•  1316
    Ontological priority, fundamentality and monism
    Dialectica 63 (3): 271-288. 2009.
    In recent work, the interrelated questions of whether there is a fundamental level to reality, whether ontological dependence must have an ultimate ground, and whether the monist thesis should be endorsed that the whole universe is ontologically prior to its parts have been explored with renewed interest. Jonathan Schaffer has provided arguments in favour of 'priority monism' in a series of articles (2003, 2004, 2007a, 2007b, forthcoming). In this paper, these arguments are analysed, and it is c…Read more
  •  1166
    Moderately Naturalistic Metaphysics
    Synthese 194 (7): 2557-2580. 2017.
    The present paper discusses different approaches to metaphysics and defends a specific, non-deflationary approach that nevertheless qualifies as scientifically-grounded and, consequently, as acceptable from the naturalistic viewpoint. By critically assessing some recent work on science and metaphysics, we argue that such a sophisticated form of naturalism, which preserves the autonomy of metaphysics as an a priori enterprise yet pays due attention to the indications coming from our best science,…Read more
  •  1041
    An argument to the effect that, under a few reasonable assumptions, the bare particular ontology is best understood in terms of supersubstativalism: objects are identical to regions of space(-time) and properties directly inhere in space(-time) points or region as their bearers.
  •  945
    This paper offers a critical assessment of the current state of the debate about the identity and individuality of material objects. Its main aim, in particular, is to show that, in a sense to be carefully specified, the opposition between the Leibnizian ‘reductionist’ tradition, based on discernibility, and the sort of ‘primitivism’ that denies that facts of identity and individuality must be analysable has become outdated. In particular, it is argued that—contrary to a widespread consensus—‘na…Read more
  •  766
    Weak Discernibility, Quantum Mechanics and the Generalist Picture
    Facta Philosophica 10 (1/2): 155--183. 2008.
    Saunders' recent arguments in favour of the weak discernibility of (certain) quantum particles seem to be grounded in the 'generalist' view that science only provides general descriptions of the worlIn this paper, I introduce the ‘generalist’ perspective and consider its possible justification and philosophical basis; and then look at the notion of weak discernibility. I expand on the criticisms formulated by Hawley (2006) and Dieks and Veerstegh (2008) and explain what I take to be the basic pr…Read more
  •  732
    On the Preferability of Epistemic Structural Realism
    Synthese 142 (1): 81-107. 2004.
    In the last decade, structural realism has been presented as the most promising strategy for developing a defensible realist view of science. Nevertheless, controversy still continues in relation to the exact meaning of the proposed structuralism. The stronger version of structural realism, the so-called ontic structural realism, has been argued for on the basis of some ideas related to quantum mechanics. In this paper, I will first outline these arguments, mainly developed by Steven French and …Read more
  •  595
    Is There a Compelling Argument for Ontic Structural Realism?
    Philosophy of Science 78 (5): 1165-1176. 2011.
    Structural realism first emerged as an epistemological thesis aimed to avoid the socalled pessimistic metainduction on the history of science. Some authors, however, have suggested that the preservation of structure across theory change is best explained by endorsing the metaphysical thesis that structure is all there is. Although the possibility of this latter, ‘ontic’ form of structural realism has been extensively debated, not much has been said concerning its justification. In this article, …Read more
  •  555
    Bundles, Individuation and Indiscernibility
    European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 7 (1): 36-48. 2011.
    In a recent paper, Sun Demirli (2010) proposes an allegedly new way of conceiving of individuation in the context of the bundle theory of object constitution. He suggests that allowing for distance relations to individuate objects solves the problems with worlds containing indiscernible objects that would otherwise affect the theory. The aim of the present paper is i) To show that Demirli’s proposal falls short of achieving this goal and ii) To carry out a more general critical assessment of the…Read more
  •  554
    Tropes and Physics
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 78 (1): 185--205. 2009.
    Th is paper looks at quantum theory and the Standard Model of elementary particles with a view to suggesting a detailed empirical implementation of trope ontology in harmony with our best physics.
  •  549
    Resembling Particulars: What Nominalism?
    Metaphysica 8 (2): 165-178. 2007.
    This paper examines a recent proposal for reviving so-called resemblance nominalism. It is argued that, although consistent, it naturally leads to trope theory upon examination for reasons having to do with the appeal of neutrality as regards certain non-trivial ontological theses.
  •  536
    A new look at relational holism in quantum mechanics
    Philosophy of Science 76 (5): 1027--1038. 2009.
    Teller argued that violations of Bell’s inequalities are to be explained by interpreting quantum entangled systems according to ‘relational holism’, that is, by postulating that they exhibit irreducible (‘inherent’) relations. Teller also suggested a possible application of this idea to quantum statistics. However, the basic proposal was not explained in detail nor has the additional idea about statistics been articulated in further work. In this article, I reconsider relational holism, amending…Read more
  •  483
    Inherent Properties and Statistics with Individual Particles in Quantum Mechanics
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 40 (3): 223-231. 2009.
    This paper puts forward the hypothesis that the distinctive features of quantum statistics are exclusively determined by the nature of the properties it describes. In particular, all statistically relevant properties of identical quantum particles in many-particle systems are conjectured to be irreducible, ‘inherent’ properties only belonging to the whole system. This allows one to explain quantum statistics without endorsing the ‘Received View’ that particles are non-individuals, or postulating…Read more
  •  446
    This paper discusses the issue of the identity and individuality (or lack thereof) of quantum mechanical particles. It first reconstructs, on the basis of the extant literature, a general argument in favour of the conclusion that such particles are not individual objects. Then, it critically assesses each one of the argument’s premises. The upshot is that, in fact, there is no compelling reason for believing that quantum particles are not individual objects.
  •  441
    The topic of this article is the ontology of practical reasons. We draw a critical comparison between two views. According to the first, practical reasons are states of affairs; according to the second, they are propositions. We first isolate and spell out in detail certain objections to the second view that can be found only in embryonic form in the literature – in particular, in the work of Jonathan Dancy. Next, we sketch possible ways in which one might respond to each one of these objections…Read more
  •  402
    Relationism about Time and Temporal Vacua
    Philosophy 92 (1): 77-95. 2017.
    A critical discussion of Shoemaker's argument for the possibility of time without change, intended as an argument against relationist conceptions of time. A relational view of time is proposed based on the primitive identity of events (or whatever entities are the basic subjects of change and lack thereof).
  •  300
    Sellarsian Particulars
    Acta Analytica 27 (3): 293-306. 2012.
    Abstract   In this article, a critical assessment is carried out of the two available forms of nominalism with respect to the ontological constitution of material objects: resemblance nominalism and trope theory. It is argued that these two nominalistic ontologies naturally converge towards each other when the problems they have to face are identified and plausible solutions to these problems are sought. This suggests a synthesis between the two perspectives along lines first proposed by Sellars…Read more
  •  163
    Relational Time
    In Tomasz Bigaj & Christian Wuthrich (eds.), Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics, Brill Rodopi. pp. 215-236. 2015.
    This paper defends a relational view of time based on recent work on quantum gravity. Julian barbour's relational approach to physical theory, in particular, is developed as a basis for a relational, rather than anti-realist, metaphysics of time.
  •  149
    Science and philosophy both express, and attempt to quench, the distinctively human thirst for knowledge. Today, their mutual relationship has become one of conflict or indifference rather than cooperation. At the same time, scientists and philosophers alike have moved away from at least some of our ordinary beliefs. But what can scientific and philosophical theories tell us about the world, in isolation from each other? And to what extent does a sophisticated investigation into the nature of th…Read more
  •  131
    Reasons and Beliefs
    Journal of Philosophical Research 44 179-196. 2019.
    The present paper identifies a challenge for a certain view of practical reasons, according to which practical reasons (both normative and motivating) are states of affairs. The problem is that those who endorse such a view seem forced to maintain both a) that the contents of beliefs are states of affairs and b) that the conception according to which the contents of beliefs are states of affairs is outlandish. The suggestion is put forward that, by distinguishing the content of a belief (as a pr…Read more
  •  103
    Metaphysical Infinitism and the Regress of Being
    Metaphilosophy 45 (2): 232-244. 2014.
    This article offers a limited defense of metaphysical “infinitism,” the view that there are, or might be, infinite chains of ontological dependence. According to a widespread presupposition, there must be an ultimate ground of being—most likely, a plurality of fundamental atoms. Contrary to this view, this article shows that metaphysical infinitism is internally coherent. In particular, a parallel with the debate concerning infinitism about epistemic justification is suggested, and an “emergence…Read more
  •  103
    This paper is about metaphysical ‘infinitism’, the view that there are, or could be, infinite chains of ontological dependence. Its main aim is to show that, contrary to widespread opinion, metaphysical infinitism is a coherent position. On the basis of this, it is then additionally argued that metaphysical infinitism need not fare worse than the more canonical ‘foundationalist’ alternatives when it comes to formulating metaphysical explanations. In the course of the discussion, a rather unexplo…Read more
  •  92
    In this paper, we focus on two related reductive theses in metaphysics—Humean Supervenience and Composition as Identity—and on their status in light of the indications coming from science, in particular quantum mechanics. While defenders of these reductive theses claim that they can be updated so as to resist the quantum evidence, we provide arguments against this contention. We claim that physics gives us reason for thinking that both Humean Supervenience and Composition as Identity are at leas…Read more
  •  85
    This is the first part of a two-tier overview article on fundamentality in metaphysics and the philosophy of physics. It provides an introduction to the notion of fundamentality in metaphysics, as well as to several related concepts. The key issues in the contemporary debate on the topic are summarised, making systematic reference to the most relevant literature. In particular, various ways in which the fundamental entities and the fundamental structure of reality may be conceived are illustrate…Read more
  •  84
    From ontic structural realism to metaphysical coherentism
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science 9 (1): 1-20. 2018.
    The present paper argues that the typical structuralist claims according to which invariances, symmetries and the like are fundamental – especially in physics – should not be understood in terms of physical relations being fundamental. Rather, they should be understood in terms of ‘metaphysical coherentism’ - the idea that object-like parts of reality exhibit symmetric relations of ontological dependence. The view is developed in some detail, in particular by showing that i) symmetric ontologica…Read more
  •  77
    This paper critically evaluates some arguments against metaphysics recently formulated by Bas Van Fraassen. A more positive view of the relationship between science and metaphysics is outlined.
  •  58
    Nils-Eric Sahlin, ed., Ramsey's Ontology (review)
    Philosophy in Review 25 (5): 380-382. 2005.
    Review of a collection of papers on the ontological aspects of Ramsey's work.
  •  53
    This is the second part of an overview article on fundamentality in metaphysics and the philosophy of physics. Here, the notion of fundamentality is looked at from the viewpoint of the philosophical analysis of physics and physical theories. The questions are considered (1) whether physics can be regarded as fundamental with respect to other sciences, and in what sense; (2) what the label ‘fundamental physics’ should exactly be taken to mean; (3) on what grounds a particular physical theory shou…Read more
  •  45
    Quantum entanglement: a hylomorphic account
    Synthese 198 (Suppl 11): 2773-2793. 2019.
    In this paper, it is argued that Aristotelian hylomorphism can supply a useful and informative account of composite entities as these are described by physical theory. In particular, a hylomorphic account of quantum entangled systems is defined in detail, and compared to other alternatives currently on offer—in particular, ontic structural realism. In closing, it is suggested that the view of entanglement outlined here meshes well with a recently proposed ‘coherentist’ conception.
  •  41
    Identity, Individuality and Indiscernibility
    Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 15 167-173. 2008.
    This paper deals with the identity and individuality of material objects. In particular, the view that identity is derivative on the qualities of things, based on the endorsement of the Principle of the Identity of the Indiscernibles, is studied in detail. This provides what seems to be a much-needed unitary look at, and up-to-date critical analysis of, the vast literature on the Identity of the Indiscernibles. It is concluded that the ‘reductionist’ view, dating back to Quine and, earlier, to L…Read more
  •  34
    Although there have been several attempts to resist this conclusion, it is commonly held that the peculiar statistical behaviour of quantum particles is due to their non-individuality. In this paper, a new suggestion is put forward: quantum particles are individuals, and the distinctive features of quantum statistics are determined by the fact that all the state-dependent properties described by quantum statistics are emergent relations