•  52
    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
  •  89
    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.
  •  166
    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.
  •  405
    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
  •  250
    Relevance Without Minimality
    In Andy Egan & Dirk Kindermann (eds.), Unstructured Content, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
  •  138
    Grounding, dependence, and paradox
    Journal of Philosophical Logic 11 (1). 1982.
  •  826
    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
  •  19
    Preface
    In Aboutness, Princeton University Press. 2014.
  •  225
    Wide causation
    Philosophical Perspectives 11 251-281. 1997.
    Peer Reviewed.
  •  60
    Does Ontology Rest on a Mistake?: Stephen Yablo
    Supplement to the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 72 (1): 229-262. 1998.
  •  2688
    Descartes's "conceivability argument" for substance-dualism is defended against Arnauld's criticism that, for all he knows, Descartes can conceive himself without a body only because he underestimates his true essence; one could suggest with equal plausibility that it is only for ignorance of his essential hairiness that Descartes can conceive himself as bald. Conceivability intuitions are defeasible but special reasons are required; a model for such defeat is offered, and various potential defe…Read more
  •  56
  •  143
    Truth and reflection
    Journal of Philosophical Logic 14 (3). 1985.
    Many topics have not been covered, in most cases because I don't know quite what to say about them. Would it be possible to add a decidability predicate to the language? What about stronger connectives, like exclusion negation or Lukasiewicz implication? Would an expanded language do better at expressing its own semantics? Would it contain new and more terrible paradoxes? Can the account be supplemented with a workable notion of inherent truth (see note 36)? In what sense does stage semantics li…Read more
  •  30
    4. A Semantic Conception of Truthmaking
    In Aboutness, Princeton University Press. pp. 54-76. 2014.
  •  51
    Replies to commentators
    Philosophical Studies 174 (3): 809-820. 2017.
    I reply to three commentators—Friederike Moltmann, Daniel Rothschild, and Zoltán Szabó—on six topics—sense and reference, the unity of subject matter, questions, presupposition, partial truth, and content mereology.
  •  115
    Almog on Descartes’s Mind and Body (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (3). 2005.
    Descartes thought his mind and body could exist apart, and that this attested to a real distinction between them. The challenge as Almog initially describes it is to find a reading of “can exist apart” that is strong enough to establish a real distinction, yet weak enough to be justified by what Descartes offers as evidence: that DM and DB can be conceived apart.
  •  20
    How to Read This Book
    In Aboutness, Princeton University Press. 2014.
  •  134
    Prime causation (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2). 2005.
    No one doubts that mental states can be wide. Why should this seem to prevent them from causing behavior? Tim points to an "internalist line of thought"
  •  132
    Explanation, Extrapolation, and Existence
    Mind 121 (484): 1007-1029. 2012.
    Mark Colyvan (2010) raises two problems for ‘easy road’ nominalism about mathematical objects. The first is that a theory’s mathematical commitments may run too deep to permit the extraction of nominalistic content. Taking the math out is, or could be, like taking the hobbits out of Lord of the Rings. I agree with the ‘could be’, but not (or not yet) the ‘is’. A notion of logical subtraction is developed that supports the possibility, questioned by Colyvan, of bracketing a theory’s mathematical …Read more
  •  79
    New Grounds for Naive Truth Theory
    In J. C. Beall (ed.), Liars and Heaps: New Essays on Paradox, Clarendon Press. pp. 312-330. 2004.