187 research outputs found

    Naturalistic Metaphysics at Sea

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    In this paper I return to the mid-20th-century debate between Quine and Carnap on the status of metaphysics questions with an eye toward advancing contemporary debates about whether naturalists can coherently undertake substantive metaphysical inquiry. Following Huw Price, I take the debate between Quine and Carnap to hinge, in part, on whether human inquiry is functionally unified. However, unlike Price, I suggest that this question is not best understood as a question about the function(s) of descriptive discourse. This goes along with rejecting a “linguistic conception” of the starting point of metaphysical inquiry, which, although shared by Quine and Carnap, Price gives us no good reason to think is mandatory for naturalists. I sketch two reasons naturalists have to reject a particular manifestation of this linguistic conception in Quine’s work—his criterion of ontological commitment. Finally, I show how these reasons can help us identify the grains of truth in some recent critiques of “mainstream metaphysics of mind.

    Must Naturalism Lead to a Deflationary Meta-Ontology?

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    Huw Price has argued that naturalistic philosophy inevitably leads to a deflationary approach to ontological questions. In this paper, I rebut these arguments. A more substantive, less language-focused approach to metaphysics remains open to naturalists. However, rebutting one of Price’s main arguments requires rejecting Quine’s criterion of ontological commitment. So, even though Price’s argument is unsound, it reveals that naturalists cannot rest content with broadly Quinean, “mainstream metaphysics,” which, I suggest, naturalists also have independent reasons to reject

    Abstraction, Multiple Realizability, and the Explanatory Value of Omitting Irrelevant Details

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    Anti-reductionists hold that special science explanations of some phenomena are objectively better than physical explanations of those phenomena. Prominent defenses of this claim appeal to the multiple realizability of special science properties. I argue that special science explanations can be shown to be better, in one respect, than physical explanations in a way that does not depend on multiple realizability. Namely, I discuss a way in which a special science explanation may be more abstract than a competing physical explanation, even if it is not multiply realizable, and I argue that this kind of abstraction can be used to support the idea that that special science explanation omits explanatorily irrelevant detail

    Abstraction, Multiple Realizability, and the Explanatory Value of Omitting Irrelevant Details

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    Anti-reductionists hold that special science explanations of some phenomena are objectively better than physical explanations of those phenomena. Prominent defenses of this claim appeal to the multiple realizability of special science properties. I argue that special science explanations can be shown to be better, in one respect, than physical explanations in a way that does not depend on multiple realizability. Namely, I discuss a way in which a special science explanation may be more abstract than a competing physical explanation, even if it is not multiply realizable, and I argue that this kind of abstraction can be used to support the idea that that special science explanation omits explanatorily irrelevant detail

    D'yakonov-Perel' spin relaxation for degenerate electrons in the electron-hole liquid

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    We present an analytical study of the D'yakonov-Perel' spin relaxation time for degenerate electrons in a photo-excited electron-hole liquid in intrinsic semiconductors exhibiting a spin-split band structure. The D'yakonov-Perel' spin relaxation of electrons in these materials is controlled by electron-hole scattering, with small corrections from electron-electron scattering and virtually none from electron-impurity scattering. We derive simple expressions (one-dimensional and two-dimensional integrals respectively) for the effective electron-hole and electron-electron scattering rates which enter the spin relaxation time calculation. The electron-hole scattering rate is found to be comparable to the scattering rates from impurities in the electron liquid - a common model for n-type doped semiconductors. As the density of electron-hole pairs decreases (within the degenerate regime), a strong enhancement of the scattering rates and a corresponding slowing down of spin relaxation is predicted due to exchange and correlation effects in the electron-hole liquid. In the opposite limit of high density, the original D'yakonov-Perel' model fails due to decreasing scattering rates and is eventually superseded by free precession of individual quasiparticle spins.Comment: 16 pages, 5 figure

    Zephyr: The Second Issue

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    This is the second issue of Zephyr, the University of New England\u27s journal of creative expression. Since 2000, Zephyr has published original drawings, paintings, photography, prose, and verse created by current and former members of the University community. Zephyr\u27s Editorial Board is made up exclusively of matriculating students.https://dune.une.edu/zephyr/1001/thumbnail.jp
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