•  40
    Bohmian Holism
    In Petteri Limnell & Tero Vadén (eds.), Unfolding the Big Picture. Essays in Honour of Paavo Pylkkänen, Philosophical Studies From the University of Helsinki. pp. 7-18. 2021.
    This is a contribution to Paavo Pylkkänen's Festschrift. I discuss his relationship to Bohm's philosophy and a sense of holism that can be extracted from the Bohmian view.
  •  139
    Ground, essence, and modality seem to have something to do with each other. Can we provide unified foundations for ground and essence, or should we treat each as primitives? Can modality be grounded in essence, or should essence be expressed in terms of modality? Does grounding entail necessitation? Are the notions of ground and essence univocal? This volume focuses on the links—or lack thereof—between these three notions, as well as the foundations of ground, essence, and modality more generall…Read more
  •  133
    Unity of Science
    Cambridge University Press. 2021.
    Unity of science was once a very popular idea among both philosophers and scientists. But it has fallen out of fashion, largely because of its association with reductionism and the challenge from multiple realisation. Pluralism and the disunity of science are the new norm, and higher-level natural kinds and special science laws are considered to have an important role in scientific practice. What kind of reductionism does multiple realisability challenge? What does it take to reduce one phenomen…Read more
  •  612
    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
  •  491
    A Priori or A Posteriori?
    In Ricki Bliss & James Miller (eds.), , Routledge. pp. 353-363. 2020.
    This article discusses the role of a priori and a posteriori knowledge and methods in metaphysics and metametaphysics. Issues discussed include the viability of the distinction, the continuity of a priori and a posteriori methods, connections to modal epistemology, and the role of the distinction for science and naturalistic metaphysics.
  •  246
    Structure
    In Michael J. Raven (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding, Routledge. pp. 387-395. 2020.
    An exploration of ground’s connections to structure (joint-carving, naturalness). The notion of structure is often invoked in connection to ground, because grounding is understood to impose constraints on the ‘structure of reality’. There is another, technical sense of structure, sometimes captured with reference to the notion of ‘joint-carving’. Both of these senses of structure as well as their potential connections are discussed.
  •  331
    Bundle Theory with Kinds
    Philosophical Quarterly 69 (277): 838-857. 2019.
    Is it possible to get by with just one ontological category? We evaluate L.A. Paul's attempt to do so: the mereological bundle theory. The upshot is that Paul's attempt to construct a one category ontology may be challenged with some of her own arguments. In the positive part of the paper we outline a two category ontology with property universals and kind universals. We will also examine Paul's arguments against a version of universal bundle theory that takes spatiotemporal co-location instead …Read more
  •  493
    A Survey of Logical Realism
    Synthese 198 (5): 4775-4790. 2021.
    Logical realism is a view about the metaphysical status of logic. Common to most if not all the views captured by the label ‘logical realism’ is that logical facts are mind- and language-independent. But that does not tell us anything about the nature of logical facts or about our epistemic access to them. The goal of this paper is to outline and systematize the different ways that logical realism could be entertained and to examine some of the challenges that these views face. It will be sugges…Read more
  •  245
    Fundamentality
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2018.
    The notion of fundamentality, as it is used in metaphysics, aims to capture the idea that there is something basic or primitive in the world. This metaphysical notion is related to the vernacular use of “fundamental”, but philosophers have also put forward various technical definitions of the notion. Among the most influential of these is the definition of absolute fundamentality in terms of ontological independence or ungroundedness. Accordingly, the notion of fundamentality is often associated…Read more
  •  1876
    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
  •  522
    Meta-metaphysics
    Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2018.
    Meta-metaphysics concerns the nature and methodology of metaphysics and metaphysical inquiry. The emergence of meta-metaphysics as a systematic area of study is relatively recent, going back to the late 1990s. But the issues pursued in meta-metaphysics are certainly not novel: an age old question about the nature of metaphysics is whether it is possible to obtain knowledge about metaphysical matters in the first place, and if it is, how this knowledge is obtained.
  •  1166
    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
  •  413
    Review of Meta-Metaphysics: On Metaphysical Equivalence, Primitiveness, and Theory Choice (Springer, Synthese Library, 2016). By Jiri Benovsky.
  •  2222
    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
  •  225
    Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics (edited book)
    Cambridge University Press. 2011.
    Aristotelian metaphysics is currently undergoing something of a renaissance. This volume brings together fourteen essays from leading philosophers who are sympathetic to this conception of metaphysics, which takes its cue from the idea that metaphysics is the first philosophy. The primary input from Aristotle is methodological, but many themes familiar from his metaphysics will be discussed, including ontological categories, the role and interpretation of the existential quantifier, essence, sub…Read more
  •  799
    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
  •  863
    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.
  •  570
    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
  •  194
    The Metametaphysics of Categories: Replies to Hakkarainen and Keinänen (in Finnish). Part of a book symposium on my An Introduction to Metametaphysics
  •  2505
    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
  •  661
    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
  •  623
    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
  •  907
    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
  •  874
    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
  •  225
    Empiiriset elementit modaaliepistemologiassa
    In Ilkka Niiniluoto, Tuomas Tahko & Teemu Toppinen (eds.), Mahdollisuus, Philosophical Society of Finland. pp. 154-159. 2016.
    Title in English: "Empirical elements in modal epistemology". This article examines Peter van Inwagen's modal scepticism and argues that although van Inwagen is correct to criticise modal rationalism, there are tools in modal empiricism that are promising sources of modal knowledge.
  •  355
    Tropes: Properties, Objects, and Mental Causation. By Douglas Ehring (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 63 (251): 379-382. 2013.
    Book review of 'Tropes: Properties, Objects, and Mental Causation' (2011, OUP). By DOUGLAS EHRING.
  •  1661
    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
  •  2
    Editorial
    Studia Philosophica Estonica 7 (2): 1. 2014.
    Editorial for the SPE Special Issue on Aristotelian Metaphysics: Essence and Ground
  •  926
    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