•  519
    Grounding Orthodoxy and the Layered Conception
    In Ricki Leigh Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    Ground offers the hope of vindicating and illuminating an classic philosophical idea: the layered conception, according to which reality is structured by relations of dependence, with physical phenomena on the bottom, upon which chemistry, then biology, and psychology reside. However, ground can only make good on this promise if it is appropriately formally behaved. The paradigm of good formal behavior can be found in the currently dominant grounding orthodoxy, which holds that ground is transit…Read more
  •  318
    Mind, Modality, and Meaning: Toward a Rationalist Physicalism
    Dissertation, University of California Los Angeles. 2013.
    This dissertation contains four independent essays addressing a cluster of related topics in the philosophy of mind. Chapter 1: “Fundamentality Physicalism” argues that physicalism can usefully be conceived of as a thesis about fundamentality. The chapter explores a variety of other potential formulations of physicalism (particularly modal formulations), contrasts fundamentality physicalism with these theses, and offers reasons to prefer fundamentality physicalism over these rivals. Chapter 2:“M…Read more
  •  250
    Conceptual mastery and the knowledge argument
    Philosophical Studies 154 (1): 125-147. 2011.
    According to Frank Jackson’s famous knowledge argument, Mary, a brilliant neuroscientist raised in a black and white room and bestowed with complete physical knowledge, cannot know certain truths about phenomenal experience. This claim about knowledge, in turn, implies that physicalism is false. I argue that the knowledge argument founders on a dilemma. Either (i) Mary cannot know the relevant experiential truths because of trivial obstacles that have no bearing on the truth of physicalism or (i…Read more
  •  234
    Well Founding Grounding Grounding
    Journal of Philosophical Logic 45 (4): 349-379. 2016.
    Those who wish to claim that all facts about grounding are themselves grounded (“the meta-grounding thesis”) must defend against the charge that such a claim leads to infinite regress and violates the well-foundedness of ground. In this paper, we defend. First, we explore three distinct but related notions of “well-founded”, which are often conflated, and three corresponding notions of infinite regress. We explore the entailment relations between these notions. We conclude that the meta-groundin…Read more
  •  175
    Physicalism
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (3). 2011.
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Volume 89, Issue 3, Page 562-566, September 2011
  •  118
    This paper develops a theory of analog representation. We first argue that the mark of the analog is to be found in the nature of a representational system’s interpretation function, rather than in its vehicles or contents alone. We then develop the rulebound structure theory of analog representation, according to which analog systems are those marked by the use of interpretive rules that map syntactic structural features onto semantic structural features. The theory involves three degree-theore…Read more
  •  80
    Full-Blooded Reference
    Philosophia Mathematica 15 (3): 357-365. 2007.
    In ‘Just what is full-blooded platonism?’ Greg Restall outlines several objections to Mark Balaguer's theory of full-blooded platonism. I reply to these objections by explicating the semantic framework for the reference of mathematical terms that full-blooded platonism requires. Expanding upon these replies, I then explain how the full-blooded platonist, in light of the explicated semantic framework, should treat mathematical terms and statements in order to avoid certain pitfalls
  •  72
    Fundamentality Physicalism
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    This essay has three goals. The first is to introduce the notion of fundamentality and to argue that physicalism can usefully be conceived of as a thesis about fundamentality. The second is to argue (i) for the advantages of fundamentality physicalism over modal formulations and (ii) that fundamentality physicalism is what many who endorse modal formulations of physicalism had in mind all along. Third, I describe what I take to be the main obstacle for a fundamentality-oriented formulation of ph…Read more
  •  59
    Grounding the Gaps or Bumping the Rug? On Explanatory Gaps and Metaphysical Methodology
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (5-6): 191-203. 2019.
    In a series of recent papers, Jonathan Schaffer presents a novel framework for understanding grounding. Metaphysical laws play a central role. In addition, Schaffer argues that, contrary to what many have thought, there is no special 'explanatory gap' between consciousness and the physical world. Instead, explanatory gaps are everywhere. I draw out and criticize the methodology for metaphysics implicit in Schaffer's presentation. In addition, I argue that even if we accept Schaffer's picture, th…Read more
  •  46
    Toward a Theory of Concept Mastery: The Recognition View
    Erkenntnis 85 (3): 627-648. 2020.
    Agents can think using concepts they do not fully understand. This paper investigates the question “Under what conditions does a thinker fully understand, or have mastery of, a concept?” I lay out a gauntlet of problems and desiderata with which any theory of concept mastery must cope. I use these considerations to argue against three views of concept mastery, according to which mastery is a matter of holding certain beliefs, being disposed to make certain inferences, or having certain intuition…Read more
  •  32
    According to the scrutability argument against physicalism, an a priori gap between the physical and conscious experience entails a lack of necessitation and the falsity of physicalism. This paper investigates the crucial premise of the scrutability argument: the inference from an a priori gap to a lack of necessitation. This premise gets its support from modal rationalism, according to which there are important, potentially constitutive, connections between a priori justification and metaphysic…Read more
  •  31
    A short argument from modal rationalism to fundamental scrutability
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 9 (2): 137-139. 2020.
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
  •  17
    Mastering Mary
    American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (4): 361-370. 2019.
    I make three claims about the interactions between concept mastery and the knowledge argument. First, I argue that, contra Ball, the concept mastery response to the knowledge argument does not suffer from the heterogeneity of concept mastery. Second, I argue that, when doing metaphysics by relating propositions on the basis of whether a hypothetical agent who knew a base collection could infer a target proposition, it is legitimate to rely on propositions that are not contained in the base, as l…Read more
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