Isaac Wilhelm

isaac.wilhelm@rutgers.edu

Publications

- The Counteridentical Account of Explanatory Identities (forthcoming).
*The Journal of Philosophy*. - I argue that identity facts explain by featuring in explanatory counterfactuals. To do so, I propose a theory of how such counterfactuals can explain, using (i) counterpart theory, (ii) impossible worlds, and (iii) structural equation models.
- Centering the Principal Principle (forthcoming).
*Philosophical Studies*. - I show that centered propositions pose a serious problem for Lewis's Principal Principle. To solve the problem, I propose a version of the Principal Principle which allows centered propositions to be objectively chancy.
- Comparing Mathematical Explanations (forthcoming).
*The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science*. - I develop an account of how to compare the explanatory capacities of mathematical proofs. Roughly, one proof is more explanatory than another if the first does a better job of balancing a variety of theoretical virtues.
- Grounding and Propositional Identity (forthcoming).
*Analysis*. - I show that standard conditions for immediate partial ground contradict standard conditions for the identities of propositions.
- Explanatory Priority Monism (forthcoming).
*Philosophical Studies*. - I propose and defend a monistic account of explanation-backing relations. On my account, there is a single relation which backs all cases of explanation, and which explains why other relations—causation, grounding, and so on—are explanation-backing.
- Interventionist Explanation and the Problem of Single Variable Boundary Constraints (forthcoming).
*Noûs*. - I show that interventionist accounts of explanation imply that certain laws—like Gauss's law of magnetism, the past hypothesis, energy conservation principles, and more—are unexplanatory. Then I propose an alternative account of explanation, similar in spirit to the original interventionist accounts, which does not have this unattractive implication.
- Typical: A Theory of Typicality and Typicality Explanation (forthcoming).
*The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science*(archive version). - I argue that facts about what is typical—for instance, the fact that gases typically evolve to equilibrium—can explain. I also propose an analysis of typicality facts, and I argue that typicality is distinct from probability.
- Featured in the OUP "Best of Philosophy 2019" article collection.
- The Logic of Typicality (forthcoming). In Valia Allori, ed.,
*Statistical Mechanics and Scientific Explanation: Determinism, Indeterminism and Laws of Nature*. World Scientific (with Harry Crane). - I propose a formal system—based on propositional modal logic—for reasoning about typicality. I prove several results about this system's semantic theory and proof theory, and I compare it with a different formal system for typicality reasoning based on intuitionistic type theory.
- A Statistical Analysis of Luck (2020).
*Synthese*197: 867-885. - I analyze luck using the Mentaculus, a statistical mechanical theory of probability. Roughly, lucky events are events which are extremely improbable.
- An Argument for Entity Grounding (2020).
*Analysis*80: 500-507. - I argue for the view that non-facts—as well as facts—can ground. The argument, put roughy, is that this view provides a more unified account of the grounds of identity facts than alternative views.
- The Stage Theory of Groups (2020).
*Australasian Journal of Philosophy*98: 661-674. - I propose an account of groups: roughly, groups are fusions of pluralities at worlds and times.
- Celestial Chaos: The New Logics of Theory-Testing in Orbital Dynamics (2019).
*Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics*65: 97-102. - I argue that a new research methodology is currently emerging in the fields of astronomy and spacecraft trajectory design. This research methodology solves several empirical and epistemological problems posed by chaotic dynamics in the solar system.
- The Ontology of Mechanisms (2019).
*The Journal of Philosophy*116: 615-636. - I use causation to formulate existence conditions, identity conditions, and parthood conditions for mechanisms.
- New Data on the Representation of Women in Philosophy Journals: 2004-2015 (2018).
*Philosophical Studies*175: 1441-1464 (with Sherri Conklin and Nicole Hassoun). - We present and analyze data on the percentage of women authors of articles in 25 top philosophy journals. Our analysis reveals several striking results: for instance, from 2004 to 2015, only about 14-16% of articles in those journals were authored by women.
- The Representation of Belief (2018).
*Journal of Philosophical Logic*47: 715-732. - I prove that if an agent's set of beliefs satisfies Scott's axiom, then that set of beliefs can be formally represented by a probability function. This shows that credences need not be modeled in terms of quantitative probability: credences can be modeled using qualitative probability instead.

Works in Progress or Under Review

- [redacted for anonymous review] I propose a stage-theoretic, fine-grained theory of properties, relations, and propositions which avoids the Russell-Myhill argument.
- [redacted for anonymous review] I argue that some individuals have their genders essentially while others do not.
- [redacted for anonymous review] I show that when applied to entangled quantum systems, Lewis's analyses of intrinsicality and duplication have inconsistent implications.
- [redacted for anonymous review] I explore three principles for extracting physical content from the mathematical expressions in which physical theories are couched.
- [redacted for anonymous review] I use centered changes—chances, that is, of centered propositions—to formulate an account of probability in the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics.
- [redacted for anonymous review] I derive a complete theory of propositional identity from a few plausible principles of grounding.
- [redacted for anonymous review] I argue that for the purposes of metaphysical theorizing, the calculus of constructions—a higher-order language which allows for quantification over types—is better than other languages discussed by philosophers.
- [redacted for anonymous review] I analyze causation in terms of explanation.
- [redacted for anonymous review] I explore several theories of the objective value of naturalness.