•  586
    Locke on individuation and the corpuscular basis of kinds
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (3). 2007.
    In a well-known paper, Reginald Jackson expresses a sentiment not uncommon among readers of Locke: “Among the merits of Locke’s Essay…not even the friendliest critic would number consistency.”2 This unflattering opinion of Locke is reiterated by Maurice Mandelbaum: “Under no circumstances can [Locke] be counted among the clearest and most consistent of philosophers.”3 The now familiar story is that there are innumerable inconsistencies and internal problems contained in Locke’s Essay. In fact, i…Read more
  •  223
    Descartes on Composites, Incomplete Substances, and Kinds of Unity
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 90 (1): 39-73. 2008.
    It is widely-accepted that Descartes is a substance dualist, i.e. that he holds that there are two and only two kinds of finite substance – mind and body. However, several scholars have argued that Descartes is a substance trialist, where the third kind of substance he admits is the substantial union of a mind and a body, the human being. In this paper, I argue against the trialist interpretation of Descartes. First, I show that the strongest evidence for trialism, based on Descartes' discussion…Read more
  •  171
  •  134
    Descartes's creation doctrine and modality
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (1). 2002.
    This Article does not have an abstract
  •  132
    Descartes on the objective reality of materially false ideas
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 81 (4). 2000.
    “The Standard Interpretation” of Descartes on material falsity states that Descartes believed that materially false ideas (MFIs) lack “objective reality” [realitas objectiva]. The argument for the Standard Interpretation depends on a statement from the “Third Meditation” that MFIs are caused by nothing. This statement, in conjunction with a causal principle introduced by Descartes, seems to entail that MFIs lack objective reality. However, the Standard Interpretation is incorrect. First, I argue…Read more
  •  126
    Descartes held the doctrine that the eternal truths are freely created by God. He seems to have thought that a proper understanding of God's freedom entails such a doctrine concerning the eternal truths. In this paper, I examine Descartes' account of divine freedom. I argue that Descartes' statements about indifference, namely that indifference is the lowest grade of freedom and that indifference is the essence of God's freedom are not incompatible. I also show how Descartes arrived at his doctr…Read more
  •  123
    Divine simplicity and the eternal truths in Descartes
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 11 (4). 2003.
    This Article does not have an abstract
  •  58
    Cartesian Substances, Individual Bodies, and Corruptibility
    Res Philosophica 91 (1): 71-102. 2014.
    According to the Monist Interpretation of Descartes, there is really only one corporeal substance—the entire extended plenum. Evidence for this interpretation seems to be provided by Descartes in the Synopsis of the Meditations, where he claims that all substances are incorruptible. Finite bodies, being corruptible, would then fail to be substances. On the other hand, ‘body, taken in the general sense,’ being incorruptible, would be a corporeal substance. In this paper, I defend a Pluralist Inte…Read more
  •  25
    Review of David Clemenson, Descartes' Theory of Ideas (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (3). 2008.
  •  22
  •  15
    The Decline and Rebirth of Philosophy
    Philosophy Now 130 34-37. 2019.
  •  10
    The Creation of the Eternal Truths and the Nature of God in Descartes
    Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst. 2000.
    Descartes held the seemingly bizarre doctrine that the eternal truths are freely created by God. This 'Creation Doctrine' has been the subject of great misunderstandings and ridicule from philosophers and theologians from the seventeenth century to the present. ;This dissertation is a sympathetic interpretation of Descartes' Creation Doctrine. After first briefly examining some alternative views concerning the relationship between the eternal truths and God, I argue that Descartes is committed t…Read more
  •  6
    Vere Chappell has pointed out that it is not clear whether Locke has a well-developed ontology or even whether he is entitled to have one.2 Nevertheless, it is clear that Locke believes that there are organisms, and it is clear that he thinks that there are substances. But does he believe that organisms are substances? There are certainly parts of the Essay in which Locke seems unequivocally to state that organisms are substances. For instance, in 2.23.3 Locke uses men and horses as examples of …Read more
  •  5
    Locke on Individuation and the Corpuscular Basis of Kinds1
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (3): 499-534. 2007.
    In this paper, I examine the crucial relationship between Locke’s theory of individuation and his theory of kinds. Locke holds that two material objects—e.g., a mass of matter and an oak tree—can be in the same place at the same time, provided that they are ‘of different kinds’. According to Locke, kinds are nominal essences, that is, general abstract ideas based on objective similarities between particular individuals. I argue that Locke’s view on coinciding material objects is incompatible wit…Read more
  •  2
    Descartes on the Objective Reality of Materially False Ideas
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 81 (4): 385-408. 2000.
  • The Seventeenth century is one of the most important periods in the history of Western philosophy, witnessing philosophical, scientific, religious and social change on a massive scale. In spite of this, there are remarkably few comprehensive, single volume surveys of the period as a whole. The Routledge Companion to Seventeenth Century Philosophy is an outstanding and comprehensive survey of this momentous period, covering the major thinkers, topics and movements in Seventeenth century philosoph…Read more