• 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.
  •  109
    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.
  •  174
  •  206
    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.
  •  152
    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.
  •  313
    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
  • 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
  •  357
    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.
  •  63
    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
  •  186
    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
  •  623
    Minimizing Inaccuracy for Self-Locating Beliefs
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 70 (2): 384-395. 2005.
    One's inaccuracy for a proposition is defined as the squared difference between the truth value (1 or 0) of the proposition and the credence (or subjective probability, or degree of belief) assigned to the proposition. One should have the epistemic goal of minimizing the expected inaccuracies of one's credences. We show that the method of minimizing expected inaccuracy can be used to solve certain probability problems involving information loss and self-locating beliefs (where a self-locating be…Read more
  •  553
    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
  •  354
    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?
  •  175
    Morality Grounds Personal Identity
    Philosophical Analysis 31 1-26. 2014.
    There is a connection between moral facts and personal identity facts: morality grounds personal identity. If, for example, old Sally enters a teletransporter, and new Sally emerges, the fundamental question to ask is: is new Sally morally responsible for actions (and omissions) of old Sally? If the moral facts are such that she is morally responsible, then Sally persisted through the teletransporter event, and if not, Sally ceased to exist.
  •  165
    Atheistic Induction by Boltzmann Brains
    In Jerry Walls & Trent Dougherty (eds.), Two Dozen (or so) Arguments for God: The Plantinga Project, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    I present a new thermodynamic argument for the existence of God. Naturalistic physics provides evidence for the failure of induction, because it provides evidence that the past is not at all what you think it is, and your existence is just a momentary fluctuation. The fact that you are not a momentary fluctuation thus provides evidence for the existence of God – God would ensure that the past is roughly what we think it is, and you have been in existence for roughly the amount of time you think …Read more
  •  184
    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.
  •  174
    Quantum Mechanics and 3 N - Dimensional Space
    Philosophy of Science 73 (5): 778-789. 2006.
    I maintain that quantum mechanics is fundamentally about a system of N particles evolving in three-dimensional space, not the wave function evolving in 3N-dimensional space.
  •  140
    How to predict future duration from present age
    Philosophical Quarterly 56 (222): 16-38. 2006.
    The physicist J. Richard Gott has given an argument which, if good, allows one to make accurate predictions for the future longevity of a process, based solely on its present age. We show that there are problems with some of the details of Gott's argument, but we defend the core thesis: in many circumstances, the greater the present age of a process, the more likely a longer future duration
  •  131
    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.
  •  219
    Presentism and the objection from being-supervenience
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (3): 485-497. 2007.
    In this paper, we show that presentism -- the view that the way things are is the way things presently are -- is not undermined by the objection from being-supervenience. This objection claims, roughly, that presentism has trouble accounting for the truth-value of past-tense claims. Our demonstration amounts to the articulation and defence of a novel version of presentism. This is brute past presentism, according to which the truth-value of past-tense claims is determined by the past understood …Read more
  •  72
    There are interesting parallels between some of McTaggart’s metaphysical views and developments from contemporary physics. Can McTaggart’s positive metaphysical views provide guidance in understanding how reality can be timeless at the fundamental level? I argue that the guidance McTaggart actually provides is limited – though not by any means useless.
  •  97
    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
  •  310
    Constructive Empiricism and Modal Nominalism
    with 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
  •  256
    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
  •  1041
    God, fine-tuning, and the problem of old evidence
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (2): 405-424. 2006.
    The fundamental constants that are involved in the laws of physics which describe our universe are finely-tuned for life, in the sense that if some of the constants had slightly different values life could not exist. Some people hold that this provides evidence for the existence of God. I will present a probabilistic version of this fine-tuning argument which is stronger than all other versions in the literature. Nevertheless, I will show that one can have reasonable opinions such that the fine-…Read more