Ideas from 'The Possibility of Metaphysics' by E.J. Lowe [1998], by Theme Structure

[found in 'The Possibility of Metaphysics' by Lowe,E.J. [OUP 2001,0-19-924499-5]].

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1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 1. Nature of Metaphysics
Metaphysics is the mapping of possibilities
Science needs metaphysics to weed out its presuppositions
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 4. Metaphysics beyond Science
Only metaphysics can decide whether identity survives through change
Metaphysics tells us what there could be, rather than what there is
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 2. Correspondence to Facts
Maybe facts are just true propositions
3. Truth / C. Correspondence Truth / 3. Correspondence Truth critique
One-to-one correspondence would need countable, individuable items
4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 1. Set Theory
A set is a 'number of things', not a 'collection', because nothing actually collects the members
4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 3. Types of Set / b. Empty (Null) Set
I don't believe in the empty set, because (lacking members) it lacks identity-conditions
5. Theory of Logic / G. Quantification / 3. Objectual Quantification
It is better if the existential quantifier refers to 'something', rather than a 'thing' which needs individuation
6. Mathematics / B. Foundations for Mathematics / 4. Definitions of Number / c. Fregean numbers
Numbers are universals, being sets whose instances are sets of appropriate cardinality
6. Mathematics / B. Foundations for Mathematics / 4. Definitions of Number / d. Hume's Principle
Simple counting is more basic than spotting that one-to-one correlation makes sets equinumerous
Fs and Gs are identical in number if they one-to-one correlate with one another
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 1. Mathematical Platonism / a. For mathematical platonism
Sets are instances of numbers (rather than 'collections'); numbers explain sets, not vice versa
If 2 is a particular, then adding particulars to themselves does nothing, and 2+2=2
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 1. Mathematical Platonism / b. Against mathematical platonism
Does the existence of numbers matter, in the way space, time and persons do?
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 1. Nature of Existence
All possible worlds contain abstracta (e.g. numbers), which means they contain concrete objects
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 8. Criterion for Existence
Perhaps possession of causal power is the hallmark of existence (and a reason to deny the void)
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 1. Nature of Change
Heraclitus says change is new creation, and Spinoza that it is just phases of the one substance
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 4. Events / a. Nature of events
Events are changes or non-changes in properties and relations of persisting objects
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 4. Events / b. Events as primitive
Events are ontologically indispensable for singular causal explanations
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 7. Facts / a. Facts
Are facts wholly abstract, or can they contain some concrete constituents?
Facts cannot be wholly abstract if they enter into causal relations
The problem with the structured complex view of facts is what binds the constituents
It is whimsical to try to count facts - how many facts did I learn before breakfast?
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 7. Facts / d. Facts rejected
Facts are needed for truth-making and causation, but they seem to lack identity criteria
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 10. Ontological Commitment / a. Ontological commitment
Two of the main rivals for the foundations of ontology are substances, and facts or states-of-affairs
Some abstractions exist despite lacking causal powers, because explanation needs them
7. Existence / D. Theories of Reality / 10. Ontological Commitment / e. Ontological commitment problems
How can a theory of meaning show the ontological commitments of two paraphrases of one idea?
7. Existence / E. Categories / 1. Categories
Ontological categories are not natural kinds: the latter can only be distinguished using the former
7. Existence / E. Categories / 3. Proposed Categories
The top division of categories is either abstract/concrete, or universal/particular, or necessary/contingent
Lowe divides things into universals and particulars, then kinds and properties, and abstract/concrete
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 10. Properties as Predicates
Is 'the Thames is broad in London' relational, or adverbial, or segmental?
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 13. Tropes / a. Nature of tropes
I prefer 'modes' to 'tropes', because it emphasises their dependence
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 13. Tropes / b. Critique of tropes
Tropes cannot have clear identity-conditions, so they are not objects
How can tropes depend on objects for their identity, if objects are just bundles of tropes?
Why cannot a trope float off and join another bundle?
Does a ball snug in plaster have one trope, or two which coincide?
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 1. Universals
Sortal terms for universals involve a substance, whereas adjectival terms do not
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 2. Need for Universals
Real universals are needed to explain laws of nature
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 4. Uninstantiated Universals
Particulars are instantiations, and universals are instantiables
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 1. Physical Objects
Perhaps concrete objects are entities which are in space-time and subject to causality
Our commitment to the existence of objects should depend on their explanatory value
Objects are entities with full identity-conditions, but there are entities other than objects
To be an object at all requires identity-conditions
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 3. Objects in Thought
An object is an entity which has identity-conditions
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / a. Individuation
Some things (such as electrons) can be countable, while lacking proper identity
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / b. Individuation by properties
Criteria of identity cannot individuate objects, because they are shared among different types
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / c. Individuation by location
Diversity of two tigers is their difference in space-time; difference of matter is a consequence
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 4. Individuation / e. Individuation by kind
Individuation principles identify what kind it is; identity criteria distinguish items of the same kind
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 2. Substance / d. Substance defined
A 'substance' is an object which doesn't depend for existence on other objects
9. Objects / C. Structure of Objects / 5. Composition of an Object
The identity of composite objects isn't fixed by original composition, because how do you identify the origin?
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 3. Three-Dimensionalism
An object 'endures' if it is always wholly present, and 'perdures' if different parts exist at different times
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 4. Four-Dimensionalism
How can you identify temporal parts of tomatoes without referring to tomatoes?
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 3. Relative Identity
A clear idea of the kind of an object must precede a criterion of identity for it
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 4. Type Identity
One view is that two objects of the same type are only distinguished by differing in matter
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 3. Types of Necessity
'Conceptual' necessity is narrow logical necessity, true because of concepts and logical laws
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 5. Metaphysical Necessity
Metaphysical necessity is logical necessity 'broadly construed'
10. Modality / A. Necessity / 6. Logical Necessity
Logical necessity can be 'strict' (laws), or 'narrow' (laws and definitions), or 'broad' (all logical worlds)
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 1. Possibility
The metaphysically possible is what acceptable principles and categories will permit
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 1. Possible Worlds / e. Against possible worlds
Does every abstract possible world exist in every possible world?
11. Knowledge Aims / C. Knowing Reality / 3. Idealism
While space may just be appearance, time and change can't be, because the appearances change
12. Knowledge Sources / B. Perception / 2. Qualities in Perception / a. Qualities in perception
Properties or qualities are essentially adjectival, not objectual
17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 1. Dualism
The idea that Cartesian souls are made of some ghostly 'immaterial' stuff is quite unwarranted
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 6. Abstract Concepts / a. Abstract concepts
Abstractions are non-spatial, or dependent, or derived from concepts
18. Thought / D. Concepts / 6. Abstract Concepts / g. Abstracta by equivalence
You can think of a direction without a line, but a direction existing with no lines is inconceivable
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 3. Space / b. Points in space
Points are limits of parts of space, so parts of space cannot be aggregates of them
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Particular Causation / b. Causal relata
To cite facts as the elements in causation is to confuse states of affairs with states of objects