• According to material plenitude, every material object coincides with an abundance of other material objects that differ in the properties they have essentially and accidentally. Although this kind of plenitude is becoming increasingly popular, it isn't clear how to make sense of the view beyond its slogan form. As I argue, it turns out to be extraordinarily difficult to do so: straightforward attempts are either inconsistent or fail to capture the target idea. Making progress requires us to eng…Read more
  • The last 15 years or so has seen the development of a fascinating new area of cognitive science: the cognitive science of religion (CSR). Scientists in this field aim to explain religious beliefs and various other religious human activities by appeal to basic cognitive structures that all humans possess. The CSR scientific theories raise an interesting philosophical question: do they somehow show that religious belief, more specifically belief in a god of some kind, is irrational? In this paper …Read more
  • Debunking Arguments and Metaphysical Laws
    Philosophical Studies 177 (7): 1829-1855. 2020.
    I argue that one’s views about which “metaphysical laws” obtain—including laws about what is identical with what, about what is reducible to what, and about what grounds what—can be used to deflect or neutralize the threat posed by a debunking explanation. I use a well-known debunking argument in the metaphysics of material objects as a case study. Then, after defending the proposed strategy from the charge of question-begging, I close by showing how the proposed strategy can be used by certain …Read more
  • Copredication and Property Inheritance
    Philosophical Issues 27 (1): 131-166. 2017.
  • Against Conservatism in Metaphysics
    Maegan Fairchild and John Hawthorne
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82 45-75. 2018.
    In his recent book, Daniel Korman contrasts ontological conservatives with permissivists and eliminativists about ontology. Roughly speaking, conservatives admit the existence of ‘ordinary objects' like trees, dogs, and snowballs, but deny the existence of ‘extraordinary objects', like composites of trees and dogs. Eliminativists, on the other hand, deny many or all ordinary objects, while permissivists accept both ordinary and extraordinary objects. Our aim in this paper is to outline some of o…Read more
  • Evidentialism is a popular theory of epistemic justification, yet, as early proponents of the theory Earl Conee and Richard Feldman admit, there are many elements that must be developed before Evidentialism can provide a full account of epistemic justification, or well-founded belief. It is the aim of this book to provide the details that are lacking; here McCain moves past Evidentialism as a mere schema by putting forward and defending a full-fledged theory of epistemic justification. In this b…Read more
  • By Our Bootstraps
    Karen Bennett
    Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1): 27-41. 2011.
    Recently much has been made of the grounding relation, and of the idea that it is intimately tied to fundamentality. If A grounds B, then A is more fundamental than B (though not vice versa ), and A is ungrounded if and only if it is fundamental full stop—absolutely fundamental. But here is a puzzle: is grounding itself absolutely fundamental?
  • It is a live possibility that certain of our experiences reliably misrepresent the world around us. I argue that tracking theories of mental representation have difficulty allowing for this possibility, and that this is a major consideration against them
  • Evolutionary Hypotheses and Moral Skepticism
    Erkenntnis 84 (5): 1025-1045. 2018.
    Proponents of evolutionary debunking arguments aim to show that certain genealogical explanations of our moral faculties, if true, undermine our claim to moral knowledge. Criticisms of these arguments generally take the debunker’s genealogical explanation for granted. The task of the anti-debunker is thought to be that of reconciling the truth of this hypothesis with moral knowledge. In this paper, I shift the critical focus instead to the debunker’s empirical hypothesis and argue that the skept…Read more
  • How can we come to know metaphysical modal truths?
    Synthese 198 (Suppl 8): 2077-2106. 2018.
    Those who aim to give an account of modal knowledge face two challenges: the integration challenge of reconciling an account of what is involved in knowing modal truths with a plausible story about how we can come to know them, and the reliability challenge of giving a plausible account of how we could have evolved a reliable capacity to acquire modal knowledge. I argue that recent counterfactual and dispositional accounts of modal knowledge cannot solve these problems regarding specifically met…Read more
  • Not Just a Coincidence. Conditional Counter-examples to Locke's Thesis
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (2): 108-115. 2012.
    So-called Locke's thesis is the view that no two things of the same kind may coincide, that is, may be completely in the same place at the same time. A number of counter-examples to this view have been proposed. In this paper, some new and arguably more convincing counter-examples to Locke's thesis are presented. In these counter-examples, a particular entity (a string, a rope, a net, or similar) is interwoven to obtain what appears to be a distinct, thicker entity of the same kind. It is argued…Read more