•  88
    What Do Easy Inferences Get Us?
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3): 736-744. 2021.
  •  3
    Norms and Necessity
    Oup Usa. 2020.
    Philosophical theories often hinge on claims about what is necessary or possible. But what are possibilities and necessities, and how could we come to know about them? This book aims to help demystify the methodology of philosophy, by treating such claims not as attempted descriptions of strange facts or distant 'possible worlds', but rather as ways of expressing rules or norms.
  •  45
    Real Natures and Familiar Objects
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2): 518-523. 2007.
    Crawford Elder’s Real Natures and Familiar Objects promises to give naturalistically inclined metaphysicians reason to accept an ontology that includes many common sense objects, including persons, organisms, and at least many artifacts, behaviors, customs, and so on. This is a brave book, running against the current of trends towards austerity in ontology, tackling centuries old problems about how modal facts may be empirically discovered, and defending a commonsense ontology from a strictly na…Read more
  •  45
  •  1
    Artifacts in Metaphysics
    In Anthonie Meijers (ed.), Philosophy of Technology and Engineering Sciences, Elsevier/north Holland. pp. 191-212. 2009.
  •  52
    Précis of Ontology Made Easy
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1): 223-228. 2019.
  •  63
    Replies to Comments on Ontology Made Easy
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1): 251-264. 2019.
  •  41
    What Can we Take Away from Easy Arguments?
    Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (2): 153-162. 2017.
    ABSTRACTA ‘sceptical’ approach to easy arguments involves reducing our confidence in the supposedly uncontroversial premise with which the arguments begin. Here I address the question: if we accept Yablo's new version of a sceptical proposal, what difference might that make for the relevant meta-ontological debates? I argue that serious difficulties remain for even this ‘best’ version of a sceptical approach. Noting these difficulties might motivate us to look again at the alternative strategy—o…Read more
  •  81
    Changing Metaphysics: What Difference does it Make?
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82 139-163. 2018.
    I have argued elsewhere for a deflationary conception of metaphysics, which takes well-formed metaphysical questions to be answerable using nothing more mysterious than empirical information and descriptive and normative conceptual work. Here I examine the ways in which our practices of metaphysics should change, if we adopt the deflationary reconception of metaphysics. Adopting this approach does not mean abandoning metaphysics, but it does lead to important differences regarding which debates …Read more
  •  124
    How can we come to know metaphysical modal truths?
    Synthese 198 (Suppl 8): 2077-2106. 2018.
    Those who aim to give an account of modal knowledge face two challenges: the integration challenge of reconciling an account of what is involved in knowing modal truths with a plausible story about how we can come to know them, and the reliability challenge of giving a plausible account of how we could have evolved a reliable capacity to acquire modal knowledge. I argue that recent counterfactual and dispositional accounts of modal knowledge cannot solve these problems regarding specifically met…Read more
  •  38
    Husserl on Essences
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (3): 436-459. 2017.
    The common thought that Husserl was committed to a Platonist ontology of essences, and to a mysterious epistemology that holds that we can ‘intuit’ these essences, has contributed substantially to his work being dismissed and marginalized in analytic philosophy. This paper aims to show that it is misguided to dismiss Husserl on these grounds. First, the author aims to explicate Husserl’s views about essences and how we can know them, in ways that make clear that he is not committed to a traditio…Read more
  •  47
    It's a Jumble Out There: How Talk of Levels Leads Us Astray
    American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (4): 285-296. 2014.
    One often hears talk about some entities being "higher-level" than others: social and cultural objects, for example, are often said to be "higher-level" entities than organisms; mental properties are often said to be "higherlevel" than physical or neurological properties; and so on. Sometimes this is expressed as the idea that reality comes in ontological levels, strata of being. I will argue, however, that metaphysics is better off without making use of the idea of "levels." The levels metaphor…Read more
  •  133
    Metaphysics and Conceptual Negotiation
    Philosophical Issues 27 (1): 364-382. 2017.
  •  141
    Metaphysical Disputes and Metalinguistic Negotiation
    Analytic Philosophy 58 (1): 1-28. 2017.
  •  13
    Speaking of Fictional Characters
    Dialectica 57 (2): 205-223. 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
  • The Ontology of Fiction: A Study of Dependent Objects
    Dissertation, University of California, Irvine. 1995.
    In the dissertation I defend the view that there are fictional characters and develop the Artifactual Theory of fiction, according to which fictional characters are non-concrete entities dependent on authors, texts and readers. I argue that our best theory of intentionality asserts that all intentional acts have objects, even if these objects are fictional, for otherwise one cannot adequately analyze our apparent experiences of fictional characters. ;Since I treat fictional characters as depende…Read more
  •  19
    A nonreductivist solution to mental causation
    Philosophical Studies 89 (2): 181-195. 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
  •  136
    Phenomenology and Philosophy of Mind (edited book)
    Oxford: Clarendon Press. 2005.
    Philosophical work on the mind flowed in two streams through the 20th century: phenomenology and analytic philosophy. This volume aims to bring them together again, by demonstrating how work in phenomenology may lead to significant progress on problems central to current analytic research, and how analytical philosophy of mind may shed light on phenomenological concerns. Leading figures from both traditions contribute specially written essays on such central topics as consciousness, intentionali…Read more
  •  33
    Ordinary Objects
    Analysis 69 (1): 173-174. 2009.
    In recent analytic metaphysics, the view that ‘ordinary inanimate objects such as sticks and stones, tables and chairs, simply do not exist’ has been defended by some noteworthy writers. Thomasson opposes such revisionary ontology in favour of an ontology that is conservative with respect to common sense. The book is written in a straightforward, methodical and down-to-earth style. It is also relatively non-specialized, enabling the author and her readers to approach problems that are often deal…Read more
  • Die Identität Fiktionaler Gegenstände
    Conceptus: Zeitschrift Fur Philosophie 27 (70): 77-95. 1994.
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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 ...
  •  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.