•  333
    A mereological challenge to endurantism
    with Jon Robson
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (4). 2007.
    In this paper, we argue that time travel is problematic for the endurantist. For it appears to be possible, given time travel, to construct a wall out of a single time travelling brick. This commits the endurantist to one of the following: (a) the wall is composed of the time travelling brick many times over; (b) the wall does not in fact exist at all; (c) the wall is identical to the brick. We argue that each of these options is unsatisfactory.
  •  289
    Endurantism and timeless worlds
    with J. Melia
    Analysis 67 (2): 140-147. 2007.
    A paper against Ted Sider's argument for perdurantism on the grounds of timeless worlds
  •  213
    The metaphysics of groups
    Philosophical Studies 149 (2): 251-267. 2010.
    If you are a realist about groups there are three main theories of what to identify groups with. I offer reasons for thinking that two of those theories fail to meet important desiderata. The third option is to identify groups with sets, which meets all of the desiderata if only we take care over which sets they are identified with. I then canvass some possible objections to that third theory, and explain how to avoid them
  •  192
    Sider, Hawley, Sider and the Vagueness Argument
    Philosophical Studies 154 (2). 2011.
    The Vagueness Argument for universalism only works if you think there is a good reason not to endorse nihilism. Sider's argument from the possibility of gunk is one of the more popular reasons. Further, Hawley has given an argument for the necessity of everything being either gunky or composed of mereological simples. I argue that Hawley's argument rests on the same premise as Sider's argument for the possibility of gunk. Further, I argue that that premise can be used to demonstrate the possibil…Read more
  •  173
    An unwelcome consequence of the Multiverse Thesis
    Synthese 184 (3): 375-386. 2012.
    The Multiverse Thesis is a proposed solution to the Grandfather Paradox. It is popular and well promulgated, found in fiction, philosophy and (most importantly) physics. I first offer a short explanation on behalf of its advocates as to why it qualifies as a theory of time travel (as opposed to mere 'universe hopping'). Then I argue that the thesis nevertheless has an unwelcome consequence: that extended objects cannot travel in time. Whilst this does not demonstrate that the Multiverse Thesis i…Read more
  •  160
    Metaphysics: The Key Concepts
    with Helen Beebee and Philip Goff
    Routledge. 2010.
    _‘Informative, accessible, and fun to read— this is an excellent reference guide for undergraduates and anyone wanting an introduction to the fundamental issues of metaphysics. I know of no other resource like it.’– __Meghan Griffith, Davidson College, USA_ _'Marvellous! This book provides the very best place to start for students wanting to take the first step into understanding metaphysics.Undergraduates would do well to buy it and consult it regularly. The quality and clarity of the material …Read more
  •  153
    The Location of Properties
    Noûs 49 (4): 846-866. 2015.
    This paper argues that, assuming properties exist and must be located in spacetime, the prevailing view that they are exactly located where their instances are is false. Instead a property is singularly located at just one region, namely the union of its instance's locations. This bears not just on issues in the metaphysics of properties, but also on the debate over whether multi-location is conceivable and/or possible
  •  137
    Universalism, vagueness and supersubstantivalism
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (1). 2009.
    Sider has a favourable view of supersubstantivalism (the thesis that all material objects are identical to the regions of spacetime that they occupy). This paper argues that given supersubstantivalism, Sider's argument from vagueness for (mereological) universalism fails. I present Sider's vagueness argument (§§II-III), and explain why - given supersubstantivalism - some but not all regions must be concrete in order for the argument to work (§IV). Given this restriction on what regions can be co…Read more
  •  130
    Endurantism and Perdurantism
    In Robert Barnard Neil Manson (ed.), Continuum Companion to Metaphysics, . pp. 170. 2012.
    An introduction to the theories of endurantism and perdurantism, and persistence more broadly.
  •  109
    Mereological Nominalism
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (1): 160-185. 2020.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
  •  97
    Temporal Parts and Time Travel
    Erkenntnis 74 (2): 225-240. 2011.
    This paper argues that, in light of certain scenarios involving time travel, Sider’s definition of ‘instantaneous temporal part’ cannot be accepted in conjunction with a semantic thesis that perdurantists often assume. I examine a rejoinder from Sider, as well as Thomson’s alternative definition of ‘instantaneous temporal part’, and show how neither helps. Given this, we should give up on the perdurantist semantic thesis. I end by recommending that, once we no longer accept such semantics, we sh…Read more
  •  90
    Undermining Motivations for Universalism
    Noûs 45 (4): 696-713. 2011.
    Universalism (the thesis that for any ys, those ys compose a further object) is an answer to the Special Composition Question. In the literature there are three arguments – what I call the arguments from elegance – that universalists often rely upon, but which are rarely examined in-depth. I argue that these motivations cannot be had by the perdurantist, for to avoid a commitment to badly behaved superluminal objects perdurantists must answer the ‘Proper Continuant Question’. Any answer to that …Read more
  •  83
    Impure Sets May Be Located: A Reply to Cook
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (4): 330-336. 2012.
    Cook argues that impure sets are not located. But ‘location’ is an ambiguous word and when we resolve those ambiguities it turns out that on no resolution is Cook's argument compelling
  •  82
    It is a common view that if composition as identity is true, then so is mereological universalism (the thesis that all objects have a mereological fusion). Various arguments have been advanced in favour of this: (i) there has been a recent argument by Merricks, (ii) some claim that Universalism is entailed by the ontological innocence of the identity relation, (or that ontological innocence undermines objections to universalism) and (iii) it is entailed by the law of selfidentity. After a prelim…Read more
  •  81
    Talking about Something (But Really Talking about Nothing) (review)
    Analysis 72 (2): 329-340. 2012.
  •  67
    Mereological Explanation and Time Travel
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 88 (2): 333-345. 2010.
    I have previously argued in a paper with Robson that a particular time travel scenario favours perdurantism over endurantism on the grounds that endurantists must give up on the Weak Supplementation Principle. Smith has responded, arguing that the reasons we provided are insufficient to warrant this conclusion. This paper agrees with that conclusion (for slightly different reasons: that even the perdurantist has to give up on the Weak Supplementation Principle) but argues that the old argument c…Read more
  •  49
    Universalism and Classes
    Dialectica 65 (3): 451-472. 2011.
    Universalism (the thesis that distinct objects always compose a further object) has come under much scrutiny in recent years. What has been largely ignored is its role in the metaphysics of classes. Not only does universalism provide ways to deal with classes in a metaphysically pleasing fashion, its success on these grounds has been offered as a motivation for believing it. This paper argues that such treatments of classes can be achieved without universalism, examining theories from Goodman an…Read more
  •  43
    Multiple Location and Christian Philosophical Theology
    Faith and Philosophy 32 (1): 25-44. 2015.
    This paper discusses how the possibility of multi-located entities can resolve problems both with the Trinity and with the existence of souls.
  •  41
    In this engaging and wide-ranging new book, Nikk Effingham provides an introduction to contemporary ontology - the study of what exists - and its importance for philosophy today. He covers the key topics in the field, from the ontology of holes, numbers and possible worlds, to space, time and the ontology of material objects - for instance, whether there are composite objects such as tables, chairs or even you and me. While starting from the basics, every chapter is up-to-date with the most rece…Read more
  •  40
    Harmoniously Investigating Concrete Structures
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (3): 190-195. 2013.
    Traynor identifies a tension between armchair reasoning telling us about the mereological structure of objects and empirical investigation telling us about the structure of spacetime. Section 1 explains, and bolsters, that tension. Section 2 discusses Traynor's resolution, and suggests some possible problems with it, whilst Section 3 discusses an alternative
  •  31
    This paper argues that, if we believe both in works of music and sets, that the former are the latter. My argument is that such an ontology offers more explanatory power than the alternatives when it comes to explaining why works of music fall under the predicates that they do
  •  27
    The philosophy of filioque
    Religious Studies 54 (3): 297-312. 2018.
    This paper offers a model of the Trinity dealing with various objections to the filioque clause. I deal with three worries: the problem of double procession; the problem of the Father’s omnipotence; worries about the Spirit’s subordination. The model has two main commitments: (i) relations like proceeding, begetting, generation etc. are causal relations; (ii) each Divine Person is caused by the other two Divine Persons. The model also allows for the Father’s elevation over and above the Spirit a…Read more
  •  23
    Michael Almeida, The Metaphysics of Perfect Beings, Routledge, 2008
    European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8 (4): 243--247. 2016.
    Book review of 'The Metaphysics of Perfect Beings'
  •  17
    Composition, Persistence, and Identity
    In Robin Le Poidevin (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics, Routledge. pp. 296. 2009.
    An introduction to composition, persistence, and identity.
  •  14
    Multiple studies and weak evidential defeat
    with Malcolm J. Price
    Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (5): 353-366. 2017.
    When a study shows statistically significant correlation between an exposure and an outcome, the credence of a real connection between the two increases. Should that credence remain the same when it is discovered that further independent studies between the exposure and other independent outcomes were conducted? Matthew Kotzen argues that it should remain the same, even if the results of those further studies are discovered. However, we argue that it can differ dependent upon the results of the …Read more
  •  14
    In some stories, time travellers cannot change the past. It is widely accepted that this is metaphysically possible. In some stories, time travellers can change the past. Many philosophers have explained how that, too, is metaphysically possible. This paper considers narratives where sometimes the past can change and sometimes it cannot, arguing that this is also something that is possible. Further, I argue that we can make sense of stories where some events appear to be ‘fixed points in time’.
  •  13
    ‘Past vacillators’ believe that what was once the case may change over time. This has obvious applications to the possibility of changing the past via time travel. ‘Future vacillators’ believe that some things will happen and yet, later, will not. Further to issues in time travel, future vacillation has applications when it comes to ‘Geachian’ views about the open future. This paper argues that if you deny that the ‘earlier than’ and ‘later than’ relations are converses of one another then you c…Read more
  •  11
    No abstract available.
  •  11
    Slot Theory and Slotite Theory
    Philosophia 49 (1): 17-35. 2021.
    ‘Instantiation-directed slot theorists’ believe that properties/relations have slots which are filled by their instances/relata e.g., where Abigail is taller than Bronia, there are two slots in the relation Taller Than such that Abigail fills the first slot and Bronia fills the second. This crude statement of the theory runs into ‘The Problem of Filling’, whereby a natural understanding of the relation between slots, filling, and instantiation leads to absurd results. This paper examines a varie…Read more