Toronto, November 2023. Photo by Jenna Muirhead.

PhilPapers profile
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David Papineau, The Metaphysics of Sensory Experience Presupposing that some phenomenon deserving the name 'sensory experience' is an amenable target for investigation in a metaphysical key, the book (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021) embarks on locating a 'metaphysical nature' for the relevant 'conscious properties'. A sort of qualia theory is favored. A space of alternatives is taxonomized; attacks are waged on competitors; defense is mounted against attacks on the favored theory.
The attacks succeed but the defense fails: neither the favored theory nor any competitor deserves our endorsement. Nor do any gaps appear in the taxonomy. But then there is no theory to be located in the investigation undertaken. That is as it would be were the presupposition false---were there no phenomenon, and no properties, denoted by 'sensory experience', or by 'conscious properties', that might have the sought-after 'metaphysical nature' (compare, for instance, my 'Factive phenomenal characters', 'There it is', and 'An analytic-hermeneutic history of Consciousness').
Composed 2022 Australasian Journal of Philosophy, to appear.

Semantic gaps and protosemantics Semantic gaps between physical and mental discourse include the 'explanatory', 'epistemic' (Black-and-White Mary), and 'suppositional' (zombies) gaps; protosemantics is concerned with what is fundamental to meaning. Our tradition presupposes a truth-based protosemantics, with disastrous consequences for interpreting the semantic gaps: nonphysicalism, epiphenomenalism, separatism. Fortunately, an endorsement-based protosemantics, recentering meaning from the world to the mind, is technically viable, intuitively more plausible, and empirically more adequate. But, of present significance, it makes room for interpreting mental discourse as expressing simulations: this blocks the disastrous consequences; and, as a bonus, accommodates hitherto anomalous asymmetries among the various semantic gaps.
Composed early December, 2018 In Acacio de Barros and Carlos Montemayor, editors, Quanta and Mind: Essays on the Connection Between Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness, 201--20: 2019 (Springer).

Relativized metaphysical modality: Index and context Relativized Metaphysical Modality (RMM: Murray and Wilson, 'Relativized metaphysical modality', Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, 2012; Murray, Perspectives on Modal Metaphysics, 2017) exploits 'two-dimensionalist' resources to metaphysical, rather than epistemological, ends: the second dimension offers perspective-dependence without contingency, diverting attacks on 'Classical' analyses of modals (in effect, analyses validating S5 and the Barcan Formulae). Here, we extend the RMM program in two directions. First, we harvest resources for RMM from Lewis's 1980 'Context--Index' (CI) framework: (a) the ban in CI on binding into context-arguments (akin to Kaplan's 'monstrosity' ban) projects a bright line between perspective-dependence and contingency; and (b) CI-postulated connections among meaning, content, truth, argument-structure, context, and modality collectively generate a 'Generalized Humphrey Problem' for any non-Classical analysis (examples covered include appeals to accessibility, contingent domains, and counterpart relations). Second, we sharpen the tools of RMM-based metaphysical analysis, and extend their domain of coverage across familiar anomalies for Classical modals: we revisit earlier RMM-based bulwarks for S5 (against 'Chisholm's Paradox' for moderate flexibility of essence, and nomological necessitarianism); and we now similarly shore up the Barcan Formulae (against the apparent contingency of existence and nonexistence).
Composed 2017--18 With Adam Russell Murray and Jessica M. Wilson. Forthcoming in Ottavio Bueno and Scott Shalkowski, editors, The Routledge Handbook of Modality: 2019.

An analytic-hermeneutic history of Consciousness The hermeneutic tradition divides physical discourse, which takes an 'exterior' point of view in describing its subject-matter, from mental discourse, which takes an 'interior' point of view in expressing its subject-matter: a 'metapsychological dualist' or 'metadualist' approach. The analytic tradition, in its attachment to truth-logic and consequently the 'unity of science', is 'metamonist', and thinks all discourse takes the 'exterior' viewpoint: the 'bump in the rug' moves to the disunification of mind into the functional and (big-'C') Consciousness. Assuming the hermeneuts are correct, the literature's twisty path---from Place and Smart's confused metamonist responses to Ryle's crypto-metadualist Concept of Mind to contemporary metamonist 'phenomenal intentionality'---emerges as an attempt to stabilize theory on a fundamentally wobbly platform.
Composed 2017 In Kelly Michael Becker and Iain Thomson, editors, The Cambridge History of Philosophy: 1945--2015, 74--89: 2019 (Cambridge UP).

David Lewis and the Kangaroo: Graphing philosophical progress Data-driven historiography of philosophy looks to objective modeling tools for illumination of the propagation of influence. While the system of David Lewis, the most influential philosopher of our time, raises historiographic puzzles to stymie conventional analytic methods, it proves amenable to data-driven analysis. A striking result is that Lewis only becomes the metaphysician of current legend following the midpoint of his career: his initial project is to frame a descriptive science of mind and meaning; the transition to metaphysics is a rhetorically breathtaking escape from this program's (inevitable) collapse. Understanding this process both aids a more focused debate whether it counts as progress, and also presents novel affordances for partisans on both sides to learn from Lewis's right and wrong steps.
Composed 2016 In Russell Blackford and Damien Broderick, editors, Philosophy's Future: The Problem of Philosophical Progress: 2017 (Blackwell).

Praxeology, imperatives, and shifts of view Recent neo-Anscombean work in praxeology (aka 'philosophy of practical reason'), salutarily, shifts focus from an alienated 'third-person' viewpoint on practical reason to an embedded 'first-person' view: for example, the 'naive rationalizations' of Michael Thompson, of form 'I am A-ing because I am B-ing', take up the agent's view, in the thick of action. Less salutary, in its premature abandonment of the first-person view, is an interpretation of these naive rationalizations as asserting explanatory links between facts about organically structured agentive processes in progress, followed closely by an inflationary project in 'practical metaphysics'. If, instead, praxeologists chase first-personalism all the way down, both fact and explanation vanish (and with them, the possibility of metaphysics): what is characteristically practical is endorsement of nonpropositional imperatival content, chained together not explanatorily, but through limits on intelligibility. A connection to agentive behavior must somehow be reestablished—but this can (and can only) be done 'transcendentally': through a constraint on shifts between the first- and third-person views, inaccessible within any single viewpoint.
Composed 2015--16 In Rowland Stout, editor, Process, Action, and Experience: 2018 (Oxford).

Rationalization and the Ross Paradox 'Post this letter!' does not entail 'Post this letter or drink up my wine!' (the Ross Paradox) because one can be in a state with the content of the former without being in a state with the content of the latter; in turn, because the latter can rationalize drinking up my wine but the former cannot; in turn, because practical rationalization flows toward one's present situation, in contrast with the flow of theoretical rationalization from one's present situation. Formally, this is implemented with a semantics for imperatives involving a partition to set up an issue of significance and a proposition to establish how to settle it. I characterize a series of languages and language-games to implement all this, and appeal to an 'endorsement-theoretic' conception of modals to explain why 'You must post this letter' does not entail 'You must either post this letter or drink up my wine'.
Composed 2015 In Nate Charlow and Matthew Chrisman, editors, Deontic Modality: 2016 (Oxford).

Obligation and aspect Obligative modals, like 'Fred must open the door', are modalizations of their embedded imperatives, like 'Fred open the door!'. This is why adding aspect beneath 'must' ('Fred must be opening/have opened/have been opening the door') destroys the obligative meaning: imperatives cannot survive aspectualization either. Why? Because they have 'procedural' content---a kind of content distinctively associated with practical reason---and aspectualization is a step on the way from procedure to proposition. But then modals can have nonpropositional operands---no problem, if modals are understood 'expressively'.
Composed 2015 Inquiry 59:398--449, 2016.

Love in the time of cholera We begin with a theory of the structure of sensory consciousness; a target phenomenon of 'presentation' can be clearly located within this structure. We then defend the rational-psychological necessity of presentation. We conclude with discussion of these philosophical challenges to the possibility of presentation. One crucial aspect of the discussion is recognition of the nonobjectivity of consciousness (a technical appendix explains what I mean by that). The other is a full-faced stare at the limitations of rational psychology: much of the dialectic in the philosophy of perception pertains to matters beyond the limits of coherence---a breakwater against which philosophy crashes, and rolls back.
Composed 2012--14 In Berit Brogaard, editor, Does Perception Have Content?: 2014 (Oxford).

Yep—still there Berger argues that there can be perceptual justification outside of consciousness: I reply that he must be thinking of something like 'optimal design', which is not a kind of rationalizing explanation. Logue and Speaks express shock at my contention that in perceptual bad cases, one's point of view embeds a certain kind of incoherence: I reply that this merely puts bad cases on a par with calculation errors or Frege cases and rehearse my reasons for finding the contention inevitable.
Composed 2012 In Richard Brown, editor, Consciousness Inside and Out: 2014 (Springer-Verlag): replies to comments on 'It's still there!'.

It's still there! 1. Basic principles: (I) When we see something red, we can turn attention to its state of redness; (II) this is an infallible belief that that state of redness exists; (III) justification supervenes on the phenomenological. 2. This crashes into phenomenological internalism when we think about hallucination. 3. (III) lets us bring phenomenological 'transparency' on behalf of (I) and epistemological 'givenness' on behalf of (II). 4. What lucid dreaming is like differs from what veridical perception is like; being taken in by a dream is first-person indiscriminable from seeing, but second-person discriminable, because the subject taken in is incoherent but the external subject is not. 5. For rational psychology, that is explanatory bedrock. 6. The vexations in the philosophy of perception are due to undervaluation of the second-person perspective.
Composed 2012 In Richard Brown, editor, Consciousness Inside and Out: 2014 (Springer-Verlag): precis of 'There it is'.

Against egalitarianism Egalitarians like Chalmers (and Lewis) think reality contains many streams of consciousness. I argue that egalitarianism leads to (1) elusive soul pellets, (2) 'phenomenal properties' which we do not talk about, (3) undesirable de se content, (4) transparency violations, (5) an incoherent epistemology of other minds, (6) an unexplained conflict between our belief in materialism and our concepts of consciousness and the material. I sketch an inegalitarian position that evades these difficulties.
Composed 2011 Analysis 73:304--20, 2013: contribution to a symposium on Chalmers's The Character of Consciousness.

There it is A direct realist theory of perceptual justification. I take a ground-up approach, beginning with a theory of subjective rationality understood in terms of first-person rational explicability of the stream of consciousness. I mathematize this picture via a Tractarian spin on a semantical framework developed by Rayo. Perceptual states justify by being 'receptive': rationally inexplicable intentional states encoded in sentences that are analytic. Direct realists working within this framework should say that when one is taken in by hallucination one's overall picture of the world is incoherent; in this sense, a belief based on delusive hallucination can be provided with exculpation but not with justification.
Composed 2010 Philosophical Issues 21 (Direct Realism and Perceptual Justification):110--164, 2011.

An externalist's guide to inner experience Let's be externalists about perceptual consciousness and think the form of veridical perceptual consciousness includes seeing this or that mind-independent particular and its colors. Let's also take internalism seriously, granting that spectral inversion and hallucination can be 'phenomenally' the same as normal seeing. Then perceptual consciousness and phenomenality are different, and so we need to say how they are related. It's complicated!

Phenomenal sameness is (against all odds) reflective indiscriminability. I build a 'displaced perception' account of reflection on which indiscriminability stems from shared 'qualia'. Qualia are compatible with direct realism: while they generate an explanatory gap (and colors do not), so does seeing; qualia are excluded from perceptual consciousness by its 'transparency'; instead, qualia are aspects of thought about the perceived environment.

The asymmetry between my treatments of color and seeing is grounded in the asymmetry between ignorance and error: while inversion shows that normal subjects are ignorant of the natures of the colors, hallucination shows not that perceivers are ignorant of the nature of seeing but that hallucinators are prone to error about their condition. Past literature has treated inversion and hallucination as on a par: externalists see error in both cases, while internalists see mutual ignorance. My account is so complicated because plausible results require mixing it up.
Composed 2009 In Bence Nanay, editor, Perceiving the World: 2010 (Oxford).

The multidisjunctive conception of hallucination Direct realists think that we can't get a clear view the nature of hallucinating a white picket fence: is it representing a white picket fence? is it sensing white-picket-fencily? is it being acquainted with a white' picketed' sense-datum? These are all epistemic possibilities for a single experience; hence they are all metaphysical possibilities for various experiences. Hallucination itself is a disjunctive or 'multidisjunctive' category. I rebut MGF Martin's argument from statistical explanation for his 'epistemic' conception of hallucination, but his view embeds in my view as a 'reference-fixer'.
Composed 2008 In Fiona MacPherson, editor, Hallucination: 2013 (MIT).

Factive phenomenal characters The notion of 'phenomenal character' is defective because overconstrained. It is supposed to be shared among introspectively indiscriminable experiences, but it is also supposed to be the way consciousness presents itself. But consciousness presents itself as acquaintance with tables and chairs, so the defectiveness follows from the argument from hallucination.
Composed 2007 Philosophical Perspectives 21:259--306, 2007.

That which makes the sensation of blue a mental fact An interpretation of the anti-idealist manoeuverings of the second half of Moore's 'The refutation of idealism', source of the 'transparency' and 'diaphaneity' passages. The centerpiece of these manoeuverings is a phenomenological argument for a relational view of perceptual phenomenal character, on which, roughly, 'that which makes the sensation of blue a mental fact' is a relation of conscious awareness. I dispel some myths: representationalism is Moore's main opponent; the discussion of transparency and diaphanousness is a sidelight, rebutting an objection to the phenomenological argument; the point of those passages is that the relation of conscious awareness is not transparent (though can seem to be).
Composed 2006 European Journal of Philosophy 15:334--66, 2007.

'There's something it's like' and the structure of consciousness I discuss the meaning of 'There's something e is like', offering four candidates: (a) e is some way as regards its subject; (b) e is some way and e's being that way is in the possession of its subject; (c) e is some way in the awareness of its subject; (d) e's subject is the 'experiencer' of e. Contra Eric Lormand, there's nothing perceptual about it.
Composed 2006 The Philosophical Review 116:441--63, 2007.

Representationalism Handbook entry.
Composed 2006 In Tim Bayne, Axel Cleeremans, and Patrick Wilkin, editors, Oxford Companion to Consciousness: 2009.

Acquaintance Handbook entry.
Composed 2006 In Tim Bayne, Axel Cleeremans, and Patrick Wilkin, editors, Oxford Companion to Consciousness: 2009.

Beyond phenomenal naivete Direct realism is threatened by the argument from hallucination, but supported by introspection. This support would be defeated if we made a shift of attention in introspecting: we shift from the object of (intentional) sight, which is external, to the relation born to sense-data.
Composed 2005 The Philosophers' Imprint 6(2), 2006.

Noise and perceptual indiscriminability The color of this paint chip is seen under a mode of presentation; this mode of presentation is inexact, can be satisfied by a small but nonzero range of colors; so this color might be any color in this range. Going by the modes of presentation of a's color and b's color, they might be the same and might be different. Going by the modes of presentation of b's color and c's color, they might be the same and might be different. But going by the modes of presentation of a's color and c's color, they must be different. This is the 'nontransitivity of perceptual indiscriminability'. Against Jackson and Pinkerton, Raffman, and Graff, there is no need to think this requires a change in us in two episodes of looking at the same paint chip. Modes of presentation are inexact because every signal is noisy. We can introspect this noise: close your eyes and note the flickering; it's still there, if weakly, when you open them.
Composed 2001--2004 Mind 114:481--508, 2005.

Higher-order intentionality and higher-order acquaintance If you are of the sort who thinks that consciousness requires one's awareness of some aspect of one's own condition, no need to think it requires self-representation: it could instead be acquaintance with one's own condition. This view is better because acquaintance can't be wrong.
Composed 2004 Philosophical Studies 134:289--324, 2007.

Inexpressible truths and the allure of the knowledge argument The Knowledge Argument concludes that some truth---that seeing a red thing is F---is not 'physical', and its form is valid (compare Stalnaker's Locke Lectures). Its central premiss, that Mary does not know what seeing a red thing is like, means that that truth of form seeing a red thing is F is unknown to Mary. This is unknown to Mary because the F-concept is acquaintance-based, and she lacks it. What if we grant her the concept? Then the Knowledge Argument succeeds only if physical spectral inversion is conceivable.
Composed 2002 In Peter Ludlow, Yujin Nagasawa, and Daniel Stoljar, editors, There's Something about Mary: 2004 (MIT).

Consciousness and representationalism Handbook entry.
Composed 2001 In Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science: 2002 (Macmillan).

Bits and pieces

Neufeld and Woodard's 'On subtweeting' APA Pacific Division, April 2022
Masrour's 'Grasping spatial properties' Ranch Metaphysics Workshop, Tucson, January 2022
Stoljar's 'Pessimism about philosophical progress—why is it so widespread?' Philosophical Progress, Tokyo, May 2019
Boylan's 'Putting oughts together' APA Pacific Division, April 2019
Has the analytic tradition created the 'hard problem of consciousness'? Yes it has. While Oppenheim/Putnam-style 'unitarianism' is generally thought to suffer from an 'epistemic gap' separating the physical and mental aspects of the world, this is a misdiagnosis stemming from the conjecture that all reasoning is fundamentally descriptive: rather, reasoning about the mental and about the physical are fundamentally different, with the former involving 'simulation', a sort of 'prop-oriented make-believe'. If this seems to be of no fundamental rational significance, that is a mistake stemming from the conjecture that logic is fundamentally about truth: rather, logic is fundamentally about reasoning. The conjectures are mutually supporting, and were 'baked into' the ideology of the analytic tradition by Neurath in the 1920s; but by now theory and formal technology make available an alternative package within which the 'hard problem of consciousness' does not arise.
Seminario de Investigadores, Instituto de Investigaciones Filosoficas, UNAM, May 2018

If-clauses as postsemantic context-shifters A mainstay assumption in natural-language semantics is that if-clauses bind indexical argument-places in then-clauses. Unfortunately, recent work (compare Santorio 2012) suggests that if-clauses can somehow act to 'shift the context'. On the framework of Kaplan's 'Demonstratives' (Kaplan 1977), that would be 'monstrous' and somehow impossible 'in English'. The superseding framework of Lewis's 'Index, context, and content' (Lewis 1980) instead maintains that an indexical argument-place is just one that is bindable (compare Stalnaker 2014, ch. 1), but maintains that these are rare---whereas the lesson of recent work is that they are pervasive.

This brief technical note observes that it is possible to 'hack' the Lewis framework to make use of a resource that is doing little work: the 'postsemantic' stage, whereby nonpropositional semantic values are transformed into propositional contents. I provide a semantics for if-clauses on which they \emph{restrict} the domain of definedness of their operanda to those in which the antecedent is correct, and then test for the correctness of the consequent: postsemantically, then, we 'seek out' the closest context in which the antecedent is correct; if it is one in which the consequent is correct, the conditional is correct in our context. The result has the structure of a Stalnaker-conditional, but over contexts rather than worlds.

The 'hack' has the radical consequence that this the mainstay assumption in natural-language semantics is wrong: if if-clauses act postsemantically rather than in the course of semantic composition, then nothing about their behavior can teach us anything about the distribution of indexical argument-places.
Notes, 8 Sep 2017

From externalism to expressivism The dialectic of 'There it is', modernized. Evidentialism, on which perception brings believed truths, is best developed in a fragmental version, on which 'bad case' subjects believe some fact about which bad case they are in and also believe some incompatible falsehood to the effect that they are in a good case, but in distinct 'fragments'. Rationalism, on which what rationalizes is fixed by what it is like, together with the fragmental approach, is very implausible given a descriptive approach to consciousness-discourse; so rationalist evidentialists should be expressivists about consciousness. The math for the relevant expressivism is worked up within endorsement-logic, using something like a Stalnaker-conditional and various tricks with partitions.
Consciousness and Semantic Externalism, NYU, May 2017

Endorsement-logic, simulationism, and the cogito Descartes scholarship! The cogito is interpreted as an argument for 'Subjects', individuals with mental properties. Epistemological premiss: it is incoherent to suppose that someone's 'autopsychological' belief (like 'I am thinking that I may lack hands') is mistaken; semantic premiss: in the logical form of such a belief, its term saturates a predicative argument-place; minor premiss: someone has had (indeed, now has) such a belief. Assuming the epistemological premiss, why might it be true? ---Not because autopsychological belief is 'evidence' (unless 'thinking' is understood to concern verbal imagery: sadly, a nonpsychological subject-matter). Instead, because the 'logic' of mental ascription requires it---but then mental discourse is expressive of our simulations (in the 'autopsychological' case, of 'degenerate' simulations); and then the logical form term is for indexing a modal rather than for denoting an instance of a property.
Cogito: Yes or No?, Ligerz, April 2017

Knowing what it is like to converse in L Semantics of natural languages as practiced provides semantic value assignments that are truth-conditional and structured. In metasemantics, Chomsky's 'cognitivism' says knowledge of L is having a brain structured in a certain way, while Lewis's 'conventionalism' says it is a share in common knowledge of a collective resolution of a social coordination problem. But cognitivism explains why semantics should talk about structure and ignore truth-conditions, while conventionalism explains why semantics should talk about truth-conditions and ignore structure. I develop a 'simulationist' metasemantics on which knowing L is knowing what it is like to converse in L -- e.g., that part of what it is like to assert 'goats eat cans' is for things to be like this: goats eat cans. A result is that semantics is phenomenology, a slogan implemented in 'mindset semantics' (roughly, Kaplanism with the actual world replaced by my present context) -- a framework involving both structure and (something like) truth-conditions as explanatorily central.
Version of 17 December 2013

Sentences, strings, and truth Distinguish the sentence ''snow is white' is true' from the string that constitutes it. This paper develops the String-to-Sentence Theory of Truth---for short, String Theory---according to which, while the string contains the string 'true', the sentence is merely 'snow is white', which contains no such occurrence: more generally, a string like 'S is true' constitutes, relative to an assessor, the sentence which, to the assessor, means the same as S. So suppose we attempt to define a singular term 'L' referring to the sentence 'not: L is true'. Relative to an assessor, 'L' refers to the sentence negating the assessor's sentence meaning the same as the referent of 'L'. So the referent of 'L' means the same as its negation. But no sentence means the same as its negation, so 'L' does not refer. The act of naming with which the liar paradox commences is semantically defective; so there can be no liar paradox. (Boo-yah.)
Version of 17 February 2013

Out of this world (2013) Consciousness and indexicality are sometimes believed to pose metaphysical problems. But metaphysical problems arise only through thinking 'objectively', and neither phenomenon is recognizable 'as such' through thinking objectively. The contrasts among objective thought, indexical thought, and thought about consciousness are displayed using my framework of 'mindset semantics'.
1. The conceivability argument against materialism and how (and the sense in which) it presupposes sentences about consciousness encode information 2.1 Phenomenology: givenness, qualities, the present, and the distinctness of consciousness from anything we can be informed about 2.2 Rational psychology: it supervenes on consciousness 3. Mindset semantics: formal basics, interpretation, and application to elucidating 'informing' and 'expressing' 4. Formal part: 4.1 'This is thus' 4.2 'Here's what it's like' 4.3 'For Sam' 4.4 Empathy and the conceivability argument
Paper: written 3--11 March 2013 for a session at the Pacific APA, with comments by Brie Gertler and Geoff Lee

Out of this world (2012) In favor of expressivism about first- and second-person discourse about consciousness. Initial tranche of slides in red contains a series of pictures intended to illustrate the parable at the start of 'Against egalitarianism'. Later tranches present in more detail (grey) the formal proposal; (black) relation to higher-order approaches; (back to red) the objections encoded in the parable (presented in more detail in 'Against egalitarianism').
Toward a Science of Consciousness, Tucson, April 2012

Knowledge ascription as expression of trust Sketch of a test semantics for knowledge ascriptions: the point is to align patterns of trust. Four arguments for the view: (1) allows for K = TB (2) gets the logic of knowledge right (3) explains the course of discussion in modern epistemology (4) approximates using minimal conceptual resources to an ideal epistemic logic
Notes, 30 Sep 2011

The neonatal intensive care unit of theory If there is progress in philosophy, there is a thing, philosophy, which can progressively achieve its aims. This thing is an academic 'guild' with the special distinction that it has no subject-matter. I argue that such a guild would look like philosophy: its members would be skeptics, would be sympathetic to other views, would be comfortable with cognitive dissonance, would keep their heroes alive, and would work on issues philosophers do in fact work on. Philosophy should think of itself on a medical analogy: we work to get new ideas up and flying with creativity, diligence, care, and a sense of tragedy.
Progress in Philosophy, Harvard, September 2011

Regarding a question as determinately answered Williamson and Barnett argue that if it is (metaphysically) indeterminate whether P, a contradiction is true. I (i) radically simplify the argument (ii) show that the argument assumes the validity of a meta-rule of contraposition (iii) develop the argument in two other ways not assuming this meta-rule (iv) develop parallel worries about Moorean belief (v) observe that in all cases the worries involve inference rules involving supposition (vi) argue that the problem for belief dissolves on a 'test' semantics according to which 'I believe that P' can have a different content in the scope of a supposition than outside the scope of the supposition (vii) develop a test semantics for 'determinate' on which 'it is determinate whether P' expresses one's sense that there is an answer to the question whether P (viii) extract a metaphysics from this semantics which supplements the familiar 'content of the objective world' with a 'form of my world', which it is the function of sentences with a test semantics to display.
Metaphysical Indeterminacy, University of Leeds, September 2011

Schellenberg's 'Experience and evidence' Carolina Metaphysics Workshop, Duck, NC, June 2011
The map and the territory Spectral inversion, or considerations of the arbitrariness of the sign more generally, have threatened our prereflective sense of acquaintance with the manifest since Hume. But if we both acquiesce in our home language and attend with exquisite care to the use-mention distinction, we can find our way back to daylight.
Notes, 29 Oct 2010

Silence in the ontology room What is 'indeterminacy'? Williamson and Barnett argue that there is no coherent explanation of what we mean when we say 'it is indeterminate whether there will be a sea-battle tomorrow'. Their mistake is to assume that this is intended to represent things in a certain way, when actually it is intended to signal a certain sort of refusal to represent. I present a version of the sea-battle argument for indeterminacy at the fundamental level, and then expound at some length upon the question of what exactly it is that I am refusing to do.
Notes, 3 Dec 2009

Experience as a limit There could be 'weak zombies', creatures physically and qualitatively like us, but without a perspective on the world.
Consciousness and Thought, Interuniversity Center, Dubrovnik, August 2008

How to color McTaggart Inversion without illusion meets Kit Fine-style metaphysical relativism.
Consciousness on the Beach, ANU, February 2007


A CV template Many things need to go right in order for your CV to communicate pertinent facts about you. This archive contains .tex, .docx, and .pdf files that you may use as a CV template, simply by replacing the information about Pape Blong with information about you. If, in doing so, you observe and carefully adhere to the various conventions exemplified in the template, your CV will be as flawless as Pape's.
The Ludovician Mysteries An evolving list of perplexities about the philosophy of David Lewis
David Lewis autocitation network (.zip) Some works by David Lewis cite other works by David Lewis. The force-directed graph links citing sources to cited targets. Temporal order is overlain by making links proportional to time between source and target, and by varying 'gravity' with publication year. The .zip file contains this graph, as well as various cocitation graphs as discussed in 'David Lewis and the Kangaroo', along with a table representing the systematic and dialectical structure of the early Lewis corpus.
With David Balcarras

Hypercube Entailment relations among information states regarding a pair of independent binary questions crop up all over the place. These relations fall into a hypercube, or 4-D Boolean lattice. This is a picture of them.
The transparency of experience: annotated bibliography (.bib)
My BibTeX database

For the Record