• Fine-grained semantics for attitude reports
    Harvey Lederman
    Semantics and Pragmatics 14 (1). 2021.
    I observe that the “concept-generator” theory of Percus and Sauerland (2003), Anand (2006), and Charlow and Sharvit (2014) does not predict an intuitive true interpretation of the sentence “Plato did not believe that Hesperus was Phosphorus”. In response, I present a simple theory of attitude reports which employs a fine-grained semantics for names, according to which names which intuitively name the same thing may have distinct compositional semantic values. This simple theory solves the proble…Read more
  • Probability Modals and Infinite Domains
    Journal of Philosophical Logic 49 (5): 1041-1055. 2020.
    Recent years have witnessed a proliferation of attempts to apply the mathematical theory of probability to the semantics of natural language probability talk. These sorts of “probabilistic” semantics are often motivated by their ability to explain intuitions about inferences involving “likely” and “probably”—intuitions that Angelika Kratzer’s canonical semantics fails to accommodate through a semantics based solely on an ordering of worlds and a qualitative ranking of propositions. However, rece…Read more
  • A Model-Invariant Theory of Causation
    Philosophical Review 130 (1): 45-96. 2021.
    I provide a theory of causation within the causal modeling framework. In contrast to most of its predecessors, this theory is model-invariant in the following sense: if the theory says that C caused (didn't cause) E in a causal model, M, then it will continue to say that C caused (didn't cause) E once we've removed an inessential variable from M. I suggest that, if this theory is true, then we should understand a cause as something which transmits deviant or non-inertial behavior to its effect.
  • Logical Combinatorialism
    Philosophical Review 129 (4): 537-589. 2020.
    In explaining the notion of a fundamental property or relation, metaphysicians will often draw an analogy with languages. The fundamental properties and relations stand to reality as the primitive predicates and relations stand to a language: the smallest set of vocabulary God would need in order to write the “book of the world.” This paper attempts to make good on this metaphor. To that end, a modality is introduced that, put informally, stands to propositions as logical truth stands to sentenc…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
  • I present an account of deterministic chance which builds upon the physico-mathematical approach to theorizing about deterministic chance known as 'the method of arbitrary functions'. This approach promisingly yields deterministic probabilities which align with what we take the chances to be---it tells us that there is approximately a 1/2 probability of a spun roulette wheel stopping on black, and approximately a 1/2 probability of a flipped coin landing heads up---but it requires some probabili…Read more
  • Causal decision theorists say that the good news an act carries about factors outside of your control does not speak in favor of performing that act. But, by providing information about factors outside of your control, an act can tell you two, importantly different, kinds of things. It can tell you that the world in which you find yourself is good; but so too can it tell you that the act itself is in a position to improve things. While the first kind of news does not speak in favor of an act, th…Read more
  • Weisberg ([2009]) provides an argument that neither conditionalization nor Jeffrey conditionalization is capable of accommodating the holist’s claim that beliefs acquired directly from experience can suffer undercutting defeat. I diagnose this failure as stemming from the fact that neither conditionalization nor Jeffrey conditionalization give any advice about how to rationally respond to theory-dependent evidence, and I propose a novel updating procedure that does tell us how to respond to evid…Read more
  • The Emergence of Causation
    Jeffrey Dmitri Gallow
    Journal of Philosophy 112 (6): 281-308. 2014.
    Several philosophers have embraced the view that high-level events—events like Zimbabwe's monetary policy and its hyper-inflation—are causally related if their corresponding low-level, fundamental physical events are causally related. I dub the view which denies this without denying that high-level events are ever causally related causal emergentism. Several extant philosophical theories of causality entail causal emergentism, while others are inconsistent with the thesis. I illustrate this with…Read more
  • A theory of structural determination
    Philosophical Studies 173 (1): 159-186. 2016.
    While structural equations modeling is increasingly used in philosophical theorizing about causation, it remains unclear what it takes for a particular structural equations model to be correct. To the extent that this issue has been addressed, the consensus appears to be that it takes a certain family of causal counterfactuals being true. I argue that this account faces difficulties in securing the independent manipulability of the structural determination relations represented in a correct stru…Read more
  • Learning and Value Change
    Philosophers' Imprint 19 1--22. 2019.
    Accuracy-first accounts of rational learning attempt to vindicate the intuitive idea that, while rationally-formed belief need not be true, it is nevertheless likely to be true. To this end, they attempt to show that the Bayesian's rational learning norms are a consequence of the rational pursuit of accuracy. Existing accounts fall short of this goal, for they presuppose evidential norms which are not and cannot be vindicated in terms of the single-minded pursuit of accuracy. I propose an alt…Read more
  • No one can serve two epistemic masters
    Philosophical Studies 175 (10): 2389-2398. 2018.
    Consider two epistemic experts—for concreteness, let them be two weather forecasters. Suppose that you aren’t certain that they will issue identical forecasts, and you would like to proportion your degrees of belief to theirs in the following way: first, conditional on either’s forecast of rain being x, you’d like your own degree of belief in rain to be x. Secondly, conditional on them issuing different forecasts of rain, you’d like your own degree of belief in rain to be some weighted average o…Read more
  • Diachronic Dutch Books and Evidential Import
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 99 (1): 49-80. 2019.
    A handful of well-known arguments (the 'diachronic Dutch book arguments') rely upon theorems establishing that, in certain circumstances, you are immune from sure monetary loss (you are not 'diachronically Dutch bookable') if and only if you adopt the strategy of conditionalizing (or Jeffrey conditionalizing) on whatever evidence you happen to receive. These theorems require non-trivial assumptions about which evidence you might acquire---in the case of conditionalization, the assumption is that…Read more