Sam Cowling Denison University
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  • Faculty, Denison University
  • PhD, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2011.

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  1. Sam Cowling (forthcoming). Advice for Eleatics. In Chris Daly (ed.), Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods.
    Eleaticism ties ontology to causality by denying the impossibility of causally inert entities. This paper examines some challenges regarding the proper formulation and general plausibility of Eleaticism. After suggesting how Eleatics ought to respond to these challenges, I consider the prospects for extending Eleaticism from ontology to ideology by requiring all primitive ideology to be causal in nature. Surprisingly enough, the resulting view delivers an eternalist and possibilist metaphysical picture in the neighborhood of Lewisian modal realism.
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  2. Sam Cowling (forthcoming). Non-Qualitative Properties. Erkenntnis.
    The distinction between qualitative properties like mass and shape and non-qualitative properties like being Napoleon and being next to Obama is important, but remains largely unexamined. After discussing its theoretical significance and cataloguing various kinds of non-qualitative properties, I survey several views about the nature of this distinction and argue that all proposed reductive analyses of this distinction are unsatisfactory. I then defend primitivism, according to which the distinction resists reductive analysis.
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  3. Sam Cowling (2014). Instantiation as Location. Philosophical Studies 167 (3):667-682.
    Many familiar forms of property realism identify properties with sui generis ontological categories like universals or tropes and posit a fundamental instantiation relation that unifies objects with their properties. In this paper, I develop and defend locationism, which identifies properties with locations and holds that the occupation relation that unifies objects with their locations also unifies objects with their properties. Along with the theoretical parsimony that locationism enjoys, I argue that locationism resolves a puzzle for actualists regarding the ontological status (...)
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  4. Sam Cowling (2014). No Simples, No Gunk, No Nothing. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (1):246-260.
    Mereological realism holds that the world has a mereological structure – i.e. a distribution of mereological properties and relations. In this article, I defend Eleaticism about properties, according to which there are no causally inert non-logical properties. I then present an Eleatic argument for mereological anti-realism, which denies the existence of both mereological composites and mereological simples. After defending Eleaticism and mereological anti-realism, I argue that mereological anti-realism is preferable to mereological nihilism. I then conclude by examining the thesis that (...)
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  5. Sam Cowling (2013). God and Necessity by Brian Leftow: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, Pp. 592,£ 60.00 (Hardback). Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):1-3.
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  6. Sam Cowling (2013). Ideological Parsimony. Synthese 190 (17):3889-3908.
    The theoretical virtue of parsimony values the minimizing of theoretical commitments, but theoretical commitments come in two kinds: ontological and ideological. While the ontological commitments of a theory are the entities it posits, a theory’s ideological commitments are the primitive concepts it employs. Here, I show how we can extend the distinction between quantitative and qualitative parsimony, commonly drawn regarding ontological commitments, to the domain of ideological commitments. I then argue that qualitative ideological parsimony is a theoretical virtue. My defense (...)
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  7. Sam Cowling (2013). The Modal View of Essence. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (2):248-266.
    (2013). The modal view of essence. Canadian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 43, No. 2, pp. 248-266.
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  8. Sam Cowling (2013). The Way of Actuality. Australasian Journal of Philosophy (2):1-17.
    In this paper, I defend an indexical analysis of the abstract-concrete distinction within the framework of modal realism. This analysis holds the abstract-concrete distinction to be conceptually inseparable from the distinction between the actual and the merely possible, which is assumed to be indexical in nature. The resulting view contributes to the case for modal realism by demonstrating how its distinctive resources provide a reductive analysis of the abstract-concrete distinction. This indexical analysis also provides a solution to a sceptical problem (...)
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  9. Sam Cowling (2012). Carolyn Swanson , Reburial of Nonexistents. Reconsidering the Russell-Meinong Debate . Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 32 (5):431-435.
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  10. Sam Cowling (2012). Haecceitism for Modal Realists. Erkenntnis 77 (3):399-417.
    In this paper, I examine the putative incompatibility of three theses: (1) Haecceitism, according to which some maximal possibilities differ solely in terms of the non-qualitative or de re possibilities they include; (2) Modal correspondence, according to which each maximal possibility is identical with a unique possible world; (3) Counterpart theory, according to which de re modality is analyzed in terms of counterpart relations between individuals. After showing how the modal realism defended by David Lewis resolves this incompatibility by rejecting (...)
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  11. Sam Cowling (2011). Robin Jeshion, Ed. , New Essays on Singular Thought . Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 31 (6):434-437.
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  12. Sam Cowling (2011). The Limits of Modality. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (244):473-495.
    It is commonly assumed that all propositions have modal profiles and therefore bear their truth-values either contingently or necessarily. I argue against this commonly assumed view and in defence of amodalism, according to which certain true propositions are neither necessarily nor contingently true, but only true simpliciter. I consider three arguments against ‘possible-worlds theories’, which hold that modal concepts are to be analysed in terms of possible worlds. Although each of these arguments targets a different version of possible-worlds theory, these (...)
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  13. Sam Cowling (2010). Joe Salerno, Ed. New Essays on the Knowability Paradox. Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 30 (3):220-222.
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  14. Sam Cowling (2010). Kantian Humility and Ontological Categories. Analysis 70 (4):659-665.
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  15. Sam Cowling (2010). Keith Hossack, The Metaphysics of Knowledge Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 28 (5):341-343.
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  16. Sam Cowling (2010). Michael Jubien, Possibility Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 30 (1):47-49.
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  17. Sam Cowling (2009). Hud Hudson, The Metaphysics of Hyperspace. Philosophy in Review 29 (3):189.
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  18. Sam Cowling (2006). Mark Kalderon, Ed., Fictionalism in Metaphysics Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 26 (3):197-199.
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