• Is the fact that our universe contains fine-tuned life evidence that we live in a multiverse? Hacking (1987) and White (2000) influentially argue that it is not. We approach this question through a systematic framework for self-locating epistemology. As it turns out, leading approaches to self-locating evidence agree that the fact that our own universe contains fine-tuned life indeed confirms the existence of a multiverse (at least in a suitably idealized setting). This convergence is no acciden…Read more
  • The Modal Moving Spotlight Theory
    Daniel Deasy
    Mind. forthcoming.
    The Moving Spotlight Theory (MST) combines three theses: first, that there is an absolute present time; second, that always, everything exists eternally; and third, that exactly one fundamental property is temporary. In this paper, I argue that MST so defined can be combined with a reductive analysis of the tense operators (i.e. properties of propositions like being past), which I call the 'Modal Analysis'. According to the Modal Analysis, for it to be the case that at a time t, p is for it to b…Read more
  • Why Free Will is Real, by ListChristian. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2019. Pp. ix + 216.
  • The principle of Anteriority says that prospects that are identical from the perspective of every possible person’s welfare are equally good overall. The principle enjoys prima facie plausibility, and has been employed for various theoretical purposes. Here it is shown using an analogue of the St Petersburg Paradox that Anteriority is inconsistent with central principles of axiology.
  • Closed Structure
    Journal of Philosophical Logic 1-43. forthcoming.
    According to the structured theory of propositions, if two sentences express the same proposition, then they have the same syntactic structure, with corresponding syntactic constituents expressing the same entities. A number of philosophers have recently focused attention on a powerful argument against this theory, based on a result by Bertrand Russell, which shows that the theory of structured propositions is inconsistent in higher order-logic. This paper explores a response to this argument, w…Read more
  • Wide Sets, ZFCU, and the Iterative Conception
    Journal of Philosophy 111 (2): 57-83. 2014.
    The iterative conception of set is typically considered to provide the intuitive underpinnings for ZFCU (ZFC+Urelements). It is an easy theorem of ZFCU that all sets have a definite cardinality. But the iterative conception seems to be entirely consistent with the existence of “wide” sets, sets (of, in particular, urelements) that are larger than any cardinal. This paper diagnoses the source of the apparent disconnect here and proposes modifications of the Replacement and Powerset axioms so as t…Read more
  • On statistical criteria of algorithmic fairness
    Philosophy and Public Affairs 49 (2): 209-231. 2021.
    Predictive algorithms are playing an increasingly prominent role in society, being used to predict recidivism, loan repayment, job performance, and so on. With this increasing influence has come an increasing concern with the ways in which they might be unfair or biased against individuals in virtue of their race, gender, or, more generally, their group membership. Many purported criteria of algorithmic fairness concern statistical relationships between the algorithm’s predictions and the actual…Read more
  • Fine-grained semantics for attitude reports
    Harvey Lederman
    Semantics and Pragmatics 14 (1). 2021.
    I observe that the “concept-generator” theory of Percus and Sauerland (2003), Anand (2006), and Charlow and Sharvit (2014) does not predict an intuitive true interpretation of the sentence “Plato did not believe that Hesperus was Phosphorus”. In response, I present a simple theory of attitude reports which employs a fine-grained semantics for names, according to which names which intuitively name the same thing may have distinct compositional semantic values. This simple theory solves the proble…Read more
  • Beliefs as inner causes: the (lack of) evidence
    Philosophical Psychology 31 (6): 850-877. 2018.
    Many psychologists studying lay belief attribution and behavior explanation cite Donald Davidson in support of their assumption that people construe beliefs as inner causes. But Davidson’s influential argument is unsound; there are no objective grounds for the intuition that the folk construe beliefs as inner causes that produce behavior. Indeed, recent experimental work by Ian Apperly, Bertram Malle, Henry Wellman, and Tania Lombrozo provides an empirical framework that accords well with Gilber…Read more
  • Do people tend to be overconfident in their opinions? Many think so. They’ve run studies to test whether people are calibrated: whether their confidence in their opinions matches the proportion of those opinions that are true. Under certain conditions, people are systematically “over-calibrated”—for example, of the opinions they’re 80% confident in, only 60% are true. From this observed over-calibration, it’s inferred that people are irrationally overconfident. My question: When—and why—is this …Read more
  • Against Counterfactual Miracles
    Philosophical Review 125 (2): 241-286. 2016.
    This paper considers how counterfactuals should be evaluated on the assumption that determinism is true. I argue against Lewis's influential view that the actual laws of nature would have been false if something had happened that never actually happened, and in favour of the competing view that history would have been different all the way back. I argue that we can do adequate justice to our ordinary practice of relying on a wide range of historical truths in evaluating counterfactuals by sayi…Read more
  • The KK principle and rotational symmetry
    Timothy Williamson
    Analytic Philosophy 62 (2): 107-124. 2021.
    Analytic Philosophy, EarlyView.
  • Is identity illusory?
    European Journal of Philosophy 29 (1): 55-73. 2021.
    European Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
  • Uttering Moorean Sentences and the pragmatics of belief reports
    Philosophical Studies 178 (6): 1879-1895. 2021.
    Moore supposedly discovered that there are sentences of a certain form that, though they can be true, no rational human being can sincerely and truly utter any of them. MC and MO are particular instances:MC: “It is raining and I believe that it is not raining”MO: “It is raining and I don’t believe that it is raining”In this paper, I show that there are sentences of the same form as MC and MO that can be sincerely and truly uttered by rational agents. We call sentences of the same form as MC and …Read more
  • This paper argues that two widely accepted principles about the indicative conditional jointly presuppose the falsity of one of the most prominent arguments against epistemological iteration principles. The first principle about the indicative conditional, which has close ties both to the Ramsey test and the “or-to-if” inference, says that knowing a material conditional suffices for knowing the corresponding indicative. The second principle says that conditional contradictions cannot be true whe…Read more