• Metaphysics has shifted ground, moving away from necessity and possibility as the lens through which we look at things. Ted Sider shapes the agenda for the subject by exploring how this shift transforms the project of understanding the objects, properties, and quantities of the universe, and the relations between them, in terms of structures.
  • Moral Knowledge
    Oxford University Press. 2019.
    How fragile is our knowledge of morality, compared to other kinds of knowledge? Does knowledge of the difference between right and wrong fundamentally differ from knowledge of other kinds? Sarah McGrath offers new answers to these questions as she explores the possibilities, sources and characteristic vulnerabilities of moral knowledge.
  • Games and the art of agency
    Philosophical Review 128 (4): 423-462. 2019.
    Games may seem like a waste of time, where we struggle under artificial rules for arbitrary goals. The author suggests that the rules and goals of games are not arbitrary at all. They are a way of specifying particular modes of agency. This is what make games a distinctive art form. Game designers designate goals and abilities for the player; they shape the agential skeleton which the player will inhabit during the game. Game designers work in the medium of agency. Game-playing, then, illuminate…Read more
  • Pathogen versus microbiome causation in the holobiont
    Biology and Philosophy 35 (1): 1-6. 2019.
    In their paper “How Causal are Microbiomes? A Comparison with the Helicobacter pylori Explanation of Ulcers,” Lynch, Parke, and O’Malley successfully argue that certain causal attributions made to the microbiome have not satisfied Koch’s postulates nor the interventionist framework. However, their argument involves an implicit assumption that cases such as H. pylori are sufficiently similar to cases involving the microbiome, such that causal attributions to both should be evaluated according to …Read more
  • Contingency inattention: against causal debunking in ethics
    Regina Rini
    Philosophical Studies 177 (2): 369-389. 2020.
    It is a philosophical truism that we must think of others as moral agents, not merely as causal or statistical objects. But why? I argue that this follows from the best resolution of an antinomy between our experience of morality as necessarily binding on the will and our knowledge that all moral beliefs originate in contingent histories. We can address this antinomy only by understanding moral deliberation via interpersonal relationships, which simultaneously vindicate and constrains morality’s…Read more
  • What Is Trans Philosophy?
    Hypatia 34 (4): 644-667. 2019.
    In this article, I explore the question “What is trans philosophy?” by viewing trans philosophy as a contribution to the field of trans studies. This requires positioning the question vis à vis Judith Butler's notion of philosophy's Other, as trans studies has largely grown from this Other. It also requires taking seriously Susan Stryker's distinction between the mere study of trans phenomena and trans studies as the coming to academic voice of trans people. Finally, it requires thinking about t…Read more
  • What We Epistemically Owe To Each Other
    Philosophical Studies 176 (4). 2019.
    This paper is about an overlooked aspect—the cognitive or epistemic aspect—of the moral demand we place on one another to be treated well. We care not only how people act towards us and what they say of us, but also what they believe of us. That we can feel hurt by what others believe of us suggests both that beliefs can wrong and that there is something we epistemically owe to each other. This proposal, however, surprises many theorists who claim it lacks both intuitive and theoretical support.…Read more
  • Actuality and the amodal perspective
    Philosophical Studies 164 (1): 15-40. 2013.
    In this paper, I examine our intuitive understanding of metaphysical contingency, and ask what features a metaphysical picture must possess in order to satisfy our intuitions about modal matters. After spelling out what I think are the central intuitions in this domain, I examine the debate between the two most widely held views on the nature of modality, namely, modal realism and modal actualism. I argue that while each of these views is able to accommodate some of our intuitions, it leaves oth…Read more
  • Hume on presentation and philosophy
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (S1): 67-81. 2012.
    Most philosophers agree that an argument's presentation is relevant to its philosophical merit. This paper explains why David Hume considered presentation philosophically important. On Hume's epistemology, presentation is closely connected with two principal aims of philosophical arguments: persuasion and epistemic justification. Hume's views imply that presentation is a factor determining an argument's persuasiveness and that, by philosophical standards of justification, presentation is also a …Read more
  • Allied Identities
    Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 2 (2): 1-23. 2016.
    Allies are extremely important to LGBT rights. Though we don’t often enumerate what tasks we expect allies to do, a fairly common conception is that allies “support the LGBT community.” In the first section I introduce three difficulties for this position that collectively suggest it is conceptually insufficient. I then develop a positive account by starting with whom allies are allied to instead of what allies are supposed to do. We might obviously say here that allies are allied to the LGBT co…Read more
  • An explication of emergence
    Philosophical Studies 172 (3): 653-669. 2015.
    Philosophical debates about emergence are often marred by equivocation and lack of common ground, and dialogue about emergence between scientists and philosophers can be equally difficult. In this paper I offer a unified explication of emergence and argue that this explication can cut through much of the confusion evident in discussions of emergence. I defend an explication of the concept of emergence as the unavailability of a certain kind of scientific explanation for an observer or observers
  • Explanation and the Explanatory Gap
    Acta Analytica 31 (1): 77-88. 2016.
    “The Explanatory Gap” is a label for the idea that we cannot explain consciousness in terms of brain activity. There are many different formulations of the explanatory gap, but all discussion about it assumes that there is only one gap, which consists of the absence of a deductive explanation. This assumption is mistaken. In this paper, I show that the position that deductive explanation is privileged in this case is unmotivated. I argue that whether or not there is an explanatory gap depends on…Read more
  • Against explanatory realism
    Philosophical Studies 175 (1): 197-219. 2018.
    Explanatory realism is the position that all explanations give information about whatever metaphysically determines the explanandum. This view is popular and plays a central role in metaphysics, but in this paper I argue that explanatory realism is false. In Sect. 1 I introduce explanatory realism in its weak and strong versions, and discuss the argumentative work that explanatory realism is used for in contemporary metaphysics. In Sect. 2 I present a series of problem cases for explanatory real…Read more
  • Quantum Holism
    Philosophy Compass 11 (9): 507-514. 2016.
    Quantum mechanics allegedly supports a holistic metaphysical moral: it is not the case that the intrinsic characters of all entangled wholes supervene on intrinsic properties and spatiotemporal arrangements of proper parts. According to one influential line of reasoning, such holistic supervenience failure follows more or less directly from quantum theory itself. One advertised consequence is the defeat of a natural, broadly reductive worldview commonly linked to Lewis's philosophical doctrine o…Read more
  • Sideways music
    Analysis (1). 2019.
    There is a popular theory in the metaphysics of time according to which time is one of four similar dimensions that make up a single manifold that is appropriately called spacetime. One consequence of this thesis is that changing an object’s orientation in the manifold does not change its intrinsic features. In this paper I offer a new argument against this popular theory. I claim that an especially good performance of a particularly beautiful piece of music, when oriented within the manifold in…Read more
  • Logical realism is a view about the metaphysical status of logic. Common to most if not all the views captured by the label ‘logical realism’ is that logical facts are mind- and language-independent. But that does not tell us anything about the nature of logical facts or about our epistemic access to them. The goal of this paper is to outline and systematize the different ways that logical realism could be entertained and to examine some of the challenges that these views face. It will be sugges…Read more
  • According to material plenitude, every material object coincides with an abundance of other material objects that differ in the properties they have essentially and accidentally. Although this kind of plenitude is becoming increasingly popular, it isn't clear how to make sense of the view beyond its slogan form. As I argue, it turns out to be extraordinarily difficult to do so: straightforward attempts are either inconsistent or fail to capture the target idea. Making progress requires us to eng…Read more
  • Laws of Nature, Explanation, and Semantic Circularity
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3): 787-815. 2019.
    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
  • Symmetric Dependence
    Elizabeth Barnes
    In Ricki Leigh Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and Its Structure. pp. 50-69. 2018.
    Metaphysical orthodoxy maintains that the relation of ontological dependence is irreflexive, asymmetric, and transitive. The goal of this paper is to challenge that orthodoxy by arguing that ontological dependence should be understood as non- symmetric, rather than asymmetric. If we give up the asymmetry of dependence, interesting things follow for what we can say about metaphysical explanation— particularly for the prospects of explanatory holism.
  • The study of perception and the role of the senses have recently risen to prominence in philosophy and are now a major area of study and research. However, the philosophical history of the senses remains a relatively neglected subject. Moving beyond the current philosophical canon, this outstanding collection offers a wide-ranging and diverse philosophical exploration of the senses, from the classical period to the present day. Written by a team of international contributors, it is divided into …Read more
  • Hume's Dual Criteria for Memory
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (2): 336-358. 2019.
    In his brief treatment of memory, Hume characterizes memory using two kinds of criteria: ideas’ phenomenal character and their correspondence to the past experiences from which they derived. These criteria have seemed so perplexing to interpreters, both individually and jointly, that Hume’s account of memory is commonly considered one of the weakest parts of his philosophical system. This paper defends Hume’s criteria by showing that they achieve two theoretical aims: a scientific classification…Read more
  • The Logic in Philosophy of Science
    Cambridge University Press. 2019.
    Major figures of twentieth-century philosophy were enthralled by the revolution in formal logic, and many of their arguments are based on novel mathematical discoveries. Hilary Putnam claimed that the Löwenheim-Skølem theorem refutes the existence of an objective, observer-independent world; Bas van Fraassen claimed that arguments against empiricism in philosophy of science are ineffective against a semantic approach to scientific theories; W. V. O. Quine claimed that the distinction between ana…Read more
  • Phenomenology, idealism, and the legacy of Kant
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 27 (3): 593-614. 2019.
    Martin Heidegger closes his Winter Semester 1927–28 lectures by claiming that Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, read through the lens of Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology, confirmed the accuracy of his philosophical path culminating in Being and Time. A notable interpretation of Heidegger’s debt to Kant, advanced by William Blattner, presents Heidegger as a temporal idealist. I argue that attention to Husserl’s adaptation of Kant’s critical philosophy shows that both Husserl and Heidegger are realist…Read more
  • A Hyperintensional Account of Metaphysical Equivalence
    Philosophical Quarterly 67 (269): 772-793. 2017.
    This paper argues for a particular view about in what metaphysical equivalence consists: namely, that any two metaphysical theories are metaphysically equivalent if and only if those theories are strongly hyperintensionally equivalent. It is consistent with this characterisation that said theories are weakly hyperintensionally distinct, thus affording us the resources to model the content of propositional attitudes directed towards metaphysically equivalent theories in such a way that non-ideal …Read more
  • Why metaphysical debates are not merely verbal
    Synthese 197 (3): 1181-1201. 2020.
    A number of philosophers have argued in recent years that certain kinds of metaphysical debates—e.g., debates over the existence of past and future objects, mereological sums, and coincident objects—are merely verbal. It is argued in this paper that metaphysical debates are not merely verbal. The paper proceeds by uncovering and describing a pattern that can be found in a very wide range of philosophical problems and then explaining how, in connection with any problem of this general kind, there…Read more
  • I argue in this paper that the debate over composition is factually empty; in other words, I argue that there’s no fact of the matter whether there are any composite objects like tables and rocks and cats. Moreover, at the end of the paper, I explain how my argument is suggestive of a much more general conclusion, namely, that there’s no fact of the matter whether there are any material objects at all. Roughly speaking, the paper proceeds by arguing that if there were a fact of the matter about …Read more
  • Against Conservatism in Metaphysics
    Maegan Fairchild and John Hawthorne
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82 45-75. 2018.
    In his recent book, Daniel Korman contrasts ontological conservatives with permissivists and eliminativists about ontology. Roughly speaking, conservatives admit the existence of ‘ordinary objects' like trees, dogs, and snowballs, but deny the existence of ‘extraordinary objects', like composites of trees and dogs. Eliminativists, on the other hand, deny many or all ordinary objects, while permissivists accept both ordinary and extraordinary objects. Our aim in this paper is to outline some of o…Read more
  • Amodal completion and knowledge
    Analysis 79 (3): 415-423. 2019.
    Amodal completion is the representation of occluded parts of perceived objects. We argue for the following three claims: First, at least some amodal completion-involved experiences can ground knowledge about the occluded portions of perceived objects. Second, at least some instances of amodal completion-grounded knowledge are not sensitive, that is, it is not the case that in the nearest worlds in which the relevant claim is false, that claim is not believed true. Third, at least some instances …Read more