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Abstract: Just as we may ask whether, and under what conditions, a collection of objects composes a single object, we may ask whether, and under what conditions, a collection of actions composes a single action. In the material objects literature, this question is known as the "special composition question," and I take it that there is a similar question to be asked of collections of actions. I will call that question the "special composition question in action," and argue that the correct answer to this question depends on a particular kind of consequence produced by the individual constituent actions
Abstract: Few philosophers today know much about Charles Peirce’s metaphysics, although a great many know something about his epistemology, philosophy of science, and logic. Indeed, few Peirce experts have written much on his metaphysics or made it the focus of their research. To an extent, this is understandable. Peirce’s writings were left in a disastrously disorganized state (mostly unpublished), and the crucial papers on metaphysics from his later years have not yet been republished in the first-rate chronological edition, the incomplete Writings of Charles S. Peirce: A Chronological Edition , edited at Indianapolis by my friends. And then there is Peirce’s writing: an awkward, abrasive, arrogant, eclectic style that demands technical knowledge in diverse fields, especially logic, mathematics, and the natural sciences. His worst personality traits manifested themselves in his highly technical metaphysics—with its idiosyncratic, anti-Cantorian conception of continua, a pecularly mathematical phenomenology, and elaborate views on Darwinian and non-Darwinian evolution, for example. Finally, there is what might appear to be the bizarreness of the theory itself, as we shall see. Peirce was a kind of philosophical swashbuckler, a bold, courageous speculator on philosophical questions beyond most of our temperaments even to ponder. Ours is not the philosophical age of Errol Flynn but the minimalist age of Harrison Ford, with no grand gestures or speeches, just a series of small, no-nonsense gestures: we typically like our philosophy short, neat, "science-like," and isolated from other philosophical issues
Abstract: It is becoming increasingly clear that the deepest problems currently exercising philosophers of mind arise from an ill-begotten ontology, in particular, a mistaken ontology of properties. After going through some preliminaries, we identify three doctrines at the heart of this mistaken ontology: (P) For each distinct predicate, “F”, there exists one, and only one, property, F, such that, if “F” is applicable to an object a, then “F” is applicable in virtue of a’s being F. (U) Properties are universals, not particulars. (D) Every property is either categorical or dispositional, but not both. We show how these doctrines influence current philosophical thinking about the mind, suggest and defend an alternative conception of properties, and indicate how this conception provides answers to two puzzles besetting contemporary philosophy of mind: the problem of mental causation and the problem of qualia.
Abstract: The question of how a physical system gives rise to the phenomenal or experiential (olfactory, visual, somatosensitive, gestatory and auditory), is considered the most intractable of scientific and philosophical puzzles. Though this question has dominated the philosophy of mind over the last quarter century, it articulates a version of the age-old mind-body problem. The most famous response, Cartesian dualism, is on Daniel Dennett’s view still a corrosively residual and redundant feature of popular (and academic) thinking on these matters. Fifteen years on from his anti-Cartesian theory of consciousness (Consciousness Explained, 1991), Dennett’s frustration with this tradition is still palpable. This frustration is primarily aimed at philosophers
Abstract: Lucas and Redhead () announce that they will defend the views of Redhead () against the argument by Panu Raatikainen (). They certainly re-state the main claims of Redhead (), but they do not give any real arguments in their favour, and do not provide anything that would save Redhead’s argument from the serious problems pointed out in (Raatikainen ). Instead, Lucas and Redhead make a number of seemingly irrelevant points, perhaps indicating a failure to understand the logico-mathematical points at issue
Abstract: This paper proposes a causal-dispositional account of rule-following as it occurs in reasoning and intentional agency. It defends this view against Kripke’s (1982) objection to dispositional accounts of rule-following, and it proposes a solution to the problem of deviant causal chains. In the first part, I will outline the causal-dispositional approach. In the second part, I will follow Martin and Heil’s (1998) realist response to Kripke’s challenge. I will propose an account that distinguishes between two kinds of rule-conformity and two kinds of rule-following, and I will defend the realist approach against two challenges that have recently been raised by Handfield and Bird (2008). In the third part, I will turn to the problem of deviant causal chains, and I will propose a new solution that is partly based on the realist account of rule-following.