•  95
    Freedom, self-prediction, and the possibility of time travel
    Philosophical Studies 177 (1): 89-108. 2020.
    Do time travellers retain their normal freedom and abilities when they travel back in time? Lewis, Horwich and Sider argue that they do. Time-travelling Tim can kill his young grandfather, his younger self, or whomever else he pleases—and so, it seems can reasonably deliberate about whether to do these things. He might not succeed. But he is still just as free as a non-time traveller. I’ll disagree. The freedom of time travellers is limited by a rational constraint. Tim can’t reasonably delibera…Read more
  •  84
    Varieties of Epistemic Freedom
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4): 1-16. 2016.
    When we deliberate about what to do, we appear to be free to decide on different options. Three accounts use ordinary beliefs to explain this apparent freedom—appealing to different types of ‘epistemic freedom’. When an agent has epistemic freedom, her evidence while deliberating does not determine what decision she makes. This ‘epistemic gap’ between her evidence and decision explains why her decision appears free. The varieties of epistemic freedom appealed to might look similar. But there is …Read more
  •  74
    Time travel and counterfactual asymmetry
    Synthese 1-19. forthcoming.
    We standardly evaluate counterfactuals and abilities in temporally asymmetric terms—by keeping the past fixed and holding the future open. Only future events depend counterfactually on what happens now. Past events do not. Conversely, past events are relevant to what abilities one has now in a way that future events are not. Lewis, Sider and others continue to evaluate counterfactuals and abilities in temporally asymmetric terms, even in cases of backwards time travel. I’ll argue that we need mo…Read more
  •  33
    A Deliberative Approach to Causation
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3): 686-708. 2017.
    Fundamental physics makes no clear use of causal notions; it uses laws that operate in relevant respects in both temporal directions and that relate whole systems across times. But by relating causation to evidence, we can explain how causation fits in to a physical picture of the world and explain its temporal asymmetry. This paper takes up a deliberative approach to causation, according to which causal relations correspond to the evidential relations we need when we decide on one thing in orde…Read more
  •  31
    There are temporal asymmetries in our attitudes towards the past and future. For example, we judge that a given amount of work is worth twice as much if it is described as taking place in the future, compared to the past :796–801, 2008). Does this temporal value asymmetry support a tensed metaphysics? By getting clear on the asymmetry’s features, I’ll argue that it doesn’t. To support a tensed metaphysics, the value asymmetry would need to not vary with temporal distance, apply equally to events…Read more
  •  20
    Time, Flies, and Why We Can't Control the Past
    In Barry Loewer, Eric Winsberg & Brad Weslake (eds.), Time’s Arrows and the Probability Structure of the World, . forthcoming.
    David Albert explains why we can typically influence the future but not the past by appealing to an initial low-entropy state of the universe. And he argues that in the rare cases where we can influence the past, we cannot use this influence to knowingly gain future rewards: so it does not constitute control. I introduce an important new case in which Albert's account implies we can not only influence the past but control it: a case where our actions in the present are reliably correlated with s…Read more
  •  16
    Exploring people’s beliefs about the experience of time
    with Jack Shardlow, Ruth Lee, Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack, and Patrick Burns
    Synthese 1-23. forthcoming.
    Philosophical debates about the metaphysics of time typically revolve around two contrasting views of time. On the A-theory, time is something that itself undergoes change, as captured by the idea of the passage of time; on the B-theory, all there is to time is events standing in before/after or simultaneity relations to each other, and these temporal relations are unchanging. Philosophers typically regard the A-theory as being supported by our experience of time, and they take it that the B-the…Read more
  • It seems self-evident that people prefer painful experiences to be in the past and pleasurable experiences to lie in the future. Indeed, it has been claimed that, for hedonic goods, this preference is absolute (Sullivan, 2018). Yet very little is known about the extent to which people demonstrate explicit preferences regarding the temporal location of hedonic experiences, about the developmental trajectory of such preferences, and about whether such preferences are impervious to differences in t…Read more
  • Temporal Asymmetries in Philosophy and Psychology. (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. forthcoming.