• Contrastive Knowledge
    In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Oxford Studies in Epistemology Volume 1, Oxford University Press. 2005.
  • Ground Functionalism
    Oxford Studies in the Philosophy of Mind. forthcoming.
  •  75
    Taking causing out of Bennett's Making Things Up
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 63 (7): 722-744. 2020.
    ABSTRACT In Making Things Up, Bennett defends the intriguing idea that causation should be included among the building relations. I critique Bennett’s arguments for inclusion, and claim that inclusion distorts her own treatments of causation, relative fundamentality, and absolute fundamentality. Instead, I argue for treating causation and grounding as separate species of generative, explanatory difference-making.
  •  79
    Quantum holism: nonseparability as common ground
    Synthese 197 (10): 4131-4160. 2020.
    Quantum mechanics seems to portray nature as nonseparable, in the sense that it allows spatiotemporally separated entities to have states that cannot be fully specified without reference to each other. This is often said to implicate some form of “holism.” We aim to clarify what this means, and why this seems plausible. Our core idea is that the best explanation for nonseparability is a “common ground” explanation, which casts nonseparable entities in a holistic light, as scattered reflections o…Read more
  •  475
    Causes as probability raisers of processes
    Journal of Philosophy 98 (2): 75-92. 2001.
    Causation, according to David Hume, is one of the three fundamental conceptual relations (along with resemblance and contiguity), and is the foundation of all reasoning concerning matters of fact. Causation, according to various contemporary philosophers, is required for the analysis of metaphysical concepts such as persistence, scientific concepts such as explanation and disposition, epistemic concepts such as perception and warrant, ethical concepts such as action and responsibility, legal con…Read more
  • Contrastive Knowledge
    Oxford Studies in Epistemology 1. 2006.
  •  476
    Knowledge ascriptions seem context sensitive. Yet it is widely thought that epistemic contextualism does not have a plausible semantic implementation. We aim to overcome this concern by articulating and defending an explicit contextualist semantics for ‘know,’ which integrates a fairly orthodox contextualist conception of knowledge as the elimination of the relevant alternatives, with a fairly orthodox “Amherst” semantics for A-quantification over a contextually variable domain of situations. Wh…Read more
  •  111
    Anchoring as Grounding: On Epstein’s the Ant Trap
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (3): 749-767. 2019.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Volume 99, Issue 3, Page 749-767, November 2019.
  •  31
    Cause without Default
    In Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Huw Price (eds.), Making a Difference, Oxford University Press. pp. 175-214. 2017.
  •  22
    A companion to David Lewis (edited book)
    Wiley-Blackwell. 2015.
    In _A Companion to David Lewis_, Barry Loewer and Jonathan Schaffer bring together top philosophers to explain, discuss, and critically extend Lewis's seminal work in original ways. Students and scholars will discover the underlying themes and complex interconnections woven through the diverse range of his work in metaphysics, philosophy of language, logic, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, ethics, and aesthetics. The first and only comprehensive study of the work of David…Read more
  •  106
    Confessions of a schmentencite: towards an explicit semantics
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 64 (5-6): 593-623. 2021.
    ABSTRACT Natural language semantics is heir to two formalisms. There is the extensional machinery of explicit variables traditionally used to model reference to individuals, and the intensional machinery of implicit index parameters traditionally used to model reference to worlds and times. I propose instead a simple and unified extensional formalism – explicit semantics – on which all sentences include explicit individual, world and time variables. No implicit index parameters are needed.
  •  139
    Laws for Metaphysical Explanation
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82 1-22. 2018.
    I argue that, just like causal explanation requires laws of nature, so metaphysical explanation requires laws of metaphysics. I offer a minimal rendition of the argument for laws of metaphysics, assuming nothing about grounding or essences, and little about explanation. And I offer a positive and minimal functional conception of the laws of metaphysics, coupled with an argument that some laws of metaphysics are fundamental.
  •  156
    Laws for Metaphysical Explanation
    Philosophical Issues 27 (1): 302-321. 2017.
  •  289
    The Ground Between the Gaps
    Philosophers' Imprint 17. 2017.
    According to a line of thought tracing from Descartes, Leibniz, and Locke through to Kripke, Levine, and Chalmers, there is a special explanatory gap arising between the physical and the phenomenal. I argue that the physical-phenomenal gap is not special but rather that such gaps are pervasive, lurking in the transition from the physical to the chemical and in every concrete transition from more to less fundamental. Correlatively, I argue that such gaps are unproblematic, so long as they are bri…Read more
  •  162
    Cause and Chance: Causation in an Indeterministic World (review)
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (4): 869-874. 2007.
    This is an excellent anthology. The contributors are first-rate, the contributions are state-of-the-art, and the content is highly unified. The introduction further connects the essays and succinctly articulates the main themes. What results will be of interest to anyone interested in the contemporary discussion of causation.
  • Causation and the Probabilities of Processes
    Dissertation, Rutgers the State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick. 1999.
    You drop the glass. It shatters. Here there are two distinct events, related by causation. What is this relation? ;I argue that the causal relation is best understood as the relation of being a probability-raiser of a process. I take the causal relata to be property instances at spatiotemporal regions, analyze the notion of a process in terms of sequences of events related by nomic subsumption , and understand probability-raising as counterfactual chance dependence in the style of David Lewis. T…Read more
  •  522
    Two conceptions of sparse properties
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 85 (1). 2004.
    Are the sparse properties drawn from all the levels of nature, or only the fundamental level? I discuss the notion of sparse property found in Armstrong and Lewis, show that there are tensions in the roles they have assigned the sparse properties, and argue that the sparse properties should be drawn from all the levels of nature.
  •  83
    Le trou noir de la causalité
    Philosophie 89 (2): 40. 2006.
  •  302
    Contrastive causation in the law
    Legal Theory 16 (4): 259-297. 2010.
    What conception of causation is at work in the law? I argue that the law implicitly relies on a contrastive conception. In a liability case where the defendant's breach of duty must be shown to have caused the plaintiff's damages, it is not enough to consider what would have happened if the cause had not occurredthe law requires us to look to a specific replacement for the effect, which in this case is the hypothetical outcome in which the plaintiff came off better. In place of I suggest the mor…Read more
  •  183
    Feminist metaphysics is guided by the insight that gender is socially constructed, yet the metaphysics behind social construction remains obscure. Barnes and Mikkola charge that current metaphysical frameworks—including my grounding framework—are hostile to feminist metaphysics. I argue that not only is a grounding framework hospitable to feminist metaphysics, but also that a grounding framework can help shed light on the metaphysics behind social construction. By treating social construction cl…Read more
  •  141
    Overlappings: Probability-raising without causation
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78 (1). 2000.
    The leading regularity, counterfactual, and agential accounts of causation converge on the idea that causation is probability-raising. While the necessity of probability-raising for causation remains in dispute, the sufficiency of probability-raising for causation is generally assumed, at least in the direct (no intermediaries involved) and precisely described case. I offer a class of counterexamples: overlappings.
  •  200
    Quantum mechanics seems to portray nature as nonseparable, in the sense that it allows spatiotemporally separated entities to have states that cannot be fully specified without reference to each other. This is often said to implicate some form of “holism.” We aim to clarify what this means, and why this seems plausible. Our core idea is that the best explanation for nonseparability is a “common ground” explanation, which casts nonseparable entities in a holistic light, as scattered reflections o…Read more
  •  303
    Metaphysical Semantics Meets Multiple Realizability
    Analysis 73 (4): 736-751. 2013.
    Metaphysical semantics is supposed to connect the nonfundamental to the fundamental in a distinctively “linguistic” way, explaining how nonfundamental truths can be grounded in fundamental facts , and so inducing a radically eliminative vision of the nonfundamental as mere talk. I wonder how the story goes when a single nonfundamental truth can be grounded in many different fundamental facts. For instance, the truth that Moore has hands can presumably be grounded in many different distributions …Read more
  •  339
    What Not to Multiply Without Necessity
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4): 644-664. 2015.
    The Razor commands us not to multiply entities without necessity. I argue for an alternative principle—The Laser—which commands us not to multiply fundamental entities without necessity
  •  446
    Grounding, transitivity, and contrastivity
    In Fabrice Correia & Benjamin Schnieder (eds.), Metaphysical Grounding: Understanding the Structure of Reality, Cambridge University Press. pp. 122-138. 2012.
  •  859
    The Internal Relatedness of All Things
    Mind 119 (474): 341-376. 2010.
    The argument from internal relatedness was one of the major nineteenth century neo-Hegelian arguments for monism. This argument has been misunderstood, and may even be sound. The argument, as I reconstruct it, proceeds in two stages: first, it is argued that all things are internally related in ways that render them interdependent; second, the substantial unity of the whole universe is inferred from the interdependence of all of its parts. The guiding idea behind the argument is that failure of …Read more
  •  273
    The Action of the Whole
    Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 87 (1): 67-87. 2013.
    I discuss an argument for the monistic idea that the cosmos is the one and only fundamental thing, drawing on the idea that the cosmos is the one and only thing that evolves by the fundamental laws
  •  358
    Negative causation occurs when an absence serves as cause, effect, or causal intermediary. Negative causation is genuine causation, or so I shall argue. It involves no physical connection between cause and effect. Thus causes need not be physically connected to their effects.
  •  418
    Perspective in taste predicates and epistemic modals
    In Andy Egan & Brian Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic Modality, Oxford University Press. 2009.
    Imagine that Ann, asked to name her favorite treat, answers: 1. Licorice is tasty Imagine that Ben, having hidden some licorice in the cupboard, whispers to Ann: 2. There might be licorice in the cupboard. What if any role is played by perspective—whom the licorice is tasty to, whose evidence allows for licorice in the cupboard—in the semantics of such sentences?