• Intrinsic Properties of Properties
    Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267): 241-262. 2016.
    Do properties have intrinsic properties of their own? If so, which second-order properties are intrinsic? This paper introduces two competing views about second-order intrinsicality: generalism, according to which the intrinsic–extrinsic distinction cuts across all orders of properties and applies to the properties of properties as well as the properties of objects, and objectualism, according to which intrinsicality is a feature exclusive to the properties of objects. The case for generalism is…Read more
  • A Middle Way: A Non-fundamental Approach to Many-Body Physics
    Philosophical Review 132 (4): 641-645. 2023.
  • The Bounds of Possibility: Puzzles of Modal Variation
    Philosophical Review 132 (4): 645-649. 2023.
  • The aim of this paper is to provide a complete Natural Kind Semantics for an Essentialist Theory of Kinds. The theory is formulated in two-sorted first order monadic modal logic with identity. The natural kind semantics is based on Rudolf Willes Theory of Concept Lattices. The semantics is then used to explain several consequences of the theory, including results about the specificity (species–genus) relations between kinds, the definitions of kinds in terms of genera and specific differences an…Read more
  • Camus and Sartre on the Absurd
    Philosophers' Imprint 21 (32). 2021.
    In this paper, I highlight the philosophical differences between Camus’s and Sartre’s notions of the absurd. “The absurd” is a technical term for both philosophers, and they mean different things by it. The Camusian absurd is a mismatch between theoretical reasoning and practical reasoning. The Sartrean absurd, in contrast, is our theoretical inability to explain contingency or existence. For Sartre, there is only relative, local absurdity; for Camus, the absurd is universal and absolute. I show…Read more
  • Essence and Naturalness
    Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276): 534-554. 2019.
    According to sparse modalism, the notion of essence can be analysed in terms of necessity and naturalness. In this paper, I develop and defend a version of sparse modalism that is equipped with a non-standard, relativized conception of naturalness. According to this conception, properties and relations can be natural to different degrees relative to different kinds of things, and relations can be natural to different degrees relative to different slots. I argue that this relativized version of s…Read more
  • Partial understanding
    Synthese 202 (2): 1-32. 2023.
    Say that an audience understands a given utterance perfectly only if she correctly identifies which proposition (or propositions) that utterance expresses. In ideal circumstances, the participants in a conversation will understand each other’s utterances perfectly; however, even if they do not, they may still understand each other’s utterances at least in part. Although it is plausible to think that the phenomenon of partial understanding is very common, there is currently no philosophical accou…Read more
  • De se names
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 108 (3): 726-750. 2024.
    We argue that there are names with de se contents and that they are theoretically fruitful. De se names serve to challenge intuitive and otherwise plausible orthodoxies such as Stalnaker's view of communication and Bayesian views of belief update. These implications are also significant for those already sympathetic to the irreducibility of de se content.
  • Determinism beyond time evolution
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science 12 (4): 1-36. 2022.
    Physicists are increasingly beginning to take seriously the possibility of laws outside the traditional time-evolution paradigm; yet many popular definitions of determinism are still predicated on a time-evolution picture, making them manifestly unsuited to the diverse range of research programmes in modern physics. In this article, we use a constraint-based framework to set out a generalization of determinism which does not presuppose temporal evolution, distinguishing between strong, weak and …Read more
  • Theories as recipes: third-order virtue and vice
    Philosophical Studies 177 (2): 391-411. 2020.
    A basic way of evaluating metaphysical theories is to ask whether they give satisfying answers to the questions they set out to resolve. I propose an account of “third-order” virtue that tells us what it takes for certain kinds of metaphysical theories to do so. We should think of these theories as recipes. I identify three good-making features of recipes and show that they translate to third-order theoretical virtues. I apply the view to two theories—mereological universalism and plenitudinous …Read more
  • The Governing Conception of Laws
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9 (n/a). 2022.
    In her paper, “The Non-Governing Conception of Laws,” Helen Beebee argues that it is not a conceptual truth that laws of nature govern, and thus that one need not insist on a metaphysical account of laws that makes sense of their governing role. I agree with the first point but not the second. Although it is not a conceptual truth, the fact that laws govern follows straightforwardly from an important (though under-appreciated) principle of scientific theory choice combined with a highly plausibl…Read more
  • Plural Slot Theory
    In Karen Bennett & Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics Volume 11, Oxford University Press. pp. 193-223. 2018.
    Kit Fine (2000) breaks with tradition, arguing that, pace Russell (e.g., 1903: 228), relations have neither directions nor converses. He considers two ways to conceive of these new "neutral" relations, positionalism and anti-positionalism, and argues that the latter should be preferred to the former. Cody Gilmore (2013) argues for a generalization of positionalism, slot theory, the view that a property or relation is n-adic if and only if there are exactly n slots in it, and (very roughly) that …Read more
  • The Nomic Likelihood Account of Laws
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9 (9): 230-284. 2023.
    An adequate account of laws should satisfy at least five desiderata: it should provide a unified account of laws and chances, it should yield plausible relations between laws and chances, it should vindicate numerical chance assignments, it should accommodate dynamical and non-dynamical chances, and it should accommodate a plausible range of nomic possibilities. No extant account of laws satisfies these desiderata. This paper presents a non-Humean account of laws, the Nomic Likelihood Account, that…Read more
  • Grounding identity in existence
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 108 (1): 21-41. 2024.
    What grounds the facts about what is identical to/distinct from what? A natural answer is: the facts about what exists. Despite its prima facie appeal, this view has received surprisingly little attention in the literature. Moreover, those who have discussed it have been inclined to reject it because of the following important challenge: why should the existence of some individuals ground their identity in some cases and their distinctness in others? (Burgess 2012, Shumener 2020b). This paper of…Read more
  • Viewpoint Convergence as a Philosophical Defect
    In Sanford C. Goldberg & Mark Walker (eds.), Attitude in Philosophy, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    What can we know? How should we live? What is there? Philosophers famously diverge in the answers they give to these and other philosophical questions. It is widely presumed that a lack of convergence on these questions suggests that philosophy is not progressing at all, is not progressing fast enough, or is not progressing as fast as other disciplines, such as the natural sciences. Call the view that ideal philosophical progress is marked by at least some degree of convergence on the core philo…Read more
  • Inferences from Utterance to Belief
    Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2): 301-322. 2023.
    If Amelia utters ‘Brad ate a salad in 2005’ assertorically, and she is speaking literally and sincerely, then I can infer that Amelia believes that Brad ate a salad in 2005. This paper discusses what makes this kind of inference truth-preserving. According to the baseline picture, my inference is truth-preserving because, if Amelia is a competent speaker, she believes that the sentence she uttered means that Brad ate a salad in 2005; thus, if Amelia believes that that sentence is true, then she …Read more
  • Living with absurdity: A Nobleman's guide
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 106 (3): 612-633. 2022.
    In A Confession, a memoir of his philosophical midlife crisis, Tolstoy recounts falling into despair after coming to believe that his life, and for that matter all human life, is meaningless and absurd. Although Tolstoy's account of the origin and phenomenology of his crisis is widely regarded as illuminating, his response to the crisis, namely, embracing a religious tradition that he had previously dismissed as “irrational,” “incomprehensible,” and “mingled with falsehood” seems unpromising, at…Read more
  • Identity and Indiscernibility
    Mind 118 (469): 101-119. 2009.
    Putative counterexamples to the Principle of Identity of Indiscernibles (PII) are notoriously inconclusive. I establish ground rules for debate in this area, offer a new response to such counterexamples for friends of the PII, but then argue that no response is entirely satisfactory. Finally, I undermine some positive arguments for PII
  • How chance explains
    Noûs 57 (2): 290-315. 2021.
    What explains the outcomes of chance processes? We claim that their setups do. Chances, we think, mediate these explanations of outcome by setup but do not feature in them. Facts about chances do feature in explanations of a different kind: higher-order explanations, which explain how and why setups explain their outcomes. In this paper, we elucidate this 'mediator view' of chancy explanation and defend it from a series of objections. We then show how it changes the playing field in four metaphy…Read more
  • Grounding Grounding
    Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 10. 2017.
    The Problem of Iterated Ground is to explain what grounds truths about ground: if Γ grounds φ, what grounds that Γ grounds φ? This paper develops a novel solution to this problem. The basic idea is to connect ground to explanatory arguments. By developing a rigorous account of explanatory arguments we can equip operators for factive and non-factive ground with natural introduction and elimination rules. A satisfactory account of iterated ground falls directly out of the resulting logic: non- fac…Read more
  • Why do the Laws Support Counterfactuals?
    Erkenntnis 87 (2): 545-566. 2020.
    This paper aims to explain why the laws of nature are held fixed in counterfactual reasoning. I begin by highlighting three salient features of counterfactual reasoning: it is conservative, nomically guided, and it uses hindsight. I then present a rationale for our engagement in counterfactual reasoning that aims to make sense of these features. In particular, I argue that counterfactual reasoning helps us evaluate the evidential relations between unanticipated pieces of evidence and various hyp…Read more
  • Degrees of Consciousness
    Noûs 57 (3): 553-575. 2023.
    Is a human more conscious than an octopus? In the science of consciousness, it’s oftentimes assumed that some creatures (or mental states) are more conscious than others. But in recent years, a number of philosophers have argued that the notion of degrees of consciousness is conceptually confused. This paper (1) argues that the most prominent objections to degrees of consciousness are unsustainable, (2) examines the semantics of ‘more conscious than’ expressions, (3) develops an analysis of what…Read more
  • On Mereology and Metricality
    Zee R. Perry
    Philosophers' Imprint 23. 2023.
    This article motivates and develops a reductive account of the structure of certain physical quantities in terms of their mereology. That is, I argue that quantitative relations like "longer than" or "3.6-times the volume of" can be analyzed in terms of necessary constraints those quantities put on the mereological structure of their instances. The resulting account, I argue, is able to capture the intuition that these quantitative relations are intrinsic to the physical systems they’re called u…Read more
  • Genericity generalized
    Philosophical Studies 180 (3): 703-723. 2022.
    In his _Between Logic and the World_, in the course of presenting his theory of generics, Nickel (Between logic and the world, Oxford University Press, 2016) argues for a theory of characteristicness, or “genericity”, which states that a property is characteristic for a kind if and only if its presence among the members of that kind is explicable by some explanatory domain that recognizes the existence of that kind in the course of engaging the explanatory strategies made available by that expla…Read more
  • Experiencing left and right in a non‐orientable world
    Jonathan A. Simon
    Analytic Philosophy 62 (3): 201-222. 2021.
    Analytic Philosophy, Volume 62, Issue 3, Page 201-222, September 2021.
  • Marc Lange has recently raised three objections to the account of minimal model explanations offered by Robert Batterman and Collin Rice. In this article, I suggest that these objections are misguided. I suggest that the objections raised by Lange stem from a misunderstanding of the what it is that minimal model explanations seek to explain. This misunderstanding, I argue, consists in Lange’s seeing minimal model explanations as relating special types of models to particular target systems rathe…Read more
  • This paper is an investigation into the metaphysics of social objects such as political borders, states, and organizations. I articulate a metaphysical puzzle concerning such objects and then propose a novel account of social objects that provides a solution to the puzzle. The basic idea behind the puzzle is that under appropriate circumstances, seemingly concrete social objects can apparently be created by acts of agreement, decree, declaration, or the like. Yet there is reason to believe that …Read more
  • The Contingency of Creation and Divine Choice
    Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 10 289-300. 2022.
    According to the Principle of Sufficient Reason (‘PSR’), every fact has an explanation for why it obtains. If the PSR is true, there must be a sufficient reason for why God chose to create our world. But a sufficient reason for God’s choice plausibly necessitates that choice. It thus seems that God could not have done otherwise, and that our world exists necessarily. We therefore appear forced to pick between the PSR, and the contingency of creation and divine choice. I show that a third option …Read more
  • High‐Fidelity Metaphysics: Ideological Parsimony in Theory Choice
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 102 (4): 613-632. 2021.
    Many metaphysicians utilize the virtue‐driven methodology. According to this methodology, one theory is more worthy of endorsement than another insofar as it is more virtuous. In this paper, I show how a theory's overall virtue is shaped by its ideological parsimony – parsimony with respect to the terminology employed in stating the theory. I distinguish between a theory's truth and its fidelity (‘joint‐carvingness’) and the corresponding epistemic and fidelic virtues. I argue that ideological p…Read more
  • The governance of laws of nature: guidance and production
    Philosophical Studies 178 (3): 909-933. 2020.
    Realists about laws of nature and their Humean opponents disagree on whether laws ‘govern’. An independent commitment to the ‘governing conception’ of laws pushes many towards the realist camp. Despite its significance, however, no satisfactory account of governance has been offered. The goal of this article is to develop such an account. I base my account on two claims. First, we should distinguish two notions of governance, ‘guidance’ and ‘production’, and secondly, explanatory phenomena other…Read more