•  45
    In taking properties to have powerful or dispositional essences, dispositionalism is primed to provide an account of causation. This paper lays out a challenge confronting the dispositionalist’s ability to account for how powers causally interact with one another so as to bring about collective results. The challenge, here labeled the “interaction gap,” is raised for two competing kinds of approaches to dispositional interaction: contribution combinationist and mutual manifestationist. After car…Read more
  •  126
    Neuron diagrams are heavily employed in academic discussions of causation. Stephen Mumford and Rani Lill Anjum, however, offer an alternative approach employing vector diagrams, which this paper attempts to develop further. I identify three ways in which dispositionalists have taken the activities of powers to be related: stimulation, mutual manifestation, and contribution combination. While Mumford and Anjum do provide resources for representing contribution combination, which might be sufficie…Read more
  •  138
    This paper examines the need for static dispositions within the basic ontology of the powers view of properties. To lend some focus, Neil Williams’s well developed case for static dispositions is considered. While his arguments are not necessarily intended to address fundamental ontology, they still provide a useful starting point, a springboard for diving into the deeper metaphysical waters of the dispositionalist approach. Within that ontological context, this paper contends that Williams’s ar…Read more
  •  681
    It is a commonsense thesis that unactualized possibilities are not parts of actuality. To keep his modal realism in line with this thesis, David Lewis employed his indexical account of the term “actual.” I argue that the addition of counterpart theory to Lewis’s modal realism undermines his strategy for respecting the commonsense thesis. The case made here also reveals a problem for Lewis’s attempt to avoid haecceitism.
  •  222
    Got to have soul
    Religious Studies 42 (4): 417-430. 2006.
    Kevin Corcoran offers an account of how one can be a physicalist about human persons, deny temporal gaps in the existence of persons, and hold that there is an afterlife. I argue that Corcoran's account both violates the necessity of metaphysical identity and implausibly makes an individual's existence dependent on factors wholly extrinsic to the individual. Corcoran's defence is considered, as well as Stephen Davis's suggestions on how an account like Corcoran's can defend itself against these …Read more
  •  227
    Stoljar’s Twin-Physics World
    Philosophia 41 (1): 127-136. 2013.
    In his recent book Physicalism, Daniel Stoljar argues that there is no version of physicalism that is both true and deserving of the name. His argument employs a variation of Hilary Putnam’s famous twin-earth story, which Stoljar calls “the twin-physics world.” In this paper, I challenge Stoljar’s use of the twin-physics world. The upshot of that challenge, I argue, is that Stoljar fails to show, concerning the versions of physicalism for which he grants the possibility of being true, that none …Read more
  •  441
    Type Physicalism and Causal Exclusion
    Journal of Philosophical Research 38 405-418. 2013.
    While concerns of the mental being causally excluded by the physical have persistently plagued non-reductive physicalism, such concerns are standardly taken to pose no problem for reductive type physicalism. Type physicalists have the obvious advantage of being able to countenance the reduction of mental properties to their physical base properties by way of type identity, thereby avoiding any causal competition between instances of mental properties and their physical bases. Here, I challenge t…Read more
  •  221
    Heil’s Two-Category Ontology and Causation
    Erkenntnis 80 (5): 1091-1099. 2015.
    In his recent book, The Universe As We Find It, John Heil offers an updated account of his two-category ontology. One of his major goals is to avoid including relations in his basic ontology. While there can still be true claims positing relations, such as those of the form “x is taller than y” and “x causes y,” they will be true in virtue of substances and their monadic, non-relational properties. That is, Heil’s two-category ontology is deployed to provide non-relational truthmakers for relati…Read more
  •  660
    It has become evident that mind–body supervenience, as merely specifying a covariance between mental and physical properties, is consistent with clearly non-physicalist views of the mental, such as emergentism. Consequently, there is a push in the physicalist camp for an ontologically more robust supervenience, a “superdupervenience,” that ensures that properties supervening on physical properties are physicalistically acceptable. Jessica Wilson claims that supervenience is made superduper by Co…Read more
  •  586
    Lewis' Modal Realism and Absence Causation
    Metaphysica 12 (2): 117-124. 2011.
    A major criticism of David Lewis’ counterfactual theory of causation is that it allows too many things to count as causes, especially since Lewis allows, in addition to events, absences to be causes as well. Peter Menzies has advanced this concern under the title “the problem of profligate causation.” In this paper, I argue that the problem of profligate causation provides resources for exposing a tension between Lewis’ acceptance of absence causation and his modal realism. The result is a diffe…Read more
  •  298
    Jaegwon Kim’s supervenience/exclusion argument attempts to show that non-reductive physicalism is incompatible with mental causation. This influential argument can be seen as relying on the following principle, which I call “the piggyback principle”: If, with respect to an effect, E, an instance of a supervenient property, A, has no causal powers over and above, or in addition to, those had by its supervenience base, B, then the instance of A does not cause E (unless A is identical with B). In t…Read more