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    Self-Defeating Beliefs and Misleading Reasons
    We have no reason to believe that reasons do not exist. Contra Bart Streumer’s recent proposal, this has nothing to do with our incapacity to believe this error theory. Rather, it is because if we know that if a proposition is true, we have no reason to believe it, then we have no reason to believe this proposition. From a different angle: if we know that we have at best misleading reasons to believe a proposition, then we have no reason to believe it. This has two consequences. Firstly, coming close to believing the error theory is idle or pointless. Secondly, philosophers who argue that believing sweeping theories like determinism or physicalism is self-defeating because they are either false or believed for no reason pursue a worthwhile argumentative strategy.
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    A plea for descriptive social ontology
    Abstract Social phenomena—quite like mental states in the philosophy of mind—are often regarded as potential troublemakers from the start, particularly if they are approached with certain explanatory commitments, such as naturalism or social individualism, already in place. In this paper, we argue that such explanatory constraints should be at least initially bracketed if we are to arrive at an adequate non-biased description of social phenomena. Legitimate explanatory projects, or so we maintain, such as those of making the social world fit within the natural world with the help of, e.g., collective intentionality, social individualism, and the like, should neither exclude nor influence the prior description of social phenomena. Just as we need a description of the mental that is not biased, for example, by (anti)physicalist constraints, we need a description of the social that is not biased, for example, by (anti)individualist or (anti)naturalist commitments. Descriptive social ontology, as we shall conceive of it, is not incompatible with the adoption of explanatory frameworks in social ontology; rather, the descriptive task, according to our conception, ought to be recognized as prior to the explanatory project in the order of inquiry. If social phenomena are, for example, to be reduced to nonsocial (e.g., psychological or physical) phenomena, we need first to understand clearly what the social candidates for the reduction in question are. While such descriptive or naïve approaches have been influential in general metaphysics (see Fine 2017), they have so far not been prominent in analytic social ontology (though things are different outside of analytic philosophy, see esp. Reinach (1913). In what follows, we shall outline the contours of a descriptive approach by arguing, first, that description and explanation need to be distinguished as two distinct ways of engaging with social phenomena. Secondly, we defend the claim that the descriptive project ought to be regarded as prior to the explanatory project in the order of inquiry. We begin, in Section 2, by considering two different ways of engaging with mental phenomena: a descriptive approach taken by descriptive psychology and an explanatory approach utilized in analytic philosophy of mind. We take these two ways of approaching the study of the mind to be analogous to the distinction we want to draw in social ontology between a descriptive and an explanatory approach to the study of social phenomena. We consider next, in Section 3, how our approach compares to neighboring perspectives that are familiar to us from general metaphysics and philosophy more broadly, such as Aristotle’s emphasis on “saving the appearances”, Strawson’s distinction between descriptive and revisionary metaphysics, as well as Fine’s contrast between naïve and foundational metaphysics. In Section 4, we apply the proposed descriptive/explanatory distinction to the domain of social ontology and argue that descriptive social ontology ought to take precedence in the order of inquiry over explanatory social ontology. Finally, in Section 5, we consider and respond to several objections to which our account might seem to be susceptible.
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    The Problem of the Unity of a Physical Object in Berkeley
    (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007) ;
    Daniel, Stephen
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    Reply to Uwe Meixner
    In this reply, I respond to points raised by Uwe Meixner in “Koslicki on Matter and Form” in connection with a book symposium on _Form, Matter, Substance_ held at the University of Innsbruck in May 2019.
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    Modality, Quantification, and Many Vlach-Operators
    Consider two standard quantified modal languages A and P whose vocabularies comprise the identity predicate and the existence predicate, each endowed with a standard S5 Kripke semantics where the models have a distinguished actual world, which differ only in that the quantifiers of A are actualist while those of P are possibilist. Is it possible to enrich these languages in the same manner, in a non-trivial way, so that the two resulting languages are equally expressive—i.e., so that for each sentence of one language there is a sentence of the other language such that given any model, the former sentence is true at the actual world of the model iff the latter is? Forbes (1989) shows that this can be done by adding to both languages a pair of sentential operators called Vlach-operators, and imposing a syntactic restriction on their occurrences in formulas. As Forbes himself recognizes, this restriction is somewhat artificial. The first result I establish in this paper is that one gets sameness of expressivity by introducing infinitely many distinct pairs of indexed Vlach-operators. I then study the effect of adding to our enriched modal languages a rigid actuality operator. Finally, I discuss another means of enriching both languages which makes them expressively equivalent, one that exploits devices introduced in Peacocke (1978). Forbes himself mentions that option but does not prove that the resulting languages are equally expressive. I do, and I also compare the Peacockian and the Vlachian methods. In due course, I introduce an alternative notion of expressivity and I compare the Peacockian and the Vlachian languages in terms of that other notion.
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    Restriction temporaire
    Possible in Philosophy
    (Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2022)
    Within philosophy, the word “possible” is generally used to speak about either of the following. (1) Possibility: the notion that is expressed by sentences such as “It is possible that there are green cats,” “She may become the best surgeon in the city,” and “Our team can win the race.” Among the features of possibility, three are of particular interest to philosophers: it is closely related with necessity, contingency, and actuality; it is not unified, but comes in multiple varieties; it is intuitively linked to conceivability. (2) The possible: the target of sentences expressing a possibility, i.e., whatever is possible. Philosophical inquiry is notably interested in the existence and the nature of possible things. For those who think possible things exist, the challenge is to say how and where. For those who think possible things do not exist, the challenge is to say how sentences stating a possibility can be true.
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