Ideas of Michael Devitt, by Theme

[American, b.1938, Professor at the University of Maryland, then Professor at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York.]

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8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 1. Universals
Realism doesn't explain 'a is F' any further by saying it is 'a has F-ness'
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 1. Nominalism / b. Nominalism about universals
The particular/universal distinction is unhelpful clutter; we should accept 'a is F' as basic
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 1. Nominalism / c. Nominalism about abstracta
Quineans take predication about objects as basic, not reference to properties they may have
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 10. Essence as Species
Essentialism concerns the nature of a group, not its category
Things that gradually change, like species, can still have essences
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 4. A Priori as Necessities
Why should necessities only be knowable a priori? That Hesperus is Phosporus is known empirically.
How could the mind have a link to the necessary character of reality?
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 9. A Priori from Concepts
We explain away a priori knowledge, not as directly empirical, but as indirectly holistically empirical
12. Knowledge Sources / A. A Priori Knowledge / 11. Denying the A Priori
The idea of the a priori is so obscure that it won't explain anything
Some knowledge must be empirical; naturalism implies that all knowledge is like that
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 6. Natural Kinds / a. Natural kinds
Some kinds are very explanatory, but others less so, and some not at all
27. Natural Reality / C. Biology / 5. Species
We name species as small to share properties, but large enough to yield generalisations
Species are phenetic, biological, niche, or phylogenetic-cladistic
The higher categories are not natural kinds, so the Linnaean hierarchy should be given up
Species pluralism says there are several good accounts of what a species is