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Ideas of Peter van Inwagen, by Text

[American, fl. 1983, Professor at Syracuse University, then professor at University of Notre Dame.]

1983 An Essay on Free Will
p.44 Determinism clashes with free will, as the past determines action, and is beyond our control
1990 Material Beings
Pref p.5 I assume matter is particulate, made up of 'simples'
01 p.17 Is one atom a piece of gold, or is a sizable group of atoms required?
01 p.17 Material objects are in space and time, move, have a surface and mass, and are made of some stuff
02 p.21 Special Composition Question: when is a thing part of something?
02 p.25 Variables are just like pronouns; syntactic explanations get muddled over dummy letters
03 p.35 If contact causes composition, do two colliding balls briefly make one object?
04 p.39 If bricks compose a house, that is at least one thing, but it might be many things
05 p.53 The statue and lump seem to share parts, but the statue is not part of the lump
07 p.67 The strong force pulls, but also pushes apart if nucleons get too close together
07 p.68 The essence of a star includes the released binding energy which keeps it from collapse
08 p.72 Nihilism says composition between single things is impossible
09 p.81 I think parthood involves causation, and not just a reasonably stable spatial relationship
09 p.87 A flame is like a life, but not nearly so well individuated
09 p.88 A tumour may spread a sort of life, but it is not a life, or an organism
09 p.89 Unlike waves, lives are 'jealous'; it is almost impossible for them to overlap
09 p.95 The chemical reactions in a human life involve about sixteen elements
10 p.98 Every physical thing is either a living organism or a simple
10 p.182 If there are no tables, but tables are things arranged tablewise, the denial of tables is a contradiction
11 p.109 We could refer to tables as 'xs that are arranged tablewise'
12 p.120 Actuality proves possibility, but that doesn't explain how it is possible
12 p.121 There is no reason to think that mere existence is a valuable thing
12 p.122 Actions by artefacts and natural bodies are disguised cooperations, so we don't need them
13 p.126 If you knead clay you make an infinite series of objects, but they are rearrangements, not creations
13 p.134 The persistence of artifacts always covertly involves intelligent beings
13 p.140 If God were to 'reassemble' my atoms of ten years ago, the result would certainly not be me
14 p.159 When an electron 'leaps' to another orbit, is the new one the same electron?
14 p.160 I reject talk of 'stuff', and treat it in terms of particles
14 p.167 Counterparts reduce counterfactual identity to problems about similarity relations
15 p.181 One's mental and other life is centred on the brain, unlike any other part of the body
17 p.217 Being part of an organism's life is a matter of degree, and vague
17 p.219 Singular terms can be vague, because they can contain predicates, which can be vague
18 p.229 There are no heaps
18 p.237 Some events are only borderline cases of lives
18 p.238 Life is vague at both ends, but could it be totally vague?
18 p.239 At the lower level, life trails off into mere molecular interaction
18 p.262 The 'Law' of Excluded Middle needs all propositions to be definitely true or definitely false
18 p.263 We should talk of the transitivity of 'identity', and of 'definite identity'
18 p.266 If you reject transitivity of vague identity, there is no Ship of Theseus problem
19 p.274 A merely possible object clearly isn't there, so that is a defective notion
19 p.281 Merely possible objects must be consistent properties, or haecceities
7 p.190 We can deny whole objects but accept parts, by referring to them as plurals within things
Ch.13 p.39 Maybe table-shaped particles exist, but not tables
p.72- p.18 Mereology is 'nihilistic' (just atoms) or 'universal' (no restrictions on what is 'whole')
1990 Response to Slote
p.21 Virtue theory needs an external standard to judge behaviour and character
2003 Existence,Ontological Commitment and Fictions
p.154 p.154 What in the real world could ground the distinction between the sets {A,{A,B}} and {B,{A,B}}?