•  241
    The Necessity of Origin: A Long and Winding Route
    Erkenntnis 78 (2): 353-370. 2013.
    In the last 30 years much philosophical discussion has been generated by Kripke’s proof of the necessity of origin for material objects presented in footnote 56 of ‘Naming and Necessity’. I consider the two most popular reconstructions of Kripke’s argument: one appealing to the necessary sufficiency of origin, and the other employing a strong independence principle allegedly derived from the necessary local nature of prevention. I argue that, to achieve a general result, both reconstructions pre…Read more
  •  128
    Validity and Necessity
    Journal of Philosophical Logic 34 (3): 275-303. 2005.
    In this paper I argue against the commonly received view that Kripke's formal Possible World Semantics (PWS) reflects the adoption of a metaphysical interpretation of the modal operators. I consider in detail Kripke's three main innovations vis-à-vis Carnap's PWS: a new view of the worlds, variable domains of quantification, and the adoption of a notion of universal validity. I argue that all these changes are driven by the natural technical development of the model theory and its related notion…Read more
  •  120
    This paper centers on Takashi Yagisawa’s book Worlds and Individuals, Possible and Otherwise (Oxford: 2010), which provides a novel and systematic analysis of modality and time. I consider the overall structure of Yagisawa’s treatment of modality and time, and discuss in detail the following three topics: (i) Possible worlds as modal indices, (ii) Trans-world identity, (iii) The claim that existence, unlike reality, is relative. My main conclusion is that Yagisawa's view of modality is driven by…Read more
  •  110
    Disjunctive Effects and the Logic of Causation
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (1): 21-38. 2014.
    We argue in favor of merely disjunctive effects, namely cases in which an event or fact, C, is not a cause of an effect, E1, and is also not a cause of a distinct effect, E2, and yet C is a cause of the disjunctive effect (E1 orE2). Disjunctive effects let us retain the additivity and the distributivity of causation. According to additivity, if C is a cause of E1 and C is a cause of E2, then C is a cause of E1 and E2. According to distributivity, if C is a cause of E1 and E2, then C is a cause o…Read more
  •  99
    The Interpretation of Necessity and the Necessity of Interpretation
    Journal of Philosophy 101 (12): 609-638. 2004.
    Much has happened in modal logic since 1947. In particular, in regard to the problem of interpreting such logics. In that fateful year Quine published his seminal paper “The Problem of Interpreting Modal Logic” from which this work takes inspiration. Since then a certain kind of model theory – universally referred to as “possible worlds semantics” – has come to dominate both advanced research and introductory textbooks. Many would say that the problem of interpreting modal logic has been resolve…Read more
  •  95
    Prior on the logic and the metaphysics of time
    Logique Et Analyse 199 317-334. 2007.
    In this paper I explore three related topics emerging from Prior's work on the logic of time. First, what is the proper province of logic, if any? Is temporal (modal) logic just logic, on a par with the paradigmatic case of first order quantication theory or even simple propositional logic? Second, what counts as an interpretation of a formal system? In particular, can formal semantics provide an interpretation? Third, what is the proper role of the meta-theory? In connection with this last ques…Read more
  •  32
    The naked ‘duchess’: names are titles
    Linguistics and Philosophy 42 (4): 349-379. 2019.
    In her recent defense of predicativism for proper names, Delia Graff Fara proposes the following non-metalinguistic being-called condition for the applicability of names as predicates: A name ‘N’ is true of a thing if and only if it is called N. The BCC is supposed to hold for names only. In this essay I criticize Fara’s BCC by arguing that the word ‘called’ is ambiguous, and that the BCC holds only for the particular sense of ‘calling’ as naming. I revise accordingly Fara’s BCC and propose in i…Read more
  •  24
    In this paper, I reconstruct Quine’s arguments against quantified modal logic, from the early 1940’s to the early 1960’s. Quine’s concerns were not technical. Quine was looking for a coherent interpretation of quantified-in English modal sentences. I argue that Quine’s main thesis is that the intended objectual interpretation of the quantifiers is incompatible with any semantic reading of the modal operators, for example as expressing analytic necessity, unless the entities in the domain of quan…Read more
  •  21
    Opacity and the double life of singular propositions
    Journal of Applied Logic 10 (3): 250-259. 2012.
    In this paper I analyze David Kaplan’s essay “Opacity”. In “Opacity” Kaplan attempts to dismiss Quine’s concerns about quantification across intensional (modal and intentional) operators. I argue that Kaplan succeeds in showing that quantification across intensional operators is logically coherent and that quantified modal logic is strictly speaking not committed to essentialism. However, I also argue that this is not in and of itself sufficient to support Kaplan’s more ambitious attempt to move…Read more
  •  16
    Pursuing Meaning (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 65 (258): 102-105. 2015.
    Book Review: Pursuing Meaning. BY EMMA BORG. (Oxford: OUP, 2012. Pp. xxv + 228. Price £40.00.)
  •  1
    Metaphysical Foundations of Modal Logic
    Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles. 2001.
    “Modal logic was conceived in sin: the sin of confusing use and mention.” So quips Quine. The stigma stuck with modal logic for a while. But by the mid-sixties, a whole cluster of mathematically elegant interpretations of modal logic became available. All are natural extensions of the classical Tarskian semantics of predicate logic. By the mid-seventies, Quine’s criticisms seemed obsolete. Today, we teach the model theory of modal logic as a matter of course. Quine’s “interpretive problem” is ju…Read more
  • How Kripke Carnaps Mill
    In Andrea Bianchi, Vittorio Morato & Giuseppe Spolaore (eds.), The Importance of Being Called Ernesto: Reference, Truth, and Logical Form., University of Padova. pp. 13-35. 2016.