Are fictional characters such as Sherlock Holmes real? What can fiction tell us about the nature of truth and reality? In this excellent introduction to the problem of fictionalism R. M. Sainsbury covers the following key topics: what is fiction? realism about fictional objects, including the arguments that fictional objects are real but non-existent; real but non-factual; real but non-concrete the relationship between fictional characters and non-actual worlds fictional entities as abstract artefacts fiction and intentionality and the problem of irrealism fictionalism about possible worlds moral fictionalism. R. M. Sainsbury makes extensive use of examples from fiction, such as Sherlock Holmes, Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary and examines the work of philosophers who have made significant contributions to the topic, including Meinong, David Lewis, and Bas Van Fraassen. Additional features include chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary of technical terms, making Fiction and Fictionalism ideal for those coming to the issue for the first time.
Physicalism, the thesis that everything is physical, is one of the most controversial problems in philosophy. Its adherents argue that there is no more important doctrine in philosophy, whilst its opponents claim that its role is greatly exaggerated. In this superb introduction to the problem Daniel Stoljar focuses on three fundamental questions: the interpretation, truth and philosophical significance of physicalism. In answering these questions he covers the following key topics: a brief history of physicalism and its definitions what a physical property is and how physicalism meets challenges from empirical sciences ‘Hempel’s dilemma’ and the relationship between physicalism and physics physicalism and key debates in metaphysics and philosophy of mind, such as supervenience, identity and conceivability physicalism and causality. Additional features include chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary of technical terms, making Physicalism ideal for those coming to the problem for the first time.
A Critical Introduction to Fictionalism provides a clear and comprehensive understanding of an important alternative to realism. Drawing on questions from ethics, the philosophy of religion, art, mathematics, logic and science, this is a complete exploration of how fictionalism contrasts with other non-realist doctrines and motivates influential fictionalist treatments across a range of philosophical issues. Defending and criticizing influential as well as emerging fictionalist approaches, this accessible overview discuses physical objects, universals, God, moral properties, numbers and other fictional entities. Where possible it draws general lessons about the conditions under which a fictionalist treatment of a class of items is plausible. Distinguishing fictionalism from other views about the existence of items, it explains the central features of this key metaphysical topic. Featuring a historical survey, definitions of key terms, characterisations of important subdivisions, objections and problems for fictionalism, and contemporary fictionalist treatments of several issues, A Critical Introduction to Fictionalism is a valuable resource for students of metaphysics as well as students of philosophical methodology. It is the only book of its kind.
Semantic externalism is the view that the meanings of referring terms, and the contents of beliefs that are expressed by those terms, are not fully determined by factors internal to the speaker but are instead bound up with the environment. The debate about semantic externalism is one of the most important but difficult topics in philosophy of mind and language, and has consequences for our understanding of the role of social institutions and the physical environment in constituting language and the mind. In this long-needed book, Jesper Kallestrup provides an invaluable map of the problem. Beginning with a thorough introduction to the theories of descriptivism and referentialism and the work of Frege and Kripke, Kallestrup moves on to analyse Putnam’s Twin Earth argument, Burge’s arthritis argument and Davidson’s Swampman argument. He also discusses how semantic externalism is at the heart of important topics such as indexical thoughts, epistemological skepticism, self-knowledge, and mental causation. Including chapter summaries, a glossary of terms, and an annotated guide to further reading, Semantic Externalism an ideal guide for students studying philosophy of language and philosophy of mind.
What is mathematics about? And how can we have access to the reality it is supposed to describe? The book tells the story of this problem, first raised by Plato, through the views of Aristotle, Proclus, Kant, Frege, Gödel, Benacerraf, up to the most recent debate on mathematical platonism.
Imagination, Fiction and Scientific Representation
Author: Adam Toon
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Scientists often try to understand the world by creating simplified or idealised models of it. And yet modelling is hard to make sense of, not least because it seems to involve learning about things that don't exist, like ideal oscillators or perfect spheres. Models as Make-Believe offers a new approach to scientific modelling by looking to an unlikely source of inspiration: the dolls and toy trucks of children's games of make-believe. Drawing on philosophical discussions of art and fiction, Adam Toon offers a unified framework that can solve difficult metaphysical problems posed by modelling at the same time as helping to make sense of scientific practice. In developing this new perspective, Models as Make-Believe combines careful philosophical analysis with historical and sociological approaches, shedding light on a range of issues, from scientists' visual and tactile interaction with models to the role that cardboard cut-outs played in the development of our understanding of atoms.