•  250
    Could a Brain in a Vat Self‐Refer?
    European Journal of Philosophy 21 (1): 74-93. 2013.
    : Radical sceptical possibilities challenge the anti-realist view that truth consists in ideal rational acceptability. Putnam, as part of his defence of an anti-realist view, subjected the case of the brain in a vat to a semantic externalist treatment, which aimed to maintain the desired connection between truth and ideal rational acceptability. It is argued here that self-consciousness poses special problems for this externalist strategy. It is shown how, on a standard model of first-person ref…Read more
  •  124
    Animal Self-Awareness
    Philosophy, Theory, and Practice in Biology 9 (9). 2017.
    Part of the philosophical interest of the topic of organic individuals is that it promises to shed light on a basic and perennial question of philosophical self-understanding, the question what are we? The class of organic individuals seems to be a good place to look for candidates to be the things that we are. However there are, in principle, different ways of locating ourselves within the class of organic individuals; organic individuals occur at both higher and lower mereological levels than t…Read more
  •  110
    The Naive Topology of the Conscious Subject
    Noûs 49 (1): 55-70. 2015.
    What does our naïve conception of a conscious subject demand of the nature of conscious beings? In a series of recent papers David Barnett has argued that a range of powerful intuitions in the philosophy of mind are best explained by the hypothesis that our naïve conception imposes a requirement of mereological simplicity on the nature of conscious beings. It is argued here that there is a much more plausible explanation of the intuitions in question. Our naïve conception of a conscious subject …Read more
  •  101
    Human Persistence
    Philosophers' Imprint 16. 2016.
    Both advocates and opponents of the animalist view that we are fundamentally biological organisms have typically assumed that animalism is incompatible with intuitive verdicts about cerebrum isolation and transplantation. It is argued here that this assumption is a mistake. Animalism, developed in a natural way, in fact strongly supports these intuitive verdicts. The availability of this attractive resolution of a central puzzle in the personal identity debate has been obscured by a range of fac…Read more
  •  62
    The Place of The Self in Contemporary Metaphysics
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 76 77-95. 2015.
    I explain why the compositionalist conception of ordinary objects prevalent in contemporary metaphysics places the manifest image of the human self in a precarious position: the two theoretically simplest views of the existence of composites each jeopardize some central element of the manifest image. I present an alternative, nomological conception of ordinary objects, which secures the manifest image of the human self without the arbitrariness that afflicts compositionalist attempts to do the s…Read more
  •  10
    Externalism and Brain Transplants
    Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 6. 2011.
    The animalist view of personal identity, according to which we human persons are identical to animals, is arguably the simplest view of the relationship between human persons and animals. But animalism faces a serious challenge from the possibility of brain transplants. This chapter develops, on behalf of animalism, a new way of modeling such cases. The model is developed by analogy with situations of environmentally determined reference shift familiar from the literature on externalism in the p…Read more
  •  1
    Thinking Parts
    In Stephan Blatti & Paul F. Snowdon (eds.), Animalism: New Essays on Persons, Animals, and Identity, Oxford University Press. 2016.