•  9
    Abduction and the Scientific Realist Case for Properties
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 98 (1): 123-145. 2020.
    Traditionally, many arguments for realism about properties rely on a priori claims. The author argues that if we make use of an abductive principle that is commonly employed by scientific realists, a new argument for property realism can be formulated which is based firmly in scientific practice. The abductive principle says that we should believe in the existence of certain theoretical entities if they figure in the best explanation for what scientists observe. The scientific argument for prope…Read more
  •  143
    Potentiality: Actualism minus naturalism equals platonism
    with Giacomo Giannini
    Philosophical Inquiries 1 (8): 117-40. 2020.
    Vetter (2015) develops a localised theory of modality, based on potentialities of actual objects. Two factors play a key role in its appeal: its commitment to Hardcore Actualism, and to Naturalism. Vetter’s commitment to Naturalism is in part manifested in her adoption of Aristotelian universals. In this paper, we argue that a puzzle concerning the identity of unmanifested potentialities cannot be solved with an Aristotelian conception of properties. After introducing the puzzle, we examine Vett…Read more
  •  49
    Grounding theories of powers
    Synthese 1-30. forthcoming.
    Necessitarianism, as we shall use the term, is the view that natural properties and causal powers are necessarily connected in some way. In recent decades the most popular forms of necessitarianism have been the anti-Humean powers-based theories of properties, such as dispositional essentialism and the identity theory. These versions of necessitarianism have come under fire in recent years and I believe it is time for necessitarians to develop a new approach. In this paper I identify unexplored …Read more
  •  33
    Power Worlds and the Problem of Individuation
    American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (3): 269-282. 2017.
    Is it metaphysically possible for a world to contain power properties but no nonpower properties? Recently, much progress has been made by powers theorists to defend the coherence of such a possibility. But unfortunately, it remains unclear how the powers in a power world are individuated. The problem is that the most obvious principle of individuation for properties in a power world is one that is circular. In this paper, it is argued that this circularity is generated by a modal assumption, wh…Read more
  •  442
    In this thesis, I offer the first full-length study of the metaphysical view known as pandispositionalism. Pandispositionalism is a view about natural properties (and relations), and its central claim is that all such properties are irreducibly dispositional, or 'powerful', in nature. In recent decades, the idea that dispositions are real, irreducible features of reality has gained increased credibility, yet pandispositionalism – the strongest form of realism about dispositions - remains a possi…Read more
  •  74
    Graph-theoretic Models of Dispositional Structures
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 27 (1): 23-39. 2013.
    The focus of this article is the view about fundamental natural properties known as dispositional monism. This is a holistic view about nature, according to which all properties are essentially interrelated. The general question to be addressed concerns what kinds of features relational structures of properties should be thought to have. I use Bird's graph-theoretic framework for representing dispositional structures as a starting point, before arguing that it is inadequate in certain important …Read more
  •  71
    On the Reality of Intrinsically Finkable Dispositions
    Philosophia 44 (2): 623-631. 2016.
    Recently, Choi has argued that current accounts of intrinsically finkable dispositions lead to absurd consequences in certain everyday cases. In this paper I offer a new argument for the existence of intrinsically finkable dispositions, one which provides a new way of testing for the presence of such dispositions. It is then argued that, with this new test in place, Choi’s examples no longer present a problem for the view that some dispositions are intrinsically finkable.
  •  71
    Metaphysics and Science (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2013.
    Metaphysics and Science brings together important new work within an emerging philosophical discipline: the metaphysics of science. In the opening chapter, a definition of the metaphysics of science is offered, one which explains why the topics of laws, causation, natural kinds, and emergence are at the discipline's heart. The book is then divided into four sections, which group together papers from leading academics on each of those four topics. Among the questions discussed are: How are laws a…Read more
  •  127
    The alien paradox
    Analysis 75 (1): 28-37. 2015.
    Platonism delivers a theory of possibility that is distinct from both Lewisian modal realism and ersatz modal theories. By putting the topic of alien properties at centre stage in our modal theorizing, a strong preliminary case for platonism can be made. A puzzle about alien properties is created by modern truthmaker theory and some plausible assumptions about properties and existence. But this puzzle is one that platonism is able to solve in a simple and conservative way
  •  38
    Modal Platonism and the Problem of Negativity
    Erkenntnis 83 (3): 465-476. 2018.
    The Platonic account of modality says, roughly, that truths about alien possibilities are grounded in uninstantiated universals. Recently, Ingram has raised a problem for this kind of view, which is that it apparently requires negative facts to play a truthmaking role. Ingram offers an alternative Platonic account which makes use of modal instantiation relations. In this paper, I highlight some of the costs of Ingram’s new account and argue that a more appealing version of Platonism—and modal th…Read more
  •  352
    Platonic Dispositionalism
    Mind 122 (486). 2013.
    In this paper I argue that if one subscribes to dispositionalism — the view that natural properties are irreducibly dispositional in character — then one ought to favour a Platonic view of properties. That is, dispositionalists ought to view properties as transcendent universals. I argue for this on the grounds that only with transcendent universals in play can two central dispositionalist platitudes be accounted for in a satisfactory way. Given that dispositionalism is becoming an increasingly …Read more
  •  90
    Notoriously, the dispositional view of natural properties is thought to face a number of regress problems, one of which points to an epistemological worry. In this paper, I argue that the rival categorical view is also susceptible to the same kind of regress problem. This problem can be overcome, most plausibly, with the development of a structuralist epistemology. After identifying problems faced by alternative solutions, I sketch the main features of this structuralist epistemological approach…Read more
  •  71
    The problem of retention
    Synthese 194 (6). 2017.
    A popular version of anti-Humeanism is one that views fundamental properties as being irreducibly dispositional in nature, and it is a view to which I am attracted. Proponents of this view typically object to Humean regularity theories of laws on the basis that they do not explain why our world is regular rather than chaotic from moment to moment. It is thought that, for this reason, Humeanism does not provide firm enough foundations for induction. However, in this paper I argue that it is far f…Read more
  •  18
    Mirage Realism Revisited
    In Francesco Federico Calemi (ed.), Metaphysics and Scientific Realism: Essays in Honour of David Malet Armstrong, De Gruyter. pp. 13-30. 2016.
  • Physical Realization (review)
    History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 12. 2009.
  •  378
    Causal nominalism and the one over many problem
    Analysis 73 (3): 455-462. 2013.
    The causal nominalist theory of properties appears at first glance to offer a novel nominalist approach and one that can provide an illuminating response to the one over many problem. I argue, however, that on closer inspection causal ‘nominalism’ collapses into either a version of realism or a mere variant of one of the traditional nominalist approaches. In the case of Whittle’s specific brand of causal nominalism, I suggest it is best thought of as a version of what Armstrong calls ‘ostrich’ n…Read more
  •  112
    Universals, laws, and governance
    Philosophical Studies 173 (5): 1147-1163. 2016.
    Proponents of the dispositional theory of properties typically claim that their view is not one that offers a realist, governing conception of laws. My first aim is to show that, contrary to this claim, if one commits to dispositionalism then one does not automatically give up on a robust, realist theory of laws. This is because dispositionalism can readily be developed within a Platonic framework of universals. Second, I argue that there are good reasons for realist dispositionalists to favour …Read more
  •  99
    Nomic Necessity for Platonists
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (4): 324-331. 2013.
    After identifying some existing explanations offered by nomic necessitarians for the alleged necessary connections between natural properties and their dispositional or nomic features, I discuss a less explored necessitarian strategy. This strategy is available to Platonists who hold that properties exist necessarily, as most do
  •  182
    Barker and Smart have argued that dispositional monism is just as susceptible to the ultimate regress problem as Armstrong’s contingent necessitation view of laws. In this response, I consider what implications this conclusion has for the dispositional essentialist project more generally. I argue that it is the monistic aspect of dispositional monism, rather than the dispositional essentialist aspect, which is the source of the problem raised by Barker and Smart. I then outline a version of disp…Read more