•  195
    Are All Primitives Created Equal?
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 56 (2): 273-292. 2018.
    Primitives are both important and unavoidable, and which set of primitives we endorse will greatly shape our theories and how those theories provide solutions to the problems that we take to be important. After introducing the notion of a primitive posit, I discuss the different kinds of primitives that we might posit. Following Cowling (2013), I distinguish between ontological and ideological primitives, and, following Benovsky (2013) between functional and content views of primitives. I then p…Read more
  •  115
    Metaphysics has had a long history of debate over its viability, and substantivity. This thesis explores issues connected to the realism question within the domain of metaphysics, ultimately aiming to defend a realist, substantive metaphysics by responding to so-called deflationary approaches, which have become prominent, and well supported within the recent metametaphysical and metaontological literature. To this end, I begin by examining the changing nature of the realism question. I argue tha…Read more
  •  102
    Can an Ontological Pluralist Really be a Realist?
    Metaphilosophy 47 (3): 425-430. 2016.
    This article examines whether it is possible to uphold one form of deflationism towards metaphysics, ontological pluralism, whilst maintaining metaphysical realism. The focus therefore is on one prominent deflationist who fits the definition of an ontological pluralist, Eli Hirsch, and his self-ascription as a realist. The article argues that ontological pluralism is not amenable to the ascription of realism under some basic intuitions as to what a “realist” position is committed to. These basic…Read more
  •  90
    On the Individuation of Words
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 1-10. forthcoming.
    The idea that two words can be instances of the same word is a central intuition in our conception of language. This fact underlies many of the claims that we make about how we communicate, and how we understand each other. Given this, irrespective of what we think words are, it is common to think that any putative ontology of words, must be able to explain this feature of language. That is, we need to provide criteria of identity for word-types which allow us to individuate words such that it c…Read more
  •  79
    This paper addresses the ontological status of the ontological categories as defended within E.J. Lowe’s four-category ontology (kinds, objects, properties/relations, and modes). I consider the arguments in Griffith (2015. “Do Ontological Categories Exist?” Metaphysica 16 (1):25–35) against Lowe’s claim that ontological categories do not exist, and argue that Griffith’s objections to Lowe do not work once we fully take advantage of ontological resources available within Lowe’s four-category onto…Read more
  •  74
    Language and Ontological Emergence
    Philosophica 91 (1): 105-143. 2017.
    Providing empirically supportable instances of ontological emergence is notoriously difficult. Typically, the literature has focused on two possible sources. The first is the mind and consciousness; the second is within physics, and more specifically certain quantum effects. In this paper, I wish to suggest that the literature has overlooked a further possible instance of emergence, taken from the special science of linguistics. In particular, I will focus on the property of truth-evaluability, …Read more
  •  47
    Lexicalisation and the Origin of the Human Mind
    with Thomas J. Hughes
    Biosemiotics 7 (1): 11-27. 2014.
    This paper will discuss the origin of the human mind, and the qualitative discontinuity between human and animal cognition. We locate the source of this discontinuity within the language faculty, and thus take the origin of the mind to depend on the origin of the language faculty. We will look at one such proposal put forward by Hauser et al. (Science 298:1569-1579, 2002), which takes the evolution of a Merge trait (recursion) to solely explain the differences between human and animal cognition.…Read more
  •  32
    Strong Emergence
    Philosophica 1 (91): 5-13. 2017.
    A crucial question for both philosophy and for science concerns the kind of relationship that obtains between entities—objects, properties, states, processes, kinds and so on—that exist at apparently higher and lower ‘levels’ of reality. According to reductionism, seeming higher-level entities can in fact be fully accounted for by more fundamental, lower-level entities. Conversely, emergentists of various stripes hold that whilst higher-level entities depend in some important sense on lower-leve…Read more
  •  31
    Natural Name Theory and Linguistic Kinds
    Journal of Philosophy 116 (9): 494-508. 2019.
    The natural name theory, recently discussed by Johnson (2018), is proposed as an explanation of pure quotation where the quoted term(s) refers to a linguistic object such as in the sentence ‘In the above, ‘bank’ is ambiguous’. After outlining the theory, I raise a problem for the natural name theory. I argue that positing a resemblance relation between the name and the linguistic object it names does not allow us to rule out cases where the natural name fails to resemble the linguistic object it…Read more
  •  29
    A review of Eli Hirsch, Quantifier Variance and Realism: Essays in Metaontology, Oxford University Press, 2011.
  •  21
    A Bundle Theory of Words
    Synthese. forthcoming.
    It has been a common assumption that words are substances that instantiate or have properties. In this paper, I question the assumption that our ontology of words requires posting substances by outlining a bundle theory of words, wherein words are bundles of various sorts of properties (such as semantic, phonetic, orthographic, and grammatical properties). I argue that this view can better account for certain phenomena than substance theories, is ontologically more parsimonious, and coheres with…Read more
  •  15
    Edward Jonathan Lowe
    The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2018.
    Edward Jonathan Lowe (usually cited as E. J. Lowe) was one of the most significant philosophers of the twentieth and early twenty-first century. He made sustained and significant contributions to debates in metaphysics, ontology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophical logic, and philosophy of religion, as well as contributing important scholarly work in early modern philosophy (most notably on Locke). Over the length of his career, Lowe published eleven single-authored books, …Read more