Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Michael Burke, Gordon Graham and Harré,R./Madden,E.H

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124 ideas

1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 5. Aims of Philosophy / e. Philosophy as reason
Like disastrous small errors in navigation, small misunderstandings can wreck intellectual life [Harr/Madden]
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 6. Metaphysics as Conceptual
Philosophy devises and assesses conceptual schemes in the service of worldviews [Harr/Madden]
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 4. Conceptual Analysis
Analysis of concepts based neither on formalism nor psychology can arise from examining what we know [Harr/Madden]
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 6. Logical Analysis
Humeans see analysis in terms of formal logic, because necessities are fundamentally logical relations [Harr/Madden]
1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 2. Positivism
Positivism says science only refers to immediate experiences [Harr/Madden]
2. Reason / D. Definition / 1. Definitions
Logically, definitions have a subject, and a set of necessary predicates [Harr/Madden]
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 3. Nature of Numbers / b. Types of number
Points can be 'dense' by unending division, but must meet a tougher criterion to be 'continuous' [Harr/Madden]
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 3. Nature of Numbers / i. Reals from cuts
Points are 'continuous' if any 'cut' point participates in both halves of the cut [Harr/Madden]
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 10. Constructivism / e. Psychologism
There is not an exclusive dichotomy between the formal and the logical [Harr/Madden]
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 1. Nature of Change
Humeans can only explain change with continuity as successive replacement [Harr/Madden]
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 4. Events / b. Events as primitive
Humeans construct their objects from events, but we construct events from objects [Harr/Madden]
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 4. Events / c. Reduction of events
The induction problem fades if you work with things, rather than with events [Harr/Madden]
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 6. Fundamentals / a. Fundamental reality
Fundamental particulars can't change [Harr/Madden]
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 8. Stuff / a. Pure stuff
Hard individual blocks don't fix what 'things' are; fluids are no less material things [Harr/Madden]
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 8. Stuff / b. Mixtures
Magnetic and gravity fields can occupy the same place without merging [Harr/Madden]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 5. Physicalism
Gravitational and electrical fields are, for a materialist, distressingly empty of material [Harr/Madden]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 8. States of Affairs
Events are changes in states of affairs (which consist of structured particulars, with powers and relations) [Harr/Madden]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 5. Natural Properties
Humeans see predicates as independent, but science says they are connected [Harr/Madden]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 1. Powers
Energy was introduced to physics to refer to the 'store of potency' of a moving ball [Harr/Madden]
Some powers need a stimulus, but others are just released [Harr/Madden]
Some powers are variable, others cannot change (without destroying an identity) [Harr/Madden]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 2. Powers as Basic
Maybe a physical field qualifies as ultimate, if its nature is identical with its powers [Harr/Madden]
Scientists define copper almost entirely (bar atomic number) in terms of its dispositions [Harr/Madden]
We explain powers by the natures of things, but explanations end in inexplicable powers [Harr/Madden]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 3. Powers as Derived
Powers are not qualities; they just point to directions of empirical investigation [Harr/Madden]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / d. Dispositions as occurrent
What is a field of potentials, if it only consists of possible events? [Harr/Madden]
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 5. Individuation / e. Individuation by kind
Persistence conditions cannot contradict, so there must be a 'dominant sortal' [Burke,M, by Hawley]
The 'dominant' of two coinciding sortals is the one that entails the widest range of properties [Burke,M, by Sider]
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 6. Nihilism about Objects
The good criticism of substance by Humeans also loses them the vital concept of a thing [Harr/Madden]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 1. Unifying an Object / b. Unifying aggregates
'The rock' either refers to an object, or to a collection of parts, or to some stuff [Burke,M, by Wasserman]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / e. Substance critique
We can escape substance and its properties, if we take fields of pure powers as ultimate [Harr/Madden]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / b. Cat and its tail
Tib goes out of existence when the tail is lost, because Tib was never the 'cat' [Burke,M, by Sider]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / c. Statue and clay
Sculpting a lump of clay destroys one object, and replaces it with another one [Burke,M, by Wasserman]
Burke says when two object coincide, one of them is destroyed in the process [Burke,M, by Hawley]
Maybe the clay becomes a different lump when it becomes a statue [Burke,M, by Koslicki]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / d. Coincident objects
Two entities can coincide as one, but only one of them (the dominant sortal) fixes persistence conditions [Burke,M, by Sider]
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 3. Matter of an Object
The assumption that shape and solidity are fundamental implies dubious 'substance' in bodies [Harr/Madden]
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 7. Substratum
The notorious substratum results from substance-with-qualities; individuals-with-powers solves this [Harr/Madden]
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 6. Essence as Unifier
In logic the nature of a kind, substance or individual is the essence which is inseparable from what it is [Harr/Madden]
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 9. Essence and Properties
We can infer a new property of a thing from its other properties, via its essential nature [Harr/Madden]
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 15. Against Essentialism
We say the essence of particles is energy, but only so we can tell a story about the nature of things [Harr/Madden]
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 2. Objects that Change
To say something remains the same but lacks its capacities and powers seems a contradiction [Harr/Madden]
Some individuals can gain or lose capacities or powers, without losing their identity [Harr/Madden]
A particular might change all of its characteristics, retaining mere numerical identity [Harr/Madden]
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 3. Three-Dimensionalism
'Dense' time raises doubts about continuous objects, so they need 'continuous' time [Harr/Madden]
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 4. Four-Dimensionalism
If things are successive instantaneous events, nothing requires those events to resemble one another [Harr/Madden]
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 8. Continuity of Rivers
Humeans cannot step in the same river twice, because they cannot strictly form the concept of 'river' [Harr/Madden]
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 2. Nature of Necessity
What reduces the field of the possible is a step towards necessity [Harr/Madden]
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 3. Types of Necessity
There is 'absolute' necessity (implied by all propositions) and 'relative' necessity (from what is given) [Harr/Madden]
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 6. Logical Necessity
Logical necessity is grounded in the logical form of a statement [Harr/Madden]
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 7. Natural Necessity
Natural necessity is not logical necessity or empirical contingency in disguise [Harr/Madden]
The relation between what a thing is and what it can do or undergo relate by natural necessity [Harr/Madden]
A necessity corresponds to the nature of the actual [Harr/Madden]
Natural necessity is when powerful particulars must produce certain results in a situation [Harr/Madden]
People doubt science because if it isn't logically necessary it seems to be absolutely contingent [Harr/Madden]
Property or event relations are naturally necessary if generated by essential mechanisms [Harr/Madden]
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 8. Transcendental Necessity
Transcendental necessity is conditions of a world required for a rational being to know its nature [Harr/Madden]
There is a transcendental necessity for each logical necessity, but the transcendental extends further [Harr/Madden]
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 9. Counterfactuals
Counterfactuals are just right for analysing statements about the powers which things have [Harr/Madden]
10. Modality / C. Sources of Modality / 3. Necessity by Convention
If natural necessity is used to include or exclude some predicate, the predicate is conceptually necessary [Harr/Madden]
Having a child is contingent for a 'man', necessary for a 'father'; but the latter reflects a necessity nature [Harr/Madden]
10. Modality / C. Sources of Modality / 4. Necessity from Concepts
Is conceptual necessity just conventional, or does it mirror something about nature? [Harr/Madden]
There is a conceptual necessity when properties become a standard part of a nominal essence [Harr/Madden]
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 1. A Priori Necessary
Necessity and contingency are separate from the a priori and the a posteriori [Harr/Madden]
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 4. Conceivable as Possible / b. Conceivable but impossible
If Goldbach's Conjecture is true (and logically necessary), we may be able to conceive its opposite [Harr/Madden]
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 2. Common Sense Certainty
It is silly to say that direct experience must be justified, either by reason, or by more experience [Harr/Madden]
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 4. Sense Data / d. Sense-data problems
We experience qualities as of objects, not on their own [Harr/Madden]
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 6. Inference in Perception
Inference in perception is unconvincingly defended as non-conscious and almost instantaneous [Harr/Madden]
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 2. Associationism
Humean impressions are too instantaneous and simple to have structure or relations [Harr/Madden]
13. Knowledge Criteria / E. Relativism / 3. Subjectivism
'Subjectivism' is an extension of relativism from the social group to the individual [Graham]
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 1. Scientific Theory
Clavius's Paradox: purely syntactic entailment theories won't explain, because they are too profuse [Harr/Madden]
Simplicity can sort theories out, but still leaves an infinity of possibilities [Harr/Madden]
The powers/natures approach has been so successful (for electricity, magnetism, gravity) it may be universal [Harr/Madden]
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 2. Aim of Science
We prefer the theory which explains and predicts the powers and capacities of particulars [Harr/Madden]
Science investigates the nature and constitution of things or substances [Harr/Madden]
14. Science / C. Induction / 3. Limits of Induction
Conjunctions explain nothing, and so do not give a reason for confidence in inductions [Harr/Madden]
Hume's atomic events makes properties independent, and leads to problems with induction [Harr/Madden]
14. Science / C. Induction / 5. Paradoxes of Induction / b. Raven paradox
Contraposition may be equivalent in truth, but not true in nature, because of irrelevant predicates [Harr/Madden]
The items put forward by the contraposition belong within different natural clusters [Harr/Madden]
The possibility that all ravens are black is a law depends on a mechanism producing the blackness [Harr/Madden]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / b. Aims of explanation
Only changes require explanation [Harr/Madden]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / c. Direction of explanation
If explanation is by entailment, that lacks a causal direction, unlike natural necessity [Harr/Madden]
Powers can explain the direction of causality, and make it a natural necessity [Harr/Madden]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / i. Explanations by mechanism
If the nature of particulars explains their powers, it also explains their relations and behaviour [Harr/Madden]
Powers and natures lead us to hypothesise underlying mechanisms, which may be real [Harr/Madden]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / j. Explanations by reduction
Solidity comes from the power of repulsion, and shape from the power of attraction [Harr/Madden]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / k. Explanations by essence
Essence explains passive capacities as well as active powers [Harr/Madden]
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 5. Generalisation by mind
The very concepts of a particular power or nature imply the possibility of being generalised [Harr/Madden]
18. Thought / C. Content / 5. Twin Earth
What properties a thing must have to be a type of substance can be laid down a priori [Harr/Madden]
19. Language / F. Communication / 5. Pragmatics / a. Contextual meaning
We say there is 'no alternative' in all sorts of contexts, and there are many different grounds for it [Harr/Madden]
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / g. Consequentialism
Negative consequences are very hard (and possibly impossible) to assess [Graham]
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / i. Moral luck
We can't criticise people because of unforeseeable consequences [Graham]
22. Metaethics / C. Ethics Foundations / 1. Nature of Ethics / g. Moral responsibility
The chain of consequences may not be the same as the chain of responsibility [Graham]
23. Ethics / A. Egoism / 1. Ethical Egoism
Egoism submits to desires, but cannot help form them [Graham]
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / h. Right feelings
Rescue operations need spontaneous benevolence, not careful thought [Graham]
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 4. Categorical Imperative
'What if everybody did that?' rather misses the point as an objection to cheating [Graham]
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 1. Existentialism
It is more plausible to say people can choose between values, than that they can create them [Graham]
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 2. Nihilism
Life is only absurd if you expected an explanation and none turns up [Graham]
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 5. Existence-Essence
Existentialism may transcend our nature, unlike eudaimonism [Graham]
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 6. Authentic Self
A standard problem for existentialism is the 'sincere Nazi' [Graham]
23. Ethics / F. Existentialism / 7. Existential Action
The key to existentialism: the way you make choices is more important than what you choose [Graham]
26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 6. Necessity of Kinds
We can base the idea of a natural kind on the mechanisms that produce natural necessity [Harr/Madden]
26. Natural Theory / B. Natural Kinds / 7. Critique of Kinds
Species do not have enough constancy to be natural kinds [Harr/Madden]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Types of cause
If the concept of a cause includes its usual effects, we call it a 'power' [Harr/Madden]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 5. Direction of causation
Humean accounts of causal direction by time fail, because cause and effect can occur together [Harr/Madden]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 6. Causation as primitive
Active causal power is just objects at work, not something existing in itself [Harr/Madden]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / a. Observation of causation
Causation always involves particular productive things [Harr/Madden]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / c. Conditions of causation
Efficient causes combine stimulus to individuals, absence of contraints on activity [Harr/Madden]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / d. Selecting the cause
The cause (or part of it) is what stimulates or releases the powerful particular thing involved [Harr/Madden]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 5. Laws from Universals
Originally Humeans based lawlike statements on pure qualities, without particulars [Harr/Madden]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 7. Strictness of Laws
Being lawlike seems to resist formal analysis, because there are always counter-examples [Harr/Madden]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / b. Scientific necessity
Necessary effects will follow from some general theory specifying powers and structure of a world [Harr/Madden]
Humeans say there is no necessity in causation, because denying an effect is never self-contradictory [Harr/Madden]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / c. Essence and laws
In lawful universal statements (unlike accidental ones) we see why the regularity holds [Harr/Madden]
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 11. Against Laws of Nature
We could call any generalisation a law, if it had reasonable support and no counter-evidence [Harr/Madden]
27. Natural Reality / A. Classical Physics / 1. Mechanics / a. Explaining movement
We perceive motion, and not just successive occupations of different positions [Harr/Madden]
27. Natural Reality / A. Classical Physics / 2. Thermodynamics / a. Energy
'Energy' is a quasi-substance invented as the bearer of change during interactions [Harr/Madden]
'Kinetic energy' is used to explain the effects of moving things when they are stopped [Harr/Madden]
27. Natural Reality / C. Space-Time / 1. Space / b. Space
Space can't be an individual (in space), but it is present in all places [Harr/Madden]
27. Natural Reality / E. Chemistry / 1. Chemistry
Chemistry is not purely structural; CO2 is not the same as SO2 [Harr/Madden]
Chemical atoms have two powers: to enter certain combinations, and to emit a particular spectrum [Harr/Madden]
28. God / C. Attitudes to God / 5. Atheism
Theism is supposed to make the world more intelligible - and should offer results [Harr/Madden]
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 1. Religious Commitment / a. Religious Belief
The great religions are much more concerned with the religious life than with ethics [Graham]
29. Religion / D. Religious Issues / 2. Immortality / a. Immortality
Western religion saves us from death; Eastern religion saves us from immortality [Graham]