• 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. 2021.
  •  76
    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.
  •  82
    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.
  •  477
    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
  •  115
    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.
  •  32
    Cause without Default
    In Helen Beebee, Christopher Hitchcock & Huw Price (eds.), Making a Difference, Oxford University Press. pp. 175-214. 2017.
  •  25
    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
  •  109
    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.
  •  142
    Laws for Metaphysical Explanation
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82 1-22. 2017.
    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.
  •  160
    Laws for Metaphysical Explanation
    Philosophical Issues 27 (1): 302-321. 2017.
  •  307
    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
  •  163
    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
  •  523
    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.
  •  305
    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
  •  8
    Of Ghostly and Mechanical Events
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (1): 230-244. 2004.
    Two of the assumptions that drive most contemporary philosophy of mind are the naturalistic thesis that minds, like mountains and molecules, are macro-objects in the natural order, involving nothing ‘spooky’, and a three-part taxonomy that recognizes substance dualism, property dualism, and monism as the available metaphysical options. Together, these assumptions drive most contemporary philosophers of mind to either monism of the materialistic stripe, or to a version of property dualism that tr…Read more
  •  8
    The Problem of Free Mass: Must Properties Cluster?
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (1): 125-138. 2003.
    Properties come in clusters. It seems impossible, for instance, that a mass could float free, unattached to any other property. David Armstrong takes this as a reductio of the bundle theory and an argument for substrata. while Peter Simons and Arda Denkel reply by supplementing the bundle theory with accounts of property interdependencies. I argue against both views. Virtually all plausible ontologies tum out to be committed to the existence of free masses. I develop and defend the view that the…Read more
  •  324
    Knowing the Answer Redux: Replies to Brogaard and Kallestrup
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (2): 477-500. 2009.
    In "Knowing the Answer" I argued that knowledge-wh is question-relative. For example, to know when the movie starts is to know the answer p to the question Q of when the movie starts. Berit Brogaard and Jesper Kallestrup have each responded with insightful critiques of my argument, and novel accounts of knowledge-wh. I am grateful to them both for continuing the discussion in so thoughtful a way.
  •  785
    Grounding in the image of causation
    Philosophical Studies 173 (1): 49-100. 2016.
    Grounding is often glossed as metaphysical causation, yet no current theory of grounding looks remotely like a plausible treatment of causation. I propose to take the analogy between grounding and causation seriously, by providing an account of grounding in the image of causation, on the template of structural equation models for causation
  •  501
    The irrelevance of the subject: Against subject-sensitive invariantism
    Philosophical Studies 127 (1): 87-107. 2006.
    Does what you know depend on what is at stake for you? That is, is the knowledge relation sensitive to the subject’s practical interests? Subject sensitive invariantists (Fantl and McGrath, 2002; Hawthorne, 2004, ch. 4; Stanley, forthcoming) say that the answer is yes. They claim to capture the contextualist data without the shifty semantics. I will argue that the answer is no. The knowledge relation is sensitive to what is in question for the attributor, rather than what is at stake for the sub…Read more
  •  1337
    Contrastive Knowledge Surveyed
    Noûs 46 (4): 675-708. 2012.
    Suppose that Ann says, “Keith knows that the bank will be open tomorrow.” Her audience may well agree. Her knowledge ascription may seem true. But now suppose that Ben—in a different context—also says “Keith knows that the bank will be open tomorrow.” His audience may well disagree. His knowledge ascription may seem false. Indeed, a number of philosophers have claimed that people’s intuitions about knowledge ascriptions are context sensitive, in the sense that the very same knowledge ascription …Read more
  •  465
    Truth and fundamentality: On Merricks's truth and ontology
    Philosophical Books 49 (4): 302-316. 2008.
    Truth and Ontology is a lively book, brimming with arguments, and drawing the reader towards the radical conclusion that what is true does not depend on what there is. If there is a central line of argument, it is that the best account of truthmaking requires truths to be about their truthmakers, but negative existentials, modals, and claims about the past and future are not about what is, but rather about what is not, what might be, and what was and will be
  •  494
    Causation by disconnection
    Philosophy of Science 67 (2): 285-300. 2000.
    The physical and/or intrinsic connection approach to causation has become prominent in the recent literature, with Salmon, Dowe, Menzies, and Armstrong among its leading proponents. I show that there is a type of causation, causation by disconnection, with no physical or intrinsic connection between cause and effect. Only Hume-style conditions approaches and hybrid conditions-connections approaches appear to be able to handle causation by disconnection. Some Hume-style, extrinsic, absence-relati…Read more
  •  177
    Principled chances
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (1): 27-41. 2003.
    There are at least three core principles that define the chance role: (1) the Principal Principle, (2) the Basic Chance Principle, and (3) the Humean Principle. These principles seem mutually incompatible. At least, no extant account of chance meets more than one of them. I offer an account of chance which meets all three: L*-chance. So the good news is that L*-chance meets (1)–(3). The bad news is that L*-chance turns out unlawful and unstable.
  •  437
    Necessitarian propositions
    Synthese 189 (1): 119-162. 2012.
    Kaplan (drawing on Montague and Prior, inter alia) made explicit the idea of world and time neutral propositions, which bear truth values only relative to world and time parameters. There was then a debate over the role of time. Temporalists sided with Kaplan in maintaining time neutral propositions with time relative truth values, while eternalists claimed that all propositions specify the needed time information and so bear the same truth value at all times. But there never was much of a paral…Read more