Selected Papers

God and/as the Universe. Forthcoming 

I address the issue of what the role of the particular theoretical physical model of the Universe we inhabit should be in one’s pantheistic or panentheistic theology, as this question is scarcely addressed in the traditional pantheistic or panentheistic views. Pantheists and panentheists do consider the God-Universe relation as crucial, but they do not delve into the physical theory, that is, into cosmology. This might be due to their thinking that the particular cosmology is not important as long as we have the general picture of how God is supposed to be related to the Universe. In this essay, I argue that as compared to the Big Bang model of the Universe, the more recent Big Bounce model, based on quantum cosmology, is more congenial to a naturalistic version of panentheism.

Logical Pantheism (forthcoming in Philosophy Compass)

Frames and games: intensionality and equilibrium selection, Erkenntnis (forthcoming)

The paper is an addition to the intensionalist approach to decision theory, with emphasis on game theoretic modelling. Extensionality in games is an a priori requirement that players exhibit the same behavior in all algebraically equivalent games on pain of irrationality. Intensionalism denies that it is always irrational to play differently in differently represented (described, understood) but algebraically equivalent versions of a game. I offer a framework to integrate game non-extensionality with the more familiar idea of linguistic non-extensionality from philosophy of language, followed by applications of it based on toy examples of well-known game models. I argue that the notion of what I call “Intensional Nash Equilibrium” is, in effect, very useful in understanding human decision-making. 

Preteriception: memory as past-perceptionSynthese 198(11): 10765 - 10792 

The paper explicates and defends a direct realist view of episodic memory as past-perception, on the model of the more prominent direct realism about perception. First, a number of extant allegedly direct realist accounts are critically assessed, then the slogan that memory is past-perception is explained, defended against objections, and compared to extant rival views. Consequently, it is argued that direct realism about memory is a coherent and defensible view, and an attractive alternative to both the mainstream causal theories and the post-causal and constructivist views.

Mental Time Travel and Disjunctivism, Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 11(2): 367 - 384, 2020

The paper discusses radical constructivism about episodic memory as developed by Kourken Michaelian under the name of "simulationism", a view that equates episodic memory with mental time travel. An alternative, direct realist view is defended, which implies disjunctivism about the appearance of remembering. While admitting the importance of mental time travel as an underlying cognitive mechanism in episodic memory, as well as the prima facie reasonableness of the simulationist's critique of disjunctivism, I formulate three arguments in defense of disjunctivism, which thus appears to be a feasible alternative to radical constructivism.

 Body, Skill, and Look: Is Bodybuilding a Sport?, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences (2018) 17: 401. 

Abstract: I argue that bodybuilding should not qualify as a sport, given that at the competition stage it lacks an essential feature of sports, namely, skillful activity. Based on the classic distinction between Leib (the lived body) and Körper (the objective body) in phenomenology, I argue that bodybuilding competition's sole purpose is to present the Körper, whereas sports are about manifestations of Leib. I consider several objections to this analysis, after which I conclude that bodybuilding is an endeavor closer to both beauty competitions and classical sculpture rather than to any other known sports. 

Review of S. Gozzano and C. Hill (eds.) New Perspectives on Type Identity: The Mental and The Physical, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 

Draft of Chapter 7 of  God, Mind, and Logical Space (Palgrave Macmillan 2013)

Abstract: In this chapter I will briefly discuss the similarities and differences between the classical theist conception of God and God conceived as identical to Logical Space, after which I will offer a few examples of historical precedents to this view. I do not claim that these historical precedents indubitably point to the view I have been arguing for. Rather, some aspects of them, although written in a totally different vocabulary than what I have been using here, do have a good deal of resemblance to Logical Pantheism. Given that Logical Pantheism contains elements from both Pantheism and Panentheism, resemblances with each of these shouldn’t be surprising. However, the resemblances I want to point out are more specific and regard the original elements of Logical Pantheism, like the plenitude principle of Logical Totalitarianism, which is responsible for the idea of a god that transcends all descriptions and binary oppositions.

Should we fear quantum torment?, Ratio 25 (3): 249-259 (2012)

Abstract: The prospect, in terms of subjective expectations, of immortality under the no-collapse interpretation of quantum mechanics is certain, as pointed out by several authors, both physicists and, more recently, philosophers. The argument, known as quantum suicide, or quantum immortatilty, has received some critical discussion, but there hasn't been any questioning of David Lewis's point that there is a terrifying corollary to the argument, namely, that we should expect to live forever in a crippled, more and more damaged state, that barely sustains life. This is the prospect of eternal quantum torment. Based on some empirical facts, I argue for a conclusion that is much more reassuring than Lewis's terrible scenario.


Review of Jody Azzouni, Talking About Nothing. Numbers, Hallucinations, and Fictions (Oxford University Press, 2010), Philosophy 87 (1): 145-150 (2012)


A new argument for mind-brain identity, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 62(3): 489-517 (2011)

Abstract: In this paper I undertake the tasks of reconsidering Feigl’s notion of a ‘nomological dangler’ in light of recent discussion about the viability of accommodating phenomenal properties, or qualia, within a physicalist picture of reality, and of constructing an argument to the effect that nomological danglers, including the way qualia are understood to be related to brain states by contemporary dualists, are extremely unlikely. I offer a probabilistic argument to the effect that merely nomological danglers are extremely unlikely, the only probabilistically coherent candidates being ‘anomic danglers’ (not even nomically correlated) and ‘necessary danglers’ (more than merely nomically correlated). After I show, based on similar probabilistic reasoning, that the first disjunct (anomic danglers) is very unlikely, I conclude that the identity thesis is the only remaining candidate for the mental/physical connection. The novelty of the argument is that it brings probabilistic considerations in favour of physicalism, a move that has been neglected in the recent burgeoning literature on the subject.


The solo numero paradox, American Philosophical Quarterly 48 (4): 347-360 (2011)

Abstract: I put forward a new interpretation of the principle of the identity of indiscernibles (PII), based on the idea that when asserting the principle one should quantify over properties in a fixed derivational context, so that derivational context is explicitly mentioned in the principle. The properties that will therefore figure in evaluating the truth-value of the principle will be what I  call `instantial properties`, that is, the properties that the variables have in a derivational structure by being subject to the natural deduction rules of Existential Instantiation (EI) and Universal Generalization (UI). What is peculiar with these rules is that they require the reasoner to postulate so-called instantial terms (free variables, dummy-names, temporary constants, mathematical variables) assumed to designate an arbitrary member of the relevant domain depending on what has been (in the case of EI, by which they get introduced) or will be (in the case of UI, by which they get eliminated) asserted in the process of derivation. Drawing on work by Kit Fine and Jeffrey King on instantial terms, I show that the new PII can (a) accommodate the counter-examples to the old principle based on the possibility of symmetric universes, (b) can also accommodate in a paradox-free way the intuition behind those counter-examples to the effect that there can be objects different solo numero, and (c) its postulation of instantial properties does not make PII trivial, as these are pure properties, that is, not ones essentially involving particular objects. The novelty consists in introducing properties that objects have qua objects of reasoning, which derivational discourse will bring out, and which will discern the objects even when they are otherwise indiscernible.


Silencing the argument from hallucination, in F. Macpherson & D. Platchias, Hallucination, MIT Press, 2013.

Abstract: One of the more recent replies to the argument from hallucination is disjunctivism, whose main tenet is that although there are possible hallucinations that are subjectively indistinguishable from veridical perception, the two mental states –that of hallucinating an object and that of perceiving an object—are of different kinds, having nothing substantial in common, but the platitude that both of them fall under a disjunctive description of the form "hallucinating O or perceiving O".

Many philosophers are critical of disjunctivism, one of the main alleged flaws they identify being that there is no explanation offered by disjunctivists of why we should reject the existence of a common factor to hallucination and perception – the main tenet of disjunctivism seems to be taken as a brute, unexplained fact. The other side of the coin is that accepting a common factor seems very intuitive. As a general conclusion, then, there is prima facie reason to accept the existence of a common factor whenever two mental states are subjectively indistinguishable.

In this paper I will offer an argument against this general conclusion, which, if accepted, can explain why it makes sense to believe in the disjunctive view of perception and hallucination. The argument focuses on auditory perception, and the phenomenon under consideration is that of hearing versus hallucinating silence.


The nature of shadows, from Yale to Bilkent, Philosophy 85(2): 219-223 (2010) 

Abstract: I discuss a solution to the Yale shadow puzzle, due to Roy Sorensen, based on the actual process theory of causation, and argue that it does not work in the case of a new version of the puzzle, which I call "the Bilkent shadow puzzle". I offer a picture of the ontology of shadows which, together with an alternative view of causation, constitutes the basis for a new solution that uniformly solves both puzzles.


Powers and the mind-body problem, International Journal of Philosophical Studies 18(1): 57-72 (2010)

Abstract: The paper proposes a new line of attack on the conceivability argument for mind-body property dualism, based on the causal account of properties, according to which properties have their conditional powers essentially. It is argued that the epistemic possibility of physical but not phenomenal duplicates of actuality is identical to a metaphysical (understood as broadly logical) possibility, but irrelevant for establishing the falsity of physicalism. The proposed attack is in many ways inspired by a standard, broadly Kripkean approach to epistemic and metaphysical modality.


The reappearing act, Acta Analytica 24 (1): 1-10 (2009)

Abstract: In his latest book, Roy Sorensen offers a solution to a puzzle he put forward in an earlier article –The Disappearing Act puzzle. The puzzle involves various question about how the causal theory perception is to be applied to the case of seeing shadows. Sorensen argues for that the puzzle should be taken as bringing out a new way of seeing shadows. I point out a problem for Sorensen’s solution, and offer and defend an alternative view, according to which the puzzle is to be interpreted as showing a new way of seeing objects, in virtue of their contrast with light.


Review of Roy Sorensen, Seeing Dark Things. The Philosophy of Shadows (Oxford University Press, 2008), Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (3): 513-515 (2008)


Review of Alter, T. and S. Walter (eds.) Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge (Oxford University Press, 2007), Mind 117 (467): 665-669 (2008)


Shadows of constitution, The Monist 90 (3): 15-32 (2007)

Abstract: Mainstream metaphysics has been preoccupied by inquiring into the nature of major kinds of entities, like objects, properties and events, while avoiding minor entities, like shadows or holes. However, one might want to hope that dealing with such minor entities could be profitable for even solving puzzles about major entities. I propose a new ontological puzzle, the Shadow of Constitution Puzzle, incorporating the old puzzle of material constitution, with shadows in the role ofthe minor entity to guide our approach to the issues involved. I then analyze the standard answers to the original puzzle of constitution, in their role as potential solutions to the new puzzle. Finally, I discuss three views that can solve the proposed puzzle.  


Excluding exclusion: the natural(istic) dualist approach, Philosophical Explorations 11 (1): 67-78 (2008)

Abstract: The exclusion problem for mental causation is one of the most discussed mind-body puzzles. A solution to it is usually put forth either as an argument for one mind-body view or another, or as a way to compatibilize such a view with the most acceptable assumptions behind the problem. There have been two main approaches to this problem. The first is put forth as an argument for reductive physicalism, and implicitly against nonreductive physicalism and a fortiori against mind-body dualism. The second approach is less combative, and is concerned with saving nonreductive physicalism from the potential danger of either mental-physical overdetermination, or mental epiphenomenalism. However, there has been a general agreement among philosophers, especially because most of them are committed to some form of physicalism, that the exclusion problem cannot be escaped by the dualist. I argue that a proper understanding of dualism --its form, commitments, and intuitions—makes the exclusion problem irrelevant from the dualist perspective. The paper proposes a dualist approach and solution to the exclusion problem, based on a theory of event causation, according to which events are neither fine-grained (Jaegwon Kim), nor coarse-grained (Donald Davidson), but medium-grained, namely, parsed into mental and physical property components. A theory of contrastive mental causation is built upon this theory of events, for which the problem of exclusion does not arise. 

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