•  154
    Principle of Sufficient Reason
    Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences. 2021.
  •  95
    The Contingency of Creation and Divine Choice
    Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion. forthcoming.
    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
  •  171
    Something from Nothing: Why Some Negative Existentials are Fundamental
    In Sara Bernstein & Tyron Goldschmidt (eds.), Non-being: New Essays on the Metaphysics of Nonexistence, Oxford University Press. pp. 50-68. 2021.
    It strikes many as obvious that negative facts—such as that Justin Trudeau is not the prime minister of Australia—are not fundamental: negative facts must ultimately be explained in terms of positive facts (for instance, that Justin Trudeau is the prime minister of Canada). I focus on a particular class of negative facts: contingent negative existentials (such as that there are no 10ft tall humans). If contingent negative existentials are not fundamental, then they must be explained. But the cla…Read more
  •  136
    Explaining contingent facts
    Philosophical Studies 178 (4): 1163-1181. 2021.
    I argue against a principle that is widely taken to govern metaphysical explanation. This is the principle that no necessary facts can, on their own, explain a contingent fact. I then show how this result makes available a response to a longstanding objection to the Principle of Sufficient Reason—the objection that the Principle of Sufficient Reason entails that the world could not have been otherwise.
  •  427
    Principle of Sufficient Reason
    In Michael J. Raven (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding, Routledge. pp. 63-75. 2020.
    According to the Principle of Sufficient Reason (henceforth ‘PSR’), everything has an explanation or sufficient reason. This paper addresses three questions. First, how continuous is the contemporary notion of grounding with the notion of sufficient reason endorsed by Spinoza, Leibniz, and other rationalists? In particular, does a PSR formulated in terms of ground retain the intuitive pull and power of the PSR endorsed by the rationalists? Second, to what extent can the PSR avoid the formidable …Read more
  •  90
    The Role of Attention in Russell's Theory of Knowledge
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (6): 1175-1193. 2013.
    In his Problems of Philosophy, Bertrand Russell distinguished knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge of truths. This paper argues for a new interpretation of the relationship between these two species of knowledge. I argue that knowledge by acquaintance of an object neither suffices for knowledge that one is acquainted with the object, nor puts a subject in a position to know that she is acquainted with the object. These conclusions emerge from a thorough examination of the central role played …Read more