•  1325
    In 1901 Russell had envisaged the new analytic philosophy as uniquely systematic, borrowing the methods of science and mathematics. A century later, have Russell’s hopes become reality? David Lewis is often celebrated as a great systematic metaphysician, his influence proof that we live in a heyday of systematic philosophy. But, we argue, this common belief is misguided: Lewis was not a systematic philosopher, and he didn’t want to be. Although some aspects of his philosophy are systematic, main…Read more
  •  353
    For keeping truth in truthmaking
    Analysis 73 (4): 686-695. 2013.
    Is the truthmaker principle a development of the correspondence theory of truth? So Armstrong introduced the truthmaker principle to us, but Lewis (2001. Forget about the ‘correspondence theory of truth’. Analysis 61: 275–80.) influentially argued that it is neither a correspondence theory nor a theory of truth. But the truthmaker principle can be correctly understood as a development of the correspondence theory if it’s conceived as incorporating the insight that truth is a relation between tru…Read more
  •  318
    Is the assumption of a fundamental distinction between particulars and universals another unsupported dogma of metaphysics? F. P. Ramsey famously rejected the particular – universal distinction but neglected to consider the many different conceptions of the distinction that have been advanced. As a contribution to the piecemeal investigation of this issue three interrelated conceptions of the particular – universal distinction are examined: universals, by contrast to particulars, are unigrade; p…Read more
  •  243
    Speaking with Shadows: A Study of Neo‐Logicism
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (1): 103-163. 2003.
    According to the species of neo-logicism advanced by Hale and Wright, mathematical knowledge is essentially logical knowledge. Their view is found to be best understood as a set of related though independent theses: (1) neo-fregeanism-a general conception of the relation between language and reality; (2) the method of abstraction-a particular method for introducing concepts into language; (3) the scope of logic-second-order logic is logic. The criticisms of Boolos, Dummett, Field and Quine (amon…Read more
  •  216
    Relations and Truthmaking
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (1pt1): 161-179. 2011.
    Can Bradley's Regress be solved by positing relational tropes as truth-makers? No, no more than Russell's paradox can be solved by positing Fregean extensions. To call a trope relational is to pack into its essence the relating function it is supposed to perform but without explaining what Bradley's Regress calls into question, viz. the capacity of relations to relate. This problem has been masked from view by the (questionable) assumption that the only genuine ontological problems that can be i…Read more
  •  196
    The concepts of particular and universal have grown so familiar that their significance has become difficult to discern, like coins that have been passed back and forth too many times, worn smooth so their values can no longer be read. On the Genealogy of Universals seeks to overcome our sense of over-familiarity with these concepts by providing a case study of their evolution during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, a study that shows how the history of these concepts is …Read more
  •  179
    Can Ante Rem structuralism solve the access problem?
    Philosophical Quarterly 58 (230): 155-164. 2008.
    Ante rem structuralism is the doctnne that mathematics descubes a realm of abstract (structural) universab. According to its proponents, appeal to the exutence of these universab provides a source distinctive insight into the epistemology of mathematics, in particular insight into the so-called 'access problem' of explaining how mathematicians can reliably access truths about an abstract realm to which they cannot travel andfiom which they recave no signab. Stewart Shapiro offers the most develo…Read more
  •  176
    How involved do you want to be in a non-symmetric relationship?
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1): 1-16. 2014.
    There are three different degrees to which we may allow a systematic theory of the world to embrace the idea of relatedness?supposing realism about non-symmetric relations as a background requirement. (First Degree) There are multiple ways in which a non-symmetric relation may apply to the things it relates?for the binary case, aRb ? bRa. (Second Degree) Every such relation has a distinct converse?for every R such that aRb there is another relation R* such that bR*a. (Third Degree) Each one of t…Read more
  •  166
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2016.
    In this paper I provide a state of the art survey and assessment of the contemporary debate about relations. After (1) distinguishing different varieties of relations, symmetric from non-symmetric, internal from external relations etc. and relations from their set-theoretic models or sequences, I proceed (2) to consider Bradley’s regress and whether relations can be eliminated altogether. Next I turn (3) to the question whether relations can be reduced, bringing to bear considerations from the …Read more
  •  162
    Analytic Philosophy and its Synoptic Commission: Towards the Epistemic End of Days
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 74 221-236. 2014.
    There is no such thing as , conceived as a special discipline with its own distinctive subject matter or peculiar method. But there is an analytic task for philosophy that distinguishes it from other reflective pursuits, a global or synoptic commission: to establish whether the final outputs of other disciplines and common sense can be fused into a single periscopic vision of the Universe. And there is the hard-won insight that thought and language aren't transparent but stand in need of analysi…Read more
  •  161
    How truth depends upon being
    Analysis 74 (3): 370-378. 2014.
    According to Armstrong (amongst others) ‘any truth, should depend for its truth for something “outside” it’ where this one-way dependency is explained in terms of the asymmetric relationship that obtains between a truth and its truth-maker. But there’s no need to appeal to truth-makers to make sense of this dependency. The truth of a proposition is essentially determined by the interlocking semantic mechanism of reference and satisfaction which already ensures that the truth-value of a propositi…Read more
  •  157
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2013.
    This article for the Stanford Encyclopedia for Philosophy provides a state of the art survey and assessment of the contemporary debate about truth-makers, covering both the case for and against truth-makers. It explores 4 interrelated questions about truth-makers, (1) What is it to be a truth-maker? (2) Which range, or ranges, of truths are eligible to be made true (if any are)? (3) What kinds of entities are truth-makers? (4) What is the motivation for adopting a theory of truth-makers? And add…Read more
  •  156
    Neutral relations revisited
    Dialectica 61 (1). 2007.
    Do non‐symmetric relations apply to the objects they relate in an order? According to the standard view of relations, the difference between aRb and bRa obtaining, where R is non‐symmetric, corresponds to a difference in the order in which the non‐symmetric relation R applies to a and b. Recently Kit Fine has challenged the standard view in his important paper ‘Neutral Relations’ arguing that non‐symmetric relations are neutral, lacking direction or order. In this paper I argue that Fine cannot …Read more
  •  149
    Survey article. Listening to fictions: A study of fieldian nominalism
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50 (3): 431-455. 1999.
    One cannot escape the feeling that these mathematical formulae have an independent existence and an intelligence of their own, that they are wiser than we are, wiser even than their discoverers
  •  146
    Where are particulars and universals?
    Dialectica 52 (3). 1998.
    Is there a particular-universal distinction? Is there a difference of kind between all the particulars on the one hand and all the universals on the other? Can we demonstrate that there is such a difference without assuming what we set out to show? In 1925 Frank Ramsey made a famous attempt to answers these questions. He came to the sceptical conclusion that there was no particularuniversal distinction, the theory of universals being merely “a great muddle”. Following Russell, Ramsey identified …Read more
  •  144
    Could nothing matter?
    Analysis 62 (2). 2002.
  •  140
    Identity and Modality (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2006.
    The eleven new papers in this volume address fundamental and interrelated philosophical issues concerning modality and identity, issues that were pivotal to the development of analytic philosophy in the twentieth century, and remain a key focus of debate in the twenty-first. Identity and Modality brings together leading researchers in metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of mathematics.
  •  137
    Impure reference: A way around the concept horse paradox
    Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1): 297-312. 2011.
    This paper provides a new solution to the concept horse paradox. Frege argued no name co-refers with a predicate because no name can be inter-substituted with a predicate. This led Frege to embrace the paradox of the concept horse. But Frege got it wrong because predicates are impurely referring expressions and we shouldn’t expect impurely referring expressions to be intersubstitutable even if they co-refer, because the contexts in which they occur are sensitive to the extra information they car…Read more
  •  131
    The Problem of Universals and the Limits of Truth-Making
    Philosophical Papers 31 (1): 27-37. 2002.
    There is no single problem of universals but a family of difficulties that treat of a variety of interwoven metaphysical, epistemological, logical and semantic themes. This makes the problem of universals resistant to canonical reduction (to a ‘once-and-for-all’ concern). In particular, the problem of universals cannot be reduced to the problem of supplying truth-makers for sentences that express sameness of type. This is (in part) because the conceptual distinction between numerical and qualita…Read more
  •  127
    Lewis’s Global Descriptivism and Reference Magnetism
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (1): 192-198. 2020.
    In ‘Putnam’s Paradox’, Lewis defended global descriptivism and reference magnetism. According to Schwarz [2014], Lewis didn’t mean what he said there, and really held neither position. We present evidence from Lewis’s correspondence and publications which shows conclusively that Lewis endorsed both.
  •  123
    Predicate reference
    In Barry C. Smith (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language, Oxford University Press. pp. 422--475. 2006.
    Whether a predicate is a referential expression depends upon what reference is conceived to be. Even if it is granted that reference is a relation between words and worldly items, the referents of expressions being the items to which they are so related, this still leaves considerable scope for disagreement about whether predicates refer. One of Frege's great contributions to the philosophy of language was to introduce an especially liberal conception of reference relative to which it is unprobl…Read more
  •  110
    Russell's Logical Atomism, by David Bostock (review)
    Mind 123 (491): 873-876. 2014.
  •  108
    Could Armstrong have been a universal?
    Mind 108 (431): 471-501. 1999.
    There cannot be a reductive theory of modality constructed from the concepts of sparse particular and sparse universal. These concepts are suffused with modal notions. I seek to establish this conclusion by tracing out the pattern of modal entanglements in which these concepts are involved. In order to appreciate the structure of these entanglements a distinction must be drawn between the lower-order necessary connections in which particulars and universals apparently figure, and higher-order ne…Read more
  •  105
    A priori reflection, common sense and intuition have proved unreliable sources of information about the world outside of us. So the justification for a theory of the categories must derive from the empirical support of the scientific theories whose descriptions it unifies and clarifies. We don’t have reliable information about the de re modal profiles of external things either because the overwhelming proportion of our knowledge of the external world is theoretical—knowledge by description rathe…Read more
  •  91
    Can the property Boom last?
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 101 (3). 2001.
    The contemporary Humean programme that seeks to combine property realism with the denial of necessary connections between distinct existences is flawed. Objects and properties by their very natures are entangled in such connections. It follows that modal notions cannot be reductively analysed by appeal to the concept property, not even if the reducing theory posits an abundant supply of entities to fall under that concept.
  •  86
    NeoFregean Metaontology
    In P. Ebert & M. Rossberg (eds.), Abstractionism: Essays in Philosophy of Mathematics, Oxford University Press. pp. 94-112. 2016.
    According to neo-Fregeans, an expression that is syntactically singular and figures in a true sentence is guaranteed to have some existing thing in the world to pick out. But this approach is confronted by a dilemma. If reality is crystalline, has a structure fixed independently of language, then the view that reality is guaranteed to contain a sufficient plenitude of objects to supply referents for the relevant expressions is left hostage to cosmological fortune. Whereas if reality is plastic t…Read more