University of Queensland
School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
PhD, 2005
Areas of Specialization
Areas of Interest
  •  4205
    Presentism, eternalism, and the growing block
    In Heather Dyke & Adrian Bardon (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Time, Wiley-blackwell. pp. 345-364. 2013.
    This paper has three main sections. The first section provides a general characterisation of presentism, eternalism and growing blockism. It presents a pair of core, defining claims that jointly capture each of these three views. This makes clear the respects in which the different views agree, and the respects in which they disagree, about the nature of time. The second section takes these characterisations and considers whether we really do have three distinct views, or whether defenders of t…Read more
  •  1473
    New Papers on the Present: Focus on Presentism (edited book)
    with Roberto Ciuni and Giuliano Torrengo
    Philosophia Verlag. 2013.
    The book is divided into three parts. The first, containing three papers, focuses on the characterization of the central tenets of previii sentism (by Neil McKinnon) and eternalism (by Samuel Baron and Kristie Miller), and on the ‘sceptical stance’ (by Ulrich Meyer), a view to the effect that there is no substantial difference between presentism and eternalism. The second and main section of the book contains three pairs of papers that bring the main problems with presentism to the fore and outl…Read more
  •  861
    A Taxonomy of Views about Time in Buddhist and Western Philosophy
    Philosophy East and West 67 (3): 763-782. 2017.
    We find the claim that time is not real in both western and eastern philosophical traditions. In what follows I will call the view that time does not exist temporal error theory. Temporal error theory was made famous in western analytic philosophy in the early 1900s by John McTaggart (1908) and, in much the same tradition, temporal error theory was subsequently defended by Gödel (1949). The idea that time is not real, however, stretches back much further than that. It is common to hear it said t…Read more
  •  807
    The physics of extended simples
    with D. Braddon-Mitchell
    Analysis 66 (3): 222-226. 2006.
    The idea that there could be spatially extended mereological simples has recently been defended by a number of metaphysicians (Markosian 1998, 2004; Simons 2004; Parsons (2000) also takes the idea seriously). Peter Simons (2004) goes further, arguing not only that spatially extended mereological simples (henceforth just extended simples) are possible, but that it is more plausible that our world is composed of such simples, than that it is composed of either point-sized simples, or of atomless …Read more
  •  778
    The cresting wave: a new moving spotlight theory
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (1): 94-122. 2019.
    One argument for the moving spotlight theory is that it better explains certain aspects of our temporal phenomenology than does any static theory of time. Call this the argument from passage phenomenology. In this paper it is argued that insofar as moving spotlight theorists take this to be a sound argument they ought embrace a new version of the moving spotlight theory according to which the moving spotlight is a cresting wave of causal efficacy. On this view it is more than just presentness th…Read more
  •  754
    Immaterial beings
    The Monist 90 (3): 349-371. 2007.
    This paper defends a view that falls somewhere between the two extremes of inflationary and deflationary accounts, and it does so by rejecting the initial conceptualisation of holes in terms of absences. Once we move away from this conception, I argue, we can see that there are no special metaphysical problems associated with holes. Rather, whatever one’s preferred metaphysics of paradigm material objects, that account can equally be applied to holes. This means that like the deflationist, I am …Read more
  •  683
    How to Be a Conventional Person
    The Monist 87 (4): 457-474. 2004.
    Recent work in personal identity has emphasized the importance of various conventions, or ‘person-directed practices’ in the determination of personal identity. An interesting question arises as to whether we should think that there are any entities that have, in some interesting sense, conventional identity conditions. We think that the best way to understand such work about practices and conventions is the strongest and most radical. If these considerations are correct, persons are, on our vie…Read more
  •  665
    Why is there female under-representation among philosophy majors? Evidence of a pre-university effect
    with Tom Doherty and Samuel Baron
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2. 2015.
    Why does female under- representation emerge during undergraduate education? At the University of Sydney, we surveyed students before and after their first philosophy course. We failed to find any evidence that this course disproportionately discouraged female students from continuing in philosophy relative to male students. Instead, we found evidence of an interaction effect between gender and existing attitudes about philosophy coming into tertiary education that appears at least partially res…Read more
  •  614
    Time Travel and the Open Future
    Disputatio 1 (19). 2005.
    In this paper, I argue that the thesis that time travel is logically possible, is inconsistent with the necessary truth of any of the usual ‘open futureobjective present’ models of the universe. It has been relatively uncontroversial until recently to hold that presentism is inconsistent with the possibility of time travel. I argue that recent arguments to the contrary do not show that presentism is consistent with time travel. Moreover, the necessary truth of other open future-objective present…Read more
  •  541
    The Unique Groundability of Temporal Facts
    with John Cusbert and Kristie Millier
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (1). 2017.
    The A-theory and the B-theory advance competing claims about how time is grounded. The A-theory says that A-facts are more fundamental in grounding time than are B-facts, and the B-theory says the reverse. We argue that whichever theory is true of the actual world is also true of all possible worlds containing time. We do this by arguing that time is uniquely groundable: however time is actually grounded, it is necessarily grounded in that way. It follows that if either the A-theory or the B-the…Read more
  •  527
    Our Concept of Time
    with Sam Baron
    In B. Mölder, V. Arstila & P. Ohrstrom (eds.), Philosophy and Psychology of Time, Springer. pp. 29-52. 2015.
    In this chapter we argue that our concept of time is a functional concept. We argue that our concept of time is such that time is whatever it is that plays the time role, and we spell out what we take the time role to consist in. We evaluate this proposal against a number of other analyses of our concept of time, and argue that it better explains various features of our dispositions as speakers and our practices as agents
  •  523
    Ought a four-dimensionalist to believe in temporal parts?
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (4). 2009.
    This paper presents the strongest version of a non-perdurantist four-dimensionalism: a theory according to which persisting objects are four-dimensionally extended in space-time, but not in virtue of having maximal temporal parts. The aims of considering such a view are twofold. First, to evaluate whether such an account could provide a plausible middle ground between the two main competitor accounts of persistence: three-dimensionalism and perdurantist four-dimensionalism. Second, to see what l…Read more
  •  522
    Temporal Experience, Temporal Passage and the Cognitive Sciences
    with Samuel Baron, John Cusbert, Matt Farr, and Maria Kon
    Philosophy Compass 10 (8): 560-571. 2015.
    Cognitive science has recently made some startling discoveries about temporal experience, and these discoveries have been drafted into philosophical service. We survey recent appeals to cognitive science in the philosophical debate over whether time objectively passes. Since this research is currently in its infancy, we identify some directions for future research
  •  492
    The anglophone philosophy profession has a well-known problem with gender equity. A sig-nificant aspect of the problem is the fact that there are simply so many more male philoso-phers than female philosophers among students and faculty alike. The problem is at its stark-est at the faculty level, where only 22% - 24% of philosophers are female in the United States (Van Camp 2014), the United Kingdom (Beebee & Saul 2011) and Australia (Goddard 2008).<1> While this is a result of the percentage of…Read more
  •  489
    Is Grounding a Hyperintensional Phenomenon?
    Analytic Philosophy 58 (4): 297-329. 2017.
    It is widely thought that grounding is a hyperintensional phenomenon. Unfortunately, the term ‘hyperintensionality’ has been doing double-duty, picking out two distinct phenomena. This paper clears up this conceptual confusion. We call the two resulting notions hyperintensionalityGRND and hyperintensionalityTRAD. While it is clear that grounding is hyperintensionalGRND, the interesting question is whether it is hyperintensionalTRAD. We argue that given well-accepted constraints on the logical fo…Read more
  •  486
    Grounding: it’s (probably) all in the head
    Philosophical Studies 174 (12): 3059-3081. 2017.
    In this paper we provide a psychological explanation for ‘grounding observations’—observations that are thought to provide evidence that there exists a relation of ground. Our explanation does not appeal to the presence of any such relation. Instead, it appeals to certain evolved cognitive mechanisms, along with the traditional modal relations of supervenience, necessitation and entailment. We then consider what, if any, metaphysical conclusions we can draw from the obtaining of such an explanat…Read more
  •  485
    What is Metaphysical Equivalence?
    Philosophical Papers 34 (1): 45-74. 2005.
    Abstract Theories are metaphysically equivalent just if there is no fact of the matter that could render one theory true and the other false. In this paper I argue that if we are judiciously to resolve disputes about whether theories are equivalent or not, we need to develop testable criteria that will give us epistemic access to the obtaining of the relation of metaphysical equivalence holding between those theories. I develop such ?diagnostic? criteria. I argue that correctly inter-translatabl…Read more
  •  468
    Temporal phenomenology: phenomenological illusion versus cognitive error
    with Alex Holcombe and Andrew J. Latham
    Synthese 197 (2): 751-771. 2020.
    Temporal non-dynamists hold that there is no temporal passage, but concede that many of us judge that it seems as though time passes. Phenomenal Illusionists suppose that things do seem this way, even though things are not this way. They attempt to explain how it is that we are subject to a pervasive phenomenal illusion. More recently, Cognitive Error Theorists have argued that our experiences do not seem that way; rather, we are subject to an error that leads us mistakenly to believe that our e…Read more
  •  433
    The new growing block theory vs presentism
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (3): 223-251. 2018.
    It was once held to be a virtue of the growing block theory that it combines temporal dynamism with a straightforward account of in virtue of what past-tensed propositions are true, and an explanation for why some future-tensed propositions are not true (assuming they are not). This put the growing block theory ahead of its principal dynamist rival: presentism. Recently, new growing block theorists have suggested that what makes true, past-tensed propositions, is not the same kind of thing as wh…Read more
  •  429
    A psychologistic theory of metaphysical explanation
    Synthese 196 (7): 2777-2802. 2019.
    Many think that sentences about what metaphysically explains what are true iff there exist grounding relations. This suggests that sceptics about grounding should be error theorists about metaphysical explanation. We think there is a better option: a theory of metaphysical explanation which offers truth conditions for claims about what metaphysically explains what that are not couched in terms of grounding relations, but are instead couched in terms of, inter alia, psychological facts. We do not…Read more
  •  410
    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
  •  408
    Travelling in time: How to wholly exist in two places at the same time
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (3): 309-334. 2006.
    It is possible to wholly exist at multiple spatial locations at the same time. At least, if time travel is possible and objects endure, then such must be the case. To accommodate this possibility requires the introduction of a spatial analog of either relativising properties to times—relativising properties to spatial locations—or of relativising the manner of instantiation to times—relativising the manner of instantiation to spatial locations. It has been suggested, however, that introducing ir…Read more
  •  402
    Enduring Special Relativity
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 42 (3): 349-370. 2004.
    Endurantism is not inconsistent with the theory of special relativity, or so I shall argue. Endurantism is not committed to presentism, and thus not committed to a metaphysics that is at least prima facie inconsistent with special relativity. Nor is special relativity inconsistent with the idea that objects are wholly present at a time just if all of their parts co-exist at that time. For the endurantist notion of co-existence in terms of which “wholly present” is defined, is not, I will argue, …Read more
  •  402
    Thing and object
    Acta Analytica 23 (1): 69-89. 2008.
    There is a fundamental ontological difference between two kinds of entity: things and objects. Unlike things, objects are not identical to any fusion of particulars. Unlike things, objects do not have mereological parts. While things are ontologically innocent, objects are not. Objects are meaty. I defend the distinction between things and objects, and provide an account of the nature of objects.
  •  379
    Prudence and Person-Stages
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 58 (5): 460-476. 2015.
    Persons care about their future selves. They reason about their future selves’ interests; they plan for their future selves’ happiness and they worry about their future selves’ suffering. This paper is interested in the interplay between diachronic prudential reason and certain accounts of the metaphysics of personal identity that fall under the broad umbrella ‘conventionalist’. Some conventionalists conclude that under certain conditions there are intractable decisions for there is no fact of t…Read more
  •  377
    A Hyperintensional Account of Metaphysical Equivalence
    Philosophical Quarterly 67 (269): 772-793. 2017.
    This paper argues for a particular view about in what metaphysical equivalence consists: namely, that any two metaphysical theories are metaphysically equivalent if and only if those theories are strongly hyperintensionally equivalent. It is consistent with this characterisation that said theories are weakly hyperintensionally distinct, thus affording us the resources to model the content of propositional attitudes directed towards metaphysically equivalent theories in such a way that non-ideal …Read more
  •  372
    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
  •  354
    Is some backwards time travel inexplicable?
    American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (2): 131-141. 2017.
    It has been suggested that there is something worrisome, puzzling, or incomprehensible about the sorts of causal loops sometimes involved in backwards time travel. This paper disentangles two distinct puzzles and evaluates whether they provide us reason to find backwards time travel incomprehensible, inexplicable, or otherwise worrisome. The paper argues that they provide no such reason.
  •  352
    Groundless Truth
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (2): 175-195. 2014.
    We defend two claims: (1) if one is attracted to a strong non-maximalist view about truthmaking, then it is natural to construe this as the view that there exist fundamental truths; (2) despite considerable aversion to fundamental truths, there is as yet no viable independent argument against them. That is, there is no argument against the existence of fundamental truths that is independent of any more specific arguments against the ontology accepted by the strong non-maximalist. Thus there is n…Read more
  •  341
    Travelling in Time: How to Wholly Exist in Two Places at the Same Time
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (3): 309-334. 2006.
    It is possible to wholly exist at multiple spatial locations at the same time. At least, if time travel is possible and objects endure, then such must be the case. To accommodate this possibility requires the introduction of a spatial analog of either relativising properties to times—relativising properties to spatial locations—or of relativising the manner of instantiation to times—relativising the manner of instantiation to spatial locations. It has been suggested, however, that introducing ir…Read more