Browse by Volume
Innocent Statements and Their Metaphysically Loaded Counterparts
One puzzling feature of talk about properties, propositions and natural numbers is that statements that are explicitly about them can be introduced apparently without change of truth conditions from statements that don't mention them at all. Thus it seems that the existence of numbers, properties and propositions can be established`from nothing'. This metaphysical puzzle is tied to a series of syntactic and semantic puzzles about the relationship between ordinary, metaphysically innocent statements and their metaphysically loaded counterparts, statements that explicitly mention numbers, properties and propositions, but nonetheless appear to be equivalent to the former. I argue that the standard solutions to the metaphysical puzzles make a mistaken assumption about the semantics of the loaded counterparts. Instead I propose a solution to the syntactic and semantic puzzles, and argue that this solution also gives us a new solution to the metaphysical puzzle. I argue that instead of containing more semantically singular terms that aim to refer to extra entities, the loaded counterparts are focus constructions. Their syntactic structure is in the service of presenting information with a focus, but not to refer to new entities. This will allow us to spell out Frege's metaphor of content carving.
|Thomas Hofweber||PDF (510kb)|
A Proof of Induction?
Does the past rationally bear on the future? David Hume argued that we lack good reason to think that it does. He insisted in particular that we lack - and forever will lack - anything like a demonstrative proof of such a rational bearing. A surprising mathematical result can be read as an invitation to reconsider Hume's confidence.
|Alexander George||PDF (268kb)|
Reasons as Defaults
The goal of this paper is to frame a theory of reasons--what they are, how they support actions or conclusions--using the tools of default logic. After sketching the basic account of reasons as provided by defaults, I show how it can be elaborated to deal with two more complicated issues: first, situations in which the priority relation among defaults, and so reasons as well, is itself established through default reasoning; second, the treatment of undercutting defeat and exclusionary reasons. Finally, and by way of application, I show how the resulting account can shed some light on Jonathan Dancy's argument from reason holism to a form of extreme particularism in moral theory.
|John F. Horty||PDF (587kb)|
Stereoscopic Vision: Persons, Freedom, and Two Spaces of Material Inference
We discuss first a "stance" methodology toward the problem of personhood. This is to ask first, what it is to take something to be a person, and then to move via a notion of appropriateness to an answer to what it is to be a person. We argue that the distinctions between persons and non-persons, between agents and patients, and between subjects and mere objects are deeply connected. All three distinctions are themselves traced to a fundamental distinction within the space of reasons -- between, that is, two sorts of material inferential propriety. These two structures of inference are made explicit by indicative and subjunctive conditionals. Tracing personhood to the fundamentally stereoscopic structure of material inference sheds light not only on notions of freedom, agency, and personhood, but on the nature of modal judgments, on the conceptual space of causation, and on the semantics of the explicitating conditionals. We conclude with a pragmatic argument for belief in persons.
|Mark Lance; H. Heath White||PDF (484kb)|
A Puzzle About Material Constitution and How to Solve It: Enriching Constitution Views in Metaphysics
Are materially constituted entities, such as statues and glasses of liquid, something more than their material constituents? The puzzle that frames this paper stems from conflicting answers to this question. At the core of the paper is a distinctive way of thinking about material constitution that posits two concepts of constitution, compositional and ampliative constitution, with the bulk of the discussion devoted to developing distinct analyses for these concepts. Distinguishing these concepts solves our initial puzzle and enriches the space of possibilities for constitution views.
|Robert A. Wilson||PDF (409kb)|
Rigid Designation and Semantic Structure
There is a considerable sub-literature, stretching back over 35 years, addressed to the question: Precisely which general terms ought to be classified as rigid designators? More fundamentally: What should we take the criterion for rigidity to be, for general terms? The aim of this paper is to give new grounds for the old view that if a general term designates the same kind in all possible worlds, then it should be classified as a rigid designator. The new grounds in question have to do with excavating the connection between rigid designation and semantic structure. Other original contributions of the present work consist in developing responses to some objections to this approach to rigid designation.
|Arthur Sullivan||PDF (576kb)|
Nietzsche's Theory of the Will
The essay offers a philosophical reconstruction of Nietzsche's theory of the will, focusing on (1) Nietzsche's account of the phenomenology of "willing " an action, the experience we have which leads us (causally) to conceive of ourselves as exercising our will; (2) Nietzsche's arguments that the experiences picked out by the phenomenology are not causally connected to the resulting action (at least not in a way sufficient to underwrite ascriptions of moral responsibility); and (3) Nietzsche's account of the actual causal genesis of action. Particular attention is given to passages from Daybreak, Beyond Good and Evil and Twilight of the Idols and a revised version of my earlier account of Nietzsche's epiphenomenalism is defended. Finally, recent work in empirical psychology (Libet, Wegner) is shown to support Nietzsche's skepticism that our "feeling " of will is a reliable guide to the causation of action.
|Brian Leiter||PDF (429kb)|
The Impotence of the Demandingness Objection
Consequentialism, many philosophers have claimed, asks too much of us to be a plausible ethical theory. Indeed, the theory's severe demandingness is often claimed to be its chief flaw. My thesis is that as we come to better understand this objection, we see that, even if it signals or tracks the existence of a real problem for Consequentialism, it cannot itself be a fundamental problem with the view. The objection cannot itself provide good reason to break with Consequentialism, because it must presuppose prior and independent breaks with the view. The way the objection measures the demandingness of an ethical theory reflects rather than justifies being in the grip of key anti-Consequentialist conclusions. We should reject Consequentialism independently of the Objection or not at all. Thus, we can reduce by one the list of worrisome fundamental complaints against Consequentialism.
|David Sobel||PDF (371kb)|
Wanting Things You Don't Want: The Case for an Imaginative Analogue of Desire
We argue that beside belief, desire, and imagination, a novel mental state, i-desire, is needed to explain pretend behavior and emotional responses to things you are imagining.
|Tyler Doggett; Andy Egan||PDF (471kb)|