Full text Read free See used
Allori, Valia, , . Primitive Ontology in a Nutshell
2015, International Journal of Quantum Foundations 1(2):107-122
Expand entry
Added by: Sara Peppe, Contributed by:

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to summarize a particular approach of doing metaphysics through physics – the primitive ontology approach. The idea is that any fundamental physical theory has a well-defined architecture, to the foundation of which there is the primitive ontology, which represents matter. According to the framework provided by this approach when applied to quantum mechanics, the wave function is not suitable to represent matter. Rather, the wave function has a nomological character, given that its role in the theory is to implement the law of evolution for the primitive ontology.

Comment: This article works well as a secondary reading since it refers to specific theories of physics. Previous knowledge on the cornerstones of philosophy of physics is needed.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Chang, Hasok, , . How to Take Realism Beyond Foot-Stamping
2001, Philosophy 76(1): 5-30.
Expand entry
Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Abstract: I propose a reformulation of realism, as the pursuit of ontological plausibility in our systems of knowledge. This is dubbed plausibility realism, for convenience of reference. Plausibility realism is non-empiricist, in the sense that it uses ontological plausibility as an independent criterion from empirical adequacy in evaluating systems of knowledge. Ontological plausibility is conceived as a precondition for intelligibility, nor for Truth; therefore, the function of plausibilty realism is to facilitate the kind of understanding that is not reducible to mere description or prediction. Difficulties in making objective judgements of ontological plausibility can be ameliorated if we adhere to the most basic ontological principles. The workings of plausibility realism are illustrated through a detailed discussion of how one ontological principle, which I call the principle of single value, can be employed with great effect. Throughout the paper the discussion draws on concrete examples from the history of science.

Comment: Captures an intuitive appeal of realism, and could be used to illustrate how to avoid implausible philosophical conclusions. Could be used in an introductory metaphysics course.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Imafidon, Elvis, , . Exploring African Philosophy of Difference
2020, In: Imafidon, E. (ed.) Handbook of African Philosophy of Difference. Cham: Springer, 15-30
Expand entry
Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Björn Freter

Abstract: It is the tradition of philosophy as a rational and critical human activity across borders to isolate specific human ideas both as syntax and as real and lived human experiences, bring them to the foreground, and make them occupy a crucial and specialized place in philosophical discourse. This is apparent in the many delimited branches of philosophy such as metaphysics – an inquiry into the fundamental principles underlying reality; epistemology – an inquiry concerning the nature, scope, and theories of human knowledge; axiology – an inquiry into the theories of human values; and philosophy of science – a critical examination of the nature, methods, and assumptions of science. African philosophy has thrived and flourished in the last six decades beginning as a reactionary scholarship to prior denial of the possibility of its existence, to becoming an established academic discipline. However, African philosophy although succeeding in establishing its general nature, themes, and problems, is still at the elementary stage of discussing specifics and delimiting its areas of inquiry into specialized fragments. Thus, beyond the general commentaries on African philosophy in existing literature, it is only recently that we find a few scholars writing and laying the groundwork on specialized themes in African philosophy such as African ethics, African epistemology, and African ontology. My goal in this chapter is to bring one essential human experience to the foreground in African philosophy as a specialized area of inquiry. The human experience that interests me here is the ubiquitous concept of difference and the peculiarities of its experience by Africans in Africa and beyond. My intention is to attempt a preliminary sketch of the meaning, nature, scope, and primary tasks of African philosophy of difference. I show, for instance, how African philosophy of difference can shift the discourse of difference from empirical manifestations of difference to an exploration of the theories that stands under such manifestations. I conclude that African philosophy of difference is crucial in understanding and dealing with the complex issues of identity, difference, and the other experienced in Africa in areas such as albinism, xenophobia, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, and politics. The possibility of such an inquiry also indicates the prospect of delimiting African philosophy to more specialized spheres of discourse.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Lewis, David, , Stephanie Lewis. Holes
1970,
Expand entry
Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by:

Abstract: Argle. I believe in nothing but concrete material objects. Bargle. There are many of your opinions I applaud; but one of your less pleasing characteristics is your fondness for the doctrines of nominalism and materialism. Every time you get started on any such topic, I know we are in for a long argument. Where shall we start this time: numbers, colors, lengths, sets, force-fields, sensations, or what? Argle. Fictions alll I’ve thought hard about every one of them. Bargle. A long evening’s work. Before we start, let me find you a snack. Will you have some crackers and cheese? Argle. Thank you. What spendid Gruyrrel Bargle. You know, there are remarkably many holes in this piece. Argle. There are. Bargle. Got you!

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Megan Wallace, , . Composition as Identity
2011, Philosophy Compass 6 (11): 804–827
Expand entry
Added by: Björn Freter, Contributed by: Eric de Araujo

Abstract: Many of us think that ordinary objects – such as tables and chairs – exist. We also think that ordinary objects have parts: my chair has a seat and some legs as parts, for example. But once we are committed to the thesis that ordinary objects are composed of parts, we then open ourselves up to a whole host of philosophical problems, most of which center on what exactly the composition relation is. Composition as Identity is the view that the composition relation is the identity relation. While such a view has some advantages, there are many arguments against it. In this essay, I will briefly canvass three different varieties of Composition as Identity, and suggest why one of them should be preferred over the others. Then I will outline several versions of the most common objection against CI. I will suggest how a CI theorist can respond to these charges by maintaining that some of the arguments are invalid.

Comment: This introduction (in two articles) to the Composition as Identity debate can either stand alone among a collection of topics in metaphysics, or as an entry into more readings. It presents a range of Composition as Identity positions and helpfully organizes objections to the view.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Ney, Alyssa, , . Reductionism
2008, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Expand entry
Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by:

Introduction: Reductionists are those who take one theory or phenomenon to be reducible to some other theory or phenomenon. For example, a reductionist regarding mathematics might take any given mathematical theory to be reducible to logic or set theory. Or, a reductionist about biological entities like cells might take such entities to be reducible to collections of physico-chemical entities like atoms and molecules. The type of reductionism that is currently of most interest in metaphysics and philosophy of mind involves the claim that all sciences are reducible to physics. This is usually taken to entail that all phenomena (including mental phenomena like consciousness) are identical to physical phenomena. The bulk of this article will discuss this latter understanding of reductionism.

Comment: An excellent overview of reductionism, its history, and different ways to interpret it. Clear and accessible, and useful for an intermediate metaphysics course – perhaps after having studied an applied case of reductionism – e.g. about modality. Then, students will be able to have this in mind when considering different senses of reduction. Could then be a useful gateway into metaphysics of mind. Alternatively, this article could be used near the start of a philosophy of mind course.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Ritchie, Katherine, , . What are groups?
2013, Philosophical Studies 166(2): 257-272.
Expand entry
Added by: Lukas Schwengerer, Contributed by:

Abstract: In this paper I argue for a view of groups, things like teams, committees, clubs and courts. I begin by examining features all groups seem to share. I formulate a list of six features of groups that serve as criteria any adequate theory of groups must capture. Next, I examine four of the most prominent views of groups currently on offer – that groups are non-singular pluralities, fusions, aggregates and sets. I argue that each fails to capture one or more of the criteria. Last, I develop a view of groups as realizations of structures. The view has two components. First, groups are entities with structure. Second, since groups are concreta, they exist only when a group structure is realized. A structure is realized when each of its functionally defined nodes or places are occupied. I show how such a view captures the six criteria for groups, which no other view of groups adequately does, while offering a substantive answer to the question, ‘What are groups?’

Comment: The paper is ideal as an introduction to the ontology of groups and a good example for social metaphysics in general. It includes an easy to follow discussion of difference features of groups and accounts that aim to capture these features. The paper is especially well suited as part of an introductory metaphysics courses, but can also work as an introductory text in a course on social metaphysics.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Steward, Helen, , . The Ontology of Mind: Events, Processes, and States
2000, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Expand entry
Added by: Jie Gao, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: This book puts forward a radical critique of the foundations of contemporary philosophy of mind, arguing that it relies too heavily on insecure assumptions about the nature of some of the sorts of mental entities it postulates: the nature of events, processes, and states. The book offers an investigation of these three categories, clarifying the distinction between them, and argues specifically that the assumption that states can be treated as particular, event-like entities has been a huge and serious mistake. The book argues that the category of token state should be rejected, and develops an alternative way of understanding those varieties of causal explanation which have sometimes been thought to require an ontology of token states for their elucidation. The book contends that many current theories of mind are rendered unintelligible once it is seen how these explanations really work. A number of prominent features of contemporary philosophy of mind token identity theories, the functionalists conception of causal role, a common form of argument for eliminative materialism, and the structure of the debate about the efficacy of mental content are impugned by the book’s arguments. The book concludes that the modern mind-body problem needs to be substantially rethought.

Comment: The aim of this book is to argue that issues in metaphysics – in particular issues about the nature of states and causation – have a significant impact in philosophy of mind.The book has three parts and each part can be used for different purposes for courses on metaphysics or philosophy of mind. The first part constitutes an attack to three highly influential theories of events (the views of Jaegwon Kim, Jonathan Bennett and Lawrence Lombard) and a defence of the view that events are “proper particulars”. This part can be used as the main or secondary reading material in an upper-level course on metaphysics on topics of events. The second part defends the view that states are fundamentally different from events, which can be used for teaching on metaphysical theories of states or causal relation. The third part critically examines positions in philosophy of mind – in particular arguments for token-identity, epiphenomenalism, and eliminativism – need reconsideration. This part can be used as further reading materials on debates about those positions in philosophy of mind.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Thomasson, Amie, , . Answerable and Unanswerable Questions
2009, In MetaMetaphysics, eds. David Chalmers, Ryan Wasserman, and David Manley. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 444-471.
Expand entry
Added by: Jamie Collin, Contributed by:

Summary: Thomasson argues that merely verbal disputes arise in metaphysics when ontologists misuse the words ‘thing’ and ‘object’. Application conditions fix the conditions under which a claim can be applied or refused, but some ontological disputes involve using the terms ‘thing’ and ‘object’ in such a way that they lack application conditions. When this happens there is no way to determine the truth values of the claims being made.

Comment: This would be useful in a course on metaphysics, ontology or metametaphysics. It gives an interesting and plausible articulation of the idea that some metaphysical disputes are illegitimate in some sense (an intution that some students share). This isn’t an easy paper, but it is clearly written and suitable for advanced undergraduates or graduates.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Thomasson, Amie, , . Ontology Made Easy
2015, OUP USA.
Expand entry
Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Abstract: Existence questions have been topics for heated debates in metaphysics, but this book argues that they can often be answered easily, by trivial inferences from uncontroversial premises. This ‘easy’ approach to ontology leads to realism about disputed entities, and to the view that metaphysical disputes about existence questions are misguided.

Comment: An interesting presentation of a way to avoid ontological disputes. Would work well as a conclusion to a course or section on ontology, to show students there might be a way to simply avoid these debates if desired.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options