•  183
    The ontology of art and knowledge in aesthetics
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (3). 2005.
  •  2
    Research Problems and Methods
    In Robert Barnard Neil Manson (ed.), Continuum Companion to Metaphysics, . pp. 14. 2012.
  •  351
    Fictional characters and literary practices
    British Journal of Aesthetics 43 (2): 138-157. 2003.
    I argue that the ontological status of fictional characters is determined by the beliefs and practices of those who competently deal with works of literature, and draw out three important consequences of this. First, heavily revisionary theories cannot be considered as ‘discoveries’ about the ‘true nature’ of fictional characters; any acceptable realist theory of fiction must preserve all or most of the common conception of fictional characters. Second, once we note that the existence conditions…Read more
  •  90
  •  118
    Experimental Philosophy and the Methods of Ontology
    The Monist 95 (2): 175-199. 2012.
    Those working in experimental philosophy have raised a number of arguments against the use of conceptual analysis in philosophical inquiries. But they have typically focused on a model that pursues conceptual analysis by taking intuitions as a kind of (defeasible) evidence for philosophical hypotheses. Little attention has been given to the constitutivist alternative, which sees metaphysical modal facts as reflections of constitutive semantic rules. I begin with a brief overview of the constitut…Read more
  •  172
    Norms and Necessity
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (2): 143-160. 2013.
    Modality presents notorious philosophical problems, including the epistemic problem of how we could come to know modal facts and metaphysical problems about how to place modal facts in the natural world. These problems arise from thinking of modal claims as attempts to describe modal features of this world that explain what makes them true. Here I propose a different view of modal discourse in which talk about what is “metaphysically necessary” does not aim to describe modal features of the worl…Read more
  •  36
    Artifacts and human concepts
    In Eric Margolis & Stephen Laurence (eds.), Creations of the Mind: Theories of Artifacts and Their Representaion, Oxford University Press. pp. 52--73. 2007.
  •  114
    In What Sense Is Phenomenology Transcendental?
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (S1): 85-92. 2007.
    Dan Zahavi raises doubts about the prospects for combining phenomenological and analytical approaches to the mind, based chiefly on the claim that phenomenology is a form of transcendental philosophy. I argue that there are two ways in which one might understand the claim that phenomenology is transcendental: (1) as the claim that the methods of phenomenology essentially involve addressing transcendental questions or making transcendental arguments, or (2) as the claim that phenomenology is comm…Read more
  •  48
    Two puzzles for a new theory of consciousness
    PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 8. 2002.
    In _The Significance of Consciousness_ , Charles Siewert proposes a novel understanding of consciousness by arguing against higher-order views of consciousness and rejecting the traditional taxonomy of the mental into qualitative and intentional aspects. I discuss two puzzles that arise from these changes: first, how to account for first-person knowledge of our conscious states while denying that these are typically accompanied by higher-order states directed towards them; second, how to underst…Read more
  •  362
    Speaking of fictional characters
    Dialectica 57 (2). 2003.
    The challenge of handling fictional discourse is to find the best way to resolve the apparent inconsistencies in our ways of speaking about fiction. A promising approach is to take at least some such discourse to involve pretense, but does all fictional discourse involve pretense? I will argue that a better, less revisionary, solution is to take internal and fictionalizing discourse to involve pretense, while allowing that in external critical discourse, fictional names are used seriously to ref…Read more
  •  169
    First-person knowledge in phenomenology
    In David Woodruff Smith & Amie L. Thomasson (eds.), Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind, Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 115-138. 2005.
    An account of the source of first-person knowledge is essential not just for phenomenology, but for anyone who takes seriously the apparent evidence that we each have a distinctive access to knowing what we experience. One standard way to account for the source of first-person knowledge is by appeal to a kind of inner observation of the passing contents of one’s own mind, and phenomenology is often thought to rely on introspection. I argue, however, that Husserl’s method of phenomenological reduct…Read more
  •  13
    Realism and Human Kinds
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3): 580-609. 2003.
    It is often noted that institutional objects and artifacts depend on human beliefs and intentions and so fail to meet the realist paradigm of mind-independent objects. In this paper I draw out exactly in what ways the thesis of mind-independence fails, and show that it has some surprising consequences. For the specific forms of mind-dependence involved entail that we have certain forms of epistemic privilege with regard to our own institutional and artifactual kinds, protecting us from certain p…Read more
  •  221
    Fiction and Metaphysics
    Cambridge University Press. 1998.
    This challenging study places fiction squarely at the centre of the discussion of metaphysics. Philosophers have traditionally treated fiction as involving a set of narrow problems in logic or the philosophy of language. By contrast Amie Thomasson argues that fiction has far-reaching implications for central problems of metaphysics. The book develops an 'artifactual' theory of fiction, whereby fictional characters are abstract artifacts as ordinary as laws or symphonies or works of literature. B…Read more
  •  145
    Ontological Minimalism
    American Philosophical Quarterly 38 (4). 2001.
    A minimalist or “pleonastic” ontology is supposed to provide a “cheap ontology” of languagecreated entities to serve as relatively innocuous referents for singular terms for such entities as properties, propositions, events, meanings, and fictional characters. This paper investigates the very idea of ontological minimalism, its source, and its potential applications. Certain puzzles and paradoxes arise in the idea of ontological minimalism; the article argues that these result from the fact that…Read more
  •  67
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
    A system of categories is a complete list of highest kinds or genera. Traditionally, following Aristotle, these have been thought of as highest genera of entities (in the widest sense of the term), so that a system of categories undertaken in this realist spirit would ideally provide an inventory of everything there is, thus answering the most basic of metaphysical questions: “What is there?”. Skepticism about the possibilities for discerning the different categories of ‘reality itself’ has led …Read more
  •  21
    Moderate Realism and Its Logic
    with D. W. Mertz
    Philosophical Review 107 (3): 474. 1998.
    D. W. Mertz provides a "new" competitor in the universals debate by reviving, developing, and defending the medieval doctrine of Moderate Realism. This book is a substantial contribution to ontology and logic, combining interesting new arguments for polyadic relations and unit attributes, careful and thorough historical studies, and a logic that could solve many old problems.
  •  40
    Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind (edited book)
    with David Woodruff Smith
    Oxford: Clarendon Press. 2005.
    This volume aims to bring them together again, by demonstrating how work in phenomenology may lead to significant progress on problems central to current ...
  •  124
    Introspection and phenomenological method
    Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 2 (3): 239-254. 2003.
    It is argued that the work of Husserl offers a model for self-knowledge that avoids the disadvantages of standard introspectionist accounts and of a Sellarsian view of the relation between our perceptual judgements and derived judgements about appearances. Self-knowledge is based on externally directed knowledge of the world that is then subjected to a cognitive transformation analogous to the move from a statement to the activity of stating. Appearance talk is (contra Sellars) not an epistemica…Read more
  •  261
    The ontology of social groups
    Synthese 196 (12): 4829-4845. 2019.
    Two major questions have dominated work on the metaphysics of social groups: first, Are there any? And second, What are they? I will begin by arguing that the answer to the ontological question is an easy and obvious ‘yes’. We do better to turn our efforts elsewhere, addressing the question: “What are social groups?” One might worry, however, about this question on grounds that the general term ‘social group’ seems like a term of art—not a well-used concept we can analyze, or can presuppose corr…Read more
  •  414
    Self-awareness and self-knowledge
    PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 12. 2006.
    Higher-order theories and neo-Brentanian theories of consciousness both consider conscious states to be states of which we have some sort of
  •  98
    The first question to be addressed about fictional entities is: are there any? The usual grounds given for accepting or rejecting the view that there are fictional entities come from linguistic considerations. We make many different sorts of claims about fictional characters in our literary discussions. How can we account for their apparent truth? Does doing so require that we allow that there are fictional characters we can refer to, or can we offer equally good analyses while denying that ther…Read more
  •  114
    Phenomenal Consciousness and the Phenomenal World
    The Monist 91 (2): 191-214. 2008.
    One-level accounts of consciousness have become increasingly popular (Dretske 1995, Tye 1995, Siewert 1998, Thomasson 2000 and 2005, Lurz 2006, McGinn, this volume). By a ‘onelevel’ account I mean an account according to which consciousness is fundamentally a matter of awareness of a world —and does not require awareness of our own minds, mental states, or the phenomenal character of these. As Fred Dretske puts it “Experiences and beliefs are conscious, not because you are conscious of them, but…Read more
  •  309
    Existence questions
    Philosophical Studies 141 (1). 2008.
    I argue that thinking of existence questions as deep questions to be resolved by a distinctively philosophical discipline of ontology is misguided. I begin by examining how to understand the truth-conditions of existence claims, by way of understanding the rules of use for ‘exists’ and for general noun terms. This yields a straightforward method for resolving existence questions by a combination of conceptual analysis and empirical enquiry. It also provides a blueprint for arguing against most c…Read more