•  623
    David Braddon-Mitchell and Frank Jackson’s popular introduction to philosophy of mind and cognition is now available in a fully revised and updated edition. Ensures that the most recent developments in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science are brought together into a coherent, accessible whole. Revisions respond to feedback from students and teachers and make the volume even more useful for courses. New material includes: a section on Descartes’ famous objection to materialism; extended t…Read more
  •  465
    What is Free Speech?
    Journal of Political Philosophy 12 (4): 437-460. 2004.
    It is widely held that free speech is a distinctive and privileged social kind. But what is free speech? In particular, is there any unified phenomenon that is both free speech and which is worthy of the special value traditionally attached to free speech? We argue that a descendent of the classic Millian justification of free speech is in fact a justification of a more general social condition; and, via an argument that 'free speech' names whatever natural social kind is justified by the best a…Read more
  •  411
    Quantum gravity, timelessness, and the contents of thought
    Philosophical Studies 176 (7): 1807-1829. 2019.
    A number of recent theories of quantum gravity lack a one-dimensional structure of ordered temporal instants. Instead, according to many of these views, our world is either best represented as a single three-dimensional object, or as a configuration space composed of such three-dimensional objects, none of which bear temporal relations to one another. Such theories will be empirically self-refuting unless they can accommodate the existence of conscious beings capable of representation. For if re…Read more
  •  373
    On Metaphysical Analysis
    In Jonathan Schaffer & Barry Loewer (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to David Lewis, Wiley-blackwell. 2015.
    Metaphysics is largely an a priori business, albeit a business that is sensitive to the findings of the physical sciences. But sometimes what the physical sciences tell us about our own world underdetermines what we should think about the metaphysics of how things actually are, and even how they could be. This chapter has two aims. The first is to defend a particular conception of the methodology of a priori metaphysics by, in part, exemplifying that methodology and revealing its results. The …Read more
  •  295
    The loneliness of stages
    with Kristie Miller
    Analysis 64 (3): 235-242. 2004.
    Harold Noonan has recently argued (2003) that one of Lewis’s (1983: 76– 77) arguments for the view that objects persist by perduring is flawed. Lewis’s argument can be divided into two main sections, the first of which attempts to show that it is possible that there exists a world of temporal parts or stages, and the second, which attempts to show that our world is such a world. Noonan claims that there is a flaw in each of these two stages.We argue to the contrary.
  •  284
    There is No Simpliciter Simpliciter
    Philosophical Studies 136 (2): 249-278. 2007.
    This paper identifies problems with indexicalism and abverbialism about temporary intrinsic properties, and solves them by disentangling two senses in which a particular may possess a property simpliciter. The first sense is the one identified by adverbialists in which a particular possesses at all times the property as a matter of foundational metaphysical fact regardless of whether it is manifest. The second involves building on adverbialism to produce a semantics for property-manifestation ac…Read more
  •  279
    Many philosophical naturalists eschew analysis in favor of discovering metaphysical truths from the a posteriori, contending that analysis does not lead to philosophical insight. A countercurrent to this approach seeks to reconcile a certain account of conceptual analysis with philosophical naturalism; prominent and influential proponents of this methodology include the late David Lewis, Frank Jackson, Michael Smith, Philip Pettit, and David Armstrong. Naturalistic analysis is a tool for locatin…Read more
  •  225
    Temporal phase pluralism
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (1). 2001.
    Some theories of personal identity allow some variation in what it takes for a person to survive from context to context; and sometimes this is determined by the desires of person-stages or the practices of communities.This leads to problems for decision making in contexts where what is chosen will affect personal identity.‘Temporal Phase Pluralism’ solves such problems by allowing that there can be a plurality of persons constituted by a sequence of person stages. This illuminates difficult dec…Read more
  •  216
    On Time and the Varieties of Science
    Boston Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science 326 67-85. 2017.
    This paper proffers an account of why interdisciplinary research on, inter alia, the nature of time can be fruitful even if the disciplines in question have different explanatory pro-jects. We suggest that the special sciences perform a subject setting role for lower-level disciplines such as physics. In essence, they tell us where, amongst a theory of the physical world, we should expect to locate phenomena such as temporality; they tell us what it would take for there to be time. Physical the…Read more
  •  190
    Electrocortical components of anticipation and consumption in a monetary incentive delay task
    with Douglas J. Angus, Andrew James Latham, Eddie Harmon‐Jones, Matthias Deliano, and Bernard Balleine
    Psychophysiology 54 (11): 1686-1705. 2017.
    In order to improve our understanding of the components that reflect functionally important processes during reward anticipation and consumption, we used principle components analyses (PCA) to separate and quantify averaged ERP data obtained from each stage of a modified monetary incentive delay (MID) task. Although a small number of recent ERP studies have reported that reward and loss cues potentiate ERPs during anticipation, action preparation, and consummatory stages of reward processing, th…Read more
  •  186
    This paper aims to provide an overview of the conceptual terrain of what we call conative accounts of personal identity. These are views according to which the same-person relation in some sense depends on a range of broadly conative phenomena, especially desires, behaviours and conventions. We distinguish views along three dimensions: what role the conations play, what kinds of conations play that role, and whether the conations that play that role are public or private. We then offer a more de…Read more
  •  154
    Introducing the Canberra Plan
    In David Braddon-Mitchell & Robert Nola (eds.), Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism, Mit Press. pp. 1--20. 2009.
  •  149
    Surviving, to some degree
    Philosophical Studies 177 (12): 3805-3831. 2020.
    In this paper we argue that reflection on the patterns of practical concern that agents like us exhibit strongly suggests that the same person relation comes in continuous degrees rather than being an all or nothing matter. We call this the SP-degree thesis. Though the SP-degree thesis is consistent with a range of views about personal-identity, we argue that combining desire-first approaches to personal-identity with the SP-degree thesis better explains our patterns of practical concern, and he…Read more
  •  147
    Masters of our meanings
    Philosophical Studies 118 (1-2): 133-52. 2004.
    The two-dimensional framework in semantics has the most power and plausibility when combined with a kind of global semantic neo-descriptivism. If neo-descriptivism can be defended on the toughest terrain - the semantics of ordinary proper names - then the other skirmishes should be easier. This paper defends neo-descriptivism against two important objections: that the descriptions may be inaccessibly locked up in sub-personal modules, and thus not accessible a priori, and that in any case all su…Read more
  •  117
    On Time and the Varieties of Science
    In Christophe Bouton & Philippe Huneman (eds.), Time of Nature and the Nature of Time, Springer Verlag. 2017.
    This paper proffers an account of why interdisciplinary research on, inter alia, the nature of time can be fruitful even if the disciplines in question have different explanatory projects. We suggest that the special sciences perform a subject setting role for lower-level disciplines such as physics. In essence, they tell us where, amongst a theory of the physical world, we should expect to locate phenomena such as temporality; they tell us what it would take for there to be time. Physical theo…Read more
  •  110
    Review of 'An Introduction to Philosophical Methods', by Chris Daly (review)
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (3). 2012.
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Volume 90, Issue 3, Page 608-611, September 2012
  •  101
    Talking About a Universalist World
    Philosophical Studies 130 (3): 499-534. 2006.
    The paper defends a combination of perdurantism with mereological universalism by developing semantics of temporary predications of the sort ’some P is/was/will be (a) Q’. We argue that, in addition to the usual application of causal and other restrictions on sortals, the grammatical form of such statements allows for rather different regimentations along three separate dimensions, according to: (a) whether ‘P’ and ‘Q’ are being used as phase or substance sortal terms, (b) whether ‘is’, ‘was’, a…Read more
  •  99
    The microstructural causation hypothesis
    Erkenntnis 39 (2). 1993.
    I argue against a priori objections to the view that causation may be reducible to some micro-structural process in principle discoverable by physics. I distinguish explanation from causation, and argue that the main objections to such a reduction stem from conflating these two notions. Explanation is the collection of pragmatically relevant, possibly counterfactual information about causation; and causation is to be identified in a necessary a posteriori way with whatever physical processes und…Read more
  •  98
    The paper proposes a new version of direct act consequentialism that will provide the same evaluations of the rightness of acts as indirect disposition, motive or character consequentialism, thus reconciling the coherence of direct consequentialism with the plausible results in cases of indirect consequentialism. This is achieved by seeing that adopting certain kinds of moral dispositions causally constrains our future acts, so that the maximizing acts ruled out by the disposition can no longer …Read more
  •  95
    Folk theories of the third kind
    Ratio 17 (3): 277-293. 2004.
    The idea of a folk theory has played many important roles in much recent philosophy. To do the work they are designed for, they need to be both internal features of agents who possess them, and yet scrutable without the full resources of empirical cognitive science. The worry for the theorist of folk theories, is that only one of these desiderata is met in each plausible conception of a folk theory. This paper outlines a third conception that meets them both.1
  •  87
    The subsumption of reference
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (1): 157-178. 2005.
    How can the reference of theoretical terms be stable over changes of theory? I defend an approach to this that does not depend on substantive metasemantic theories of reference. It relies on the idea that in contexts of use, terms may play a role in a theory that in turn points to a further (possibly unknown) theory. Empirical claims are claims about the nature of the further theories, and the falsification of these further theories is understood not as showing that a term in the original theory…Read more
  •  84
    Believing falsely makes it so
    Mind 115 (460): 833-866. 2006.
    that there is something rationally or conceptually defective in judging that an act is right without being in any way motivated towards it—is one which has tended to lead either to error theories of ethics on the one hand, or acceptance of the truth of internalism on the other. This paper argues that it does play a kind of subject-setting role, but that our responses to cases can be rationalised without requiring that internalism is true for ethical realism to be vindicated. Instead what is requ…Read more
  •  68
    Mind and Language 13 (1): 29-34. 1998.
    The paper makes three points about the modularity of folk psychology and the significance of metarepresentation: The hope that metarepresentation may provide a principled divide between intentional and merely representational systems focuses on a divide of mechanism. I suggest that we also look for a divide of task: the difference could be a principled difference in the task performed by the systems, not in how the task is performed. There is no incompatibility between the hypothesis that folk p…Read more
  •  24
    We argue that a certain variety of presentist time travel ends up significantly undermining the motivational foundations which lead some, but not all, presentists to their view. We suggest that if presentism is motivated by phenomenology, and part of that phenomenology is that it’s an experiential datum that we experience temporal passage, then the basis for believing presentism is less secure than we might have thought.