Birkbeck, University of London
Birkbeck College, University Of London
  • Two Notions of Resemblance and the Semantics of 'What it's Like'
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    According to the resemblance account of 'what it's like' and similar constructions, a sentence such as 'there is something it’s like to have a toothache' means 'there is something having a toothache resembles'. This account has proved controversial in the literature; some writers endorse it, many reject it. We show that this conflict is illusory. Drawing on the semantics of intensional transitive verbs, we show that there are two versions of the resemblance account, depending on whether 're…Read more
  • The many-property problem is your problem, too
    Philosophical Studies 178 (3): 811-832. 2021.
    The many-property problem has traditionally been taken to show that the adverbial theory of perception is untenable. This paper first shows that several widely accepted views concerning the nature of perception---including both representational and non-representational views---likewise face the many-property problem. It then presents a solution to the many-property problem for these views, but goes on to show how this solution can be adapted to provide a novel, fully compositional solution to th…Read more
  • Acquaintance and Phenomenal Concepts
    In The Knowledge Argument, Cambridege University Press. pp. 87-101. 2019.
  • An essentialist theory of modality claims that the source of possibility and necessity lies in essence, where essence is then not to be defined in terms of necessity. Hence such theories owe us an account of why it is that the essences of things give rise to necessities in the way required. A new approach to understanding essence in terms of the notion of generalized identity promises to answer this challenge by appeal to the necessity of identity. I explore the prospects for this approach, and …Read more
  • This article discusses a kind of knowledge classifiable as knowledge-wh but which seems to defy analysis in terms of the standard reductive theory of knowledge-wh ascriptions, according to which they are true if and only if one knows that p, where this proposition is an acceptable answer to the wh-question ‘embedded’ in the ascription. Specifically, it is argued that certain cases of knowing what an experience is like resist such treatment. I argue that in some of these cases, one can know that …Read more
  • Fiction and Emotion: The Puzzle of Divergent Norms
    British Journal of Aesthetics 60 (4): 403-418. 2020.
    A familiar question in the literature on emotional responses to fiction, originally put forward by Colin Radford, is how such responses can be rational. How can we make sense of pitying Anna Karenina when we know there is no such person? In this paper I argue that contrary to the usual interpretation, the question of rationality has nothing to do with the Paradox of Fiction. Instead, the real problem is why there is a divergence in our normative assessments of emotions in different contexts. I a…Read more
  • The Intentional Structure of Moods
    Philosophers' Imprint 19 1-19. 2019.
    Moods are sometimes claimed to constitute an exception to the rule that mental phenomena are intentional (in the sense of representing something). In reaction, some philosophers have argued that moods are in fact intentional, but exhibit a special and unusual kind of intentionality: they represent the world as a whole, or everything indiscriminately, rather than some more specific object(s). In this paper, I present a problem for extant versions of this idea, then propose a revision that solves …Read more
  • There are at least two threads in our thought and talk about rationality, both practical and theoretical. In one sense, to be rational is to respond correctly to the reasons one has. Call this substantive rationality. In another sense, to be rational is to be coherent, or to have the right structural relations hold between one’s mental states, independently of whether those attitudes are justified. Call this structural rationality. According to the standard view, structural rationality is associ…Read more
  • Against the Middle Ground: Why Russellian Monism is Unstable
    Analytic Philosophy 60 (2): 109-129. 2019.
  • This is a short (c. 4000 words) teaching piece aimed at first year undergraduates, on the topic of moral relativism.
  • The Routledge Handbook of Propositions (edited book)
    Routledge. forthcoming.
  • Intention and the Basis of Meaning
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5. 2018.
  • I know that I could have been where you are right now and that you could have been where I am right now, but that neither of us could have been turnips or natural numbers. This knowledge of metaphysical modality stands in need of explanation. I will offer an account based on our knowledge of the natures, or essencess, of things. I will argue that essences need not be viewed as metaphysically bizarre entities; that we can conceptualise and refer to essences; and that we can gain knowledge of them…Read more
  • One of the most important objections to sense data theory comes from the phenomenon of indeterminate perception, as when an object in the periphery of one’s visual field looks red without looking to have any determinate shade of red. As sense data are supposed to have precisely the properties that sensibly appear to us, sense data theory evidently has the implausible consequence that a sense datum can have a determinable property without having any of its determinates. In this article, I show th…Read more
  • Beyond Resemblance
    Philosophical Review 122 (2): 215-287. 2013.
    What is it for a picture to depict a scene? The most orthodox philosophical theory of pictorial representation holds that depiction is grounded in resemblance. A picture represents a scene in virtue of being similar to that scene in certain ways. This essay presents evidence against this claim: curvilinear perspective is one common style of depiction in which successful pictorial representation depends as much on a picture's systematic differences with the scene depicted as on the similarities; …Read more
  • Question‐directed attitudes
    Philosophical Perspectives 27 (1): 145-174. 2013.
    In this paper I argue that there is a class of attitudes that have questions (rather than propositions or something else) as contents.