•  2385
    Introduction: Lessons from the Scientific Butchery
    In Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke & Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science, Mit Press. 2013.
    Good chefs know the importance of maintaining sharp knives in the kitchen. What’s their secret? A well-worn Taoist allegory offers some advice. The king asks about his butcher’s impressive knifework. “Ordinary butchers,” he replied “hack their way through the animal. Thus their knife always needs sharpening. My father taught me the Taoist way. I merely lay the knife by the natural openings and let it find its own way through. Thus it never needs sharpening” (Kahn 1995, vii; see also Watson 2003,…Read more
  •  336
    Natural Properties, Supervenience, and Mereology
    Humana Mente 4 (19): 79-104. 2011.
    The interpretation of Lewis‘s doctrine of natural properties is difficult and controversial, especially when it comes to the bearers of natural properties. According to the prevailing reading – the minimalist view – perfectly natural properties pertain to the micro-physical realm and are instantiated by entities without proper parts or point-like. This paper argues that there are reasons internal to a broadly Lewisian kind of metaphysics to think that the minimalist view is fundamentally flawed …Read more
  •  268
    I confini di un taglio
    In Elena Casetta & Valeria Giardino (eds.), Mettere a fuoco il mondo, Isonomia - Epistemologica Series Editor, University of Urbino. pp. 14-22. 2014.
    Che gli esseri umani esperiscano e rappresentino il mondo come un dominio ricco di confini è piuttosto ovvio. Tuttavia, Achille Varzi ha sottolineato a più riprese nelle sue opere che, dal punto di vista metafisico, è interessante chiedersi se i confini siano tutti dello stesso tipo. Tale domanda ci permette, infatti, di affrontare con un registro intuitivo una serie di questioni classiche circa la natura del mondo. In queste poche pagine vorrei considerare il tema dei confini da un’angolatura s…Read more
  •  190
    There seems to be a minimal core that every theory wishing to accommodate the intuition that the future is open must contain: a denial of physical determinism (i.e. the thesis that what future states the universe will be in is implied by what states it has been in), and a denial of strong fatalism (i.e. the thesis that, at every time, what will subsequently be the case is metaphysically necessary).1 Those two requirements are often associated with the idea of an objective temporal flow and the n…Read more
  •  140
    According to Lewis, mereology is the general and exhaustive theory of ontological composition, and every contingent feature of the world supervenes upon some fundamental properties instantiated by minimal entities. A profound analogy can be drawn between these two basic contentions of his metaphysics, namely that both can be intended as a denial of emergentism. In this essay, we study the relationships between Humean supervenience and two philosophical spin-offs of mereological monism: the possi…Read more
  •  131
    Development and natural kinds: Some lessons from biology
    with Marco J. Nathan
    Synthese 191 (3): 539-556. 2014.
    While philosophers tend to consider a single type of causal history, biologists distinguish between two kinds of causal history: evolutionary history and developmental history. This essay studies the peculiarity of development as a criterion for the individuation of biological traits and its relation to form, function, and evolution. By focusing on examples involving serial homologies and genetic reprogramming, we argue that morphology (form) and function, even when supplemented with evolutionar…Read more
  •  103
    The Adverbial Theory of Properties
    Metaphysica 13 (2): 107-123. 2012.
    The paper presents a novel version of universalism—the thesis according to which there are only universals, no individuals—which is cashed out in terms of an adverbial analysis of predication. According to the theory, every spatiotemporal occurrence of a universal U can be expressed by a sentence which asserts the existence of U adverbially modified by the spatiotemporal region at which it exists. After some preliminary remarks on the interpretation of natural language, a formal semantics for th…Read more
  •  90
    What Is a Recipe?
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (4): 719-738. 2015.
    The ontology of recipes is by and large unexplored. In this paper, I offer a three-steps account. After introducing some key terminology, I distinguish four main options for a theory of recipes: realism, constructivism, existentialism, and the naïve approach. Hence, I first argue that recipes are social entities whose identity depends on a process of identification, typically performed by means of a performative utterance on the part of a cook ; thus, the best theoretical framework for a theory …Read more
  •  87
    Natural Properties and Atomicity in Modal Realism
    Metaphysica 16 (1): 103-122. 2015.
    The paper pinpoints certain unrecognized difficulties that surface for recombination and duplication in modal realism when we ask whether the following inter-world fixity claims hold true: 1) A property is perfectly natural in a world iff it is perfectly natural in every world where it is instantiated; 2) Something is mereologically atomic in a world iff all of its duplicates in every world are atomic. In connection to 1), the hypothesis of idlers prompts four variants of Lewis’s doctrine of per…Read more
  •  64
    4.2. Quel che resta dei generi naturali
    with Elena Casetta
    Rivista di Estetica 49 247-271. 2012.
    If natural kinds were defined on the basis of fixed and immutable essences, then––with the end of essentialism in life sciences––their end, at least for those kinds confined to the living realm, would ensue as well (1-2). If appropriately revised and adapted, however, natural kinds may still play an important theoretical role, not only for the sake of philosophical speculation, but also in accomodating scientific practices and in providing an adequate rendering of human reasoning. The proposal o…Read more
  •  54
    È una credenza diffusa che i marchi di origine (DOCG, DOC, DOP, IGT, IGP e PAT, rispettivamente: di origine controllata e garantita; di origine controllata; di origine protetta; indicazione geografica tipica; indicazione geografica protetta; prodotti agroalimentari tradizionali) siano di grande utilità sia per i consumatori che per i produttori: certificando l’origine e il metodo di produzione di un prodotto, essi ne garantiscono una certa qualità di fronte al consumatore. Ma è proprio così? Che…Read more
  •  13
    Much of the appeal of Armstrong’s combinatorial theory of possibility depends on the theory’s principle of recombination. Despite its centrality, the principle has received little attention in the critical literature on combinatorialism. In this paper, I first set out to discuss how to exactly formulate the principle; then, I show that some notable criticisms of combinatorialism are in fact criticisms to the principle of recombination that allegedly sustains the theory. I focus in particular on …Read more