University of Leeds
School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
PhD, 1996
Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand
  •  498
    Tensed Meaning: A Tenseless Account
    Journal of Philosophical Research 28 65-81. 2003.
    If, as the new B-theory of time maintains, tensed sentences have tenseless truth conditions, it follows that it is possible for two sentence-tokens to have the sametruth conditions but different meanings. This conclusion forces a rethink of the traditional identification of truth conditions with meaning. There is an aspect of the meanings of tensed sentences that is not captured by their truth conditions, and that has so far eluded explanation. In this paper I intend to locate, examine, and expl…Read more
  •  459
    The title of John Heil’s book From an Ontological Point of View is, of course, an adaptation of the title of Quine’s influential collection of essays From a Logical Point of View, published fifty years earlier in 1953. Quine’s book marked the beginning of a sea change in philosophy, away from ordinary language, armchair philosophising involving introspective examination of concepts, towards a more rigorous, analytical and scientific approach to answering philosophical questions. Heil’s book will…Read more
  •  428
    Review of The Tensed Theory of Time by W. L. Craig (review)
    International Philosophical Quarterly 42 (3): 404-406. 2002.
  •  390
    Mc Taggart and the Truth about Time
    In Craig Callender (ed.), Time, Reality and Experience, Cambridge University Press. pp. 137-. 2002.
    McTaggart famously argued that time is unreal. Today, almost no one agrees with his conclusion. But his argument remains the locus classicus for both the A-theory and the B-theory of time. I show how McTaggart’s argument provided the impetus for both of these opposing views of the nature of time. I also present and defend what I take to be the correct view of the nature of time.
  •  369
    What is Analytic Metaphysics For?
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2): 291-306. 2012.
    We divide analytic metaphysics into naturalistic and non-naturalistic metaphysics. The latter we define as any philosophical theory that makes some ontological (as opposed to conceptual) claim, where that ontological claim has no observable consequences. We discuss further features of non-naturalistic metaphysics, including its methodology of appealing to intuition, and we explain the way in which we take it to be discontinuous with science. We outline and criticize Ladyman and Ross's 2007 epist…Read more
  •  324
    Review of Time, Tense, and Causation by M. Tooley (review)
    International Philosophical Quarterly 39 (1): 100-101. 1999.
  •  311
    Tenseless/Non-Modal Truthmakers for Tensed/Modal Truths
    Logique Et Analyse 199 269-287. 2007.
    There is a common approach to metaphysical disputes, which takes language as its starting point, and leads to a view about the range of acceptable metaphysical positions in any such dispute. I argue that this approach rests on accepting what I call the Strong Linguistic Thesis (SLT). In the metaphysical debate about time I argue that the new B-theory has rejected SLT, and for good reasons. The metaphysical debate about modality parallels the early metaphysical debate about time. I argue that a p…Read more
  •  290
    Temporal language and temporal reality
    Philosophical Quarterly 53 (212). 2003.
    In response to a recent challenge that the New B-theory of Time argues invalidly from the claim that tensed sentences have tenseless truth conditions to the conclusion that temporal reality is tenseless, I argue that while early B-theorists may have relied on some such inference, New B-theorists do not. Giving tenseless truth conditions for tensed sentences is not intended to prove that temporal reality is tenseless. Rather, it is intended to undermine the A-theorist’s move from claims about the…Read more
  •  189
    If, as the new tenseless theory of time maintains, there are no tensed facts, then why do our emotional lives seem to suggest that there are? This question originates with Prior’s ‘Thank Goodness That’s Over’ problem, and still presents a significant challenge to the new B-theory of time. We argue that this challenge has more dimensions to it than has been appreciated by those involved in the debate so far. We present an analysis of the challenge, showing the different questions that a B-theoris…Read more
  •  186
    This paper examines various philosophical arguments to do with time travel. It argues that time travel has not been shown to be logically impossible. It then considers whether time travel would give rise to improbable strings of coincidences, or closed causal loops. Finally, it considers whether we could ever be justified in believing someone who claimed to be a time traveller, or whether we would always be more justified in believing that the claimant was either deluded or trying to deceive us.…Read more
  •  178
    Temporal parts and their individuation
    Analysis 61 (4): 289-292. 2002.
    Ignoring the temporal dimension, an object such as a railway tunnel or a human body is a three-dimensional whole composed of three-dimensional parts. The four-dimensionalist holds that a physical object exhibiting identity across time—Descartes, for example—is a four-dimensional whole composed of 'briefer' four-dimensional objects, its temporal parts. Peter van Inwagen (1990) has argued that four-dimensionalism cannot be sustained, or at best can be sustained only by a counterpart theorist. We …Read more
  •  139
    Tokens, Dates And Tenseless Truth Conditions
    Synthese 131 (3): 329-351. 2002.
    There are two extant versions of the new tenseless theory of time: the date version and the token-reflexive version. I ask whether they are equivalent, and if not, which of them is to be preferred. I argue that they are not equivalent, that the date version is unsatisfactory, and that the token-reflexive version is correct. I defend the token-reflexive version against a string of objections from Quentin Smith. My defence involves a discussion of the ontological and semantic significance of truth…Read more
  •  124
    A future for presentism – Craig Bourne (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 58 (233): 747-751. 2008.
    No Abstract
  •  118
    The pervasive paradox of tense
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 62 (1): 103-124. 2001.
    The debate about the reality of tense descends from an argument of McTaggart's,whichwas designed to prove the unreality of time.The argument has two constituent theses: firstly that time is intrinsically tensed, and secondly, that the notion of tense is inherently self-contradictory. If both of these theses are true, it follows that time does not exist. The debate that has emerged from this argument centres around the truth or falsity of each of these theses. A-theorists accept the first and rej…Read more
  •  112
    (2013). What Shall We Do with Analytic Metaphysics? A Response to McLeod and Parsons. Australasian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 91, No. 1, pp. 179-182. doi: 10.1080/00048402.2012.762029
  •  107
    It sometimes happens that advances in one area of philosophy can be applied to a quite different area of philosophy, and that the result is an unexpected significant advance. I think that this is true of the philosophy of time and meta-ethics. Developments in the philosophy of time have led to a new understanding of the relation between semantics and metaphysics. Applying these insights to the field of meta-ethics, I will argue, can suggest a new position with respect to moral discourse and mora…Read more
  •  100
    The evolutionary origins of tensed language and belief
    Biology and Philosophy 26 (3): 401-418. 2011.
    I outline the debate in metaphysics between those who believe time is tensed and those who believe it is tenseless. I describe the terms in which this debate has been carried out, and the significance to it of ordinary tensed language and widespread common sense beliefs that time is tensed. I then outline a case for thinking that our intuitive beliefs about tense constitute an Adaptive Imaginary Representation (Wilson, in Biol Philos 5:37–62, 1990; Wilson, in Biol Philos 10:77–97, 1995). I also …Read more
  •  74
    Propositions: Truth vs. Existence
    In James Maclaurin (ed.), Rationis Defensor: Essays in Honour of Colin Cheyne, Springer. pp. 127-138. 2012.
    I argue that there is an inherent tension in the notion of a proposition that gives us reason to doubt that there can be any single entity that plays all the roles and possesses all the features normally attributed to propositions. The tension is that some of the roles and features of propositions require them to be essentially representational, while others require them to be non-representational. I first present what I call the standard view of propositions: a series of theses outlining the ro…Read more
  •  73
    This book is an investigation into metaphysics: its aims, scope, methodology and practice. Dyke argues that metaphysics should take itself to be concerned with investigating the fundamental nature of reality, and suggests that the ontological significance of language has been grossly exaggerated in the pursuit of that aim.
  •  64
    Evolutionary Explanations of Temporal Experience
    In Heather Dyke & Adrian Bardon (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Time, Wiley-blackwell. pp. 521-535. 2013.
    A common approach in the Philosophy of Time, particularly in enquiry into the metaphysical nature of time, has been to examine various aspects of the nature of human temporal experience, and ask what, if anything, can be discerned from this about the nature of time itself. Many human traits have explanations that reside in facts about our evolutionary history. We ask whether features of human temporal experience might admit of such evolutionary explanations. We then consider the implications of …Read more
  •  63
    Time and Ethics: Essays at the Intersection (edited book)
    Kluwer Academic Publishers. 2003.
    Ethics seeks answers to questions about the moral status of human actions and human lives. What should I do, and what should I not do? What sort of life should I lead? Actions and lives are temporal things. Actions are performed at certain times, are informed by past events and have consequences for the future. Lives have temporal extension, and are experienced from a sequence of temporal perspectives. Thus, one would think that answers to ethical questions should take account some of their temp…Read more
  •  51
  •  50
    The Tensed Theory of Time: A Critical Examination (review)
    International Philosophical Quarterly 42 (3): 404-406. 2002.
  •  42
    Time, Tense, and Causation
    International Philosophical Quarterly 39 (1): 100-101. 1999.
  •  41
    Mc Taggart and the Truth about Time
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 50 137-152. 2002.
    McTaggart famously argued that time is unreal. Today, almost no one agrees with his conclusion.1 But his argument remains the locus classicus for both the A–theory and the B-theory of time. I want to show how McTaggart's argument provided the impetus for both of these opposing views of the nature of time. I will also present and defend what I take to be the correct view of the nature of time.
  •  38
    Real times and possible worlds
    In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), Questions of time and tense, Oxford University Press. pp. 93--117. 1998.
    There are ways in which the new tenseless theory of time is analogous to David Lewis’s modal realism. The new tenseless theory gives an indexical analysis of temporal terms such as ‘now’, while Lewis gives and indexical analysis of ‘actual’. For the new tenseless theory, all times are equally real; for Lewis, all worlds are equally real. In this paper I investigate this apparent analogy between these two theories, and ask whether a proponent of one is committed, by parity of reasoning, to the ot…Read more