Research Interests


My book, Topics in the Philosophy of Possible Worlds is, as its name suggests, largely about the metaphysics of necessity and possibility, and of possible worlds.  (Though some of it was philosophical logic, and some of it philosophy of mathematics, some of it was on general questions of philosophical methodology…)  I’m still interested in the metaphysics of modality, and in addition I’ve recently been working on some issues in the metaphysics of mereology (parts and wholes), and questions about space, time, objects and vagueness.  I'm gearing up to articulate my views on states of affairs, events and properties and relations.

David Lewis

David Lewis, has been published by Acumen Publishing in the UK in their “Philosophy Now” series, and by McGill-Queen's University Press in North America.

Lewis’s work is a continuing source of inspiration: as an exemplar, a source of philosophical problems, and a source of interesting and provocative suggested solutions to those problems.  I’m sure I will continue to try to work out where he was right and where he was wrong, and where his views can be improved upon.


One recurring philosophical interest of mine has been in fictionalism.  (I’ve already done some in my Stanford encyclopedia entry, mentioned below; "Moral Fictionalism" (with my co-authors), the paper published in Mark Kalderon’s Fictionalism in Metaphysics, and in my 1996 and 1997 papers, mentioned below (the 1996 one with John Hawthorne).  Several chapters of my Topics book deal with modal fictionalism as well.  Graham Oppy and I are co-writing a book which will be a general introduction to fictionalism, its varieties, virtues and vices.

Theoretical Virtues

One of my on-going sidelines is worrying about which features of a theory make for a good theory and which make for a bad one.  (I have to worry about this as an applied question whenever I have a theory of something, but I have a more general and abstract interest in the question as well.) Some day soon I want to try to have more systematic views about methodology, in the sciences and in philosophy. Publications in this area include my “Quantitative Parsimony” and “Is Fertility Virtuous in its Own Right?”.  I’m currently writing two other papers on methodology in the sciences and in philosophy.  I have also begun to write a monograph on theoretical virtues, though this is still at an early stage.

Philosophical Methodology

This interest of mine is connected to my interest in theoretical virtues, immediately above.  Two of my papers in this area are my and “Who’s Afraid of Infinite Regresses?” and my recent "Contemporary Metaphysicians and Their Traditions" (published in 2010, despite the 2007 date on the journal issue).  I anticipate my work on theoretical virtues in inquiry generally will feed into more work on methodology specifically in philosophy, and vice versa.

Everything Else

I’m interested in all sorts of topics in philosophy, and the stack of paper drafts glaring at me from my hard-drive is a menagerie.   Philosophy of Language, Philosophical Logic, Meta-ethics, Ancient Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Probability, Epistemology, Philosophy of Religion… I’d almost like to stop having new ideas for a year or two to get some of these completed, but working out something new is one of the best parts of this job, and besides with any luck the more practice and experience I have, the better the new ideas will be.  But I’m fond of some of these old ones too, and the plan is to continue to gradually let the better-behaved ones out of their cages.

Full Publication List


2005  David Lewis.  Acumen Publishing, Chesham.  Also published by McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal & Kingston, in 2005. 

2002 Topics in the Philosophy of Possible Worlds. Routledge Press, New York.


forthcoming  "Impossible Worlds".  Philosophy Compass.

forthcoming  "Epistemic Dispositions" (with Rachael Briggs).  Logos & Episteme.

forthcoming  "Noncausal Dispositions".  No

forthcoming  "Lewis's Philosophical Method" in Loewer, B. and Schaffer, J.  Blackwell Companion to Lewis.  Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford.

forthcoming  "Method in Analytic Metaphysics" in Cappelen, H., Gendler, T.S., Hawthorne, J. and Sgaravatti, D. (eds)  The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology.  Oxford University Press, Oxford.

forthcoming  "Why Historians (and Everyone Else) Should Care About Counterfactuals".  Philosophical Studies

forthcoming  "Disposition Impossible" (with C.S. Jenkins).  Noûs.
forthcoming "Balls and All" in Kleinschmidt, S. (ed)  Mereology and Location.  Oxford University Press.

2012  "Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know" (with Rachael Briggs).  Analysis 72.2: 314-316

  "Possible Worlds Semantics" in Fara, D.G. and Russell, G. (eds) The Routledge Companion to The Philosophy of Language.  Routledge, London pp 242-252

2011  "The Extent of Metaphysical Necessity".  Philosophical Perspectives 25.1: 313-339

2011  "Categories and Ontological Dependence".  The Monist.  94.2: 277-300

2010  "Maximising, Satisficing and Context" (with C.S. Jenkins). Noûs. 44.3: 451-468 

2010  "Response to John Divers".  Hale, B. and Hoffmann, A. (eds) Modality.  Oxford University Press, Oxford.  pp 220-226

2010 "Metaphysics: 5 Questions" in Asbjorn Steglich-Peterson (ed)  Metaphysics: 5 Questions.  Automatic Press, . pp73-73

2010  "Metaphysical Language, Ordinary Language, and Peter van Inwagen's Material Beings".  Humana.Mente 13: 239-248

2010  "Fearing Spouses in Aristotle's Ta Oikonomika".  British Journal for the History of Philosophy. 18.1: 1-8

2009 "Modality" in Shand, J. (ed)  Central Issues in Philosophy.  Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester. pp 95-106

2009 “Infinity and Metaphysics” in Le Poidevin, R., Simons, P., McGonigal, A. and Cameron, R. (eds)  The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics.  Routledge, London.  pp 430-439

2009 "Platitudes and Metaphysics" in Braddon-Mitchell, D. and Nola, R. (eds) Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism. MIT Press, Cambridge MA pp 267-300

2009 "Consequentialism and Side Constraints". Journal of Moral Philosophy 6.1: 5-22

2008  "Non-Factivity About Knowledge: A Defensive Move".  The Reasoner 2.11: 6-7

2008  "Truthmakers and Predication".  Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 4: 171-191

2008  "Properties and Paradox in Graham Priest's Towards Non-Being".  Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76.1: 191-198

2008  "Backwards Explanation" (with C.S. Jenkins)  Philosophical Studies 140.1: 103-115

2008  "Liar-Like Paradox and Object-Language Features". (with C.S. Jenkins)  American Philosophical Quarterly 45.1: 67-73

2008  "Finite Quantities".  Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 108.1: 23-42

2007  “Contemporary Metaphysicians and Their Traditions”.  Philosophical Topics, 35.1&2: 1-18

2007 "A Consistent Reading of Sylvan's Box". Philosophical Quarterly. 67.229: 667-673

2006 "Selfless Desires" Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. 73.3: 665-679

2006 "Vagueness, Multiplicity and Parts" Noûs. 40.4: 716-737

2006 "Stoic Gunk" Phronesis. 51.2: 162-183

2006 "What Would Teleological Causation Be?" (with John Hawthorne) in Hawthorne, John. Metaphysical Essays. OUP, Oxford, pp 265-283.

2005 "Moral Fictionalism Versus The Rest" (with Greg Restall and Caroline West)  Australasian Journal of Philosophy. 83.3: 307-329

2005 "Fictionalist Attitudes About Fictional Matters" in Kalderon, Mark (ed) Fictionalist Approaches to Metaphysics, OUP, Oxford: 204-233

2004  "Liberalism and Mental Mediation" (with Caroline West)Journal of Value Inquiry 38.2: 186-202

2004 "Classes, Worlds and Hypergunk"  The Monist 87.3: 3-21

2003 "Defending a Possible-Worlds Account of Indicative Conditionals" Philosophical Studies 116.3: 215-69
This paper can be found

2001 "What's Wrong With Infinite Regresses?" Metaphilosophy 32.5: 523-538

1999 "Is Fertility Virtuous in its Own Right?" British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 50: 265-282

1997 "Impossible Worlds: A Modest Approach" Notre Dame Journal for Formal Logic 38.4: 535-572
This paper can be found for free
here, thanks to Project Euclid.

1997 "Three Problems for 'Strong' Modal Fictionalism" Philosophical Studies 87.3: 259-275
This paper can be found

1997 "Quantitative Parsimony" British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 48.3: 329-343

1996 "Recombination Unbound" Philosophical Studies 84.2-3: 239-262

1996 "Reflexive Fictionalisms" (with John O'Leary-Hawthorne) Analysis 56.1: 26-32

Encyclopedia Entries


2002 "Modal Fictionalism" , an entry in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy . Main Entry plus three sub-entries.  Latest version 2011.


forthcoming  "Moral Fictionalism".  Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online.  Routledge, London.

forthcoming “Intension and Extension” in Pashler, H. (ed)  The Encyclopedia of the Mind.  SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks.

2010  "The Canberra Plan" in Oppy, G., Trakakis, N., Burns, L., Gardner S. and Leigh, F. (eds) Companion to Philosophy in Australia and New Zealand.  Monash EPress, Melbourne pp 98-100.

2009  "David Lewis" in A Companion to Metaphysics, 2nd edition.  Blackwell, Oxford. pp 370-2

2006 "David Lewis" in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition. Detroit: Macmillan Reference.

Book Reviews

2007       Review of Joseph Melia's Modality.  Mind 116.461: 187-190

2004       Review of Charles Chihara’s The Worlds of Possibility: Modal Realism and the Semantics of Modal Logic.  Studia Logica 76.3: 443-446

2001        Review of Concha Martinez, Uxia Rivas and Luis Villegas-Forero (editors) Truth in Perspective:  Recent Issues in Logic, Representation and Ontology.  Studia Logica, 68.3: 404-407

2003        Review of Preyer, G. and Siebelt, F. (eds) Reality and Humean Supervenience: Essays on the Philosophy of David Lewis. Philosophical Review  112.2: 263-266

1999        Review of Michael Tooley’s Time, Tense and Causation.  Erkenntnis 50: 141-148

1998       Review of Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Diana Raffman and Nicholas Asher (eds) Modality, Morality and Belief:  Essays in Honor of Ruth Barcan   Marcus.  Philosophical Quarterly 191: 253-255

Published Abstracts of Presented Papers

1999        “An Uneasy Marriage” Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 5: 490

1997        “A Debate on Hypergunk”, (with A.P. Hazen) Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 3: 365

1996         “Expressive Completeness Without Possible Worlds:  The Hazen Cases” Bulletin of Symbolic Logic 2: 116         


transferred 13/07/10.  Last updated 06/11/12