Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

The Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 112, No. 8, August 2015

Academic journal article The Review of Metaphysics

The Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 112, No. 8, August 2015

Article excerpt

"Atoms Exist" Is Probably True, and Other Facts That Should Not Comfort Scientific Realists, P. KYLE STANFORD

Critics who use historical evidence to challenge scientific realism have deployed a perfectly natural argumentative strategy that has created a profoundly misguided conception of what would be required to vindicate that challenge. This paper argues that the question fundamentally in dispute in such debates is neither whether particular terms in contemporary scientific theories will be treated as referential nor whether particular existential commitments will be held true by future scientific communities, but whether the future of science will exhibit the same broad pattern of repeated, profound, and unpredictable changes in theoretical orthodoxy that such historicist critics argue characterizes its past.

Actualist Counterpart Theory, JENNIFER WANG

Actualist counterpart theory replaces David Lewis's concrete possible worlds and individuals with ersatz worlds and individuals, but retains counterpart theory about de re modality. While intuitively attractive, this view has been rejected for two main reasons: (i) the problem of indiscernibles and (ii) the Humphrey objection. This paper argues that in insisting that ersatz individuals play the same role as Lewisian individuals, actualists commit the particularist fallacy. The actualist should not (as commonly believed) require stand-ins for every Lewisian individual. Ersatz individuals should instead be construed as representations of actually existing qualitative ways for individuals to be, or qualitative properties individuals can instantiate. …

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