• God Acts in the Quantum World
    Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 5 167-184. 2014.
  • Prolegomena to Any Future Physics-Based Metaphysics
    Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 3 (1). 2011.
  •  71
    How to Avoid Maximizing Expected Utility
    Philosophers' Imprint 19. 2019.
    The lesson to be learned from the paradoxical St. Petersburg game and Pascal’s Mugging is that there are situations where expected utility maximizers will needlessly end up poor and on death’s door, and hence we should not be expected utility maximizers. Instead, when it comes to decision-making, for possibilities that have very small probabilities of occurring, we should discount those probabilities down to zero, regardless of the utilities associated with those possibilities.
  •  170
  •  168
    Quantum-Mechanical Self-Measurement
    In D. Dieks & P. Vermaas (eds.), The Modal Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 307-318. 1998.
    The idea of self-measurement by a quantum-mechanical automaton is presented, and the conclusions that are typically reached about what we can come to know from doing self-measurements are shown to be mistaken. Specifically, it is shown that, while we are capable of _predicting_ and _measuring_ the values of two incompatible observables, we are incapable of _knowing_ both these values simultaneously. This is an example of the interesting limitations quantum mechanics places on knowledge.
  •  122
    The Bare Theory Has No Clothes
    with Jeffrey Bub and Rob Clifton
    In Richard Healey & Geoffrey Hellman (eds.), Quantum Measurement: Beyond Paradox, University of Minnesota Press. pp. 32-51. 1998.
    We criticize the bare theory of quantum mechanics -- a theory on which the Schrödinger equation is universally valid, and standard way of thinking about superpositions is correct.
  •  300
    Constructive Empiricism and Modal Nominalism
    with Monton Bradley and Fraassen Bas C. Van
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 54 (3). 2003.
    James Ladyman has argued that constructive empiricism entails modal realism, and that this renders constructive empiricism untenable. We maintain that constructive empiricism is compatible with modal nominalism. Although the central term 'observable' has been analyzed in terms of counterfactuals, and in general counterfactuals do not have objective truth conditions, the property of being observable is not a modal property, and hence there are objective, non-modal facts about what is observable. …Read more
  •  508
    An Atheistic Defence of Christian Science
    European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 5 (3): 43--54. 2013.
    Should the Christian community engage in Christian science  – doing science starting from the standpoint of the Christian evidence base? Plantinga asks this question, and I  argue that the answer is ‘yes’. Moreover, this is an answer that both Christians and atheists can agree upon. Scientific progress should not be shackled by methodological naturalism; instead we need an ecumenical approach to science, which will allow for various high-level research programmes to count as science (including C…Read more
  • Quantum Ontology and Quantum Observers
    Dissertation, Princeton University. 1999.
    This dissertation is about the ontologies of the main interpretations and theories of non-relativistic quantum mechanics, and about issues regarding how observers are represented in quantum mechanics. I have two main theses, which I don't argue for explicitly, but which are implicitly defended in the context of my discussion of the various interpretations and theories. ;My first thesis is that the ontologies of the various interpretations and theories are importantly incomplete---there are impor…Read more
  •  217
    Pseudoscience
    In Martin Curd & Stathis Psillos (eds.), Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science, Second Edition, Routledge. pp. 468-479. 2013.
    I insightfully discuss the question: what is pseudoscience?
  •  12
    Reviews (review)
    with Jason Owen-Smith, John Gascoigne, Alan Chalmers, Audra J. Wolfe, Ivan Crozier, Jan Crosthwaite, Jonathan Simon, Peter Anstey, William Clower, Mark Parascandola, Robert L. Campbell, Charlotte Bigg, R. J. Hankinson, Nicolas Rasmussen, Christer Nordlund, Nessy Allen, Craig Sean McConnell, David Oldroyd, Edward Wisniewski, Jessie Saul, Stephanie H. Kenen, Ina Roy, and Dianah Leigh Jackson
    Metascience 10 (2): 232-319. 2001.
  •  265
    Wave Function Ontology
    Synthese 130 (2): 265-277. 2002.
    I argue that the wave function ontology for quantum mechanics is an undesirable ontology. This ontology holds that the fundamental space in which entities evolve is not three-dimensional, but instead 3N-dimensional, where N is the number of particles standardly thought to exist in three-dimensional space. I show that the state of three-dimensional objects does not supervene on the state of objects in 3N-dimensional space. I also show that the only way to guarantee the existence of the appropriat…Read more
  •  80
    Van Fraassen and Ruetsche on preparation and measurement
    Philosophy of Science 66 (3): 91. 1999.
    Ruetsche (1996) has argued that van Fraassen's (1991) Copenhagen Variant of the Modal Interpretation (CVMI) gives unsatisfactory accounts of measurement and of state preparation. I defend the CVMI against Ruetsche's first argument by using decoherence to show that the CVMI does not need to account for the measurement scenario which Ruetsche poses. I then show, however, that there is a problem concerning preparation, and the problem is more serious than the one Ruetsche focuses on. The CVMI makes…Read more
  •  61
    The problem of ontology for spontaneous collapse theories
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 35 (3): 407-421. 2004.
    The question of how to interpret spontaneous collapse theories of quantum mechanics is an open one. One issue involves what link one should use to go from wave function talk to talk of ordinary macroscopic objects. Another issue involves whether that link should be taken ontologically seriously. In this paper, I ague that the link should be taken ontologically seriously; I argue against an ontology consisting solely of the wave function. I then consider three possible links: the fuzzy link, the …Read more
  •  53
    ordinary macroscopic objects. Another issue involves whether that link should be taken ontologically seriously. In this paper, I argue that the link should be taken ontologically..
  •  113
    The problem of the many minds
    Minds and Machines 16 (4): 463-470. 2006.
    It is argued that, given certain reasonable premises, an infinite number of qualitatively identical but numerically distinct minds exist per functioning brain. The three main premises are (1) mental properties supervene on brain properties; (2) the universe is composed of particles with nonzero extension; and (3) each particle is composed of continuum-many point-sized bits of particle-stuff, and these points of particle-stuff persist through time.
  •  158
    The doomsday argument without knowledge of birth rank
    Philosophical Quarterly 53 (210). 2003.
    The Carter-Leslie Doomsday argument, as standardly presented, relies on the assumption that you have knowledge of your approximate birth rank. I demonstrate that the Doomsday argument can still be given in a situation where you have no knowledge of your birth rank. This allows one to reply to Bostrom's defense of the Doomsday argument against the refutation based on the idea that your existence makes it more likely that many observers exist.
  •  305
    Time travel without causal loops
    Philosophical Quarterly 59 (234): 54-67. 2009.
    It has sometimes been suggested that backwards time travel always incurs causal loops. I show that this is mistaken, by describing worlds where backwards time travel occurs and yet no causal loops occur. Arguments that backwards time travel can occur without causal loops have been given before in the literature, but I show that those arguments are unconvincing.
  •  78
    Did God create life? Or did life arise via naturalistic processes, along the lines of random mutation and natural selection as suggested by Darwin? Intelligent design proponents attempt to use William Dembski’s design inference to argue that the existence of intelligent life is due to design. I will argue that the design inference is flawed, because it does not take into account the fact that the universe is spatially infinite.
  •  184
    Supererogatory Superluminality
    with Brian Kierland
    Synthese 127 (3): 347-357. 2001.
    We argue that any superluminal theory T is empirically equivalent to a non-superluminal theory T*, with the following constraints on T*: T* preserves the spacetime intervals between events as entailed by T, T* is naturalistic, and all the events which have causes according to T also have causes according to T*. Tim Maudlin defines standard interpretations of quantum mechanics as interpretations 'according to which there was a unique set of outcomes in Aspect's laboratory, which outcomes occurred…Read more
  •  5
    Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design
    European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 3 (1). 2011.
    The doctrine of intelligent design is often the subject of acrimonious debate. Seeking God in Science cuts through the rhetoric that distorts the debates between religious and secular camps. Bradley Monton, a philosopher of science and an atheist, carefully considers the arguments for intelligent design and argues that intelligent design deserves serious consideration as a scientific theory. Monton also gives a lucid account of the debate surrounding the inclusion of intelligent design in public…Read more
  • The doctrine of intelligent design is often the subject of acrimonious debate. _Seeking God in Science_ cuts through the rhetoric that distorts the debates between religious and secular camps. Bradley Monton, a philosopher of science and an atheist, carefully considers the arguments for intelligent design and argues that intelligent design deserves serious consideration as a scientific theory. Monton also gives a lucid account of the debate surrounding the inclusion of intelligent design in publ…Read more
  •  294
    Adam Elga takes the Sleeping Beauty example to provide a counter-example to Reflection, since on Sunday Beauty assigns probability 1/2 to H, and she is certain that on Monday she will assign probability 1/3. I will show that there is a natural way for Bas van Fraassen to defend Reflection in the case of Sleeping Beauty, building on van Fraassen’s treatment of forgetting. This will allow me to identify a lacuna in Elga’s argument for 1/3. I will then argue, however, that not all is well with Refl…Read more
  •  531
    Metaphysicians sometimes appeal to physics to establish claims about the fundamental nature of the world. But given the current state of inquiry in physics, where there are two most fundamental theories that are incompatible, such arguments of physics-based metaphysics are problematic. I support this line of thought by focussing on two sorts of problematic arguments, special-relativity-based arguments against presentism and big-bang-based arguments in favor of the existence of God. I am not argu…Read more
  •  17
    Review of Gregory Dawes, Theism and Explanation (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2009 (11). 2009.
  •  183
    It is often thought that presentism is incompatible with time travel. I will argue that this common view is incorrect. Specifically, I will argue that presentism is compatible with some stories that involve closed timelike curves, and that some of these stories are time-travel stories.
  •  229
    There is a philosophical tradition of arguing against presentism, the thesis that only presently existing things exist, on the basis of its incompatibility with fundamental physics. I grant that presentism is incompatible with special and general relativity, but argue that presentism is not incompatible with quantum gravity, because there are some theories of quantum gravity that utilize a fixed foliation of spacetime. I reply to various objections to this defense of presentism, and point out a …Read more
  •  227
    McTaggart and modern physics
    Philosophia 38 (2): 257-264. 2009.
    This paper delves into McTaggart’s metaphysical account of reality without time, and compares and contrasts McTaggart’s account with the account of reality given by modern physics. This comparison is of interest, because there are suggestions from contemporary physics that there is no time at the fundamental level. Physicists and philosophers of physics recognize that we do not have a good understanding of how the world could be such that time is unreal. I argue that, from the perspective of one…Read more