Alex Steinberg's website

Research

I work on issues in metaphysics and the philosophy of logic and language. Below is a list of my papers (and papers-to-be).

  • in progress
    • paper on how to define Rayo's just is in terms of grounding
    • paper on that-clause reference and substitution failures
    • paper on Moral Particularism and Universalizability
    • paper on Bernard Bolzano's argument for the existence of substances
  • accepted
    • 'Pleonastic Propositions and the Face Value Theory', forthcomingh in Synthese.
      Abstract

      Propositions are a useful tool in philosophical theorizing, even though they are not beyond reasonable nominalistic doubts. Stephen Schiffer’s pleonasticism about propositions is a paradigm example of a realistic account that tries to alleviate such doubts by grounding truths about propositions in ontologically innocent facts. Schiffer maintains two characteristic theses about propositions: first, that they are so-called pleonastic entities whose existence is subject to what he calls something-from-nothing transformations (pleonasticism); and, second, that they are the referents of ‘that’-clauses that function as singular terms in propositional attitude ascriptions (the Face Value Theory). The paper turns the first thesis against the second: if propositions are pleonastic entities, it is argued, we should not take them to be referred to in propositional attitude ascriptions. Rather, propositional attitude ascriptions should be available as bases for propositional something-from-nothing transformations.

  • 2017
    • 'A Note on Surplus Content', Australasian Philosophical Review 1, 202–205.
    • 'Adequate Counterpart Translations', Mind advance articles.
      Abstract

      An important motivation for believing in the modal realist's ontology of other concrete possible worlds and their inhabitants is its theoretical utility, centrally the reduction of ordinary modal talk to counterpart theory as showcased by David Lewis's 1968 translation scheme. In a recent paper Harold Noonan, following the lead of John Divers, argues that Lewis's scheme is not strictly adequate by the modal realist's own lights, and that nothing short of jettisoning de dicto contingency will help. In this paper, I argue that this is a serious overreaction. First, I show that Noonan's problem does not touch Lewis's proposal, since his translation scheme is not even concerned with the relevant sentences. Thus, Noonan's problem only points to a limit in scope. I then go on to propose a straightforward extension of the translation scheme that provides translations for the allegedly problematic sentences, but does so endangering neither adequacy nor de dicto contingency.

    • 'Supervenienz' (supervenience), in Schrenk, M. (ed.): Handbuch Metaphysik, Stuttgart/Weimar: Metzler, 272–277.
  • 2016
    • 'Without Reason?' (with B. Schnieder), Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97, 523–541.
  • 2015
    • 'Priority Monism and Part/Whole Dependence', Philosophical Studies 172, 2025–2031. The published version is available at springerlink.com.
  • 2014
    • 'Defining Global Supervenience', Erkenntnis 79, 367–80
  • 2013
    • 'Supervenience: A Survey', in Hoeltje, M., B. Schnieder & A. Steinberg (eds.): Varieties of Dependence, Munich: Philosophia, 123–66.
    • 'Explanation by Induction?' (with M. Hoeltje & B. Schnieder), Synthese 190, 509–24.
    • 'Pleonastic Possible Worlds', Philosophical Studies 164, 767–89.
  • 2012
    • 'Der Satz vom Grunde' (The Principle of Sufficient Reason), in Nida-Rümelin, J. & E. Özmen (eds.): Welt der Gründe (= Deutsches Jahrbuch Philosophie 4), Hamburg: Meiner, 84–94.
  • 2010
    • 'What Might Be and What Might Have Been' (with B. Schnieder & M. Schulz), in Conrad, S.-J. & S. Imhof (eds.): P. F. Strawson — Ding und Begriff / Object and Concept. Frankfurt: ontos, 135–62.
  • 2009
    • 'Review of J.C. Beall (ed.): Revenge of the Liar', Philosophy 84, 454–58.
Preprints of many of the older papers are available on the Phlox website.