•  100
    Composing Spacetime
    with Sam Baron
    Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    According to a number of approaches in theoretical physics spacetime does not exist fundamentally. Rather, spacetime exists by depending on another, more fundamental, non-spatiotemporal structure. A prevalent opinion in the literature is that this dependence should not be analysed in terms of composition. We should not say, that is, that spacetime depends on an ontology of non-spatiotemporal entities in virtue of having them as parts. But is that really right? On the contrary, we argue that a me…Read more
  •  185
    As a candidate theory of quantum gravity, the popularity of string theory has waxed and waned over the past four decades. One current source of scepticism is that the theory can be used to derive, depending upon the input geometrical assumptions that one makes, a vast range of different quantum field theories, giving rise to the so-called landscape problem. One apparent way to address the landscape problem is to posit the existence of a multiverse; this, however, has in turn drawn heightened att…Read more
  •  208
    Quantum Gravity and Mereology: Not So Simple
    with Sam Baron
    Philosophical Quarterly. 2021.
    A number of philosophers have argued in favour of extended simples on the grounds that they are needed by fundamental physics. The arguments typically appeal to theories of quantum gravity. To date, the argument in favour of extended simples has ignored the fact that the very existence of spacetime is put under pressure by quantum gravity. We thus consider the case for extended simples in the context of different views on the existence of spacetime. We show that the case for extended simples bas…Read more
  •  579
    What does the world look like according to superdeterminism?
    with Augustin Baas
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. 2020.
    The violation of Bell inequalities seems to establish an important fact about the world: that it is non-local. However, this result relies on the assumption of the statistical independence of the measurement settings with respect to potential past events that might have determined them. Superdeterminism refers to the view that a local, and determinist, account of Bell inequalities violations is possible, by rejecting this assumption of statistical independence. We examine and clarify various pro…Read more
  •  349
    Théorie des cordes, gravité quantique à boucles et éternalisme
    In Alexandre Declos & Claudine Tiercelin (eds.), La métaphysique du temps : perspectives contemporaines, Collège De France. 2021.
    L'éternalisme, la thèse selon laquelle les entités que nous catégorisons comme étant passées, présentes et futures existent tout autant, est la meilleure approche ontologique de l'existence temporelle qui soit en accord avec les théories de la relativité restreinte et de la relativité générale. Cependant, les théories de la relativité restreinte et générale ne sont pas fondamentales si bien que plusieurs programmes de recherche tentent de trouver une théorie plus fondamentale de la gravité quant…Read more
  •  619
    String Theory, Loop Quantum Gravity and Eternalism
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science 10 17. 2020.
    Eternalism, the view that what we regard locally as being located in the past, the present and the future equally exists, is the best ontological account of temporal existence in line with special and general relativity. However, special and general relativity are not fundamental theories and several research programs aim at finding a more fundamental theory of quantum gravity weaving together all we know from relativistic physics and quantum physics. Interestingly, some of these approaches asse…Read more
  •  444
    From Spacetime to Space and Time: A Reply to Markosian
    Analysis 80 (3): 456-462. 2020.
    In a recent article, Ned Markosian gives an argument against four-dimensionalism understood as the view that time is one of four identical dimensions that constitute a single four-dimensional manifold. In this paper, I show that Markosian attacks a straw man as his argument targets a theory known to be false on empirical grounds. Four-dimensionalism rightly conceived in no way entails that time is identical to space. I then address two objections raised by Markosian against four-dimensionalism r…Read more
  •  413
    Spacetime functionalism is the view that spacetime is a functional structure implemented by a more fundamental ontology. Lam and Wüthrich have recently argued that spacetime functionalism helps to solve the epistemological problem of empirical coherence in quantum gravity and suggested that it also (dis)solves the hard problem of spacetime, namely the problem of offering a picture consistent with the emergence of spacetime from a non-spatio-temporal structure. First, I will deny that spacetime …Read more
  •  36
    La philosophie contemporaine du temps voit s’affronter deux conceptions du temps : celle du devenir qui identifie la réalité naturelle à un présent en constant renouvellement et celle de l’univers-bloc qui assimile la réalité naturelle à un espace-temps étendu dans quatre dimensions. Cette dernière approche implique notamment que les événements qui nous semblent passés et futurs sont tout aussi réels que les événements présents et que les êtres humains, bien que mortels, sont des êtres éternels.…Read more
  •  24
    Contingencies within Spacetime
    Dissertation, University of Rennes 1. 2015.
    I begin by giving reasons to accept the block-universe view, the strongly supported by physics view that we live in a four-dimensional world. According to it, the past and the future are as real as the present. As a result, it seems that the future is determined in the sense that what will be the case will necessarily be the case. In the dissertation, I examine whether we have to accept this consequence. I show that we do not have to bite the bullet: the future might be both real and contingent…Read more
  •  759
    ‘Space does not exist fundamentally: it emerges from a more fundamental non-spatial structure.’ This intriguing claim appears in various research programs in contemporary physics. Philosophers of physics tend to believe that this claim entails either that spacetime does not exist, or that it is derivatively real. In this article, I introduce and defend a third metaphysical interpretation of the claim: reductionism about space. I argue that, as a result, there is no need to subscribe to fundament…Read more
  •  20
    L'encyclopédie Philosophique. 2016.
    Le temps est une notion associée aux changements, qu’ils soient futiles ou existentiels. Il permet ainsi l’organisation moderne de nos sociétés à travers les agendas, la planification du travail ou les rendez-vous galants. Il rythme les saisons et nous expérimentons chaque année les couleurs chatoyantes de l’automne et les nuages sombres de l’hiver. Notre corps évolue constamment et vieillit sans cesse entre notre naissance passée et notre mort future. Toutes ces descriptions font intervenir le …Read more
  •  1858
    The relevance of analytic metaphysics has come under criticism: Ladyman & Ross, for instance, have suggested do discontinue the field. French & McKenzie have argued in defense of analytic metaphysics that it develops tools that could turn out to be useful for philosophy of physics. In this article, we show first that this heuristic defense of metaphysics can be extended to the scientific field of applied ontology, which uses constructs from analytic metaphysics. Second, we elaborate on a paralle…Read more
  •  1103
    L'éternité sans le temps
    Revue Philosophique De Louvain 116 (3): 441-462. 2018.
    L'éternalisme implique une forme exotique d'éternité : toute entité, aussi éphémère soit-elle et quelle que soit sa localisation dans le temps, existe relativement à toute autre localisation temporelle. Cet essai vise, premièrement, à défendre l'éternalisme en exhibant les difficultés rédhibitoires du présentisme et du non-futurisme, et deuxièmement à examiner de quelle manière l'éternalisme pourrait être amendé à l'aune d'une affirmation que l'on trouve sous la plume de certains physiciens, à s…Read more
  •  868
    Have we Lost Spacetime on the Way? Narrowing the Gap between General Relativity and Quantum Gravity
    with Niels Siegbert Linnemann
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 65 112-121. 2019.
    Important features of space and time are taken to be missing in quantum gravity, allegedly requiring an explanation of the emergence of spacetime from non-spatio-temporal theories. In this paper, we argue that the explanatory gap between general relativity and non-spatio- temporal quantum gravity theories might significantly be reduced with two moves. First, we point out that spacetime is already partially missing in the context of general relativity when understood from a dynamical perspective.…Read more
  •  10
    Philosophy Beyond Spacetime (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
  •  139
    Teaching & Learning Guide for: Duality and Ontology
    with James Read
    Philosophy Compass 13 (12). 2018.
    Dualities are a pervasive phenomenon in contemporary physics, in which two physical theories are empirically equivalent, yet prima facie make different ontological claims about the world (potentially very different claims—differing in e.g. the number and radius of dimensions of the universe). Dualities thus present a particular instantiation of the well-known notion of underdetermination of theory by evidence. Many different philosophical proposals have been made for how such putative underdeter…Read more
  •  696
    Duality and ontology
    with James Read
    Philosophy Compass 13 (12). 2018.
    A ‘duality’ is a formal mapping between the spaces of solutions of two empirically equivalent theories. In recent times, dualities have been found to be pervasive in string theory and quantum field theory. Naïvely interpreted, duality-related theories appear to make very different ontological claims about the world—differing in e.g. space-time structure, fundamental ontology, and mereological structure. In light of this, duality-related theories raise questions familiar from discussions of under…Read more
  •  986
    Aspects in Dual‐Aspect Monism and Panpsychism: A Rejoinder to Benovsky
    Philosophical Investigations 42 (2): 186-201. 2019.
    Neutral monism aims at solving the hard problem of consciousness by positing entities that are neither mental nor physical. Benovsky has recently argued for the slightly different account that, rather than being neutral, natural entities are both mental and physical by having different aspects, and then argued in favour of an anti-realist interpretation of those aspects. In this essay, operating under the assumption of dual-aspect monism, I argue to the contrary in favour of a realist interpreta…Read more
  •  2956
    The No Self View and the Meaning of Life
    Philosophy East and West 69 (2): 419-438. 2019.
    Several philosophers, both in Buddhist and Western philosophy, claim that the self does not exist. The no-self view may, at first glance, appear to be a reason to believe that life is meaningless. In the present article, I argue indirectly in favor of the no-self view by showing that it does not entail that life is meaningless. I then examine Buddhism and argue, further, that the no-self view may even be construed as partially grounding an account of the meaning of life.
  •  88
    « Pourquoi les choses tiennent-elles ensemble ? » (Traité d'ontologie, 2009, p. 237). Cette citation me sert de départ à une réflexion sur la nature des relations liantes souvent appelées relations de comprésence à la suite de Russell, ces bundling relations qui nouent les propriétés ensembles pour constituer les objets ordinaires (tables, chaises, individus biologiques) selon la théorie du faisceau. De même que Frédéric Nef, je suis séduit par les nombreuses vertus philosophiques de ces relatio…Read more
  •  189
    According to presentism, only the present exists. The view is in a bad dialectical situation since it has to face several objections based on physics and a priori arguments. The view remains nonetheless popular because it is, allegedly, more intuitive than alternative views, namely eternalism (past, present and future entities exist) and no-futurism (only past and present entities exist). In the essay, I shall not discuss whether intuitivity is an accurate criterion for ontological enquiry. I wi…Read more
  •  1026
    Priority Monism Beyond Spacetime
    Metaphysica 19 (1): 95-111. 2018.
    I will defend two claims. First, Schaffer's priority monism is in tension with many research programs in quantum gravity. Second, priority monism can be modified into a view more amenable to this physics. The first claim is grounded in the fact that promising approaches to quantum gravity such as loop quantum gravity or string theory deny the fundamental reality of spacetime. Since fundamental spacetime plays an important role in Schaffer's priority monism by being identified with the fundamenta…Read more
  •  298
    La physique contemporaine pourrait bien nous livrer un enseignement incroyable, à savoir que l'espace et le temps n'existent pas fondamentalement. Je présenterai succinctement les ontologies suggérées par les deux principaux programmes de recherche en gravité quantique : la théorie des cordes et la gravité quantique à boucles. Je soutiendrai ensuite qu'il est fructueux de prendre les différentes conceptions ontologiques de la conscience en philosophie de l'esprit en modèles pour la construction …Read more
  •  89
    No Physical Particles for a Dispositional Monist?
    Philosophical Papers 44 (2): 207-232. 2015.
    A dispositional monist believes that all properties are essentially causal. Recently, an overdetermination argument has been proposed by Trenton Merricks to support nihilism about ordinary objects. I argue that this argument can be extended to target both nihilism about ordinary objects and nihilism about physical particles when dispositional monism is assumed. It implies that a philosopher who both endorses dispositional monism and takes seriously the overdetermination argument should not belie…Read more
  •  1220
    Why a Gunk World is Compatible with Nihilism about Objects
    Studia Philosophica Estonica 6 (1): 1-14. 2013.
    Ted Sider argues that nihilism about objects is incompatible with the metaphysical possibility of gunk and takes this point to show that nihilism is flawed. I shall describe one kind of nihilism able to answer this objection. I believe that most of the things we usually encounter do not exist. That is, I take talk of macroscopic objects and macroscopic properties to refer to sets of fundamental properties, which are invoked as a matter of linguistic convention. This view is a kind of nihilism : …Read more
  •  971
    I will introduce and motivate eliminativist super-relationism. This is the conjunction of relationism about spacetime and eliminativism about material objects. According to the view, the universe is a big collection of spatio-temporal relations and natural properties, and no substance (material or spatio-temporal) exists in it. The view is original since eliminativism about material objects, when understood as including not only ordinary objects like tables or chairs but also physical particles,…Read more
  •  999
    No-futurism and Metaphysical Contingentism
    Axiomathes 24 (4): 483-497. 2014.
    According to no-futurism, past and present entities are real, but future ones are not. This view faces a skeptical challenge (Bourne 2002, 2006, Braddon-Mitchell, 2004): if no-futurism is true, how do you know you are present? I shall propose a new skeptical argument based on the physical possibility of Gödelian worlds (1949). This argument shows that a no-futurist has to endorse a metaphysical contingentist reading of no-futurism, the view that no-futurism is contingently true. But then, the no…Read more
  •  345
    Les propriétés du vide et de l’espace-temps
    Philosophiques 43 (1): 49-66. 2016.
    Les propriétés matérielles sont généralement appréhendées comme les propriétés d’une substance matérielle : cette chemise possède la propriété d’être bleue, cette chaussure la propriété d’être en bon état. Pourtant, on peut trouver plusieurs raisons de douter que les propriétés soient nécessairement les propriétés d’une substance matérielle, à la fois en métaphysique avec la théorie du faisceau, et en physique contemporaine à travers les notions d’énergie du vide et de champ. Or, si les propriét…Read more