New and Forthcoming Papers


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A Philosopher of Science Looks at Idealization in Political TheoryForthcoming in Social Philosophy and Policy

Rawls ignited a debate in political theory when he introduced a division between the ideal and nonideal parts of a theory of justice. In the ideal part of the theory, one presents a positive conception of justice in a setting that assumes perfect compliance with the rules of justice. In the nonideal part, one addresses the question of what happens under departures from compliance. Critics of Rawls have attacked his focus on ideal theory as a form of utopianism, and have argued that political theory should be focused instead on providing solutions to the manifest injustices of the real world. In this essay, I offer a defense of the ideal/nonideal theory distinction according to which it amounts to nothing more than a division of labor, and explore some scientific analogies. Rawls’s own focus on the ideal part of the theory, I argue, stems from a felt need to clarify the foundations of justice, rather than a utopian neglect of real world problems.

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Book Review; Mathias Frisch, Causal Reasoning in PhysicsPhilosophical Review, Vol. 125, No. 3, 2016

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How Do Causes Depend on Us? Synthese, 193:2, 2016.

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Interview about How Physics Makes Us Free, with Andres Lomena Cantos

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On Chance (or, Why I am only a half-Humean)Current Controversies in Philosophy of Science, Routledge edited by Shamik Dasgupta and Brad Westlake, Routledge, forthcoming.

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Quantum Holism: Nonseparability as Common Ground (with Jonathan Schaffer)Forthcoming in Synthese

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Symmetry and Superfluous StructureRoutledge Companion to the Philosophy of Physics, edited by Alastair Wilson, Routledge, forthcoming.

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Which Curie's Principle? (with Elena Castellani)Forthcoming in Philosophy of Science, PSA Proceedings

Is there more than one “Curie’s principle”? How far are di↵erent formulations legitimate? What are the aspects that make it so scientifically fruitful, independently of how it is formulated? The paper is devoted to exploring these questions. We start with illustrating Curie’s original 1894 article and his focus. Then, we consider the way that the discussion of the principle took shape from early commentators to its modern form. We say why we think that the modern focus on the inter-state version of the principle loses sight of some of the most interesting significant applications of the principle. Finally, we address criticism of the principle put forward by Norton (2014) and purported counterexamples due to Roberts (2013, 2014).

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Why Study the Humanities?Forthcoming in Making Sense of the World: New Essays on the Philosophy of Understanding, (ed.) Stephen Grimm, Oxford University Press

Should you be upset if your son or daughter comes home from college announcing that they are switching majors from physics (for example) to art history? Should we science majors have to take literature or 'Western Civ" courses alongside their scientific curriculum? Are the humanities properly thought of as a source of knowledge or understanding? Do they provide something more akin to entertainment, or teach us something that is indispensable in a well- lived life? This paper addresses these questions.

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