•  417
    Metaphysics
    Philosophical Review. 1993.
    In this classic, exciting, and thoughtful text, Metaphysics , Peter van Inwagen examines three profound questions: What are the most general features of the world? Why is there a world? and What is the place of human beings in the world? Metaphysics introduces to readers the curious notion that is metaphysics, how it is conceived both historically and currently. The author's work can serve either as a textbook in a university course on metaphysics or as an introduction to metaphysical thinking f…Read more
  •  242
    The Minimal A-theory
    Philosophical Studies 158 (2): 149-174. 2012.
    Timothy Williamson thinks that every object is a necessary, eternal existent. In defense of his view, Williamson appeals primarily to considerations from modal and tense logic. While I am uncertain about his modal claims, I think there are good metaphysical reasons to believe permanentism: the principle that everything always exists. B-theorists of time and change have long denied that objects change with respect to unqualified existence. But aside from Williamson, nearly all A-theorists defend …Read more
  •  183
    Semantics for Blasphemy
    In Jonathan L. Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion, Vol. IV, Oxford University Press. 2012.
    Use of divine names is strictly regulated in the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Unlike most ordinary names, “God,” “Jesus,” and “Allah,” have a particular moral significance for the faithful. Misuse of the names constitutes a form of blasphemy—a sin. Tomes have been written about the origin of holy names in these traditions and the role that they play in devotional practices. I have no such grand theological ambitions here. Instead, in this short essay I will raise a fe…Read more
  •  179
    Against Time Bias
    Ethics 125 (4): 947-970. 2015.
    Most of us display a bias toward the near: we prefer pleasurable experiences to be in our near future and painful experiences to be in our distant future. We also display a bias toward the future: we prefer pleasurable experiences to be in our future and painful experiences to be in our past. While philosophers have tended to think that near bias is a rational defect, almost no one finds future bias objectionable. In this essay, we argue that this hybrid position is untenable. We conclude that t…Read more
  •  153
    Problems for Temporary Existence in Tense Logic
    Philosophy Compass 7 (1): 43-57. 2012.
    A‐theorists of time postulate a deep distinction between the present, past and future. Settling on an appropriate logic for such a view is no easy matter. This Philosophy Compass article describes one of the most vexing formal problems facing A‐theorists. It is commonly thought that A‐theories can only be formally expressed in a tense logic: a logic with operators like P and F . And it seems natural to think that we live in a world where objects come to exist and cease to exist as time passes. I…Read more
  •  77
    Yet Another “Epicurean” Argument
    Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1): 135-159. 2016.
    In this paper, we develop a novel version of the so-called Lucretian symmetry argument against the badness of death. Our argument has two features that make it particularly effective. First, it focuses on the preferences of rational agents. We believe the focus on preferences eliminates needless complications and emphasizes the urgency to respond to the argument. Second, our argument utilizes a principle that states that a rational agent's preferences should not vary in arbitrary ways. We argue …Read more
  •  75
    An A-theory without tense operators
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (4-5): 735-758. 2016.
    A-theorists think there is a fundamental difference between the present and other times. This concern shows up in what kinds of properties they take to be instantiated, what objects they think exist and how they formalize their views. Nearly every contemporary A-theorist assumes that her metaphysics requires a tense logic – a logic with operators like and. In this paper, I show that there is at least one viable A-theory that does not require a logic with tense operators. And I will argue that th…Read more
  •  72
    The Irrelevance of Essence
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (2): 499-507. 2015.
  •  71
    Modal Oecumenism
    Analysis 75 (2): 271-283. 2015.
  •  70
    Boring Ontological Realism
    Res Philosophica 94 (3): 399-413. 2017.
    Boring ontological realists hold that objects exist at times and persist over time without having substantive essences. Boring realism is a consequence of the minimal A-theory of time and the most sensible formulations of necessitism. This kind of realism is at odds with a ubiquitous realist thesis, which I call the persistenceessence link. This essay surveys some examples of the persistence-essence link and argues that it is best understood as a thesis about grounding. If we understand the link…Read more
  •  68
    Modal Logic as Methodology
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (3): 734-743. 2014.
  •  68
    The A-theory: A Theory
    Dissertation, Rutgers University - New Brunswick. 2011.
    A-theories of time postulate a fundamental distinction between the present and other times. This distinction manifests in what A-theorists take to exist, their accounts of property change, and their views about the appropriate temporal logic. In this dissertation, I argue for a particular formulation of the A-theory that dispenses with change in existence and makes tense operators an optional formal tool for expressing the key theses. I call my view the minimal A-theory. The first chapter introd…Read more
  •  57
    Over the past century, there has been considerable debate over whether and how anything changes with respect to existence. Most A‐theorists of time (presentists, growing block theorists, and branch theorists) think things come to exist or cease to exist. B‐theorists of time (four‐dimensionalists, in particular) think objects do not change with respect to existence. In my Compass article, I outline a serious difficulty that A‐theorists face in trying to reason about temporary existents. The most …Read more
  •  44
    Personal Volatility
    Philosophical Issues 27 (1): 343-363. 2017.
  •  20
    Metaphysics as Mish-Mash
    The Philosophers' Magazine 74 82-85. 2016.
  •  3
    Should you care less about your distant future? What about events in your life that have already happened? How should the passage of time affect your planning and assessment of your life? Most of us think it is irrational to ignore the future but harmless to dismiss the past. But this book argues that rationality requires temporal neutrality.
  • Spectral models for early time SN 2011fe observations
    with E. Baron, P. Hoeflich, B. Friesen, E. Hsiao, R. S. Ellis, A. Gal-Yam, P. E. da HowellNugent, I. Dominguez, K. Krisciunas, M. M. Phillips, N. Suntzeff, L. Wang, and R. C. Thomas
    © 2015 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.We use observedUVthrough near-IR spectra to examine whether SN 2011fe can be understood in the framework of Branch-normal Type Ia supernovae and to examine its individual peculiarities. As a benchmark, we use a delayed-detonationmodel with a progenitormetallicity of Z⊙/20. We study the sensitivity of features to variations in progenitor metallicity, the outer density profile, and the distribution…Read more
  • Photometric selection of high-redshift type Ia supernova candidates
    with K. da HowellPerrett, P. E. Nugent, P. Astier, E. Aubourg, D. Balam, S. Basa, R. G. Carlberg, A. Conley, S. Fabbro, D. Fouchez, J. Guy, I. Hook, H. Lafoux, J. D. Neill, R. Pain, N. Palanque-Delabrouille, C. J. Pritchet, N. Regnault, J. Rich, R. Taillet, G. Aldering, S. Baumont, J. Bronder, M. Filiol, R. A. Knop, S. Perlmutter, and C. Tao
    We present a method for selecting high-redshift Type la supernovae located via rolling SN searches. The technique, using both color and magnitude information of events from only two to three epochs of multiband real-time photometry, is able to discriminate between SNe la and core-collapse SNe. Furthermore, for SNe la the method accurately predicts the redshift, phase, and light-curve parameterization of these events based only on pre-maximum-light data. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the te…Read more