•  266
    Theories of persistence
    Philosophical Studies 173 (1): 243-250. 2016.
    The debate over persistence is often cast as a disagreement between two rival theories—the perdurantist theory that objects persist through time by having different temporal parts at different times, and the endurantist theory that objects persist through time by being wholly present at different times. This way of framing the debate over persistence involves both an important insight and an important error. Unfortunately, the error is often embraced and the insight is often ignored. This paper …Read more
  •  250
    The problem of change
    Philosophy Compass 1 (1). 2006.
    Our world is a world of change. Children are born and grow into adults. Material possessions rust and decay with age and ultimately perish. Yet scepticism about change is as old as philosophy itself. Heraclitus, for example, argued that nothing could survive the replacement of parts, so that it is impossible to step into the same river twice. Zeno argued that motion is paradoxical, so that nothing can alter its location. Parmenides and his followers went even further, arguing that the very conce…Read more
  •  219
    On linking dispositions and conditionals
    Mind 117 (465): 59-84. 2008.
    Analyses of dispositional ascriptions in terms of conditional statements famously confront the problems of finks and masks. We argue that conditional analyses of dispositions, even those tailored to avoid finks and masks, face five further problems. These are the problems of: (i) Achilles' heels, (ii) accidental closeness, (iii) comparatives, (iv) explaining context sensitivity, and (v) absent stimulus conditions. We conclude by offering a proposal that avoids all seven of these problems.
  •  196
    Intentional action and the unintentional fallacy
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 92 (4): 524-534. 2011.
    Much of the recent work in action theory can be organized around a set of objections facing the Simple View and other intention-based accounts of intentional action. In this paper, I review three of the most popular objections to the Simple View and argue that all three objections commit a common fallacy. I then draw some more general conclusions about the relationship between intentional action and moral responsibility
  •  191
  •  174
    The Paradox of the Question
    Philosophical Studies 154 (1): 149-159. 2011.
    What is the best question to ask an omniscient being? The question is intriguing; is it also paradoxical? We discuss several versions of what Ned Markosian calls the paradox of the question and suggest solutions to each of those puzzles. We then offer some practical advice about what do if you ever have the opportunity to query an omniscient being.
  •  167
    A gradable approach to dispositions
    Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226). 2007.
    Previous theories of the relationship between dispositions and conditionals are unable to account for the fact that dispositions come in degrees. We propose a fix for this problem that has the added benefit of avoiding the classic problems of finks and masks.
  •  160
    The standard objection to the standard account
    Philosophical Studies 111 (3). 2002.
    What is the relation between a clay statue andthe lump of clay from which it is made? According to the defender of the standardaccount, the statue and the lump are distinct,enduring objects that share the same spatiallocation whenever they both exist. Suchobjects also seem to share the samemicrophysical structure whenever they bothexist. This leads to the standard objection tothe standard account: if the statue and thelump of clay have the same microphysicalstructure whenever they both exist, ho…Read more
  •  157
    The argument from temporary intrinsics
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (3). 2003.
    The problem of temporary intrinsics is the problem of how persisting objects can have different intrinsic properties at different times. The relativizer responds to this problem by replacing ordinary intrinsic properties with relations to times. In this note, I identify and respond to three different objections to the relativizer's proposal, each of which can be traced to the work of David Lewis.
  •  153
    Dispositions, Conditionals, and Counterexamples
    with D. Manley
    Mind 120 (480): 1191-1227. 2011.
    In an earlier paper in these pages (2008), we explored the puzzling link between dispositions and conditionals. First, we rehearsed the standard counterexamples to the simple conditional analysis and the refined conditional analysis defended by David Lewis. Second, we attacked a tempting response to these counterexamples: what we called the ‘getting specific strategy’. Third, we presented a series of structural considerations that pose problems for many attempts to understand the link between di…Read more
  •  152
    Vagueness and the Laws of Metaphysics
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (1): 66-89. 2017.
    This is a paper about the nature of metaphysical laws and their relation to the phenomenon of vagueness. Metaphysical laws are introduced as analogous to natural laws, and metaphysical indeterminism is modeled on causal indeterminacy. This kind of indeterminacy is then put to work in developing a novel theory of vagueness and a solution to the sorites paradox.
  •  140
    Teaching & learning guide for: The problem of change
    Philosophy Compass 5 (3): 283-286. 2010.
    Our world is a world of change. Children are born and grow into adults. Material possessions rust and decay with age and ultimately perish. Yet scepticism about change is as old as philosophy itself. Heraclitus, for example, argued that nothing could survive the replacement of parts, so that it is impossible to step into the same river twice. Zeno argued that motion is paradoxical, so that nothing can alter its location. Parmenides and his followers went even further, arguing that the very conce…Read more
  •  139
    Humean supervenience and personal identity
    Philosophical Quarterly 55 (221): 582-593. 2005.
    Humeans hold that the nomological features of our world, including causal facts, are determined by the global distribution of fundamental properties. Since persistence presupposes causation, it follows that facts about personal identity are also globally determined. I argue that this is unacceptable for a number of reasons, and that the doctrine of Humean supervenience should therefore be rejected
  •  122
    Material constitution
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2010.
  •  102
    Dispositions and generics
    Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1): 425-453. 2011.
  •  92
    Lewis on Backward Causation
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 4 (3): 141-150. 2015.
    David Lewis famously defends a counterfactual theory of causation and a non-causal, similarity-based theory of counterfactuals. Lewis also famously defends the possibility of backward causation. I argue that this combination of views is untenable—given the possibility of backward causation, one ought to reject Lewis's theories of causation and counterfactuals.
  •  69
    Noûs, EarlyView.
  •  58
    Van Inwagen on Time Travel and Changing the Past
    with Hud Hudson
    Oxford Studies in Metaphysics: Volume 5 5 41. 2010.
  •  57
  •  54
    Time Travel, Ability, and Arguments by Analogy
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (1): 17-23. 2017.
  •  38
    How things persist (review)
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2). 2003.
    Book Information How Things Persist. By K. Hawley. Clarendon Press. Oxford. 2001. Pp. ix + 221. £30.50.
  •  29
    It is widely assumed that causation is an extensional relation: if c causes e and c = d, then d causes e. Similarly, if c causes e and e = f, then c causes f. Moving to the formal mode we have: The Extensionality Thesis (ET): (i) If „c causes e‟ is true and „c‟ and „d‟ co-refer, then „d causes e‟ is true; and (ii) If „c causes e‟ is true and „e‟ and „f‟ co-refer, then „c causes f‟ is true
  •  27
    Dispositions without Teleology
    Oxford Studies in Metaphysics 10. 2017.
    We argue against accounting for dispositions (and of the progressive aspect) in terms of a fundamentally teleological metaphysics, and we defend our previous conditional account from some novel objections. In “Teleological Dispositions,” Nick Kroll offers a novel theory of dispositions in terms of primitive directed states. Kroll is clear that his notion of directedness “outstrips talk of goals, purposes, design, and function”, and that it commits him to “primitive teleological facts”. This no…Read more
  •  18
    The Independence Solution to the Problem of Theological Fatalism
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. forthcoming.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
  •  2
    Paradoxes of Time Travel
    Oxford University Press. 2017.
    Ryan Wasserman explores a range of fascinating puzzles raised by the possibility of time travel, with entertaining examples from physics, science fiction, and popular culture, and he draws out their implications for our understanding of time, tense, freedom, fatalism, causation, counterfactuals, laws of nature, persistence, change, and mereology.