- 1. Animalism [abstract]
- 2. The priority principle [abstract]
- 3. You needn't be simple [abstract]
- 4. The elimination argument [abstract]
- 5. Incompatibilism and the past [abstract]
- 6. No bare particulars [abstract]
- 7. The incompatibility of composition as identity, priority pluralism, and irreflexive grounding [abstract]
- 8. No pairing problem (with J. Rasmussen and L. Van Horn) [abstract]
- 9. Warrant is unique [abstract]
An opinionated survey piece on animalism, the doctrine that we are animals.
I introduce and argue for a Priority Principle, according to which we exemplify certain of our mental properties in the primary or non-derivative sense. I then apply this principle to several debates in the metaphysics and philosophy of mind.
Here's an interesting question: what are we? David Barnett has claimed that reflection on consciousness suggests an answer: we are simple. Barnett argues that the mereological simplicity of conscious beings best explains the Datum: that no pair of persons can itself be conscious. In this paper, I offer two alternative explanations of the Datum. If either is correct, Barnett's argument fails. First, there aren't any such things as pairs of persons. Second, consciousness is maximal; no conscious thing is a proper part of another conscious thing. I conclude by showing how both moves comport with materialist theories of what we are and then apply them to another anti-materialist argument.
Animalism is the view that we are animals: living, breathing, wholly material beings. Despite its considerable appeal, animalism has come under fire. Other philosophers have had much to say about objections to animalism that stem from reflection on personal identity over time. But one promising objection ("The Elimination Argument") has been overlooked. In this paper, I remedy this situation and examine the Elimination Argument in some detail. I contend that the Elimination Argument is both unsound and unmotivated.
There is a new objection to the Consequence Argument for incompatibilism. I argue that the objection is more wide-ranging than originally thought. In particular: if it tells against the Consequence Argument, it tells against other arguments for incompatibilism too. I survey a few ways of dealing with this objection and show the costs of each. I then present an argument for incompatibilism that is immune to the objection and that enjoys other advantages.
There are predicates and subjects. It is thus tempting to think that there are properties on the one hand, and things that have them on the other. I have no quarrel with this thought; it is a ﬁne place to begin a theory of properties and property-having. But in this paper, I argue that one such theory—bare particularism—is false. I pose a dilemma. Either bare particulars instantiate the properties of their host substances or they do not. If they do not, then bare particularism is both unmotivated and false. If they do, then the view faces a problematic—and, I shall argue, false—crowding consequence.
Some have it that wholes are, somehow, identical to their parts. This doctrine is as alluring as it is puzzling. But in this paper, I show that the doctrine is incompatible with two widely accepted theses. Something has to go.
Many have thought that there is a problem with causal commerce between immaterial souls and material bodies. In Physicalism or Something Near Enough, Jaegwon Kim attempts to spell out that problem. Rather than merely posing a question or raising a mystery for defenders of substance dualism to answer or address, he offers a compelling argument for the conclusion that immaterial souls cannot causally interact with material bodies. We offer a reconstruction of that argument that hinges on two premises: Kim's Dictum and the Nowhere Man principle. Kim's Dictum says that causation requires a spatial relation. Nowhere Man says that souls can't be in space. By our lights, both premises can be called into question. We'll begin our evaluation of the argument by pointing out some consequences of Kim's Dictum. For some, these will be costs. We will then present two defeaters for Kim's Dictum and a critical analysis of Kim's case for Nowhere Man. The upshot is that Kim's argument against substance dualism fails.
Warrant is what fills the gap between mere true belief and knowledge. But a problem arises. Is there just one condition that satisﬁes this description? Suppose there isn't: can anything interesting be said about warrant after all? Call this the uniqueness problem. In this paper, I solve the problem. I examine one plausible argument that there is no one condition ﬁlling the gap between mere true belief and knowledge. I then motivate and formulate revisions of the standard analysis of warrant. Given these revisions, I argue that there is, after all, exactly one warrant condition
Reviews and Reference
- 10. Review of Persons, Animals, Ourselves (P. Snowdon)
- 11. Review of The Feeling Body (Giovanna Colombetti)
- 12. "Contemporary Hylomorphism" (with S. Wilkins) (forthcoming).
- 13. "Pairing problem" (with J. Rasmussen), Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy
- 14. Review of Hard Luck (N. Levy)
- 15. Review of The Waning of Materialism (R. Koons and G. Bealer, eds.)
- 1. You are an animal [abstract]
- 2. Composition and the cases [abstract]
- 3. Materialism without metaphysical supervenience [abstract]
- 4. A moral argument for animalism [abstract]
- 5. One god composed of three persons [abstract]
- 6. Physicalism and the puppet argument (with J. Rasmussen) [abstract]
In this paper, I argue that you are an animal (and indeed, that human persons in general are animals).
In this paper, I offer a new way of handling a host of problematic cases that have gripped philosophers of mind over the past several decades. Attending to composition, I argue, can help us make headway in these murky waters.
Most philosophers of mind presume that materialism requires the supervenience of the mental on the physical. Accordingly, many philosophers have argued against materialism (or for substance dualism) by attempting to refute such supervenience theses. I show that this is a mistake, and that the materialist can dispense with supervenience without giving up her materialist credentials.
Are we wholly material beings? And supposing we are, which material beings are we? In this paper, I introduce some heretofore unnoticed data and show how they bear on these questions. Others have noted how empirical data appear to have such a bearing; I will here take up a related project. I will argue that certain moral data tell in favor of materialism, the view that we are wholly material beings. I will further argue that the moral data support a particular version of materialism; they support animalism, the view that we are animals or organisms.
The doctrine of the Trinity says that though there are three divine persons, there is exactly one god. In this paper, I develop and defend a mereological account of that doctrine.
In this paper, we introduce and motive an argument ("the puppet argument") that purports to show that if we are wholly material beings, then we are mere puppets of our parts and thus not morally responsible. This argument, we suggest, is a puzzle. The best solutions to this puzzle imply that either (a) materialism about human persons is false, (b) "top-down" determination is possible, or (c) we are not, after all, responsible for anything. Many philosophers are deeply committed to the denial of (a) and (c); such philosophers will find in this paper an argument for a special kind of "top-down" determination--determination from whole to parts. Those who are unwilling to endorse top-down determination may face a tougher choice..
- AP Papers (in progress) [description]
- DKL Papers (in progress) [description]
- JMF Papers [description]
- PvI Papers [description]
An online repository of papers by Alvin Plantinga.
An online repository of papers by David K. Lewis.
An online repository of papers by John Martin Fischer.
An online repository of papers by Peter van Inwagen.