University of Queensland
School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
PhD, 2005
Areas of Specialization
Areas of Interest
  •  3
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
  •  2
    Are the Folk Functionalists About Time?
    Southern Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    The Southern Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
  •  24
    People are ‘biased toward the future’: all else being equal, we typically prefer to have positive experiences in the future, and negative experiences in the past. Several explanations have been suggested for this pattern of preferences. Adjudicating among these explanations can, among other things, shed light on the rationality of future-bias: For instance, if our preferences are explained by unjustified beliefs or an illusory phenomenology, we might conclude that they are irrational. This paper…Read more
  •  35
    Tensed Facts and the Fittingness of our Attitudes
    Philosophical Perspectives. forthcoming.
    We direct different attitudes towards states of affairs depending on where in time those states of affairs are located. Call this the type asymmetry. The type asymmetry appears fitting. For instance, it seems fitting to feel guilt or regret only about states of affairs that are past, and anticipation only of states of affairs that are future. It has been argued that the type asymmetry could only be fitting if there are tensed facts, and hence that since it is fitting, there are tensed facts. In …Read more
  •  50
    Pretence Fictionalism about the Non-Present
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    Presentists hold that only present things exist. But we all, presentists included, utter sentences that appear to involve quantification over non-present objects, and so we all, presentists included, seem to commit ourselves to such objects. Equally, we all, presentists included, take utterances of many past-tensed (and some future-tensed) sentences to be true. But if no past or future things exist, it’s hard to see how there can be anything that those utterances are about, which makes them true…Read more
  •  59
    Empirical work has lately confirmed what many philosophers have taken to be true: people are ‘biased toward the future’. All else being equal, we usually prefer to have positive experiences in the future, and negative experiences in the past. According to one hypothesis, the temporal metaphysics hypothesis, future-bias is explained either by our (tacit) beliefs about temporal metaphysics—the temporal belief hypothesis—or alternatively by our temporal phenomenology—the temporal phenomenology hypo…Read more
  •  63
    Until recently, philosophers debating the rationality of time-biases have supposed that people exhibit a first-person hedonic bias toward the future, but that their non-hedonic and third-person preferences are time-neutral. Recent empirical work, however, suggests that our preferences are more nuanced. First, there is evidence that our third-person preferences exhibit time-neutrality only when the individual with respect to whom we have preferences—the preference target—is a random stranger abou…Read more
  •  64
    What Time-travel Teaches Us About Future-Bias
    Philosophies 6 (38): 38. 2021.
    Future-biased individuals systematically prefer positively valenced events to be in the future (positive future-bias) and negatively valenced events to be in the past (negative future-bias). The most extreme form of future-bias is absolute future-bias, whereby we completely discount the value of past events when forming our preferences. Various authors have thought that we are absolutely future-biased (Sullivan (2018:58); Parfit (1984:173) and that future-bias (absolute or otherwise) is at least…Read more
  •  62
    How much do we discount past pleasures?
    American Philosophical Quarterly. forthcoming.
    Future-biased individuals systematically prefer pleasures to be in the future (positive future-bias) and pains to be in the past (negative future-bias). Recent empirical research shows that negative future-bias exists and that it is strong: people prefer more past pain to less future pain. In fact, people prefer ten units of past pain to one unit of future pain. By contrast, this research shows that people do not prefer ten units of past pleasure to one unit of future pleasure. Thus the question…Read more
  •  59
    If Time Can Pass, Time Can Pass at Different Rates
    Analytic Philosophy 62 (1): 21-32. 2021.
    According to the No Alternate Possibilities argument, if time passes then the rate at which it passes could be different. Thus, time cannot pass, since if time passes, then necessarily it passes at a rate of 1 second per second. One response to this argument is to posit hypertime, and to argue that at different worlds, time passes at different rates when measured against hypertime. Since many A-theorists think we can make sense of temporal passage without positing hypertime, we pursue a differen…Read more
  •  8
    Time Passages
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 24 (3-4): 149-176. 2017.
    Temporal dynamists argue that we should believe that there exists temporal passage because there being passage is the best explanation for the presence of our temporal phenomenology. Some non-dynamists have countered that the presence of passage makes no difference to our temporal phenomenology, and consequently that temporal phenomenology cannot be evidence that there is passage. This paper attempts to bolster this non-dynamist response by offering new arguments for the claim that the presence …Read more
  •  8
    This paper defends Flatland—the view that there exist neither determination nor dependence relations, and that everything is therefore fundamental—from the objection from explanatory inefficacy. According to that objection, Flatland is unattractive because it is unable to explain either the appearance as of there being determination relations, or the appearance as of there being dependence relations. We show how the Flatlander can meet the first challenge by offering four strategies—reducing, el…Read more
  •  76
    Global directional eliminativists deny that there is any global direction to time. This paper provides a way to understand everyday temporal assertions—assertions made outside the physics or metaphysics rooms, the truth of which appears to require that time has a global direction—on the assumption that global directional eliminativism is true.
  •  104
    Non-Cognitivism about Metaphysical Explanation
    Analytic Philosophy. forthcoming.
    This paper introduces a non-cognitivist account of metaphysical explanation according to which the core function of judgements of the form ⌜x because y⌝ is not to state truth-apt beliefs. Instead, their core function is to express attitudes of commitment to, and recommendation of the acceptance of certain norms governing interventional conduct at contexts.
  •  113
    The Rationality of Near Bias toward both Future and Past Events
    with Preston Greene, Alex Holcombe, Andrew J. Latham, and James Norton
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (4): 905-922. 2021.
    In recent years, a disagreement has erupted between two camps of philosophers about the rationality of bias toward the near and bias toward the future. According to the traditional hybrid view, near bias is rationally impermissible, while future bias is either rationally permissible or obligatory. Time neutralists, meanwhile, argue that the hybrid view is untenable. They claim that those who reject near bias should reject both biases and embrace time neutrality. To date, experimental work has fo…Read more
  •  87
    Why are people so darn past biased?
    In Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack & Alison Sutton Fernandes (eds.), Temporal Asymmetries in Philosophy and Psychology., Oup. forthcoming.
    Many philosophers have assumed that our preferences regarding hedonic events exhibit a bias toward the future: we prefer positive experiences to be in our future and negative experiences to be in our past. Recent experimental work by Greene et al. (ms) confirmed this assumption. However, they noted a potential for some participants to respond in a deviant manner, and hence for their methodology to underestimate the percentage of people who are time neutral, and overestimate the percentage who ar…Read more
  •  162
    Philosophers have long noted, and empirical psychology has lately confirmed, that most people are “biased toward the future”: we prefer to have positive experiences in the future, and negative experiences in the past. At least two explanations have been offered for this bias: belief in temporal passage and the practical irrelevance of the past resulting from our inability to influence past events. We set out to test the latter explanation. In a large survey, we find that participants exhibit sig…Read more
  •  91
    On Preferring that Overall, Things are Worse: Future‐Bias and Unequal Payoffs
    with Preston Greene, Andrew J. Latham, and James Norton
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. 2021.
    Philosophers working on time-biases assume that people are hedonically biased toward the future. A hedonically future-biased agent prefers pleasurable experiences to be future instead of past, and painful experiences to be past instead of future. Philosophers further predict that this bias is strong enough to apply to unequal payoffs: people often prefer less pleasurable future experiences to more pleasurable past ones, and more painful past experiences to less painful future ones. In addition, …Read more
  •  91
    Are the Folk Functionalists About Time?
    Southern Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    This paper empirically investigates the contention that the folk concept of time is a functional concept: a concept according to which time is whatever plays a certain functional role or roles. This hypothesis could explain why, in previous research, surprisingly large percentages of participants judge that there is time at worlds that contain no one-dimensional substructure of ordered instants. If it seems to participants that even in those worlds the relevant functional role is played, then th…Read more
  •  188
    This paper empirically investigates one aspect of the folk concept of time by testing how the presence or absence of directedness impacts judgements about whether there is time in a world. Experiment 1 found that dynamists, showed significantly higher levels of agreement that there is time in dynamically directed worlds than in non-dynamical non-directed worlds. Comparing our results to those we describe in Latham et al., we report that while ~ 70% of dynamists say there is time in B-theory worl…Read more
  •  178
    What it would take to vindicate folk temporal error theory? This question is significant against a backdrop of new views in quantum gravity—so-called timeless physical theories—that claim to eliminate time by eliminating a one-dimensional substructure of ordered temporal instants. Ought we to conclude that if these views are correct, nothing satisfies the folk concept of time and hence that folk temporal error theory is true? In light of evidence we gathered, we argue that physical theories that…Read more
  •  138
    We argue that, insofar as one accepts either supersubstantivalism or strong composition as identity for the usual reasons, one has (defeasible) reasons to accept the other as well. Thus, all else being equal, one ought to find the package that combines both views—the Identity Package—more attractive than any rival package that includes one, but not the other, of either supersubstantivalism or composition as identity.
  •  116
    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
  •  168
    Can time flow at different rates? The differential passage of A-ness
    Philosophical Studies 178 (1): 255-280. 2021.
    According to the No Alternate Possibilities argument, if time passes then the rate at which it passes could be different but time cannot pass at different rates, and hence time cannot pass. Typically, defenders of the NAP argument have focussed on defending premise, and have taken the truth of for granted: they accept the orthodox view of rate necessitarianism. In this paper we argue that the defender of the NAP argument needs to turn her attention to. We describe a series of worlds that appear …Read more
  •  255
    An Empirical Investigation of Purported Passage Phenomenology
    Journal of Philosophy 117 (7): 353-386. 2020.
    It has widely been assumed, by philosophers, that most people unambiguously have a phenomenology as of time passing, and that this is a datum that philosophical theories must accommodate. Moreover, it has been assumed that the greater the extent to which people have said phenomenology, the more likely they are to endorse a dynamical theory of time. This paper is the first to empirically test these assumptions. Surprisingly, our results do not support either assumption. One experiment instead fou…Read more
  •  114
    It is often supposed that metaphysical explanation is asymmetric: that for all x and y, if x metaphysically explains y, then y does not metaphysically explain x. Even amongst those who hold that metaphysical explanation is not asymmetric, but nonsymmetric, it is assumed that a relatively small number of particular explanations are symmetric: by and large, if x metaphysically explains y, then y does not metaphysically explain x. Both parties agree that as a matter of fact we at least typically ju…Read more
  •  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
  •  143
    Empirical investigation of the conditions under which people prefer, or disprefer, causal explanation, has suggested to many that our judgements about what causally explains what are context sensitive in a number of ways. This has led many to suppose that whether or not a causal explanation obtains depends on various contextual factors, and that said explanations can obtain in one context, and not in another: they are both subjective and agent-relative. Surprisingly, most accounts of metaphysica…Read more
  •  163
    Dating - Philosophy for Everyone: Flirting with Big Ideas (edited book)
    with Marlene Clark
    Wiley-Blackwell. 2010.
    Progressing from the first flirtatious moment of eye contact to the selection of a “mate,” this enlightening book offers playful philosophical explorations of the dating game for anyone who has dated, is dating, or intends to date again. Offers amusing and enlightening philosophical insights into the dating game Helps demystify coupling in the 21 st century for those young daters just entering the fray, and those veterans returning to the game Features contributions from a wide range of discipli…Read more