•  702
    Scientific Models and Representation
    In Steven French & Juha Saatsi (eds.), The Continuum Companion to the Philosophy of Science, Continuum Press. pp. 120--137. 2011.
    My two daughters would love to go tobogganing down the hill by themselves, but they are just toddlers and I am an apprehensive parent, so, before letting them do so, I want to ensure that the toboggan won’t go too fast. But how fast will it go? One way to try to answer this question would be to tackle the problem head on. Since my daughters and their toboggan are initially at rest, according to classical mechanics, their final velocity will be determined by the forces they will be subjected to b…Read more
  •  583
    Scientific representation, interpretation, and surrogative reasoning
    Philosophy of Science 74 (1): 48-68. 2007.
    In this paper, I develop Mauricio Suárez’s distinction between denotation, epistemic representation, and faithful epistemic representation. I then outline an interpretational account of epistemic representation, according to which a vehicle represents a target for a certain user if and only if the user adopts an interpretation of the vehicle in terms of the target, which would allow them to perform valid (but not necessarily sound) surrogative inferences from the model to the system. The main di…Read more
  •  424
    Does Your Metaphysics Need Structure?
    Analysis 73 (4): 715-721. 2013.
    This paper is part of a book symposium on Theodore Sider's Writing the Book of the World
  •  419
    Dispositions and Interferences
    Philosophical Studies 165 (2): 401-419. 2013.
    The Simple Counterfactual Analysis (SCA) was once considered the most promising analysis of disposition ascriptions. According to SCA, disposition ascriptions are to be analyzed in terms of counterfactual conditionals. In the last few decades, however, SCA has become the target of a battery of counterexamples. In all counterexamples, something seems to be interfering with a certain object’s having or not having a certain disposition thus making the truth-values of the disposition ascription and …Read more
  •  412
    Today most philosophers of science believe that models play a central role in science and that one of the main functions of scientific models is to represent systems in the world. Despite much talk of models and representation, however, it is not yet clear what representation in this context amounts to nor what conditions a certain model needs to meet in order to be a representation of a certain system. In this thesis, I address these two questions. First, I will distinguish three senses in whic…Read more
  •  405
    Scientific models and fictional objects
    Synthese 172 (2): 215-229. 2010.
    In this paper, I distinguish scientific models in three kinds on the basis of their ontological status—material models, mathematical models and fictional models, and develop and defend an account of fictional models as fictional objects—i.e. abstract objects that stand for possible concrete objects.
  •  397
    In this paper, I distinguish between two varieties of actualism—hardcore actualism and softcore actualism—and I critically discuss Ross Cameron’s recent arguments for preferring a softcore actualist account of the truthmakers for modal truths over hardcore actualist ones. In the process, I offer some arguments for preferring the hardcore actualist account of modal truthmakers over the softcore actualist one.
  •  385
    Mereological nihilism is the thesis that there are no composite objects—i.e. objects with proper material parts. One of the main advantages of mereological nihilism is that it allows its supporters to avoid a number of notorious philosophical puzzles. However, it seems to offer this advantage only at the expense of certain widespread and deeply entrenched beliefs. In particular, it is usually assumed that mereological nihilism entails eliminativism about ordinary objects—i.e. the counterintuitiv…Read more
  •  347
    Fictionalism and deflationism are two moderate meta-ontological positions that try to occupy a middle ground between the extremes of heavy-duty realism and hard-line eliminativism. Deflationists believe that the existence of certain entities (e.g.: numbers) can be established by means of ‘easy’ arguments—arguments that, supposedly, rely solely on uncontroversial premises and trivial inferences. Fictionalists, however, find easy arguments unconvincing. Amie Thomasson has recently argued that, in …Read more
  •  324
    This book defends a two-tiered account of epistemic representation--the sort of representation relation that holds between representations such as maps and scientific models and their targets. It defends a interpretational account of epistemic representation and a structural similarity account of overall faithful epistemic representation.
  •  294
    Only Powers Can Confer Dispositions
    Philosophical Quarterly 65 (259): 160-176. 2015.
    According to power theorists, properties are powers—i.e. they necessarily confer on their bearers certain dispositions. Although the power theory is increasingly gaining popularity, a vast majority of analytic metaphysicians still favors what I call ‘the nomic theory’—i.e. the view according to which what dispositions a property confers on its bearers is contingent on what the laws of nature happen to be. This paper argues that the nomic theory is inconsistent, for, if it were correct, then prop…Read more
  •  240
    The thesis that a temporal asymmetry of counterfactual dependence characterizes our world plays a central role in Lewis’s philosophy, as. among other things, it underpins one of Lewis most renowned theses—that causation can be analyzed in terms of counterfactual dependence. To maintain that a temporal asymmetry of counterfactual dependence characterizes our world, Lewis committed himself to two other theses. The first is that the closest possible worlds at which the antecedent of a counterfactua…Read more
  •  236
    Do Extrinsic Dispositions Need Extrinsic Causal Bases?
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (3): 622-638. 2012.
    In this paper, I distinguish two often-conflated theses—the thesis that all dispositions are intrinsic properties and the thesis that the causal bases of all dispositions are intrinsic properties—and argue that the falsity of the former does not entail the falsity of the latter. In particular, I argue that extrinsic dispositions are a counterexample to first thesis but not necessarily to the second thesis, because an extrinsic disposition does not need to include any extrinsic property in its ca…Read more
  •  223
    Constructive empiricism, observability and three kinds of ontological commitment
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 37 (3): 454-468. 2006.
    In this paper, I argue that, contrary to the constructive empiricist’s position, observability is not an adequate criterion as a guide to ontological commitment in science. My argument has two parts. First, I argue that the constructive empiricist’s choice of observability as a criterion for ontological commitment is based on the assumption that belief in the existence of unobservable entities is unreasonable because belief in the existence of an entity can only be vindicated by its observation.…Read more
  •  163
    [This paper is part of a book symposium on Bas van Fraassen's Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective (OUP, 2010)]
  •  130
    Sweet Nothings
    Analysis 72 (2): 354-366. 2012.
    [This paper is part of a book symposium on Jody Azzouni's Talking about Nothing: Numbers, Hallucinations, and Fictions]
  •  119
    There are Kinds and Kinds of Kinds: Ben-Yami on the Semantics of Kind Terms
    Philosophical Studies 136 (2): 217-248. 2007.
    Hanoch Ben-Yami has argued that the theory of the semantics of natural kind terms proposed by Kripke and Putnam is false and has proposed an allegedly novel account of the semantics of kind terms. In this article, I critically examine Ben-Yami’s arguments. I will argue that Ben-Yami’s objections do not show that Kripke and Putnam’s theory is false, but at most that the specific versions of it held by Kripke and Putnam have some weaknesses. Moreover, I will argue that Ben-Yami’s account is not a …Read more
  •  104
    Dispositions and Tricks
    Erkenntnis 81 (3): 587-596. 2016.
    According to the Simple Conditional Analysis of disposition ascriptions, disposition ascriptions are to be analyzed in terms of counterfactual conditionals. The Simple Conditional Analysis is notoriously vulnerable to counterexamples. In this paper, I introduce a new sort of counterexample to the Simple Conditional Analysis of disposition ascriptions, which I call ‘tricks’. I then explore a number of possible strategies to modify the Simple Conditional Analysis so as to avoid tricks and conclude…Read more
  •  101
    Powerful Qualities or Pure Powers?
    Metaphysica 20 (1): 5-33. 2019.
    This paper explores the debate between those philosophers who take (fundamental, perfectly natural) properties to be pure powers and those who take them to be powerful qualities. I first consider two challenges for the view that properties are powerful qualities, which I call, respectively, ‘the clarification challenge’ and ‘the explanatory challenge’. I then examine a number of arguments that aim to show that properties cannot be pure powers and find them all wanting. Finally, I sketch what I t…Read more
  •  92
    Who is afraid of imaginary objects?
    In Nicholas Griffin & Dale Jacquette (eds.), Russell Vs. Meinong: The Legacy of "On Denoting", Routledge. 2009.
    People often use expressions such as ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and ‘Pegasus’ that appear to refer to imaginary objects. In this paper, I consider the main attempts to account for apparent reference to imaginary objects available in the literature and argue that all fall short of being fully satisfactory. In particular, I consider the problems of two main options to maintain that imaginary objects are real and reference to them is genuine reference: possibilist and abstractist account. According to the f…Read more
  •  76
    Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality, by Barbara Vetter (review)
    Mind 125 (500): 1236-1244. 2016.
    Potentiality: From Dispositions to Modality, by VetterBarbara. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2015. Pp. ix + 335.
  •  68
    Introduction
    Synthese 172 (2): 193-195. 2010.
  •  62
    A Note on the Nomic Possibility of a Dynamic Shift
    Erkenntnis 68 (2): 187-190. 2008.
    In this note, I argue that a dynamically shifted world—i.e. a world identical to our own except for a fixed constant difference in the absolute acceleration of each object—is nomically impossible in a Newtonian world populated by finitely many objects. A dynamic shift however seems to be nomically possible in a world populated by infinitely many objects, but only in a broad sense of nomic possibility.