Philosophical Studies

http://link.springer.com/journal/11098

List of Papers (Total 188)

Disposition ascriptions

I argue that disposition ascriptions—claims like ‘the glass is fragile’—are semantically equivalent to possibility claims: they are true when the given object manifests the disposition in at least one of the relevant possible worlds.

Grounding and metaphysical explanation: it’s complicated

Grounding theorists insist that grounding and explanation are intimately related. This claim could be understood as saying either that grounding ‘inherits’ its properties from (metaphysical) explanation (and that, therefore, contemplating the nature of explanation informs us about the nature of grounding) or it could be interpreted as saying that grounding plays an important...

Logical Partisanhood

A natural suggestion and increasingly popular account of how to revise our logical beliefs treats revision of logic analogously to the revision of scientific theories (Hjortland, Priest, Russell, Williamson, etc.). I investigate this approach and argue that simple applications of abductive methodology to logic result in revision-cycles, developing a detailed case study of an...

The demand for contrastive explanations

A “contrastive explanation” explains not only why some event A occurred, but why A occurred as opposed to some alternative event B. Some philosophers argue that agents could only be morally responsible for their choices if those choices have contrastive explanations, since they would otherwise be “luck infested”. Assuming that contrastive explanations cannot be offered for...

Conflicting intentions: rectifying the consistency requirements

Many philosophers are convinced that rationality dictates that one’s overall set of intentions be consistent. The starting point and inspiration for our study is Bratman’s planning theory of intentions. According to this theory, one needs to appeal to the fulfilment of characteristic planning roles to justify norms that apply to our intentions. Our main objective is to...

Model-theoretic semantics and revenge paradoxes

Revenge arguments purport to show that any proposed solution to the semantic paradoxes generates new paradoxes that prove that solution to be inadequate. In this paper, I focus on revenge arguments that employ the model-theoretic semantics of a target theory and I argue, contra the current revenge-theoretic wisdom, that they can constitute genuine expressive limitations. I...

The future, and what might have been

We show that five important elements of the ‘nomological package’—laws, counterfactuals, chances, dispositions, and counterfactuals—needn’t be a problem for the Growing-Block view. We begin with the framework given in Briggs and Forbes (in The real truth about the unreal future. Oxford studies in metaphysics. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2012), and, taking laws as primitive...

Ensemble representation and the contents of visual experience

The on-going debate over the ‘admissible contents of perceptual experience’ concerns the range of properties that human beings are directly acquainted with in perceptual experience. Regarding vision, it is relatively uncontroversial that the following properties can figure in the contents of visual experience: colour, shape, illumination, spatial relations, motion, and texture...

Epistemic innocence and the production of false memory beliefs

Findings from the cognitive sciences suggest that the cognitive mechanisms responsible for some memory errors are adaptive, bringing benefits to the organism. In this paper we argue that the same cognitive mechanisms also bring a suite of significant epistemic benefits, increasing the chance of an agent obtaining epistemic goods like true belief and knowledge. This result...

Introspecting knowledge

If we use “introspection” just as a label for that essentially first-person way we have of knowing about our own mental states, then it’s pretty obvious that if there is such a thing as introspection, we know on that basis what we believe, and want, and intend, at least in many ordinary cases. I assume there is such a thing as introspection. So I think the hard question is how it...

Rethinking naive realism

Perceptions are externally-directed—they present us with a mind-independent reality, and thus contribute to our abilities to think about this reality, and to know what is objectively the case. But perceptions are also internally-dependent—their phenomenologies depend on the neuro-computational properties of the subject. A good theory of perception must account for both these...

Correction to: Possessing epistemic reasons: the role of rational capacities

In the original publication of the article, the last sentence in footnote 16 was incorrectly published as “Thanks to—for raising this issue.” The corrected sentence should read as “Thanks to Daniel Star for raising this issue.”

Classes, why and how

This paper presents a new approach to the class-theoretic paradoxes. In the first part of the paper, I will distinguish classes from sets, describe the function of class talk, and present several reasons for postulating type-free classes. This involves applications to the problem of unrestricted quantification, reduction of properties, natural language semantics, and the...

Please mind the gappy content

Representationalist theories of experience face the problem that two sets of compelling intuitions seem to support the contrary conclusions that we should ascribe, respectively, singular contents and general contents to experience. Susanna Schellenberg has, in a series of articles, argued that we can conserve both sets of intuitions if we award a central explanatory role to the...

War and poverty

Because the poorest people tend to die from easily preventable diseases, addressing poverty is a relatively cheap way to save lives. War, by contrast, is extremely expensive. This article argues that, since states that wage war could alleviate poverty instead, poverty can render war unjust. Two just war theory conditions prove relevant: proportionality and last resort...

The preemption problem

According to the standard version of the counterfactual comparative account of harm, an event is overall harmful for an individual if and only if she would have been on balance better off if it had not occurred. This view faces the “preemption problem.” In the recent literature, there are various ingenious attempts to deal with this problem, some of which involve slight additions...

Philosophers should prefer simpler theories

Recent years have seen considerable attention paid to the methodology of philosophy. The puzzle is simple—if philosophy is not an empirical discipline, how can one philosophical theory be rationally preferred over another? One answer to this question is that we should apply the theoretical virtues. Foremost among these theoretical virtues is simplicity—so perhaps we should prefer...

Material objects and essential bundle theory

In this paper we present a new metaphysical theory of material objects. On our theory, objects are bundles of property instances, where those properties give the nature or essence of that object. We call the theory essential bundle theory. Property possession is not analysed as bundle-membership, as in traditional bundle theories, since accidental properties are not included in...

Substitution in a sense

The Reference Principle (RP) states that co-referring expressions are everywhere intersubstitutable salva congruitate. On first glance, (RP) looks like a truism, but a truism with some bite: (RP) transforms difficult philosophical questions about co-reference into easy grammatical questions about substitutability. This has led a number of philosophers to think that we can use (RP...

Meeting constitutivists halfway

Constitutivism is best understood as a strategy for meeting a set of related metanormative challenges, rather than a fully comprehensive metanormative theory in its own right, or so many have plausibly argued. Whether this strategy succeeds may depend, in part, on which broader metanormative theory it is combined with. In this paper I argue that combining constitutivism with...