Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Barry Smith, Alexander Bird and Keith DeRose

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105 ideas

1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 1. Aims of Science
Instrumentalists say distinctions between observation and theory vanish with ostensive definition [Bird]
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 2. Truthmaker Relation
Maybe truth-making is an unanalysable primitive, but we can specify principles for it [Smith,B]
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 4. Truthmaker Necessitarianism
God might necessitate that something happen, but He is not the truth-maker for it [Smith,B]
4. Formal Logic / D. Modal Logic ML / 7. Barcan Formula
The plausible Barcan formula implies modality in the actual world [Bird]
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 6. Criterion for Existence
If all existents are causally active, that excludes abstracta and causally isolated objects [Bird]
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 5. Supervenience / c. Significance of supervenience
If naturalism refers to supervenience, that leaves necessary entities untouched [Bird]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 3. Anti-realism
Anti-realism is more plausible about laws than about entities and theories [Bird]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 3. Types of Properties
There might be just one fundamental natural property [Bird]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 6. Categorical Properties
Categorical properties are not modally fixed, but change across possible worlds [Bird]
The categoricalist idea is that a property is only individuated by being itself [Bird]
If we abstractly define a property, that doesn't mean some object could possess it [Bird]
Categoricalists take properties to be quiddities, with no essential difference between them [Bird]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 10. Properties as Predicates
To name an abundant property is either a Fregean concept, or a simple predicate [Bird]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 2. Powers as Basic
Only real powers are fundamental [Bird, by Mumford/Anjum]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 3. Powers as Derived
If all properties are potencies, and stimuli and manifestation characterise them, there is a regress [Bird]
The essence of a potency involves relations, e.g. mass, to impressed force and acceleration [Bird]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / c. Dispositions as conditional
A disposition is finkish if a time delay might mean the manifestation fizzles out [Bird]
A robust pot attached to a sensitive bomb is not fragile, but if struck it will easily break [Bird]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / d. Dispositions as occurrent
Megarian actualists deny unmanifested dispositions [Bird]
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 3. Instantiated Universals
Why should a universal's existence depend on instantiation in an existing particular? [Bird]
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 2. Resemblance Nominalism
Resemblance itself needs explanation, presumably in terms of something held in common [Bird]
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 3. Types of Necessity
If the laws necessarily imply p, that doesn't give a new 'nomological' necessity [Bird]
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 6. Logical Necessity
Logical necessitation is not a kind of necessity; George Orwell not being Eric Blair is not a real possibility [Bird]
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 6. Probability
Subjective probability measures personal beliefs; objective probability measures the chance of an event happening [Bird]
Objective probability of tails measures the bias of the coin, not our beliefs about it [Bird]
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 4. Conceivable as Possible / a. Conceivable as possible
Empiricist saw imaginability and possibility as close, but now they seem remote [Bird]
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 3. Transworld Objects / d. Haecceitism
Haecceitism says identity is independent of qualities and without essence [Bird]
13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 1. Justification / b. Need for justification
Many philosophers rate justification as a more important concept than knowledge [Bird]
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / a. Coherence as justification
A contextualist coherentist will say that how strongly a justification must cohere depends on context [DeRose]
13. Knowledge Criteria / B. Internal Justification / 5. Coherentism / b. Pro-coherentism
As science investigates more phenomena, the theories it needs decreases [Bird]
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 6. Contextual Justification / a. Contextualism
Classical invariantism combines fixed truth-conditions with variable assertability standards [DeRose]
We can make contextualism more precise, by specifying the discrimination needed each time [DeRose]
In some contexts there is little more to knowledge than true belief. [DeRose]
Contextualists worry about scepticism, but they should focus on the use of 'know' in ordinary speech [DeRose]
13. Knowledge Criteria / C. External Justification / 6. Contextual Justification / b. Invariantism
If contextualism is about knowledge attribution, rather than knowledge, then it is philosophy of language [DeRose]
14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 1. Observation
If theories need observation, and observations need theories, how do we start? [Bird]
14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 4. Prediction
Explanation predicts after the event; prediction explains before the event [Bird]
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 1. Scientific Theory
Relativity ousted Newtonian mechanics despite a loss of simplicity [Bird]
Realists say their theories involve truth and the existence of their phenomena [Bird]
There is no agreement on scientific method - because there is no such thing [Bird]
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 3. Instrumentalism
Instrumentalists regard theories as tools for prediction, with truth being irrelevant [Bird]
14. Science / C. Induction / 2. Aims of Induction
Induction is inference to the best explanation, where the explanation is a law [Bird]
14. Science / C. Induction / 3. Limits of Induction
If Hume is right about induction, there is no scientific knowledge [Bird]
Anything justifying inferences from observed to unobserved must itself do that [Bird]
14. Science / C. Induction / 5. Paradoxes of Induction / a. Grue problem
Any conclusion can be drawn from an induction, if we use grue-like predicates [Bird]
Several months of observing beech trees supports the deciduous and evergreen hypotheses [Bird]
We normally learn natural kinds from laws, but Goodman shows laws require prior natural kinds [Bird]
14. Science / C. Induction / 6. Bayes's Theorem
Bayesianism claims to find rationality and truth in induction, and show how science works [Bird]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / a. Explanation
The objective component of explanations is the things that must exist for the explanation [Bird]
We talk both of 'people' explaining things, and of 'facts' explaining things [Bird]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / b. Aims of explanation
We can't reject all explanations because of a regress; inexplicable A can still explain B [Bird]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / a. Types of explanation
Explanations are causal, nomic, psychological, psychoanalytic, Darwinian or functional [Bird]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / b. Contrastive explanations
Contrastive explanations say why one thing happened but not another [Bird]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / e. Lawlike explanations
'Covering law' explanations only work if no other explanations are to be found [Bird]
Livers always accompany hearts, but they don't explain hearts [Bird]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / l. Probabilistic explanations
Probabilistic-statistical explanations don't entail the explanandum, but makes it more likely [Bird]
An operation might reduce the probability of death, yet explain a death [Bird]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / a. Best explanation
Inference to the Best Explanation is done with facts, so it has to be realist [Bird]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 3. Best Explanation / c. Against best explanation
Maybe bad explanations are the true ones, in this messy world [Bird]
Which explanation is 'best' is bound to be subjective, and no guide to truth [Bird]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 4. Explanation Doubts / a. Explanation as pragmatic
Maybe explanation is so subjective that it cannot be a part of science [Bird]
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 9. Perceiving Causation
Causation seems to be an innate concept (or acquired very early) [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 1. Natural Kinds
Natural kinds are those that we use in induction [Bird]
Rubies and sapphires are both corundum, with traces of metals varying their colours [Bird]
Tin is not one natural kind, but appears to be 21, depending on isotope [Bird]
Natural kinds may overlap, or be sub-kinds of one another [Bird]
Membership of a purely random collection cannot be used as an explanation [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 2. Defining Kinds
If F is a universal appearing in a natural law, then Fs form a natural kind [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 3. Knowing Kinds
In the Kripke-Putnam view only nuclear physicists can know natural kinds [Bird]
Darwinism suggests that we should have a native ability to detect natural kinds [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 5. Reference to Natural Kinds
Nominal essence of a natural kind is the features that make it fit its name [Bird]
Jadeite and nephrite are superficially identical, but have different composition [Bird]
Reference to scientific terms is by explanatory role, not by descriptions [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Types of cause
The dispositional account explains causation, as stimulation and manifestation of dispositions [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 4. Naturalised causation
We should explain causation by powers, not powers by causation [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 9. General Causation / b. Nomological causation
Laws are more fundamental in science than causes, and laws will explain causes [Bird]
Singularism about causes is wrong, as the universals involved imply laws [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 9. General Causation / c. Counterfactual causation
The counterfactual approach makes no distinction between cause and pre-condition [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 1. Laws of Nature
Newton's laws cannot be confirmed individually, but only in combinations [Bird]
Parapsychology is mere speculation, because it offers no mechanisms for its working [Bird]
Existence requires laws, as inertia or gravity are needed for mass or matter [Bird]
Laws are explanatory relationships of things, which supervene on their essences [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 2. Types of Laws
Laws are either disposition regularities, or relations between properties [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 4. Regularities / a. Regularity theory
There may be many laws, each with only a few instances [Bird]
'All uranium lumps are small' is a law, but 'all gold lumps are small' is not [Bird]
There can be remarkable uniformities in nature that are purely coincidental [Bird]
A law might have no instances, if it was about things that only exist momentarily [Bird]
If laws are just instances, the law should either have gaps, or join the instances arbitrarily [Bird]
Where is the regularity in a law predicting nuclear decay? [Bird]
Laws cannot explain instances if they are regularities, as something can't explain itself [Bird]
Similar appearance of siblings is a regularity, but shared parents is what links them [Bird]
We can only infer a true regularity if something binds the instances together [Bird]
If we only infer laws from regularities among observations, we can't infer unobservable entities. [Bird]
Accidental regularities are not laws, and an apparent regularity may not be actual [Bird]
That other diamonds are hard does not explain why this one is [Bird]
Dispositional essentialism says laws (and laws about laws) are guaranteed regularities [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 4. Regularities / b. Best system theory
A regularity is only a law if it is part of a complete system which is simple and strong [Bird]
With strange enough predicates, anything could be made out to be a regularity [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 5. Laws from Universals
Laws cannot offer unified explanations if they don't involve universals [Bird]
If the universals for laws must be instantiated, a vanishing particular could destroy a law [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / b. Scientific necessity
Salt necessarily dissolves in water, because of the law which makes the existence of salt possible [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / d. Knowing essences
If flame colour is characteristic of a metal, that is an empirical claim needing justification [Bird]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 9. Counterfactual Claims
Essentialism can't use conditionals to explain regularities, because of possible interventions [Bird]
27. Natural Reality / B. Modern Physics / 4. Standard Model / d. Mass
In Newton mass is conserved, but in Einstein it can convert into energy [Bird]
27. Natural Reality / D. Time / 1. Nature of Time / b. Relative time
The relational view of space-time doesn't cover times and places where things could be [Bird]