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Profile: Tuomas E. Tahko (University of Helsinki)
  1. Tuomas E. Tahko, The Epistemology of Essence.
    Our epistemic access to essence is a topic which has received very little attention. This is partly due to the mystery surrounding the notion of essence itself, and partly due to the sheer difficulty of developing a plausible epistemology. The need for such an account is clear: if there are any essences, we better have some story about how we come to know them. The starting point of this paper is an Aristotelian conception of essence; familiar from the work of (...)
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  2. Tuomas E. Tahko (forthcoming). Empirically-Informed Modal Rationalism. In Robert William Fischer & Felipe Leon (eds.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism. Synthese Library.
    In this chapter, it is suggested that our epistemic access to metaphysical modality generally involves rationalist, a priori elements. However, these a priori elements are much more subtle than ‘traditional’ modal rationalism assumes. In fact, some might even question the ‘apriority’ of these elements, but I should stress that I consider a priori and a posteriori elements especially in our modal inquiry to be so deeply intertwined that it is not easy to tell them apart. Supposed metaphysically necessary identity statements (...)
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  3. Tuomas E. Tahko (forthcoming). Natural Kind Essentialism Revisited. Mind.
    Recent work on Natural Kind Essentialism has taken a deflationary turn. The assumptions about the grounds of essentialist truths concerning natural kinds familiar from the Kripke-Putnam framework are now considered questionable. The source of the problem, however, has not been sufficiently explicated. The paper focuses on the Twin Earth scenario and it will be demonstrated that the essentialist principle at its core (which I call IDENT) – necessarily, a sample of a chemical substance, A, is of the same kind as (...)
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  4. Tuomas E. Tahko (forthcoming). The Modal Status of Laws: In Defence of a Hybrid View. Philosophical Quarterly.
    Three popular views regarding the modal status of the laws of nature are discussed: Humean Supervenience, nomic necessitation, and scientific/dispositional essentialism. These views are examined especially with regard to their take on the apparent modal force of laws and their ability to explain that modal force. It will be suggested that none of the three views, at least in their strongest form, can be maintained if some laws are metaphysically necessary, but others are metaphysically contingent. Some reasons for thinking that (...)
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  5. Tuomas E. Tahko & Donnchadh O'Conaill (forthcoming). Minimal Truthmakers. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    A minimal truthmaker for a given proposition is the smallest portion of reality which makes this proposition true. Minimal truthmakers are frequently mentioned in the literature, but there has been no systematic account of what they are or of their importance. In this paper we shall clarify the notion of a minimal truthmaker and argue that there is reason to think that at least some propositions have minimal truthmakers. We shall then argue that the notion can play a useful role (...)
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  6. Tuomas E. Tahko (2014). Boring Infinite Descent. Metaphilosophy 45 (2):257-269.
    In formal ontology, infinite regresses are generally considered a bad sign. One debate where such regresses come into play is the debate about fundamentality. Arguments in favour of some type of fundamentalism are many, but they generally share the idea that infinite chains of ontological dependence must be ruled out. Some motivations for this view are assessed in this article, with the conclusion that such infinite chains may not always be vicious. Indeed, there may even be room for a type (...)
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  7. Tuomas E. Tahko (2014). The Metaphysical Interpretation of Logical Truth. In Penelope Rush (ed.), The Metaphysics of Logic: Logical Realism, Logical Anti-Realism and All Things In Between. Cambridge University Press. 233-248.
    The starting point of this paper concerns the apparent difference between what we might call absolute truth and truth in a model, following Donald Davidson. The notion of absolute truth is the one familiar from Tarski’s T-schema: ‘Snow is white’ is true if and only if snow is white. Instead of being a property of sentences as absolute truth appears to be, truth in a model, that is relative truth, is evaluated in terms of the relation between sentences and models. (...)
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  8. Tuomas E. Tahko (2013). Metaphysics as the First Philosophy. In Edward Feser (ed.), Aristotle on Method and Metaphysics. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Aristotle talks about 'the first philosophy' throughout the Metaphysics – and it is metaphysics that Aristotle considers to be the first philosophy – but he never makes it entirely clear what first philosophy consists of. What he does make clear is that the first philosophy is not to be understood as a collection of topics that should be studied in advance of any other topics. In fact, Aristotle seems to have thought that the topics of Metaphysics are to be studied (...)
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  9. Tuomas E. Tahko (2013). More Kinds of Being: A Further Study of Individuation, Identity, and the Logic of Sortal Terms, by E. J. Lowe. [REVIEW] Mind 122 (485):302-305.
    Book review of 'More Kinds of Being: A Further Study of Individuation, Identity, and the Logic of Sortal Terms' (2009, Wiley-Blackwell). By E. J. LOWE.
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  10. Tuomas E. Tahko (2013). Tropes: Properties, Objects, and Mental Causation. By Douglas Ehring. [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 63 (251):379-382.
    Book review of 'Tropes: Properties, Objects, and Mental Causation' (2011, OUP). By DOUGLAS EHRING.
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  11. Tuomas E. Tahko (2013). The Universe As We Find It, by John Heil. [REVIEW] Mind 122 (488):1095-1098.
  12. Tuomas E. Tahko (2013). Soames's Deflationism About Modality. Erkenntnis 78 (6):1367-1379.
    One type of deflationism about metaphysical modality suggests that it can be analysed strictly in terms of linguistic or conceptual content and that there is nothing particularly metaphysical about modality. Scott Soames is explicitly opposed to this trend. However, a detailed study of Soames’s own account of modality reveals that it has striking similarities with the deflationary account. In this paper I will compare Soames’s account of a posteriori necessities concerning natural kinds with the deflationary one, specifically Alan Sidelle’s account, (...)
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  13. Tuomas E. Tahko (2013). Truth‐Grounding and Transitivity. Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (4):332-340.
    It is argued that if we take grounding to be univocal, then there is a serious tension between truth-grounding and one commonly assumed structural principle for grounding, namely transitivity. The primary claim of the article is that truth-grounding cannot be transitive. Accordingly, it is either the case that grounding is not transitive or that truth-grounding is not grounding, or both.
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  14. Tuomas E. Tahko (2012). Boundaries in Reality. Ratio 25 (4):405-424.
    This paper defends the idea that there must be some joints in reality, some correct way to classify or categorize it. This may seem obvious, but we will see that there are at least three conventionalist arguments against this idea, as well as philosophers who have found them convincing. The thrust of these arguments is that the manner in which we structure, divide or carve up the world is not grounded in any natural, genuine boundaries in the world. Ultimately they (...)
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  15. Tuomas E. Tahko (ed.) (2012). Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics. Cambridge University Press.
    Aristotelian (or neo-Aristotelian) metaphysics is currently undergoing something of a renaissance. This volume brings together fourteen new essays from leading philosophers who are sympathetic to this conception of metaphysics, which takes its cue from the idea that metaphysics is the first philosophy. The primary input from Aristotle is methodological, but many themes familiar from his metaphysics will be discussed, including ontological categories, the role and interpretation of the existential quantifier, essence, substance, natural kinds, powers, potential, and the development of life. (...)
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  16. Tuomas E. Tahko (2012). Counterfactuals and Modal Epistemology. Grazer Philosophische Studien 86 (1):93–115.
    What is our epistemic access to metaphysical modality? Timothy Williamson suggests that the epistemology of counterfactuals will provide the answer. This paper challenges Williamson's account and argues that certain elements of the epistemology of counterfactuals that he discusses, namely so called background knowledge and constitutive facts, are already saturated with modal content which his account fails to explain. Williamson's account will first be outlined and the role of background knowledge and constitutive facts analysed. Their key role is to restrict our (...)
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  17. Tuomas E. Tahko (2012). Introduction to 'Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics'. In , Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics. Cambridge University Press. 1-7.
    Introduction to my 'Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics' volume.
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  18. Tuomas E. Tahko (2012). In Defence of Aristotelian Metaphysics. In , Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics. Cambridge University Press. 26-43.
    When I say that my conception of metaphysics is Aristotelian, or neo-Aristotelian, this may have more to do with Aristotle’s philosophical methodology than his metaphysics, but, as I see it, the core of this Aristotelian conception of metaphysics is the idea that metaphysics is the first philosophy . In what follows I will attempt to clarify what this conception of metaphysics amounts to in the context of some recent discussion on the methodology of metaphysics (e.g. Chalmers et al . (2009), (...)
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  19. Tuomas E. Tahko & Donnchadh O'Conaill (2012). On the Common Sense Argument for Monism. In Philip Goff (ed.), Spinoza On Monism. Palgrave Macmillan.
    The priority monist holds that the cosmos is the only fundamental object, of which every other concrete object is a dependent part. One major argument against monism goes back to Russell, who claimed that pluralism is favoured by common sense. However, Jonathan Schaffer turns this argument on its head and uses it to defend priority monism. He suggests that common sense holds that the cosmos is a whole, of which ordinary physical objects are arbitrary portions, and that arbitrary portions depend (...)
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  20. Tuomas E. Tahko (2011). A Priori and A Posteriori: A Bootstrapping Relationship. Metaphysica 12 (2):151-164.
    The distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge has been the subject of an enormous amount of discussion, but the literature is biased against recognizing the intimate relationship between these forms of knowledge. For instance, it seems to be almost impossible to find a sample of pure a priori or a posteriori knowledge. In this paper, it will be suggested that distinguishing between a priori and a posteriori is more problematic than is often suggested, and that a priori and (...)
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  21. Tuomas E. Tahko (2011). Commentary on Kathrin Koslicki’s The Structure of Objects. Humana.Mente 19:197-204.
    This is a critical commentary on Kathrin Koslicki's book The Structure of Objects (OUP, 2008).
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  22. Tuomas E. Tahko (2010). Reefer Madness: Cannabis, the Individual, and Public Policy. In Dale Jaquette (ed.), Cannabis and Philosophy: What Were We Just Talking About? Wiley-Blackwell.
    This paper is a survey of the positive and negative aspects of cannabis use from the point of view of the individual on one hand and from the point of view of the society on the other hand. Health, social, and political motives are all discussed, and the best method of harm reduction is analysed. The upshot is that zero tolerance policy is obsolete, and that most individuals would be better off using cannabis rather than other drugs.
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  23. Tuomas E. Tahko (2009). Against the Vagueness Argument. Philosophia 37 (2):335-340.
    In this paper I offer a counterexample to the so called vagueness argument against restricted composition. This will be done in the lines of a recent suggestion by Trenton Merricks, namely by challenging the claim that there cannot be a sharp cut-off point in a composition sequence. It will be suggested that causal powers which emerge when composition occurs can serve as an indicator of such sharp cut-off points. The main example will be the case of a heap. It seems (...)
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  24. Tuomas E. Tahko (2009). On the Modal Content of A Posteriori Necessities. Theoria 75 (4):344-357.
    This paper challenges the Kripkean interpretation of a posteriori necessities. It will be demonstrated, by an analysis of classic examples, that the modal content of supposed a posteriori necessities is more complicated than the Kripkean line suggests. We will see that further research is needed concerning the a priori principles underlying all a posteriori necessities. In the course of this analysis it will emerge that the modal content of a posteriori necessities can be best described in terms of a Finean (...)
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  25. Tuomas E. Tahko (2009). The Law of Non-Contradiction as a Metaphysical Principle. Australasian Journal of Logic 7:32-47.
    The goals of this paper are two-fold: I wish to clarify the Aristotelian conception of the law of non-contradiction as a metaphysical rather than a semantic or logical principle, and to defend the truth of the principle in this sense. First I will explain what it in fact means that the law of non-contradiction is a metaphysical principle. The core idea is that the law of non-contradiction is a general principle derived from how things are in the world. For example, (...)
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  26. Tuomas E. Tahko (2008). A New Definition of A Priori Knowledge: In Search of a Modal Basis. Metaphysica 9 (2):57-68.
    In this paper I will offer a novel understanding of a priori knowledge. My claim is that the sharp distinction that is usually made between a priori and a posteriori knowledge is groundless. It will be argued that a plausible understanding of a priori and a posteriori knowledge has to acknowledge that they are in a constant bootstrapping relationship. It is also crucial that we distinguish between a priori propositions that hold in the actual world and merely possible, non-actual a (...)
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  27. Tuomas E. Tahko (2008). The Aristotelian Method and Aristotelian Metaphysics. In Patricia Hanna (ed.), An Anthology of Philosophical Studies. ATINER.
    In this paper I examine what exactly is ‘Aristotelian metaphysics’. My inquiry into Aristotelian metaphysics should not be understood to be so much concerned with the details of Aristotle's metaphysics. I am are rather concerned with his methodology of metaphysics, although a lot of the details of his metaphysics survive in contemporary discussion as well. This warrants an investigation into the methodological aspects of Aristotle's metaphysics. The key works that we will be looking at are his Physics, Metaphysics, Categories and (...)
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  28. Tuomas E. Tahko (2008). The Metaphysical Status of Logic. In Michal Peliš (ed.), The Logica Yearbook 2007. Filosofia.
    The purpose of this paper is to examine the status of logic from a metaphysical point of view – what is logic grounded in and what is its relationship with metaphysics. There are three general lines that we can take. 1) Logic and metaphysics are not continuous, neither discipline has no bearing on the other one. This seems to be a rather popular approach, at least implicitly, as philosophers often skip the question altogether and go about their business, be it (...)
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  29. Tuomas E. Tahko (2008). The Necessity of Metaphysics. Dissertation, Durham University
    The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate that metaphysics is a necessary discipline -- necessary in the sense that all areas of philosophy, all areas of science, and in fact any type of rational activity at all would be impossible without a metaphysical background or metaphysical presuppositions. Because of the extremely strong nature of this claim, it is not possible to put forward a very simple argument, although I will attempt to construct one. A crucial issue here is what (...)
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