Journal of Philosophy (112): 309-334

We sometimes say things like this: “being an animal is part of being a dog.” We associate the part with a precondition for exemplifying the whole. A new semantics for modal logic results when we take this way of speaking seriously. We need not treat necessary truths as truths in all possible worlds. Instead, we may treat them as preconditions for the existence of any world at all. I present this semantics for modal propositional logic and argue that it operates on a more basic level of modal reality than possible world semantics. 



Philosophy Compass (11): 702-715

Over the last half century, possible worlds have bled into almost every area of philosophy. In the metaphysics of modality, for example, philosophers have used possible worlds almost exclusively to illuminate discourse about metaphysical necessity and possibility. But some have recently begun to use properties to develop rivals to possible worlds semantics which may someday compare in formal power and capture the differnt systems of modal logic. In this paper, I do two things. I first offer a quick primer on possible worlds semantics. Then I discuss three rivals and the work they have left to do.


In progress, PDF available by email

I develop a new semantics for first-order logic without individuals as the values of names or extensions as the values of predicates.  Whereas standard approaches say that 'Fred is blue' is true when the predicate's extension contains Fred, the semantics here says that it is true when  being blue is part of being Fred. Both Montague and Leibniz have similar treatments of singular propositions. But Montague uses possibility space to characterize intensionality, whereas I do the converse. And Leibniz's conceptual containment theory has problems with both quantified and relational propositions. The semantics here resolves those problems, captures hyperintensional distinctions among predicates, and has more expressive power than standard approaches.



In progress, PDF available by email

I argue that the standard semantics for Standard Deontic Logic is redundant in a certain way. It is as if you opened a clock and found that one of the gears was itself a clock. I then present a new semantics for Standard Deontic Logic without the redundancy.