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Ideas of Jonathan Schaffer, by Text

[American, fl. 2005, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, then Australian National University. Pupil of D.Lewis.]

2007 The Metaphysics of Causation
Intro p.1 In causation there are three problems of relata, and three metaphysical problems
1 p.2 Causal relata are events - or facts, features, tropes, states, situations or aspects
1 p.2 Events are fairly course-grained (just saying 'hello'), unlike facts (like saying 'hello' loudly)
1 p.3 One may defend three or four causal relata, as in 'c causes e rather than e*'
1.1 p.5 Causation transcends nature, because absences can cause things
1.1 p.6 There is only one fact - the True
1.2 p.7 If causal relata must be in nature and fine-grained, neither facts nor events will do
1.2 p.8 Distinguish causation, which is in the world, from explanations, which depend on descriptions
1.2 p.9 Causation may not be transitive; the last event may follow from the first, but not be caused by it
1.3.1 p.11 Logical form can't dictate metaphysics, as it may propose an undesirable property
1.3.1 p.15 There are at least ten theories about causal connections
1.3.1 p.16 At least four rivals have challenged the view that causal direction is time direction
2.1 p.17 The actual cause may make an event less likely than a possible more effective cause
2.1.1 p.19 Causation may not be a process, if a crucial part of the process is 'disconnected'
2.1.1 p.20 A causal process needs to be connected to the effect in the right way
2.1.2 p.22 Causation can't be a process, because a process needs causation as a primitive
2.1.2 p.22 Causation is primitive; it is too intractable and central to be reduced; all explanations require it
2.1.2 p.22 If two different causes are possible in one set of circumstances, causation is primitive
2.1.2 p.22 All four probability versions of causation may need causation to be primitive
2.1.2 p.22 If causation is just observables, or part of common sense, or vacuous, it can't be primitive
2.1.2 p.22 The relata of causation (such as events) need properties as explanation, which need causation!
2.1.2 p.22 If causation is primitive, it can be experienced in ourselves, or inferred as best explanation
2.1.2 p.23 Causation is utterly essential for numerous philosophical explanations
2.1.2 p.23 The notion of causation allows understanding of science, without appearing in equations
2.2 p.24 Causal order is not temporal, because of time travel, and simultanous, joint or backward causes
2.2 p.24 Causal order must be temporal, or else causes could be blocked, and time couldn't be explained
2.3 p.27 Our selection of 'the' cause is very predictable, so must have a basis
2.3 p.28 Selecting 'the' cause must have a basis; there is no causation without such a selection
2008 Causation and Laws of Nature
1 p.83 Three types of reduction: Theoretical (of terms), Definitional (of concepts), Ontological (of reality)
3 p.86 Analysis aims at secure necessary and sufficient conditions
3 p.87 Individuation aims to count entities, by saying when there is one
3.1 p.89 'Reification' occurs if we mistake a concept for thing
3.2 p.92 If a notion is ontologically basic, it should be needed in our best attempt at science
n17 p.101 Tropes are the same as events
n22 p.102 Only ideal conceivability could indicate what is possible
n46 p.104 T adds □p→p for reflexivity, and is ideal for modeling lawhood
2009 Deflationary Metaontology of Thomasson
1 p.144 Are causal descriptions part of the causal theory of reference, or are they just metasemantic?
3.1 p.147 Identities can be true despite indeterminate reference, if true under all interpretations
3.1 n8 p.148 No sortal could ever exactly pin down which set of particles count as this 'cup'
2009 On What Grounds What
Intro p.347 Modern Quinean metaphysics is about what exists, but Aristotelian metaphysics asks about grounding
1.3 p.355 Maybe categories are just the different ways that things depend on basic substances
2.1 p.357 'Moorean certainties' are more credible than any sceptical argument
2.1 p.358 If 'there are red roses' implies 'there are roses', then 'there are prime numbers' implies 'there are numbers'
2.1 p.361 We should not multiply basic entities, but we can have as many derivative entities as we like
2.1 p.361 The cosmos is the only fundamental entity, from which all else exists by abstraction
2.1 n11 p.358 There exist heaps with no integral unity, so we should accept arbitrary composites in the same way
2.2 p.364 Supervenience is just modal correlation
2.2 p.364 Grounding is unanalysable and primitive, and is the basic structuring concept in metaphysics
2.3 p.368 Belief in impossible worlds may require dialetheism
2.3 p.373 If you tore the metaphysics out of philosophy, the whole enterprise would collapse
3.1 p.374 The notion of 'grounding' can explain integrated wholes in a way that mere aggregates can't
2012 Grounding, Transitivity and Contrastivity
Intro p.122 As causation links across time, grounding links the world across levels
Intro p.122 If ground is transitive and irreflexive, it has a strict partial ordering, giving structure
4.1.1 p.123 I take what is fundamental to be the whole spatiotemporal manifold and its fields
4.3.1 p.130 Nowadays causation is usually understood in terms of equations and variable ranges
4.3.1 p.131 Explaining 'Adam ate the apple' depends on emphasis, and thus implies a contrast