Research


Here's my CV. Below are links to my publications and brief descriptions of selected works in progress. 










PUBLICATIONS
Natural properties, necessary connections, and the problem of induction (forthcoming in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
    The necessitarian solution to the problem of induction involves two claims: first, that necessary connections are justified by an inference to the best explanation; second, that the best theory of necessary connections entails the timeless uniformity of nature. In this paper, I defend the second claim. My arguments are based on considerations from the metaphysics of laws, properties, and fundamentality. 

Two types of quidditism (Australasian Journal of Philosophy 2016)
    I argue that some natural properties are categorical. I do so by distinguishing two ways in which categorical properties can be individuated, and arguing that one of them fares better than the other with respect to extant arguments in the field.

    No, and this is troubling because it suggests that bare dispositions cannot explain observed natural regularities.

Can primitive laws explain?  (Philosophers’ Imprint 2013)
    No, but laws analyzed as relations between universals can.

    I argue that Tooley’s attempt to analyze the necessary connection between governing laws and natural regularities fails.

Intuitions and analytic metaphysics (in Chapman et al, In Defense of Intuitions, Palgrave Macmillan 2013)
    I argue that the same intuitions required to justify beliefs in logic, mathematics, and the natural sciences can support a robust metaphysics when augmented by certain kinds of empirical observations.  


WORKS IN PROGRESS  (email me if you'd like a copy: hildebrand[you know what goes here]dal.ca) 

Race, social policy, and the problem of induction (coauthored with Barrett Emerick)
    We provide a theory of inductive reasoning, show how it functions in social contexts, and apply it to generate a new argument against racial profiling and related policies. Our theory illuminates some important connections between satisfying our epistemic obligations and making moral appraisals of public policies. 

Individuation and explanation: A problem for dispositionalism
    I argue that dispositionalism, the view that natural properties are individuated by their roles in causal/nomological structures, is unable to explain certain kinds of regularities because of the way in which dispositions are individuated. 

Platonic laws of nature
    David Armstrong accepted the following three theses: universals are immanent; laws are relations between universals; and laws explain regularities. I argue that these theses are jointly incompatible. 

Pragmatic rationalism
    Empiricists often make a pragmatic turn. I argue that rationalists can do the same, and I argue that pragmatist interpretations of rationalism have a number of advantages over pragmatist interpretations of empiricism. 

Best systems: Metaphysical or epistemological?
    I distinguish between different interpretations of best systems accounts of laws of nature. Some are metaphysical, providing a theory of the metaphysical nature of laws; others are epistemological, providing a theory of how scientists do (or should) discover the content of laws. Some systematize all particular matters of fact; others systematize only a subset of particular matters of fact, such as those facts constituting our evidence. Neither of these distinctions is entirely new, but together they can be put to good use. First, they help to clarify the epistemology of non-Humean theoretical entities. Second, they undermine claims to the effect that we have special epistemological access to Humean laws. Third, they help to explain why there is something of a stalemate between Humeans and non-Humeans.



Photo: The Quiraing, Isle of Skye