•  305
    Two kinds of ontological commitment
    Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242): 79-104. 2011.
    There are two different ways of understanding the notion of ‘ontological commitment ’. A question about ‘what is said to be’ by a theory or ‘what a theory says there is’ deals with ‘explicit’ commitment ; a question about the ontological costs or preconditions of the truth of a theory concerns ‘implicit’ commitment. I defend a conception of ontological commitment as implicit commitment, and argue that existentially quantified idioms in natural language are implicitly, but not explicitly, committ…Read more
  •  205
    What's Wrong with Ostrich Nominalism?
    Philosophical Papers 38 (2): 183-217. 2009.
    Whereas traditional nominalists accept the realist's challenge to solve a 'Problem of Universals', the Ostrich Nominalist responds that there is no such Problem to answer. I suggest that Ostrich Nominalist arguments expose a genuine flaw in the realist project. However, I argue, Ostrich Nominalism is ultimately defeated by a problem about the analysis of qualitative sameness and difference. Qualitative sameness and difference are adequately understood only as sameness or difference in some respe…Read more
  •  90
    Is there a Problem about Propositional Unity?
    Dialectica 65 (3): 393-418. 2011.
    The problem of the ‘Unity of the Proposition’ is the problem of explaining the difference between a content-expressing declarative sentence and a ‘mere list’ of referents. The prevailing view is that such a problem is to be solved metaphysically, either by reducing our ontology to exclude propositions or universals, or by explaining how it is possible for a certain kind of complex entity – the ‘proposition’– to ‘unify’ its constituents. I argue that these metaphysical approaches cannot succeed; …Read more
  •  78
    Existence as the Possibility of Reference
    Acta Analytica 29 (4): 389-411. 2014.
    The mere fact that ontological debates are possible requires us to address the question, what is it to claim that a certain entity or kind of entity exists—in other words, what do we do when we make an existence-claim? I develop and defend one candidate answer to this question, namely that to make an existence-claim with regard to Fs is to claim that we can refer to Fs. I show how this theory can fulfil the most important explanatory desiderata for a theory of existence; I also defend it against…Read more
  •  61
    Where are Universals?
    Metaphysica 17 (1): 43-67. 2016.
    Abstract: It is often claimed that realists about universals must be either “platonists,” holding that universals lack spatio-temporal location, or “aristotelians,” asserting that universals are located where their instances are. What’s more, both camps agree that locatedness or unlocatedness is part of the essential nature of universals; consequently, aristotelians say that universals cannot exist un located, and platonists allege that universals cannot be located. Here I argue that the dispute…Read more
  •  49
    Bradley’s regress, truthmaking, and constitution
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 86 (1): 1-21. 2012.
    Bradley's Regress-a problem about what grounds or 'accounts for' the ability of two or more things to stand in a relation-is often presented as a problem about truthmakers: what entity 'makes it true' that two objects a and b are related? I criticize this account of the regress on the grounds that it is dialectically weak and trivially solvable. I then propose an alternative interpretation, according to which the regress challenges our ability to use relational entities to give an account of the…Read more
  •  20
    This thesis argues for realism about universals —the view that, in addition to particular things, there exist universals instantiated by those particular things. The first half presents a positive case for realism. Here it is claimed that universals are needed in our ontology to serve as the respects in which things are the same, and the features or characteristics that things have in common.This argument is defended against nominalist responses, first, that our apparent ‘ontological commitment’…Read more
  • The Third Man and the Coherence of the Parmenides
    Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 52 113-176. 2017.