• Aboutness
    Princeton University Press. 2014.
    Aboutness has been studied from any number of angles. Brentano made it the defining feature of the mental. Phenomenologists try to pin down the aboutness-features of particular mental states. Materialists sometimes claim to have grounded aboutness in natural regularities. Attempts have even been made, in library science and information theory, to operationalize the notion. But it has played no real role in philosophical semantics. This is surprising; sentences have aboutness-properties if anythi…Read more
  • Do identity and distinctness facts threaten the PSR?
    Philosophical Studies 178 (4): 1023-1041. 2021.
    One conception of the Principle of Sufficient Reason maintains that every fact is metaphysically explained. There are different ways to challenge this version of the PSR; one type of challenge involves pinpointing a specific set of facts that resist metaphysical explanation. Certain identity and distinctness facts seem to constitute such a set. For example, we can imagine a scenario in which we have two qualitatively identical spheres, Castor and Pollux. Castor is distinct from Pollux but it is …Read more
  • Expressivism and Realist Explanations
    Philosophical Studies 174 (6): 1385-1409. 2017.
    It is often claimed that there is an explanatory divide between an expressivist account of normative discourse and a realist conception of normativity: more precisely, that expressivism and realism offer conflicting explanations of (i) the metaphysical structure of the normative realm, (ii) the connection between normative judgment and motivation, (iii) our normative beliefs and any convergence thereof, or (iv) the content of normative thoughts and claims. In this paper I argue that there need b…Read more
  • Identity and distinctness facts are ones like “The Eiffel Tower is identical to the Eiffel Tower,” and “The Eiffel Tower is distinct from the Louvre.” This paper concerns one question in the metaphysics of identity: Are identity and distinctness facts metaphysically fundamental or are they nonfundamental? I provide an overview of answers to this question.
  • Laws of Nature, Explanation, and Semantic Circularity
    Shumener Erica
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. 2017.
    Humeans and anti-Humeans agree that laws of nature should explain scientifically particular matters of fact. One objection to Humean accounts of laws contends that Humean laws cannot explain particular matters of fact because their explanations are harmfully circular. This article distinguishes between metaphysical and semantic characterizations of the circularity and argues for a new semantic version of the circularity objection. The new formulation suggests that Humean explanations are harmful…Read more