Combining Philosophers

All the ideas for Michael Burke, Michael della Rocca and Pamela Foa

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13 ideas

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]
     Full Idea: Burke says a single object cannot have incompatible persistence conditions, for this would entail that there are events in which the object would both survive and perish. He says one sortal 'dominates' the other (sweater dominates thread).
     From: report of Michael Burke (Dion and Theon: an essentialist solution [1994]) by Katherine Hawley - How Things Persist 5.3
     A reaction: This I take to be the most extreme version of sortal essentialism, and strikes me as incredibly gerrymandered and unacceptable. It is just too anthropocentric to count as genuine metaphysics. I may care more about the thread.
The 'dominant' of two coinciding sortals is the one that entails the widest range of properties [Burke,M, by Sider]
     Full Idea: Burke claims that the 'dominant' sortal is the one whose satisfaction entails possession of the widest range of properties. For example, the statue (unlike the lump of clay) also possesses aesthetic properties, and hence is dominant.
     From: report of Michael Burke (Dion and Theon: an essentialist solution [1994]) by Theodore Sider - Four Dimensionalism 5.4
     A reaction: [there are three papers by Burke on this; see all the quotations from Burke] Presumably one sortal could entail a single very important property, and the other sortal entail a huge range of trivial properties. What does being a 'thing' entail?
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]
     Full Idea: Burke distinguishes three different readings of 'the rock'. It can be a singular description denoting an object, or a plural description denoting all the little pieces of rock, or a mass description the relevant rocky stuff.
     From: report of Michael Burke (Dion and Theon: an essentialist solution [1994]) by Ryan Wasserman - Material Constitution 5
     A reaction: Idea 16068 is an objection to the second reading. Only the first reading seems plausible, so we must just get over all the difficulties philosophers have unearthed about knowing exactly what an 'object' is. I offer you essentialism. Rocks have unity.
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]
     Full Idea: Burke argues that Tib (the whole cat apart from its tail) goes out of existence when the tail is lost. His essentialist principle is that if something is ever of a particular sort (such as 'cat') then it is always of that sort. Tib is not initially a cat.
     From: report of Michael Burke (Dion and Theon: an essentialist solution [1994]) by Theodore Sider - Four Dimensionalism 5.4
     A reaction: This I take to be a souped up version of Wiggins, and I just don't buy that identity conditions are decided by sortals, when it seems obvious that sortals are parasitic on identities.
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]
     Full Idea: On Burke's view, the process of sculpting a lump of clay into a statue destroys one object (a mere lump of clay) and replaces it with another (a statue).
     From: report of Michael Burke (Dion and Theon: an essentialist solution [1994]) by Ryan Wasserman - Material Constitution 5
     A reaction: There is something right about this, but how many intermediate objects are created during the transition. It seems to make the notion of an object very conventional.
Burke says when two object coincide, one of them is destroyed in the process [Burke,M, by Hawley]
     Full Idea: Michael Burke argues that a sweater is identical with the thread that consitutes it, that both were created at the moment when they began to coincide, and that the original thread was destroyed in the process.
     From: report of Michael Burke (Dion and Theon: an essentialist solution [1994]) by Katherine Hawley - How Things Persist 5.3
     A reaction: [Burke's ideas are spread over three articles] It is the thread which is destroyed, because the sweater is the 'dominant sortal' (which strikes me as a particularlyd desperate concept).
Maybe the clay becomes a different lump when it becomes a statue [Burke,M, by Koslicki]
     Full Idea: Burke has argued in a series of papers that the lump of clay which constitutes the statue is numerically distinct from the lump of clay which exists before or after the statue exists. The first is a statue, while the second is merely a lump of clay.
     From: report of Michael Burke (Dion and Theon: an essentialist solution [1994]) by Kathrin Koslicki - The Structure of Objects
     A reaction: Koslicki objects that this introduces radically different persistence conditions from normal. It would mean that a pile of sugar was a different pile of sugar every time a grain moved (even slightly). You couldn't step into the same sugar twice.
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]
     Full Idea: Michael Burke has given an account that avoids distinguishing coinciding entities. ...The statue/lump satisfies both 'lump' and 'statue', but only the latter determines that object's persistence conditions, and so is that object's 'dominant sortal'.
     From: report of Michael Burke (Dion and Theon: an essentialist solution [1994]) by Theodore Sider - Four Dimensionalism 5.4
     A reaction: Presumably a lump on its own can have its own persistance conditions (as a 'lump'), but those would presumably be lost if you shaped it into a statue. Burke concedes that. Can of worms. Using a book as a doorstop...
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 7. Essence and Necessity / a. Essence as necessary properties
The distinction between necessary and essential properties can be ignored [Rocca]
     Full Idea: Some philosophers distinguish between necessary properties and essential properties. This distinction is irrelevant to my purposes. Following Yablo, I shall ignore this distinction in what follows.
     From: Michael della Rocca (Essentialists and Essentialism [1996], I n1)
     A reaction: This is two years after Kit Fine's seminal paper suggesting the distinction is real. The first step towards a good metaphysics is to realise that Della Rocca and Yablo have made a horrible mistake.
12. Knowledge Sources / C. Rationalism / 1. Rationalism
Obscure knowledge belongs to the five senses, and genuine knowledge is the other type [Foa]
     Full Idea: There are two forms of knowledge [gnomé], the one genuine, the other obscure. And to the obscure one belongs all of these: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch. The other is genuine, and is separated from this one.
     From: Pamela Foa (What's Wrong with Rape? [1977], B011), quoted by Sextus Empiricus - Against the Logicians (two books) 7.139
     A reaction: [Sextus goes on to make it clear that the 'genuine' one is knowledge acquired by thought]. I take Parmenides to be the first rationalist. It is interesting that Democritus, who devoted his life to finding causal explanations, seems to be a rationalist.
24. Applied Ethics / B. Moral Rights / 2. Sexual Morality
A rape disregards the status of being a person - but so does all assault [Foa]
     Full Idea: In a rape a person is used without proper regard for her personhood - but this is true of every kind of assault.
     From: Pamela Foa (What's Wrong with Rape? [1977], 1)
     A reaction: This is a good step towards her attempt to pin down what is specifically wrong with rape, which strikes me as an extremely important question, and not merely in order to justify punishments.
Rape of children is dreadful, but no one thinks children should have a right of consent [Foa]
     Full Idea: Rape of children is at least as heinous as rape of adults, though few believe that children have or ought to have the same large domain of consent adults (male and female) ought to have.
     From: Pamela Foa (What's Wrong with Rape? [1977], 1)
     A reaction: A powerful point. She is not quite spelling out the crux, which is that no one thinks children should have a right to consent to sexual intercourse, which means that consent is irrelevant in such a case of rape. So it can't be the key to adult rape?
If men should lust and women shouldn't, that makes rape the prevalent sexual model [Foa]
     Full Idea: We are taught that sexual desires are desires women ought not to have and men must have. This is the model which makes necessary an eternal battle of the sexes. It explains why rape is the prevalent model of sexuality.
     From: Pamela Foa (What's Wrong with Rape? [1977], 3)
     A reaction: A striking thought. See 'The Origins of Sex' by F.Dabhoiwala, which claims that women used to be seen as the sexual predators, and the balance shifted in the 18thC. Are women obliged to exhibit lust, in order to defuse rapacious desires?