•  11
    The Role of Chance in Explanation
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (1): 103-123. 2014.
    ‘Those ice cubes melted because by melting total entropy increased and entropy increase has a very high objective chance.’ What role does the chance in this explanation play? I argue that it contributes to the explanation by entailing that the melting was almost necessary, and defend the claim that the fact that some event was almost necessary can, in the right circumstances, constitute a causal explanation of that event.
  •  1
    Bradford Skow examines important philosophical questions about causation and explanation. His answers rely on a pair of connected distinctions: the distinction between acting and not acting, and that between situations in which an event happens and when something is in some state.
  •  44
    The Tenseless Theory of Time and the Moodless Theory of Modality
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (2): 506-524. 2019.
  • The Metaphysics of Quantities and Their Dimensions
    Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 10. 2017.
  •  17
    Argues that there is no interpretation of the commonly-accepted idea that "explanation is that which produces understanding" on which it is of any use for finding what philosophers looking for a theory of explanation have been after. Contains a close examination of a couple of philosophers' attempts to use this idea for that purpose.
  •  10
    Summary
    Analysis 78 (1): 93-96. 2018.
    © The Authors 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Analysis Trust. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.comDoes time pass? Well of course it does. Iconoclasts and gadflies might deny it, but they’re just looking for negative attention. It is therefore frustrating to be told, as I have been, that one's theory of time is false because it leaves out the passage of time. In a way, Objective Becoming is a defence of the theory I prefer ag…Read more
  •  36
    Some thoughts on Experiencing Time
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (3): 302-314. 2018.
    This paper examples several arguments from Simon Prosser's book Experiencing Time. His argument against the doctrine of the specious present is applauded. His argument that even if time passes, nothing can detect the passage of time, is questioned. Also challenged are his claims that our experience represents things as enduring, rather than perduring, and represents things as having contradictory properties.
  •  45
    Some Questions about The Moving Spotlight
    Analysis 77 (4): 800-810. 2017.
    © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Analysis Trust. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.comI don’t like sports, but it is a sports metaphor that comes to mind: if my team were out of the playoffs, I’d be rooting for Cameron. Unlike Cameron, I think that The Block Universe Theory of Time is true, but like Cameron I’ve argued that the best alternative, the theory it should be squaring off against in the World Series of T…Read more
  •  33
    Precis of Objective Becoming
    Philosophical Studies 175 (7): 1787-1789. 2018.
  •  49
    Replies to Deasy and Maudlin
    Philosophical Studies 175 (7): 1815-1823. 2018.
  •  51
    Replies to Cameron, Wilson and Leininger
    Analysis 78 (1): 128-138. 2018.
    © The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Analysis Trust. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.comRoss Cameron thinks that MST-Supertime, MST-Supertense and MST-Time are defective as versions of the moving spotlight theory and goes on to describe what he thinks they are missing. But I don’t think they are defective; and what Cameron says is missing from these theories is actually present in a version of MST-Time that appears …Read more
  •  210
    On the meaning of the question “How fast does time pass?”
    Philosophical Studies 155 (3): 325-344. 2011.
    In this paper I distinguish interpretations of the question ``How fast does time pass?’’ that are important for the debate over the reality of objective becoming from interpretations that are not. Then I discuss how one theory that incorporates objective becoming—the moving spotlight theory of time—answers this question. It turns out that there are several ways to formulate the moving spotlight theory of time. One formulation says that time passes but it makes no sense to ask how fast; another f…Read more
  •  39
    Levels of Reasons and Causal Explanation
    Philosophy of Science 84 (5): 905-915. 2017.
    I defend the theory that the reasons why some event occurred are its causes. Many “counterexamples” to this theory turn on confusing two levels of reasons. We should distinguish the reasons why an event occurred from the reasons why those reasons are reasons. An example that treats a second-level reason as a first-level reason will look like a counterexample if that second-level reason is not a cause. But second-level reasons need not be first-level reasons.
  •  247
    Haecceitism, anti-haecceitism, and possible worlds: A case study
    Philosophical Quarterly 58 (230): 97-107. 2008.
    Possible-worlds talk obscures, rather than clarifies, the debate about haecceitism. In this paper I distinguish haecceitism and anti-haecceitism from other doctrines that sometimes go under those names. Then I defend the claim that there are no non-tendentious definitions of ‘haecceitism’ and ‘anti-haecceitism’ using possible-worlds talk. That is, any definition of ‘haecceitism’ using possible-worlds talk depends, for its correctness, on a substantive theory of the nature of possible worlds. This e…Read more
  •  128
    Are There Genuine Physical Explanations of Mathematical Phenomena?
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66 (1): 69-93. 2015.
    There are lots of arguments for, or justifications of, mathematical theorems that make use of principles from physics. Do any of these constitute explanations? On the one hand, physical principles do not seem like they should be explanatorily relevant; on the other, some particular examples of physical justifications do look explanatory. In this article, I defend the idea that physical justifications can and do explain mathematical facts. 1 Physical Arguments for Mathematical Truths2 Preview3 Ma…Read more
  •  257
    Are There Non-Causal Explanations (of Particular Events)?
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (3). 2013.
    Philosophers have proposed many alleged examples of non-causal explanations of particular events. I discuss several well-known examples and argue that they fail to be non-causal. 1 Questions2 Preliminaries3 Explanations That Cite Causally Inert Entities4 Explanations That Merely Cite Laws I5 Stellar Collapse6 Explanations That Merely Cite Laws II7 A Final Example8 Conclusion
  •  108
    Sklar's Maneuver
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (4): 777-786. 2007.
    Sklar ([1974]) claimed that relationalism about ontology-the doctrine that space and time do not exist-is compatible with Newtonian mechanics. To defend this claim he sketched a relationalist interpretation of Newtonian mechanics. In his interpretation, absolute acceleration is a fundamental, intrinsic property of material bodies; that a body undergoes absolute acceleration does not entail that space and time exist. But Sklar left his proposal as just a sketch; his defense of relationalism succe…Read more
  •  2
    Objective Becoming
    Oxford University Press UK. 2015.
    What does the passage of time consist in? There are some suggestive metaphors. âEvents approach us, pass us, and recede from us, like sticks and leaves floating on the river of time.â âWe are moving from the past into the future, like ships sailing into an unknown ocean.â There is surely something right and deep about these metaphors. But how close are they to the literal truth? In this book Bradford Skow argues that they are far from the literal truth. Skowâs argument takes the form of a defens…Read more
  •  272
    Experience and the passage of time
    Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1): 359-387. 2011.
    Some philosophers believe that the passage of time is a real phenomenon. And some of them find a reason to believe this when they attend to features of their conscious experience. In fact this “argument from experience” is supposed to be one of the main arguments for passage. What exactly does this argument look like? Is it any good?
  •  92
    The role of chance in explanation
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy (1): 1-21. 2013.
    ?Those ice cubes melted because by melting total entropy increased and entropy increase has a very high objective chance.? What role does the chance in this explanation play? I argue that it contributes to the explanation by entailing that the melting was almost necessary, and defend the claim that the fact that some event was almost necessary can, in the right circumstances, constitute a causal explanation of that event
  •  346
    Relativity and the Moving Spotlight
    Journal of Philosophy 106 (12): 666-678. 2009.
    A standard objection to the moving spotlight theory of time is that it is incompatible with special relativity. I show how to formulate the moving spotlight theory so that it is perfectly compatible with special relativity. There is no need to re-interpret the physics or add to it a notion of absolute simultaneity.
  •  146
    More on haecceitism and possible worlds
    Analytic Philosophy 52 (4): 267-269. 2011.
  •  50
    Are There Non-Causal Explanations (of Particular Events)?
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3): 445-467. 2014.
    Philosophers have proposed many alleged examples of non-causal explana- tions of particular events. I discuss several well-known examples and argue that they fail to be non-causal.
  •  92
    Does Temperature Have a Metric Structure?
    Philosophy of Science 78 (3): 472-489. 2011.
    Is there anything more to temperature than the ordering of things from colder to hotter? Are there also facts, for example, about how much hotter (twice as hot, three times as hot...) one thing is than another? There certainly are---but the only strong justification for this claim comes from statistical mechanics. What we knew about temperature before the advent of statistical mechanics (what we knew about it from thermodynamics) provided only weak reasons to believe it.
  •  83
    The Dynamics of Non-Being
    Philosophers' Imprint 10. 2010.
    Maybe there is something rather than nothing because the nothingness force acted on itself, and when the nothing nothings itself it produces something. Robert Nozick suggested this as a candidate explanation of the fact that there is something rather than nothing. If he is right that it is a candidate explanation, we should pay attention: there are not many candidates out there. But his "explanation" looks, instead, like a paradigm case of philosophical nonsense. In this paper I describe a "meta…Read more
  •  93
    Extrinsic temporal metrics
    In Dean Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics: Volume 5, Oxford University Press. 2010.
    When distinguishing absolute, true, and mathematical time from relative, apparent, and common time, Newton wrote: “absolute, true, and mathematical time, in and of itself and of its own nature, without reference to anything external, flows uniformly” [Newton 2004b: 64]. Newton thought that the temporal metric is intrinsic. Many philosophers have argued—for empiricist reasons or otherwise—that Newton was wrong about the nature of time. They think that the flow of time does involve “reference to som…Read more
  •  157
    Are shapes intrinsic?
    Philosophical Studies 133 (1). 2007.
    It is widely believed that shapes are intrinsic properties. But this claim is hard to defend. I survey all known theories of shape properties, and argue that each theory is either incompatible with the claim that shapes are intrinsic, or can be shown to be false.