•  28
    Perennial Symmetry Arguments: Aristotle’s Heavenly Cosmology and Noether’s First Theorem
    Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 93. 2019.
    Attempts to find perennial elements in Aristotle’s cosmology are doomed to failure because his distinction of sub- and supra-lunary realms no longer holds. More fruitful approaches to the contemporary importance of Aristotelian cosmology must focus on parities of reasoning rather than content. This paper highlights the striking parallels between Aristotle’s use of symmetry arguments in cosmology and instances of Noether’s First Theorem in contemporary physics. Both observe simple motion, find sy…Read more
  •  18
    Part is not a univocal term. Uses of parthood and composition that do not obey any supplementation principle have a long philosophical tradition and strong support from contemporary physics. We call such uses potential parts. This paper first shows why potential parts are important and incompatible with supplementation, then provides a formal mereology for such parts inspired by the path-integral approach to quantum electrodynamics.
  •  22
    The Unity of the Concept of Matter in Aristotle
    Dissertation, The Catholic University of America. 2018.
    The difficulties often attributed to prime matter hold for all hylomorphic accounts of substantial change. If the substratum of substantial change actually persists through the change, then such change is merely another kind of accidental change. If the substratum does not persist, then substantial change is merely creation ex nihilo. Either way matter is an empty concept, explaining nothing. This conclusion follows from Aristotle’s homoeomerity principle, and attempts to evade this conclusi…Read more
  •  49
    Aesthetic Truth Through the Ages: A Lonerganian Theory of Art History
    Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 94 (2020). forthcoming.
    Classical authors were generally artistic realists. The predominant aesthetic theory was mimesis, which saw the truth of art as its successful representation of reality. High modernists rejected this aesthetic theory as lifeless, seeing the truth of art as its subjective expression. This impasse has serious consequences for both the Church and the public square. Moving forward requires both, first, an appreciation of the strengths and weaknesses of the high modernist critique of classical mimeti…Read more
  •  26
    David Christensen and others argue that Dutch Strategies are more like peer disagreements than Dutch Books, and should not count against agents’ conformity to ideal rationality. I review these arguments, then show that Dutch Books, Dutch Strategies, and peer disagreements are only possible in the case of what computer scientists call Byzantine Failures—uncorrected Byzantine Faults which update arbitrary values. Yet such Byzantine Failures make agents equally vulnerable to all three kinds of epis…Read more
  •  76
    Quantum Considerations in the Metaphysics of Levels
    Dissertation, Université de Genève. 2024?.
    Amie Thomasson challenges advocates of layered conceptions of reality to explain “how layers are distinguished” and “what holds them together” by “examining the world” (2014). One strategy for answering such questions is mereological, treating inter-layer relations as parthood relations, where layers exist whenever composition does, and the number of layers will be equivalent to the number of answers to Peter Van Inwagen’s Special Composition Question, while answers to his General Composition Qu…Read more
  •  65
    The Mereology of Emergence
    Dissertation, The University of St Andrews. 2019.
    The debate about the ontological innocence of mereology has generally been framed as a debate about the plausibility of Universal Fusion. Ontologically loaded fusions must be more than the sum of their parts, and this seems to violate parsimony if fusion is universal. Less attention has been paid to the question of what sort of emergence mereological fusions must exhibit if they are irreducible to their parts. The philosophy of science literature provides several models of such strong emergence.…Read more