Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Ratio: Vol. 28, No. 1, March 2015

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

Ratio: Vol. 28, No. 1, March 2015

Article excerpt

Does Conceivability Entail Metaphysical Possibility? MOTI MIZRAHI and DAVID R. MORROW

In this paper, it is argued that Weak Modal Rationalism, which is the view that ideal primary positive conceivability entails primary metaphysical possibility, is self-defeating. To this end, the paper outlines two reductio arguments against Weak Modal Rationalism. The first reductio shows that, from supposing that Weak Modal Rationalism is true, it follows that conceivability both is and is not conclusive evidence for possibility. The second reductio shows that, from supposing that Weak Modal Rationalism is true, it follows that it is possible that Weak Modal Rationalism is necessarily false, and hence that Weak Modal Rationalism is false. It is then argued that adopting a weaker position, according to which conceivability is merely prima facie evidence for possibility, provides limited protection from our criticism of conceivability arguments.

From Four- to Five-Dimensionalism, ANDREW GRAHAM

Philosophers have long noticed the similarity of identity over time and identity across worlds. Despite this similarity, analogous views on these matters are not always taken equally seriously. Four-dimensionalism is one of the most well-known accounts of identity over time. There is a clear modal analogue of four-dimensionalism, on which objects are modally extended and their transworld identity is a matter of having distinct modal parts located in different possible worlds. Yet this view, which we might call five-dimensionalism, is rarely discussed or defended, in comparison to its temporal counterpart. This paper argues that five-dimensionalism is at least as plausible as four-dimensionalism and deserves serious consideration as an account of transworld identity. The strategy is to show that arguments typically used in defense of four-dimensionalism can be adapted to defend five-dimensionalism as well. A powerful consideration in favor of four-dimensionalism is the fact that it provides an elegant and unified solution to a variety of puzzles concerning material coincidence. This paper shows that such puzzles come in equally troubling modal varieties and that five-dimensionalism provides an equally unified and elegant solution to them.

Vague Objects with Sharp Boundaries, JIRI BENOVSKY

This article considers two seemingly contradictory claims: first, the claim that everybody who thinks that there are ordinary objects has to accept that they are vague; and second, the claim that everybody has to accept the existence of sharp boundaries to ordinary objects. The purpose of this article is of course not to defend a contradiction. Indeed, there is no contradiction because the two claims do not concern the same "everybody." The first claim, that all ordinary objects are vague, is a claim that stems both from commonsense intuitions as well as from various types of ontologies of ordinary objects. This puts the pressure on theories of vagueness to account for the vague nature of ordinary objects--but, as will be shown, all theories of vagueness have to accept the existence of sharp thresholds. This is obvious in the case of epistemicism, and it is a well-known defect of supervaluationism; but, as will be shown, friends of metaphysical vagueness do have to endorse the existence of sharp thresholds in their theory as well. Consequently, there are reasons for dissatisfaction with these accounts, since they do not seem to be able to do the job they were asked to do.

Levels of Selection Are Artefacts of Different Fitness Temporal Measures, PIERRICK BOURRAT

This paper argues against the claim, recently put forward by some philosophers of biology and evolutionary biologists, that there can be two or more ontologically distinct levels of selection. By comparing the fitness of individuals with that of collectives of individuals in the same environment and over the same period of time--as required to decide if one or more levels of selection is acting in a population--the paper shows that the selection of collectives is a by-product of selection at the individual level. …

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