•  34
    Cambridge University Press. 2022.
    Identity criteria are powerful tools for the metaphysician. They tell us when items are identical or distinct. Some varieties of identity criteria also try to explain in virtue of what items are identical or distinct. This Element has two objectives: to discuss formulations of identity criteria and to take a closer look at one notorious criterion of object identity, Leibniz's Law. The first section concerns the form of identity criteria. The second section concerns the better-regarded half of Le…Read more
  •  147
    Intrinsicality and determinacy
    Philosophical Studies 179 (11): 3349-3364. 2022.
    Comparativism maintains that physical quantities are ultimately relational in character. For example, an object’s having 1 kg rest mass depends on the relations it stands in to other objects in the universe. Comparativism, its advocates allege, reveals that quantities are not metaphysically mysterious: Quantities are reducible to familiar relations holding among physical objects. Modal accounts of intrinsicality—such as Lewis’s duplication account or Langton and Lewis’s combinatorial account—are…Read more
  •  501
    The Power to Govern
    Philosophical Perspectives 36 (1): 270-291. 2022.
    I provide a new account of what it is for the laws of nature to govern the evolution of events. I locate the source of governance in the content of law propositions. As such, I do not appeal to primitive notions of ground, essence, or production to characterize governance. After introducing the account, I use it to outline previously unrecognized varieties of governance. I also specify that laws must govern to have two theoretical virtues: explanatory power as well as a theoretical virtue I call…Read more
  •  200
    Do identity and distinctness facts threaten the PSR?
    Philosophical Studies 178 (4): 1023-1041. 2020.
    One conception of the Principle of Sufficient Reason maintains that every fact is metaphysically explained. There are different ways to challenge this version of the PSR; one type of challenge involves pinpointing a specific set of facts that resist metaphysical explanation. Certain identity and distinctness facts seem to constitute such a set. For example, we can imagine a scenario in which we have two qualitatively identical spheres, Castor and Pollux. Castor is distinct from Pollux but it is …Read more
  •  280
    In Michael J. Raven (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding, Routledge. pp. 413-424. 2020.
    I explore proposals for stating identity criteria in terms of ground. I also address considerations for and against taking identity and distinctness facts to be ungrounded.
  •  359
    Humeans are out of this world
    Synthese 198 (6): 5897-5916. 2021.
    I defend the following argument in this paper. Premise 1: Laws of nature are intrinsic to the universe. Premise 2: Humeanism maintains that laws of nature are extrinsic to the universe. Conclusion: Humeanism is false. This argument is inspired by John Hawthorne’s (2004) argument in “Why Humeans are out of their Minds”. My argument differs from his; Hawthorne focuses on Humean views of causation and how they interact with judgments about consciousness. He thinks Humeans are forced to treat certai…Read more
  •  258
    Laws of Nature, Explanation, and Semantic Circularity
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3): 787-815. 2019.
    Humeans and anti-Humeans agree that laws of nature should explain scientifically particular matters of fact. One objection to Humean accounts of laws contends that Humean laws cannot explain particular matters of fact because their explanations are harmfully circular. This article distinguishes between metaphysical and semantic characterizations of the circularity and argues for a new semantic version of the circularity objection. The new formulation suggests that Humean explanations are harmful…Read more
  •  522
    Explaining identity and distinctness
    Philosophical Studies 177 (7): 2073-2096. 2020.
    This paper offers a metaphysical explanation of the identity and distinctness of concrete objects. It is tempting to try to distinguish concrete objects on the basis of their possessing different qualitative features, where qualitative features are ones that do not involve identity. Yet, this criterion for object identity faces counterexamples: distinct objects can share all of their qualitative features. This paper suggests that in order to distinguish concrete objects we need to look not only …Read more
  •  102
    I discuss Bennett's characterization of the "more fundamental than" relation.
  •  233
    The Metaphysics of Identity: Is Identity Fundamental?
    Philosophy Compass 12 (1): 1-13. 2017.
    Identity and distinctness facts are ones like “The Eiffel Tower is identical to the Eiffel Tower,” and “The Eiffel Tower is distinct from the Louvre.” This paper concerns one question in the metaphysics of identity: Are identity and distinctness facts metaphysically fundamental or are they nonfundamental? I provide an overview of answers to this question.