Tom Schoonen

In general, I’m very interested in empirically informed, interdisciplinary, and collaborative philosophy. I like to think about issues concerning modality, causality, and abilities as well as cognitively plausible epistemologies thereof. More broadly, I am interested in issues in epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, science, and language.

In particular, I’m interested in our ampliative reasoning abilities and their relation to the epistemologies of modality and causation. For example, I am working on ways in which the similarity-based approaches to the epistemology of possibility can be spelled out, looking at reasoning by analogy and inferences based on (natural) kinds. I also work on ways in which our embodiment affects the epistemology of imagination and epistemology more generally.

Currently, I am exploring how knowledge of our own abilities might play a role in epistemologies of causation and modality. This requires first of all to develop a (cognitively plausible) epistemology of abilities (as well as thinking about what abilities are).

My PhD dissertation, Tales of Similarity and Imagination, can be found here. In it, I discuss and develop modest, empiricist epistemologies of possibility. I focus on imagination-based and similarity-based approaches to the epistemology of possibility and defend a non-exceptionalist epistemology of philosophical thought experiments.


Edited Collections

The Epistemology of Ability [edited with Barbara Vetter], under contract, Oxford University Press


Epistemologists of modality wanted
Synthese, 202(193), pp. 1-20 (pdf) [w/ S. Boardman]

What Everett Couldn't Know; an epistemological problem for Quantum Modal Realism
forthcoming, Argumenta [preprint]

Relational Troubles; Structuralist worries for epistemologies of powers-based modality
2023, The Philosophical Quarterly, 73(4), pp. 1162-1182 [pdf] [w/ G. Giannini]

Possibility, Relevant Similarity, and Structural Knowledge
2022, Synthese, 200 pp. 1-22 (pdf)

The Logical Development of Pretense Imagination
forthcoming, Erkenntnis (pdf) [preprint] [w/ A. Özgün]
(Note that due to Springer's typesetting, there are parts of the formalism that are illegible in the official version. Please read the preprint until Springer fixes the issue.)

A Note on the Epistemological Value of Pretense Imagination
2024, Episteme, 21(1), pp. 99-118 (pdf)

Are Gettier Cases Disturbing?
2021, Philosophical Studies, 178(5), pp. 1503-1527 (pdf) [w/ P. Hawke]

The Problem of Modally Bad Company
2020, Res Philosophica, 97(4), pp. 639-659 (pdf) [preprint]

Conceivability and Possibility: Some Dilemmas for Humeans
2018, Synthese,195(6), pp. 2697-2715 (pdf) [w/ F. Berto]

Noneism and Allism on the Objects of Thought
2018, Journal of Logics and their applications, 4(11), pp. 3739-3757 (pdf) [w/ F. Berto]
(Special Issue: Tribute to Dale Jacquette, edited by John Woods)

Reasoning about Fiction
The Logica Yearbook 2017, pp. 255-269, College Publications (final version) [w/ F. Berto]

Book Reviews

Epistemic Uses of Imagination (Chris Badura and Amy Kind (eds.), Routledge, 2021),
2021, The Philosophical Quarterly, 72(4,), pp. 1064–1066(pdf)

Works in Progress

Kinds and Possibility
Under review

Embodied Imagination and Knowledge of Possibilities
Under review [w/ M. Jones]

On the epistemology of our own abilities
Under review [w/ S. Kikkert]

Core Cognition and Imagination
Under review [w/ S. Boardman]

Similarity and the Necessity of Origin
Under review

Architectural Constraints on Imagination and Naturalism
Under review [w/ M. Jones]

Bodily-affordances and Knowledge of Abilities
In progress [for edited collection The Epistemology of Ability (eds. Schoonen & Vetter)]

Bodily-Perception of Causation
In progress

Modal Success and Acquiring Unactualisable Abilities

Recent talks

Putting Epistemology back in the Epistemology of Modality [w/ Samuel Boardman]
IV Blasco Disputatio: The Epistemology of Modality, University of Valencia, June 2022

Similarity and the Necessity of Origins
European Epistemology Network Meeting 2022, University of Glasgow, June 2022

Agency, Causation, and Bodily Perception
Agency, Bodily Perception, and the Self, LOGOS, University of Barcelona (online), May 2022

Core Imagination [w/ Samuel Boardman]
Naturalised Epistemologies of Modality, Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, “Human Abilities” (online), March 2022

(For a list of all talks, see CV.)


Imagining Disjunctions
The Junkyard Blog Post [with Chris Badura] (post)

Dissemination Corner - The Logic of Conceivability
The Reasoner, 14(2), 2020. (pdf)

Embodied Constraints on Imagination
The Junkyard Blog Post [with Max Jones] (post)

Dissemination Corner - The Logic of Conceivability
The Reasoner, 11(10), 2017.

Thinking the Impossible
MSc Thesis, 2016, Institute for Logic, Language, and Communication. (pdf)

Beliefs and 'Believes'
MSc Thesis, 2014, University of Edinburgh. (pdf)