•  2521
    The Law of Non-Contradiction as a Metaphysical Principle
    Australasian Journal of Logic 7 32-47. 2009.
    The goals of this paper are two-fold: I wish to clarify the Aristotelian conception of the law of non-contradiction as a metaphysical rather than a semantic or logical principle, and to defend the truth of the principle in this sense. First I will explain what it in fact means that the law of non-contradiction is a metaphysical principle. The core idea is that the law of non-contradiction is a general principle derived from how things are in the world. For example, there are certain constraints …Read more
  •  2232
    The Necessity of Metaphysics
    Dissertation, Durham University. 2008.
    The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate that metaphysics is a necessary discipline -- necessary in the sense that all areas of philosophy, all areas of science, and in fact any type of rational activity at all would be impossible without a metaphysical background or metaphysical presuppositions. Because of the extremely strong nature of this claim, it is not possible to put forward a very simple argument, although I will attempt to construct one. A crucial issue here is what metaphysics in …Read more
  •  1878
    Where Do You Get Your Protein? Or: Biochemical Realization
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (3): 799-825. 2020.
    Biochemical kinds such as proteins pose interesting problems for philosophers of science, as they can be studied from the points of view of both biology and chemistry. The relationship between the biological functions of biochemical kinds and the microstructures that they are related to is the key question. This leads us to a more general discussion about ontological reductionism, microstructuralism, and multiple realization at the biology-chemistry interface. On the face of it, biochemical kind…Read more
  •  1674
    An Introduction to Metametaphysics
    Cambridge University Press. 2015.
    How do we come to know metaphysical truths? How does metaphysical inquiry work? Are metaphysical debates substantial? These are the questions which characterize metametaphysics. This book, the first systematic student introduction dedicated to metametaphysics, discusses the nature of metaphysics - its methodology, epistemology, ontology and our access to metaphysical knowledge. It provides students with a firm grounding in the basics of metametaphysics, covering a broad range of topics in metaon…Read more
  •  1238
    Metaphysics as the First Philosophy
    In Edward Feser (ed.), Aristotle on Method and Metaphysics, Palgrave-macmillan. pp. 49-67. 2013.
    Aristotle talks about 'the first philosophy' throughout the Metaphysics – and it is metaphysics that Aristotle considers to be the first philosophy – but he never makes it entirely clear what first philosophy consists of. What he does make clear is that the first philosophy is not to be understood as a collection of topics that should be studied in advance of any other topics. In fact, Aristotle seems to have thought that the topics of Metaphysics are to be studied after those in Physics. In wha…Read more
  •  1174
    Moderately Naturalistic Metaphysics
    Synthese 194 (7): 2557-2580. 2017.
    The present paper discusses different approaches to metaphysics and defends a specific, non-deflationary approach that nevertheless qualifies as scientifically-grounded and, consequently, as acceptable from the naturalistic viewpoint. By critically assessing some recent work on science and metaphysics, we argue that such a sophisticated form of naturalism, which preserves the autonomy of metaphysics as an a priori enterprise yet pays due attention to the indications coming from our best science,…Read more
  •  1167
    A Priori and A Posteriori: A Bootstrapping Relationship
    Metaphysica 12 (2): 151-164. 2011.
    The distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge has been the subject of an enormous amount of discussion, but the literature is biased against recognizing the intimate relationship between these forms of knowledge. For instance, it seems to be almost impossible to find a sample of pure a priori or a posteriori knowledge. In this paper, it will be suggested that distinguishing between a priori and a posteriori is more problematic than is often suggested, and that a priori and a poster…Read more
  •  1079
    Truth‐Grounding and Transitivity
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (4): 332-340. 2013.
    It is argued that if we take grounding to be univocal, then there is a serious tension between truth-grounding and one commonly assumed structural principle for grounding, namely transitivity. The primary claim of the article is that truth-grounding cannot be transitive. Accordingly, it is either the case that grounding is not transitive or that truth-grounding is not grounding, or both
  •  950
    In Defence of Aristotelian Metaphysics
    In Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics, Cambridge University Press. pp. 26-43. 2012.
    When I say that my conception of metaphysics is Aristotelian, or neo-Aristotelian, this may have more to do with Aristotle’s philosophical methodology than his metaphysics, but, as I see it, the core of this Aristotelian conception of metaphysics is the idea that metaphysics is the first philosophy . In what follows I will attempt to clarify what this conception of metaphysics amounts to in the context of some recent discussion on the methodology of metaphysics (e.g. Chalmers et al . (2009), Lad…Read more
  •  928
    Soames’s Deflationism About Modality
    Erkenntnis 78 (6): 1367-1379. 2013.
    One type of deflationism about metaphysical modality suggests that it can be analysed strictly in terms of linguistic or conceptual content and that there is nothing particularly metaphysical about modality. Scott Soames is explicitly opposed to this trend. However, a detailed study of Soames’s own account of modality reveals that it has striking similarities with the deflationary account. In this paper I will compare Soames’s account of a posteriori necessities concerning natural kinds with the…Read more
  •  917
    The starting point of this paper concerns the apparent difference between what we might call absolute truth and truth in a model, following Donald Davidson. The notion of absolute truth is the one familiar from Tarski’s T-schema: ‘Snow is white’ is true if and only if snow is white. Instead of being a property of sentences as absolute truth appears to be, truth in a model, that is relative truth, is evaluated in terms of the relation between sentences and models. I wish to examine the apparent d…Read more
  •  888
    Natural Kind Essentialism Revisited
    Mind 124 (495): 795-822. 2015.
    Recent work on Natural Kind Essentialism has taken a deflationary turn. The assumptions about the grounds of essentialist truths concerning natural kinds familiar from the Kripke-Putnam framework are now considered questionable. The source of the problem, however, has not been sufficiently explicated. The paper focuses on the Twin Earth scenario, and it will be demonstrated that the essentialist principle at its core (which I call IDENT)—that necessarily, a sample of a chemical substance, A, is …Read more
  •  887
    Fundamentality and Ontological Minimality
    In Ricki Bliss & Graham Priest (eds.), Reality and its Structure, Oxford University Press. pp. 237-253. 2018.
    In this chapter, a generic definition of fundamentality as an ontological minimality thesis is sought and its applicability examined. Most discussions of fundamentality are focused on a mereological understanding of the hierarchical structure of reality, which may be combined with an atomistic, object-oriented metaphysics. But recent work in structuralism, for instance, calls for an alternative understanding and it is not immediately clear that the conception of fundamentality at work in structu…Read more
  •  865
    Editorial- Aristotelian Metaphysics: Essence and Ground
    Studia Philosophica Estonica 7 (2). 2014.
    This special issue centers around Aristotelian metaphysics, construed broadly to cover both scholarly research on Aristotle’s metaphysics, as well as work by contemporary metaphysicians on Aristotelian themes. It focuses on two themes in Aristotelian metaphysics, namely essence and grounding, and their connections. A variety of related questions regarding dependence, priority, fundamentality, explanation, causation, substance, and modality also receive attention.
  •  862
    In this paper I examine what exactly is ‘Aristotelian metaphysics’. My inquiry into Aristotelian metaphysics should not be understood to be so much concerned with the details of Aristotle's metaphysics. I am are rather concerned with his methodology of metaphysics, although a lot of the details of his metaphysics survive in contemporary discussion as well. This warrants an investigation into the methodological aspects of Aristotle's metaphysics. The key works that we will be looking at are his P…Read more
  •  839
    The Epistemology of Essence
    In Alexander Carruth, S. C. Gibb & John Heil (eds.), Ontology, Modality, Mind: Themes from the Metaphysics of E. J. Lowe, Oxford University Press. pp. 93-110. 2018.
    The epistemology of essence is a topic that has received relatively little attention, although there are signs that this is changing. The lack of literature engaging directly with the topic is probably partly due to the mystery surrounding the notion of essence itself, and partly due to the sheer difficulty of developing a plausible epistemology. The need for such an account is clear especially for those, like E.J. Lowe, who are committed to a broadly Aristotelian conception of essence, whereby …Read more
  •  806
    On the Modal Content of A Posteriori Necessities
    Theoria 75 (4): 344-357. 2009.
    This paper challenges the Kripkean interpretation of a posteriori necessities. It will be demonstrated, by an analysis of classic examples, that the modal content of supposed a posteriori necessities is more complicated than the Kripkean line suggests. We will see that further research is needed concerning the a priori principles underlying all a posteriori necessities. In the course of this analysis it will emerge that the modal content of a posteriori necessities can be best described in terms…Read more
  •  784
    In this paper I will offer a novel understanding of a priori knowledge. My claim is that the sharp distinction that is usually made between a priori and a posteriori knowledge is groundless. It will be argued that a plausible understanding of a priori and a posteriori knowledge has to acknowledge that they are in a constant bootstrapping relationship. It is also crucial that we distinguish between a priori propositions that hold in the actual world and merely possible, non-actual a priori propos…Read more
  •  772
    Counterfactuals and Modal Epistemology
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 86 (1). 2012.
    What is our epistemic access to metaphysical modality? Timothy Williamson suggests that the epistemology of counterfactuals will provide the answer. This paper challenges Williamson's account and argues that certain elements of the epistemology of counterfactuals that he discusses, namely so called background knowledge and constitutive facts, are already saturated with modal content which his account fails to explain. Williamson's account will first be outlined and the role of background knowled…Read more
  •  761
    The Universe As We Find It. By John Heil (review)
    Mind 122 (488): 1095-1098. 2013.
    Book review of 'The Universe As We Find It' (2012, OUP). By John Heil.
  •  695
    On the Common Sense Argument for Monism
    In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza On Monism, Palgrave-macmillan. pp. 149-166. 2012.
    The priority monist holds that the cosmos is the only fundamental object, of which every other concrete object is a dependent part. One major argument against monism goes back to Russell, who claimed that pluralism is favoured by common sense. However, Jonathan Schaffer turns this argument on its head and uses it to defend priority monism. He suggests that common sense holds that the cosmos is a whole, of which ordinary physical objects are arbitrary portions, and that arbitrary portions depend …Read more
  •  668
    Boring Infinite Descent
    Metaphilosophy 45 (2): 257-269. 2014.
    In formal ontology, infinite regresses are generally considered a bad sign. One debate where such regresses come into play is the debate about fundamentality. Arguments in favour of some type of fundamentalism are many, but they generally share the idea that infinite chains of ontological dependence must be ruled out. Some motivations for this view are assessed in this article, with the conclusion that such infinite chains may not always be vicious. Indeed, there may even be room for a type of f…Read more
  •  630
    Empirically-Informed Modal Rationalism
    In Robert William Fischer & Felipe Leon (eds.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism, Synthese Library. pp. 29-45. 2017.
    In this chapter, it is suggested that our epistemic access to metaphysical modality generally involves rationalist, a priori elements. However, these a priori elements are much more subtle than ‘traditional’ modal rationalism assumes. In fact, some might even question the ‘apriority’ of these elements, but I should stress that I consider a priori and a posteriori elements especially in our modal inquiry to be so deeply intertwined that it is not easy to tell them apart. Supposed metaphysically n…Read more
  •  625
    The Modal Status of Laws: In Defence of a Hybrid View
    Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260): 509-528. 2015.
    Three popular views regarding the modal status of the laws of nature are discussed: Humean Supervenience, nomic necessitation, and scientific/dispositional essentialism. These views are examined especially with regard to their take on the apparent modal force of laws and their ability to explain that modal force. It will be suggested that none of the three views, at least in their strongest form, can be maintained if some laws are metaphysically necessary, but others are metaphysically contingen…Read more
  •  615
    Ontological Dependence
    with E. J. Lowe
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2020.
    Ontological dependence is a relation—or, more accurately, a family of relations—between entities or beings. For there are various ways in which one being may be said to depend upon one or more other beings, in a sense of “depend” that is distinctly metaphysical in character and that may be contrasted, thus, with various causal senses of this word. More specifically, a being may be said to depend, in such a sense, upon one or more other beings for its existence or for its identity. Some varieties…Read more
  •  610
    Commentary on Kathrin Koslicki’s The Structure of Objects
    Humana Mente 4 (19): 197-204. 2011.
    This is a critical commentary on Kathrin Koslicki's book The Structure of Objects (OUP, 2008).
  •  592
    Boundaries in Reality
    Ratio 25 (4): 405-424. 2012.
    This paper defends the idea that there must be some joints in reality, some correct way to classify or categorize it. This may seem obvious, but we will see that there are at least three conventionalist arguments against this idea, as well as philosophers who have found them convincing. The thrust of these arguments is that the manner in which we structure, divide or carve up the world is not grounded in any natural, genuine boundaries in the world. Ultimately they are supposed to pose a serious…Read more
  •  582
    The Metaphysical Status of Logic
    In Michal Peliš (ed.), The Logica Yearbook 2007, Filosofia. 2008.
    The purpose of this paper is to examine the status of logic from a metaphysical point of view – what is logic grounded in and what is its relationship with metaphysics. There are three general lines that we can take. 1) Logic and metaphysics are not continuous, neither discipline has no bearing on the other one. This seems to be a rather popular approach, at least implicitly, as philosophers often skip the question altogether and go about their business, be it logic or metaphysics. However, it i…Read more
  •  571
    Minimal Truthmakers
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (2): 228-244. 2016.
    A minimal truthmaker for a given proposition is the smallest portion of reality which makes this proposition true. Minimal truthmakers are frequently mentioned in the literature, but there has been no systematic account of what they are or of their importance. In this article we shall clarify the notion of a minimal truthmaker and argue that there is reason to think that at least some propositions have minimal truthmakers. We shall then argue that the notion can play a useful role in truthmaker …Read more