University of Notre Dame
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2013
Helmetta, New Jersey, United States of America
PhilPapers Editorships
Fundamentality
  •  198
    Should explanation be a guide to ground?
    Philosophical Studies 178 (12): 4083-4098. 2021.
    Grounding and explanation are said to be intimately connected. Some even maintain that grounding just is a form of explanation. But grounding and explanation also seem importantly different—on the face of it, the former is ‘worldy’ or ‘objective’ while the latter isn’t. In this paper, we develop and respond to an argument to the effect that there is no way to fruitfully address this tension that retains orthodox views about grounding and explanation but doesn’t undermine a central piece of metho…Read more
  •  358
    In a recent article forthcoming in *Mind*, Leech (2020) presents a challenge for essentialist accounts of metaphysical modality: why should it be that essences imply corresponding necessities? Leech’s main focus is to argue that one cannot overcome the challenge by utilizing an account of essence in terms of generalized identity due to Correia and Skiles (2019), on pain of circularity. In this reply, we will show how to use identity-based essentialism to bridge ‘epistemic’ and ‘explanatory’ unde…Read more
  •  276
    Grounding and metametaphysics
    In Ricki Bliss & J. Miller (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Metametaphysics, . 2013.
    Discussion of the relevance of grounding to substantiveness, theory-choice, and “location problems” in metaphysics.
  •  465
    There is no haecceitic Euthyphro problem
    Analysis 79 (3): 477-484. 2019.
    Jason Bowers and Meg Wallace have recently argued that those who hold that every individual instantiates a ‘haecceity’ are caught up in a Euthyphro-style dilemma when confronted with familiar cases of fission and fusion. Key to Bowers and Wallace’s dilemma are certain assumptions about the nature of metaphysical explanation and the explanatory commitments of belief in haecceities. However, I argue that the dilemma only arises due to a failure to distinguish between providing a metaphysical expla…Read more
  •  1423
    Grounding, Essence, And Identity
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3): 642-670. 2019.
    Recent metaphysics has turned its focus to two notions that are—as well as having a common Aristotelian pedigree—widely thought to be intimately related: grounding and essence. Yet how, exactly, the two are related remains opaque. We develop a unified and uniform account of grounding and essence, one which understands them both in terms of a generalized notion of identity examined in recent work by Fabrice Correia, Cian Dorr, Agustín Rayo, and others. We argue that the account comports with ante…Read more
  •  84
    Emergence reinflated
    Philosophical Quarterly 66 (265): 833-842. 2016.
    In ‘Collapsing Emergence’, Elanor Taylor argues that all accounts of emergence face a common problem: excluding ‘collapse-inducing’ features—features encoding information about macro-level phenomena—from the micro-level bases of putatively emergent phenomena in a metaphysically principled way. I argue that Taylor's solution to ‘the collapse problem’, which utilizes an explanation-based account of emergence she develops in recent work, does not succeed, as it relies on a false principle about the…Read more
  •  104
    In defense of the disjunctive
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (5): 471-487. 2016.
    Are there any disjunctive properties—features of things such as being either red or round, or Nelson Goodman’s infamous example of being grue? As esoteric as the question may seem at first, central issues about the metaphysics of properties hinge upon its answer, such as whether reductive views about special science properties can handle the phenomenon of multiple realizability. A familiar argument for a negative answer is that disjunctive properties fail to guarantee that their instances are si…Read more
  •  4
    Getting Grounded: Essays in the Metaphysics of Fundamentality
    Dissertation, University of Notre Dame. 2013.
    When doing metaphysics, it is frequently convenient and sometimes essential to rely upon various notions of fundamentality when articulating the problems, positions, and arguments at issue. But what it is, exactly, the relevant notions are supposed to track remains obscure. The goal of this dissertation is to develop and defend a theory about the metaphysics of fundamentality; by doing so, I clarify and vindicate the roles that notions of fundamentality play in metaphysics. At the theory’s core …Read more
  •  557
    Is there a dilemma for the truthmaker non-maximalist?
    Synthese 191 (15): 3649-3659. 2014.
    Mark Jago has presented a dilemma for truthmaker non-maximalism—the thesis that some but not all truths require truthmakers. The dilemma arises because some truths that do not require truthmakers by the non-maximalist’s lights (e.g., that Santa Claus does not exist) are necessitated by truths that do (e.g., that Barack Obama knows that Santa Claus does not exist). According to Jago, the non-maximalist can supply a truthmaker for such a truth only by conceding the primary motivation for the view:…Read more
  •  706
    Time, Modality, and the Unbearable Lightness of Being
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1): 264-273. 2013.
    We develop a theory about the metaphysics of time and modality that combines the conceptual resources devised in recent sympathetic work on ontological pluralism (the thesis that there are fundamentally distinct kinds of being) with the thought that what is past, future, and merely possible is less real than what is present and actual (albeit real enough to serve as truthmakers for statements about the past, future, and merely possible). However, we also show that despite being a coherent, disti…Read more
  •  536
    Essence in abundance
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (1): 100-112. 2015.
    Fine is widely thought to have refuted the simple modal account of essence, which takes the essential properties of a thing to be those it cannot exist without exemplifying. Yet, a number of philosophers have suggested resuscitating the simple modal account by appealing to distinctions akin to the distinction Lewis draws between sparse and abundant properties, treating only those in the former class as candidates for essentiality. I argue that ‘sparse modalism’ succumbs to counterexamples simila…Read more
  •  1500
    Against Grounding Necessitarianism
    Erkenntnis 80 (4): 717-751. 2015.
    Can there be grounding without necessitation? Can a fact obtain wholly in virtue of metaphysically more fundamental facts, even though there are possible worlds at which the latter facts obtain but not the former? It is an orthodoxy in recent literature about the nature of grounding, and in first-order philosophical disputes about what grounds what, that the answer is no. I will argue that the correct answer is yes. I present two novel arguments against grounding necessitarianism, and show that …Read more
  •  120
    Trogdon on monism and intrinsicality
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1). 2009.
    Kelly Trogdon [2009] argues that priority monism—here, the view that only the world as a whole has fundamental properties—conflicts with the best extant accounts of intrinsicality. He then proposes an alternative account that is designed to be not only compatible with this view, but also independently plausible. But his account conflicts with priority monism as well, and incorrectly classifies various non-intrinsic properties.