Philosophical Background / Interests
This page includes a general description of my work, with links to some current drafts.
Beginning with a dissertation on necessity and possibility, in different places, I have allowed that there are "possible worlds," and that possible worlds have a certain utility. However, I claim, possible worlds do not ground modal truth. Rather, grounds for modal truth, are to be found in the non-modal way ordinary things and properties are. This thesis has pushed me, in recent times, to thinking about grounds more generally. I now see the approach to necessity and possibility as one component of a more general approach to objects -- thus the working title of the core project, Properties, Possibilities and Ordinary Things: Towards the Pleasures of Platonism Without the Pain. A working draft is available here.
Publications central to this project (with links for CSUSB access) are,
"Things and De Re Modality." Nous 34 (2000): 56-84.
"In Defense of Linguistic Ersatzism." Philosophical Studies 80 (1995): 217-242.
"Worlds and Modality." The Philosophical Review 102 (1993): 335-61.
"Modality" in the Continuum Companion to Metaphysics (2012)
A draft related to the issues about properties is , What's So Bad About Infinite Regress? Deflationary approaches to metaphysics are discussed in "New Directions in Metaphysics" in the same Continuum Companion to Metaphysics (Tony Roy and Matthew Davidson). A number of natural derivation systems for non-classical logics are developed in "Natural Derivations for Priest, An Introduction to Non-Classical Logic" in the electronic Australasian Journal of Logic, 2006;related drafts are More Natural Derivations for Priest, Making Sense of Relevant Semantics, and On Permutation in Simplified SemanticsJournal of Philosophical Logic, 2009 (Greg Restall and Tony Roy - link with CSUSB access); and the very rough Notes Toward Completion of the American Plan. Naturally, comments are welcome!
In addition, somewhat to my surprise, I am producing texts for upper-division (and early graduate) metaphysics, and for intermediate to advanced logic. For metaphysics, my aim is to engage with, and provide a pathway through, central original works -- and so to make accessible topics which may seem initially mysterious or bizarre, including reality and truth, abstract objects, possible worlds, and the like. A special emphasis on method, with extended discussion of Quine's, "On What There Is," motivates the working title, About What There Is: An Introduction to Contemporary Metaphysics.One aim of this book is to set out a metaphysical perspective which is interesting in its own right, and so to give students and philosophers something to which they can react. For logic, my aim is to bridge the gap between introductory courses, where students do derivations, and advanced ones, where students often are already expected to be familiar with mathematical induction, etc.---without sacrifice of rigor. For current drafts see Symbolic Logic: An Accessible Introduction to Serious Mathematical Logic and About What There Is: An Introduction to Contemporary Metaphysics.