Research Interests and Publication List


I'm interested in most of the topics in metaphysics, though I have worked more on some areas than others.

Modality:  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.

Hyperintensional Metaphysics:  I've written a couple of pieces of impossible worlds, and more and more of my recent work has been exploring topics in metaphysics where the distinctions we need to draw are more fine-grained than those we get if we treat necessary equivalence as identity.  Thinking about impossible cases as well as possible ones can illuminate counterpossible conditionals, but also dispositions, dependence, and maybe topics like causation and chance.  Thinking about impossibilities can help us in other areas of philosophy as well:  I have a couple of papers on impossible fictions, for example.

Other topics I've recently written on include the metaphysics of mereology (parts and wholes), and questions about dispositions, space, time, objects, events, vagueness, properties and relations, states of affairs, quantities, and ontological categories.  Topics I am currently writing on include existence, grounding, and some history of metaphysics.

Theoretical Virtues

For a long time I've kept one eye on the issue of what criteria we should use in theory choice, in the sciences and beyond. Publications in this area include my “Quantitative Parsimony”, “Is Fertility Virtuous in its Own Right?”,  “Who’s Afraid of Infinite Regresses?” and it plays an important role in "Finite Quantities". I am now writing a monograph on theoretical virtues which brings together some of my past thinking and deals with some new virtues as well.

Armed with the ideas from the monograph, I will write some papers about the roles of theoretical virtues in particular disciplines.  I'm also interested in the role of theoretical virtues in making choices between philosophical theories.

Philosophical Method

Almost without meaning to, I find that I'm writing more and more about philosophical method.  I've written about the "Canberra Plan" for philosophical analysis, the role of traditions and the history of philosophy in metaphysics, a general piece about metaphysical method, and a paper about David Lewis's philosophical method.  Projects that are underway include a defence of armchair methods in philosophy, and the abovementioned work on the role of theoretical virtues in philosophical theory choice.

David Lewis

My book David Lewis has been published by Acumen Publishing in the UK in their “Philosophy Now” series, by McGill-Queen's University Press in North America, and as of 2011 by Routledge.

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’ll continue to try to work out where he was right and where he was wrong, and where his views can be improved upon.


 A long running interest of mine has been how fictionalism would work in different areas.  My Stanford Encyclopedia entry on Modal Fictionalism is one example (along with a few papers on modal fictionalism), and work on moral fictionalism with Greg Restall and Caroline West is another. Graham Oppy and I have a plan to co-write a book which will be a general introduction to fictionalism, its varieties, virtues and vices.

Everything Else

I’m interested in all sorts of topics in philosophy.  In the past I've published on Epistemology, Philosophy of Language, Philosophical Logic, Meta-ethics, Ancient Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Ethics, Explanation and some other areas.  And I'm working on drafts of papers on a number of other topics.  I got into philosophy because I was interested in philosophy, not just a few sub-areas.  And given how much questions in one area bear on questions in others, I think it is well worth paying attention to debates in a lot of areas of philosophy, not just one particular backyard. 

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.  Paperback edition published 2011.


forthcoming  "Impossibility and Impossible Worlds" in Bueono, O. and Shalkowski, S. (eds) The Routledge Companion to Modality. New York: Routledge.

forthcoming  "Cosmic Loops" in Bliss, R. and Priest, G. (eds) Reality and Its Structure: Essays in Fundamentality. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

forthcoming "Methodological Naturalism in Metaethics" in McPherson, T. and Plunkett, D. (eds) The Routledge Companion to Metaethics. Routledge, New York.

forthcoming "It's a Kind of Magic: Lewis, Magic and Properties". Synthese.

forthcoming "Causal Counterfactuals and Impossible Worlds" in Beebee, H., Hitchcock, C. and Price, H. (eds) Making a Difference. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

2017 "Does the World Contain States of Affairs? Yes" in Barnes, E. (ed) Current Controversies in Metaphysics. New York: Routledge. pp 81-91

2017  "Naturalised Modal Epistemology" in Fischer, R. and Leon, F. (eds.) Modal Epistemology After Rationalism. Dordrecht: Synthese Library Series, Springer. pp 7-28

2016 "Chance and Necessity". Philosophical Perspectives 30.1: 294-308

2016  "Stoic Trichotomies". Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 51: 207-230

2016 "The Possibilities of History". Journal of the Philosophy of History 10.3: 441-456

2016 "Conditionals and Curry". Philosophical Studies 173.10: 2629-2647

2016 “Method in Analytic Metaphysics” in Cappelen, H. Gendler, T.S., Hawthorne, J. (eds)  The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology.  Oxford University Press, Oxford. pp 159-176

2015 "Lewis's Philosophical Method" in Loewer, B. and Schaffer, J. (eds)  Blackwell Companion to David Lewis.  Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford. pp 25-39

2015 "Temporary Marriage" in Brake, E. (ed) After Marriage. Oxford University Press, Oxford pp 180-203 

2015 "Utility Monsters for the Fission Age", with Rachael Briggs. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly. 96.3: 307-441

2015 "Noncausal Dispositions". Noûs 49.3: 425-439

2015 "Personification and Impossible Fictions". British Journal of Aesthetics 55.1: 57-69

2015 "The A Posteriori Armchair". Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93.2: 211-231

2015 "Lewis's Philosophical Method" in Loewer, B. and Schaffer, J. (eds)  A Companion to David Lewis. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford pp 25-39

2015 "The Unrealistic Effectiveness of Abstract Metaphysics". Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 9: 61-88

2014 "The Question of Moral Ontology". Philosophical Perspectives 28: 201-221

2014 "The Dangers of Pragmatic Virtue". Inquiry 57.5-6: 623-644

2014 "Creationism and Cardinality" (with Alexander Sandgren). Analysis 74.4: 615-629

2014 "Hyperintensional Metaphysics". Philosophical Studies 171.1: 149-160
2014 "Balls and All" in Kleinschmidt, S. (ed) Mereology and Location. Oxford University Press, Oxford.  pp 91-116.

2013 "Why Historians (and Everyone Else) Should Care About Counterfactuals". Philosophical Studies 163.2: 317-33

2013 "Impossible Worlds". Philosophy Compass 8.4: 360-372

2012 "Epistemic Dispositions" (with Rachael Briggs). Logos & Episteme 3.4: 629-636

2012 "Disposition Impossible" (with C.S. Jenkins).  Noûs 46.4: 732-753

2012 "Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know" (with R. Briggs).  Analysis 72.2: 314-16
2012 "Possible Worlds Semantics" in Fara, D.G. and Russell, G. (eds) The Routledge Companion to The Philosophy of Language. Routledge.  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 "Metaphysics: 5 Questions" in Asbjorn Steglich-Peterson (ed) Metaphysics: 5 Questions. Automatic Press. pp 63-73

2010 "Maximising, Satisficing and Context" (with C.S. Jenkins). Noûs. 44.3: 451-468
2010 "Response to John Divers" in Hale, B. and Hoffman, A. (eds). Modality. Oxford University Press, Oxford: 220-226.
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 "Properties and Paradox in Graham Priest's Towards Non-Being". Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76.1: 191-198

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

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 here.

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.  Revised in 2007 and 2011.


2013 “Intension and Extension” in Pashler, H. (ed) The Encyclopedia of the Mind. SAGE Publications, Thousand Oaks, pp 424-427.

2012 "Moral Fictionalism" in Craig, E. (ed)  Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.  Routledge, London. 
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

2015 Review of Mark Jago's The Impossible: An Essay on Hyperintensionality. Mind 124.496: 1299-1302

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

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

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

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 MarcusPhilosophical 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

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Page created 28 July 2008.  Last updated 07/03/17