•  26
    Is Building Built?
    Analysis 79 (2): 315-327. 2019.
    Karen Bennett’s Making Things Up argues that talk of generation and construction, giving rise to, and getting one thing out of another are to be understood in terms of building. Building-talk is commonplace if not ubiquitous in philosophy, and so building is one of the most important philosophical notions. Making Things Up offers a refreshing perspective on the debate about structure and fundamentality. Whilst Bennett of course engages with the recent literature, she sets things up in her own te…Read more
  •  40
    Irrealism about Grounding
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 82 23-44. 2018.
    Grounding talk has become increasingly familiar in contemporary philosophical discussion. Most discussants of grounding think that grounding talk is useful, intelligible, and accurately describes metaphysical reality. Call them realists about grounding. Some dissenters reject grounding talk on the grounds that it is unintelligible, or unmotivated. They would prefer to eliminate grounding talk from philosophy, so we can call them eliminitivists about grounding. This paper outlines a new position …Read more
  •  377
    Is Naturalness Natural?
    American Philosophical Quarterly 53 (4): 381-396. 2016.
    Abstract The perfectly natural properties and relations are special—they are all and only those that "carve nature at its joints." They act as reference magnets, form a minimal supervenience base, figure in fundamental physics and in the laws of nature, and never divide duplicates within or between worlds. If the perfectly natural properties are the (metaphysically) important ones, we should expect being a perfectly natural property to itself be one of the (perfectly) natural properties. This pa…Read more
  •  515
    Grounding and Metaphysical Explanation
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (3): 395-402. 2016.
    Attempts to elucidate grounding are often made by connecting grounding to metaphysical explanation, but the notion of metaphysical explanation is itself opaque, and has received little attention in the literature. We can appeal to theories of explanation in the philosophy of science to give us a characterization of metaphysical explanation, but this reveals a tension between three theses: that grounding relations are objective and mind-independent; that there are pragmatic elements to metaphysic…Read more
  •  312
    Metaphysical Interdependence
    In Mark Jago (ed.), Reality Making, Oxford University Press. pp. 38-56. 2016.
    It is commonly assumed that grounding relations are asymmetric. Here I develop and argue for a theory of metaphysical structure that takes grounding to be nonsymmetric rather than asymmetric. Even without infinite descending chains of dependence, it might be that every entity is grounded in some other entity. Having first addressed an immediate objection to the position under discussion, I introduce two examples of symmetric grounding. I give three arguments for the view that grounding is nonsym…Read more
  •  16
    Discerning the Structure of Reality
    The Philosophers' Magazine 74 71-75. 2016.
  •  243
    In this dissertation I suggest an answer to the famous question ‘why is there something rather than nothing?’ I argue that there is something because there could not have been nothing. The focus of my discussion is the empty possible world of metaphysical nihilism, and the first chapter is a rejection of the only prominent argument for that position; the subtraction argument. In the second part of my discussion I construct a positive argument against metaphysical nihilism, I assume, as is common…Read more
  •  45
    This thesis explores attempts to characterise the structure of reality. Three notions stand out: Lewisian naturalness, Sider’s ‘structure’, and grounding, where the latter has become the most popular way to characterise the structure of reality in the contemporary literature. I argue that none of these notions, as they are currently understood, are suited for limning the metaphysical structure of reality. In the first part of the thesis I argue that, by the lights of the relevant theories, both …Read more