•  96
    Universals as Sense-data
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3). 2005.
    This paper concerns the structure of appearances. I argue that to be appeared to in a certain way is to be aware of one or more universals. Universals therefore function like the sense-data, once highly favoured but now out of fashion. For instance, to be appeared to treely, in a visual way, is to be aware of the complex relation, being tree-shaped and tree-coloured and being in front of, a relation of a kind which could be instantiated by a material object and a perceiver, which is thus instant…Read more
  •  91
    The operator theory of instantiation
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 84 (2). 2006.
    Armstrong holds the Supervenience Theory of instantiation, namely that the instantiation of universals by particulars supervenes upon what particulars and what universals there are, where supervenience is stipulated to be explanatory or dependent supervenience. I begin by rejecting the Supervenience Theory of instantiation. Having done so it is then tempting to take instantiation as primitive. This has, however, an awkward consequence, undermining one of the main advantages universals have over …Read more
  •  76
    Grit or Gunk
    The Monist 87 (3): 351-370. 2004.
    This paper concerns the structure of any spatially extended things, including regions of space or spacetime. I shall use intuitions about the quantity of extended things to argue for a dichotomy: either a given finite extended thing is point-free gunk, that is, it has no points as parts, or it is made of grit, that is there are only finitely many points.
  •  72
    General Facts, Physical Necessity and the Metaphysics of Time
    Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 2 137-154. 2006.
    In this chapter I assume that we accept, perhaps reluctantly, general facts, that is states of affairs corresponding to universal generalizations. I then argue that, without any addition, this ontology provides us with physical necessities, and moreover with various grades of physical necessity, including the strongest grade, which I call absolute physical necessity. In addition there are consequences for our understanding of time. For this account, which I call the Mortmain Theory, provides a d…Read more
  •  65
    Exemplification and Parthood
    Axiomathes 23 (2): 323-341. 2013.
    Consider the things that exist—the entities—and let us suppose they are mereologically structured, that is, some are parts of others. The project of ontology within the bounds of bare mereology use this structure to say which of these entities belong to various ontological kinds, such as properties and particulars. My purpose in this paper is to defend the most radical section of the project, the mereological theory of the exemplification of universals. Along the way I help myself to several hyp…Read more
  •  54
    Epistemic justification
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (1). 2003.
    Book Information Epistemic Justification. By Richard Swinburne. Clarendon Press. Oxford. 2001. Pp. vi + 262. Hardback, US$55.00.
  •  47
    Religious Faith and Intellectual Virtue
    Analysis 77 (3): 633-642. 2017.
    © The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Analysis Trust. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.comIs intellectual virtue an obstacle to religious faith? The papers in this fine collection answer this question either directly or indirectly.1 The editors, Laura Callahan and Timothy O’Connor, are to be congratulated on requesting, and receiving, from the authors accessible papers that cover many of the relevant issues. In additi…Read more
  •  47
    Several authors, including Stephen Law in this journal, have argued that the case for an evil God is (about) as strong as for a good God. In this article I take up the challenge on behalf of theists who, like Richard Swinburne, argue for an agent of unrestricted power and knowledge as the ultimate explanation of all contingent truths. I shall argue that an evil God is much less probable than a good one. I do so by (1) distinguishing the analogical predication of 'good' or 'evil' of God from the …Read more
  •  31
    On the Argument from Divine Arbitrariness
    Sophia 51 (3): 341-349. 2012.
    William Rowe in his Can God be Free? argues that God, if there is a God, necessarily chooses the best. Combined with the premise that there is no best act of creation, this provides an a priori argument for atheism. Rowe assumes that necessarily God is a ‘morally unsurpassable’ being, and it is for that reason that God chooses the best. In this article I drop that assumption and I consider a successor to Rowe ’s argument, the Argument from Arbitrariness, based on the premise that God does not ac…Read more
  •  26
    Vectors on Curved Space
    Dialectica 63 (4): 491-501. 2009.
    In this paper I provide an ontology for the co‐variant vectors, contra‐variant vectors and tensors that are familiar from General Relativity. This ontology is developed in response to a problem that Timothy Maudlin uses to argue against universals in the interpretation of physics. The problem is that if vector quantities are universals then there should be a way of identifying the same vector quantity at two different places, but there is no absolute identification of vector quantities, merely a…Read more
  •  13
    Grit or Gunk: Implications of the Banach-Tarski Paradox
    The Monist 87 (3): 351-370. 2004.
    This paper concerns the structure of any spatially extended things, including regions of space or spacetime. I shall use intuitions about the quantity of extended things to argue for a dichotomy: either a given finite extended thing is point-free gunk, that is, it has no points as parts, or it is made of grit, that is there are only finitely many points.
  •  8
    Acquaintance with Universals
    Metaphysica 18 (1): 1-13. 2017.
    In this paper I argue that the problems solved by universals require not merely that we know they exist but that we know them by acquaintance. I begin by explicating this thesis of acquaintance with universals. I then show how it solves some familiar problems. After that I reply to the objection that something weaker will do such as David Lewis' distinction between natural and artificial classes of possibilia.