Single-authored book:Thomas Aquinas on the Metaphysics of the Hypostatic Union. In production with Cambridge University Press.
Categories: Historical and Systematic Essays, edited by Michael Gorman and Jonathan J. Sanford (Washington, D.C., The Catholic University of America Press, 2004).
Papers (some titles are clickable links):
Classical Theism and the Christological Coherence Problem. Faith and Philosophy 33 (2016): 278-292.
The traditional claim that Christ is one person who is both divine and human might seem inconsistent with classical conceptions of understanding divinity and humanity. For example, the classical understanding of divinity would seem to require us to hold that divine beings are immaterial, while the classical understanding of humanity would seem to require us to hold that human beings are material, leaving us unable to speak consistently of one person who is divine and human both. This paper argues that revised versions of classical theism and classical anthropology can be developed, versions that avoid these problems.
The Significance of Christology in the Summa theologiae. Forthcoming in Aquinas’s Summa theologiae: A Critical Guide, ed. Jeffrey Hause, Cambridge University Press.
Two Types of Features: An Aristotelian Approach. Ratio 27 (2014): 140-154.
A recent-but-Aristotelian approach to substances and their accidents makes a distinction between two types of features: features that a substance has in virtue of possessing a trope, and features that a substance has in virtue of instantiating a universal. I argue that this distinction needs a principled justification, and I try to provide one.
Christological Consistency and the Reduplicative Qua. Journal of Analytic Theology 2 (2014): 86-100.
It is usually held that a certain use of “qua” accomplishes nothing in attempting to save classical Christology from contradiction. I argue otherwise.
Essentiality as Foundationality. In Neo-Aristotelian Perspectives in Metaphysics, ed. Daniel Novotny and Lukas Novak (Routledge, 2014), 119-137.
Over and against the standard approach to the essential-accidental distinction, I develop a different one: essential features are foundational, and accidental features are non-foundational. This theory proposed in this paper is similar to the theory proposed in my Ratio (2005). It differs from it in a number of ways: among other things, it lays out the basic issue more fully, and it goes into some of the historical background.
On Substantial Independence: A Reply to Patrick Toner. Philosophical Studies 159 (2012): 293-297.
Patrick Toner accuses me, E. J. Lowe, and Kit Fine of an ad hoc maneuver. Speaking only for myself, to be sure, I find the defendants innocent.
Incarnation. In Oxford Companion to Aquinas. ed. Brian Davies and Eleonore Stump (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 428-35.
An overview of the metaphysics of the incarnation in Aquinas, with a deeper look at one special topic.
Personhood, Potentiality, and Normativity. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 85 (2011): 483-98.
Defenses of the personhood of all human beings often appeal to potentiality—the potentiality of all humans to develop and deploy rationality. Such defenses run into problems. It may be possible to overcome those problems, but in the meantime I offer a different defense, one that appeals to normativity.
Questions Concerning the Existences of Christ. In K. Emery, R. Friedman, and A. Speer, eds., Philosophy and Theology in the Long Middle Ages: A Tribute to Stephen F. Brown, in the series Studien und Texte zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters (Brill, 2011), 709-35.
Everybody wonders how many existences there are in Christ, but is that really one question, or could several questions be lurking behind a single formulation? An analytical look at Aquinas Aquinas, Giles of Rome, and Godfrey of Fontaines.
Reason and Faith in Thomas Aquinas (in Chinese). In Kelly James Clark et al., eds., An Aquinas Reader (Beijing: Peking University Press, 2009), 29-42.
A presentation of a perhaps old-fashioned line on Aquinas’s understanding of faith, reason, and their interrelation.
On a Thomistic Worry about Scotus’s Doctrine of the esse Christi. Antonianum 84 (2009): 719-733.
There’s a certain worry that Thomists have about Scotus’s doctrine of Christ’s esse; they shouldn’t have it.
Inspired Authors and Their Speech Acts. Nova et Vetera 4 (2006): 747-760.
Employs speech-act theory (a) to support the notion that biblical authors (not just their texts) are inspired and to (b) to make some points about how we ought to react to scripture—in a nutshell, scriptural passages vary in their illocutionary force, so appropriate responses will vary as well.
Talking about Intentional Objects Dialectica 60 (2006): 135-144.
Discusses the old problem of how to characterize apparently intentional states that appear to lack objects. In tandem with critically discussing a recent proposal by Tim Crane, I develop the line of reasoning according to which talking about intentional objects is really a way of talking about intentional states—in particular, it’s a way of talking about their satisfaction-conditions. (The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com; the link to the definitive version is here.)
Substance and Identity-Dependence. Philosophical Papers 35 (2006): 103-118.
There is no consensus on how to define substance, but one popular view is that substances are entities that are independent in some sense or other. E. J. Lowe’s version of this approach stresses that substances are not dependent on other particulars for their identity. I develop the meaning of this proposal, defend it against some criticisms, and then show that others do require that the theory be modified.
Independence and Substance. Int’l. Philosophical Quarterly 46 (2006): 147-159.
The paper takes up a traditional view that has also been a part of some recent analytic metaphysics, namely, the view that substance is to be understood in terms of independence. Taking as my point of departure some recent remarks by Kit Fine, I propose reviving the Aristotelian-scholastic idea that the sense in which substances are independent is that they are non-inherent, and I do so by developing a broad notion of inherence that is more usable in the context of contemporary analytic metaphysics than the traditional notion is. I end by showing how non-inherence, while necessary for being a substance, cannot be taken as sufficient without some qualifying remarks.
Nagasawa vs. Nagel: Omnipotence, Pseudo-Tasks, and a Recent Discussion of Nagel’s Doubts about Physicalism. Inquiry 48 (2005): 436-47.
Yujin Nagasawa interprets Thomas Nagel as making a certain argument against physicalism and objects that this argument transgresses a principle, laid down by Thomas Aquinas, according to which inability to perform a pseudo-task does not count against an omnipotence claim. Taking Nagasawa’s interpretation of Nagel for granted, I distinguish different kinds of omnipotence claims and different kinds of pseudo-tasks, and on that basis I show that Nagasawa’s criticism of Nagel is unsuccessful. I also show how his reflections do nonetheless point to a limitation of the approach he means to criticize.
The Essential and the Accidental. Ratio 18 (2005): 276-89.
The distinction between the essential and the accidental characteristics of a thing should be understood not in modal terms (the received view) nor in definitional terms (Fine’s recent proposal) but as follows: an essential characteristic of a thing is one that is not explained by any other of that thing’s characteristics, and an accidental characteristic of a thing is one that is so explained. Various versions of this proposal can be formulated.
Augustine’s Use Of Neoplatonism In Confessions VII: A Response To Peter King. The Modern Schoolman 82 (2005): 227-33.
A modified version of my comments on Peter King’s paper at the 2004 Henle Conference. Above all, an account of Augustine’s purposes in discussing Neoplatonism in Confessions VII, showing why Augustine doesn’t tell us certain things we wish he would.
Metaphysische Themen in der Christologie des Thomas. In Thomas von Aquin: Die Summa theologiae, Werkinterpretationen. Ed. Andreas Speer (Berlin: Verlag Walter de Gruyter, 2005), 377-40.
An overview of Aquinas’s Christology, focusing on metaphysical issues.
Categories and Normativity. In Categories, ed. Michael Gorman and Jonathan J. Sanford (Washington, D.C., The Catholic University of America Press, 2004), pp. 151-170.
Sometimes being subject to a norm is crucial to belonging to a certain category; such categories are more common than one might think; Darwinian and other objections can be handled.
Subjectivism about Normativity and the Normativity of Intentional States. International Philosophical Quarterly 43 (2003): 5-14.
The view that all norms are imposed by beings with intentional states cannot be upheld.
Hugh of Saint Victor, in The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy in the Middle Ages, ed. Jorge J. E. Gracia and Timothy B. Noone (Blackwell, 2003).
An overview of Hugh’s thought, focussing on philosophical issues.
Intentionality, Normativity, and a Problem for Searle. Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review 41 (2002): 703-13.
Searle’s view that mind is a biological phenomenon like any other is incompatible with his understanding of intentionality.
But Then They Are Told…. Logos 5 (2002): 173-9.
In his discussion of the Ayala case, James Rachels artificially separates two aspects of an action when the morally relevant point is to see their connection.
Personal Unity and the Problem of Christ’s Knowledge. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 74 (2000): 175-186.
Arguments against Chalcedonian Christology on the basis of problems posed by Christ’s having both divine and human knowledge cannot be avoided; they can, however, be refuted.
Christ as Composite According to Aquinas. Traditio 55 (2000): 143-57.
A proper grasp of Aquinas’s teaching that Christ is a composite person is crucial to understanding his Christology.
Uses of the Person-Nature Distinction in Thomas’s Christology. Recherches de théologie et philosophie médiévales 67 (2000): 58-79.
Aquinas uses the nature-person distinction in several ways, some more successful than others.
Logical and Metaphysical Form: Lessons from the Theory of Dependence. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 69 (1995): 215-224.
Metaphysics must look after itself; dependence as a case study.
Ontological Priority and John Duns Scotus. The Philosophical Quarterly 43 (1993): 460-471.
The seemingly inconsistent ways in which ontological priority is spoken of in contemporary philosophy can be brought together under one heading, making use of Scotus’s notion of essential order.
Hume’s Theory of Belief. Hume Studies 19 (1993): 89-101.
Hume’s theory of belief looks inconsistent, but it isn’t.
Henry of Oyta’s Nominalism and the Principle of Individuation. The Modern Schoolman 65 (1992): 135-148.
Henry’s view of individuation makes him a nominalist; this doesn’t stop him from talking about the principle of individuation.