Publications of Place that refer to Hume (1777). Enquiries concerning the Human Understanding and concerning the Principles of Morals (L.A. Selby-Bigge, Ed. (1902), 2nd Edition. Clarendon Press).
Lecture 5: Cosmology 2. Causation (31/10/1973) Section 1
Causal Explanation. Hume's account of the causal relation: what is valid, what is obscure, what is mistaken. 24 causal principles that replace Hume's account
Download: Amsterdam Lecture 05 - revised version.pdf
Place, U. T. (1978b). Natural kinds and psychophysical laws: Comments on the McGinn-Hopkins symposium (PAS 1978) [Unpublished paper].
[References]  [Is reply to]
Download: 1978b Natural Kinds and Psychophysical Laws - Comments on the McGinn-Hopkins Symposium.pdf
Place, U. T. (1987c). Causal laws, dispositional properties and causal explanations. Synthesis Philosophica, 2(3), 149-160.
The role in causal explanation of sentences ascribing dispositional properties to the entities involved is discussed in the light of (a) the counterfactual theory of causal necessity originally proposed by Hume (1777) and more recently by Mackie (1962; 1974), (b) Ryle's (1949) hypothetical analysis of dispositional statements. and (c) Goodman's (1965) observation that counterfactuals are "sustained", not only by causal law statements universally quantified over entities of a given kind, but by dispositional statements which are restricted in their scope to a single individual. It is argued that what is required in order to support a causal counterfactual is universal quantification over a period of time which may be as short as you like, provided (a) that it covers the moment when the event hypothesised in the counterfactual is assumed to have occurred and (b) that its restriction to that period can be rationally justified.
[References]  [6 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1987c Causal Laws, Dispositional Properties and Causal Explanations.pdf with corrections added after publication
Place, U. T. (1994d). Sharpness: an interesting exception to the rule that dispositional properties require explanation in terms of their owner's microstructure [Conference presentation, presented to the Twentieth Annual Conference on the Philosophy of Science at the Inter University Centre, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 12th April 1994]. Inter University Centre, Dubrovnik.
The most common form of distinctively scientific causal explanation is an explanation of the dispositional properties shared by instances of a universal or kind. Such explanations typically invoke the structural properties of the property-bearer. In the majority of cases and in all cases where a specifically scientific explanation is required, what are invoked are features of the microstructure of the property-bearer which are not accessible to ordinary observation at the level of common sense. An interesting exception is the case of the sharpness of a knife or needle. Sharpness is a property and a concept with a number of unusual features. Most property-concepts are either purely dispositional, as in the case of such things as the brittleness of glass, the flexibility of rubber or the magnetic properties of an iron bar, or they are structural properties, such as the external shape and internal arrangement of an object. Sharpness, by contrast, is a property with two aspects, a purely dispositional aspect, the property-bearer's propensity to cut or pierce, and a structural aspect, the fineness and hardness of its edge or point. However, the relation between these two aspects is a causal relation between "distinct existences", not a relation of identity. The dispositional property, aptness to cut or pierce, depends on and is explained by the structural properties, the fineness and hardness of the edge or point. In this it differs from most other dispositional properties. For in this case, the structural properties on which the dispositional property depends are features of the macrostructure rather than the microstructure of the property-bearer. They are thus available to common observation by the man- or woman-in-the-street in a way that the microstructural properties on which most dispositional properties depend are not. Hence the absorption of both cause and its effect into a single common-sense concept. Causal relations and the causal explanations which invoke them have two components: (a) a categorical component, some kind of contact or proximity between the causal agent and the causal patient, and (b) a dispositional component which provides the "cement" which, in the explanation, takes the form of a 'covering law' and governs the interaction between the two. In this respect, the causal relation whereby aptness to cut or pierce is generated by the structural properties of fineness and hardness of edge or point is no exception. Of the two structural properties which stand as cause to the dispositional property as effect, one, the fineness of the edge or point, is categorical; the other, its hardness, is dispositional. From a philosophical standpoint the 'sharpness' example raises two interesting questions: (1) In what sense does the effect, the aptness to cut or pierce, constitute a "distinct existence" from its causes, the fineness and hardness of the edge or point, as Hume's principle requires? (2) What light, if any, is thrown by this example on the problem of the source of the dispositional properties of an elementary particle which has no microstructure (the 'charm' of the quark)?
Download: 1994d Sharpness.pdf
Place, U. T. (1995b). 'Is consciousness a brain process?' Some misconceptions about the article. In B. Borstner, & J. Shawe-Taylor (Eds.), Consciousness at the crossroads of cognitive science and philosophy: Selected proceedings of the final meeting of the Tempus Project 'Phenomenology and Cognitive Science', Maribor, Slovenia, 23-7 August, 1994 (pp. 9-15). Imprint Academic.
[References]  [1 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1995b 'Is Consciousness a Brain Process' Some Misconceptions about the Article.pdf
Place, U. T. (1996c). Dispositions as intentional states. In D. M. Armstrong, C. B. Martin, U. T. Place, & T. Crane (Ed.) Dispositions: A debate (Chapter 2, pp. 19-32). Routledge.
All three authors agree that 'This glass is brittle' entails 'If it were suitably struck, it would break'. They also agree that such a statement, if true, requires a state of affairs whose existence makes it true (its truthmaker). They disagree as to its nature. For Place, it is an intentional state which "points towards" a possibly-never-to-exist future and a counterfactual past. In accordance with the conceptualist theory of universals and the picture theory of meaning which he outlines, such states are construed as properties of particulars. They provide Hume's "invisible glue" which sticks cause to effect.
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Download: 1996c Chapter 2 Dispositions as Intentional States.pdf
Place, U. T. (1996d). A conceptualist ontology. In D. M. Armstrong, C. B. Martin. U. T. Place, & T. Crane (Ed.) Dispositions: A debate (Chapter 4, pp. 49-67). Routledge.
Nominalised predicates, opaque contexts and monadic relational predicates are cases where surface structure conceals an underlying complexity. A conceptualist picture theory of meaning allows different ways of carving up reality into atomic situations. To say that a universal exists means either that it has at least one instance or that some creature has that concept. Structural factors combine to cause dispositions. Dispositions combine with the relevant conditions to cause their manifestations. Type-identities begin as contingent hypotheses and become necessary when used in classification. The existence of individual dispositional properties, not Laws of Nature, are the truthmakers for causal counterfactuals.
Download: 1996d Chapter 4 A Conceptualist Ontology.pdf
Place, U. T. (1997f). De re modality without possible worlds. Acta Analytica, 12(19), 131-145.
A distinction is drawn between de dicto modality which is a matter of which propositions can, cannot and must be true, given the laws of logic, and de re modality which is a matter of which situations (events or states of affairs) can, cannot and must exist, given the laws of nature. It is argued that Kripke's de re modality, defined in terms of what is true in some possible world, no possible world and all possible worlds, is an unsatisfactory amalgam of the two.
[References]  [1 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1997f De Re Modality Without Possible Worlds.pdf
Place, U. T. (1999a). Ryle's behaviorism. In W. O'Donohue, & R. Kitchener (Eds.), Handbook of Behaviorism (Chapter 13, pp. 361-398). Academic Press. doi:10.1016/B978-012524190-8/50014-0
A distinction is drawn between the OR-behaviorism of the Americans which wants to make psychology more scientific and the OUR-behaviourism of Wittgenstein and Ryle which comes from the philosophy of language. Ryle's doctrines are classified into those that derive from Wittgenstein and those that are peculiar to Ryle. The latter are sub-classified into failures and successes. Criticisms of Ryle's position by Place, Geach, Medlin, Armstrong and Martin are examined and, where possible, rebutted. I conclude that, with some important exceptions, the dispositional analysis of mental concepts survives, as does, more controversially, the hypothetical analysis of dispositional statements.
[References]  [Is cited by]  [4 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1999a Ryle's Behaviorism.pdf
Place, U. T. (2000b). The causal potency of qualia: Its nature and its source. Brain and Mind, 1, 183-192. doi:10.1023/A:1010023129393
There is an argument (Medlin, 1967; Place, 1988) which shows conclusively that if qualia are causally impotent we could have no possible grounds for believing that they exist. But if, as this argument shows, qualia are causally potent with respect to the descriptions we give of them, it is tolerably certain that they are causally potent in other more biologically significant respects. The empirical evidence, from studies of the effect of lesions of the striate cortex (Humphrey, 1974; Weiskrantz, 1986; Cowey and Stoerig, 1995) shows that what is missing in the absence of visual qualia is the ability to categorize sensory inputs in the visual modality. This would suggest that the function of private experience is to supply what Broadbent (1971) calls the “evidence” on which the categorization of problematic sensory inputs are based. At the same time analysis of the causal relation shows that what differentiates a causal relation from an accidental spatio-temporal conjunction is the existence of reciprocally related dispositional properties of the entities involved which combine to make it true that if one member of the conjunction, the cause, had not existed, the other, the effect, would not have existed. The possibility that qualia might be dispositional properties of experiences which, as it were, supply the invisible “glue” that sticks cause to effect in this case is examined, but finally rejected.
[References]  [Reprinting collections]
Download: 2000b The Causal Potency of Qualia.pdf