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Full-Text Articles in Philosophy

Physical Geometry, James P. Binkoski Jan 2016

Physical Geometry, James P. Binkoski

Doctoral Dissertations

All physical theories, from classical Newtonian mechanics to relativistic quantum field theory, entail propositions concerning the geometric structure of spacetime. To give an example, the general theory of relativity entails that spacetime is curved, smooth, and four-dimensional. In this dissertation, I take the structural commitments of our theories seriously and ask: how is such structure instantiated in the physical world? Mathematically, a property like 'being curved' is perfectly well-defined insofar as we know what it means for a mathematical space to be curved. But what could it mean to say that the physical world is curved? Call this the problem ...


The Path To Supersubstantivalism, Joshua D. Moulton Jan 2016

The Path To Supersubstantivalism, Joshua D. Moulton

Doctoral Dissertations

This dissertation is divided into two parts. In the first part I defend substantivalism. I do this by offering, in chapter 1, a counterpart-theoretic defense of substantivalism from Leibniz’ shift arguments. Then, in chapter 2, I defend substantivalism from the hole argument and argue, against the consensus, that the question of haecceitism is irrelevant to substantivalism in the context of general relativity.

In the second part of the dissertation I defend supersubstantivalism. I do this by offering, in chapter 3, an argument against dualistic substantivalism. The argument appeals to plausible principles of modal plenitude to show that the dualist is ...


Understanding And Its Role In Inquiry, Benjamin T. Rancourt Jan 2016

Understanding And Its Role In Inquiry, Benjamin T. Rancourt

Doctoral Dissertations

In this dissertation, I argue that understanding possesses unique epistemic value. I propose and defend a novel account of understanding that I call the management account of understanding, which is the view that an agent A understands a subject matter S just in case A has the ability to extract the relevant information and exploit it with the relevant cognitive capacities to answer questions in S. Since inquiry is the process of raising and answering questions, I argue that without understanding, it would be impossible to engage in successful inquiry. I argue that understanding is indispensable for effective cognition and ...