•  36
    Mental Causation: A Counterfactual Theory
    Cambridge University Press. 2020.
    Our minds have physical effects. This happens, for instance, when we move our bodies when we act. How is this possible? Thomas Kroedel defends an account of mental causation in terms of difference-making: if our minds had been different, the physical world would have been different; therefore, the mind causes events in the physical world. His account not only explains how the mind has physical effects at all, but solves the exclusion problem - the problem of how those effects can have both menta…Read more
  •  43
    Review of A. Casullo, A Priori Justification (review)
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies 12 (2): 225-228. 2004.
  •  61
    This paper defends the permissibility solution to the lottery paradox against an objection by Anna-Maria Asunta Eder. Eder argues that the permissibility solution should also be applicable to the preface paradox, but conflicts with a plausible principle about epistemic permissions when so applied. This paper replies by first criticizing Eder’s considerations in defense of her principle; in particular, it argues that the plausibility of her principle is to a large extent parasitic on the spurious…Read more
  •  47
    A new future similarity objection
    Philosophical Studies 175 (6): 1477-1493. 2018.
    The future similarity objection against David Lewis’s theory of counterfactuals re-emerges once the space-time of possible worlds is adequately represented. Given such a representation, it can be shown that a number of counterfactuals that seem clearly true, such as Kit Fine’s example ‘If Nixon had pressed the button, there would have been a nuclear holocaust’, come out false, even if determinism is assumed. Lewis’s similarity criteria can be modified in different ways to avoid the problem, but …Read more
  •  118
    A simple argument for downward causation
    Synthese 192 (3): 841-858. 2015.
    Instances of many supervenient properties have physical effects. In particular, instances of mental properties have physical effects if non-reductive physicalism is true. This follows by a straightforward argument that assumes a counterfactual criterion for causation. The paper presents that argument and discusses several issues that arise from it. In particular, the paper addresses the worry that the argument shows too many supervenient property-instances to have physical effects. The argument …Read more
  •  223
    Counterfactuals and the Epistemology of Modality
    Philosophers' Imprint 12. 2012.
    The paper provides an explanation of our knowledge of metaphysical modality, or modal knowledge, from our ability to evaluate counterfactual conditionals. The latter ability lends itself to an evolutionary explanation since it enables us to learn from mistakes. Different logical principles linking counterfactuals to metaphysical modality can be employed to extend this explanation to the epistemology of modality. While the epistemological use of some of these principles is either philosophically …Read more
  •  157
    Implicit definition and the application of logic
    Philosophical Studies 158 (1): 131-148. 2012.
    The paper argues that the theory of Implicit Definition cannot give an account of knowledge of logical principles. According to this theory, the meanings of certain expressions are determined such that they make certain principles containing them true; this is supposed to explain our knowledge of the principles as derived from our knowledge of what the expressions mean. The paper argues that this explanation succeeds only if Implicit Definition can account for our understanding of the logical co…Read more
  •  436
    According to the permissibility solution to the lottery paradox, the paradox can be solved if we conceive of epistemic justification as a species of permissibility. Clayton Littlejohn has objected that the permissibility solution draws on a sufficient condition for permissible belief that has implausible consequences and that the solution conflicts with our lack of knowledge that a given lottery ticket will lose. The paper defends the permissibility solution against Littlejohn's objections.
  •  470
    Counterfactual Dependence and Arrow
    Noûs 47 (3): 453-466. 2013.
    We argue that a semantics for counterfactual conditionals in terms of comparative overall similarity faces a formal limitation due to Arrow’s impossibility theorem from social choice theory. According to Lewis’s account, the truth-conditions for counterfactual conditionals are given in terms of the comparative overall similarity between possible worlds, which is in turn determined by various aspects of similarity between possible worlds. We argue that a function from aspects of similarity to ove…Read more
  •  33
    Mental Causation
    In H. Pashler (ed.), Encyclopedia of the Mind, Sage Publications. 2013.
    Mental causation is the causation of physical effects by mental causes. The paradigm case of mental causation is the causation of someone’s bodily movement by a mental state or event of hers. The belief that mental causation exists is deeply rooted in common sense. It seems uncontroversial to say, for instance, that a sudden pain caused Jones to wince, or that Smith’s thirst caused him to have a drink. Nevertheless, explaining how the mind can have physical effects has proven a challenge for phi…Read more
  •  241
    Mental causation as multiple causation
    Philosophical Studies 139 (1): 125-143. 2008.
    The paper argues that mental causation can be explained from the sufficiency of counterfactual dependence for causation together with relatively weak assumptions about the metaphysics of mind. If a physical event counterfactually depends on an earlier physical event, it also counterfactually depends on, and hence is caused by, a mental event that correlates with (or supervenes on) this earlier physical event, provided that this correlation (or supervenience) is sufficiently modally robust. This …Read more
  •  490
    Clayton Littlejohn claims that the permissibility solution to the lottery paradox requires an implausible principle in order to explain why epistemic permissions don't agglomerate. This paper argues that an uncontentious principle suffices to explain this. It also discusses another objection of Littlejohn's, according to which we’re not permitted to believe lottery propositions because we know that we’re not in a position to know them.
  •  286
    Dualist Mental Causation and the Exclusion Problem
    Noûs 49 (2): 357-375. 2015.
    The paper argues that dualism can explain mental causation and solve the exclusion problem. If dualism is combined with the assumption that the psychophysical laws have a special status, it follows that some physical events counterfactually depend on, and are therefore caused by, mental events. Proponents of this account of mental causation can solve the exclusion problem in either of two ways: they can deny that it follows that the physical effect of a mental event is overdetermined by its ment…Read more
  •  48
    Modal Knowledge, Evolution, and Counterfactuals
    In Robert William Fischer & Felipe Leon (eds.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism, Dordrecht. 2017.
    The chapter defends an evolutionary explanation of modal knowledge from knowledge of counterfactual conditionals. Knowledge of counterfactuals is evolutionarily useful, as it enables us to learn from mistakes. Given the standard semantics for counterfactuals, there are several equivalences between modal claims and claims involving counterfactuals that can be used to explain modal knowledge. Timothy Williamson has suggested an explanation of modal knowledge that draws on the equivalence of ‘Neces…Read more
  •  662
    Relativity, Quantum Entanglement, Counterfactuals, and Causation
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1): 45-67. 2015.
    We investigate whether standard counterfactual analyses of causation imply that the outcomes of space-like separated measurements on entangled particles are causally related. Although it has sometimes been claimed that standard CACs imply such a causal relation, we argue that a careful examination of David Lewis’s influential counterfactual semantics casts doubt on this. We discuss ways in which Lewis’s semantics and standard CACs might be extended to the case of space-like correlations
  •  279
    Grounding mental causation
    Synthese 193 (6): 1909-1923. 2016.
    This paper argues that the exclusion problem for mental causation can be solved by a variant of non-reductive physicalism that takes the mental not merely to supervene on, but to be grounded in, the physical. A grounding relation between events can be used to establish a principle that links the causal relations of grounded events to those of grounding events. Given this principle, mental events and their physical grounds either do not count as overdetermining physical effects, or they do so in …Read more
  •  302
    The lottery paradox can be solved if epistemic justification is assumed to be a species of permissibility. Given this assumption, the starting point of the paradox can be formulated as the claim that, for each lottery ticket, I am permitted to believe that it will lose. This claim is ambiguous between two readings, depending on the scope of ‘permitted’. On one reading, the claim is false; on another, it is true, but, owing to the general failure of permissibility to agglomerate, does not generat…Read more