•  48
    Holmes exists is false. How can this be, when there is no one for the sentence to misdescribe? Part of the answer is that a sentence’s topic depends on context. The king of France is bald, normally unevaluable, is false qua description of the bald people. Likewise Holmes exists is false qua description of the things that exist; it misdescribes those things as having Holmes among them. This does not explain, though, how Holmes does not exist differs in cognitive content from, say, Vulcan does not…Read more
  • Intrinsicness
    In Robert M. Francescotti (ed.), Companion to Intrinsic Properties, De Gruyter. pp. 41-68. 2014.
  •  22
  •  89
    'What am I?' Descartes and the mind-body problem - reply (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (3): 717-734. 2005.
    In his Meditations, René Descartes asks, "what am I?" His initial answer is "a man." But he soon discards it: "But what is a man? Shall I say 'a rational animal'? No: for then I should inquire what an animal is, what rationality is, and in this way one question would lead down the slope to harder ones." Instead of understanding what a man is, Descartes shifts to two new questions: "What is Mind?" and "What is Body?" These questions develop into Descartes's main philosophical preoccupation: the M…Read more
  •  87
    If-Thenism
    Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (2): 115-132. 2017.
    ABSTRACTAn undemanding claim ϕ sometimes implies, or seems to, a more demanding one ψ. Some have posited, to explain this, a confusion between ϕ and ϕ*, an analogue of ϕ that does not imply ψ. If-thenists take ϕ* to be If ψ then ϕ. Incrementalism is the form of if-thenism that construes If ψ then ϕ as the surplus content of ϕ over ψ. The paper argues that it is the only form of if-thenism that stands a chance of being correct.
  •  23
    Replies to Comments on If-Thenism
    Australasian Philosophical Review 1 (2): 212-227. 2017.
  •  49
    Kment on counterfactuals
    Analysis 77 (1): 148-155. 2017.
    Review of Kment, "*Modality and Explanatory Reasoning*, with an emphasis on counterfactuals.
  •  164
    Reply to Fine on Aboutness
    Philosophical Studies 175 (6): 1495-1512. 2018.
    A reply to Fine’s critique of Aboutness. Fine contrasts two notions of truthmaker, and more generally two notions of “state.” One is algebraic; states are sui generis entities grasped primarily through the conditions they satisfy. The other uses set theory; states are sets of worlds, or, perhaps, collections of such sets. I try to defend the second notion and question some seeming advantages of the first.
  •  401
    Concepts and Consciousness
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (2): 455-463. 1999.
    I. The Conscious Mind is a hugely likable book. Perceptive, candid, and instructive page by page, the work as a whole sets out a large and uplifting vision with cheeringly un-Dover-Beach-ish implications for “our place in the universe.” A book that you can’t helping wanting to believe as much as you can’t help wanting to believe this one doesn’t come along every day. It is with real regret that I proceed to the story of why belief would not come.
  •  2
    Things
    Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley. 1986.
    Essentialists hold that certain of a thing's properties are specially fundamental, antiessentialists that all of a thing's properties are on a par. As a result, essentialists can explain how, e.g., a statue and its clay are different, but not how they are the same, whereas antiessentialists can explain how they're the same but not how they're different. Ordinarily, though, we reckon them in one sense the same and in another different. ;To accomodate the ordinary view, essentialism and antiessent…Read more
  •  240
    Relevance Without Minimality
    In Andy Egan & Dirk Kindermann (eds.), Unstructured Content, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
  •  136
    Grounding, dependence, and paradox
    Journal of Philosophical Logic 11 (1). 1982.
  •  817
    Textbook kripkeanism and the open texture of concepts
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 81 (1). 2000.
    Kripke, argued like this: it seems possible that E; the appearance can't be explained away as really pertaining to a "presentation" of E; so, pending a different explanation, it is possible that E. Textbook Kripkeans see in the contrast between E and its presentation intimations of a quite general distinction between two sorts of meaning. E's secondary or a posteriori meaning is the set of all worlds w which E, as employed here, truly describes. Its primary or a priori meaning is the set of all …Read more
  •  20
    9. Going On in the Same Way
    In Aboutness, Princeton University Press. pp. 142-164. 2014.
  •  215
    Precis of aboutness
    Philosophical Studies 174 (3): 771-777. 2017.
    A lightning fast summary of Yablo, Aboutness, cutting many corners in the interests of brevity. The emphasis is on “ways.” Substituting “ways for S to be true” in for “worlds in which S is true” improves a number of philosophical explanations. The subject matter of S is identified with S’s ways of holding in a world, or failing, as the case may be. S contains T iff T is implied by S, and T’s ways of being true are implied by ways for S to be true ; this kind of way-implication is the same as sub…Read more
  •  73
    Wide Causation
    Noûs 31 (s11): 251-281. 1997.
    Peer Reviewed.
  •  571
    Does Ontology Rest on a Mistake?
    Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 72 (1). 1998.
    [Stephen Yablo] The usual charge against Carnap's internal/external distinction is one of 'guilt by association with analytic/synthetic'. But it can be freed of this association, to become the distinction between statements made within make-believe games and those made outside them-or, rather, a special case of it with some claim to be called the metaphorical/literal distinction. Not even Quine considers figurative speech committal, so this turns the tables somewhat. To determine our ontological…Read more
  •  106
    Open knowledge and changing the subject
    Philosophical Studies 174 (4): 1047-1071. 2017.
    Knowledge is closed under implication, according to standard theories. Orthodoxy can allow, though, that apparent counterexamples to closure exist, much as Kripkeans recognize the existence of illusions of possibility which they seek to explain away. Should not everyone, orthodox or not, want to make sense of “intimations of openness”? This paper compares two styles of explanation: evidence that boosts P’s probability need not boost that of its consequence Q; evidence bearing on P’s subject matt…Read more
  •  131
    Things: Papers on Objects, Events, and Properties
    Oxford University Press. 2010.
    Identity, Essence, and Indiscernibility - Intrinsicness - Cause and Essence - Advertisement for a Sketch of an Outline of a Prototheory of Causation - Does Ontology Rest on a Mistake? - Apriority and Existence - Go Figure: A Path through Fictionalism - Abstract Objects: A Case Study - The Myth of the Seven - Carving Content at the Joints - Non-Catastrophic Presupposition Failure - Must Existence-Questions Have Answers?
  •  241
    Carnap’s Paradox and Easy Ontology
    Journal of Philosophy 111 (9-10): 470-501. 2014.
  •  23
    7. Knowing That and Knowing About
    In Aboutness, Princeton University Press. pp. 112-130. 2014.
  •  185
    Singling out properties
    Philosophical Perspectives 9 477-502. 1995.
  •  17
    A reply to new Zeno
    Analysis 60 (2): 148-151. 2000.
  •  57
    Abstract objects: A case study
    Philosophical Issues 12 (1): 220-240. 2002.
  •  71