Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV, 1979) - Metaphysics
French (Peter), Uehling (Theodore) & Wettstein (Howard)
This Page provides (where held) the Abstract of the above Book and those of all the Papers contained in it.
Colour-ConventionsDisclaimerBooks / Papers Citing this Book

BOOK ABSTRACT: None.



"Achinstein (Peter) - The Causal Relation"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics



"Baier (Annette) - Mind and Change of Mind"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics



"Burge (Tyler) - Individualism and the Mental"

Source: Rosenthal - The Nature of Mind


Abstract1
  • This paper is regularly cited as extending Putnam's twin earth critique of Fregean theories of reference to the social realm.
  • Just as Putnam argues that traditional meaning theory leaves out the contribution of the physical world, Burge has been taken as arguing that traditional meaning theories have left out the contribution of the social world; the linguistic community plays a role in determining the objective content of thoughts ascribed in the language of that community.
  • Burge's interpretation of his thought experiment2 is controversial, but the influence of this paper has been profound.


COMMENT:




In-Page Footnotes ("Burge (Tyler) - Individualism and the Mental")

Footnote 1: Taken from "Harnish (Robert M.) - Basic Topics in the Philosophy of Language: Introduction".



"Cartwright (Richard) - Indiscernibility Principles"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics



"Chisholm (Roderick) - On the Logic of Purpose"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics



"Earman (John) - Was Leibniz a Relationist?"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics



"Grandy (Richard) - Universals or Family Resemblance"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics



"Hacker (P.M.S.) - Substance: The Constitution of Reality"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics



"Ishiguro (Hide) - Contingent Truths and Possible Worlds"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics



"Kim (Jaegwon) - Causality, Identity and Supervenience in the Mind-Body Problem"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics


Philosophers Index Abstract
    The concept of "supervenience1" is used to resolve three problems about causal relations involving mental events. These problems are:-

    (1) the problem of pre-emption,
    (2) the problem of spurious overdetermination, and
    (3) the problem of spurious partial cause.

    The relation of supervenience2 between families of properties or events is explained, and causal connections among supervenient events are explained in terms of the causal connections between the events on which they supervene3. The thesis that mental events are supervenient upon physical events is formulated, and defended, in part on the model of the global supervenience4 of macro-properties and processes on their micro-counterparts. Similarities and differences between the supervenience5 thesis concerning the mental and classical epiphenomenalism are noted and discussed.



"Lombard (Lawrence B.) - The Extensionality of Causal Contexts: Comments on Rosenberg and Martin"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics


Philosophers Index Abstract
    In this paper, I reply to the suggestion, made by rosenberg and martin, in "the extensionality of causal contexts" ("midwest studies in philosophy", volume 4, 1979), that causal contexts are extensional because they fail to be "mind dependent." I argue that explanatory contexts, though non-extensional, are not mind dependent. I then urge that what makes explanatory contexts non-extensional and causal ones extensional has to do with the fact that the former are about facts (or other propositional entities) whereas the latter are about events.



"Mackie (J.L.) - Mind, Brain and Causation"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics



"Mendelsohn (Richard) - Rigid Designation and Informative Identity Sentences"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics



"Peacocke (Christopher) - Deviant Causal Chains"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics



"Putnam (Hilary) - Analyticity and Aprioricity: Beyond Wittgenstein and Quine"

Source: Putnam - Philosophical Papers 3 - Realism and Reason

COMMENT: Also in "French (Peter), Uehling (Theodore) & Wettstein (Howard) - Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV, 1979) - Metaphysics"



"Rosenberg (Alexander) & Martin (Robert) - The Extensionality of Causal Contexts"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics


Philosophers Index Abstract
    It is argued that the principle motive for offering an extensional account of the sentences which report causal relations is the supposition that such sentences report happenings whose occurrence is not dependent on our knowing of or describing them, i.E., Occurrences which are not "mind-dependent." The thesis, so motivated, is then argued for by the perusal of examples and the construction of a new criterion of extensionality, which is satisfied by causal statements, but not by, for example, modal1 or doxastic reports.



"Shoemaker (Sydney) - Identity, Properties, and Causality"

Source: Shoemaker - Identity, Cause and Mind

COMMENT:



"Slote (Michael) - Causality and the Concept of a 'Thing'"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics


Philosophers Index Abstract
    To answer the question what sort of causality1 is involved in the existence of physical "things," we do well to consider the relation between a physical thing and its parts. It is argued that parthood in a physical thing logically requires a very special element of causality2, and this conclusion is used, in addition, to give a causal definition of the notion of a physical thing.



"Stalnaker (Robert) - Anti-Essentialism"

Source: Stalnaker - Ways a World Might Be, Chapter 4


Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. The bare particular anti-essentialism theory holds that for every individual and every property, there are possible worlds in which the individual has the property and possible worlds in which it does not.
  2. It is argued that one cannot make semantical sense out of bare particular anti-essentialism within the framework of the standard semantics for modal logic1.
  3. An alternative to the standard semantics is proposed that can make sense out of the bare particular theory.
  4. The alternative will not require that the anti-essentialism doctrine be true, but that doctrine will be embodied in a simple formal condition which is naturally imposed on the models definable within the alternative semantics.


COMMENT:



"Strawson (Peter) - Universals"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics


Philosophers Index Abstract
    The issue between nominalists and realists is unlikely ever to be rationally resolved. Currently favoured tests, leaning on the notions of reference and identity, do not yield a clear-cut way of resolving the issue. There is no neutral vantage-point from which to determine whether the notion of existence should be restricted to what is found in nature or should be extended to include objects of thought exemplifiable but not locatable in nature. The existence of universals1 (general properties or kinds) is disputed because of fears of myth-making, and argued against on the grounds that they are dispensable as objects of reference and that they lack general principles of identity. Ripostes: they are unavoidable as objects of thought, and each, as essence, is its own individual principle of identity. The fundamental ground of the continuing dispute is the strong human disposition to believe that to exist at all is to exist as an object in time in the natural world; whereas universals2 are abstract objects of thought, exemplified in the natural world and related inter se by conceptual necessities.



"Stroll (Avrum) - Two Conceptions of Surfaces"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics

COMMENT: Also in "Hales (Steven D.), Ed. - Metaphysics: Contemporary Readings".



"Unger (Peter) - Why There Are No People"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics


Author’s Introduction
  • I magine, if you will, a somewhat uncommonly shaped object, one whose shape is not very irregular or bizarre, perhaps, but which is at least sufficiently so that we have no common name or expression for an object with a shape of that sort. Following this instruction, then, you have not imagined a pyramid, or cylindrical object, for those are readily spoken of in available terms. I shall call your imagined object a nacknick, which term you are to apply also to such various other objects as you deem suitably similar in shape to the first. In this way, we have invented a new word together: I have given you the form of the inscription, ‘nacknick’, and some instructions which help to delimit the meaning. But only you have enough of an idea of the word to put it to much use. That is because, according to this little story, you have not revealed your imagined shape to me, or done much else to give me a useful idea of it.
  • Let us change the story a bit. In this version, you do not first imagine any object. Rather, I now actually place before you an object of the sort which, we have supposed, you imagined in the first version. Pointing to this uncommonly shaped thing, I then say to you, “This object is a nacknick, as are various others that are suitably similar in shape to it.” To be emphatic and explicit, in both versions I may go on to add these following words to my instructions: “Don’t think that an object must be exactly the same as this one in shape to be a nacknick. Rather, while such exact sameness is amply sufficient, any object that differs in shape from a nacknick only minutely will also be a nacknick. There is, then, no particular limit on shapes for nacknicks. At the same time, however, many objects will differ from nacknicks, as regards their shape, substantially and significantly, and these will not be nacknicks. These remarks apply, of course, not only to actual objects, which might be found in reality, but also to such merely possible objects as might be only imagined.” I do not think that, in adding these explicit instructions, I would be changing the learning situation in any substantial way. Rather, I would only be making explicit what would otherwise be learned implicitly. Except for this rather minor matter, and the fact that we set out intentionally to invent a new expression, the word you have just come to understand is of a piece with much that you learned at your mother’s knee. The newness and the explicit character of this experience with ‘nacknick’, however, let us reflect productively on what logical features are common to both the invented terms and the expressions learned in childhood.

Sections
  1. The argument from invented expressions
  2. An account of some common vague expressions
  3. The idea of incomplete expressions
  4. Vagueness and groundless inconsistency
  5. Paradigms in perspective
  6. Sorites1 arguments, counterfactual reasoning, and obscure dimensions
  7. The inconsistency of ‘person’
  8. The inability of paradox to nullify this account
  9. A reexamination of our argument from invented expressions
  10. Some outstanding problems posed by this account and its relation to them
    1. The Problem of Explanation
    2. The Problem of Scope and Comparison
    3. The Problem of Replacement


COMMENT: See Link.



"Wiggins (David) - The Concern to Survive"

Source: Wiggins (David) - Needs, Values, Truth


Author’s Introduction (Sections 1-3)
    The conviction which every man has of his identity, as far back as his memory reaches, needs no aid of philosophy to strengthen it; and no philosophy can weaken it, without first producing some degree of insanity.
    Thomas Reid
  1. Under the influence of well-known thought experiments modern inheritors1 of John Locke's conception of personhood have recently been led to draw a distinction between questions of the identity of a person and questions about survival.
    • 'Certain important questions [about such matters as survival, memory, and responsibility] do presuppose a question about personal identity. But they can be freed of this presupposition. And when they are, the question about identity has no Importance2'.
    • 'We can, I think, describe cases in which, though we know how to answer every other question, we have no idea how to answer a question about personal identity. . . . Do they present a problem? It might be thought that they do not, because they could never occur. I suspect that some of them could. . . . But I shall claim that even if they did they would present no problem3'.
    • In another place4 I have attempted some reassessment of the thought experiments involving the supposed fission and fusion of persons that prompted Derek Parfit to draw these strange and disturbing conclusions. I have even suspected sometimes that Parfit's conception of the identity relation rests on a rejection of the idea, which to me at least seems overwhelmingly plausible5, that the predicate 'is the same as' is as primitive and irreducible6 as any other predicate that one can think of. But the present question is neither the status of thought experiments involving the putative division of persons, nor the nature of identity (whether, as Parfit puts it, identity can be 'a further fact' of some matter7). It is the separability that Parfit alleges of questions of survival from questions of identity — and not even the whole of that issue.
    • What it is necessary to discuss is the alleged separability of two concerns — the separability, for instance, of a man's 31st December 1978 concern to survive until 31st December 1980 at least and the concern that such a man has on 31st December 1978 that, at every moment between then and 31st December 1980 at least, there should exist something identical with him. I concede that, even as regards survival, this separability or inseparability is only one small part of what needs to be discussed; but nobody can judge the separability question irrelevant who undertakes, as Parfit did8, to reach out to our actual concern with death or to distinguish in theory between a legitimate apprehension that lurks in fear of death and something supposedly less rational therein, having to do with identity.
    • The criticisms I offer will be made from the general position of one who holds that, although experiential memory is one component in an inner nucleus of conceptual constituents of what it is for a person to continue to exist (to persist), there is no non-trivial necessary or sufficient condition of identity through time that we can formulate in terms of experiential memory. Insofar as there is some general disagreement here, it is about the importance of identity in the philosophy of persons and the relation between identity and mental connectedness, not about whether any importance attaches to mental connectedness. The disagreement is a disagreement within the wider class of friends of mental connectedness who see something to applaud in Locke's definition of a person as 'a thinking intelligent being that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing in different times and places9' however much they differ over other things.
  2. I have rehearsed these points only in order to set the general scene for the dispute. What I want to argue now is much more briefly stated. Suppose I express the fervent and enduring wish to survive until 1980 at least. Then, so far from its being possible (as a pure mental connectedness account of survival would hold that it was possible) to separate my concern that there should exist something identical with me at every moment between now and 1980 from my concern that my mental life should flow on under the cognitive and affective influence of my present memories, beliefs, and character (even as these themselves evolve between now and 1980), absolutely any adequate description of the second concern will have to presuppose the validity and importance of the first one. This presupposition between the two concerns arises from something central to the phenomenology of these matters — something whose elimination or modification cannot be relied upon to leave undisturbed the desire itself to survive into the future. This last desire is not, I claim, a thing that we can treat as a brute datum. It comes with thoughts and conceptions that require philosophical attention and description: and some of these thoughts and conceptions have a content that involves identity inextricably.


COMMENT:




In-Page Footnotes ("Wiggins (David) - The Concern to Survive")

Footnote 1: Footnote 2: Footnote 3: Footnote 4: Footnote 5: Footnote 7:
  • I doubt that we really know what it is to describe a case for which we know how to answer every question, or every question except one. Certainly no such case ever presents itself in concrete reality.
Footnote 8: Footnote 9:



"Wilson (George) - Cheap Materialism"

Source: Midwest Studies in Philosophy (Vol IV) - Metaphysics



Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



© Theo Todman, June 2007 - August 2019. Please address any comments on this page to theo@theotodman.com. File output:
Website Maintenance Dashboard
Return to Top of this Page Return to Theo Todman's Philosophy Page Return to Theo Todman's Home Page