•  3
    In the Addenda to Naming and Necessity, Kripke famously argues that it is false that there could have been unicorns, or more properly, that “no counterfactual situation is properly describable as one in which there would have been unicorns.” He adds that he holds similarly that ‘one cannot say of any possible person that he would have been Sherlock Holmes, had he existed.” He notes the “cryptic brevity” of these remarks and refers to a forthcoming work for elaborations—the work being, of course,…Read more
  •  5
    No Trust is Hybrid: Reply to Faulkner
    Philosophia 1-7. forthcoming.
    There is a well-developed literature on trust. In his important article Faulkner, 424−429, 2015) distinguishes three-place, two-place and one-place trust predicates. He then argues that our more basic notions of trust are expressed by the one-place and two-place predicates. Three-place trust, contractual trust, is not fundamental. This matters. Having a clear understanding of our concepts of trust is important. The most important assumption of Faulkner’s argument is that the notion of trust expr…Read more
  •  21
    In his book Modal Logic as Metaphysics, Williamson argues that the traditional actualist‐possibilist debate should be abandoned as hopelessly unclear and that we should get on with the clearer contingentism‐necessitism debate. We think that Williamson’s pessimism is not warranted by the brief arguments he gives. In this paper, we explain why and provide a clear formulation of the traditional actualist‐possibilist debate.
  •  26
    From Essence to Metaphysical Modality?
    Axiomathes 1-10. forthcoming.
    How can we acquire knowledge of metaphysical modality? How can someone come to know that he could have been elsewhere right now, or an accountant rather than a philosophy teacher, but could not have been a turnip? Jago proposes an account of a route to knowledge of the way things could have been and must be. He argues that we can move to knowledge of metaphysical modality from knowledge about essence. Curtis rejects Jago’s explanation. It cannot, he argues, explain our knowledge of de re necessi…Read more
  •  37
    Are personites a problem for endurantists?
    Philosophical Forum 51 (4): 399-409. 2020.
    Personites are shorter lived, very person‐like things that extend across part but not the whole of a person's life. That there are such things is a consequence of the standard perdurance view championed by Lewis and Quine; it is also a consequence of liberal endurantist views which allow such things coinciding with persons during part of their lives, though not themselves parts of the persons. Johnston and Olson argue that the existence of personites has bizarre moral consequences and renders wh…Read more
  •  7
    The Great Western Railway
    Philosophia 49 (2): 741-744. 2020.
    In On The Plurality of Worlds Lewis presents the case of the Great Western Railway as a candidate counter-example, along with the usual suspects, to the thesis that two things cannot be in the same place at the same time. Typically, pluralists or many-thingers, i.e., those who reject the thesis, point to modal or historical or aesthetic differences to justify their judgement of non-identity. Lewis’s aim to is to show the inadequacy of this justification, at least as regards modal differences, by…Read more
  •  292
    In his book, Eric Olson (2007) makes some criticisms of a response to the problem of the thinking animal (also called the ‘too many minds’ or ‘too many thinkers’ problem) which I have offered, on behalf of the neo-Lockean psychological continuity theorist. Olson calls my proposal ‘personal pronoun revisionism’ (though I am not suggesting any revision). In what follows I shall say what my proposal actually is, defend it and briefly respond to Olson's criticism.
  •  701
  •  55
    AE or EA?
    Analysis 46 (2): 87-89. 1986.
  •  7
    Hume on Identity in Part IV of Book I of the Treatise
    History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 13 (1): 90-104. 2010.
    In Part IV of Book I of Hume’s Treatise Hume frequently appeals to an identity ascribing mechanism of the imagination. A psychological mechanism of which it is a special case, to ‘compleat the union’, is also prominent. These mechanisms belong to the imagination narrowly conceived according to a distinction in section ix of Part III. The role and significance of these mechanisms in the development of Hume’s scepticism is explored. Appreciation of their significance is also argued to cast light o…Read more
  •  59
    The complex and simple views of personal identity
    Analysis 71 (1): 72-77. 2011.
    What is the difference between the complex view of personal identity over time and the simple view? Traditionally, the defenders of the complex view are said to include Locke and Hume, defenders of the simple view to include Butler and Reid. In our own time it is standard to think of Chisholm and Swinburne as defenders of the simple view and Shoemaker, Parfit, Williams and Lewis as defenders of the complex view. But how exactly is the distinction to be characterized? One difference between the t…Read more
  •  340
    The complex and simple views of personal identity
    Analysis 71 (1): 72-77. 2011.
    What is the difference between the complex view of personal identity over time and the simple view? Traditionally, the defenders of the complex view are said to include Locke and Hume, defenders of the simple view to include Butler and Reid. In our own time it is standard to think of Chisholm and Swinburne as defenders of the simple view and Shoemaker, Parfit, Williams and Lewis as defenders of the complex view. But how exactly is the distinction to be characterized? One difference between the t…Read more
  •  259
    Sider’s (2001) modification of the Lewisean argument from vagueness for unrestricted mereological composition is advertised as having the advantage over the original that the assumption of the semantic determinacy of ‘part of’ (its lack of multiple eligible precisifications) is not required. This is not so; without this assumption the crucial step in Sider’s defence of his most contentious premiss, (P3), is one no defender of the linguistic theory of vagueness is obliged to take. Since the aim o…Read more
  •  14
    Blackburn argues against naturalistic moral realism. He argues that there is no conceptual entailment from satisfying a naturalistic predicate to satisfying a moral predicate. But the moral is conceptually supervenient on the natural. However, this conjunction of conceptual supervenience with lack of conceptual entailment is something the non-realist can explain, but the realist cannot. I argue first that Blackburn’s best formulation of his challenge is his first one. Subsequently he reformulate…Read more
  •  41
    Presentism, Endurance, and Object-Dependence
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (9-10): 1115-1122. 2019.
    According to the presentist the present time is the only one that there is. Nevertheless, things persist. Most presentists think that things persist by enduring. Employing E. J. Lowe’s notion of identity-dependence, Jonathan Tallant argues that presentism is incompatible with any notion of persistence, even endurance. This consequence of Lowe’s ideas, if soundly drawn, is important. The presentist who chooses to deny persistence outright is a desperate figure. However, though Lowe’s notion is a …Read more
  •  11
    Abstract Objects, by Bob Hale (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 39 (156): 354-357. 1989.
  •  6
    Material Beings, by Peter van Inwagen (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 42 (167): 239-242. 1992.
  •  6
    Understanding Identity Statements, by Thomas V. Morris (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 36 (144): 457-459. 1986.
  •  529
    Personal Identity
    Routledge. 1989.
    What is the self? And how does it relate to the body? In the second edition of Personal Identity, Harold Noonan presents the major historical theories of personal identity, particularly those of Locke, Leibniz, Butler, Reid and Hume. Noonan goes on to give a careful analysis of what the problem of personal identity is, and its place in the context of more general puzzles about identity. He then moves on to consider the main issues and arguments which are the subject of current debate, including …Read more
  •  52
    Eric Olson has argued, startlingly, that no coherent account can be giv- en of the distinction made in the personal identity literature between ‘complex views’ and ‘simple views’. ‘We tell our students,’ he writes, ‘that accounts of personal identity over time fall into [these] two broad categories’. But ‘it is impossible to characterize this distinction in any satisfactory way. The debate has been systematically misdescribed’. I argue, first, that, for all Olson has said, a recent account by No…Read more
  •  147
    Modal realism, still at your convenience
    with Mark Jago
    Analysis 77 (2): 299-303. 2017.
    Divers presents a set of de re modal truths which, he claims, are inconvenient for Lewisean modal realism. We argue that there is no inconvenience for Lewis.
  •  66
    Presentism and Actualism
    Philosophia 47 (2): 489-497. 2018.
    Presentism, some say, is either the analytic triviality that the only things that exist now are ones that exist now or the obviously false claim that the only things that have ever existed or will are ones that exist now. I argue that the correct understanding of presentism is the latter and so understood the claim is not obviously false. To appreciate this one has to see presentism as strictly analogous to anti-Lewisean actualism. What this modal analogue makes evident is that singular tensed s…Read more
  •  71
    The Challenge to Nihilism
    Analytic Philosophy 60 (1): 55-66. 2019.
  •  168
    The New Aristotelian Essentialists
    Metaphysica 19 (1): 87-93. 2018.
    In recent years largely due to the seminal work of Kit Fine and that of Jonathan Lowe there has been a resurgence of interest in the concept of essence and the project of explaining de re necessity in terms of it. Of course, Quine rejected what he called Aristotelian essentialism in his battle against quantified modal logic. But what he and Kripke debated was a notion of essence defined in terms of de re necessity. The new Aristotelian essentialists regard essence as entailing but prior in the o…Read more
  •  23
    Putnam’s argument against the sceptical Brain-in-a-Vat hypothesis continues to intrigue. I argue in what follows that the argument refutes a particular kind of sceptic and make a proposal about its more general significance. To appreciate the soundness of the argument, I explain, we need to appreciate that the sceptic’s contention is that I cannot know that I am not a brain in a vat even if I am not. This is why in response to the sceptic it is legitimate to make a transition from knowing that a…Read more
  •  1
    Rigid designation
    Analysis 39 (4): 174. 1979.
  • Sentences and names in Frege
    Analysis 36 (4): 188. 1976.
  • An argument of Aristotle on non-contradiction
    Analysis 37 (4): 163. 1977.
  •  1
    Count nouns and mass nouns
    Analysis 38 (4): 167. 1978.
  •  1
    Relative Identity, by Nicholas Griffin (review)
    Mind 88 (1): 299-301. 1979.