(forth). Recent Work on Modality and Causation. Analysis.
(2011). Counterfactuals, Overdetermination, and Mental Causation. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. [Wiley]
Aristotle's Metaphysics of Modality
Papers in Progress
Modals and Copulas in Aristotle [under review]
I highlight three main ways in which Aristotle's theory of language, as developed in De Interpretatione, differs from mainstream contemporary approaches to formal semantics. (1) Basic predications, claims of the form 'A is B' and 'A is not B', have a tripartite structure: they consist of a copula taking scope over two nouns. (2) There are different types of predications: this is because, whenever a modifier takes scope over a copula, it gives raise to a snew copula. (3) Modals are not sentential operators, but copula-modifiers which give rise to new types of linguistic predications, namely modal predications.
The term δυνατόν in Ancient Greek and Aristotle
Sources of Change in Antiquity
I argue that in Metaphysics Theta 1 Aristotle defines the most basic type of active potentialities as efficient causes.
Aristotle's Posterior Analytics I.8
I argue that in Posterior Analytics I.8 Aristotle brings in and regiments a notion of knowledge which extends to facts about particulars. He achieves this by introducing us to demonstrations which are ‘as if accidental’ (75b25), in a sense I explain.
Aristotle's Posterior Analytics II.4
Aristotle's Metaphysics Theta 5
When do potentialities get exercised? Aristotle answers this question in Metaphysics Theta 5. Roughly, his answer is that a potentiality must be exercised whenever the agent and the patient meet under the appropriate conditions (1048a6-7 and 11-13). I carefully reconstruct the chapter and look at some of its implications. It is often suggested that this chapter connects efficient causation and necessity. But what connection exactly does it introduce? I argue that in Metaphysics Theta 5 Aristotle does not endorse the reduction of causation to necessary connections. Rather, he merely commits to the view that there is a correlation between efficient causation and necessity: whenever we have an instance of efficient causation, a given necessity claim is true. I conclude by making a suggestion about what motivates, in his view, this sort of correlation.
Causal Relata for Efficient Causation
Aristotle famously endorses pluralism about causal relata; he allows that causes and effects can be things, or events, or states of affairs, or universals. However, I argue, in his view ultimately causal relata are universals. Other types of causal relata qualify as such in a derivative way. My argument mainly relies on Physics II.3.
Techne as a Science for Aristotle (with Carlotta Pavese)
We argue that in Metaphysics Theta 2 Aristotle commits to an account of skills (technai) as bits of propositional knowledge, and consider how this account fits with the theory of knowledge he puts forward in the Posterior Analytics.
I provide a full reconstruction of Posterior Analytics II.4, and show how it contains a unified and valid argument. I also discuss whether Aristotle has good reasons for assuming that the argument is sound. I answer with a qualified 'Yes'.
Metaphysics and Social Philosophy
A Unified Semantics for Causal Claims
Degrees of Modality
(2017). Teaching Citizenship in Prison - Insegnando Cittadinanza in Carcere (*in Italian*; with Paolo Banfi). Ristretti Orizzonti. [The next piece in the same issue, Stay Human!, was written by my students in prison during seminars.]