I spend about half my time on current problems in epistemology and metaphysics and the other half on the early modern philosophers.  My book Problems from Reid, something of a sequel to Problems from Kant, was published in August of 2015.  It is available while supplies last at

Among my current projects are the following:

A critical comparison of the responses of Kant and Reid to Hume.

A study of the feasibility of having "objectivity without objects" in various domains, for example, absolute size and motion without substantival space, objective predication without universals, and objective modality without possible worlds.  I presented an overview of this program at the Arthur Prior Centenary Conference in August of 2014.

A paper entitled "Brute Necessity," exploring whether it is a vice for a view to imply the existence of unexplained necessary truths and how, if at all, the necessity of a necessary truth might be explained.  

A paper entitled "Substance and Shadow," exploring four levels of increasing ontological robustness:  nonentities, logical constructions, dependent entities, and substances.  


Among the courses I teach regularly at USC are Philosophical Foundations of Modern Western Culture, Time and Time Travel, History of Modern Philosophy, Theory of Knowledge, and Metaphysics. I have recently given or co-taught graduate seminars in the philosophy of Thomas Reid, the philosophy of A.N. Prior, the philosophy of time, the philosophy of perception, probability and epistemology, and mereology.


Curriculum Vitae

Departmental webpage

  • James Van Cleve
  • Mudd Hall of Philosophy
  • 3709 Trousdale Pkwy
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089