•  441
    Earman and Roberts on empiricism about laws
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1). 2007.
    Earman and Roberts (2005) argue that a standard definition of “empiricism about laws of nature” is inadequate, and propose an alternative definition they think is better. But their argument against the standard definition fails, and their alternative is defective.
  •  391
    Preferentism and the paradox of desire
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 2009 (3): 1-17. 2009.
    The paradox of desire is an objection to desire-satisfaction, or preferentist, theories of welfare. In a nutshell, the objection goes like this. I can certainly desire that I be badly off. But if a desire-satisfaction theory of welfare is true, then—under certain assumptions—the hypothesis that I desire that I be badly off entails a contradiction. So much the worse for desire-satisfaction theories of welfare.
  •  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.
  •  337
    Why Does Time Pass?
    Noûs 46 (2): 223-242. 2012.
    According to the moving spotlight theory of time, the property of being present moves from earlier times to later times, like a spotlight shone on spacetime by God. In more detail, the theory has three components. First, it is a version of eternalism: all times, past present and future, exist. (Here I use “exist” in its tenseless sense.) Second, it is a version of the A-theory of time: there are nonrelative facts about which times are past, which time is present, and which times are future. That…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?
  •  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
  •  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
  •  216
    ‘‘One Second Per Second’’
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2): 377-389. 2012.
  •  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
  •  185
    Deep metaphysical indeterminacy
    Philosophical Quarterly 60 (241). 2010.
    A recent theory of metaphysical indeterminacy says that metaphysical indeterminacy is multiple actuality: there is metaphysical indeterminacy when there are many 'complete precisifications of reality'. But it is possible for there to be metaphysical indeterminacy even when it is impossible to precisify reality completely. The orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics illustrates this possibility. So this theory of metaphysical indeterminacy is not adequate
  •  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.
  •  146
    More on haecceitism and possible worlds
    Analytic Philosophy 52 (4): 267-269. 2011.
  •  141
    No one denies that time and space are different; and it is easy to catalog differences between them. I can point my finger toward the west, but I can’t point my finger toward the future. If I choose, I can now move to the left, but I cannot now choose to move toward the past. And (as D. C. Williams points out) for many of us, our attitudes toward time differ from our attitudes toward space. We want to maximize our temporal extent and minimize our spatial extent: we want to live as long as possible bu…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
  •  120
    How to Adjust Utility for Desert
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2): 235-257. 2012.
    It is better when people get what they deserve. So we need an axiology according to which the intrinsic value of a possible world is a function of both how well-off and how deserving the people in that world are. But how should these ?desert-adjusted? values of possible worlds be calculated? It is easy to come up with some qualitative ideas. But these qualitative ideas leave us with an embarrassment of riches: too many quantitative functions that implement those qualitative ideas. In this paper …Read more
  •  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
  •  103
    A Solution to the Problem of Indeterminate Desert
    Mind 121 (481): 37-65. 2012.
    A desert-sensitive moral theory says that whether people get what they deserve, whether they are treated as they deserve to be treated, plays a role in determining what we ought to do. Some popular forms of consequentialism are desert-sensitive. But where do facts about what people deserve come from? If someone deserves a raise, or a kiss, in virtue of what does he deserve those things? One plausible answer is that what someone deserves depends, at least in part, on how well he meets his moral r…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
  •  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
  •  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.
  •  87
    On a Symmetry Argument for the Guidance Equation in Bohmian Mechanics
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (4): 393-410. 2010.
    Bohmian mechanics faces an underdetermination problem: when it comes to solving the measurement problem, alternatives to the Bohmian guidance equation work just as well as the official guidance equation. One way to argue that the guidance equation is superior to its rivals is to use a symmetry argument: of the candidate guidance equations, the official guidance equation is the simplest Galilean-invariant candidate. This symmetry argument---if it worked---would solve the underdetermination proble…Read more
  •  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
  •  77
    Local and Global Relativity Principles
    Philosophers' Imprint 8 1-14. 2008.
    Local versions of the (special) principle of relativity say that if the same type of experiment is conducted in two isolated, unaccelerated laboratories, then the outcomes of those experiments must be the same. Global versions of the principle say that if you take a physically possible world and boost the entire material content of that world, you get another physically possible world. Some authors say that the local and the global principles are logically independent, and that the local version…Read more
  •  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
  •  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.
  •  49
    Replies to Deasy and Maudlin
    Philosophical Studies 175 (7): 1815-1823. 2018.
  •  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