• 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
  •  105
    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
  •  966
    The deflationary metaontology of Thomasson's ordinary objects
    Philosophical Books 50 (3): 142-157. 2009.
    In Ordinary Objects, Thomasson pursues an integrated conception of ontology and metaontology. In ontology, she defends the existence of shoes, ships, and other ordinary objects. In metaontology, she defends a deflationary view of ontological inquiry, designed to suck the air out of arguments against ordinary objects. The result is an elegant and insightful defense of a common sense worldview. I am sympathetic—in spirit if not always in letter—with Thomasson’s ontology. But I am skeptical of her …Read more
  •  567
    From contextualism to contrastivism
    Philosophical Studies 119 (1-2): 73-104. 2004.
    Contextualism treats ‘knows’ as an indexical that denotes different epistemic properties in different contexts. Contrastivism treats ‘knows’ as denoting a ternary relation with a slot for a contrast proposition. I will argue that contrastivism resolves the main philosophical problems of contextualism, by employing a better linguistic model. Contextualist insights are best understood by contrastivist theory.
  •  492
    Skepticism, Contextualism, and Discrimination
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (1). 2004.
    The skeptic says that "knowledge" is an absolute term, whereas the contextualist says that 'knowledge" is a relationally absolute term. Which is the better hypothesis about "knowledge"? And what implications do these hypotheses about "knowledge" have for knowledge? I argue that the skeptic has the better hypothesis about "knowledge", but that both hypotheses about "knowledge" have deeply anti-skeptical implications for knowledge, since both presuppose our capacity for epistemically salient discr…Read more
  •  285
    Causation, influence, and effluence
    Analysis 61 (1). 2001.
    Causation, says David Lewis now, is to be understood as the ancestral of counterfactual influence, where C influences E (roughly) iff little changes in C map onto big changes in E. I argue that the influence account provides neither necessary nor sufficient conditions for causation, and suggest that what is missing is the notion of effluence, or physical connection.
  •  1654
    On what grounds what
    In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology, Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383. 2009.
    On the now dominant Quinean view, metaphysics is about what there is. Metaphysics so conceived is concerned with such questions as whether properties exist, whether meanings exist, and whether numbers exist. I will argue for the revival of a more traditional Aristotelian view, on which metaphysics is about what grounds what. Metaphysics so revived does not bother asking whether properties, meanings, and numbers exist (of course they do!) The question is whether or not they are fundamental.
  •  604
    Review: Andreas Hüttemann: what's wrong with microphysicalism? (review)
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 59 (2): 253-257. 2008.
    In What’s Wrong With Microphysicalism?, Andreas H üttemann argues against the ontological priority of the microphysical, in favour of a ‘pluralism’ that accepts physical systems of all scales as interdependent equals. This is thoughtful and original work, deploying an understanding of the relevant physics to mount a serious challenge to the dominant microphysicalist view.
  •  394
    What shifts? : Thresholds, standards, or alternatives?
    In Gerhard Preyer & Georg Peter (eds.), Contextualism in Philosophy: Knowledge, Meaning, and Truth, Oxford University Press. 2005.
    Much of the extant discussion focuses on the question of whether contextualism resolves skeptical paradoxes. Understandably. Yet there has been less discussion as to the internal structure of contextualist theories. Regrettably. Here, for instance, are two questions that could stand further discussion: (i) what is the linguistic basis for contextualism and (ii) what is the parameter that shifts with context?
  •  426
    Monism
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
    This entry focuses on two of the more historically important monisms: existence monism and priority monism . Existence monism targets concrete objects and counts by tokens. This is the doctrine that exactly one concrete object exists. Priority monism also targets concrete objects, but counts by basic tokens. This is the doctrine that exactly one concrete object is basic, which will turn out to be the classical doctrine that the whole is prior to its parts.
  •  642
    The least discerning and most promiscuous truthmaker
    Philosophical Quarterly 60 (239). 2010.
    I argue that the one and only truthmaker is the world. This view can be seen as arisingfrom (i) the view that truthmaking is a relation of grounding holding between true propositions and fundamental entities, together with (ii) the view that the world is the one and only fundamental entity. I argue that this view provides an elegant and economical account of the truthmakers, while solving the problem of negative existentials, in a way that proves ontologically revealing
  •  65
    It is the Business of Laws to Govern
    Dialectica 70 (4): 577-588. 2016.
    Non-Humean accounts of lawhood are said to founder on the Inference Problem, which is the problem of saying how laws that go beyond the regularities can entail the regularities. I argue that the Inference Problem has a simple solution – the Axiomatic Solution – on which the non-Humean only needs to outfit her laws with a law-to-regularity axiom. There is a remaining Epistemic Bulge, as to why one should believe that the posit-so-axiomatized is to be found in nature, but the non-Humean can flatte…Read more
  •  462
    Truthmaker commitments
    Philosophical Studies 141 (1): 7-19. 2008.
    On the truthmaker view of ontological commitment [Heil (From an ontological point of view, 2003); Armstrong (Truth and truthmakers, 2004); Cameron (Philosophical Studies, 2008)], a theory is committed to the entities needed in the world for the theory to be made true. I argue that this view puts truthmaking to the wrong task. None of the leading accounts of truthmaking—via necessitation, supervenience, or grounding—can provide a viable measure of ontological commitment. But the grounding account…Read more