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Ideas of Sally Haslanger, by Text

[American, fl. 2003, Professor at Masschusettts Institute of Technology.]

1989 Persistence, Change and Explanation
1 p.160 Ontology disputes rest on more basic explanation disputes
     Full Idea: Disputes over ontology derive from more fundamental disputes over forms of explanation.
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 1)
     A reaction: It immediately strikes me that Haslanger has stolen my master idea, but unfortunately the dating suggests that she has priority. The tricky part is to combine this view with realism.
1 p.160 The persistence of objects seems to be needed if the past is to explain the present
     Full Idea: The notion that things persist through change is deeply embedded in ideas we have about explanation, and in particular, in the idea that the present is constrained by the past.
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 1)
     A reaction: I take this to be both an important and an attractive idea. Deniers of persistence (4D-ists) will presumably have some ability to explain the present, but it is the idea of the present being 'constrained' by the past which is a challenge.
1 n2 p.180 By using aporiai as his start, Aristotle can defer to the wise, as well as to the many
     Full Idea: The Aristotelian method of working form aporia allows one to use as starting points not only what is said by 'the many', but also what is said by 'the wise', including philosophers.
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 1 n2)
     A reaction: [She mentions Nussbaum 1986:ch 7 for the opposing view] I like this thought a lot. Aristotle's democratic respect for widespread views can be a bit puzzling sometimes.
5 p.170 Best explanations, especially natural ones, need grounding, notably by persistent objects
     Full Idea: I am not resting my ontology on a simple 'argument to the best explanation'. ..What I want to say is that there are general demands on a kind of explanation, in particular, natural explanation, which require that there are persisting things.
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 5)
     A reaction: This is a really nice idea - that best explanation is not just about specific cases, but also about best foundations for explanations in general, which brings in our metaphysics. I defend the role of essences in these best explanations.
7 p.172 We must explain change amongst 'momentary entities', or else the world is inexplicable
     Full Idea: If the world of time-slices is to be explicable, then it must be possible to provide explanations of change understood as a continual generation and destruction of these 'momentary entities'.
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 7)
     A reaction: While fans of time-slices can offer some sort of explanation, in the process of explaining a 'worm', there don't seem to be the sort of causal chains that we traditionally rely on. Maybe there are no explanations of anything?
7 p.173 If the things which exist prior to now are totally distinct, they need not have existed
     Full Idea: How is the case in which A exists prior to B, but is distinct from B, different (especially from B's point of view) from the case in which nothing exists prior to B?
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 7)
     A reaction: I sympathise with her view, but this isn't persuasive. For A substitute 'Sally's mother' and for B substitute 'Sally'. A 4D-ist could bite the bullet and say that, indeed, previous parts of my 'worm' need not have existed.
7 p.177 Natural explanations give the causal interconnections
     Full Idea: Natural explanations work by showing the systematic causal interconnections between things.
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 7)
     A reaction: On the whole I love this sort of idea, but I am wondering if this one prevents mathematical or logical explanations from being natural.
8 p.178 Persistence makes change and its products intelligible
     Full Idea: Persistence offers intelligibility: the possibility of understanding a change, and of understanding the products of it.
     From: Sally Haslanger (Persistence, Change and Explanation [1989], 8)
     A reaction: I think this is exactly right, and it is a powerful idea with wide implications for metaphysics. Haslanger claims that an understanding of 'substance' is needed, which leads towards my defence of essentialism.