•  1151
    Ghosts and Sparse Properties: Why Physicalists Have More to Fear from Ghosts than Zombies
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1): 119-139. 2010.
    Zombies are bodies without minds: creatures that are physically identical to actual human beings, but which have no conscious experience. Much of the consciousness literature focuses on considering how threatening philosophical reflection on such creatures is to physicalism. There is not much attention given to the converse possibility, the possibility of minds without bodies, that is, creatures who are conscious but whose nature is exhausted by their being conscious. We can call such a ‘purely …Read more
  •  356
    Why panpsychism doesn't help us explain consciousness
    Dialectica 63 (3): 289-311. 2009.
    This paper starts from the assumption that panpsychism is counterintuitive and metaphysically demanding. A number of philosophers, whilst not denying these negative aspects of the view, think that panpsychism has in its favour that it offers a good explanation of consciousness. In opposition to this, the paper argues that panpsychism cannot help us to explain consciousness, at least not the kind of consciousness we have pre-theoretical reason to believe in.
  •  229
    Does Mary know I experience plus rather than quus? A new hard problem
    Philosophical Studies 160 (2): 223-235. 2012.
    Realism about cognitive or semantic phenomenology, the view that certain conscious states are intrinsically such as to ground thought or understanding, is increasingly being taken seriously in analytic philosophy. The principle aim of this paper is to argue that it is extremely difficult to be a physicalist about cognitive phenomenology. The general trend in later 20th century/early 21st century philosophy of mind has been to account for the content of thought in terms of facts outside the head …Read more
  •  210
    A posteriori physicalists get our phenomenal concepts wrong
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (2). 2011.
    Dualists say plausible things about our mental concepts: there is a way of thinking of pain, in terms of how it feels, which is independent of causal role. Physicalists make attractive ontological claims: the world is wholly physical. The attraction of a posteriori physicalism is that it has seemed to do both: to agree with the dualist about our mental concepts, whilst retaining a physicalist ontology. In this paper I argue that, in fact, a posteriori physicalism departs from the dualist's intui…Read more
  •  196
    Experiences don't sum
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (10-11): 53-61. 2006.
  •  151
    _‘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
  •  121
    (No abstract is available for this citation)
  •  115
  •  94
    Fundamentality and the Mind-Body Problem
    Erkenntnis 81 (4): 881-898. 2016.
    In the recent metaphysics literature, a number of philosophers have independently endeavoured to marry sparse ontology to abundant truth. The aim is to keep ontological commitments minimal, whilst allowing true sentences to quantify over a vastly greater range of entities than those which they are ontologically committed to. For example, an ontological commitment only to concrete, microscopic simples might be conjoined with a commitment to truths such as ‘There are twenty people working in this …Read more
  •  90
    A non-eliminative understanding of austere nominalism
    European Journal of Philosophy 16 (1). 2008.
    How do we account for resemblance between concrete particular objects? What is it about reality which makes a sentence such as the following true? (1) x and y are both spherical Realists about properties claim that, at a fundamental level, this sentence is true because x and y both exemplify the property of sphericity. Michael Loux favours this account of resemblance. Nevertheless, Loux concedes that austere nominalism, which I understand to be the view that nothing exists over and above particu…Read more
  •  85
    Spinoza on Monism (edited book)
    Palgrave-Macmillan. 2012.
  •  61
    Essentialist modal rationalism
    Synthese 1-9. forthcoming.
    In my recent book Consciousness and Fundamental Reality, I proposed a principle linking rational coherence and metaphysical possibility, as part of an argument against physicalism. Although it was not the focus of concern in this book, I had hoped that that principle might undergird a generalised account of our knowledge of modality. I have subsequently realised, however, that that principle has limited application, in a way that conflicts with these broader ambitions. In this paper I will outli…Read more
  •  49
    (2013). Phenomenal Consciousness: Understanding the Relation Between Experience and Neural Processes in the Brain, by Dimitris Platchias. Australasian Journal of Philosophy: Vol. 91, No. 3, pp. 617-620. doi: 10.1080/00048402.2013.788529.
  •  48
    A priori physicalism, lonely ghosts and cartesian doubt
    Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2): 742-746. 2012.
    A zombie is a physical duplicates of a human being which lacks consciousness. A ghost is a phenomenal duplicate of a human being whose nature is exhausted by consciousness. Discussion of zombie arguments, that is anti-physicalist arguments which appeal to the conceivability of zombies, is familiar in the philosophy of mind literature, whilst ghostly arguments, that is, anti-physicalist arguments which appeal to the conceivability of ghosts, are somewhat neglected. In this paper I argue that ghos…Read more
  •  47
    Is it a Problem that Physics is Mathematical?
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 24 (9-10): 50-58. 2017.
    In her paper 'Does the Mathematical Nature of Physics Undermine Physicalism?' Susan Schneider draws attention to a much neglected challenge to physicalism, arising from its mathematical vocabulary. Whilst I agree with Schneider that the mathematical nature of physics is a concern for the physicalist, I disagree with her concerning the essence of the problem. I argue on the basis of Newman's problem that a purely mathematical description cannot entirely characterize concrete reality. The physical…Read more
  •  43
    Conscious Thought and the Cognitive Fine-Tuning Problem
    Philosophical Quarterly 68 (270): 98-122. 2018.
    Cognitive phenomenalism is the view that occurrent thoughts are identical with, or constituted of, cognitive phenomenology. This paper raises a challenge for this view: the cognitive fine-tuning problem. In broad brushstrokes the difficulty is that, for the cognitive phenomenalist, there is a distinction between three kinds of fact: cognitive phenomenal facts, sensory phenomenal facts, and functional facts. This distinction gives rise to the challenge of explaining why, in actuality, these three…Read more
  •  38
    Did the universe design itself?
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 85 (1): 99-122. 2019.
    Many philosophers and scientists believe that we need an explanation as to why the laws of physics and the initial conditions of the universe are fine-tuned for life. The standard two options are: theism and the multiverse hypothesis. Both of these theories are extravagant and arguably have false predictions. Drawing on contemporary philosophy of mind, I outline a form of panpsychism that I believe offers a more parsimonious and less problematic explanation of cosmological fine-tuning.
  •  21
    The Case for Panpsychism
    Philosophy Now 121 6-8. 2017.
  •  20
    Can Science Explain Consciousness?
    Philosophy Now 121 4-4. 2017.