Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

The Philosophical Quarterly: Vol. 65, No. 260, July 2015

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

The Philosophical Quarterly: Vol. 65, No. 260, July 2015

Article excerpt

The Significance of Unpossessed Evidence, NATHAN BALLANTYNE

By reflecting on evidence we do not have, we gain insight into the epistemic status of beliefs concerning difficult and disputed matters. The arguments offer a novel kind of skeptical challenge, because awareness of unpossessed evidence sometimes undermines rational belief.

On a Sufficient Condition for Hyperintensionality, VERA HOFFMANN-KOLSS

Let an X/Y distinction be a distinction between kinds of properties, such as the distinctions between qualitative and nonqualitative, intrinsic and extrinsic, perfectly natural and less-than-perfectly natural, or dispositional and categorical properties. An X/Y distinction is hyperintensional if and only if there are cointensional properties P and Q, such that P is an X-property, whereas Q is a Y-property. Many accounts of metaphysical distinctions among properties presuppose that such distinctions are nonhyperintensional. This paper calls this presupposition into question. It develops a sufficient condition for the hyperintensionality of X/Y distinctions and argue that this condition is satisfied by a number of standard classifications of properties. It follows that nonhyperintensional analyses of distinctions among properties are harder to defend than is often assumed.


Presentists, who believe that only present objects exist, face a problem concerning truths about the past. Presentists should (but cannot) locate truth-makers for truths about the past. What can presentists say in response? We identify two rival factions "upstanding" and "nefarious" presentists. Upstanding presentists aim to meet the challenge, positing presently existing truth-makers for truths about the past; nefarious presentists aim to shirk their responsibilities, using the language of truth-maker theory but without paying any ontological price. We argue that presentists should be nefarious presentists.

Powers Opposed and Intrinsic Finks, SIMON KITTLE

Philosophers disagree over whether dispositions can be intrinsically finked or masked. Choi suggests that there are no clear, relevant differences between cases where intrinsic finks would be absurd and those where they seem plausible, and as a result rejects them wholesale. Here, the author highlights two features of dispositional properties which, when considered together, provide a plausible explanation for when dispositions can be subject to intrinsic finks and when not.

Dispositions and Ergativity, JOHN MAIER

Attempts to give necessary and sufficient conditions for demarcating dispositional predicates (such as "is fragile") from other predicates are generally acknowledged to fail. This leaves unresolved the question of what it is about paradigm instances of dispositional predicates in virtue of which their application to an object constitutes a disposition ascription. This essay proposes that dispositional predicates are generally derived from ergative verbs, those verbs that allow for certain entailments from transitive to intransitive forms (as "Sam broke the glass" entails "The glass broke"). The connection between disposition ascriptions and ergativity is shown to have consequences for the metaphysics of dispositions.

Blind rule-following and the 'Antinomy of Pure Reason', ALEXANDER MILLER

Saul Kripke identifies the rule-following problem as finding an answer to the question: What makes it the case that a speaker means one thing rather than another by a linguistic expression? In a series of important papers in the 1980s and 1990s, Crispin Wright and Paul Boghossian argued that this problem could be neutralized via the adoption of a form of non-reductionism about content. In recent work on blind rule-following, however, both now argue that even if a nonreductionist view can be defended in such a way as to neutralize the challenge posed by Kripke's Wittgenstein, a more fundamental problem about rule-following remains unsolved. …

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