•  94
    In the Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume mounts a spirited assault on the doctrine of the infinite divisibility of extension, and he defends in its place the contrary claim that extension is everywhere only finitely divisible. Despite this major departure from the more conventional conceptions of space embodied in traditional geometry, Hume does not endorse any radical reform of geometry. Instead Hume espouses a more conservative approach, claiming that geometry fails only “in this single poi…Read more
  •  351
    Hume's Perceptual Relationism
    Hume Studies 42 (1 & 2): 61-87. 2016.
    My topic in this paper will be Hume’s claim that we have no idea of a vacuum. I offer a novel interpretation of Hume’s account of our ideas of extension that makes it clear why those ideas cannot include any ideas of vacuums, and I distinguish my interpretation from prominent readings offered by other Hume scholars. An upshot of Hume’s account, I will argue, is his commitment to a remarkable and distinctly Humean view I call “perceptual relationism.” Perceptual relationism is a fundamental chara…Read more
  •  476
    Hume's Colors and Newton's Colored Lights
    Journal of Scottish Philosophy 16 (1): 1-18. 2018.
    In a 2004 paper, “Hume’s Missing Shade of Blue Reconsidered from a Newtonian Perspective,” Eric Schliesser argues that Hume’s well-known discussion of the missing shade of blue “reveals considerable ignorance of Newton’s achievement in optics,” and that Hume has failed to assimilate the lessons taught by Newton’s optical experiments. I argue in this paper, contrary to Schliesser, that Hume’s views on color are logically and evidentially independent of Newton’s results. In developing my reading,…Read more
  •  12
    The Logic of Contingent Existence
    Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst. 1997.
    Among modal claims, claims that involve the notions of broadly logical possibility and necessity, one that seems almost trivial is this: that if some proposition is possible, then it is possibly true. However, there is an argument, due in its essentials to the medieval philosopher and logician Jean Buridan, to the effect that this seemingly trivial claim is, in fact, untrue. ;Briefly put, the argument is this. Let Q be the proposition that Quine does not exist. Since Quine's existence is conting…Read more