Ideas of Trenton Merricks, by Theme

[American, fl. 2003, Professor at the University of Virginia.]

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1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 3. Scientism
Empirical investigation can't discover if holes exist, or if two things share a colour
2. Reason / E. Argument / 1. Argument
Arguers often turn the opponent's modus ponens into their own modus tollens
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 2. Truthmaker Relation
A ground must be about its truth, and not just necessitate it
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 5. What Makes Truths / a. What makes truths
Truthmaker needs truths to be 'about' something, and that is often unclear
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 5. What Makes Truths / b. Objects make truths
If a ball changes from red to white, Truthmaker says some thing must make the change true
Truthmaker says if an entity is removed, some nonexistence truthmaker must replace it
If Truthmaker says each truth is made by the existence of something, the theory had de re modality at is core
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 5. What Makes Truths / c. States of affairs make truths
Truthmaker demands not just a predication, but an existing state of affairs with essential ingredients
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 5. What Makes Truths / d. Being makes truths
If 'truth supervenes on being', worlds with the same entities, properties and relations have the same truths
If truth supervenes on being, that won't explain why truth depends on being
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 6. Making Negative Truths
It is implausible that claims about non-existence are about existing things
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 11. Truthmaking and Correspondence
Truthmaker isn't the correspondence theory, because it offers no analysis of truth
3. Truth / B. Truthmakers / 12. Rejecting Truthmakers
I am a truthmaker for 'that a human exists', but is it about me?
Speculations about non-existent things are not about existent things, so Truthmaker is false
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 3. Correspondence Truth critique
Being true is not a relation, it is a primitive monadic property
If the correspondence theory is right, then necessary truths must correspond to something
3. Truth / F. Semantic Truth / 2. Semantic Truth
'Snow is white' only contingently expresses the proposition that snow is white
3. Truth / H. Deflationary Truth / 2. Deflationary Truth
Deflationism just says there is no property of being truth
4. Formal Logic / D. Modal Logic ML / 1. Modal Logic
Simple Quantified Modal Logc doesn't work, because the Converse Barcan is a theorem
4. Formal Logic / D. Modal Logic ML / 7. Barcan Formula
The Converse Barcan implies 'everything exists necessarily' is a consequence of 'necessarily, everything exists'
5. Theory of Logic / J. Model Theory in Logic / 1. Logical Models
Sentence logic maps truth values; predicate logic maps objects and sets
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 3. Being / d. Non-being
The totality state is the most plausible truthmaker for negative existential truths
Fregeans say 'hobbits do not exist' is just 'being a hobbit' is not exemplified
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 4. Events / a. Nature of events
Prolonged events don't seem to endure or exist at any particular time
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 9. Vagueness / a. Vagueness of reality
A crumbling statue can't become vague, because vagueness is incoherent
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 3. Types of Properties
Some properties seem to be primitive, but others can be analysed
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 4. Intrinsic Properties
Intrinsic properties are those an object still has even if only that object exists
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / c. Dispositions as conditional
An object can have a disposition when the revelant conditional is false
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 1. Physical Objects
Is swimming pool water an object, composed of its mass or parts?
I say that most of the objects of folk ontology do not exist
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 5. Simples
We can eliminate objects without a commitment to simples
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 6. Nihilism about Objects
Merricks agrees that there are no composite objects, but offers a different semantics
The 'folk' way of carving up the world is not intrinsically better than quite arbitrary ways
If atoms 'arranged baseballwise' break a window, that analytically entails that a baseball did it
Overdetermination: the atoms do all the causing, so the baseball causes no breakage
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / c. Statue and clay
Clay does not 'constitute' a statue, as they have different persistence conditions (flaking, squashing)
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 5. Composition of an Object
'Unrestricted composition' says any two things can make up a third thing
Composition as identity is false, as identity is never between a single thing and many things
Composition as identity is false, as it implies that things never change their parts
There is no visible difference between statues, and atoms arranged statuewise
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 6. Constitution of an Object
'Composition' says things are their parts; 'constitution' says a whole substance is an object
It seems wrong that constitution entails that two objects are wholly co-located
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 8. Parts of Objects / a. Parts of objects
Objects decompose (it seems) into non-overlapping parts that fill its whole region
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 5. Temporal Parts
You believe you existed last year, but your segment doesn't, so they have different beliefs
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 12. Origin as Essential
In twinning, one person has the same origin as another person
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 13. No Identity over Time
Eliminativism about objects gives the best understanding of the Sorites paradox
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 9. Counterfactuals
Counterfactuals aren't about actuality, so they lack truthmakers or a supervenience base
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 3. Transworld Objects / c. Counterparts
If my counterpart is happy, that is irrelevant to whether I 'could' have been happy
If 'Fido is possibly black' depends on Fido's counterparts, then it has no actual truthmaker
13. Knowledge Criteria / A. Justification Problems / 1. Justification / a. Justification issues
The 'warrant' for a belief is what turns a true belief into knowledge
16. Persons / A. Concept of a Person / 1. Existence of Persons
Maybe the word 'I' can only refer to persons
16. Persons / A. Concept of a Person / 4. Persons as Animals
You hold a child in your arms, so it is not mental substance, or mental state, or software
16. Persons / F. Free Will / 1. Free Will / a. Nature of free will
Free will and determinism are incompatible, since determinism destroys human choice
17. Mind and Body / D. Property Dualism / 4. Emergentism
Human organisms can exercise downward causation
18. Thought / C. Content / 7. Narrow Content
Before Creation it is assumed that God still had many many mental properties
The hypothesis of solipsism doesn't seem to be made incoherent by the nature of mental properties
19. Language / B. Meaning / 1. Meaning
I don't accept that if a proposition is directly about an entity, it has a relation to the entity
19. Language / B. Meaning / 6. Meaning as Truth-Conditions
A sentence's truth conditions depend on context
19. Language / E. Propositions / 2. Nature of Propositions
'Cicero is an orator' represents the same situation as 'Tully is an orator', so they are one proposition
The standard view of propositions says they never change their truth-value
Early Russell says a proposition is identical with its truthmaking state of affairs
Unity of the proposition questions: what unites them? can the same constituents make different ones?
We want to explain not just what unites the constituents, but what unites them into a proposition
Propositions are standardly treated as possible worlds, or as structured
Propositions can be 'about' an entity, but that doesn't make the entity a constituent of it
Propositions are necessary existents which essentially (but inexplicably) represent things
True propositions existed prior to their being thought, and might never be thought
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 4. Time / f. Presentism
How can a presentist explain an object's having existed?
Presentists say that things have existed and will exist, not that they are instantaneous
Presentist should deny there is a present time, and just say that things 'exist'
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 4. Time / g. Eternalism
Eternalism says all times are equally real, and future and past objects and properties are real
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 4. Time / h. Growing block of time
Growing block has a subjective present and a growing edge - but these could come apart
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 4. Time / i. Time and change
Maybe only presentism allows change, by now having a property, and then lacking it