•  2242
    Edith Stein: On the Problem of Empathy
    In Eric Schliesser (ed.), Ten Neglected Philosophical Classics, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    I will discuss Stein’s first major philosophical work, On the Problem of Empathy. I’ll first present some of the background context to the composition of this work and then discuss some of the themes of the work that I find intriguing.
  •  899
    Ways of being
    In David Chalmers, David Manley & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology, Oxford University Press. 2009.
    There are different ways to be. This paper explicates and defends this controversial thesis. Special attention is given to the meta-ontology of Martin Heidegger.
  •  487
    Compositional Pluralism and Composition as Identity
    In Donald Baxter & Aaron Cotnoir (eds.), Composition as Identity, Oxford University Press. 2014.
    Let’s start with compositional pluralism. Elsewhere I’ve defended compositional pluralism, which we can provisionally understand as the doctrine that there is more than one basic parthood relation. (You might wonder what I mean by “basic”. We’ll discuss this in a bit.) On the metaphysics I currently favor, there are regions of spacetime and material objects, each of which enjoy bear a distinct parthood relation to members of their own kind. Perhaps there are other kinds of objects that enjoy a k…Read more
  •  354
    Parts and wholes
    Philosophy Compass 5 (5): 412-425. 2010.
    Philosophical questions concerning parts and wholes have received a tremendous amount of the attention of contemporary analytic metaphysicians. In what follows, I discuss some of the central questions. The questions to be discussed are: how general is parthood? Are there different kinds of parthood or ways to be a part? Can two things be composed of the same parts? When does composition occur? Can material objects gain or lose parts? What is the logical form of the parthood relation enjoyed by m…Read more
  •  353
    Extended simples
    Philosophical Studies 133 (1). 2007.
    I argue that extended simples are possible. The argument given here parallels an argument given elsewhere for the claim that the shape properties of material objects are extrinsic, not intrinsic as is commonly supposed. In the final section of the paper, I show that if the shape properties of material objects are extrinsic, the most popular argument against extended simples fails.
  •  349
    Modal Realism with Overlap
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1): 137-152. 2004.
    In this paper, I formulate, elucidate, and defend a version of modal realism with overlap, the view that objects are literally present at more than one possible world. The version that I defend has several interesting features: it is committed to an ontological distinction between regions of spacetime and material objects; it is committed to compositional pluralism, which is the doctrine that there is more than one fundamental part-whole relation; and it is the modal analogue of endurantism, whi…Read more
  •  315
    Against composition as identity
    Analysis 68 (2): 128-133. 2008.
    I argue that composition as identity is incompatible with the possibility of emergent properties (as characterized in the paper) and so should be rejected.
  •  315
    Degrees of Being
    Philosophers' Imprint 13. 2013.
    Let us agree that everything that there is exists, and that to be, to be real, and to exist are one and the same. Does everything that there is exist to the same degree? Or do some things exist more than others? Are there gradations of being? I argue that some entities exist more than others. Moreover, many of the notions in play in contemporary metaphysical discourse, such as fundamentality, perfect naturalness, and grounding ought to be cashed out in terms of degree of existence
  •  296
    A Return to the Analogy of Being
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3). 2010.
    Recently, I’ve championed the doctrine that fundamentally different sorts of things exist in fundamentally different ways.1 On this view, what it is for an entity to be can differ across ontological categories.2 Although historically this doctrine was very popular, and several important challenges to this doctrine have been dealt with, I suspect that contemporary metaphysicians will continue to treat this view with suspicion until it is made clearer when one is warranted in positing different mo…Read more
  •  296
    Being and Almost Nothingness
    Noûs 44 (4): 628-649. 2010.
    I am attracted to ontological pluralism, the doctrine that some things exist in a different way than other things.1 For the ontological pluralist, there is more to learn about an object’s existential status than merely whether it is or is not: there is still the question of how that entity exists. By contrast, according to the ontological monist, either something is or it isn’t, and that’s all there is say about a thing’s existential status. We appear to be to be ontological committed to what I …Read more
  •  248
    Mind 117 (466): 267-302. 2008.
    We argue that desire is an attitude that relates a person not to one proposition but rather to two, the first of which we call the object of the desire and the second of which we call the condition of the desire. This view of desire is initially motivated by puzzles about conditional desires. It is not at all obvious how best to draw the distinction between conditional and unconditional desires. In this paper we examine extant attempts to analyse conditional desire. From the failures of those …Read more
  •  239
    Modal realisms
    Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1). 2006.
    Possibilism—the view that there are non-actual, merely possible entities—is a surprisingly resilient doctrine.1 One particularly hardy strand of possibilism—the modal realism championed by David Lewis—continues to attract both foes who seek to demonstrate its falsity (or at least stare its advocates into apostasy) and friends who hope to defend modal realism (or, when necessary, modify modal realism so as to avoid problematic objections).2 Although I am neither a foe nor friend of modal realism …Read more
  •  226
    Extended simples and qualitative heterogeneity
    Philosophical Quarterly 59 (235): 325-331. 2009.
    The problem of qualitative heterogeneity is to explain how an extended simple can enjoy qualitative variation across its spatial or temporal axes, given that it lacks both spatial and temporal parts. I discuss how friends of extended simples should address the problem of qualitative heterogeneity. I present a series of arguments designed to show that rather than appealing to fundamental distributional properties one should appeal to tiny and short-lived tropes. Along the way, issues relevant to …Read more
  •  219
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (2): 251-274. 2009.
    Friends of states of affairs and structural universals appeal to a relation, structure-making, that is allegedly a kind of composition relation: structure-making ?builds? facts out of particulars and universals, and ?builds? structural universals out of unstructured universals. D. M. Armstrong, an eminent champion of structures, endorses two interesting theses concerning composition. First, that structure-making is a composition relation. Second, that it is not the only (fundamental) composition…Read more
  •  218
    Composition as Identity Does Not Entail Universalism
    Erkenntnis 73 (1): 97-100. 2010.
    A short paper proving what the title says.
  •  198
    Heidegger's Metaphysics of Material Beings
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 87 (2): 332-357. 2013.
    Heidegger distinguishes between things that are present-at-hand and things that are ready-to-hand. I argue that, in Heidegger, this distinction is between two sets of entities rather than between two ways of considering one and the same set of entities. I argue that Heidegger ascribes distinct temporal, essential, and phenomenological properties to these two different kinds of entities.
  •  187
    The principle of sufficient reason and necessitarianism
    Analysis 79 (2): 230-236. 2019.
    Peter van Inwagen presented a powerful argument against the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which I henceforth abbreviate as ‘PSR’. For decades, the consensus was that this argument successfully refuted PSR. However, now a growing consensus holds that van Inwagen’s argument is fatally flawed, at least when ‘sufficient reason’ is understood in terms of ground, for on this understanding, an ineliminable premiss of van Inwagen’s argument is demonstrably false and cannot be repaired. I will argue th…Read more
  •  186
    Tropes and ordinary physical objects
    Philosophical Studies 104 (3): 269-290. 2001.
    I argue that a solution to puzzles concerning the relationship ofobjects and their properties – a version of the `bundle' theory ofparticulars according to which ordinary objects are mereologicalfusions of monadic and relational tropes – is also a solution topuzzles of material constitution involving the allegedco-location of material objects. Additionally, two argumentsthat have played a prominent role in shaping the current debate,Mark Heller's argument for Four Dimensionalism and Peter vanInw…Read more
  •  166
    Existence and Number
    Analytic Philosophy 54 (2): 209-228. 2013.
    The Frege-Russell view is that existence is a second-order property rather than a property of individuals. One of the most compelling arguments for this view is based on the premise that there is an especially close connection between existence and number. The most promising version of this argument is by C.J.F Williams (1981, 1992). In what follows, I argue that this argument fails. I then defend an account according to which both predications of number and existence attribute properties to ind…Read more
  •  165
    Propositions: Individuation and Invirtuation
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4): 757-768. 2015.
    The pressure to individuate propositions more finely than intensionally—that is, hyper-intensionally—has two distinct sources. One source is the philosophy of mind: one can believe a proposition without believing an intensionally equivalent proposition. The second source is metaphysics: there are intensionally equivalent propositions, such that one proposition is true in virtue of the other but not vice versa. I focus on what our theory of propositions should look like when it's guided by metaph…Read more
  •  146
    Distance and Discrete Space
    Synthese 155 (1): 157-162. 2007.
    Given Lewis’s views about recombination and spatial relations, there are possible worlds in which space is discrete and yet the Pythagorean theorem is true – contrary to the so-called Weyl-Tile argument that concluded that the Pythagorean theorem must fail if space is discrete.
  •  137
    I introduce a methodology for doing the history of philosophy called philosophical modeling. I then employ this methodology to give a theory of Kant's distinction between things in themselves and appearances. This theory models Kant's distinction on the distinction between a constituting object and the object it constitutes.
  •  128
    A Moorean View of the Value of Lives
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4): 23-46. 2014.
    Can we understand being valuable for in terms of being valuable? Three different kinds of puzzle cases suggest that the answer is negative. In what follows, I articulate a positive answer to this question, carefully present the three puzzle cases, and then explain how a friend of the positive answer can successfully respond to them. This response requires us to distinguish different kinds of value bearers, rather than different kinds of value, and to hold that among the value bearers are totalit…Read more
  •  126
    Gunky Objects in a Simple World
    Philo 9 (1): 39-46. 2006.
    Suppose that a material object is gunky: all of its parts are located in space, and each of its parts has a proper part. Does it follow from this hypothesis that the space in which that object resides must itself be gunky? I argue that it does not. There is room for gunky objects in a space that decomposes without remainder into mereological simples
  •  122
    Heidegger and the ‘There Is’ of Being
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2): 306-320. 2016.
    Heidegger also famously says that Being depends on Dasein, even though beings in general do not. This is perplexing. “Heidegger and the “There Is” of Being” offers an interpretation of what’s going on in the passages in which this sort of assertion is made.
  •  117
    Against maxcon simples
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2). 2003.
    In a recent paper titled ' Simples ', Ned Markosian asks and answers the Simple Question, which is, 'under what circumstances is it true of some object that it has no proper parts?' Markosian 's answer to the simple question is MaxCon, which states that an object is a simple if and only if it is a maximally continuous object. I present several arguments against MaxCon
  •  103
    Normative Accounts of Fundamentality
    Philosophical Issues 27 (1): 167-183. 2017.
    I describe a number of views in which metaphysical fundamentality is accounted for in normative terms. After describing many different ways this key idea could be developed, I turn to developing the idea in one specific way. After all, the more detailed the proposal, the easier it is to assess whether it works. The rough idea is that what it is for a property to be fundamental is for it to be prima facie obligatory to theorize in terms of that property.
  •  101
    Metaphysics, History, Phenomenology
    Res Philosophica 91 (3): 339-365. 2014.
    There are three interconnected goals of this paper. The first is to articulate and motivate a view of the methodology for doing metaphysics that is broadly phenomenological in the sense of Husserl circa the Logical Investigations. The second is to articulate an argument for the importance of studying the history of philosophy when doing metaphysics that is in accordance with this methodology. The third is to confront this methodology with a series of objections and determine how well it fares in…Read more