Research

My work focuses on some questions at the intersection of metaphysics, philosophy of logic, and epistemology, while being informed (at least sometimes) by the philosophy of science. It splits roughly into three distinct but related projects. For a longer statement of my research interests and current work, feel free to email me.

1) Abstract Objects: Most generally, I'm interested in the non-concrete realm, what (if anything) lives in it, and what the things that live in it are like. I'm working on a book manuscript about this. I also have some papers in progress.

2) Logic: I'm also interested in logic specifically. (I think logic is an abstract object.)  I am working on a book manuscript and a series of papers defending the thesis of humble realism about logic. Humble realism has three components: (i) metaphysical: there is mind-independent, language-independent logical structure in the world; (ii) epistemic: we can't know its true nature, and (iii) representational: despite (ii), we can know that the logical notions that we actually use do not capture worldly logical structure  perfectly accurately. (I defended (ii) and (iii) and explored some consequences of these theses in my dissertation.)

In 'Following Logical Realism Where it Leads' (in Philosophical Studies, phil papers link here), I consider the view that there is logical structure in the world. I call this view 'logical realism'.  I argue that, if logical realism is true, then we are deeply ignorant of that logical structure: either we can't know which of our logical concepts accurately capture it, or none of our logical concepts  accurately capture it at all.

In 'A Paper about Grounding and Logic' (needless to say, this is not the official title), I argue that we shouldn't be so quick to buy that logically complex facts are grounded in the simpler facts that they "depend" on.

In 'Logical Realism and the Metaphysics of Logic' (forthcoming in Philosophy Compass), I briefly survey some discussions of logical realism, and also sketch an argument that metaphysical realism entails logical realism.

In 'Grounding Logically Complex Facts' (draft of what will eventually be forthcoming in the Routledge Handbook of Grounding, comments welcome), I survey some issues with, and discussion of, grounding logically complex facts.

3) Metaontology: Finally, I'm interested in a number of issues in metaontology and methodology. I'm interested in how we might keep doing epistemology and metaphysics at the same time--which, I believe, is inescapable if we are going to do either--while doing our best to disentangle them, and to seek out their boundaries. I am also interested in the relationship between intelligibility and imagination. And finally, I'm interested in moving away from conceptions of metaphysical theorizing as continuous with science, and am planning on developing an alternative conception of metaphysics in future work.

In 'An Epistemic Account of Metaphysical Equivalence' (in Philosophical Perspectives, link to official version here), I argue for the unified perspective thesis, which says that we can only be justified in believing that two theories, T and T', are metaphysically equivalent if there is some way that we can see the two theories as unified into a single theory, T+, which says nothing over and above either T or T'. I show that metametaphysicians of most stripes (including neocarnapians) should accept this thesis. I then explore one potential way of cashing it out, by appealing to a revised version of common definitional extension. I show that this way of cashing out the unified perspective thesis rules out quantifier variance, and finally briefly discuss the position the quantifier variantist is in with respect to finding a way to respect the thesis more generally.