•  3010
    Why Is There Anything At All?
    with Peter van Inwagen and E. J. Lowe
    Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 70 (1): 95-120. 1996.
  •  1098
    Causal closure principles and emergentism
    Philosophy 75 (294): 571-586. 2000.
    Causal closure arguments against interactionist dualism are currently popular amongst physicalists. Such an argument appeals to some principles of the causal closure of the physical, together with certain other premises, to conclude that at least some mental events are identical with physical events. However, it is crucial to the success of any such argument that the physical causal closure principle to which it appeals is neither too strong nor too weak by certain standards. In this paper, it i…Read more
  •  807
    Non-Cartesian substance dualism maintains that persons or selves are distinct from their organic physical bodies and any parts of those bodies. It regards persons as ‘substances’ in their own right, but does not maintain that persons are necessarily separable from their bodies, in the sense of being capable of disembodied existence. In this paper, it is urged that NCSD is better equipped than either Cartesian dualism or standard forms of physicalism to explain the possibility of mental causation…Read more
  •  646
    The rationality of metaphysics
    Synthese 178 (1): 99-109. 2011.
    In this paper, it is argued that metaphysics, conceived as an inquiry into the ultimate nature of mind-independent reality, is a rationally indispensable intellectual discipline, with the a priori science of formal ontology at its heart. It is maintained that formal ontology, properly understood, is not a mere exercise in conceptual analysis, because its primary objective is a normative one, being nothing less than the attempt to grasp adequately the essences of things, both actual and possible,…Read more
  •  577
    Ontological Dependence
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2020.
    Ontological dependence is a relation—or, more accurately, a family of relations—between entities or beings. For there are various ways in which one being may be said to depend upon one or more other beings, in a sense of “depend” that is distinctly metaphysical in character and that may be contrasted, thus, with various causal senses of this word. More specifically, a being may be said to depend, in such a sense, upon one or more other beings for its existence or for its identity. Some varieties…Read more
  •  457
    Two notions of being: Entity and essence
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 62 23-48. 2008.
    s div class="title" a terTwo Notions of Being: Entity and Essence s /div a ter - Volume 62 - E. J. Lowe.
  •  399
    The metaphysics of abstract objects
    Journal of Philosophy 92 (10): 509-524. 1995.
  •  346
    What is the Source of Our Knowledge of Modal Truths?
    Mind 121 (484): 919-950. 2012.
    There is currently intense interest in the question of the source of our presumed knowledge of truths concerning what is, or is not, metaphysically possible or necessary. Some philosophers locate this source in our capacities to conceive or imagine various actual or non-actual states of affairs, but this approach is open to certain familiar and seemingly powerful objections. A different and ostensibly more promising approach has been developed by Timothy Williamson, according to which our capaci…Read more
  •  341
    Properties, Modes, and Universals
    Modern Schoolman 79 (2-3): 137-150. 2002.
  •  330
    What is a criterion of identity?
    Philosophical Quarterly 39 (154): 1-21. 1989.
  •  300
    Material coincidence and the cinematographic fallacy: A response to Olson
    Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208): 369-372. 2002.
    Eric T. Olson has argued that those who hold that two material objects can exactly coincide at a moment of time, with one of these objects constituting the other, face an insuperable difficulty in accounting for the alleged differences between the objects, such as their being of different kinds and possessing different persistence-conditions. The differences, he suggests, are inexplicable, given that the objects in question are composed of the same particles related in precisely the same way. In…Read more
  •  272
    Sortals and the individuation of objects
    Mind and Language 22 (5): 514-533. 2007.
    It has long been debated whether objects are ‘sortally’ individuated. This paper begins by clarifying some of the key terms in play—in particular, ‘sortal’, ‘individuation’, and ‘object’. The term ‘individuation’ is taken to have both a cognitive and a metaphysical sense, in the former denoting the singling out of an object in thought and in the latter a determination relation between entities. ‘Sortalism’ is defined as the doctrine that only as falling under some specific sortal concept can an …Read more
  •  271
    The truth about counterfactuals
    Philosophical Quarterly 45 (178): 41-59. 1995.
  •  270
    New directions in metaphysics and ontology
    Axiomathes 18 (3): 273-288. 2008.
    A personal view is presented of how metaphysics and ontology stand at the beginning of the twenty-first century, in the light of developments during the twentieth. It is argued that realist metaphysics, with serious ontology at its heart, has a promising future, provided that its adherents devote some time and effort to countering the influences of both its critics and its false friends.
  •  260
    E. J. Lowe, a prominent figure in contemporary metaphysics, sets out and defends his theory of what there is. His four-category ontology is a metaphysical system which recognizes four fundamental categories of beings: substantial and non-substantial particulars and substantial and non-substantial universals. Lowe argues that this system has an explanatory power which is unrivalled by more parsimonious theories and that this counts decisively in its favour. He shows that it provides a powerful ex…Read more
  •  260
    In the Second Meditation, Descartes famously asks at one point, ‘But what then am I?’ – to which his immediate answer is ‘A thing that thinks.’ It is this question, or rather the plural version of it, that Eric Olson examines in this excellent book. He thinks that it is – today, at least – a rather neglected question. He points out that it is wrong to confuse the question with the much more frequently examined question of what personal identity consists in. In fact, he thinks that possible answe…Read more
  •  256
    Reply to le poidevin and Mellor
    Mind 96 (384): 539-542. 1987.
    In ‘Time, Change and the “Indexical Fallacy”’,1 Robin Le Poidevin and D. H. Mellor criticize an earlier paper of mine2 both for failing to rebut an argument of McTaggart's and for failing to explain why time is the dimension of change. I consider that their criticisms miss the mark on both scores, partly through misrepresentation of my views and partly through defective argumentation
  •  255
    Real essentialism – David S. Oderberg
    Philosophical Quarterly 60 (240): 648-652. 2010.
  •  243
    The definition of endurance
    Analysis 69 (2): 277-280. 2009.
    David Lewis, following in the tradition of Broad, Quine and Goodman, says that change in an object X consists in X's being temporally extended and having qualitatively different temporal parts. Analogously, change in a spatially extended object such as a road consists in its having different spatial parts . The alternative to this view is that ordinary objects undergo temporal change in virtue of having different intrinsic non-relational properties at different times. They endure, remaining the …Read more
  •  239
    Jonathan Lowe argues that metaphysics should be restored to a central position in philosophy, as the most fundamental form of inquiry, whose findings underpin those of all other disciplines. He portrays metaphysics as charting the possibilities of existence, by identifying the categories of being and the relations between them. He sets out his own original metaphysical system, within which he seeks to answer many of the deepest questions in philosophy. 'a very rich book... deserves to be read ca…Read more
  •  229
    The thesis of 3D/4D equivalence states that every three-dimensional description of the world is translatable without remainder into a four-dimensional description, and vice versa. In representing an object in 3D or in 4D terms we are giving alternative descriptions of one and the same thing, and debates over whether the ontology of the physical world is "really" 3D or 4D are pointless. The twins paradox is shown to rest, in relativistic 4D geometry, on a reversed law of triangle inequality. But …Read more
  •  214
    The problem of psychophysical causation
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 70 (3): 263-76. 1992.
    Argues that there can be interaction without breaking physical laws: e.g. by basic psychic forces, or by varying physical constants, or especially by arranging fractal trees of physical causation leading to behavior
  •  205
    An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind
    Cambridge University Press. 2000.
    In this book Jonathan Lowe offers a lucid and wide-ranging introduction to the philosophy of mind. Using a problem-centred approach designed to stimulate as well as instruct, he begins with a general examination of the mind-body problem and moves on to detailed examination of more specific philosophical issues concerning sensation, perception, thought and language, rationality, artificial intelligence, action, personal identity and self-knowledge. His discussion is notably broad in scope, and di…Read more
  •  198
    Locke on Real Essence and Water as a Natural Kind: A Qualified Defence
    Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 85 (1): 1-19. 2011.
    ‘Water is H2O’ is one of the most frequently cited sentences in analytic philosophy, thanks to the seminal work of Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam in the 1970s on the semantics of natural kind terms. Both of these philosophers owe an intellectual debt to the empiricist metaphysics of John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, while disagreeing profoundly with Locke about the reality of natural kinds. Locke employs an intriguing example involving water to support his view that kinds (or ‘sp…Read more