•  408
    Ways of Being
    Philosophy Compass 7 (12): 910-918. 2012.
    Ontological pluralism is the view that there are ways of being. Ontological pluralism is enjoying a revival in contemporary metaphysics. We want to say that there are numbers, fictional characters, impossible things, and holes. But, we don’t think these things all exist in the same sense as cars and human beings. If they exist or have being at all, then they have different ways of being. Fictional characters exist as objects of make‐believe and holes exist as absences in objects. But, human bein…Read more
  •  387
    Some people might be tempted by modal ontological arguments from the possibility that God exists to the conclusion that God in fact exists. They might also be tempted to support the claim that possibly God exists by appealing to the conceivability of God’s existence. In this chapter, I introduce three constraints on an adequate theory of philosophical conceivability. I then consider and develop both imagination-based accounts of conceivability and conceptual coherence-based accounts of conceivab…Read more
  •  381
    Holes as regions of spacetime
    with Andrew Wake and Gregory Fowler
    The Monist 90 (3): 372-378. 2007.
    We discuss the view that a hole is identical to the region of spacetime at which it is located. This view is more parsimonious than the view that holes are sui generus entities located at those regions surrounded by their hosts and it is more plausible than the view that there are no holes. We defend the spacetime view from several objections.
  •  295
    A tale of two simples
    Philosophical Studies 148 (2). 2010.
    A material simple is a material object that has no proper parts. Some philosophers have argued for the possibility of extended simples. Some have even argued for the possibility of heterogeneous simples or simples that have intrinsic variations across their surfaces. There is a puzzle, though, that is meant to show that extended, heterogeneous simples are impossible. Although several plausible responses have been given to this puzzle, I wish to reopen the case against extended, heterogeneous sim…Read more
  •  291
    On the explanatory demands of the Special Composition Question
    Synthese 198 (Suppl 18): 4375-4388. 2019.
    The Special Composition Question may be formulated as follows: for any xs whatsoever, what are the metaphysically necessary and jointly sufficient conditions in virtue of which there is a y such that those xs compose y? But what is the scope of the sought after explanation? Should an answer merely explain compositional facts, or should it explain certain ontological facts as well? On one natural reading, the question seeks an explanation of both the compositional facts and the ontological; the q…Read more
  •  284
    What time travelers cannot not do (but are responsible for anyway)
    Philosophical Studies 166 (1): 149-162. 2013.
    The Principle of Alternative Possibilities is the intuitive idea that someone is morally responsible for an action only if she could have done otherwise. Harry Frankfurt has famously presented putative counterexamples to this intuitive principle. In this paper, I formulate a simple version of the Principle of Alternative Possibilities that invokes a course-grained notion of actions. After warming up with a Frankfurt-Style Counterexample to this principle, I introduce a new kind of counterexample…Read more
  •  272
    In this paper I present two new arguments against the possibility of an omniscient being. My new arguments invoke considerations of cardinality and resemble several arguments originally presented by Patrick Grim. Like Grim, I give reasons to believe that there must be more objects in the universe than there are beliefs. However, my arguments will rely on certain mereological claims, namely that Classical Extensional Mereology is necessarily true of the part-whole relation. My first argument is a…Read more
  •  242
    All Things Must Pass Away
    Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 7 67. 2012.
    Are there any things that are such that any things whatsoever are among them. I argue that there are not. My thesis follows from these three premises: (1) There are two or more things; (2) for any things, there is a unique thing that corresponds to those things; (3) for any two or more things, there are fewer of them than there are pluralities of them.
  •  195
    Necessity of origins and multi-origin art
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (7): 741-754. 2019.
    ABSTRACTThe Necessity of Origins is the thesis that, necessarily, if a material object wholly originates from some particular material, then it could not have wholly originated from any significantly non-overlapping material. Several philosophers have argued for this thesis using as a premise a principle that we call ‘Single Origin Necessity’. However, we argue that Single Origin Necessity is false. So any arguments for The Necessity of Origins that rely on Single Origin Necessity are unsound. W…Read more
  •  194
    Strong Composition as Identity and Simplicity
    Erkenntnis 78 (5): 1177-1184. 2013.
    The general composition question asks “what are the necessary and jointly sufficient conditions any xs and any y must satisfy in order for it to be true that those xs compose that y?” Although this question has received little attention, there is an interesting and theoretically fruitful answer. Namely, strong composition as identity (SCAI): necessarily, for any xs and any y, those xs compose y iff those xs are identical to y. SCAI is theoretically fruitful because if it is true, then there is a…Read more
  •  190
    Musical materialism and the inheritance problem
    Analysis 72 (2): 252-259. 2012.
    Some hold that musical works are fusions of, or coincide with, their performances. But if performances contain wrong notes, won't works inherit that property? We say ‘no’
  •  189
    The problem of empty names and Russellian Plenitude
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (3): 1-18. 2016.
    ‘Ahab is a whaler’ and ‘Holmes is a whaler’ express different propositions, even though neither ‘Ahab’ nor ‘Holmes’ has a referent. This seems to constitute a theoretical puzzle for the Russellian view of propositions. In this paper, I develop a variant of the Russellian view, Plenitudinous Russellianism. I claim that ‘Ahab is a whaler’ and ‘Holmes is a whaler’ express distinct gappy propositions. I discuss key metaphysical and semantic differences between Plenitudinous Russellianism and Traditi…Read more
  •  163
    Strong Composition as Identity is the thesis that necessarily, for any xs and any y, those xs compose y iff those xs are non-distributively identical to y. Some have argued against this view as follows: if some many things are non-distributively identical to one thing, then what’s true of the many must be true of the one. But since the many are many in number whereas the one is not, the many cannot be identical to the one. Hence is mistaken. Although I am sympathetic to this objection, in this p…Read more
  •  162
    Unnecessary existents
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (5-6): 766-775. 2013.
    Timothy Williamson has argued for the radical conclusion that everything necessarily exists. In this paper, I assume that the conclusion of Williamson’s argument is more incredible than the denial of his premises. Under the assumption that Williamson is mistaken, I argue for the claim that there are some structured propositions which have constituents that might not have existed. If those constituents had not existed, then the propositions would have had an unfilled role; they would have been ga…Read more
  •  155
    Advanced D&D
    Analysis 80 (3): 533-544. 2020.
  •  110
    The limits of neo‐aristotelian plenitude
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101 (1): 74-92. 2020.
    Neo‐Aristotelian Plenitude is the thesis that, necessarily, any property that could be had essentially by something or other is had essentially by something or other if and only if and because it is instantiated; any essentializable property is essentialized iff and because it is instantiated. In this paper, I develop a partial nonmodal characterization of ‘essentializable' and show it cannot be transformed into a full characterization. There are several seemingly insurmountable obstacles that a…Read more
  •  72
    Roy Sorensen has discussed a scenario he calls 'the Disappearing Act', introduced a puzzle based on this scenario, and offered a solution to this puzzle. We argue against Sorensen's solution and offer our own.
  •  57
    Could There Have Been Nothing? Against Metaphysical Nihilism, by CogginsGeraldine. Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Pp. xii + 171.
  •  47
    Two Thoughts on "A Tale of Two Parts"
    Res Philosophica 91 (3): 485-490. 2014.
    In “A Tale of Two Simples,” I presented an argument against the possibility of extended heterogeneous simples that relied on the possibility of extended atomic regions of space. Andrew Jaeger has presented a parody of one part of my argument for a clearly absurd conclusion. In this short paper, I defend my argument by showing that there is a significant disanalogy between my support for a key premise in my argument and Jaeger’s support for the corresponding premise in his parody argument. Also, …Read more
  •  36
    "Introduction to Ontology," by Nikk Effingham (review)
    Teaching Philosophy 37 (2): 287-290. 2014.
  •  17
    The Fragmentation of Being, by Kris McDaniel (review)
    Mind. forthcoming.
    _ The Fragmentation of Being _, by McDanielKris. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xii + 320.
  •  2
    Semantic Stipulation and Knowledge De Re
    In William Kabasenche, Michael O’Rourke & Matthew Slater (eds.), Reference and Referring: Topics in Contemporary Philosophy, Volume 10. pp. 119-148. 2012.
    Kripke's discussion in Naming and Necessity strongly suggests that semantic stipulation allows us to have new de re thoughts and make new de re claims. For example, it seems we could name the winning ticket in the next lottery 'Tickie' and thereby come to have singular thoughts about Tickie as opposed to merely general thoughts about the winning ticket (whichever one that is). This, in turn, seems to put us into a position to know that Tickie is the winning ticket. If so, it seems we now know wh…Read more