I am a professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I work mostly in metaphysics, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mathematics.
For the details, see my CV.
I am presently working on idealism, in particular a defense of a strong version of idealism, which holds that not just minds in general, but our human minds in particular, are metaphysically central to reality as a whole. This view is defended in some detail in my new work-in-progress book manuscript Idealism and the Harmony of Thought and Reality (under contract with Oxford University Press), which also outlines and critically surveys a variety of versions of idealism which have a decent shot at being defensible, not just in a historical philosophical context, but in contemporary metaphysics. I have two recent papers which outline the main idea of the version of idealism I hold:
“Idealism and the harmony of thought and reality” (Submitted)
“Conceptual idealism without ontological idealism: why idealism is true after all” in Idealism: new essays in metaphysics (OUP 2018) T. Goldschmidt and K. Pearce (Eds).
The main project I have been working on over the last few years concerns the place of ontological questions in various metaphysical debates. The overall view is spelled out in several papers, and especially in my recent book:
The official abstract for the book is as follows:
Many significant problems in metaphysics are tied to ontological questions, but ontology and its relation to larger questions in metaphysics give rise to a series of puzzles that suggest that we don’t fully understand what ontology is supposed to do, nor what ambitions metaphysics can have for finding out about what the world is like. Thomas Hofweber aims to solve these puzzles about ontology and consequently to make progress on four central metaphysical problems: the philosophy of arithmetic, the metaphysics of ordinary objects, the problem of universals, and the question whether reality is independent of us. Crucial parts of the proposed solution include considerations about quantification and its relationship to ontology, the place of reference in natural languages, the possibility of ineffable facts, the extent of empirical evidence in metaphysics, and whether metaphysics can properly be esoteric.
Overall, Hofweber defends a rationalist account of arithmetic, an empiricist picture in the philosophy of ordinary objects, a restricted from of nominalism, and realism about reality, understood as all there is, but idealism about reality, understood as all that is the case. He defends metaphysics as having some questions of fact that are distinctly its own, with a limited form of autonomy from other parts of inquiry, but rejects several metaphysical projects and approaches as being based on a mistake.
A book symposium on this book appeared in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research with contributions by Karen Bennett, Agustín Rayo, and Thomas Sattig.
Another book symposium with contributions by Matti Eklund and Gabriel Uzquiano is forthcoming in Analysis.
- “Idealism and the harmony of thought and reality” (Submitted)
- “Conceptual idealism without ontological idealism: why idealism is true after all” in Idealism: new essays in metaphysics (OUP 2018) T. Goldschmidt and K. Pearce (Eds).
- “Are there ineffable aspects of reality?” in Oxford Studies in Metaphysics (2017).
- “Fine’s fragmentalist interpretation of special relativity” (with Marc Lange) in Nous (2016).
- “Intellectual humility and the limits of conceptual representation” Res Philosophica (2016)
- “Carnap’s Big Idea” in Ontology after Carnap, Blatti and LaPointe (eds.) OUP (2016)
- “Hyperreal-valued probability measures approximating a real-valued measure” (with Ralf Schindler) in the Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic (2016).
- “The place of subjects in the metaphysics of material objects” dialectica (2015).
- “Cardinality arguments against regular probability measures” Thought (2014)
- “Infinitesimal Chances” Philosophers’ Imprint (2014).
For (almost) all of my papers, see my PAPERS page.
At the moment (Fall 2017) I am teaching Introduction to mathematical logic and the Dissertation Research Seminar (with Ram Neta) for Ph.D. students in philosophy.