•  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
    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
    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
  •  100
    Necessity, Essence, and Individuation: A Defense of Conventionalism
    with Alan Sidelle
    Philosophical Review 101 (4): 878. 1992.
  •  80
    The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Thinkers
    The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 9 35-45. 2000.
    By effective thinkers I mean not people who think effectively, but people who understand “how it’s done,” i.e., people not paralyzed by the philosophical problem of epiphenomenalism. I argue that mental causes are not preempted by either neural or narrow content states, and that extrinsically individuated mental states are not out of proportion with their putative effects. I give three examples/models of how an extrinsic cause might be more proportional to an effect than the competition
  •  162
    Definitions, consistent and inconsistent
    Philosophical Studies 72 (2-3). 1993.
    Peer Reviewed.
  •  1
    Illusions of possibility
    In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Josep Macià (eds.), Two-Dimensional Semantics, Clarendon Press. 2006.
  •  242
    Cause and essence
    Synthese 93 (3). 1992.
    Essence and causation are fundamental in metaphysics, but little is said about their relations. Some essential properties are of course causal, as it is essential to footprints to have been caused by feet. But I am interested less in causation's role in essence than the reverse: the bearing a thing's essence has on its causal powers. That essencemight make a causal contribution is hinted already by the counterfactual element in causation; and the hint is confirmed by the explanation essence offe…Read more
  •  24
    In Aboutness, Princeton University Press. pp. 219-222. 2014.
  •  244
    A problem about permission and possibility
    In Andy Egan & Brian Weatherson (eds.), Epistemic Modality, Oxford University Press. 2009.
  •  2615
    Paradox without self-reference
    Analysis 53 (4): 251. 1993.
  •  164
    Princeton University Press. 2014.
    Aboutness has been studied from any number of angles. Brentano made it the defining feature of the mental. Phenomenologists try to pin down the aboutness-features of particular mental states. Materialists sometimes claim to have grounded aboutness in natural regularities. Attempts have even been made, in library science and information theory, to operationalize the notion. But it has played no real role in philosophical semantics. This is surprising; sentences have aboutness-properties if anythi…Read more
  •  19
    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.