• 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. forthcoming.
    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. 2018.
    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
  • 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 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, i.e., 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 of …Read more
  • Reading the Book of the World
    Philosophical Studies 172 (4): 1051-1077. 2015.
    In Writing the Book of the World, Ted Sider argues that David Lewis’s distinction between those predicates which are ‘perfectly natural’ and those which are not can be extended so that it applies to words of all semantic types. Just as there are perfectly natural predicates, there may be perfectly natural connectives, operators, singular terms and so on. According to Sider, one of our goals as metaphysicians should be to identify the perfectly natural words. Sider claims that there is a perfectl…Read more
  • Wide Sets, ZFCU, and the Iterative Conception
    Journal of Philosophy 111 (2): 57-83. 2014.
    The iterative conception of set is typically considered to provide the intuitive underpinnings for ZFCU (ZFC+Urelements). It is an easy theorem of ZFCU that all sets have a definite cardinality. But the iterative conception seems to be entirely consistent with the existence of “wide” sets, sets (of, in particular, urelements) that are larger than any cardinal. This paper diagnoses the source of the apparent disconnect here and proposes modifications of the Replacement and Powerset axioms so as t…Read more
  • Haecceities and Mathematical Structuralism
    Philosophia Mathematica 84-111. 2018.
    Recent work in the philosophy of mathematics has suggested that mathematical structuralism is not committed to a strong form of the Identity of Indiscernibles (II). José Bermúdez demurs, and argues that a strong form of II can be warranted on structuralist grounds by countenancing identity properties, or haecceities, as legitimately structural. Typically, structuralists dismiss such properties as obviously non-structural. I will argue to the contrary that haecceities can be viewed as structural …Read more
  • How to Be a Substantivalist Without Getting Shifty About It
    Philosophical Issues 27 (1): 223-249. 2017.
    According to substantivalism, spacetime points and regions are real entities whose existence is not dependent on matter. In this paper, I motivate and defend a version of substantivalism which takes the totality of spacetime as fundamental, and show how this position avoids certain problem cases, in particular the objection from static Leibniz shifts, and better conforms to how we think about space in physics. I argue that, even though the static Leibniz shifts do not show ordinary substantivali…Read more
  • I know that I could have been where you are right now and that you could have been where I am right now, but that neither of us could have been turnips or natural numbers. This knowledge of metaphysical modality stands in need of explanation. I will offer an account based on our knowledge of the natures, or essencess, of things. I will argue that essences need not be viewed as metaphysically bizarre entities; that we can conceptualise and refer to essences; and that we can gain knowledge of them…Read more
  • Pure logic of iterated full ground
    Review of Symbolic Logic 11 (3): 411-435. 2018.
    This article develops the Pure Logic of Iterated Full Ground (PLIFG), a logic of ground that can deal with claims of the form “ϕ grounds that (ψ grounds θ)”—what we call iterated grounding claims. The core idea is that some truths Γ ground a truth ϕ when there is an explanatory argument (of a certain sort) from premisses Γ to conclusion ϕ. By developing a deductive system that distinguishes between explanatory and nonexplanatory arguments we can give introduction rules for operators for factive …Read more
  • A synchronic probability is the probability at a time that an outcome occurs at that very time. Common sense invokes synchronic probabilities with values between 0 and 1, as do scientific theories such as classical statistical mechanics. Recently, philosophers have argued about whether any synchronic probabilities are best interpreted as objective chances. I add to this debate an underappreciated reason we might have to believe in synchronic chance; it might turn out that the best interpretation…Read more
  • Explaining the Principal Principle without Metaphysics
    Philosophy of Science 83 (4): 480-499. 2016.
    According to David Lewis’s Principal Principle, our beliefs about the objective chances of outcomes determine our rational credences in those outcomes. Lewis influentially argues that any adequate metaphysics of objective chance must explain why the Principal Principle holds. Since no theory of chance is widely agreed to have met this burden, I suggest we change tack. On the view I develop, a central aspect of the Principal Principle holds not because of what objective chances are but rather bec…Read more
  • Anti-exceptionalism about logic
    Ole Hjortland
    Philosophical Studies 174 (3): 631-658. 2017.
    Logic isn’t special. Its theories are continuous with science; its method continuous with scientific method. Logic isn’t a priori, nor are its truths analytic truths. Logical theories are revisable, and if they are revised, they are revised on the same grounds as scientific theories. These are the tenets of anti-exceptionalism about logic. The position is most famously defended by Quine, but has more recent advocates in Maddy, Priest, Russell, and Williamson. Although these authors agree on many…Read more
  • The Wrongs of Racist Beliefs
    Philosophical Studies 1-19. forthcoming.
    We care not only about how people treat us, but also what they believe of us. If I believe that you're a bad tipper given your race, I've wronged you. But, what if you are a bad tipper? It is commonly argued that the way racist beliefs wrong is that the racist believer either misrepresents reality, organizes facts in a misleading way that distorts the truth, or engages in fallacious reasoning. In this paper, I present a case that challenges this orthodoxy: the case of the supposedly rational rac…Read more
  • Fanaticism and Sacred Values
    Philosophers' Imprint 19 1-20. 2019.
    What, if anything, is fanaticism? Philosophers including Locke, Hume, Shaftesbury, and Kant offered an account of fanaticism, analyzing it as (1) unwavering commitment to an ideal, together with (2) unwillingness to subject the ideal (or its premises) to rational critique and (3) the presumption of a non-rational sanction for the ideal. In the first part of the paper, I explain this account and argue that it does not succeed: among other things, it entails that a paradigmatically peaceful and …Read more
  • This paper is about the putative theoretical virtue of strength, as it might be used in abductive arguments to the correct logic in the epistemology of logic. It argues for three theses. The first is that the well-defined property of logical strength is neither a virtue nor a vice, so that logically weaker theories are not—all other things being equal—worse or better theories than logically stronger ones. The second thesis is that logical strength does not entail the looser characteristic of sci…Read more
  • The Justification of the Basic Laws of Logic
    Journal of Philosophical Logic 44 (6): 793-803. 2015.
    Take a correct sequent of formal logic, perhaps a simple logical truth, like the law of excluded middle, or something with premises, like disjunctive syllogism, but basically a claim of the form \.Γ can be empty. If you don’t like my examples, feel free to choose your own, everything I have to say should apply to those as well. Such a sequent attributes the properties of logical truth or logical consequence to a schematic sentence or argument. This paper aims to answer the question of how belief…Read more
  • Husserl on sensation, perception, and interpretation
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 38 (2): 219-245. 2008.
    Husserl's theory of perception is remarkable in several respects. For one thing, Husserl rigorously distinguishes the parts and properties of the act of consciousness - its content -from the parts and properties of the object perceived. Second, Husserl's repeated insistence that perceptual consciousness places its subject in touch with the perceived object itself, rather than some representation that does duty for it, vindicates the commonsensical and phenomenologically grounded belief that when…Read more
  • A Naturalist’s Guide to Objective Chance
    Philosophy of Science 84 (3): 480-499. 2017.
    I argue that there are such things as nomological probabilities—probabilities that play a certain explanatory role with respect to stable, long-run relative frequencies. Indeed, I argue, we should be willing to accept nomological probabilities even if they turn out to be metaphysically weird or even wholly sui generis entities. I then give an example of one way in which this argument should shape future work on the metaphysics of chance by describing a challenge to a common group of analyses of …Read more
  • Against Radical Quantum Ontologies
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3): 564-591. 2017.
    Some theories of quantum mechanical phenomena endorse wave function realism, according to which the physical space we inhabit is very different from the physical space we appear to inhabit. In this paper I explore an argument against wave function realism that appeals to a type of simplicity that, although often overlooked, plays a crucial role in scientific theory choice. The type of simplicity in question is simplicity of fit between the way a theory says the world is and the way the world app…Read more
  • Curbing Enthusiasm About Grounding
    Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1): 366-396. 2017.
  • Philosophers have long been tempted by the idea that objects and properties are abstractions from the facts. But how is this abstraction supposed to go? If the objects and properties aren't 'already' there, how do the facts give rise to them? Jason Turner develops and defends a novel answer to this question: The facts are arranged in a quasi-geometric 'logical space', and objects and properties arise from different quasi-geometric structures in this space.
  • Prioritizing Platonism
    Philosophical Studies 176 (8): 2029-2042. 2019.
    Some see concrete foundationalism as providing the central task for sparse ontology, that of identifying which concreta ground other concreta but aren’t themselves grounded by concreta. There is, however, potentially much more to sparse ontology. The thesis of abstract foundationalism, if true, provides an additional task: identifying which abstracta ground other abstracta but aren’t themselves grounded by abstracta. We focus on two abstract foundationalist theses—abstract atomism and abstract m…Read more
  • Each Thing Is Fundamental: Against Hylomorphism and Hierarchical Structure
    American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (3): 289-301. 2019.
    Each thing is fundamental. Not only is no thing any more or less real than any other, but no thing is prior to another in any robust ontological sense. Thus, no thing can explain the very existence of another, nor account for how another is what it is. I reach this surprising conclusion by undermining two important positions in contemporary metaphysics: hylomorphism and hierarchical views employing so-called building relations, such as grounding. The paper has three main parts. First, I observe …Read more