Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Michael Burke, Joseph Levine and John Heil

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152 ideas

1. Philosophy / A. Wisdom / 2. Wise People
The best philosophers I know are the best people I know [Heil]
1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 7. Despair over Philosophy
Using a technical vocabulary actually prevents discussion of the presuppositions [Heil]
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 2. Possibility of Metaphysics
Questions of explanation should not be confused with metaphyics [Heil]
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 3. Metaphysical Systems
Without abstraction we couldn't think systematically [Heil]
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 5. Linguistic Analysis
If you begin philosophy with language, you find yourself trapped in it [Heil]
1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 1. Aims of Science
There is no such thing as 'science'; there are just many different sciences [Heil]
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 6. Ockham's Razor
Parsimony does not imply the world is simple, but that our theories should try to be [Heil]
A theory with few fundamental principles might still posit a lot of entities [Heil]
3. Truth / A. Truth Problems / 4. Uses of Truth
Truth relates truthbearers to truthmakers [Heil]
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 1. For Truthmakers
Philosophers of the past took the truthmaking idea for granted [Heil]
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 3. Truthmaker Maximalism
Not all truths need truthmakers - mathematics and logic seem to be just true [Heil]
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 4. Truthmaker Necessitarianism
The view that truth making is entailment is misguided and misleading [Heil]
4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 8. Critique of Set Theory
God does not create the world, and then add the classes [Heil]
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 5. The Infinite / a. The Infinite
Infinite numbers are qualitatively different - they are not just very large numbers [Heil]
6. Mathematics / B. Foundations for Mathematics / 7. Mathematical Structuralism / e. Structuralism critique
How could structures be mathematical truthmakers? Maths is just true, without truthmakers [Heil]
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 2. Reduction
The reductionist programme dispenses with levels of reality [Heil]
Our categories lack the neat arrangement needed for reduction [Heil]
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 3. Levels of Reality
A higher level is 'supervenient' if it is determined by lower levels, but has its own natural laws [Heil]
There are levels of organisation, complexity, description and explanation, but not of reality [Heil]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 1. Realism
Realism says some of our concepts 'cut nature at the joints' [Heil]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 3. Anti-realism
Anti-realists who reduce reality to language must explain the existence of language [Heil]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 10. Ontological Commitment / d. Commitment of theories
Fundamental ontology aims at the preconditions for any true theory [Heil]
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 10. Ontological Commitment / e. Ontological commitment problems
Our quantifications only reveal the truths we accept; the ontology and truthmakers are another matter [Heil]
7. Existence / E. Categories / 4. Category Realism
Ontology aims to give the fundamental categories of being [Heil]
7. Existence / E. Categories / 5. Category Anti-Realism
Concepts don't carve up the world, which has endless overlooked or ignored divisions [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / A. Relations / 1. Nature of Relations
We want the ontology of relations, not just a formal way of specifying them [Heil]
Two people are indirectly related by height; the direct relation is internal, between properties [Heil]
Maybe all the other features of the world can be reduced to relations [Heil]
Most philosophers now (absurdly) believe that relations fully exist [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / A. Relations / 2. Internal Relations
If causal relations are power manifestations, that makes them internal relations [Heil]
In the case of 5 and 6, their relational truthmaker is just the numbers [Heil]
Truthmaking is a clear example of an internal relation [Heil]
If R internally relates a and b, and you have a and b, you thereby have R [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 2. Need for Properties
We need properties to explain how the world works [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 5. Natural Properties
Functionalists in Fodor's camp usually say that a genuine property is one that figures in some causal laws [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 6. Categorical Properties
A stone does not possess the property of being a stone; its other properties make it a stone [Heil]
Categorical properties were introduced by philosophers as actual properties, not if-then properties [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 7. Emergent Properties
Complex properties are not new properties, they are merely new combinations of properties [Heil]
Emergent properties will need emergent substances to bear them [Heil]
Complex properties are just arrangements of simple properties; they do not "emerge" as separate [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 9. Qualities
I think of properties as simultaneously dispositional and qualitative [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 10. Properties as Predicates
A predicate applies truly if it picks out a real property of objects [Heil]
In Fa, F may not be a property of a, but a determinable, satisfied by some determinate [Heil]
Predicates only match properties at the level of fundamentals [Heil]
From the property predicates P and Q, we can get 'P or Q', but it doesn't have to designate another property [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 11. Properties as Sets
Properties have causal roles which sets can't possibly have [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 13. Tropes / a. Nature of tropes
A theory of universals says similarity is identity of parts; for modes, similarity is primitive [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 13. Tropes / b. Critique of tropes
The supporters of 'tropes' treat objects as bundles of tropes, when I think objects 'possess' properties [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 3. Powers as Derived
Powers or dispositions are usually seen as caused by lower-level qualities [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 4. Powers as Essence
If properties are powers, then causal relations are internal relations [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 5. Powers and Properties
Are all properties powers, or are there also qualities, or do qualities have the powers? [Heil]
Properties are both qualitative and dispositional - they are powerful qualities [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / a. Dispositions
Are a property's dispositions built in, or contingently added? [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 2. Need for Universals
Universals explain one-over-many relations, and similar qualities, and similar behaviour [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 6. Platonic Forms / d. Forms critiques
How could you tell if the universals were missing from a world of instances? [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 2. Resemblance Nominalism
Similarity among modes will explain everthing universals were for [Heil]
Similar objects have similar properties; properties are directly similar [Heil]
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 5. Class Nominalism
Objects join sets because of properties; the property is not bestowed by set membership [Heil]
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 1. Physical Objects
Trope theorists usually see objects as 'bundles' of tropes [Heil]
Objects are substances, which are objects considered as the bearer of properties [Heil]
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 2. Abstract Objects / d. Problems with abstracta
Abstract objects wouldn't be very popular without the implicit idea of truthmakers [Heil]
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 / 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 / a. Substance
Substances bear properties, so must be simple, and not consist of further substances [Heil]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / c. Types of substance
Maybe there is only one substance, space-time or a quantum field [Heil]
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / e. Substance critique
Rather than 'substance' I use 'objects', which have properties [Heil]
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
Maybe the clay becomes a different lump when it becomes a statue [Burke,M, by Koslicki]
Statues and bronze lumps have discernible differences, so can't be identical [Heil]
Do we reduce statues to bronze, or eliminate statues, or allow statues and bronze? [Heil]
Burke says when two object coincide, one of them is destroyed in the process [Burke,M, by Hawley]
Sculpting a lump of clay destroys one object, and replaces it with another one [Burke,M, by Wasserman]
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 / 8. Parts of Objects / a. Parts of objects
Spatial parts are just regions, but objects depend on and are made up of substantial parts [Heil]
A 'gunky' universe would literally have no parts at all [Heil]
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 8. Parts of Objects / c. Wholes from parts
Many wholes can survive replacement of their parts [Heil]
Dunes depend on sand grains, but line segments depend on the whole line [Heil]
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 9. Ship of Theseus
If you can have the boat without its current planks, and the planks with no boat, the planks aren't the boat [Heil]
10. Modality / C. Sources of Modality / 6. Necessity from Essence
If basic physics has natures, then why not reality itself? That would then found the deepest necessities [Heil]
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 1. Possible Worlds / c. Possible worlds realism
You can't embrace the formal apparatus of possible worlds, but reject the ontology [Heil]
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 1. Possible Worlds / e. Against possible worlds
If possible worlds are just fictions, they can't be truthmakers for modal judgements [Heil]
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 3. Idealism / a. Idealism
Idealism explains appearances by identifying appearances with reality [Heil]
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / a. Qualities in perception
Properties don't possess ways they are, because that just is the property [Heil]
If properties were qualities without dispositions, they would be undetectable [Heil]
Can we distinguish the way a property is from the property? [Heil]
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / d. Secondary qualities
Secondary qualities are just primary qualities considered in the light of their effect on us [Heil]
Objects only have secondary qualities because they have primary qualities [Heil]
Colours aren't surface properties, because of radiant sources and the colour of the sky [Heil]
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / e. Primary/secondary critique
Treating colour as light radiation has the implausible result that tomatoes are not red [Heil]
13. Knowledge Criteria / E. Relativism / 6. Relativism Critique
If the world is just texts or social constructs, what are texts and social constructs? [Heil]
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 1. Scientific Theory
If the world is theory-dependent, the theories themselves can't be theory-dependent [Heil]
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 2. Aim of Science
Science is sometimes said to classify powers, neglecting qualities [Heil]
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / j. Explanations by reduction
One form of explanation is by decomposition [Heil]
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 1. Mind / e. Questions about mind
Different generations focus on either the quality of mind, or its scientific standing, or the content of thought [Heil]
15. Nature of Minds / A. Nature of Mind / 3. Mental Causation
If minds are realised materially, it looks as if the material laws will pre-empt any causal role for mind [Heil]
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 1. Consciousness / a. Consciousness
Whatever exists has qualities, so it is no surprise that states of minds have qualities [Heil]
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 4. Intentionality / a. Nature of intentionality
Propositional attitudes are not the only intentional states; there is also mental imagery [Heil]
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 4. Intentionality / b. Intentionality theories
The widespread externalist view says intentionality has content because of causal links of agent to world [Heil]
Dispositionality provides the grounding for intentionality [Heil]
Intentionality now has internalist (intrinsic to thinkers) and externalist (environment or community) views [Heil]
15. Nature of Minds / B. Features of Minds / 5. Qualia / c. Explaining qualia
Qualia are not extra appendages, but intrinsic ingredients of material states and processes [Heil]
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 3. Abstraction by mind
Mental abstraction does not make what is abstracted mind-dependent [Heil]
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 5. Generalisation by mind
Only particulars exist, and generality is our mode of presentation [Heil]
16. Persons / C. Self-Awareness / 4. Errors in Introspection
Error must be possible in introspection, because error is possible in all judgements [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 2. Interactionism
If causation is just regularities in events, the interaction of mind and body is not a special problem [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 7. Zombies
Philosophers' zombies aim to show consciousness is over and above the physical world [Heil]
Zombies are based on the idea that consciousness relates contingently to the physical [Heil]
Functionalists deny zombies, since identity of functional state means identity of mental state [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / B. Behaviourism / 2. Potential Behaviour
Disposition is a fundamental feature of reality, since basic particles are capable of endless possible interactions [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / B. Behaviourism / 4. Behaviourism Critique
No mental state entails inevitable behaviour, because other beliefs or desires may intervene [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 1. Functionalism
Functionalists say objects can be the same in disposition but differ in quality [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 3. Psycho-Functionalism
Hearts are material, but functionalism says the property of being a heart is not a material property [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / C. Functionalism / 8. Functionalism critique
If you are a functionalist, there appears to be no room for qualia [Heil]
Functionalism cannot explain consciousness just by functional organisation [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 1. Reductionism critique
Higher-level sciences cannot be reduced, because their concepts mark boundaries invisible at lower levels [Heil]
Higher-level sciences designate real properties of objects, which are not reducible to lower levels [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 3. Property Dualism
'Property dualism' says mind and body are not substances, but distinct families of properties [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 6. Mysterianism
The 'explanatory gap' is used to say consciousness is inexplicable, at least with current concepts [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 2. Reduction of Mind
Early identity theory talked of mind and brain 'processes', but now the focus is properties [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 3. Eliminativism
It seems contradictory to be asked to believe that we can be eliminativist about beliefs [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 5. Causal Argument
The appeal of the identity theory is its simplicity, and its solution to the mental causation problem [Heil]
If a car is a higher-level entity, distinct from its parts, how could it ever do anything? [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / a. Physicalism critique
Functionalists emphasise that mental processes are not to be reduced to what realises them [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / b. Multiple realisability
'Multiple realisability' needs to clearly distinguish low-level realisers from what is realised [Heil]
Multiple realisability is not a relation among properties, but an application of predicates to resembling things [Heil]
Multiple realisability is actually one predicate applying to a diverse range of properties [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / c. Knowledge argument
A scientist could know everything about the physiology of headaches, but never have had one [Heil]
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / d. Explanatory gap
Even if we identify pain with neural events, we can't explain why those neurons cause that feeling [Levine, by Papineau]
Only phenomenal states have an explanatory gap; water is fully explained by H2O [Levine, by Papineau]
Materialism won't explain phenomenal properties, because the latter aren't seen in causal roles [Papineau on Levine]
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 1. Thought
Is mental imagery pictorial, or is it propositional? [Heil]
You can think of tomatoes without grasping what they are [Heil]
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 4. Folk Psychology
Folk psychology and neuroscience are no more competitors than cartography and geology are [Heil]
18. Thought / A. Modes of Thought / 8. Human Thought
Non-conscious thought may be unlike conscious thought [Heil]
Linguistic thought is just as imagistic as non-linguistic thought [Heil]
18. Thought / C. Content / 6. Broad Content
Externalism is causal-historical, or social, or biological [Heil]
18. Thought / C. Content / 7. Narrow Content
Intentionality is based in dispositions, which are intrinsic to agents, suggesting internalism [Heil]
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 2. Meaning as Mental
The Picture Theory claims we can read reality from our ways of speaking about it [Heil]
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 4. Meaning as Truth-Conditions
Truth-conditions correspond to the idea of 'literal meaning' [Heil]
19. Language / A. Nature of Meaning / 7. Meaning Holism / b. Language holism
To understand 'birds warble' and 'tigers growl', you must also understand 'tigers warble' [Heil]
19. Language / C. Assigning Meanings / 3. Predicates
The subject-predicate form reflects reality [Heil]
19. Language / D. Propositions / 2. Abstract Propositions / a. Propositions as sense
If propositions are abstract entities, how do human beings interact with them? [Heil]
19. Language / D. Propositions / 2. Abstract Propositions / b. Propositions as possible worlds
If propositions are states of affairs or sets of possible worlds, these lack truth values [Heil]
22. Metaethics / A. Value / 2. Values / a. Normativity
Many reject 'moral realism' because they can't see any truthmakers for normative judgements [Heil]
26. Natural Theory / A. Speculations on Nature / 5. Infinite in Nature
If there were infinite electrons, they could vanish without affecting total mass-energy [Heil]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / a. Observation of causation
We should focus on actual causings, rather than on laws and causal sequences [Heil]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 8. Particular Causation / e. Probabilistic causation
Probabilistic causation is not a weak type of cause; it is just a probability of there being a cause [Heil]
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 9. General Causation / b. Nomological causation
The standard view is that causal sequences are backed by laws, and between particular events [Heil]
27. Natural Reality / B. Modern Physics / 2. Electrodynamics / c. Electrons
Electrons are treated as particles, but they lose their individuality in relations [Heil]
27. Natural Reality / D. Cosmology / 9. Fine-Tuned Universe
Maybe the universe is fine-tuned because it had to be, despite plans by God or Nature? [Heil]
27. Natural Reality / E. Chemistry / 2. Modern Elements
The real natural properties are sparse, but there are many complex properties [Heil]