Naomi Dershowitz

Term Assistant Professor

Naomi Dershowitz is a Term Assistant Professor. She works mainly in metaphysics. Her research explores questions related to minimal ontologies. She is currently working on three research projects. In the first, using a naturalistically respectable methodology she offers a defense of a version of mereological nihilism according to which it is true, but only contingently so, that it is never the case that two or more objects come together to compose a further object. Although there are no composite objects, there could have been. In the second, using the same naturalistically respectable methodology, she presents and argues for the nomological account of objecthood (NAO). According to NAO, the only objects that exist at any possible world are causally non-redundant objects. In her third project, she tackles the long-standing problem of how it is that mental properties can cause physical events given that it is widely accepted in the scientific community that every physical event has a sufficient completely physical cause. She argues that her minimal ontology solves this problem by explaining how microphysical properties and objects located in space-time alone can serve as truth-makers for sentences about the causality of mental properties just as, she argues, microphysical properties and objects can serve as truth-makers for sentences about composite objects such as tables. Dr. Dershowitz also has interests in philosophy of mind, political philosophy, and the history of early modern philosophy, especially in their relation to her research in ontology. Prior to joining Barnard College, she completed her PhD in philosophy at Syracuse University. 

Academic Focus: 

Metaphysics, Metaphysics of Mind


326A Milbank


B.A. Cornell University
Ph.D. Syracuse University