在我的主要研究领域，我专注于研究元形而上学和形而上学方法论的问题，例如：形而上学家的目标是什么，以及我们如何才能最好地实现这些目标？ 我最关心的问题是意识形态在理论选择中的作用。 （这里的“意识形态”是指奎因所指的，涉及到一个理论的表达资源，而不是一组政治信念！）
Temporal Quantifier Relativism
In this paper, I introduce a quantifier-pluralist theory of time, temporal quantifier relativism. Temporal quantifier relativism includes a restricted quantifier for every instantaneous moment of time. Though it flies in the face of orthodoxy, it compares favorably to rival theories of time. To demonstrate this, I first develop the basic syntax and semantics of temporal quantifier relativism. I then compare the theory to its rivals on three issues: the passage of time, the analysis of change, and temporal ontology.
A Puzzle About Parsimony
In this paper, I argue for the instability of an increasingly popular position about how metaphysicians ought to regard parsimony. This instability is rooted in an unrecognized tension between two claims. First, we as metaphysicians ought to minimize the number of ontological kinds we posit. Second, it is not the case that we ought to minimize the number of ideological expressions we employ, especially when those expressions are of the same ideological kind (e.g. the compositional predicates 'is a part of' and 'overlaps'). I argue that the two claims are in tension with one other. At the very least, minimizing the number of ontological kinds posited entails minimizing the number of expressions employed -- more specifically, the “ontologically committing” predicates. But, plausibly, the tension runs deeper than that. I suggest that minimizing the number of ontological kinds just is a specific way of minimizing the number of ideological expressions employed in stating a theory. The two activities target the same aspect of reality, the world’s metaphysical structure. I end by evaluating three different responses to this puzzle. Ultimately, I suggest that metaphysicians should treat the minimization of the number
of ideological expressions as more important than it currently is treated.
Seek the Joints! Avoid the Gruesome! Fidelity as an Epistemic Value
Episteme 20 (2):393-409 (2023)
A belief is valuable when it "gets it right". This "getting it right" is often understood solely as a matter of truth. But there is a second sense of "getting it right" worth exploring. According to this second sense, a belief "gets it right" when its concepts accurately match the way the world is objectively organized -- that is, when its concepts are joint-carving, or have fidelity. In this paper, I explore the relationship between fidelity and epistemic value. While many philosophers (especially metaphysicians) acknowledge fidelity's value, they overlook just how much it might disrupt our understanding of epistemic value. To tease out this disruption, I draw on the Jamesian balance between seeking the truth and avoiding the false. A similar balance must be struck both within the pursuit of fidelity itself ("seeking the joints" and "avoiding the gruesome") as well as between the pursuit of fidelity and the pursuit of truth. I then give an argument against the claim that truth is the higher epistemic good.
How to Project a Socially Constructed Sexual Orientation
Journal of Social Ontology 7 (2):173-203 (2021)
Was bisexuality a widespread feature of ancient Greek society? This question is an instance of cross-cultural projection –- of taking the means through which people are categorized in one culture and applying it to members of another. It’s widely held by those who think that sexual orientation is socially constructed that its projection poses a problem. In this paper, I offer a more careful analysis of this alleged problem. To analyze projection, I adapt Iris Einheuser’s substratum-carving model of conventionalism to fit the specific needs of social construction (and social metaphysics more broadly). Using this model, I show that projection is conceptually coherent, and so does not for that reason pose any problem. Along the way, I identify some of the epistemic difficulties facing projection. While these difficulties are formidable, they are not substantially affected by the constructivist claim. I therefore conclude that there is no unique problem facing the projection of a socially constructed sexual orientation.
High-Fidelity Metaphysics: Ideological Parsimony in Theory Choice
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 102 (4):613-632 (2021)
Many metaphysicians utilize the virtue-driven methodology. According to this methodology, one theory is more worthy of endorsement than another insofar as it is more virtuous. In this paper, I show how a theory’s overall virtue is shaped by its ideological parsimony -- parsimony with respect to the terminology employed in stating the theory. I distinguish between a theory’s truth and its fidelity ("joint-carvingness") and the corresponding epistemic and fidelic virtues. I argue that ideological parsimony is not an epistemic virtue but is a fidelic virtue. Insofar as metaphysicians value fidelity, then, ideological parsimony has an important role in theory choice.
These Confabulations Are Guaranteed to Save Your Marriage: Toward a Teleological Theory of Confabulation
Synthese 198 (11):10313-10339 (2021)
Confabulation is typically understood to be dysfunctional. But this understanding neglects the potential benefits of confabulation. We think that reflecting on the benefits of non-clinical confabulation provides a better foundation for a general account of confabulation. In this paper, we start from these benefits to develop a social teleological account of confabulation. Central to our account is the idea that confabulation manifests a kind of willful ignorance. By understanding confabulation in this way, we can provide principled explanations for the difference between clinical and non-clinical cases of confabulation and the extent to which confabulation is rational.
Ideology and Its Role in Metaphysics
Synthese 198 (2):957-983 (2021)
Metaphysicians now typically distinguish between a theory’s ontology and its ideology. But besides a few cursory efforts, no one has explained the role of ideology in theory choice. In this paper I develop a framework for discussing how differing approaches to ideology impact metaphysical disputes. I first provide an initial characterization of ideology and develop two contrasting types of criteria used to evaluate its quality. In using externalist criteria, we judge the quality of a theory’s ideology by its relation to external features of the world. In contrast, in using internalist criteria, we judge the quality of a theory’s ideology by features internal to the theory and the theorizer, e.g. the intelligibility of the terminology employed. I then argue for an unrestricted application of externalist criteria, what I call maximal realism. According to maximal realism, we ought to apply externalist criteria to the entirety of a theory’s ideology—to not only predicates but also to quantifiers and logical operators. I defend maximal realism from what I take to be the best objection to it: that the view leads to bad questions. As part of my defense, I argue that those who would restrict their application of externalist criteria either adopt an unjustified partition of ideology or reject seemingly benign questions. Finally, I apply my discussion of ideology to two extant metaphysical disputes.
The Explosion of Being:
Ideological Kinds in Theory Choice
Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276):486-510 (2019)
In this paper, I develop a novel account of ideological kinds. I first present some conceptual territory regarding the use of Occam’s Razor in minimizing ontological commitments. I then present the analogous device for minimizing ideological commitments, what I call the Comb. I argue that metaphysicians ought to use both or none at all. This means that those who endorse a principle of ontological parsimony ought to also endorse some principle of ideological parsimony, where we ought to prefer the metaphysical theory that employs less ideology. In support of one such principle, I propose a novel account of ideological kinds. I individuate ideological kinds based on the satisfaction of two conditions: interdefinability and sameness of syntactic category. Ultimately, I think this account is the best available. It does, however, produce surprising results. For instance, my account shows that quantifier pluralism is ideologically parsimonious. I end by replying to some objections.
The Intelligibility of Metaphysical Structure
Philosophical Studies 176 (3):581-606 (2019)
Theories that posit metaphysical structure are able to do much work in philosophy. Some, however, find the notion of 'metaphysical structure' unintelligible. In this paper, I argue that their charge of unintelligibility fails. There is nothing distinctively problematic about the notion. At best, their charge of unintelligibility is a mere reiteration of previous complaints made toward similar notions. In developing their charge, I clarify several important concepts, including primitiveness, intelligibility, and the Armstrong-inspired "ontologism" view of the world. I argue that, ultimately, their charge is best understood as an objection whose central premise is that the notion of 'structure' runs contrary to an important presupposition of contemporary metaphysics. But that central premise is, on closer inspection, implausible. I respond to the objection by identifying three popular metaphysical theories that violate the alleged presupposition but are still generally regarded as intelligible. The objection thus fails to show that a theory that posits metaphysical structure is unintelligible.
Yet Another Epicurean Argument
Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1):135-159 (2017)
In this paper, we develop a novel version of the so-called Lucretian symmetry argument against the badness of death. Our argument has two features that make it particularly effective. First, it focuses on the preferences of rational agents. We believe the focus on preferences eliminates needless complications and emphasizes the urgency to respond to the argument. Second, our argument utilizes a principle that states that a rational agent's preferences should not vary in arbitrary ways. We argue that this principle underlies our judgments of cognitive biases. We should therefore endorse the principle insofar as we think a cognitively biased agent fails to be rational. In the second half of the paper we survey potential ways to resist the new symmetry argument. We show that they all fail to meet the dialectical burden of our argument or involve highly controversial assumptions about the metaphysics of time or the limits of rational preferences.
Against Metaphysical Egalitarianism
(Currently under review)
Explanatory Unity and the Argument from A-Theoretic Experience
解释性统一和来自 A 理论体验的论证
I experience the world as if it dynamically changes. I experience the world as if the moment of my experience is privileged over other moments. The best explanation for these facts entails that the world operates in a way that makes my experience more-or-less accurate -- that is, the best explanation entails that the A-theory of time is true. In this paper, I explore the extent to which this argument from A-theoretic experience can discriminate between competing A-theories of time. I focus on explanatory unity. I argue that some A-theories of time exhibit less explanatory unity than others because their explanations for the passage of time ideologically differ from their explanations for the privilege of the present. If explanatory unity is one feature on which competing explanations can be compared, then the argument from A-theoretic experience actually supports some A-theories of time over others.
(Currently being retooled; feel free to email me if you'd like to talk about it!)
Intrinsic Masking and Sexual Orientation
(Currently under review)
Linguistic Justice in Academic Philosophy
(Currently under review; coauthored with Timothy Perrine)
Social Philosophy: An Introductory Textbook