•  82
    This note is a reply to margery bedford naylor's "a note on david lewis's realism about possible worlds" . naylor asks why, if we accept david lewis's argument for real possible worlds , we should not accept an analogous argument for impossible worlds. i argue that the latter argument is invalid on the modal realist account of possibility and thus has no force for an adherent of lewis
  •  111
    Lewis's Modal Realism: a Reply to Naylor
    Analysis 48 (1): 13-15. 1988.
  •  41
    Broadening the Iterative Conception of Set
    Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 42 (3): 149-170. 2001.
    The iterative conception of set commonly is regarded as supporting the axioms of Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory (ZF). This paper presents a modified version of the iterative conception of set and explores the consequences of that modified version for set theory. The modified conception maintains most of the features of the iterative conception of set, but allows for some non-wellfounded sets. It is suggested that this modified iterative conception of set supports the axioms of Quine's set theory NF
  •  42
    Chemical elements and the problem of universals
    Foundations of Chemistry 8 (3): 225-242. 2006.
    In this paper, I explore a seldom-recognized connection between the ontology of abstract objects and a current issue in the philosophy of chemistry. Specifically, I argue that realism with regard to universals implies a view of chemical elements similar to F.A. Paneth’s thesis about the dual nature of the concept of element.
  •  46
    Proper classes via the iterative conception of set
    Journal of Symbolic Logic 52 (3): 636-650. 1987.
    We describe a first-order theory of generalized sets intended to allow a similar treatment of sets and proper classes. The theory is motivated by the iterative conception of set. It has a ternary membership symbol interpreted as membership relative to a set-building step. Set and proper class are defined notions. We prove that sets and proper classes with a defined membership form an inner model of Bernays-Morse class theory. We extend ordinal and cardinal notions to generalized sets and prove o…Read more
  •  50
    Cortical feedback and the ineffability of colors
    PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 11. 2005.
    Philosophers long have noted that some sensations (particularly those of color) seem to be ineffable, or refractory to verbal description. Some proposed neurophysiological explanations of this ineffability deny the intuitive view that sensations have inherently indescribable content. The present paper suggests a new explanation of ineffability that does not have this deflationary consequence. According to the hypothesis presented here, feedback modulation of information flow in the cortex interf…Read more
  •  246
    This collection serves as an introduction to the concept of subjective fact, which plays a central role in some of the author's philosophical writings. The collection contains two book chapters and a paper. The first chapter (Chapter 2 of From Brain to Cosmos) begins with an informal characterization of the concept of subjective fact. Then it fleshes out this concept with examples, gives a more precise characterization, and addresses some potential weaknesses of the concept. This chapter shows h…Read more
  •  575
    This document is an edited transcript of an impromptu talk by Mark F. Sharlow. In this talk, Dr. Sharlow examines one of the common arguments for God’s existence. He suggests that this argument is wrong, but not for the reason that skeptics usually cite. Instead, he points out a deeper error — and shows that by understanding this mistake, we can gain new insights into evolution and design.
  •  328
    This is a draft for a revised edition of Mark Sharlow's book "From Brain to Cosmos." It includes most of the material from the first edition, two shorter pieces pertaining to the book, and a detailed new introduction.
  •  159
    This document consists primarily of an excerpt (chapter 6) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. That excerpt presents an analysis of the problem of knowledge of other minds, using the concept of subjective fact that the author developed earlier in the book. (Readers unfamiliar with that concept are strongly advised to read chapters 2 and 3 of From Brain to Cosmos first. See the last page of this document for details on how to obtain those chapters.)
  •  526
    This paper is a critique of Richard Dawkins’ “argument from improbability” against the existence of God. This argument, which forms the core of Dawkins’ book The God Delusion, provides an interesting example of the use of scientific ideas in arguments about religion. Here I raise three objections: (1) The argument is inapplicable to philosophical conceptions of God that reduce most of God’s complexity to that of the physical universe. (2) The argument depends on a way of estimating probabilities…Read more
  •  454
    In this paper, I define and study an abstract algebraic structure, the dimensive algebra, which embodies the most general features of the algebra of dimensional physical quantities. I prove some elementary results about dimensive algebras and suggest some directions for future work.
  •  387
    This paper is a study of a distinctively chemical notion of possibility. This is the notion of possibility that occurs in chemical discourses when chemists speak of the possibility or impossibility of achieving a given result through chemical means. This notion pertains to the possibility of processes, not of compounds, so it differs from the kind of chemical possibility mentioned in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations or the kinds discussed in the literature on Putnam's Twin Earth argum…Read more
  •  222
    An archive of Mark Sharlow's two blogs, "The Unfinishable Scroll" and "Religion: the Next Version." Covers Sharlow's views on metaphysics, epistemology, mind, science, religion, and politics. Includes topics and ideas not found in his papers.
  •  347
    In this paper, I explore the feasibility of a realistic interpretation of the quantum mechanical path integral - that is, an interpretation according to which the particle actually follows the paths that contribute to the integral. I argue that an interpretation of this sort requires spacetime to have a branching structure similar to the structures of the branching spacetimes proposed by previous authors. I point out one possible way to construct branching spacetimes of the required sort, and I …Read more
  •  160
    In this note I examine the two main differences between Plato's and Dennett's views of the self as an abstract object. I point out that in the presence of certain forms of ontological realism, abstract-object theories of the self are compatible with the full reality of the self. I conclude with some remarks on the relationship between ontology and ethics.
  •  146
    This document consists primarily of an excerpt (chapter 4) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. That excerpt presents a study of a specific problem about knowledge: the logical justification of one’s knowledge of the immediate past. (This document depends heavily upon the concept of subjective fact that the author developed in chapters 2 and 3 of From Brain to Cosmos. Readers unfamiliar with that concept are strongly advised to read those chapters first. See the last page of this documen…Read more
  •  111
    The four talks in this collection are based on impromptu lectures by Mark Sharlow. Explores the topics of freedom, justice, punishment, capitalism, distributism, and the limits of government.
  •  225
    In this paper I argue in defense of an important fragment of folk psychology. Specifically, I argue that many propositions about the ontology of mental states and about mental causation are true largely because of certain observable features of human linguistic behavior. I conclude that these propositions are immune to common avenues of eliminativist criticism. I compare and contrast this argument with some previous arguments about the truth of folk psychology
  •  240
    This document consists primarily of an excerpt (chapter 14) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. In that excerpt, the author uses the concept of subjective fact developed earlier in the book to address a question about consciousness: which physical systems (organisms or machines) are conscious? (This document depends heavily upon the concept of subjective fact developed in From Brain to Cosmos. Readers unfamiliar with that concept are strongly advised to read chapters 2 and 3 of From Bra…Read more
  •  317
    In this set of excerpts from an earlier book, I examine some philosophical issues surrounding the whole-part relationship. I present a series of thought experiments and other arguments designed to undermine the view that wholes are "nothing but" their parts.
  •  209
    This document consists primarily of excerpts (chapters 5 and 7-9) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. These excerpts address some traditional philosophical problems about temporal flux and identity through time, using the concept of subjective fact that the author developed earlier in the book. (Readers unfamiliar with that concept are strongly advised to read chapters 2 and 3 of From Brain to Cosmos first. See the last page of this document for details on how to obtain those chapters.)
  •  139
    This document consists primarily of an excerpt (chapter 5) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. That excerpt presents an analysis of personal identity through time, using the concept of subjective fact that the author developed earlier in the book. (Readers unfamiliar with that concept are strongly advised to read chapters 2 and 3 of From Brain to Cosmos first. See the last page of this document for details on how to obtain those chapters.)
  •  131
    This short e-book is (in the author's words) "an attempt to open up new and better ways of thinking about God." The author draws together insights from philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, and ontology to construct a conception of God that avoids both supernaturalism and simplistic forms of pantheism.
  •  234
    This document consists primarily of excerpts (chapters 5 and 10-12) from the author’s book From Brain to Cosmos. These excerpts address several traditional problems about the histories of conscious subjects, using the concept of subjective fact that the author developed earlier in the book. Topics include the persistence of conscious subjects through time, the unity or disunity of the self, and the possibility of splitting conscious subjects. (These excerpts depend heavily upon the author’s conc…Read more
  •  204
    This is a collection of articles and essays that bear on the relationship between scientific and poetical/romantic views of the world.
  •  109
    This is not a normal book. It is a collection of transcripts of talks that I gave between the year 2003 and now. I gave most of these talks on the spur of the moment, without making notes ahead of time. (“Impromptu” is the usual term for that dangerous way of speaking.) One of the “talks” is not a transcript, but a set of notes for a talk I never gave. Any organization or order in the talks is purely coincidental—or at least it’s not all my fault.
  •  344
    In this paper I explore the logical relationship between the question of the reality of qualia and the problem of universals. I argue that nominalism is inconsistent with the existence of qualia, and that realism either implies or makes plausible the existence of qualia. Thus, one's position on the existence of qualia is strongly constrained by one's answer to the problem of universals.
  •  7
    takes a stand for liberty, and explores important topics such as punishment, capitalism, and the limits of government. If you are sick of the left and tired of the right, you just might like this
  •  169
    Several decades ago, Wheeler and Misner presented a model of electric charge based on the topological trapping of electric field lines in wormholes. In this paper, which does not argue for or against the "charge without charge" concept, I describe some generalizations of this model which might serve as topological analogs of color charges and electroweak charges