•  35
    Karen Bennett: Making Things Up
    Journal of Philosophy 116 (9): 515-519. 2019.
  •  13
    Abhidharma Metaphysics and the Two Truths
    Philosophy East and West 69 (2): 439-463. 2019.
    The distinction between "the two truths" was initially developed to resolve seeming contradictions in the Buddha's teachings.1 The Buddha teaches that persons should act compassionately, that persons will be reincarnated, and that persons do not exist. The first two lessons seem inconsistent with the third. Consistency could be restored by distinguishing kinds of truth: the first and second lessons are conventionally true, but it is conventionally but not ultimately true that persons exist.2In a…Read more
  • Brutal Simples
    In Dean Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics: Volume 3, Clarendon Press. 2007.
  •  311
    Modal Realism with Overlap
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (1): 137. 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
  •  133
    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
  •  11
    Freedom and idealism in Mary Whiton Calkins
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 27 (3): 573-592. 2018.
    ABSTRACTThis paper explores Calkins’ absolute idealism and its ramifications for libertarian free will. Calkins’ metaphysics is a version of absolute idealism, according to which the absolute is a person who has everything else as either a part or an aspect. Three different arguments for the conclusion that Calkins’ metaphysics is incompatible with libertarian freewill are formulated and critically assessed. Finally, I assess the extent to which these arguments are independent of each other.
  •  41
    Teleological Suspensions In Fear and Trembling
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. forthcoming.
    I focus here on the teleological suspension of the ethical as it appears in Fear and Trembling. A common reading of Fear and Trembling is that it explores whether there are religious reasons for action that settle that one must do an action even when all the moral reasons for action tell against doing it. This interpretation has been contested. But I defend it by showing how the explicit teleological suspension of the ethical mirrors implicit teleological suspensions of the epistemological and p…Read more
  •  20
    Nicholas Stang’s Kant’s Modal Metaphysics
    Kantian Review 23 (3): 461-472. 2018.
  •  65
    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.
  •  43
    Existence: Essays in Ontology
    Analysis 78 (1): 150-159. 2018.
    © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Analysis Trust. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.comThis wonderful collection of most of van Inwagen’s recent essays on topics in fundamental ontology is certainly to be welcomed.1 Many of the essays are focused on articulating and arguing for van Inwagen’s preferred meta-ontology, which he calls neo-Quineanism. In addition to these essays, Existence also contains essays on the el…Read more
  •  9
    An object is a simple if and only if it has no proper parts. An object is gunk if and only if every proper part of that object itself has a proper part. In my dissertation, I address the following questions. The concepts of simples and gunk presuppose the concept of parthood. What is the status of this concept? his question itself divides into the following: does the concept of parthood have universal applicability, so that, just as every object is self-identical, every object has parts? Finally…Read more
  •  83
    Trenton Merricks' Truth and Ontology (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (1): 203-211. 2011.
    This is my contribution to an author-meets-critics session on Truth and Ontology.
  •  21
    Review of D.M. Armstrong, Truth and Truthmakers (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (8). 2005.
  •  1
    The Fragmentation of Being
    Oxford University Press. 2017.
    Kris McDaniel argues that there are different ways in which things exist. For instance, past things don't exist in the same way as present things. Numbers don't exist in the same way as physical objects; nor do holes, which are real, but less real than what they are in. McDaniel's theory of being illuminates a wide range of metaphysical topics.
  •  255
    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
  •  1337
    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.
  •  109
    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
  •  335
    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
  •  109
    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
  •  189
    Structure-making
    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
  •  74
    John M. E. Mctaggart
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2010.
    This is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy comprehensive article on J.M.E. MacTaggart, with special focus on his methodology for philosophy, his metaphysical system, and his ethics.
  •  142
    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
  •  262
    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
  •  713
    Ways of being
    In David John 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.