•  107
    Ned Markosian (2014) has recently defended a new theory of composition, which he calls regionalism: some material objects xx compose something if and only if there is a material object located at the fusion of the locations of xx. Markosian argues that regionalism follows from what he calls the subregion theory of parthood (STP). Korman and Carmichael (2016) agree. We provide countermodels to show that regionalism does not follow from (STP), even together with fourteen potentially implicit backg…Read more
  •  89
    Balashov on special relativity, coexistence, and temporal parts
    Philosophical Studies 109 (3): 241-263. 2002.
    Yuri Balashov has argued that endurantism is untenable in the context of Minkowski spacetime. Balashov's argument runs through two main theses concerning the relation of coexistence, or temporal co-location. Coexistence must turn out to be an absolute or objective matter; and in Minkowski spacetime coexistence must be grounded in the relation of spacelike separation. If endurantism is true, then leads to absurd conclusions; but if perdurantism is true, then is harmless. I object to both theses. …Read more
  •  2
    Material Objects: Metaphysical Issues
    Dissertation, Princeton University. 2004.
    My dissertation divides into four parts, each of which consists of two chapters. ;Part I sets up the issues to be dealt with in the remainder of the dissertation. Chapter One introduces the central presuppositions and primitive notions upon which I rely thereafter. Chapter Two offers a new taxonomy of views about persistence. Whereas the traditional taxonomy recognizes just one distinction---namely, the 3D v. 4D distinction---my new taxonomy recognizes two quite separate distinctions: the distin…Read more
  •  153
    I formulate an account, in terms of essence and ground, that explains why atomic Russellian propositions have the truth conditions they do. The key ideas are that (i) atomic propositions are just 0-adic relations, (ii) truth is just the 1-adic version of the instantiation (or, as I will say, holding) relation (Menzel 1993: 86, note 27), and (iii) atomic propositions have the truth conditions they do for basically the same reasons that partially plugged relations, like being an x and a y such th…Read more
  •  1547
    Relativity and Three Four‐dimensionalisms
    Philosophy Compass 11 (2): 102-120. 2016.
    Relativity theory is often said to support something called ‘the four-dimensional view of reality’. But there are at least three different views that sometimes go by this name. One is ‘spacetime unitism’, according to which there is a spacetime manifold, and if there are such things as points of space or instants of time, these are just spacetime regions of different sorts: thus space and time are not separate manifolds. A second is the B-theory of time, according to which the past, present, and…Read more
  •  232
    Homunculi Are People Too! Lewis's Definition of Personhood Debugged
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (1): 54-60. 2017.
    David Lewis defends the following "non-circular definition of personhood": "something is a continuant person if and only if it is a maximal R-interrelated aggregate of person-stages. That is: if and only if it is an aggregate of person-stages, each of which is R-related to all the rest (and to itself), and it is a proper part of no other such aggregate." I give a counterexample, involving a person who is a part of another, much larger person, with a separate mental life. I then offer an easy rep…Read more
  •  254
    Time travel, coinciding objects, and persistence
    In Dean Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics: Volume 3, Clarendon Press. pp. 177-198. 2007.
    Existing puzzles about coinciding objects can be divided into two types, corresponding to the manner in which they bear upon the endurantism v. perdurantism debate. Puzzles of the first type, which involve temporary spatial co-location, can be solved simply by abandoning endurantism in favor of perdurantism, whereas those of the second type, which involve career-long spatial co-location, remain equally puzzling on both views. I show that the possibility of backward time travel would give rise to…Read more
  •  96
    Defining 'dead' in terms of 'lives' and 'dies'
    Philosophia 35 (2): 219-231. 2007.
    What is it for a thing to be dead? Fred Feldman holds, correctly in my view, that a definition of ‘dead’ should leave open both (1) the possibility of things that go directly from being dead to being alive, and (2) the possibility of things that go directly from being alive to being neither alive nor dead, but merely in suspended animation. But if this is right, then surely such a definition should also leave open the possibility of things that go directly from being dead to being neither alive …Read more
  •  55
    Review of Hud Hudson, The Metaphysics of Hyperspace (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2006 (10). 2006.
    This is a review of The Metaphysics of Hyperspace (OUP: 2005) by Hud Hudson.
  •  520
    Slots in Universals
    Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 8 187-233. 2013.
    Slot theory is the view that (i) there exist such entities as argument places, or ‘slots’, in universals, and that (ii) a universal u is n-adic if and only if there are n slots in u. I argue that those who take properties and relations to be abundant, fine-grained, non-set-theoretical entities face pressure to be slot theorists. I note that slots permit a natural account of the notion of adicy. I then consider a series of ‘slot-free’ accounts of that notion and argue that each of them has signif…Read more
  •  225
    Speaks's Reduction of Propositions to Properties: A Benacerraf Problem
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 5 (3): 275-284. 2016.
    Speaks defends the view that propositions are properties: for example, the proposition that grass is green is the property being such that grass is green. We argue that there is no reason to prefer Speaks's theory to analogous but competing theories that identify propositions with, say, 2-adic relations. This style of argument has recently been deployed by many, including Moore and King, against the view that propositions are n-tuples, and by Caplan and Tillman against King's view that propositi…Read more
  •  583
    When Do Things Die?
    In Ben Bradley, Jens Johansson & Fred Feldman (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Death, Oxford University Press. 2013.
  •  102
    In defence of spatially related universals
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (3): 420-428. 2003.
    Immanent universals, being wholly present wherever they are instantiated, are capable of both multi-location and co-location. As a result, they can become involved in some bizarre situations, situations whose contradictory appearance cannot be dispelled by any of the relativizing maneuvers familiar to metaphysicials as solutions to the problem of change. Douglas Ehring takes this to be a fatal problem for immanent universals, but I do not. Although the old relativizing maneuvers don't solve the …Read more
  •  154
    Personal Identity, Consciousness, and Joints in Nature
    The Journal of Ethics 19 (3-4): 443-466. 2015.
    Many philosophers have thought that the problem of personal identity over time is not metaphysically deep. Perhaps the debate between the rival theories is somehow empty or is a ‘merely verbal dispute’. Perhaps questions about personal identity are ‘nonsubstantive’ and fit more for conceptual analysis and close attention to usage than for theorizing in the style of serious metaphysics, theorizing guided by considerations of systematicity, parsimony, explanatory power, and aiming for knowledge ab…Read more
  •  328
    Sider, the inheritance of intrinsicality, and theories of composition
    Philosophical Studies 151 (2): 177-197. 2010.
    I defend coincidentalism (the view that some pluralities have more than one mereological fusion) and restricted composition (the view that some pluralities lack mereological fusions) against recent arguments due to Theodore Sider.
  •  649
    The metaphysics of mortals: death, immortality, and personal time
    Philosophical Studies 173 (12): 3271-3299. 2016.
    Personal time, as opposed to external time, has a certain role to play in the correct account of death and immortality. But saying exactly what that role is, and what role remains for external time, is not straightforward. I formulate and defend accounts of death and immortality that specify these roles precisely.
  •  693
    Endurantism, the view that material objects are wholly present at each moment of their careers, is under threat from supersubstantivalism, the view that material objects are identical to spacetime regions. I discuss three compromise positions. They are alike in that they all take material objects to be composed of spacetime points or regions without being identical to any such point or region. They differ in whether they permit multilocation and in whether they generate cases of mereologically c…Read more
  •  146
    Where in the relativistic world are we?
    Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1). 2006.
    I formulate a theory of persistence in the endurantist family and pose a problem for the conjunction of this theory with orthodox versions of special or general relativity. The problem centers around the question: Where are things?
  •  172
    Persistence and location in relativistic spacetime
    Philosophy Compass 3 (6): 1224-1254. 2008.
    How is the debate between endurantism and perdurantism affected by the transition from pre-relativistic spacetimes to relativistic ones? After suggesting that the endurance vs. perdurance distinction may run together a pair of cross-cutting distinctions, I discuss two recent attempts to show that the transition in question does serious damage to endurantism
  •  196
    The introspectibility thesis
    PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 9. 2003.
    According to what Barry Dainton calls the 'Strong Introspectibility thesis', it is a necessary truth that mental states S and S* are co-conscious (experienced together) if and only if they are 'jointly introspectible', i.e., if and only if it is possible for there to be some single state of introspective awareness that represents both S and S*. Dainton offers two arguments for the conclusion that joint introspectibility is unnecessary for co-consciousness. In these comments I attempt to show, fi…Read more
  •  326
    Keep in touch
    Philosophia Naturalis 49 (1): 85-111. 2012.
    I introduce a puzzle about contact and de re temporal predication in relativistic spacetime. In particular, I describe an apparent counterexample to the following principle, roughly stated: if B is never in a position to say ‘I was touching A, I am touching A, and I will be touching A’, then (time travel aside) A is never in a position to say ‘I was touching B, I am touching B, and I will be touching B’. In the case I present, the most that A is ever in a position to say is: ‘I am now touching B…Read more
  •  1188
    Why Parthood Might Be a Four Place Relation, and How it Behaves if it Is
    In Ludger Honnefelder, Benedikt Schick & Edmund Runggaldier (eds.), Unity and Time in Metaphysics, De Gruyter. pp. 83--133. 2009.
  •  1368
    Parts of Propositions
    In Shieva Kleinschmidt (ed.), Mereology and Location, Oxford University Press. pp. 156-208. 2014.
    Do Russellian propositions have their constituents as parts? One reason for thinking not is that if they did, they would generate apparent counterexamples to plausible mereological principles. As Frege noted, they would be in tension with the transitivity of parthood. A certain small rock is a part of Etna but not of the proposition that Etna is higher than Vesuvius. So, if Etna were a part of the given proposition, parthood would fail to be transitive. As William Bynoe has noted (speaking of fa…Read more