Ideas of Harré,R./Madden,E.H., by Theme

[British, fl. 1975, Associated with Oxford University.]

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1. Philosophy / D. Nature of Philosophy / 4. Aims of Philosophy / e. Philosophy as reason
Like disastrous small errors in navigation, small misunderstandings can wreck intellectual life
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 5. Metaphysics as Conceptual
Philosophy devises and assesses conceptual schemes in the service of worldviews
1. Philosophy / F. Analytic Philosophy / 2. Conceptual Analysis
Humeans see analysis in terms of formal logic, because necessities are fundamentally logical relations
Analysis of concepts based neither on formalism nor psychology can arise from examining what we know
1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 2. Positivism
Positivism says science only refers to immediate experiences
2. Reason / D. Definition / 1. Definitions
Logically, definitions have a subject, and a set of necessary predicates
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 3. Numbers / b. Types of number
Points can be 'dense' by unending division, but must meet a tougher criterion to be 'continuous'
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 3. Numbers / i. Reals from cuts
Points are 'continuous' if any 'cut' point participates in both halves of the cut
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 10. Constructivism / e. Psychologism
There is not an exclusive dichotomy between the formal and the logical
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 1. Nature of Change
Humeans can only explain change with continuity as successive replacement
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 4. Events / b. Events as primitive
Humeans construct their objects from events, but we construct events from objects
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 4. Events / c. Reduction of events
The induction problem fades if you work with things, rather than with events
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 6. Fundamentals / a. Fundamental reality
Fundamental particulars can't change
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 8. Stuff / a. Pure stuff
Hard individual blocks don't fix what 'things' are; fluids are no less material things
7. Existence / C. Structure of Existence / 8. Stuff / b. Mixtures
Magnetic and gravity fields can occupy the same place without merging
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 5. Physicalism
Gravitational and electrical fields are, for a materialist, distressingly empty of material
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 8. States of Affairs
Events are changes in states of affairs (which consist of structured particulars, with powers and relations)
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 5. Natural Properties
Humeans see predicates as independent, but science says they are connected
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 1. Powers
Energy was introduced to physics to refer to the 'store of potency' of a moving ball
Some powers need a stimulus, but others are just released
Some powers are variable, others cannot change (without destroying an identity)
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 2. Powers as Basic
Scientists define copper almost entirely (bar atomic number) in terms of its dispositions
We explain powers by the natures of things, but explanations end in inexplicable powers
Maybe a physical field qualifies as ultimate, if its nature is identical with its powers
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 3. Powers as Derived
Powers are not qualities; they just point to directions of empirical investigation
8. Modes of Existence / C. Powers and Dispositions / 6. Dispositions / d. Dispositions as occurrent
What is a field of potentials, if it only consists of possible events?
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 6. Nihilism about Objects
The good criticism of substance by Humeans also loses them the vital concept of a thing
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / e. Substance critique
We can escape substance and its properties, if we take fields of pure powers as ultimate
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 3. Matter of an Object
The assumption that shape and solidity are fundamental implies dubious 'substance' in bodies
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 7. Substratum
The notorious substratum results from substance-with-qualities; individuals-with-powers solves this
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 6. Essence as Unifier
In logic the nature of a kind, substance or individual is the essence which is inseparable from what it is
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 9. Essence and Properties
We can infer a new property of a thing from its other properties, via its essential nature
9. Objects / D. Essence of Objects / 15. Against Essentialism
We say the essence of particles is energy, but only so we can tell a story about the nature of things
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 2. Objects that Change
To say something remains the same but lacks its capacities and powers seems a contradiction
Some individuals can gain or lose capacities or powers, without losing their identity
A particular might change all of its characteristics, retaining mere numerical identity
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 3. Three-Dimensionalism
'Dense' time raises doubts about continuous objects, so they need 'continuous' time
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 4. Four-Dimensionalism
If things are successive instantaneous events, nothing requires those events to resemble one another
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 8. Continuity of Rivers
Humeans cannot step in the same river twice, because they cannot strictly form the concept of 'river'
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 2. Nature of Necessity
What reduces the field of the possible is a step towards necessity
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 3. Types of Necessity
There is 'absolute' necessity (implied by all propositions) and 'relative' necessity (from what is given)
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 6. Logical Necessity
Logical necessity is grounded in the logical form of a statement
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 7. Natural Necessity
Natural necessity is not logical necessity or empirical contingency in disguise
The relation between what a thing is and what it can do or undergo relate by natural necessity
A necessity corresponds to the nature of the actual
Natural necessity is when powerful particulars must produce certain results in a situation
People doubt science because if it isn't logically necessary it seems to be absolutely contingent
Property or event relations are naturally necessary if generated by essential mechanisms
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 8. Transcendental Necessity
Transcendental necessity is conditions of a world required for a rational being to know its nature
There is a transcendental necessity for each logical necessity, but the transcendental extends further
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 9. Counterfactuals
Counterfactuals are just right for analysing statements about the powers which things have
10. Modality / C. Sources of Modality / 3. Necessity by Convention
If natural necessity is used to include or exclude some predicate, the predicate is conceptually necessary
Having a child is contingent for a 'man', necessary for a 'father'; but the latter reflects a necessity nature
10. Modality / C. Sources of Modality / 4. Necessity from Concepts
Is conceptual necessity just conventional, or does it mirror something about nature?
There is a conceptual necessity when properties become a standard part of a nominal essence
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 1. A Priori Necessary
Necessity and contingency are separate from the a priori and the a posteriori
10. Modality / D. Knowledge of Modality / 4. Conceivable as Possible / b. Conceivable but impossible
If Goldbach's Conjecture is true (and logically necessary), we may be able to conceive its opposite
11. Knowledge Aims / B. Certain Knowledge / 2. Common Sense Certainty
It is silly to say that direct experience must be justified, either by reason, or by more experience
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 4. Sense Data / d. Sense-data problems
We experience qualities as of objects, not on their own
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 6. Inference in Perception
Inference in perception is unconvincingly defended as non-conscious and almost instantaneous
12. Knowledge Sources / D. Empiricism / 2. Associationism
Humean impressions are too instantaneous and simple to have structure or relations
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 1. Scientific Theory
Clavius's Paradox: purely syntactic entailment theories won't explain, because they are too profuse
Simplicity can sort theories out, but still leaves an infinity of possibilities
The powers/natures approach has been so successful (for electricity, magnetism, gravity) it may be universal
14. Science / B. Scientific Theories / 2. Aim of Science
We prefer the theory which explains and predicts the powers and capacities of particulars
Science investigates the nature and constitution of things or substances
14. Science / C. Induction / 3. Limits of Induction
Hume's atomic events makes properties independent, and leads to problems with induction
Conjunctions explain nothing, and so do not give a reason for confidence in inductions
14. Science / C. Induction / 5. Paradoxes of Induction / b. Raven paradox
Contraposition may be equivalent in truth, but not true in nature, because of irrelevant predicates
The items put forward by the contraposition belong within different natural clusters
The possibility that all ravens are black is a law depends on a mechanism producing the blackness
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / b. Aims of explanation
Only changes require explanation
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / c. Direction of explanation
Powers can explain the direction of causality, and make it a natural necessity
If explanation is by entailment, that lacks a causal direction, unlike natural necessity
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / h. Explanations by mechanism
If the nature of particulars explains their powers, it also explains their relations and behaviour
Powers and natures lead us to hypothesise underlying mechanisms, which may be real
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / i. Explanations by reduction
Solidity comes from the power of repulsion, and shape from the power of attraction
14. Science / D. Explanation / 2. Types of Explanation / j. Explanations by essence
Essence explains passive capacities as well as active powers
15. Nature of Minds / C. Capacities of Minds / 5. Generalisation by mind
The very concepts of a particular power or nature imply the possibility of being generalised
18. Thought / C. Content / 5. Twin Earth
What properties a thing must have to be a type of substance can be laid down a priori
19. Language / F. Communication / 5. Pragmatics / a. Contextual meaning
We say there is 'no alternative' in all sorts of contexts, and there are many different grounds for it
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 3. Space / a. Space
Space can't be an individual (in space), but it is present in all places
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 6. Natural Kinds / e. Necessity of kinds
We can base the idea of a natural kind on the mechanisms that produce natural necessity
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 6. Natural Kinds / g. Critique of kinds
Species do not have enough constancy to be natural kinds
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation / b. Types of cause
If the concept of a cause includes its usual effects, we call it a 'power'
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation / e. Direction of causation
Humean accounts of causal direction by time fail, because cause and effect can occur together
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation / f. Causation as primitive
Active causal power is just objects at work, not something existing in itself
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Particular Causation / a. Observation of causation
Causation always involves particular productive things
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Particular Causation / c. Conditions of causation
Efficient causes combine stimulus to individuals, absence of contraints on activity
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Particular Causation / d. Selecting the cause
The cause (or part of it) is what stimulates or releases the powerful particular thing involved
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 1. Laws of Nature
Being lawlike seems to resist formal analysis, because there are always counter-examples
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 5. Laws from Universals
Originally Humeans based lawlike statements on pure qualities, without particulars
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / b. Scientific necessity
Necessary effects will follow from some general theory specifying powers and structure of a world
Humeans say there is no necessity in causation, because denying an effect is never self-contradictory
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 8. Scientific Essentialism / c. Essence and laws
In lawful universal statements (unlike accidental ones) we see why the regularity holds
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 12. Against Laws of Nature
We could call any generalisation a law, if it had reasonable support and no counter-evidence
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 2. Movement
We perceive motion, and not just successive occupations of different positions
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 4. Energy
'Energy' is a quasi-substance invented as the bearer of change during interactions
'Kinetic energy' is used to explain the effects of moving things when they are stopped
27. Natural Reality / B. Chemistry / 1. Chemistry
Chemical atoms have two powers: to enter certain combinations, and to emit a particular spectrum
Chemistry is not purely structural; CO2 is not the same as SO2
28. God / E. Attitudes to God / 4. Atheism
Theism is supposed to make the world more intelligible - and should offer results