• 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
  •  1506
    Monism: The Priority of the Whole
    Philosophical Review 119 (1): 31-76. 2010.
    Consider a circle and a pair of its semicircles. Which is prior, the whole or its parts? Are the semicircles dependent abstractions from their whole, or is the circle a derivative construction from its parts? Now in place of the circle consider the entire cosmos (the ultimate concrete whole), and in place of the pair of semicircles consider the myriad particles (the ultimate concrete parts). Which if either is ultimately prior, the one ultimate whole or its many ultimate parts?
  •  511
    Writing the Book of the World (review)
    Philosophical Review 123 (1): 125-129. 2014.
  •  846
    Is there a fundamental level?
    Noûs 37 (3). 2003.
    ‘‘Thus I believe that there is no part of matter which is not—I do not say divisible—but actually divided; and consequently the least particle ought to be considered as a world full of an infinity of different creatures.’’ (Leibniz, letter to Foucher).
  •  202
    The metaphysics of causation
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
    Questions about the metaphysics of causation may be usefully divided as follows. First, there are questions about the nature of the causal relata, including (1.1) whether they are in spacetime immanence), (1.2) how fine grained they are individuation), and (1.3) how many there are adicity). Second, there are questions about the metaphysics of the causal relation, including (2.1) what is the difference between causally related and causally unrelated sequences connection), (2.2) what is the differ…Read more
  •  526
    Disconnection and Responsibility
    Legal Theory 18 (4): 399-435. 2012.
    Michael Moore’s Causation and Responsibility offers an integrated conception of the law, morality, and metaphysics, centered on the notion of causation, grounded in a detailed knowledge of case law, and supported on every point by cogent argument. This is outstanding work. It is a worthy successor to Harte and Honoré’s classic Causation in the Law, and I expect that it will guide discussion for many years to come.
  •  247
    The Contrast-sensitivity of Knowledge Ascriptions
    Social Epistemology 22 (3): 235-245. 2008.
    Knowledge ascriptions are contrast-sensitive. One natural explanation for this is that the knowledge relation is contrastive ( s knows that p rather than q ). But can the binary view of knowledge ( s knows that p ) explain contrast-sensitivity? I review some of the linguistic data supporting contrast-sensitivity, and critique the three main binary explanations for contrast-sensitivity. I conclude that the contrast-sensitivity of knowledge ascriptions shows that knowledge is a contrastive relatio…Read more
  •  642
    David Lewis’s semantics for counterfactuals remains the standard view. Yet counter-examples have emerged, which suggest a need to invoke causal independence, and thus threaten conceptual circularity. I will review some of these counter-examples (§§1–2), illustrate how causal independence proves useful (§3), and suggest that any resulting circularity is unproblematic (§4).
  •  435
    Quiddistic Knowledge
    Philosophical Studies 123 (1-2): 1-32. 2005.
    Is the relation between properties and the causal powers they confer necessary, or contingent? Necessary, says Sydney Shoemaker, on pain of skepticism about the properties. Contingent, says David Lewis, swallowing the skeptical conclusion. I shall argue that Lewis is right about the metaphysics, but that Shoemaker and Lewis are wrong about the epistemology. Properties have intrinsic natures (quiddities), which we can know.
  •  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
  •  322
    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.
  •  7
    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