A Philosopher's Dozen 
Selections from the writings of Stephen Yablo

An Unusual Range of Mind 

“There is no one,” says Richard Holton, head of the Philosophy section, “whose papers I more look forward to hearing than Steve Yablo's. He is unfailingly imaginative and playful and insightful in his philosophy. Many of the qualities that endear Steve personally to people come through very markedly in his work.” 

Although described on his vita as a specialist in metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophical logic, Yablo is not easily pigeonholed. In the words of his former student Agustin Rayo, now an MIT Professor of Philosophy, “Lots of philosophers have a thematic research program. They start with a central idea, and the things they study revolve around that idea.
Steve is not like that. He is incredibly creative, and he has ideas left and right. The result is that his work is richer than that of many philosophers. He is inspiring in ways that few philosophers are.”

Holton agrees. "It’s not easy to characterize Steve,” he says, “because Steve has worked on many different ideas over the years. That’s part of what’s so much fun about him.” 

Here then is a profile of Stephen Yablo, Professor of Philosophy, and an introduction to his many ideas. We think you'll find these full-strength excerpts from his writings stimulating, challenging, and surprisingly fun.  

Stephen Yablo | Professor of Philosophy


1   Are we froth on a wave?

2   The truth and something but the truth

3   Imaginative resistance

4   Why are some sentences paradoxical—and others not?

      Sidebar | Yablo's Paradox 

5   Does April exist? What about Chicago?

6   What sorts of things exist?

7   Singling out properties: take yellowness

8    Redness and Scarlet

9    Advertisement for a sketch of an outline of a proto-theory of causation

10  The Tale of A and B

11  Epiphenomenalism: How to get rid of it once and for all

12  Is conceivability a guide to possibility?

13  Wanted: Dumb genie


Prepared by SHASS Communications
Emily Hiestand, Editorial and Design
Photographs of Stephen Yablo: Jonathan Sachs

Soundings, Spring 2010