•  261
    Foundation for a Social Ontology
    ProtoSociology 18 269-290. 2003.
    The existence of a social world raises both the metaphysical puzzle: how can there be a “reality” of facts and objects that are genuinely created by human intentionality? and the epistemological puzzle: how can such a product of human intentionality include objective facts available for investigation and discovery by the social sciences? I argue that Searle’s story about the creation of social facts in The Construction of Social Reality is too narrow to fully solve either side of the puzzle. By …Read more
  •  103
    Structural explanations and norms: comments on Haslanger
    Philosophical Studies 173 (1): 131-139. 2016.
    Sally Haslanger undertakes groundbreaking work in developing an account of structural explanations and the social structures that figure in them. A chief virtue of the account is that it can show the importance of structural explanations while also respecting the role of individual autonomy in explaining many decisions, by demonstrating the way in which social structures may set up a ‘choice architecture’ in which these choices are made. This paper gives an overview of this achievement, and goes…Read more
  •  6
    Fiction and Intentionality
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (2): 277-298. 1996.
    A good phenomenological theory must be able to account equally well for our experiences of veridical perception and hallucination, for our thoughts about universities, colors, numbers, mythical figures and more. For all of these are characteristic mental acts, and a theory of intentionality should be a theory of conscious acts in general, not just of consciousness of a specific kind of thing or of a specific kind of consciousness. In so far as phenomenology purports to be a general study of inte…Read more
  •  246
    Realism and human kinds
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (3). 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
  •  166
    A nonreductivist solution to mental causation
    Philosophical Studies 89 (2-3): 181-95. 1998.
    Nonreductive physicalism provides an appealing solution to the nature of mental properties. But its success as a theory of mental properties has been called into doubt by claims that it cannot adequately handle the problems of mental causation, as it leads either to epiphenomenalism or to thoroughgoing overdetermination. I argue that these apparent problems for the nonreductivist are based in fundamental confusion about causation and explanation. I distinguish two different types of explanation …Read more
  •  110
    Ontological Innovation in Art
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 68 (2): 119-130. 2010.
  •  259
    Modal Normativism and the Methods of Metaphysics
    Philosophical Topics 35 (1/2): 135-160. 2007.
  •  7
    Creations of the Mind: Essays on Artifacts and their Representation, ed. Stephen Laurence and Eric Margolis, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.
  •  183
    The ontology of art and knowledge in aesthetics
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 63 (3). 2005.
  •  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
  •  2
    Research Problems and Methods
    In Robert Barnard Neil Manson (ed.), Continuum Companion to Metaphysics, . pp. 14. 2012.
  •  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
  •  90
  •  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.
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  67
    Categories
    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
  •  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