•  90
    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.
  •  64
    Replies to Comments on Ontology Made Easy
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1): 251-264. 2019.
  •  52
    Précis of Ontology Made Easy
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1): 223-228. 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
  •  34
    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.
  •  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.
  •  260
    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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  308
    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
  •  1
    Ontological Categories and How to Use Them
    Electronic Journal of Analytic Philosophy 5. 1997.
  •  46
    Answerable and unanswerable questions
    In David Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology, Oxford University Press. 2009.
    While fights about ontology rage on in the ring, there’s long been a suspicion whispered in certain corners of the stadium that some of the fights aren’t real. Granted the disputants all think they are really disagreeing—it’s not the sincerity of the serious ontologists that’s in question, but rather their judgment that they are engaged in a real debate about genuine issues of substance.