List of articles, with abstracts

Blind peer-reviewed articles :
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  • forthcoming, 'From experience to metaphysics : on experience-based intuitions and their role in metaphysics', in Noûs

    Abstract :
    Metaphysical theories are often counter-intuitive. But they also often are strongly supported and motivated by intuitions. One way or another, the link between intuitions and metaphysics is a strong and important one, and there is hardly any metaphysical discussion where intuitions do not play a crucial role. In this article, I will be interested in a particular kind of such intuitions, namely those that come, at least partly, from experience. There seems to be a route from experience to metaphysics, and this is the core of my interest here. In order to better understand such 'arguments from experience' and the kind of relationship there is between this type of intuitions and metaphysical theories, I shall examine four particular cases where a kind of experience-based intuition seems to motivate or support a metaphysical theory. At the end of the day, I shall argue that this route is a treacherous one, and that in all of the four cases I shall concentrate on, phenomenological considerations are in fact orthogonal to the allegedly 'corresponding' metaphysical claims. An anti-realist view of metaphysics will emerge.

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  • forthcoming, 'Primitiveness, metaontology, and explanatory power', in Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review

    Abstract :
    In most metaphysical debates a lot depends on primitives – indeed, metaphysical theories heavily rely on the use of primitives that they typically appeal to. I will start by shortly examining and evaluating some traditional well-known theories and I will discuss the role of primitives in metaphysical theories in general. I will then turn to a discussion of claims of 'equivalence' between theories that, I think, depend on equivalences of primitives, and I will explore the nature of primitives in general. By doing this, I would like to emphasize the utmost importance of primitives in the construction of metaphysical theories and in the subsequent evaluation of them. I will then claim that almost all explanatory power of metaphysical theories comes from their primitives, and so I will turn to scrutinize the notion of "power" and "explanatory". All together, these points will naturally lead me to defend a global view on the nature of the metaphysical enterprise : what is at stake in metaphysics is to find out not just what there is or what there is not, but what is more fundamental than what – to find out what are the best primitives.

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  • forthcoming, 'I am a lot of things: a pluralistic account of the Self', in Metaphysica

    Abstract :
    When I say that I am a lot of things, I mean it literally and metaphysically speaking. The Self, or so I shall argue, is a plurality (notwithstanding the fact that ordinary language takes "the Self" to be a singular term – but, after all, language is only language). It is not a substance or a substratum, and it is not a collection or a bundle. The view I wish to advocate for is a kind of reductionism, in line with some – but not all – broadly Humean ideas. In short, I will defend the view there are the experiences and mental states we have, and that's it: no additional substances, and no bundles. This does not mean, however, that there is no Self – the Self simply is the experiences.
    I will try to articulate and defend this view by showing that it can accommodate what I take to be the three main desiderata for any theory of the Self to satisfy: first, that the Self is the subject of experience (a subject of mental states, in general); second, that there is a unity to the Self in the sense that our (conscious, phenomenal) experience is at least partly continuous or 'stream-like'; and third, that we do not die when we go to sleep or when we otherwise don't have any (conscious, phenomenal) experiences.

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  • forthcoming, 'Vague objects with sharp boundaries', in Ratio

    Abstract :
    In this article I consider two seemingly contradictory claims: first, the claim that everybody who thinks that there are ordinary objects has to accept that they are vague, and second, the claim that everybody has to accept the existence of sharp boundaries to ordinary objects. The purpose of this article is of course not to defend a contradiction. Indeed, there is no contradiction because the two claims do not concern the same "everybody". The first claim, that all ordinary objects are vague, is a claim that stems both from common sense intuitions as well as from various types of ontologies of ordinary objects. This puts then pressure on theories of vagueness to account for the vague nature of ordinary objects – but, as we shall see, all theories of vagueness have to accept the existence of sharp thresholds. This is obvious in the case of epistemicism, and it is a well-known defect of supervaluationism, but as we will see friends of metaphysical vagueness do have to endorse the existence of sharp thresholds in their theory as well. Consequently, there are reasons for dissatisfaction with these accounts, since they do not seem to be able to do the job we asked them to do.

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  • 2014, 'Tropes or universals: how (not) to make one's choice', in Metaphilosophy, Vol.45, No.1, p.69-86.

    Abstract :
    In this paper, I discuss a familiar version of trope theory as opposed to a familiar version of the theory of universals, and I examine how these two rivals address the problem of 'attribute agreement' – a problem that has been at the root of the very reason for developing these theories in the first place. I show that there is not much of a difference between the ways these two theories handle the problem, and in a more general way I then argue that there is little reason for preferring one theory over the other.
    Recently, various claims of 'equivalence' between metaphysical theories have been at the centre of the debate in meta-ontology. My claim about trope theory and the theory of universals is not one of them: I will not claim that trope theory and the theory of universals are 'equivalent'. My claim will be weaker: the two views, while different, do the same job in very much the same way, and even when one acknowledges the differences there are between the two competitors, there is little ground to pick a winner.
    I am not interested in this claim only for the sake of the debate between trope theory and the theory of universals. Indeed, as we shall see, the reasons why I will claim that it is so difficult to choose one theory over the other can be applied to other cases as well (where they might lead to claims of metaphysical equivalence). In this paper, my aim and my claim will be mostly critical: I will limit myself to showing that we metaphysicians are in an uncomfortable position with respect to the two allegedly rival views when we try to choose between them, but I will not suggest a way out.

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  • 2013, 'The Present VS. The Specious Present', in Review of Philosophy and Psychology Vol.4, No.2, 193-203

    Abstract :
    This article is concerned with the alleged incompatibility between presentism and specious present theories of temporal experience. According to presentism, the present time is instantaneous (or, near-instantaneous), while according to specious present theories, the specious present is temporally extended – therefore, it seems that there is no room in reality for the whole of a specious present, if presentism is true. It seems then that one of the two claims – presentism or the specious present theory – has to go.
    I shall argue that this kind of worries is mislead. Once we understand properly how our phenomenal experience as of passage and as of change, such as it is understood by specious present theorists, comes into being, the apparent phenomenologico-metaphysical conflict will disappear. In short, the mistake here is to presuppose that there is a link between phenomenology and metaphysics stronger than it actually is. Presentism is a metaphysical theory about what exists. Specious presentism is a phenomenological theory about how things appear to us in experience. As we will see, the two claims are not in conflict, and are in fact entirely orthogonal.

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  • 2013, 'Branching and (in)determinism', in Philosophical Papers, Vol.42, No.2, pp.151-173

    Abstract :
    At a first glance, and even at a second one, it seems that if time is linear the threat of determinism is more severe than if time is branching, since in the latter case the future is open in a way it is not in the former one where, so to speak, there exists only one branch – one future. In this paper, I want to give a 'third glance' at this claim. I acknowledge that such a claim is intuitive (this is the first glance) and that it is also meaningfully and interestingly defended in recent literature where branching time is either said to imply indeterminism or at least to be compatible with it.
    To try to make my third glance as precise and as fleshed out as possible, I shall first concentrate on what 'branching' is or could be, and I shall discuss various versions and interpretations of this view. I shall then (more quickly) turn my attention to what determinism is or could be, and I will distinguish three (well-known) kinds of it – focusing mainly on 'metaphysical determinism'. Having these tools in hand, I will then ask (and answer) the question whether branching time helps with avoiding determinism or not. As we shall see, it is incorrect to think that under the branching hypothesis the threat of determinism is any smaller – rather, I will argue that if one has reasons to think that determinism is true, branching will not help, and that the issue of branching versus linear time is then actually neutral with respect to the question whether determinism or indeterminism is true.

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  • 2013, 'New reasons to motivate trope theory: endurantism and perdurantism', in Acta Analytica 28(2):223-227.

    Abstract :
    In this paper, I argue that (non-presentist) endurantism is incompatible with the view that properties are universals. I do so by putting forward a very simple objection that forces the endurantist to embrace tropes, rather than universals. I do not claim that this is bad news for the endurantist – trope theory seems to me by all means more appealing than universals – rather, I would like to see this result as a further motivation to embrace tropes. I then also put forward a (more controversial) reason to believe that at least some versions of perdurantism also require tropes rather than universals.

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  • 2013, 'Philosophical theories, aesthetic value, and theory choice', in The Journal of Value Inquiry, Vol.47, 3, pp.191-205

    Abstract :
    The practice of attributing aesthetic properties to scientific and philosophical theories is commonplace. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of such an aesthetic judgement about a theory is Quine's in 'On what there is': "Wyman's overpopulated universe is in many ways unlovely. It offends the aesthetic sense of us who have a taste for desert landscapes". Many other philosophers and scientists, before and after Quine, have attributed aesthetic properties to particular theories they are defending or rejecting. One often hears that a view is "elegant", "attractive", "beautiful", or even "sexy". [...]
    The general claim that aesthetic properties supervene on non-aesthetic properties is a largely debated one. In this paper, I wish to address this issue from an angle which has not been really explored so far: I shall neither concentrate on cases of artefacts nor of natural objects, like the beauty of a painting or the beauty of a sunrise, rather, my main centre of attention will be the somewhat more special, theoretical case of the beauty of philosophical theories (with a focus on metaphysical theories). As we will see, there are some interesting issues concerning claims that attribute aesthetic properties to theories, in part because, even if such claims are commonplace in philosophy and in science, little has been said about the nature of the relevant supervenience basis – that is, about what it is exactly that the beauty of a theory is supposed to supervene on.
    Moreover, we shall see that aesthetic properties of theories play a crucial role in theory choice and evaluation. Indeed, it seems that the aesthetic properties of a theory can be appealed to in theory evaluation and when it comes to preferring one theory over another. But before we ask ourselves what role the attribution of aesthetic properties to theories can play, I will adress the question how theories come to have their aesthetic properties in the first place.

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  • 2013, 'Experiencing photographs qua photographs: what's so special about them?', in Contemporary Aesthetics

    Abstract :
    Merely rhetorically, and answering in the negative, Kendall Walton has asked: "Isn't photography just another method people have of making pictures, one that merely uses different tools and materials – cameras, photosensitive paper, darkroom equipment, rather than canvas, paint, and brushes? And don't the results differ only contingently and in degree, not fundamentally, from pictures of other kinds?"
    Contra Walton and others, I wish to defend in this article a resounding "Yes" as being the correct answer to these questions. It is a widely shared view that photographs are somehow special and that they fundamentally differ from hand-made pictures like paintings, both from a phenomenological point of view (in the way we experience them), and an epistemic point of view (since they are supposed to have a different – greater – epistemic value than paintings, giving us a privileged access to the world). In what follows, I shall reject almost the totality of these claims, and as a consequence there will remain little difference left between photographs and paintings. As we shall see, 'photographs are always partly paintings' – a claim that is true not only of retouched digital photographs but of all photographs, including traditional ones made using photosensitive film and development techniques.

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  • 2012, 'Photographic Representation and Depiction of Temporal Extension', in Inquiry, Vol.55, No.2, 194–213

    Abstract :
    The main task of this paper is to understand if and how static images like photographs can represent and/or depict temporal extension (duration). In order to do this, a detour will be necessary to understand some features of the nature of photographic representation and depiction in general. This important detour will enable us to see that photographs (can) have a narrative content, and that the skilled photographer can 'tell a story' in a very clear sense, as well as control and guide the attention of the spectator of the photograph. The understanding and defence of this claim is a secondary aim of this paper, and it will then allow us to provide a good treatment of the particular case of photographic representation and depiction of temporal extension.

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  • 2012, 'The causal efficiency of the passage of time', in Philosophia, Vol. 40, Issue 4

    Abstract :
    Does mere passage of time have causal powers ? Are properties like "being n days past" causally efficient ? A pervasive intuition among metaphysicians seems to be that they don't. Events and/or objects change, and they cause or are caused by other events and/or objects; but one does not see how just the mere passage of time could cause any difference in the world.
    In this paper, I shall discuss a case where it seems that mere passage of time does have causal powers : Sydney Shoemaker's (1969) possible world where temporal vacua (allegedly) take place. I shall argue that Shoemaker's thought-experiment doesn't really aim at teaching us that there can be time without change, but rather that if such a scenario is plausible at all (as I think it is) it provides us with good reasons to think that mere passage of time can be directly causally efficient.

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  • 2012, 'Aesthetic Supervenience vs. Aesthetic Grounding', in Estetika : The Central European Journal of Aesthetics, XLIX/V, No.2, 166–178

    Abstract :
    The claim that the having of aesthetic properties supervenes on the having of non-aesthetic properties has been widely discussed and, in various ways, defended. In this paper, I will show that even if it is sometimes true that a supervenience relation holds between aesthetic properties and the 'subvenient' non-aesthetic ones, it is not the interesting relation in the neighbourhood. As we shall see, a richer, asymmetric and irreflexive relation is required, and I shall defend the claim that the more-and-more-popular relation of grounding does a much better job than supervenience.

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  • 2012, 'The Speed of Thought. Experience of change, movement, and time : a Lockean account', in Locke Studies, vol.12, p.85-109

    Abstract :
    This paper is about our experience of change and movement, and thus about our experience of time – at least under the reasonable assumption that we (can only) experience time by having experiences of change. This assumption is shared by Locke, whose view on temporal experience, expounded in Book II, Chap.14 of his Essay, will be the main focal point of my paper. Some of the most influential accounts of temporal experience embrace the notion of a "specious present" as an explanatory tool in order to account for the continuous and unfolding aspect of our experiences. In this article, I will raise some points of dissatisfaction with the very notion of the specious present, and while I shall not reject the specious present theories, I will argue that more is needed in order to have a proper understanding and explanation of our temporal experience. I will then discuss and defend a view of temporal experience whose basis can be found in Locke's Essay, and which, given some amendments and further development within a contemporary framework, provides us with a very good analysis of our experience of movement, change, and time – a view that helps us to avoid some burdensome commitments incurred by specious present theories and that can be fruitfully combined with these theories in order to yield a complete and more informative picture of the phenomenon of temporal experience.

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  • 2012, 'Le réalisme modal de David Lewis nous condamne-t-il à la souffrance éternelle ?', in Klesis

    Abstract :
    Dans cet article, je discute deux versions de la théorie réaliste de mondes possibles : celle de Lewis qui est dite 'divergente' et une théorie de mondes possibles branchants. Dans ces deux cadres de pensée, je discute ensuite l'argument de David Lewis selon lequel l'hypothèse branchante pourrait nous conduire à craindre que nous vivrons une immortalité pleine de souffrance.

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  • 2011, 'Endurance, perdurance, and metaontology', in Northern European Journal of Philosophy (Sats), Vol XII, n°2

    Abstract :
    The recent debate in metaontology gave rise to several types of (more or less classical) answers to questions about "equivalences" between metaphysical theories and to the question whether metaphysical disputes are substantive or merely verbal (i.e. various versions of realism, strong anti-realism, moderate anti-realism, or epistemicism). In this paper, I want to do two things. First, I shall have a close look at one metaphysical debate that has been the target and center of interest of many meta-metaphysicians, namely the problem of how material objects persist through time : the endurantism vs. perdurantism controversy. It has been argued that this debate is a good example of a merely verbal one, where two allegedly competing views are in fact translatable one into each other – they end up, contrary to appearances, to be equivalent. In my closer look at this debate, I will conclude that this is correct, but only to some extent, and that there does remain room for substantive disagreement.
    The second thing that I wish to achieve in this paper, and that I hope will stem from my considerations about the persistence debate, is to defend a metaontological view that emphasizes that when asking the question "Are metaphysical debates substantive or verbal?" the correct answer is "It depends." Some debates are substantive, some debates are merely verbal, sometimes it is true that a problem or a question can be formulated in equally good frameworks where there is no fact of the matter as to which one is correct or where we just cannot know it. Furthermore, importantly, as my examination of the persistence debate will show, there is room for the view that a debate is largely merely verbal but not entirely and that some parts of it are substantive, and decidable by philosophical methods. It is possible, and it is the case with respect to the persistence debate, that inside a debate some points are merely verbal while other are places of substantive disagreement. A moral of this is that, at the end of the day, the best way to do meta-metaphysics is to do first-level metaphysics.

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  • 2011, 'The relationist and substantivalist theories of time : foes or friends ?', in European Journal of Philosophy

    Abstract :
    There are two traditionally rival views about the nature of time : substantivalism that takes time to be a substance that exists independently of events located in it, and relationism that takes time to be constructed out of events. In this paper, first, I want to make some progress with respect to the debate between these two views, and I do this mainly by examining the strategies they use to face the possibilities of 'empty time' and 'time without change'. As we shall see, the two allegedly very different rival views are much less different than what we thought : their structure is extremely similar, their strategies are extremely similar, and they can both face the possibilities of 'empty time' and 'time without change' in the same way. Thus, I argue in favour of a certain kind of equivalence between the two views, I discuss a Strong and a Weak version of this claim, and I provide reasons for endorsing the former. I also discuss the parallel between this pair of views about the nature of time and another analogous pair of views : the bundle theory and the substratum theory about the nature of material objects, with respect to the problem with Identity of Indiscernibles.

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  • 2011, 'What photographs are (and what they are not)', in Disputatio, Vol.IV, no.31

    Abstract :
    For the metaphysician, photographs are very puzzling entities indeed. And even from the non-philosopher's intuitive point of view, it is not that clear what sort of thing a photograph is. Typically, if a client wants to purchase a photograph, she can mean very different things by 'buying a photograph' : she can mean to buy a print or a number of prints, or she can mean to buy a negative (when traditional film photographs are concerned) or a file (when digital photography is concerned), or she can mean to buy a right to use a photograph a precisely determined number of times in a number of brochures or on a website, and so on. When facing a new client, I always, without exception, face the problem of explaining to her what it is that she is actually buying – and it is not always clear that she is ever buying a photograph.
    As a metaphysician, I face a much more difficult challenge : find out to what ontological category photographs belong to. Are they concrete spatio-temporal entities like prints, are they universals since there can be many 'prints-instances' of a same photograph, are they sets or aggregates of prints, or something even different ? This is the task that I wish to undertake in this paper : examine all plausible metaphysical categories to which photographs could belong to, and see which one is the fittest. As we shall see, in this 'survival for the fittest' competition between traditional metaphysical categories, there will be no real winner : several categories will reveal themselves to be enlightening and useful when describing features of what photographs are, but none will prove to be entirely satisfactory. Photographs, it seems, are a sort of borderline entities that share some but not all aspects of several traditional metaphysical categories. Is it then justified to postulate a new ontological category to which photographs would properly belong ? On mainly methodological grounds, I shall argue that it is not, and I will suggest a different way out of this metaphysician's trouble by defending a nihilism about photographs. To put it bluntly, I will defend the claim that photographs do not exist – but I will also argue that this is not a very revisionary or anti-commonsensical claim.

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  • 2011, 'Endurance and time travel', in Kriterion, 24:65-72

    Abstract :
    Suppose that you travel back in time to talk to your younger self in order to tell her that she (you) should have done some things in her (your) life differently. Of course, you will not be able to make this plan work, we know that from the many versions of 'the grandfather paradox' that populate the philosophical literature about time travel. What will be my centre of interest in this paper is the conversation between you and ... you – i.e. the older you that travelled back in time and the younger you, when you first meet. As we shall see, given this situation, endurantists will have to endorse a strange consequence of their view : you will turn out to be a universal while your properties will turn out to be particulars.

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  • 2011, 'Three kinds of realism about photographs', in The Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 25:4

    Abstract :
    In this paper, I explore the nature of photographs by comparing them to hand-made paintings, as well as by comparing traditional film photography with digital photography, and I concentrate on the question of realism. Several different notions can be distinguished here. Are photographs such that they depict the world in a 'realist' or a 'factive' way ? Do they show us the world as it is with accuracy and reliability other types of pictures don't posses ? Do they allow us, as some have suggested, to literally see the world through them ? Below, I will distinguish three kinds of realism about photographs, reject two, and partly endorse one. Indeed, the label "realism", when concerning photographs, can stand for a variety of very different claims. The first (and quite obvious) distinction to start with concerns what the realist thesis is about : the claim that somehow photographs are more accurate or more reliable or that they somehow depict the world better than hand-made pictures can be a claim about the photographic image itself or alternatively a claim about the way in which photographs are produced. In the former case, realism is a thesis about how photographs look and what sort of information they contain, while in the latter case realism is a claim about the process of production of photographs. It is the latter claim that is the most discussed in the philosophical literature about photography. I will concentrate on this type of realism, of which I shall examine two varieties.

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  • 2011, 'Vagueness : a statistical epistemicist approach', in Teorema, Vol. XXX/3

    Abstract :
    There are three main traditional accounts of vagueness : the first treats it as a genuinely metaphysical phenomenon, the second as a phenomenon of ignorance, and the third as a linguistic or conceptual phenomenon. In this paper I will briefly present these views, especially the epistemicist and supervaluationist strategies, and shortly point to some well-known problems that burden them. I will then examine a 'statistical epistemicist' account of vagueness that is designed to avoid precisely these problems – it is a view that provides an account of the phenomenon of vagueness as coming from our linguistic practices, while insisting that meaning supervenes on use, and that our use of vague terms does yield sharp and precise meanings, which we ignore, thus allowing bivalence to hold.

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  • 2010, 'Relational and substantival ontologies, and the nature and the role of primitives in ontological theories', in Erkenntnis, 73:1

    Abstract :
    Several metaphysical debates have typically been modeled as oppositions between a relationist approach and a substantivalist approach. Such debates include the Bundle Theory and the Substratum Theory about ordinary material objects, the Bundle (Humean) Theory and the Substance (Cartesian) Theory of the Self, and Relationism and Substantivalism about time. In all three debates, the substantivalist side typically insists that in order to provide a good treatment of the subject-matter of the theory (time, Self, material objects), it is necessary to postulate the existence of a certain kind of substance, while the other side, the relationist one, characteristically feels that this is an unnecessary expense and that one can get the job done in an ontologically cheaper way just with inter-related properties or events.
    In this paper I shall defend the view that there is much less of a disagreement between relational ontologies and substantival ontologies than it is usually thought. I believe that, when carefully examined, the two sides of the debate are not that different from each other, in all three cases of pairs of views mentioned above. As we will see, both the relational side and the substantival side work in the same way, suffer from and answer the same objections, and are structurally extremely similar. It will be an important question – one that I shall discuss in detail, and that is indeed the main point of interest for me in this paper – whether this means that the two sides of the debate are somehow 'equivalent' or not, and what 'equivalent' could mean.

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  • 2009, 'Presentism and persistence', in Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 90:3

    Abstract :
    In this paper, I examine various theories of persistence through time under presentism. In Part I, I argue that both perdurantist views (namely, the worm view and the stage view) suffer, in combination with presentism, from serious difficulties and should be rejected. In Part II, I discuss the presentist endurantist view, to see that it does avoid the difficulties of the perdurantist views, and consequently that it does work, but at a price that some may consider as being very high : its ontological commitments to platonic universals and to the substratum theory, that as we shall see follow from the combination of endurantism with presentism, will perhaps not be of everybody's taste.

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  • 2009, 'The Self : a Humean bundle and/or a Cartesian substance ?', in European Journal of Analytic Philosophy, Vol.5, No.1

    Abstract :
    Is the self a substance, as Descartes thought, or is it 'only' a bundle of perceptions, as Hume thought ? In this paper I will examine these two views, especially with respect to two central features that have played a central role in the discussion, both of which can be quickly and usefully explained if one puts them as an objection to the bundle view. First, friends of the substance view have insisted that only if one conceives of the self as a substance is it possible to account for genuine particularity of selves and genuine persistence through time of them. I will discuss in detail this claim as well as a special case of persistence - the case of a fission of a self - and I will ask, as Shoemaker (1997) did, how such a case can be handled by the two competing theories. The second central point of traditional disagreement concerns independence : it is often said that only a substance, but not a mere bundle, is independent enough of its properties to play properly the role of a self, and I will have something to say about this.
    Concerning all these points, my thesis will be a meta-theoretical one : contrary to appearances, both views can accommodate all of them (particularity at a time, persistence, fission, independence) in the same way, and I will examine two possible conclusions to be drawn from this : either that the differences between the two views are no more than terminological and that they turn out to be equivalent views, or that the differences are metaphysical but that it is epistemically under-determined which one of the views we should choose.

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  • 2009, 'On (not) being in two places at the same time: an argument against endurantism', in American Philosophical Quarterly, 46:3

    Abstract :
    Is there an entity such that it can be in two places at the same time ? According to one traditional view, properties can, since they are immanent universals. But what about objects such as a person or a table ? Common sense seems to say that, unlike properties, objects are not multiply locatable.
    In this paper, I will argue first of all that endurantism entails a consequence that is quite bizarre, namely, that objects are universals, while properties are particulars. I then conclude by examining and rejecting two theories according to which objects can wholly be in two places at the same time.

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  • 2009, 'Eternalist theories of persistence through time : where the differences really lie', in Axiomathes, Vol. 19, No. 1

    Abstract :
    The eternalist endurantist and perdurantist theories of persistence through time come in various versions, namely the two versions of perdurantism : the worm view and the stage view, and the two versions of endurantism : indexicalism and adverbialism. Using as a starting point the instructive case of what is depicted by photographs, I will examine these four views, and compare them, with some interesting results.
    Notably, we will see that two traditional enemies – the perdurantist worm view and the endurantist theories – are more like allies : they are much less different than what is usually thought, and some alleged points of central disagreement fall prey to closer scrutiny. The aim of this paper is to examine carefully all those points, and to call attention to the places where the real differences between these views lie.
    I will then turn to the perdurantist stage view, and claim that with respect to some central issues it is the view that is the most different from the other three, but that in some places the reason why it different is also the reason why it is less satisfactory.

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  • 2008, 'The bundle theory and the substratum theory : deadly enemies or twin brothers ?', in Philosophical Studies, 141:175-190

    Abstract :
    In this paper, I explore several versions of the bundle theory and the substratum theory and compare them, with the surprising result that it seems to be true that they are equivalent (in a sense of 'equivalent' to be specified). In order to see whether this is correct or not, I go through several steps : first, I examine different versions of the bundle theory with tropes and compare them to the substratum theory with tropes by going through various standard objections and arguing for a tu quoque in all cases. Emphasizing the theoretical role of the substratum and of the relation of compresence, I defend the claim that these views are equivalent for all theoretical purposes. I then examine two different versions of the bundle theory with universals, and show that one of them is, here again, equivalent to the substratum theory with universals, by examining how both views face the famous objection from Identity of Indiscernibles in a completely parallel way. It is only the second, quite extreme and puzzling, version of the bundle theory with universals that is not be equivalent to any other view; and the diagnosis of why this is so will show just how unpalatable the view is. Similarly, only a not-so-palatable version of the substratum theory is genuinely different from the other views; and here again it's precisely what makes it different that makes it less appealing.

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  • 2008, 'Two concepts of possible worlds - or only one ?', in Theoria, 74:4

    Abstract :
    In his "Two concepts of possible worlds", Peter Van Inwagen explores two kinds of views about the nature of possible worlds : abstractionism and concretism. The latter is the view defended by David Lewis who claims that possible worlds are concrete spatio-temporal universes, very much like our own, causally and spatio-temporally disconnected from each other. The former is the view of the majority who claims that possible worlds are some kind of abstract objects – such as propositions, properties, states of affairs, or sets of numbers. In this paper, I will develop this view in an 'extreme abstractionist' way, appealing to a 'modal bundle theory', and I will try to show that it is preferable to the standard abstractionist ones. Finally, I will compare this kind of abstractionism to concretism, only to find that the difference between the two is minimal.

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  • 2008, 'There are vague objects (in any sense in which there are ordinary objects)', in Studia Philosophica Estonica, 1.2:200-203

    Abstract :
    Ordinary objects are vague, because either (i) composition is restricted, or (ii) there really are no such objects (but we still want to talk about them), or (iii) because such objects are not metaphysically (independently of us) distinguishable from other "extra-ordinary" objects. In any sense in which there are ordinary objects, they are vague.

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  • 2007, 'On Presentist Perdurantism', in Northern European Journal of Philosophy (Sats), Vol. 8, No.2

    Abstract :
    The combination of perdurantism and presentism has an alleged nice advantage : it seems to avoid the 'no-change objection' to four-dimensionalism (non-presentist perdurantism). The purpose of this paper is, firstly, to argue that this is not true, and that the 'no-change objection' applies to presentist perdurantism with as much strength as it applies to four-dimensionalism, and secondly, that there are additional difficulties with this view, mainly due to the claim that wholes can have parts that don't exist.

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  • 2006, 'A modal bundle theory', in Metaphysica, Vol. 7, No. 2

    Abstract :
    If ordinary particulars are bundles of properties, and if properties are said to be universals, then three well-known objections arise : no particular can change, all particulars have all of their properties essentially (even the most insignificant ones), and there cannot be two numerically distinct but qualitatively indiscernible particulars. In this paper, I try to make a little headway on these issues and see how the objections can be met, if one accepts a certain view about persistence through time and across possible worlds – namely, four-dimensionalism and its modal analogue. The paper is especially devoted to the second and third of the three objections.

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  • 2005, 'Branching versus divergent possible worlds', in Kriterion vol. 19

    Abstract :
    David Lewis' modal counterpart theory falls prey to the famous Saul Kripke's objection, and this is mostly due to his 'static' ontology (divergence) of possible worlds. This paper examines a genuinely realist but different, branching ontology of possible worlds and a new definition of the counterpart relation, which attempts to provide us with a better account of de re modality, and to meet satisfactorily Kripke's claim, while being also ontologically more 'parsimonious'.



    Contributions to volumes, proceedings, and other articles :

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  • 2009, 'La théorie des faisceaux et la théorie des substrats', in Langlet et Monnoyer (eds.), G. Bergmann : phenomenological realism and dialectical ontology , Ontos Verlag

    Abstract :
    (Article in French). Dans cet article, j'examine diverses variantes de la théorie des faisceaux et de la théorie des substrats, pour déterminer en quoi exactement elles diffèrent, avec le résultat assez surprenant qu'elles sont bien plus semblables qu'il ne paraît.

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  • 2008, 'A proof that a Chihuahua is a Saint Bernard', in Steven Hales (ed.), What can philosophy tell you about your dog, Open Court Publisher : Chicago, Illinois

    What's this about :
    I like to talk about philosophy with non-professional philosophers (all my friends became philosphers to some extent now :-), and so I was happy to accept to write a contribution to this book What can philosophy tell you about your dog not only because of an interest in dogs but mainly because I like the idea of writing for the general public to show what philosophy is about and how philosophers work. In this case, I wrote a 'proof' that a Chihuahua is a Saint Bernard which is a (hopefully funny) sorites argument, and I then explain the main views about vagueness.


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  • 2006, 'Four-dimensionalism and modal perdurants', in Paolo Valore (ed.), Topics on General and Formal Ontology, Polimetrica Publisher

    Abstract :
    This paper is about persistence of material objects through time and across possible worlds. It starts with the well-known argument from undetached parts, that is put as an objection to endurantism raised by four-dimensionalists who claim to have a nice treatment of it themselves. While it will be acknowledged that, indeed, four-dimensionalism has a good explanatory power here, and has an advantage over endurantism, we will then see a modified (modalized) version of the argument that will not be so easily dismissed by the four-dimensionalist. To provide a solution to this second puzzle, a proposal will be made to use the four-dimensionalist's strategy in the case of modality and use this notion of perdurance across possible worlds to answer the modalized version of the objection. Finally, I examine some objections to this theory of modal perdurants, and try to answer them.