Ideas from 'A Survey of Metaphysics' by E.J. Lowe [2002], by Theme Structure

[found in 'A Survey of Metaphysics' by Lowe,E.J. [OUP 2002,0-19-875253-9]].

Click on the Idea Number for the full details    |     back to texts     |     expand these ideas


1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 3. Metaphysics as Science
Metaphysics is concerned with the fundamental structure of reality as a whole
1. Philosophy / E. Nature of Metaphysics / 5. Metaphysics as Conceptual
Maybe such concepts as causation, identity and existence are primitive and irreducible
1. Philosophy / G. Scientific Philosophy / 2. Positivism
If all that exists is what is being measured, what about the people and instruments doing the measuring?
2. Reason / B. Laws of Thought / 6. Ockham's Razor
It is more extravagant, in general, to revise one's logic than to augment one's ontology
5. Theory of Logic / L. Paradox / 4. Paradoxes in Logic / a. Achilles paradox
An infinite series of tasks can't be completed because it has no last member
6. Mathematics / A. Nature of Mathematics / 1. Mathematics
It might be argued that mathematics does not, or should not, aim at truth
6. Mathematics / C. Sources of Mathematics / 1. Mathematical Platonism / a. For mathematical platonism
If there are infinite numbers and finite concrete objects, this implies that numbers are abstract objects
7. Existence / A. Nature of Existence / 6. Abstract Existence
Nominalists deny abstract objects, because we can have no reason to believe in their existence
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 1. Nature of Change
Four theories of qualitative change are 'a is F now', or 'a is F-at-t', or 'a-at-t is F', or 'a is-at-t F'
Change can be of composition (the component parts), or quality (properties), or substance
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 4. Events / a. Nature of events
Numerically distinct events of the same kind (like two battles) can coincide in space and time
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 4. Events / b. Events as primitive
Maybe modern physics requires an event-ontology, rather than a thing-ontology
7. Existence / B. Change in Existence / 4. Events / c. Reduction of events
Maybe an event is the exemplification of a property at a time
Events are changes in the properties of or relations between things
7. Existence / E. Categories / 3. Proposed Categories
The main categories of existence are either universal and particular, or abstract and concrete
8. Modes of Existence / B. Properties / 13. Tropes / a. Nature of tropes
Trope theory says blueness is a real feature of objects, but not the same as an identical blue found elsewhere
Maybe a cushion is just a bundle of tropes, such as roundness, blueness and softness
Tropes seem to be abstract entities, because they can't exist alone, but must come in bundles
8. Modes of Existence / D. Universals / 1. Universals
The category of universals can be sub-divided into properties and relations
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 1. Nominalism / b. Nominalism about universals
Nominalists believe that only particulars exist
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 3. Predicate Nominalism
'Is non-self-exemplifying' is a predicate which cannot denote a property (as it would be a contradiction)
8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 5. Class Nominalism
If 'blueness' is a set of particulars, there is danger of circularity, or using universals, in identifying the set
9. Objects / A. Existence of Objects / 6. Nihilism about Objects
Conventionalists see the world as an amorphous lump without identities, but are we part of the lump?
9. Objects / B. Unity of Objects / 3. Unity Problems / c. Statue and clay
Statues can't survive much change to their shape, unlike lumps of bronze, which must retain material
9. Objects / E. Objects over Time / 9. Ship of Theseus
If 5% replacement preserves a ship, we can replace 4% and 4% again, and still retain the ship
A renovation or a reconstruction of an original ship would be accepted, as long as the other one didn't exist
If old parts are stored and then appropriated, they are no longer part of the original (which is the renovated ship).
9. Objects / F. Identity among Objects / 7. Indiscernible Objects
Identity of Indiscernibles (same properties, same thing) ) is not Leibniz's Law (same thing, same properties)
10. Modality / B. Possibility / 1. Possibility
It is impossible to reach a valid false conclusion from true premises, so reason itself depends on possibility
10. Modality / E. Possible worlds / 1. Possible Worlds / a. Possible worlds
We might eliminate 'possible' and 'necessary' in favour of quantification over possible worlds
14. Science / A. Basis of Science / 6. Falsification
Unfalsifiability may be a failure in an empirical theory, but it is a virtue in metaphysics
14. Science / D. Explanation / 1. Explanation / d. Explaining people
The behaviour of persons and social groups seems to need rational rather than causal explanation
18. Thought / E. Abstraction / 5. Abstracta by Negation
The centre of mass of the solar system is a non-causal abstract object, despite having a location
Concrete and abstract objects are distinct because the former have causal powers and relations
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 3. Space / b. Points in space
Surfaces, lines and points are not, strictly speaking, parts of space, but 'limits', which are abstract
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 3. Space / d. Relational space
If space is entirely relational, what makes a boundary, or a place unoccupied by physical objects?
26. Natural Theory / B. Concepts of Nature / 4. Time / e. Existence of time
Time involves change, only the A-series explains change, but it involves contradictions, so time is unreal
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 1. Causation / e. Direction of causation
If the concept of a cause says it precedes its effect, that rules out backward causation by definition
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Particular Causation / b. Causal relata
The theories of fact causation and event causation are both worth serious consideration
It seems proper to say that only substances (rather than events) have causal powers
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 2. Particular Causation / c. Conditions of causation
Causal overdetermination is either actual overdetermination, or pre-emption, or the fail-safe case
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 3. General Causation / b. Nomological causation
Causation may be instances of laws (seen either as constant conjunctions, or as necessities)
26. Natural Theory / C. Causation / 3. General Causation / d. Causal necessity
Hume showed that causation could at most be natural necessity, never metaphysical necessity
26. Natural Theory / D. Laws of Nature / 9. Counterfactual Claims
'If he wasn't born he wouldn't have died' doesn't mean birth causes death, so causation isn't counterfactual
27. Natural Reality / A. Physics / 2. Movement
If motion is change of distance between objects, it involves no intrinsic change in the objects