Downloadable Papers
 

Downloadable Papers

All Available Papers

This is a list of all the paper drafts available from this webpage in alphabetical order.  Brief descriptions of each paper are available below this list.

Classes, Worlds and Hypergunk, The Monist 2004 87.3:  3-21.  Penultimate draft.
Comments on John Divers’s “On the Significance of the Question of the Function of Modal Judgment”.
Consequentialism and Side Constraints, forthcoming in Journal of Moral Philosophy.
Contemporary Metaphysicians and Their Traditions, forthcoming in Philosophical Topics.
Fearing Spouses in Aristotle's Ta Oikonomica, draft of a paper forthcoming in British Journal for the History of Philosophy.
Fictionalist Attitudes about Fictional Matters, in Kalderon, M. (ed.) Fictionalist Approaches to Metaphysics.  OUP, Oxford.  This is a penultimate draft.
Finite Quantities, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.
Hale's Dilemma, unpublished elsewhere.
Individuals Enough For Classes, unpublished elsewhere.
Is Stalnaker Inconsistent About Indicative Conditionals?, draft.
*NEW* Maximising, Satisficing and Context, with C.S. Jenkins.  Forthcoming in Noûs.
Mental Mediation, with Caroline West.  This is an expanded version of the paper that appeared in the 2004 Journal of Value Inquiry 38.2: 186-202.
Modal Fictionalism , an entry in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Moral Fictionalism, with Greg Restall and Caroline West.  This is an expanded version of the paper that appeared in the 2005 Australasian Journal of Philosophy 83.3: 307-329.
*NEW* Non-Factivity About Knowledge, A Defensive Move, in the 2008 The Reasoner 2.11: 6-7.  The paper link is to the whole issue, which is available free online.
Platitudes and Metaphysics, forthcoming in Braddon-Mitchell, D, and Nola, R. (eds) Naturalism and Analysis. MIT Press, Cambridge MA
Properties and Paradox in Graham Priest's Towards Non-Being, forthcoming in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Penultimate Draft.
Selfless Desires, final version in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 2006 73.3: 665-679.
Stoic Gunk, Phronesis 51.2: 162-183. Penultimate draft.
The Varieties of Flirtatious Experience, not published elsewhere.
Truthmakers and Predication.  Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
Vagueness, Multiplicity and Parts, Noûs. 2006 40.4: 716-737. Penultimate draft.
What Would Teleological Causation Be?, with John Hawthorne, in Hawthorne, J. 2006. Metaphysical Essays. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 265-284.
Why Take Our Word For It, with Ishani Maitra, draft.

Forthcoming Papers

Maximising, Satisficing and Context, coauthored with C.S. Jenkins.  Forthcoming in Noûs.

We explore and defend the position that consequentialists should be contextualists about how good enough an alternative has to be to count as permitted.  According to the view defended, in some contexts only the best counts as good enough, in other contexts a lesser standard governs the use of expressions like "morally permitted", "morally right", and the like.

Fearing Spouses in Aristotle's Ta Oikonomica   forthcoming in British Journal for the History of Philosophy.
One of the surviving chapters of the Oikonomica attributed to Aristotle contains one unusual piece of advice:  that spouses should fear each other.  What could be going on?

Contemporary Metaphysicians and Their Traditions, forthcoming in Philosophical Topics.

This is a methodology paper.  How do we contemporary metaphysicians interact with metaphysical traditions, and how should we?


Comments on John Divers’s “On the Significance of the Question of the Function of Modal Judgment”.  Forthcoming in a volume edited by Bob Hale with Oxford University Press.

This is a response to an interesting paper by John Divers about what modal judgements are for.  His paper is not currently available online.

Consequentialism and Side Constraints, forthcoming in Journal of Moral Philosophy.

Theories according to which pursuit of the good should be limited by absolute side-constraints on action face a serious intuitive cost when it comes to considering high-stakes cases.  Five options for such theories in the face of this problem are examined and found wanting.
  

Platitudes and Metaphysics, forthcoming in Braddon-Mitchell, D, and Nola, R. (eds) Naturalism and Analysis. MIT Press, Cambridge MA.

In this paper I discuss what "Canberra Planners" have been doing with platitudes, and how doing that sort of thing can assist in fundamental metaphysics.

Draft Papers

At present, I can offer:

Why Take Our Word For It, with Ishani Maitra
The central question in the epistemology of testimony is how we come know things from others' testimony. We offer a partial answer to this question, according to which hearers come to know things they are told by recognizing that tellers are staking their reputations as testifiers on their testimony. We argue that our view accommodates some intuitions about the role that interpersonal relationships play in testimony, while avoiding the problems that arise for other views that attempt to make the same accommodations (e.g., the assurance views of testimony). (August 2006)


Individuals Enough For Classes
This paper is substantially unchanged from a version produced on the 7th of June 2000.  The content overlaps significantly with chapter 7 of my 2002 book:  it is a representation of many of the same ideas, shorn of the context of possible worlds.  References originally to my PhD thesis have been updated to references to Nolan 2002.  Some formatting changes have been made, some typos corrected, some of the more tangled sentences smoothed, and my institutional affiliation has been updated.

This paper is not really a draft - it's complete, but will probably only appear here because of the overlap with my published chapter.

Shorter Notes

In this section I will include short notes which I think make a contribution to the philosophical discussion.  Some will be published in their own right, and some will appear only on my website.

 The Varieties of Flirtatious Experience
This paper is a response to Carrie Jenkins's "The Philosophy of Flirting", offering a rival account of what it is for someone to flirt.  The above is a slightly modified version uploaded in 2008 - for those wanting to look at the originally uploaded 2006 version, for example to check a reference or to see if I have surruptitiously changed anything, the original can be found here.

Is Stalnaker Inconsistent About Indicative Conditionals?
Short answer: yes.  Longer answer:  Stalnaker's formal system is not consistent with some of his motivating remarks.  I don't think this is a mere glitch:  of the four  most obvious ways to bring them into harmony, two are fairly radical revisions and two leave the theory looking a little ad hoc.

 

Hale's Dilemma

In a 1995 piece in Analysis, Bob Hale argued that modal fictionalism faced a dilemma. Hale does not successfully show that there is any problem with either horn of this dilemma.

This piece was originally written as a sub-entry for my Stanford Encyclopedia Entry in 1999, but the editors rightfully thought it was too argumentative. So now it's an argumentative piece in its own right, instead.

Papers That Have Appeared

Note:  many of these papers are late drafts, and some contain material not in the versions published in journals.  When citing these papers, it is probably a good idea to refer to the version that appeared in the journal, unless of course you want to cite parts of the material that are not in the journal version.

Finite Quantities. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.
How could physics provide us with evidence that physical quantities were discrete rather than continuous?  This paper discusses these questions in general, and also examines a much discussed special case:  namely, can physics provide evidence whether spatio-temporal quantities are discrete?

Truthmakers and Predication. Oxford Studies in Metaphysics.
To what extent do true predications correspond to truthmakers in virtue of which those predications are true?  One sort of predicate which is often thought to not be susceptible to an ontological treatment is a predicate for instantiation, or some corresponding predication (trope-similarity or set-membership, for example).  This paper discusses this question, and argues that an "ontological" approach is possible here too:  where this ontological approach goes beyond merely finding a truthmaker for claims about instantiation.  Along the way a version of the problem of the regress of instantiation is posed and solved.


Properties and Paradox in Graham Priest's Towards Non-BeingPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research 76.1: 191-198

This paper is to appear in a book symposium on Graham Priest's Towards Non-Being.

Selfless Desires, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73.3: 665-679

David Lewis’s unified theory of the contents of de se and de dicto attitudes faces a problem.  Whether or not it is adequate for representing beliefs, it misrepresents the content of many of our desires, which rank possible outcomes in which the agent with the desire does not exist. These desires are shown to play a role in the rational explanation of action, and recognising them is important in our understanding of ourselves.

Vagueness, Multiplicity and Parts, Noûs. 2006 40.4: 716-737 This is a penultimate draft

There’s an argument around from so-called “linguistic theories of vagueness”, plus some relatively uncontroversial considerations, to powerful metaphysical conclusions.  David Lewis employs this argument to support the mereological principle of unrestricted composition, and Theodore Sider employs a similar argument not just for unrestricted composition but also for the doctrine of temporal parts.  This sort of argument could be generalised, to produce a lot of other less palatable metaphysical conclusions.  However, arguments to Lewis's and Sider's conclusions on the basis of considerations about vagueness are uncompelling, even if we accept the crucial premises about vagueness.  And a good thing too, since the generalised form of the argument would prove far too much.

Stoic Gunk, Phronesis 51.2: 162-183

The surviving sources on the Stoic theory of division reveal that the Stoics, particularly Chrysippus, believed that bodies, places and times were such that all of their parts themselves had proper parts. That is, bodies, places and times were composed of gunk. This realisation helps solve some long-standing puzzles about the Stoic theory of mixture and the Stoic attitude to the present. This is a penultimate draft.

What Would Teleological Causation Be?, with John Hawthorne, in Hawthorne, J. 2006. Metaphysical Essays. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 265-284.

 In this paper we argue that the notion of fundametally teleological causation is coherent and interesting, and suggest teleological causation is metaphysically possible. We also outline some sufficient conditions for a process to count as an example of teleological causation. This is a penultimate draft.

Classes, Worlds and Hypergunk
Penultimate Draft:  the final version is in
The Monist 2004 87.3:  3-21
Many people have wanted to construe possible worlds as set-theoretic objects of one sort or another. A common feature of many of these theories is that they imply that no world contains more than a set of possible objects nor more than a set of properties possessed by those objects.  A.P. Hazen has defended this consequence as being positively desirable, relying on a principle about what sorts of cases we should be able to have “genuine modal intuitions” about, and an argument that any such case can be represented set-theoretically.  This paper produces a specification of a certain sort of unlimited divisibility which meets Hazen’s strictures about what we may expect to have represented by a possible world, is independently plausible as a metaphysical possibility, and, if accepted as a genuine metaphysical possibility, demonstrates that many theories of possible worlds as set-theoretic objects are inadequate.

Moral Fictionalism (with Greg Restall and Caroline West)
Portions of this paper will appear as our Australasian Journal of Philosophy article "Moral Fictionalism Versus The Rest".  But this is the full, unexpergated version - it contains a general introduction to fictionalism lacking in the published variant

Mental Mediation (with Caroline West)
This is a fuller-length draft of the paper that appeared in the Journal of Value Inquiry.  This version has a lot more footnotes, and an extra section on pornography.  We would prefer that citations be to the version published in the JVI, except if anyone wants to cite bits of this fuller paper that do not appear there.

 

Fictionalist Attitudes about Fictional Matters, in Kalderon, M. (ed.) Fictionalist Approaches to Metaphysics.  OUP, Oxford.

Many non-realist theories face problems of embedding sentences which they treat non-realistically:the “Frege-Geach” problems.  Fictionalism does better than many alternatives to realism (e.g. non-cognitivism) in handling the behavior of truth-functional connectives, conditionals, inference, and so on.  But fictionalists do face a problem of embedding in propositional attitude contexts:  just as someone with a fictionalist attitude towards a certain body of claims will want to talk as if those claims were true, a community of fictionalists will find it convenient for a variety of purposes to talk as if their colleagues literally believe some of the relevant body of claims, to discuss the desires and intentions of ones colleagues as if they they believed the claims, etc.  But a fictionalism about a certain subject matter (mathematics, morality, unobservable scientific entities, etc.) is not in general a fictionalism that applies to one’s colleagues’ psychological states.  This paper argues for the need for an extended fiction which allows fictionalists to talk as if they have attitudes towards those propositions they wish to treat fictionally (other than the psychological attitudes they literally have towards these propositions, such as disbelief).  The paper then demonstrates how to extend a basic fiction to construct an extended fiction which allows for these fictional attitude attributions.

++++
In his
introduction to the volume this paper appears in, Mark Kalderon claims that I draw upon David Lewis's account of fiction as opposed to Kendall Walton's in this paper.  I don't see that myself, I have to admit - as far as I can tell, the technique in this paper works equally well for a variety of fictionalist approaches, and doesn't draw on any in particular.