•  30
    The Dynamic Theory of Time and Time Travel to the Past
    Disputatio 12 (57): 137-165. 2020.
    I argue that time travel to the past is impossible, given a certain metaphysical theory, namely, The Dynamic Theory of Time. I first spell out my particular way of capturing the difference between The Dynamic Theory of Time and its rival, The Static Theory of Time. Next I offer four different arguments for the conclusion that The Dynamic Theory is inconsistent with the possibility of time travel to the past. Then I argue that, even if I am wrong about this, it will still be true that The Dynamic…Read more
  •  1026
    Sideways music
    Analysis (1). 2019.
    There is a popular theory in the metaphysics of time according to which time is one of four similar dimensions that make up a single manifold that is appropriately called spacetime. One consequence of this thesis is that changing an object’s orientation in the manifold does not change its intrinsic features. In this paper I offer a new argument against this popular theory. I claim that an especially good performance of a particularly beautiful piece of music, when oriented within the manifold in…Read more
  • A Defense of Presentism
    In Dean Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics Volume 1, Oxford University Press. 2004.
  • Time
    In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, . 2014.
  •  12
    Two Arguments from Sider’s Four-Dimensionalism
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (3): 665-673. 2004.
    Theodore Sider’s Four-Dimensionalism is a well-organized and clearly written book that is chock-full of important arguments. Both friends and foes of the views defended by Sider will benefit enormously from careful study of the book. I am going to focus on just two of Sider’s many arguments for Four-Dimensionalism: his argument from vagueness, which I take to be the most important and powerful argument in the book, and his argument from time travel, which I find to be the funnest to think about.
  •  224
    On language and the passage of time
    Philosophical Studies 66 (1). 1992.
    Since the early part of this century there has been a considerable amount of discussion of the question 'Does time pass?'. A useful way of approaching the debate over the passage of time is to consider the following thesis: The space-time thesis (SPT): Time is similar to the dimensions of space in at least this one respect: there is no set of properties such that (i) these properties are possessed by time, (ii) these properties are not possessed by any dimension of space, and (iii) in virtue of …Read more
  •  13
    What Are Physical Objects?
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (2): 375-395. 2000.
    The concept of a physical object has figured prominently in the history of philosophy, and is probably more important now than it has ever been before. Yet the question What are physical objects?, i.e., What is the correct analysis of the concept of a physical object?, has received surprisingly little attention. The purpose of this paper is to address this question. I consider several attempts at answering the question, and give my reasons for preferring one of them over its rivals. The account …Read more
  •  265
    Some people think that pastness, presentness and futurity (and their metric variants, such as being two days past) are genuine propeties of times and events. These putative properties are sometimes called “A properties” and the philosopers who believe in them are often called “A Theorists.” Other philosophers don’t believe in the reality of A properties, but instead say that talk that appears to be about such properties is really about “B relations” – two-place temporal relations like earlier th…Read more
  •  407
    The 3d/4d controversy and non-present objects
    Philosophical Papers 23 (3): 243-249. 1994.
    Worlds, Lewis says this: Let us say that something persists iff, somehow or other, it exists at various times; this is the neutral word. Something perdures iff it persists by having different temporal parts, or stages, at different times, though no one part of it is wholly present at more than one time; whereas it endures iff it persists by being wholly present at more than one time. Perdurance corresponds to the way a road persists through space; part of it is here, and part of it is there, and…Read more
  •  979
    Simples
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 76 (2). 1998.
    Since the publication of Peter van Inwagen's book, Material Beings,1 there has been a growing body of philosophical literature on the topic of composition. The main question addressed in both van Inwagen's book and subsequent discussions of the topic is a question that van Inwagen calls "the Special Composition Question." The Special Composition Question is, roughly, the question Under what circumstances do several things compose, or add up to, or form, a single object? For the purposes of formu…Read more
  •  14
    How Fast Does Time Pass?
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (4): 829-844. 1993.
  •  3880
    A Defense of Presentism
    Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 1 47-82. 2004.
    ∗ Apologies to Mark Hinchliff for stealing the title of his dissertation. (See Hinchliff, A Defense of Presentism. As it turns out, however, the version of Presentism defended here is different from the version defended by Hinchliff. See Section 3.1 below.).
  •  969
    The paradox of the question
    Analysis 57 (2). 1997.
    Once upon a time, during a large and international conference of the world's leading philosophers, an angel miraculously appeared and said, "I come to you as a messenger from God. You will be permitted to ask any one question you want - but only one! - and I will answer that question truthfully. What would you like to ask?" The philosophers were understandably excited, and immediately began a discussion of what would be the best question to ask. But it quickly became obvious that they needed mor…Read more
  •  616
    Two Puzzles About Mercy
    Philosophical Quarterly 63 (251): 269-292. 2013.
    Anslem raised a puzzle about mercy: How can anyone (God, say, or a judge) be both just and merciful at the same time? For it seemed to Anselm that justice requires giving people what they deserve, while being merciful involves treating people less harshly than they deserve. This puzzle has led to a number of analyses of mercy. But a strange thing emerges from discussions of this topic: people seem to have wildly divergent intuitions about putative cases of mercy. Examples that are taken by some …Read more
  •  105
    Semantics, Tense, and Time
    Journal of Philosophy 98 (6): 325-329. 2001.
  •  282
    Review of Peter Ludlow, Semantics, Tense, and Time (review)
    Journal of Philosophy 98 (6): 325-329. 2001.
    This is not your typical book about the A-theory/B-theory controversy in metaphysics. Peter Ludlow attempts something that few philosophers have tried in the last thirty years: he actually argues from linguistic premises for metaphysical conclusions. The relevant linguistic premises have to do with the nature of language, a general theory of semantics, the proper analysis of tense, and various technical theses involving the treatment of temporal indexicals and temporal anaphora. The metaphysical…Read more
  •  103
    On Myself, and Other, Less Important Subjects
    Philosophical Review 123 (3): 360-366. 2014.
  •  42
    Does Time Pass?
    Dissertation, University of Massachusetts Amherst. 1990.
    My topic is the question 'Does time pass?'. Although much has been written in attempts to answer this question, not enough attention has been paid to the asking of the question itself. As a result, it has not been clear exactly what is at issue in this matter, and, consequently, it has not been clear just what are the different views available to one who wishes to give an answer to the question. I hope to ameliorate this situation. ;The aims of my essay are: to state the issues involved in the c…Read more
  •  26
    What are Physical Objects?
    Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 61 (2): 375-395. 2000.
    The concept of a physical object has figured prominently in the history of philosophy, and is probably more important now than it has ever been before. Yet the question What are physical objects?, i.e., What is the correct analysis of the concept of a physical object?, has received surprisingly little attention. The purpose of this paper is to address this question. I consider several attempts at answering the question, and give my reasons for preferring one of them over its rivals. The account …Read more
  •  1254
    Agent causation as the solution to all the compatibilist’s problems
    Philosophical Studies 157 (3): 383-398. 2012.
    In a recent paper I argued that agent causation theorists should be compatibilists. In this paper, I argue that compatibilists should be agent causation theorists. I consider six of the main problems facing compatibilism: (i) the powerful intuition that one can't be responsible for actions that were somehow determined before one was born; (ii) Peter van Inwagen's modal argument, involving the inference rule (β); (iii) the objection to compatibilism that is based on claiming that the ability to d…Read more
  •  537
    The open past
    Philosophical Studies 79 (1). 1995.
    This paper is about the open future response to fatalistic arguments. I first present a typical fatalistic argument and then spell out the open future response as a response to that argument. Then I raise the question of how the open future response can be independently justified. I consider some possible ways in which the response might be defended, and I try to show that none of these is a plausible, non-question-begging defense. Next I formulate what I take to be the only plausible, nonquesti…Read more
  •  250
    Sorensen's argument against vague objects
    Philosophical Studies 97 (1): 1-9. 2000.
    In his fascinating and provocative paper, "Sharp Boundaries for Blobs," Roy Sorensen gives several arguments against the possibility of "vague objects," or objects with indeterminate boundaries.1 In what follows, I will examine the main argument given by Sorensen in his paper. This argument has a great deal of initial plausibility. Moreover, I happen to sympathize with its conclusion. Nevertheless, it seems to me that Sorensen's argument fails to establish that conclusion. The purpose of this pa…Read more
  •  426
    In a recent Analysis article, Quentin Smith argues that classical theism is inconsistent with certain consequences of Stephen Hawking's quantum cosmology.1 Although I am not a theist, it seems to me that Smith's argument fails to establish its conclusion. The purpose of this paper is to show what is wrong with Smith's argument. According to Smith, Hawking's cosmological theory includes what Smith calls "Hawking's wave function law." Hawking's wave function law (hereafter, "HL") apparently has, a…Read more
  •  66
    Theodore Sider’s Four-Dimensionalism1 is a well-organized and clearly written book that is chock-full of important arguments. Both friends and foes of the views defended by Sider will benefit enormously from careful study of the book. I am going to focus on just two of Sider’s many arguments for Four-Dimensionalism: his argument from vagueness, which I take to be the most important and powerful argument in the book, and his argument from time travel, which I find to be the funnest to think about…Read more
  •  849
    Against ontological fundamentalism
    Facta Philosophica 7 (1): 69-83. 2005.
    Suppose you are asked to be the substitute teacher for a high school physics class. Suppose part of your assignment is to explain to the students all about the subatomic structure of a typical macroscopic object, such as a wooden table. Here is a speech that you are likely to find yourself making at some point during your lesson.
  •  573
    The Right Stuff
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (4): 665-687. 2015.
    This paper argues for including stuff in one's ontology. The distinction between things and stuff is first clarified, and then three different ontologies of the physical universe are spelled out: a pure thing ontology, a pure stuff ontology, and a mixed ontology of both things and stuff. Eleven different reasons for including stuff in one's ontology are given. Then five objections to positing stuff are considered and rejected
  •  964
    This paper is about The Truthmaker Problem for Presentism. I spell out a solution to the problem that involves appealing to indeterministic laws of nature and branching semantics for past- and future-tensed sentences. Then I discuss a potential glitch for this solution, and propose a way to get around that glitch. Finally, I consider some likely objections to the view offered here, as well as replies to those objections.
  •  430
    Time
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2010.
    Discussions of the nature of time, and of various issues related to time, have always featured prominently in philosophy, but they have been especially important since the beginning of the 20th Century. This article contains a brief overview of some of the main topics in the philosophy of time — Fatalism; Reductionism and Platonism with respect to time; the topology of time; McTaggart's arguments; The A Theory and The B Theory; Presentism, Eternalism, and The Growing Universe Theory; time travel…Read more