•  622
    Against mereological nihilism
    Synthese 191 (7): 1511-1527. 2014.
    I argue that mereological nihilism fails because it cannot answer the special arrangement question: when is it true that the xs are arranged F-wise? I suggest that the answers given in the literature fail and that the obvious responses that could be made look to undermine the motivations for adopting nihilism in the first place
  •  298
    Temporal Fictionalism for a Timeless World
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (2): 281-301. 2019.
    Current debate in the metaphysics of time ordinarily assumes that we should be realists about time. Recently, however, a number of physicists and philosophers of physics have proposed that time will play no role in a completed theory of quantum gravity. This paper defends fictionalism about temporal thought, on the supposition that our world is timeless. We argue that, in the face of timeless physical theories, realism about temporal thought is unsustainable: some kind of anti-realism must be ad…Read more
  •  280
    Problems of parthood for proponents of priority
    Analysis 73 (3): 429-438. 2013.
    According to some views of reality, some objects are fundamental and other objects depend for their existence upon these fundamental objects. In this article, I argue that we have reason to reject these views
  •  272
    Presentism and truth-making
    Erkenntnis 71 (3): 407-416. 2009.
    Here, I defend the view that there is no sensible way to pin a truth-maker objection on presentism. First, I suggest that if we adopt truth-maker maximalism then the presentist can requisition appropriate ontological resources with impunity. Second, if we deny maximalism, then the presentist can sensibly restrict the truth-maker principle in order to avoid the demand for truth-makers for talk about the non-present.
  •  245
    Purely Theoretical Explanations
    Philosophia 49 (1): 133-154. 2020.
    This paper introduces a new kind of explanation that we describe as ‘purely theoretical’. We first present an example, E, of what we take to be a case of purely theoretical explanation. We then show that the explanation we have in mind does not fit neatly into any of the existing categories of explanation. We take this to give us prima facie motivation for thinking that purely theoretical explanation is a distinctive kind of explanation. We then argue that it can earn its keep via application to…Read more
  •  244
    Quantitative Parsimony: Probably for the Better
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (3). 2017.
    ABSTRACT Our aim in this article is to offer a new justification for preferring theories that are more quantitatively parsimonious than their rivals. We discuss cases where it seems clear that those involved opted for more quantitatively parsimonious theories. We extend previous work on quantitative parsimony by offering an independent probabilistic justification for preferring the more quantitatively parsimonious theories in particular episodes of theory choice. Our strategy allows us to avoid …Read more
  •  241
    Monism: The Islands of Plurality
    with Sam Baron
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3): 583-606. 2016.
    Priority monism (hereafter, ‘monism’) is the view that there exists one fundamental entity—the world—and that all other objects that exist (a set of objects typically taken to include tables, chairs, and the whole menagerie of everyday items) are merely derivative. Jonathan Schaffer has defended monism in its current guise, across a range of papers. Each paper looks to add something to the monistic picture of the world. In this paper we argue that monism—as Schaffer describes it—is false. To do …Read more
  •  233
    A Sketch of a Presentist Theory of Passage
    Erkenntnis 73 (1): 133-140. 2010.
    In this paper I look to develop a defence of “presentist temporal passage” that renders presentism immune from recent arguments due to Eric Olson. During the course of the paper, I also offer comment on a recent reply to Olson’s argument due to Ian Phillips. I argue that it is not clear that Phillips’ arguments succeed.
  •  224
    Nefarious Presentism
    Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260): 355-371. 2015.
    Presentists, who believe that only present objects exist, face a problem concerning truths about the past. Presentists should (but cannot) locate truth-makers for truths about the past. What can presentists say in response? We identify two rival factions ‘upstanding’ and ‘nefarious’ presentists. Upstanding presentists aim to meet the challenge, positing presently existing truth-makers for truths about the past; nefarious presentists aim to shirk their responsibilities, using the language of trut…Read more
  •  218
    Ontological dependence in a spacetime-world
    Philosophical Studies 172 (11): 3101-3118. 2015.
    Priority Monism, as defined by Jonathan Schaffer, has a number of components. It is the view that: the cosmos exists; the cosmos is a maximal actual concrete object, of which all actual concrete objects are parts; the cosmos is basic—there is no object upon which the cosmos depends, ontologically; ontological dependence is a primitive and unanalysable relation. In a recent attack, Lowe has offered a series of arguments to show that Monism fails. He offers up four tranches of argument, with diffe…Read more
  •  200
    Dubious by nature
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 43 (1): 97-116. 2013.
    There is a charge sometimes made in metaphysics that particular commitments are ‘hypothetical’, ‘dubious’ or ‘suspicious’. There have been two analyses given of what this consists in—due to Crisp (2007) and Cameron (2011). The aim of this paper is to reject both analyses and thereby show that there is no obvious way to press the objection against said commitments that they are ‘dubious’ and objectionable. Later in the paper I consider another account of what it might be to be ‘dubious’, and argu…Read more
  •  185
    Ontological cheats might just prosper
    Analysis 69 (3): 422-430. 2009.
    1. IntroductionA popular view in metaphysics is that which propositions are true depends upon how the world is . In more evocative language, truth requires ground. This thought then gets used to do some serious work. As Sider has it, ‘[t]he point of … the principle that truth supervenes on being is to rule out dubious ontologies’. Here, I argue that ‘dubious’ ontologies are theoretically virtuous
  •  174
    (Existence) Presentism and the A-theory
    Analysis 72 (4): 673-681. 2012.
    Next SectionIn this article I offer a new version of presentism and argue that this new version of presentism is not a species of the A-theory. Along the way, I argue that Rasmussen’s recent attempt to articulate a version of presentism that is not also a version of the A-theory does not succeed
  •  167
    Grounding at a distance
    Philosophical Studies 177 (11): 3373-3390. 2020.
    What distinguishes causation from grounding? One suggestion is that causation, but not grounding, occurs over time. Recently, however, counterexamples to this simple temporal criterion have been offered. In this paper, we situate the temporal criterion within a broader framework that focuses on two aspects: locational overlapping in space and time and the presence of intermediaries in space and time. We consider, and reject, the idea that the difference between grounding and causation is that gr…Read more
  •  151
    Recent Work: Time
    Analysis 73 (2): 369-379. 2013.
    Recent work on time. There is, at present, a lot of varied and interesting work being done in the philosophy of time; too much for me to fully engage with all of it here. I will focus on three debates that have been particularly busy over the last few years: how do presentists ground true propositions about the past? How does time pass? How do we experience time’s passing?
  •  146
    Time for presence?
    Philosophia 38 (2): 271-280. 2010.
    It is, I think, possible to generate a variation of McTaggart’s (Mind 17:457–474, 1908 ) paradox that infects all extant versions of presentism. This is not to say that presentism is doomed to failure. There may be ways to modify presentism and I can’t anticipate all such modifications, here. For the purposes of the paper I’ll understand ‘presentism’ to be the view that for all x , x is present (cf. Crisp ( 2004 : 18)). It seems only right that, at a conference devoted to McTaggart’s work on tim…Read more
  •  145
    Presentism, Truthmaking and Necessary Connections
    Theoria 80 (4): 211-221. 2014.
    Ross Cameron puts forward a novel solution to the truthmaker problem facing presentism. I claim that, by Cameron's own lights, the view is not in fact a presentist view at all, but rather requires us to endorse a form of Priority Presentism, whereby past objects are derivative and depend for their existence upon present objects. I argue that this view should be rejected
  •  141
    What is it to “B” a relation?
    Synthese 162 (1): 117-132. 2008.
    The purpose of this paper is two fold: first, I look to show Oaklander’s theory of time to be false. Second, I show that the only way to salvage the B-theory is via the adopting of the causal theory of time, and allying this to Oaklander’s claim that tense is to be eliminated. I then raise some concerns with the causal theory of time. My conclusion is that, if one adopts eternalism, the unreality of time looks a better option than the B-theory.
  •  140
    Defining Existence Presentism
    Erkenntnis 79 (S3): 479-501. 2014.
    In this paper I argue in favour of a new definition of presentism that I call ‘existence presentism’ (EP). Typically, presentism is defined as the thesis that ‘only present objects exist’, or ‘nothing exists that is non-present’.1 I assume these statements to be equivalent. I call these statements of presentism ‘conventional presentism’ (CP). First, in §2, I rehearse arguments due to Ulrich Meyer that purport to show that presentism is not adequately defined as CP. In §§2.1–2.4 I show that consider…Read more
  •  139
    Do Not Revise Ockham's Razor Without Necessity
    with Sam Baron
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (3): 596-619. 2018.
    Ockham's razor asks that we not multiply entities beyond necessity. The razor is a powerful methodological tool, enabling us to articulate reasons for preferring one theory to another. There are those, however, who would modify the razor. Schaffer, for one, tells us that, ‘I think the proper rendering of Ockham's razor should be ‘Do not multiply fundamental entities without necessity’’. Our aim, here, is to challenge such re-workings of Ockham's razor.
  •  125
    Optimus prime: paraphrasing prime number talk
    Synthese 190 (12): 2065-2083. 2013.
    Baker (Mind 114:223–238, 2005; Brit J Philos Sci 60:611–633, 2009) has recently defended what he calls the “enhanced” version of the indispensability argument for mathematical Platonism. In this paper I demonstrate that the nominalist can respond to Baker’s argument. First, I outline Baker’s argument in more detail before providing a nominalistically acceptable paraphrase of prime-number talk. Second, I argue that, for the nominalist, mathematical language is used to express physical facts about…Read more
  •  120
    There’s No Future in No-Futurism
    Erkenntnis 74 (1): 37-52. 2011.
    In two recent papers Button (Analysis 66:130–135, 2006, Analysis 67:325–332, 2007) has developed a particular view of time that he calls no-futurism. He defends his no-futurism against a sceptical problem that has been raised (by e.g. Bourne in Aust J Phil 80:359–371, 2002) for a similar growing block view—that of Tooley (Time, tense, and causation, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1997). If Button is right, then we have an important third option available to us: a half-way house between presentism and …Read more
  •  120
    Philosophical enquiry stands to benefit from the inclusion of methods from the digital humanities to study language use. Empirical studies using the methods of the digital humanities have the potential to contribute to both conceptual analysis and intuition-based enquiry, two important approaches in contemporary philosophy. Empirical studies using the methods of the digital humanities can also provide valuable metaphilosophical insights into the nature of philosophical methods themselves. The us…Read more
  •  110
    Intuitions in physics
    Synthese 190 (15): 2959-2980. 2013.
    This paper is an exploration of the role of intuition in physics. The ways in which intuition is appealed to in physics are not well understood. To the best of my knowledge, there is no analysis of the different contexts in which we might appeal to intuition in physics, nor is there any analysis of the different potential uses to which intuition might be put. In this paper I look to provide data that goes some way to giving a sense of the different contexts in which intuition is appealed to in p…Read more
  •  110
    There’s no existent like ‘no existence’ like no existent I know
    Philosophical Studies 148 (3): 387-400. 2010.
    The aim of this paper is to motivate and then defend a restricted version of the truth-maker theory. In defending such a theory I hope to do away with the perceived need for ‘negative existents’ such as totality facts and the like.
  •  99
    The New A-theory of Time
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (6): 537-562. 2015.
    The New A-theory of Time is the view, to be elaborated and defended in this article, that many times exist, and that time is real in virtue of every moment in time bearing each of the so-called A-properties: past, present and future. I argue that TNAT is at least as theoretically virtuous as mainstream views in the philosophy of time and may have some claim to being our best theory of time. I show that the properties ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’ can be understood as compatible intrinsic proper…Read more
  •  96
    Pretense, Mathematics, and Cognitive Neuroscience
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4). 2013.
    A pretense theory of a given discourse is a theory that claims that we do not believe or assert the propositions expressed by the sentences we token (speak, write, and so on) when taking part in that discourse. Instead, according to pretense theory, we are speaking from within a pretense. According to pretense theories of mathematics, we engage with mathematics as we do a pretense. We do not use mathematical language to make claims that express propositions and, thus, we do not use mathematical …Read more
  •  94
    Presentism Remains
    Erkenntnis 84 (2): 409-435. 2019.
    Here I examine some recent attempts to provide a new way of thinking about the philosophy of time that question the central role of ‘presentness’ within the definition of presentism. The central concern raised by these critics turns on the intelligibility and theoretical usefulness of the term ‘is present’. My overarching aim is to at least challenge such concerns. I begin with arguments due to Deasy. Deasy develops a view that he calls ‘transientism’ and that he takes to be a well-motivated ver…Read more
  •  94
    Truth and Dependence
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4 955-980. 2017.
    Truths depend upon what there is. So say many. A significant subset of that group say more; they say that the best way—perhaps the only way—to make sense of the claim that truth depends upon what there is, is to adopt a form of truth-maker theory. Truth-maker theorists claim that truths require ground; what’s true must depend upon what there is. Typically, truth-maker theory isn’t seen as a theory about the nature of truth. Rather, it’s seen as a theory about what truths must do. Truths must dep…Read more