Philosophy of Computer Science: An Introductory Course.William J. Rapaport - 2005 - Teaching Philosophy 28 (4):319-341.
    There are many branches of philosophy called “the philosophy of X,” where X = disciplines ranging from history to physics. The philosophy of artificial intelligence has a long history, and there are many courses and texts with that title. Surprisingly, the philosophy of computer science is not nearly as well-developed. This article proposes topics that might constitute the philosophy of computer science and describes a course covering those topics, along with suggested readings and assignments.
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  5. Decision-Making Under Indeterminacy.J. Robert G. Williams - 2014 - Philosophers' Imprint 14.
    Decisions are made under uncertainty when there are distinct outcomes of a given action, and one is uncertain to which the act will lead. Decisions are made under indeterminacy when there are distinct outcomes of a given action, and it is indeterminate to which the act will lead. This paper develops a theory of (synchronic and diachronic) decision-making under indeterminacy that portrays the rational response to such situations as inconstant. Rational agents have to capriciously and randomly choose how to resolve (...)
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  6. Understanding Understanding: Syntactic Semantics and Computational Cognition.William J. Rapaport - 1995 - Philosophical Perspectives 9:49-88.
    John Searle once said: "The Chinese room shows what we knew all along: syntax by itself is not sufficient for semantics. (Does anyone actually deny this point, I mean straight out? Is anyone actually willing to say, straight out, that they think that syntax, in the sense of formal symbols, is really the same as semantic content, in the sense of meanings, thought contents, understanding, etc.?)." I say: "Yes". Stuart C. Shapiro has said: "Does that make any sense? Yes: Everything (...)
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  7. On Epistemic Logic and Logical Omniscience.William J. Rapaport & Moshe Y. Vardi - 1988 - Journal of Symbolic Logic 53 (2):668.
    Review of Joseph Y. Halpern (ed.), Theoretical Aspects of Reasoning About Knowledge: Proceedings of the 1986 Conference (Los Altos, CA: Morgan Kaufmann, 1986),.
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  8. How Helen Keller Used Syntactic Semantics to Escape From a Chinese Room.William J. Rapaport - 2006 - Minds and Machines 16 (4):381-436.
    A computer can come to understand natural language the same way Helen Keller did: by using “syntactic semantics”—a theory of how syntax can suffice for semantics, i.e., how semantics for natural language can be provided by means of computational symbol manipulation. This essay considers real-life approximations of Chinese Rooms, focusing on Helen Keller’s experiences growing up deaf and blind, locked in a sort of Chinese Room yet learning how to communicate with the outside world. Using the SNePS computational knowledge-representation system, (...)
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  9. Eligibility and Inscrutability.J. Robert G. Williams - 2007 - Philosophical Review 116 (3):361-399.
    Inscrutability arguments threaten to reduce interpretationist metasemantic theories to absurdity. Can we find some way to block the arguments? A highly influential proposal in this regard is David Lewis’ ‘ eligibility ’ response: some theories are better than others, not because they fit the data better, but because they are framed in terms of more natural properties. The purposes of this paper are to outline the nature of the eligibility proposal, making the case that it is not ad hoc, but (...)
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  10. Ontic Vagueness and Metaphysical Indeterminacy.J. Robert G. Williams - 2008 - Philosophy Compass 3 (4):763-788.
    Might it be that world itself, independently of what we know about it or how we represent it, is metaphysically indeterminate? This article tackles in turn a series of questions: In what sorts of cases might we posit metaphysical indeterminacy? What is it for a given case of indefiniteness to be 'metaphysical'? How does the phenomenon relate to 'ontic vagueness', the existence of 'vague objects', 'de re indeterminacy' and the like? How might the logic work? Are there reasons for postulating (...)
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  11. Yes, She Was!: Reply to Ford’s “Helen Keller Was Never in a Chinese Room”.William J. Rapaport - 2011 - Minds and Machines 21 (1):3-17.
    Ford’s Helen Keller Was Never in a Chinese Room claims that my argument in How Helen Keller Used Syntactic Semantics to Escape from a Chinese Room fails because Searle and I use the terms ‘syntax’ and ‘semantics’ differently, hence are at cross purposes. Ford has misunderstood me; this reply clarifies my theory.
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  12. What Is the “Context” for Contextual Vocabulary Acquisition?William J. Rapaport - 2003 - Proceedings of the 4th Joint International Conference on Cognitive Science/7th Australasian Society for Cognitive Science Conference 2:547-552.
    “Contextual” vocabulary acquisition is the active, deliberate acquisition of a meaning for a word in a text by reasoning from textual clues and prior knowledge, including language knowledge and hypotheses developed from prior encounters with the word, but without external sources of help such as dictionaries or people. But what is “context”? Is it just the surrounding text? Does it include the reader’s background knowledge? I argue that the appropriate context for contextual vocabulary acquisition is the reader’s “internalization” of the (...)
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  13. To Think or Not to Think.William J. Rapaport - 1988 - Noûs 22 (4):585-609.
    A critical study of John Searle's Minds, Brains and Science (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984).
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  14. Quasi‐Indexicals and Knowledge Reports.William J. Rapaport, Stuart C. Shapiro & Janyce M. Wiebe - 1997 - Cognitive Science 21 (1):63-107.
    We present a computational analysis of de re, de dicto, and de se belief and knowledge reports. Our analysis solves a problem first observed by Hector-Neri Castañeda, namely, that the simple rule -/- `(A knows that P) implies P' -/- apparently does not hold if P contains a quasi-indexical. We present a single rule, in the context of a knowledge-representation and reasoning system, that holds for all P, including those containing quasi-indexicals. In so doing, we explore the difference between reasoning (...)
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  15. Non-Existent Objects and Epistemological Ontology.William J. Rapaport - 1985 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 25 (1):61-95.
    This essay examines the role of non-existent objects in "epistemological ontology" — the study of the entities that make thinking possible. An earlier revision of Meinong's Theory of Objects is reviewed, Meinong's notions of Quasisein and Außersein are discussed, and a theory of Meinongian objects as "combinatorially possible" entities is presented.
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  16. Cognitive and Computer Systems for Understanding Narrative Text.William J. Rapaport, Erwin M. Segal, Stuart C. Shapiro, David A. Zubin, Gail A. Bruder, Judith Felson Duchan & David M. Mark - manuscript
    This project continues our interdisciplinary research into computational and cognitive aspects of narrative comprehension. Our ultimate goal is the development of a computational theory of how humans understand narrative texts. The theory will be informed by joint research from the viewpoints of linguistics, cognitive psychology, the study of language acquisition, literary theory, geography, philosophy, and artificial intelligence. The linguists, literary theorists, and geographers in our group are developing theories of narrative language and spatial understanding that are being tested by the (...)
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  17. Computers Are Syntax All the Way Down: Reply to Bozşahin.William J. Rapaport - 2019 - Minds and Machines 29 (2):227-237.
    A response to a recent critique by Cem Bozşahin of the theory of syntactic semantics as it applies to Helen Keller, and some applications of the theory to the philosophy of computer science.
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  18. Fundamental and Derivative Truths.J. R. G. Williams - 2010 - Mind 119 (473):103 - 141.
    This article investigates the claim that some truths are fundamentally or really true — and that other truths are not. Such a distinction can help us reconcile radically minimal metaphysical views with the verities of common sense. I develop an understanding of the distinction whereby Fundamentality is not itself a metaphysical distinction, but rather a device that must be presupposed to express metaphysical distinctions. Drawing on recent work by Rayo on anti-Quinean theories of ontological commitments, I formulate a rigourous theory (...)
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  19. Normative Reference Magnets.J. Robert G. Williams - 2018 - Philosophical Review 127 (1):41-71.
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  20.  49
    Critical Review of Minds, Brains and Science.William J. Rapaport - 1988 - Noûs 22 (4):585-609.
    Critical Review of Searle's Minds, Brains and Science.
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  21. Rational Illogicality.J. Robert G. Williams - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (1):127-141.
    Many accounts of structural rationality give a special role to logic. This paper reviews the problem case of clear-eyed logical uncertainty. An account of rational norms on belief that does not give a special role to logic is developed: doxastic probabilism.
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  22. Indeterminate Oughts.J. Robert G. Williams - 2017 - Ethics 127 (3):645-673.
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  23. Illusions of Gunk.J. Robert G. Williams - 2006 - Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):493–513.
    Worlds where things divide forever ("gunk" worlds) are apparently conceivable. The conceivability of such scenarios has been used as an argument against "nihilist" or "near-nihilist" answers to the special composition question. I argue that the mereological nihilist has the resources to explain away the illusion that gunk is possible.
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  24. Defending Conditional Excluded Middle.J. Robert G. Williams - 2010 - Noûs 44 (4):650-668.
    Lewis (1973) gave a short argument against conditional excluded middle, based on his treatment of ‘might’ counterfactuals. Bennett (2003), with much of the recent literature, gives an alternative take on ‘might’ counterfactuals. But Bennett claims the might-argument against CEM still goes through. This turns on a specific claim I call Bennett’s Hypothesis. I argue that independently of issues to do with the proper analysis of might-counterfactuals, Bennett’s Hypothesis is inconsistent with CEM. But Bennett’s Hypothesis is independently objectionable, so we should (...)
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  25. Generalized Probabilism: Dutch Books and Accuracy Domi- Nation.J. Robert G. Williams - 2012 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 41 (5):811-840.
    Jeff Paris proves a generalized Dutch Book theorem. If a belief state is not a generalized probability then one faces ‘sure loss’ books of bets. In Williams I showed that Joyce’s accuracy-domination theorem applies to the same set of generalized probabilities. What is the relationship between these two results? This note shows that both results are easy corollaries of the core result that Paris appeals to in proving his dutch book theorem. We see that every point of accuracy-domination defines a (...)
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  26. Indeterminacy and Normative Silence.J. R. G. Williams - 2012 - Analysis 72 (2):217-225.
    This paper examines two puzzles of indeterminacy. The first puzzle concerns the hypothesis that there is a unified phenomenon of indeterminacy. How are we to reconcile this with the apparent diversity of reactions that indeterminacy prompts? The second puzzle focuses narrowly on borderline cases of vague predicates. How are we to account for the lack of theoretical consensus about what the proper reaction to borderline cases is? I suggest (building on work by Maudlin) that the characteristic feature of indeterminacy is (...)
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  27. Contextual Vocabulary Acquisition: A Computational Theory and Educational Curriculum.William J. Rapaport & Michael W. Kibby - 2002 - In Nagib Callaos, Ana Breda & Ma Yolanda Fernandez J. (eds.), Proceedings of the 6th World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics. International Institute of Informatics and Systemics.
    We discuss a research project that develops and applies algorithms for computational contextual vocabulary acquisition (CVA): learning the meaning of unknown words from context. We try to unify a disparate literature on the topic of CVA from psychology, first- and secondlanguage acquisition, and reading science, in order to help develop these algorithms: We use the knowledge gained from the computational CVA system to build an educational curriculum for enhancing students’ abilities to use CVA strategies in their reading of science texts (...)
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  28. Gradational Accuracy and Nonclassical Semantics.J. Robert G. Williams - 2012 - Review of Symbolic Logic 5 (4):513-537.
    Joyce (1998) gives an argument for probabilism: the doctrine that rational credences should conform to the axioms of probability. In doing so, he provides a distinctive take on how the normative force of probabilism relates to the injunction to believe what is true. But Joyce presupposes that the truth values of the propositions over which credences are defined are classical. I generalize the core of Joyce’s argument to remove this presupposition. On the same assumptions as Joyce uses, the credences of (...)
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  29. Nonclassical Minds and Indeterminate Survival.J. Robert G. Williams - 2014 - Philosophical Review 123 (4):379-428.
    Revisionary theories of logic or truth require revisionary theories of mind. This essay outlines nonclassically based theories of rational belief, desire, and decision making, singling out the supervaluational family for special attention. To see these nonclassical theories of mind in action, this essay examines a debate between David Lewis and Derek Parfit over what matters in survival. Lewis argued that indeterminacy in personal identity allows caring about psychological connectedness and caring about personal identity to amount to the same thing. The (...)
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  30. In Defense of Contextual Vocabulary Acquisition: How to Do Things with Words in Context.William J. Rapaport - 2005 - In Anind Dey, Boicho Kokinov, David Leake & Roy Turner (eds.), Proceedings of the 5th International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Modeling and Using Context. Springer-Verlag Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 3554. pp. 396--409.
    Contextual vocabulary acquisition (CVA) is the deliberate acquisition of a meaning for a word in a text by reasoning from context, where “context” includes: (1) the reader’s “internalization” of the surrounding text, i.e., the reader’s “mental model” of the word’s “textual context” (hereafter, “co-text” [3]) integrated with (2) the reader’s prior knowledge (PK), but it excludes (3) external sources such as dictionaries or people. CVA is what you do when you come across an unfamiliar word in your reading, realize that (...)
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  31.  55
    Meinongian Semantics and Artificial Intelligence.William J. Rapaport - 2013 - Humana Mente 6 (25):25-52.
    This essay describes computational semantic networks for a philosophical audience and surveys several approaches to semantic-network semantics. In particular, propositional semantic networks are discussed; it is argued that only a fully intensional, Meinongian semantics is appropriate for them; and several Meinongian systems are presented.
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  32. Meinong, Alexius; I: Meinongian Semantics.William J. Rapaport - 1991 - In Hans Burkhardt & Barry Smith (eds.), Handbook of Metaphysics and Ontology. Philosophia Verlag. pp. 516-519.
    A brief introduction to Meinong, his theory of objects, and modern interpretations of it. Sections include: The Theory of Objects, Castañeda's Theory of Guises, Parsons,'s Theory of Nonexistent Objects, Rapaport's Theory of Meinongian Objects, Routley's Theory of Items.
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  33. Supervaluationism and Logical Revisionism.J. R. G. Williams - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (4):192-212.
    In the literature on supervaluationism, a central source of concern has been the acceptability, or otherwise, of its alleged logical revisionism. I attack the presupposition of this debate: arguing that when properly construed, there is no sense in which supervaluational consequence is revisionary. I provide new considerations supporting the claim that the supervaluational consequence should be characterized in a ‘global’ way. But pace Williamson (1994) and Keefe (2000), I argue that supervaluationism does not give rise to counterexamples to familiar inference-patterns (...)
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  34. CASTANEDA, Hector-Neri (1924–1991).William J. Rapaport - 2005 - In John R. Shook (ed.), The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers, 1860-1960. Thoemmes Press.
    H´ector-Neri Casta˜neda-Calder´on (December 13, 1924–September 7, 1991) was born in San Vicente Zacapa, Guatemala. He attended the Normal School for Boys in Guatemala City, later called the Military Normal School for Boys, from which he was expelled for refusing to fight a bully; the dramatic story, worthy of being filmed, is told in the “De Re” section of his autobiography, “Self-Profile” (1986). He then attended a normal school in Costa Rica, followed by studies in philosophy at the University of San (...)
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  35. Conversation and Conditionals.J. Robert G. Williams - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (2):211 - 223.
    I outline and motivate a way of implementing a closest world theory of indicatives, appealing to Stalnaker's framework of open conversational possibilities. Stalnakerian conversational dynamics helps us resolve two outstanding puzzles for a such a theory of indicative conditionals. The first puzzle -- concerning so-called 'reverse Sobel sequences' -- can be resolved by conversation dynamics in a theoryneutral way: the explanation works as much for Lewisian counterfactuals as for the account of indicatives developed here. Resolving the second puzzle, by contrast, (...)
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  36. A Triage Theory of Grading: The Good, the Bad, and the Middling.William J. Rapaport - 2011 - Teaching Philosophy 34 (4):347–372.
    This essay presents and defends a triage theory of grading: An item to be graded should get full credit if and only if it is clearly or substantially correct, minimal credit if and only if it is clearly or substantially incorrect, and partial credit if and only if it is neither of the above; no other (intermediate) grades should be given. Details on how to implement this are provided, and further issues in the philosophy of grading (reasons for and against (...)
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  37. The Cognitive Role of Fictionality.J. Robert G. Williams & Richard Woodward - forthcoming - Wiley: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  38. Because Mere Calculating Isn't Thinking: Comments on Hauser's Why Isn't My Pocket Calculator a Thinking Thing?.William J. Rapaport - 1993 - Minds and Machines 3 (1):11-20.
    Hauser argues that his pocket calculator (Cal) has certain arithmetical abilities: it seems Cal calculates. That calculating is thinking seems equally untendentious. Yet these two claims together provide premises for a seemingly valid syllogism whose conclusion - Cal thinks - most would deny. He considers several ways to avoid this conclusion, and finds them mostly wanting. Either we ourselves can't be said to think or calculate if our calculation-like performances are judged by the standards proposed to rule out Cal; or (...)
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  39. The Possibility of Onion Worlds: Rebutting an Argument for Structural Universals.J. Robert G. Williams - 2007 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):193 – 203.
    Some argue that theories of universals should incorporate structural universals, in order to allow for the metaphysical possibility of worlds of 'infinite descending complexity' ('onion worlds'). I argue that the possibility of such worlds does not establish the need for structural universals. So long as we admit the metaphysical possibility of emergent universals, there is an attractive alternative description of such cases.
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  40. On Cogito Propositions.William J. Rapaport - 1976 - Philosophical Studies 29 (1):63-68.
    I argue that George Nakhnikian's analysis of the logic of cogito propositions (roughly, Descartes's 'cogito' and 'sum') is incomplete. The incompleteness is rectified by showing that disjunctions of cogito propositions with contingent, non-cogito propositions satisfy conditions of incorrigibility, self-certifyingness, and pragmatic consistency; hence, they belong to the class of propositions with whose help a complete characterization of cogito propositions is made possible.
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  41. Requirements on Reality.J. Robert G. Williams - 2012 - In Fabrice Correia Benjamin Schnieder (ed.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality. Cambridge University Press. pp. 165-185.
    There are advantages to thrift over honest toil. If we can make do without numbers we avoid challenging questions over the metaphysics and epistemology of such entities; and we have a good idea, I think, of what a nominalistic metaphysics should look like. But minimizing ontology brings its own problems; for it seems to lead to error theory— saying that large swathes of common-sense and best science are false. Should recherche philosophical arguments really convince us to give all this up? (...)
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  42. Degree Supervaluational Logic.J. Robert G. Williams - 2011 - Review of Symbolic Logic 4 (1):130-149.
    Supervaluationism is often described as the most popular semantic treatment of indeterminacy. There???s little consensus, however, about how to fill out the bare-bones idea to include a characterization of logical consequence. The paper explores one methodology for choosing between the logics: pick a logic that norms belief as classical consequence is standardly thought to do. The main focus of the paper considers a variant of standard supervaluational, on which we can characterize degrees of determinacy. It applies the methodology above to (...)
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  43. Representational Scepticism: The Bubble Puzzle.J. Robert G. Williams - 2016 - Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):419-442.
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  44. Lewis on Reference and Eligibility.J. R. G. Williams - 2015 - In Barry Loewer & Jonathan Schaffer (eds.), A companion to David Lewis. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 367-382.
    This paper outlines Lewis’s favoured foundational account of linguistic representation, and outlines and briefly evaluates variations and modifications. Section 1 gives an opinionated exegesis of Lewis’ work on the foundations of reference—his interpretationism. I look at the way that the metaphysical distinction between natural and non-natural properties came to play a central role in his thinking about language. Lewis’s own deployment of this notion has implausible commitments, so in section 2 I consider variations and alternatives. Section 3 briefly considers a (...)
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  45. The Price of Inscrutability.J. R. G. Williams - 2008 - Noûs 42 (4):600 - 641.
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  46. A Theory of Metaphysical Indeterminacy.Elizabeth Barnes & J. Robert G. Williams - 2011 - In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics volume 6. Oxford University Press. pp. 103-148.
    If the world itself is metaphysically indeterminate in a specified respect, what follows? In this paper, we develop a theory of metaphysical indeterminacy answering this question.
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  47. Part‐Intrinsicality.J. Robert G. Williams - 2013 - Noûs 47 (3):431-452.
    In some sense, survival seems to be an intrinsic matter. Whether or not you survive some event seems to depend on what goes on with you yourself —what happens in the environment shouldn’t make a difference. Likewise, being a person at a time seems intrinsic. The principle that survival seems intrinsic is one factor which makes personal fission puzzles so awkward. Fission scenarios present cases where if survival is an intrinsic matter, it appears that an individual could survive twice over. (...)
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  48. Parmenides 132c-133a and the Development of Plato's Thought.William J. Prior - 1979 - Phronesis 24 (3):230-240.
    In this paper I argue against the view of G.E.L. Owen that the second version of the Third Man Argument is a sound objection to Plato's conception of Forms as paradigms and that Plato knew it. The argument can be formulated so as to be valid, but Plato need not be committed to one of its premises. Forms are self-predicative, but the ground of self-predication is not the same as that of ordinary predication.
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  49. Meinong, Defective Objects, and (Psycho-)Logical Paradox.William J. Rapaport - 1982 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 18 (1):17-39.
    Alexius Meinong developed a notion of defective objects in order to account for various logical and psychological paradoxes. The notion is of historical interest, since it presages recent work on the logical paradoxes by Herzberger and Kripke. But it fails to do the job it was designed for. However, a technique implicit in Meinong's investigation is more successful and can be adapted to resolve a similar paradox discovered by Romane Clark in a revised version of Meinong's Theory of Objects due (...)
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  50.  73
    Response to Eklund.Elizabeth Barnes & J. Robert G. Williams - 2011 - In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics Volume 6. Oxford University Press.
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