•  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.
  •  52
    Précis of Ontology Made Easy
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1): 223-228. 2019.
  •  64
    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
  •  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.
  •  9
    The Ontology of Art
    In Peter Kivy (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Aesthetics, Blackwell. pp. 78-92. 2004.
  •  21
    Ingarden and the ontology of cultural objects
    In Arkadiusz Chrudzimski (ed.), Existence, Culture, and Persons: The Ontology of Roman Ingarden, . pp. 115-136. 2005.
    While Roman Ingarden is well known for his work in aesthetics and studies in ontology, one of his most important and lasting contributions has been largely overlooked: his approach to a general ontology of social and cultural objects. Ingarden himself discusses cultural objects other than works of art directly in the first section of “The Architectural Work”1, where he develops a particularly penetrating view of the ontology of buildings, flags, and churches. This text provides the core insight …Read more
  •  25
    Fiction, existence et référence
    Methodos 10. 2010.
    L’article publié ici se propose d’emprunter une voie qui n’avait pas été empruntée dans les explorations précédentes de l’auteur. En effet, on verra qu’il s’agit ici de surmonter les difficultés auxquelles sont confrontées les théories réalistes de la fiction et en particulier la théorie artefactuelle dont Amie Thomasson est l’auteur. La question principale s’édicte en ces termes : s’il y a des personnages de fiction, comment se fait-il qu’il nous soit naturel de dire que tel ou tel personnage n…Read more
  •  134
    Quizzical Ontology and Easy Ontology
    Journal of Philosophy 111 (9-10): 502-528. 2014.
    This paper examines what’s at stake in which form of metaontological deflationism we adopt. Stephen Yablo has argued for a ‘quizzicalist’ approach, holding that many ontological questions are ‘moot’ in the sense that there is simply nothing to settle them. Defenders of the ‘easy approach’ to ontology, by contrast, think not that these questions are unsettled, but that they are very easily settled by trivial inferences from uncontroversial premises—so obviously and easily settled that there is no…Read more
  •  79
    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
  •  6
    Ontología fácil y sus consecuencias
    Disputatio. Philosophical Research Bulletin 4 (5): 247--279. 2015.
    [ES] Los trabajos recientes de Stephen Schiffer en el desarrollo de una explicación pleonástica de proposiciones producen resultados importantes que cambian el significado tanto de la ontología de primer orden como de la meta-ontología. El objetivo del presente trabajo es dejar en claro cuáles son estas consecuencias y por qué son tan importantes. Según mi punto de vista, la mayor amenaza para los partidarios de la metafísica proviene de un punto de vista que yo he llamado en otro trabajo el ace…Read more
  •  145
    Metaphysical Disputes and Metalinguistic Negotiation
    Analytic Philosophy 57 (4): 1-28. 2016.
  •  86
    Why we Should Still Take it Easy
    Mind 126 (503): 769-779. 2017.
    In an earlier paper in this journal I argued that deflationism is preferable to fictionalism as an alternative to both traditional realism and eliminativism. Gabriele Contessa questions this conclusion, denying that fictionalist arguments beg the question against easy ontological arguments, presenting a new argument against easy ontology, and suggesting a response to the challenge I raise for fictionalists. Below I respond to these points in turn. In so doing, I hope to clarify the broader theor…Read more