• Actualism
    In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, The Metaphysics Research Lab. 2014.
  • The argument from collections
    In Jerry L. Walls & Trent Dougherty (eds.), Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God: The Plantinga Project, Oxford University Press. 2018.
  •  4
    Structuralism and Conceptual Change in Mathematics
    PSA Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1990 (2): 397-401. 1990.
    Professor Grosholz packs a lot into her interesting and suggestive paper “Formal Unities and Real Individuals” (Grosholz 1990b). In the limited space available I can comment briefly on its several parts, or direct more substantive comments at a single issue. I will opt for the latter; specifically, I want to address her critique of mathematical structuralism, as found especially in the writings of Michael Resnik.I begin with a brief, hence necessarily caricatured, summary of Resnik’s influential…Read more
  •  274
    The basic notion of justification
    Philosophical Studies 59 (3): 235-261. 1990.
    Epistemologists often offer theories of justification without paying much attention to the variety and diversity of locutions in which the notion of justification appears. For example, consider the following claims which contain some notion of justification: B is a justified belief, S's belief that p is justified, p is justified for S, S is justified in believing that p, S justifiably believes that p, S's believing p is justified, there is justification for S to believe that p, there is justific…Read more
  •  665
    Pure Logic and Higher-order Metaphysics
    In Peter Fritz & Nicholas K. Jones (eds.), Higher-Order Metaphysics, Oxford University Press. 2024.
    W. V. Quine famously defended two theses that have fallen rather dramatically out of fashion. The first is that intensions are “creatures of darkness” that ultimately have no place in respectable philosophical circles, owing primarily to their lack of rigorous identity conditions. However, although he was thoroughly familiar with Carnap’s foundational studies in what would become known as possible world semantics, it likely wouldn’t yet have been apparent to Quine that he was fighting a losing b…Read more
  •  181
    The Possibilism-Actualism Debate
    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2022.
    Actualism is a widely-held view in the metaphysics of modality that arises in response to the thesis of possibilism, the doctrine that, in addition to the things that actually exist — in particular, things that exist alongside us in the causal order — there are merely possible things as well, things that, in fact, fail to be actual but which could have been. The central motivation for possibilism is to explain what it is about reality that grounds such intuitively true propositions as that Wittg…Read more
  •  15
    Proceedings of the KI 2003 Workshop on Reference Ontologies and Application Ontologies (edited book)
    with Pierre Grenon and Barry Smith
    CEUR Workshop Proceedings, Vol. 94. 2004.
    Contains the following contributions: Ingvar Johansson: Ontologies and Concepts. Two Proposals Christopher Menzel: Reference Ontologies - Application Ontologies: Either/Or or Both/And? Luc Schneider: Foundational Ontologies and the Realist Bias Guenther Goerz, Kerstin Buecher, Bernd Ludwig, Frank-Peter Schweinberger, and Iman Thabet: Combining a Lexical Taxonomy with Domain Ontology in the Erlangen Dialogue System Vim Vandenberghe, Burkhard Schafer, John Kingston: Ontology Modelling in the Lega…Read more
  •  1151
    In Defense of the Possibilism–Actualism Distinction
    Philosophical Studies 177 (7): 1971-1997. 2020.
    In Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Timothy Williamson claims that the possibilism-actualism (P-A) distinction is badly muddled. In its place, he introduces a necessitism-contingentism (N-C) distinction that he claims is free of the confusions that purportedly plague the P-A distinction. In this paper I argue first that the P-A distinction, properly understood, is historically well-grounded and entirely coherent. I then look at the two arguments Williamson levels at the P-A distinction and find them …Read more
  •  65
    Ontology theory
    In Jerome Euzenat, Asuncion Gomez-Perez, Nicola Guarino & Heiner Stuckenschmidt (eds.), CEUR Workshop Proceedings, Vol. 64, . 2002.
    Ontology today is in many ways in a state similar to that of analysis in the late 18th century prior to arithmetization: it lacks the sort rigorous theoretical foundations needed to elevate ontology to the level of a genuine scientific discipline. This paper attempts to make some first steps toward the development of such foundations. Specifically, starting with some basic intuitions about ontologies and their content, I develop an expressively rich framework capable of treating ontologies as th…Read more
  •  81
    Reference ontologies — application ontologies: Either/or or both/and?
    In Pierre Grenon, Christopher Menzel & Barry Smith (eds.), Proceedings of the KI 2003 Workshop on Reference Ontologies and Application Ontologies, Ceur Workshop Proceedings, Vol. 94. 2004.
    The distinction between reference ontologies and application ontologies crept rather unobtrusively into the recent literature on knowledge engineering. A lot of the discourse surrounding this distinction – notably, the one framing the workshop generating this collection of papers – suggests the two types of ontologies are in some sort of opposition to one another. Thus, Borge et al. [3] characterize reference ontologies (more recently, foundational ontologies) as rich, axiomatic theories whose f…Read more
  •  4
    Providing a means of translating RDF, RDF-S, and DAML+OIL descriptions into a first-order predicate calculus logical theory not only specifies the intended meaning of the descriptions, but also produces a representation of the descriptions from which inferences can automatically be made using traditional automatic theorem provers and problem solvers. For example, the DAML+OIL axioms enable a reasoner to infer from the two statements “Class Male and class Female are disjointWith.” and “John is ty…Read more
  •  328
    The IDEF family of languages
    In Peter Bernus, Kai Mertins & Günter J. Schmidt (eds.), Handbook on Architectures of Information Systems, Springer-verlag. pp. 209-241. 1998.
    Summary. The purpose of this article is to serve as a clear introduction to the modeling languages of the three most widely used IDEF methods: IDEF0, IDEF1X, and IDEF3. Each language is presented in turn, beginning with a discussion of the underlying “ontology” the language purports to describe, followed by presentations of the syntax of the language — particularly the notion of a model for the language — and the semantical rules that determine how models are to be interpreted. The level of deta…Read more
  • Mathematical Realism and the Theory of Sets
    Dissertation, University of Notre Dame. 1984.
    Set theoretic platonism is the view that there exist objective, mind-independent abstract sets, and that set theory is the science of these entities. For the realist, this view offers the most natural semantical account of set theoretic discourse. Nonetheless, set theoretic platonism is beset by a number of serious difficulties. Chief among these, it turns out, is that it must deny the fundamental set theoretic intuition that any available objects can be collected into a further object. After a …Read more
  •  1686
    Modal set theory
    In Otávio Bueno & Scott A. Shalkowski (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Modality, Routledge. 2018.
    This article presents an overview of the basic philosophical motivations for, and some recent work in, modal set theory.
  •  97
    On an unsound proof of the existence of possible worlds
    Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 30 (4): 598-603. 1989.
    In this paper, an argument of Alvin Plantinga's for the existence of abstract possible worlds is shown to be unsound. The argument is based on a principle Plantinga calls "Quasicompactness", due to its structural similarity to the notion of compactness in first-order logic. The principle is shown to be false.
  •  260
    Temporal actualism and singular foreknowledge
    Philosophical Perspectives 5 475-507. 1991.
    Suppose we believe that God created the world. Then surely we want it to be the case that he intended, in some sense at least, to create THIS world. Moreover, most theists want to hold that God didn't just guess or hope that the world would take one course or another; rather, he KNEW precisely what was going to take place in the world he planned to create. In particular, of each person P, God knew that P was to exist. Call this the "standard" conception. Most theists find the standard conception…Read more
  •  314
    Possibilism and object theory
    Philosophical Studies 69 (2-3). 1993.
    A central stream running through the history of philosophy has been the attempt to gather a wide range of ostensibly disparate intuitive phenomena under a small, integrated set of concepts. Edward Zalta’s work is a sustained celebration of this tradition. This paper — part of a symposium on Zalta's work — is a friendly, but critical examination of Zalta's commitment to possibilism and the roles they play in his theory.
  •  225
    It is almost universally acknowledged that first-order logic (FOL), with its clean, well-understood syntax and semantics, allows for the clear expression of philosophical arguments and ideas. Indeed, an argument or philosophical theory rendered in FOL is perhaps the cleanest example there is of “representing philosophy”. A number of prominent syntactic and semantic properties of FOL reflect metaphysical presuppositions that stem from its Fregean origins, particularly the idea of an inviolable di…Read more
  •  46
    A Formal Foundation for Process Modeling
    with Michael Grüninger
    In C. Welty B. Smith (ed.), Formal Ontology in Information Systems (FOIS), Acm Press. 2001.
    Process modeling is ubiquitous in business and industry. While a great deal of effort has been devoted to the formal and philosophical investigation of processes, surprisingly little research connects this work to real world process modeling. The purpose of this paper is to begin making such a connection. To do so, we first develop a simple mathematical model of activities and their instances based upon the model theory for the NIST Process Specification Language (PSL), a simple language for descr…Read more
  •  136
    The proper treatment of predication in fine-grained intensional logic
    Philosophical Perspectives 7 61-87. 1993.
    In this paper I rehearse two central failings of traditional possible world semantics. I then present a much more robust framework for intensional logic and semantics based liberally on the work of George Bealer in his book Quality and Concept. Certain expressive limitations of Bealer's approach, however, lead me to extend the framework in a particularly natural and useful way. This extension, in turn, brings to light associated limitations of Bealer's account of predication. In response, I deve…Read more
  •  671
    The Argument from Collections
    In Jerry L. Walls & Trent Dougherty (eds.), Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God: The Plantinga Project, Oxford University Press. pp. 29-58. 2018.
    Very broadly, an argument from collections is an argument that purports to show that our beliefs about sets imply — in some sense — the existence of God. Plantinga (2007) first sketched such an argument in “Two Dozen” and filled it out somewhat in his 2011 monograph Where the Conflict Really Lies: Religion, Science, and Naturalism. In this paper I reconstruct what strikes me as the most plausible version of Plantinga’s argument. While it is a good argument in at least a fairly weak sense, it doe…Read more
  •  56
    SCL: A Logic Standard for Semantic Integration
    with Patrick Hayes
    Semantic Integration, CEUR Workshop Proceedings, Vol. 82 (2003). 2003.
    The Knowledge Interchange Format (KIF) [2] is an ASCII- based framework for use in exchanging of declarative knowledge among disparate computer systems. KIF has been widely used in the fields of knowledge engineering and artificial intelligence. Due to its growing importance, there arose a renewed push to make KIF an offi- cial international standard. A central motivation behind KIF standardization is the wide variation in quality, style, and content — of logic-based frameworks being used for knowl…Read more
  •  124
    Consider the following argument: All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal. Intuitively, what makes this a valid argument has nothing to do with Socrates, men, or mortality. Rather, each sentence in the argument exhibits a certain logical form, which, together with the forms of the other two, constitute a pattern that, of itself, guarantees the truth of the conclusion given the truth of the premises. More generally, then, the logical form of a sentence of natural langu…Read more
  •  213
    Cantor and the Burali-Forti Paradox
    The Monist 67 (1): 92-107. 1984.
    In studying the early history of mathematical logic and set theory one typically reads that Georg Cantor discovered the so-called Burali-Forti (BF) paradox sometime in 1895, and that he offered his solution to it in his famous 1899 letter to Dedekind. This account, however, leaves it something of a mystery why Cantor never discussed the paradox in his writings. Far from regarding the foundations of set theory to be shaken, he showed no apparent concern over the paradox and its implications whate…Read more
  •  66
    The Process Specification Language: Theory and Applications
    with Michael Grüninger
    AI Magazine 24 (3): 63-74. 2003.
    The Process Specification Language (PSL) has been designed to facilitate correct and complete exchange of process information among manufacturing systems, such as scheduling, process modeling, process planning, production planning, simulation, project management, work flow, and business process reengineering. We given an overview of the theories with the PSL ontology, discuss some of the design principles for the ontology, and finish with examples of process specifications that are based on the …Read more
  •  272
    The Fundamental Theorem of World Theory
    Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 333-363. 2014.
    The fundamental principle of the theory of possible worlds is that a proposition p is possible if and only if there is a possible world at which p is true. In this paper we present a valid derivation of this principle from a more general theory in which possible worlds are defined rather than taken as primitive. The general theory uses a primitive modality and axiomatizes abstract objects, properties, and propositions. We then show that this general theory has very small models and hence that it…Read more
  •  232
    Possible Worlds
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2013.
    This article includes a basic overview of possible world semantics and a relatively comprehensive overview of three central philosophical conceptions of possible worlds: Concretism (represented chiefly by Lewis), Abstractionism (represented chiefly by Plantinga), and Combinatorialism (represented chiefly by Armstrong).
  •  75
    Logic and Reality: Essays on the Legacy of Arthur Prior
    Philosophical Review 109 (2): 281. 2000.
    Arthur Prior was a truly philosophical logician. Though he believed formal logic to be worthy of study in its own right, of course, the source of Prior’s great passion for logic was his faith in its capacity for clarifying philosophical issues, untangling philosophical puzzles, and solving philosophical problems. Despite the fact that he has received far less attention than he deserves, Prior has had a profound influence on the development of philosophical and formal logic over the past forty ye…Read more