Metaphysics

Input Sought on New Questions for Upcoming PhilPapers Survey of Philosophers

A draft of the follow-up to the 2009 Philpapers survey of philosophical positions held by academic philosophers on various topics includes about 70 new questions. ¶ The survey’s creators, David Bourget (Western University) and David Chalmers (NYU), are seeking input from members of the profession about the new questions. (Previously.) Gerhard Richter, “1025 Farben” ¶ The new survey will include the original 30 questions, plus 10 new ones that will be asked of all respondents, and 60 new ones that will each be asked of 25% of the respondents. So each respondent will be asked to answer around 55 questions. They will also be given the option to answer more, up to the total of around 100 questions. ¶ Here are the original 30 questions: A priori knowledge: yes or no? Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism? Aesthetic value: objective or subjective? Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no? Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism? External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism? Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will? God: theism or atheism? Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism? Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism? Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean? Logic: classical or non-classical? Mental content: internalism or externalism? Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism? Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism? Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism? Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism? Moral motivation: internalism or externalism? Newcomb’s problem: one box or two boxes? Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism, or virtue ethics? Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism, or sense-datum theory? Personal identity: biological view, psychological view, or further-fact view? Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism, or libertarianism?... -

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Fusions and organisms

Suppose you believe the following: For any physical objects, the xs, there is a physical object y with the following properties: each of the xs is a part of y; it is an essential property of y that it have the parts it does; and necessarily, if all the actual proper parts of y exist, then y exists as well. ¶ For instance, on the standard version of mereological universalism, it seems we could just take y to be the fusion of the xs. And on some versions of monism, we could take y to be the cosmos. ¶ But it seems (1) is false if organisms are physical objects and if particles survive ingestion. For suppose that there is exactly one x, Alice,... -

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An argument that the moment of death is at most epistemically vague

Assume vagueness is not epistemic. This seems a safe statement: If it is vaguely true that the world contains severe pain, then definitely the world contains pain. ¶ But now take the common philosophical view that the moment of death is vague, except in the case of instant annihilation... -

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An aging philosopher returns to the essential question: ‘What is the point of it all?’

An aging philosopher returns to the essential question: ‘What is the point of it all?’ ¶ A reader sent me the following video. (Click on the link above.) It records the last reflections on life and death by the philosopher Herbert Fingarette (1921-2018) who had a long career at... -

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Input Sought on New Questions for Upcoming PhilPapers Survey of Philosophers A draft of the follow-up to the 2009 Philpapers survey of philosophical positions held by academic philosophers on various topics includes about 70 new questions. The survey’s creators, David Bourget (Western University) and David Chalmers (NYU), are seeking input from members of the profession about the new questions. (Previously.) Gerhard Richter, “1025 Farben” The new survey will include the original 30 questions, plus 10 new ones that will be asked of all respondents, and 60 new ones that will each be asked... Daily Nous -


An argument that the moment of death is at most epistemically vague Assume vagueness is not epistemic. This seems a safe statement: If it is vaguely true that the world contains severe pain, then definitely the world contains pain. But now take the common philosophical view that the moment of death is vague, except in the case of instant annihilation and the like. The following story seems logically possible: Rover the dog definitely dies in severe pain, in the sense that it is definitely true that he... Alexander Pruss -


The Lesson History Teaches Is Tragic The idea that we can avoid the mistakes of the past is misguided. The Stone -


Scientific Progress [Revised entry by Ilkka Niiniluoto on October 16, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Science is often distinguished from other domains of human culture by its progressive nature: in contrast to art, religion, philosophy, morality, and politics, there exist clear standards or normative criteria for identifying improvements and advances in science. For example, the historian of science George Sarton argued that "the acquisition and systematization of positive knowledge are the only human activities which are... Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -


How to Distinguish Belief from Imagination Kengo Miyazono is an associate professor at Hiroshima University. His main research areas are philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, and philosophy of psychiatry. He is the author of Delusions and Beliefs: A Philosophical Inquiry (2018 Routledge). A post by Kengo Miyazono.Normally we have no difficulty in distinguishing what we believe from what we imagine. We seem to have a reliable metacognitive capacity that enables us to distinguish our beliefs from our imaginings. I can... The Junkyard -


Fusions and organisms Suppose you believe the following: For any physical objects, the xs, there is a physical object y with the following properties: each of the xs is a part of y; it is an essential property of y that it have the parts it does; and necessarily, if all the actual proper parts of y exist, then y exists as well. For instance, on the standard version of mereological universalism, it seems we could just take... Alexander Pruss -


Experiment in Physics [Revised entry by Allan Franklin and Slobodan Perovic on October 16, 2019. Changes to: Main text] Physics, and natural science in general, is a reasonable enterprise based on valid experimental evidence, criticism, and rational discussion. It provides us with knowledge of the physical world, and it is experiment that provides the evidence that grounds this knowledge. Experiment plays many roles in science. One of its important roles is to test theories and to provide the... Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -


Syllabus Showcase: Nick Byrd, Introduction to Philosophy Nick Byrd is a PhD candidate and Fellow at Florida State University working in the Social and Moral Reasoning Lab and in the Philosophy Department. Byrd researches reasoning, willpower, and wellbeing with both armchair and empirical methods. For more information, including preprints of Byrd’s latest papers, see byrdnick.com/cv. by Nick Byrd I am teaching at Florida State […] Blog of the APA -


The Lesson History Teaches Is Tragic The idea we can avoid the mistakes of the past is misguided. The Stone -


An aging philosopher returns to the essential question: ‘What is the point of it all?’ An aging philosopher returns to the essential question: ‘What is the point of it all?’ A reader sent me the following video. (Click on the link above.) It records the last reflections on life and death by the philosopher Herbert Fingarette (1921-2018) who had a long career at the University of California, Santa Barbara. As my reader put it: … there is an immediacy here that cuts to the bone. There is a difference between... Reason and Meaning -


The Current State of Play in Statistical Foundations: A View From a Hot-Air Balloon 1.3 Continue to the third, and last stop of Excursion 1 Tour I of Statistical Inference as Severe Testing: How to Get Beyond the Statistics Wars (2018, CUP)–Section 1.3. It would be of interest to ponder if (and how) the current state of play in the stat wars has shifted in just one year. I’ll do so in the comments. Use that space to ask me any questions. How can a discipline, central to science... Error Statistics -


The Imagination in German Idealism and Romanticism 2019.10.08 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews Gerad Gentry and Konstantin Pollok (eds.), The Imagination in German Idealism and Romanticism, Cambridge University Press, 2019, 267pp., $99.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781107197701. Reviewed by Richard Eldridge, Swarthmore College This collection of essays is devoted to the interpretation of work on the imagination done by Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Herder, Schleiermacher, and Schlegel. It divides fairly naturally into two parts: i) close readings of Kant, Fichte,... Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews -


Louis de La Forge [Revised entry by Andrea Sangiacomo and Desmond Clarke on October 15, 2019. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography] Louis de la Forge was among the first group of self-styled disciples to edit and disseminate the writings of Descartes in the years immediately following his death in Sweden (1650). La Forge initially used his medical training to comment on Cartesian physiology. He also wrote the first monograph on Descartes' theory of the human mind, in which he... Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy -


Oligonism Monism holds there is only one (or at least one fundamental) thing in reality: the universe. Pluralism, as normally taken, holds there are many. An underexplored metaphysical view is oligonism: the view that there are (at least fundamentally) only a handful of objects in reality, but more than one. One way to get oligonism is to take the universe of monism and add God while holding that God is not derivative from the universe. But... Alexander Pruss -


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In the WSJ, Stephen Miller on ‘Fuzzy-Profound’ Words. Contemporary intellectual life, Saul Bellow implies in “Herzog” (1964), is filled with fuzzy-profound terms. Herzog writes to Martin Heidegger: “I should like to know what you mean by the expression ‘the fall into the quotidian.’ When did this fall occur? Where were we standing when it happened?” Enowning -


Assessing the Moral Status of Robots: A Shorter Defence of Ethical Behaviourism [This is the text of a lecture that I delivered at Tilburg University on the 24th of September 2019. It was delivered as part of the 25th Anniversary celebrations for TILT (Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society). My friend and colleague Sven Nyholm was the discussant for the evening. The lecture is based on my longer academic article ‘Welcoming Robots into the Moral Circle: A Defence of Ethical Behaviourism’ but was written from scratch... Philosophical Disquisitions -


How Do I Figure Out What To Think? (guest post by Martin Lenz) “Picking a side helps you to play the game. But it doesn’t help you in figuring out what you should think. In other words, in order to work out what to think, you don’t have to pick a side at all.” In the following guest post*, Martin Lenz, professor of philosophy at the University of Groningen, takes up the question of how, if at all, one should go about determining which positions to take on philosophical... Daily Nous -


Mini-Heap The latest links from the Heap… “People who we thought had high self-control to achieve great life outcomes instead are really good at forming the right habits. They seem to understand the influence of situations and choose ones in which it’s easier to repeat desired actions.” — Wendy Wood (USC) on habits Why worry about AI? — Evan Selinger (RIT) surveys the array of reasons Attention may seem like the brain casting a “spotlight”, but it is... Daily Nous -


Agent-Regret, Authorship, and Agency (a contribution by Jake Wojtowicz for A&R October) [Another entry in our Agency and Responsibility October series, by Jake Wojtowicz. Take it away, Jake!] A fly fisherman fights a feisty rainbow trout on the Madison River in Montana. “The mature agent… will recognize his relation to his acts in their undeliberated, and also in their unforeseen and unintended aspects. He recognizes that his identity as an agent is constituted by more than his deliberative self.” (Williams 1995, 32) Bernard Williams clearly thought that... PEA Soup -