• What the Humean Should Say About Entanglement
    Harjit Bhogal and Zee Perry
    Noûs 51 (1): 74-94. 2017.
    Tim Maudlin has influentially argued that Humeanism about laws of nature stands in conflict with quantum mechanics. Specifically Humeanism implies the principle Separability: the complete physical state of a world is determined by the intrinsic physical state of each space-time point. Maudlin argues Separability is violated by the entangled states posited by QM. We argue that Maudlin only establishes that a stronger principle, which we call Strong Separability, is in tension with QM. Separabilit…Read more
  • Nomothetic Explanation and Humeanism about Laws of Nature
    Oxford Studies in Metaphysics. forthcoming.
    Humeanism about laws of nature — the view that the laws reduce to the Humean mosaic — is a popular view, but currently existing versions face powerful objections. The non-supervenience objection, the non-fundamentality objection and the explanatory circularity objection have all been thought to cause problems for the Humean. However, these objections share a guiding thought — they are all based on the idea that there is a certain kind of divergence between the practice of science and the metaphy…Read more
  • Philosophers have observed that metaphysical necessity appears to be a true or real or genuine form of necessity while epistemic necessity does not. Similarly, natural necessity appears genuine while deontic necessity does not. But what is it for a form of necessity to be genuine? I defend an account of genuine necessity in explanatory terms. The genuine forms of necessity, I argue, are those that provide what I call necessitarianexplanation. I discuss the relationship of necessitarian explanati…Read more
  • Essentialist Explanation
    Philosophical Studies 174 (11): 2871-2889. 2017.
    Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in metaphysical explanation, and philosophers have fixed on the notion of ground as the conceptual tool with which such explanation should be investigated. I will argue that this focus on ground is myopic and that some metaphysical explanations that involve the essences of things cannot be understood in terms of ground. Such ‘essentialist’ explanation is of interest, not only for its ubiquity in philosophy, but for its being in a sense an ultimate …Read more
  • Metaphysics: An Introduction combines comprehensive coverage of the core elements of metaphysics with contemporary and lively debates within the subject. It provides a rigorous and yet accessible overview of a rich array of topics , connecting the abstract nature of metaphysics with the real world. Topics covered include: Basic logic for metaphysics An introduction to ontologyobjects Material objects Critiques of metaphysics Free Will Time Modality Persistence Causation Social ontology: the meta…Read more
  • Towards a Hyperintensional Theory of Intrinsicality
    Journal of Philosophy 110 (10): 525-563. 2013.
  • Conditional excluded middle (CEM) is the following principe of counterfactual logic: either, if it were the case that φ, it would be the case that ψ, or, if it were the case that φ, it would be the case that not-ψ. I will first show that CEM entails the identity of indiscernibles, the falsity of physicalism, and the failure of the modal to supervene on the categorical and of the vague to supervene on the precise. I will then argue that we should accept these startling conclusions, since CEM is v…Read more
  • Actualism is the view that only actually existing things exist. Presentism is the view that only presently existing things exist. In this paper, I argue that being an actualist without also being a presentist is not as easy as many philosophers seem to think. A common objection to presentism is that there is an unavoidable conflict between presentism and relativity theory. But actualists who do not wish to be presentists cannot point to this relativity objection alone to support their position. …Read more
  • According to recent arguments for panpsychism, all physical properties are dispositional, dispositions require categorical grounds, and the only categorical properties we know are phenomenal properties. Therefore, phenomenal properties can be posited as the categorical grounds of all physical properties—in order to solve the mind–body problem and/or in order avoid noumenalism about the grounds of the physical world. One challenge to this case comes from dispositionalism, which agrees that all ph…Read more
  • I argue that there can be no such thing as a borderline case of the predicate ‘phenomenally conscious’: for any given creature at any given time, it cannot be vague whether that creature is phenomenally conscious at that time. I first defend the Positive Characterization Thesis, which says that for any borderline case of any predicate there is a positive characterization of that case that can show any sufficiently competent speaker what makes it a borderline case. I then appeal to the familiar c…Read more
  • Inner and Outer Truth
    Philosophers' Imprint 12. 2012.
    Kit Fine and Robert Adams have independently introduced a distinction between two ways in which a proposition might be true with respect to a world. A proposition is true at a world if it correctly represents the world. A proposition is true in a world, if it exists in that world and correctly represents it. In this paper, I clarify this distinction between outer and inner truth, defend it against recent charges of unintelligibly and argue that outer truth tracks counterfactual possibility while…Read more
  • From Combinatorialism to Primitivism
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3): 535-554. 2013.
    Many are reluctant to accept primitive modality into their fundamental picture of the world. The worry often traces to this thought: we shouldn't adopt any more primitive - that is, unexplained - notions than we need in order to explain all the features of the world, and primitive modal notions are not needed. I examine one prominent rival to modal primitivism, combinatorialism, and show that in order to account for all the modal features of the world the combinatorialist must adopt two addition…Read more
  • The Modal Limits of Dispositionalism
    Noûs 49 (3): 454-469. 2015.
    Dispositionality is a modal notion of a certain sort. When an object is said to have a disposition, we typically understand this to mean that under certain circumstances, the object would behave in a certain way. For instance, a fragile object is disposed to break when dropped onto a concrete surface. It need not actually break - its being fragile has implications that, so to speak, point beyond the actual world. According to dispositionalism, all modal features of the world may be accounted for…Read more
  • Actualist Counterpart Theory
    Journal of Philosophy 112 (8): 417-441. 2015.
    Actualist counterpart theory replaces David Lewis’s concrete possible worlds and individuals with ersatz worlds and individuals, but retains counterpart theory about de re modality. While intuitively attractive, this view has been rejected for two main reasons: the problem of indiscernibles and the Humphrey objection. I argue that in insisting that ersatz individuals play the same role as Lewisian individuals, actualists commit the particularist fallacy. The actualist should not require stand-in…Read more
  • Weak speech reports
    Philosophical Studies 176 (8): 2139-2166. 2019.
    Indirect speech reports can be true even if they attribute to the speaker the saying of something weaker than what she in fact expressed, yet not all weakenings of what the speaker expressed yield true reports. For example, if Anna utters ‘Bob and Carla passed the exam’, we can accurately report her as having said that Carla passed the exam, but we can not accurately report her as having said that either it rains or it does not, or that either Carla passed the exam or pandas are cute. This paper…Read more
  • Following logical realism where it leads
    Michaela McSweeney
    Philosophical Studies 176 (1): 117-139. 2019.
    Logical realism is the view that there is logical structure in the world. I argue that, if logical realism is true, then we are deeply ignorant of that logical structure: either we can’t know which of our logical concepts accurately capture it, or none of our logical concepts accurately capture it at all. I don’t suggest abandoning logical realism, but instead discuss how realists should adjust their methodology in the face of this ignorance.