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Ideas of John Heil, by Text

[American, fl. 1996, Professor at Davidson College, North Carolina, the Washington Univ, St Louis.]

1998 Philosophy of Mind
Intro p.6 There is no such thing as 'science'; there are just many different sciences
Pref p.-3 From the property predicates P and Q, we can get 'P or Q', but it doesn't have to designate another property
Pref p.-3 You can't embrace the formal apparatus of possible worlds, but reject the ontology
Ch.2 p.30 If causation is just regularities in events, the interaction of mind and body is not a special problem
Ch.2 p.34 Idealism explains appearances by identifying appearances with reality
Ch.2 p.41 If you can have the boat without its current planks, and the planks with no boat, the planks aren't the boat
Ch.2 n p.48 'Property dualism' says mind and body are not substances, but distinct families of properties
Ch.3 p.55 A scientist could know everything about the physiology of headaches, but never have had one
Ch.3 p.64 No mental state entails inevitable behaviour, because other beliefs or desires may intervene
Ch.3 p.72 The appeal of the identity theory is its simplicity, and its solution to the mental causation problem
Ch.3 p.75 Early identity theory talked of mind and brain 'processes', but now the focus is properties
Ch.4 p.94 Functionalists emphasise that mental processes are not to be reduced to what realises them
Ch.4 p.97 Hearts are material, but functionalism says the property of being a heart is not a material property
Ch.4 p.116 Higher-level sciences cannot be reduced, because their concepts mark boundaries invisible at lower levels
Ch.4 p.117 Higher-level sciences designate real properties of objects, which are not reducible to lower levels
Ch.4 p.118 Functionalists in Fodor's camp usually say that a genuine property is one that figures in some causal laws
Ch.5 p.133 If propositions are abstract entities, how do human beings interact with them?
Ch.5 p.134 Truth-conditions correspond to the idea of 'literal meaning'
Ch.5 p.136 To understand 'birds warble' and 'tigers growl', you must also understand 'tigers warble'
Ch.5 p.152 Folk psychology and neuroscience are no more competitors than cartography and geology are
Ch.5 p.170 It seems contradictory to be asked to believe that we can be eliminativist about beliefs
Ch.6 p.175 Different generations focus on either the quality of mind, or its scientific standing, or the content of thought
Ch.6 p.180 Complex properties are just arrangements of simple properties; they do not "emerge" as separate
Ch.6 p.180 The supporters of 'tropes' treat objects as bundles of tropes, when I think objects 'possess' properties
Ch.6 p.184 Disposition is a fundamental feature of reality, since basic particles are capable of endless possible interactions
Ch.6 p.192 Complex properties are not new properties, they are merely new combinations of properties
Ch.6 p.193 A higher level is 'supervenient' if it is determined by lower levels, but has its own natural laws
Ch.6 p.196 A stone does not possess the property of being a stone; its other properties make it a stone
Ch.6 p.198 If minds are realised materially, it looks as if the material laws will pre-empt any causal role for mind
Ch.6 p.200 'Multiple realisability' needs to clearly distinguish low-level realisers from what is realised
Ch.6 p.202 Multiple realisability is not a relation among properties, but an application of predicates to resembling things
Ch.6 p.206 Whatever exists has qualities, so it is no surprise that states of minds have qualities
Ch.6 p.210 Error must be possible in introspection, because error is possible in all judgements
Ch.6 p.212 Propositional attitudes are not the only intentional states; there is also mental imagery
Ch.6 p.212 Is mental imagery pictorial, or is it propositional?
Ch.6 p.212 If you are a functionalist, there appears to be no room for qualia
Ch.6 p.215 The widespread externalist view says intentionality has content because of causal links of agent to world
2003 From an Ontological Point of View
Pref p.-9 If you begin philosophy with language, you find yourself trapped in it
Intro p.10 There are levels of organisation, complexity, description and explanation, but not of reality
Intro p.10 If propositions are states of affairs or sets of possible worlds, these lack truth values
Intro p.11 I think of properties as simultaneously dispositional and qualitative
Intro p.11 The view that truth making is entailment is misguided and misleading
Intro p.12 Trope theorists usually see objects as 'bundles' of tropes
Intro p.12 Similarity among modes will explain everthing universals were for
Intro p.14 Dispositionality provides the grounding for intentionality
Intro p.14 Qualia are not extra appendages, but intrinsic ingredients of material states and processes
02.3 p.20 If a car is a higher-level entity, distinct from its parts, how could it ever do anything?
03.2 p.23 The Picture Theory claims we can read reality from our ways of speaking about it
03.3 p.26 A predicate applies truly if it picks out a real property of objects
04.2 p.41 Objects are substances, which are objects considered as the bearer of properties
04.3 p.34 The standard view is that causal sequences are backed by laws, and between particular events
04.3 p.35 The reductionist programme dispenses with levels of reality
05.2 p.41 Maybe there is only one substance, space-time or a quantum field
05.3 p.44 Concepts don't carve up the world, which has endless overlooked or ignored divisions
06.4 p.59 If the world is theory-dependent, the theories themselves can't be theory-dependent
09.2 p.87 Powers or dispositions are usually seen as caused by lower-level qualities
09.4 p.94 Are a property's dispositions built in, or contingently added?
11.2 p.114 Science is sometimes said to classify powers, neglecting qualities
11.3 p.115 Functionalists say objects can be the same in disposition but differ in quality
11.4 p.118 If properties were qualities without dispositions, they would be undetectable
11.6 p.122 Can we distinguish the way a property is from the property?
12.1 p.126 Properties don't possess ways they are, because that just is the property
12.2 p.129 Objects join sets because of properties; the property is not bestowed by set membership
13.1 p.137 Universals explain one-over-many relations, and similar qualities, and similar behaviour
13.4 p.142 The real natural properties are sparse, but there are many complex properties
13.4 n6 p.143 God does not create the world, and then add the classes
13.6 p.146 Parsimony does not imply the world is simple, but that our theories should try to be
13.6 p.146 A theory with few fundamental principles might still posit a lot of entities
13.7 p.148 How could you tell if the universals were missing from a world of instances?
14.10 p.163 Secondary qualities are just primary qualities considered in the light of their effect on us
14.11 p.166 Realism says some of our concepts 'cut nature at the joints'
14.2 p.152 Similar objects have similar properties; properties are directly similar
14.5 p.157 A theory of universals says similarity is identity of parts; for modes, similarity is primitive
14.8 p.160 Multiple realisability is actually one predicate applying to a diverse range of properties
15.3 p.172 Rather than 'substance' I use 'objects', which have properties
16.3 p.182 Statues and bronze lumps have discernible differences, so can't be identical
16.5 p.184 Do we reduce statues to bronze, or eliminate statues, or allow statues and bronze?
17.3 p.200 Objects only have secondary qualities because they have primary qualities
17.4 p.201 Colours aren't surface properties, because of radiant sources and the colour of the sky
17.4 p.201 Treating colour as light radiation has the implausible result that tomatoes are not red
18.2 p.208 Intentionality now has internalist (intrinsic to thinkers) and externalist (environment or community) views
18.4 p.214 Intentionality is based in dispositions, which are intrinsic to agents, suggesting internalism
18.5 n6 p.215 Externalism is causal-historical, or social, or biological
19.8 p.236 One form of explanation is by decomposition
19.8 n14 p.235 The 'explanatory gap' is used to say consciousness is inexplicable, at least with current concepts
20.1 n1 p.241 Philosophers' zombies aim to show consciousness is over and above the physical world
20.2 p.242 Functionalism cannot explain consciousness just by functional organisation
20.3 p.243 Zombies are based on the idea that consciousness relates contingently to the physical
20.5 p.247 Functionalists deny zombies, since identity of functional state means identity of mental state
20.6 p.249 If the world is just texts or social constructs, what are texts and social constructs?
20.6 p.249 Anti-realists who reduce reality to language must explain the existence of language
2012 The Universe as We Find It
Pref p.-4 Using a technical vocabulary actually prevents discussion of the presuppositions
Pref p.-2 The best philosophers I know are the best people I know
01.1 p.1 Only particulars exist, and generality is our mode of presentation
01.1 p.2 Fundamental ontology aims at the preconditions for any true theory
01.2 p.3 Questions of explanation should not be confused with metaphyics
01.3 p.4 Substances bear properties, so must be simple, and not consist of further substances
01.4 p.9 Most philosophers now (absurdly) believe that relations fully exist
01.5 p.10 Not all truths need truthmakers - mathematics and logic seem to be just true
02.3 p.17 We need properties to explain how the world works
02.3 p.18 Properties have causal roles which sets can't possibly have
02.5 p.25 Ontology aims to give the fundamental categories of being
02.6 p.29 Emergent properties will need emergent substances to bear them
03.1 p.34 Many wholes can survive replacement of their parts
03.1 p.35 Spatial parts are just regions, but objects depend on and are made up of substantial parts
03.3 p.40 A 'gunky' universe would literally have no parts at all
03.4 p.40 Dunes depend on sand grains, but line segments depend on the whole line
03.5 p.43 Infinite numbers are qualitatively different - they are not just very large numbers
03.6 p.45 If there were infinite electrons, they could vanish without affecting total mass-energy
03.7 p.47 Electrons are treated as particles, but they lose their individuality in relations
04.3 p.58 Categorical properties were introduced by philosophers as actual properties, not if-then properties
04.4 p.60 Are all properties powers, or are there also qualities, or do qualities have the powers?
05.1 p.84 Properties are both qualitative and dispositional - they are powerful qualities
05.7 p.106 Mental abstraction does not make what is abstracted mind-dependent
06.1 p.118 We should focus on actual causings, rather than on laws and causal sequences
06.5 p.125 Probabilistic causation is not a weak type of cause; it is just a probability of there being a cause
07.2 p.139 Philosophers of the past took the truthmaking idea for granted
07.4 p.148 If causal relations are power manifestations, that makes them internal relations
08.01 p.152 In Fa, F may not be a property of a, but a determinable, satisfied by some determinate
08.02 p.156 Truth relates truthbearers to truthmakers
08.07 p.169 If possible worlds are just fictions, they can't be truthmakers for modal judgements
08.07 p.170 Many reject 'moral realism' because they can't see any truthmakers for normative judgements
08.07 p.170 Abstract objects wouldn't be very popular without the implicit idea of truthmakers
08.08 p.171 Our quantifications only reveal the truths we accept; the ontology and truthmakers are another matter
08.08 p.172 How could structures be mathematical truthmakers? Maths is just true, without truthmakers
08.09 p.177 Maybe the universe is fine-tuned because it had to be, despite plans by God or Nature?
08.09 p.177 If basic physics has natures, then why not reality itself? That would then found the deepest necessities
08.10 p.178 You can think of tomatoes without grasping what they are
09.7 p.195 Without abstraction we couldn't think systematically
10.1 p.206 The subject-predicate form reflects reality
12.10 p.272 Linguistic thought is just as imagistic as non-linguistic thought
12.10 p.273 Non-conscious thought may be unlike conscious thought
13.2 p.279 Our categories lack the neat arrangement needed for reduction
13.2 p.287 Predicates only match properties at the level of fundamentals