•  42
    Counterfactuals of Ontological Dependence
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association. forthcoming.
    A great deal has been written about 'would' counterfactuals of causal dependence. Comparatively little has been said regarding 'would' counterfactuals of ontological dependence. The standard Lewis-Stalnaker semantics is inadequate for handling such counterfactuals. That's because some of these counterfactuals are counterpossibles, and the standard Lewis-Stalnaker semantics trivializes for counterpossibles. Fortunately, there is a straightforward extension of the Lewis-Stalnaker semantics availab…Read more
  •  15
    Mathematical Explanation by Law
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (3): 683-717. 2019.
    Call an explanation in which a non-mathematical fact is explained—in part or in whole—by mathematical facts: an extra-mathematical explanation. Such explanations have attracted a great deal of interest recently in arguments over mathematical realism. In this article, a theory of extra-mathematical explanation is developed. The theory is modelled on a deductive-nomological theory of scientific explanation. A basic DN account of extra-mathematical explanation is proposed and then redeveloped in th…Read more
  • Can Indispensability-Driven Platonists Be Presentists?
    Theoria 80 (2): 153-173. 2014.
  •  60
    Non-naturalistic moral explanation
    with Samuel Baron, Mark Colyvan, Kristie Miller, and Michael Rubin
    Synthese. forthcoming.
    This paper focuses on a particular kind of non-naturalism: moral non-naturalism. Our primary aim is to argue that the moral non-naturalist places herself in an invidious position if she simply accepts that the non-natural moral facts that she posits are not explanatory. This has, hitherto, been the route that moral non-naturalists have taken. They have attempted to make their position more palatable by pointing out that there is reason to be suspicious of the explanatory criterion of ontological…Read more
  •  66
    Temporal Fictionalism for a Timeless World
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. forthcoming.
    Current debate in the metaphysics of time ordinarily assumes that we should be realists about time. Recently, however, a number of physicists and philosophers of physics have proposed that time will play no role in a completed theory of quantum gravity. This paper defends fictionalism about temporal thought, on the supposition that our world is timeless. We argue that, in the face of timeless physical theories, realism about temporal thought is unsustainable: some kind of anti-realism must be ad…Read more
  •  73
    The curious case of spacetime emergence
    Philosophical Studies. forthcoming.
    Work in quantum gravity suggests that spacetime is not fundamental. Rather, spacetime emerges from an underlying, non-spatiotemporal reality. After clarifying the type of emergence at issue, I argue that standard conceptions of emergence available in metaphysics won’t work for the emergence of spacetime. I go on to consider spacetime functionalism as a way to make sense of spacetime emergence. I argue that a functionalist approach to spacetime modelled on mental state functionalism is not a viab…Read more
  •  14
    Infinite idealizations appear in our best scientific explanations of phase transitions. This is thought by some to be paradoxical. In this paper I connect the existing literature on the phase transition paradox to work on the concept of indispensability, which arises in discussions of realism and anti-realism within the philosophy of science and the philosophy of mathematics. I formulate a version of the phase transition paradox based on the idea that infinite idealizations are explanatorily ind…Read more
  •  29
    Counterfactual Scheming
    Mind. forthcoming.
    Mathematics appears to play a genuine explanatory role in science. But how do mathematical explanations work? Recently, a counterfactual approach to mathematical explanation has been suggested. I argue that such a view fails to differentiate the explanatory uses of mathematics within science from the non-explanatory uses. I go on to offer a solution to this problem by combining elements of the counterfactual theory of explanation with elements of a unification theory of explanation. The result i…Read more
  •  95
    Much ado about aboutness
    with Reginald Mary Chua, Kristie Miller, and James Norton
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 1-29. forthcoming.
    Strong non-maximalism holds that some truths require no ontological ground of any sort. Strong non-maximalism allows one to accept that some propositions are true without being forced to endorse any corresponding ontological commitments. We show that there is a version of truthmaker theory available—anti-aboutness truthmaking—that enjoys the dialectical benefits of the strong non-maximalist’s position. According to anti-aboutness truthmaking, all truths require grounds, but a proposition need no…Read more
  •  149
    Metaphysical Explanation: The Kitcher Picture
    Erkenntnis 1-21. forthcoming.
    This paper offers a new account of metaphysical explanation. The account is modelled on Kitcher’s (1981/1989) unificationist approach to scientific explanation. We begin, in Section Two, by briefly introducing the notion of metaphysical explanation and outlining the target of analysis. After that, we introduce a unificationist account of metaphysical explanation (Section Three) before arguing that such an account is capable of capturing four core features of metaphysical explanations: (i) irrefl…Read more
  •  167
    The End of Mystery
    American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (3): 247-264. 2019.
    Tim travels back in time and tries to kill his grandfather before his father was born. Tim fails. But why? Lewis's response was to cite "coincidences": Tim is the unlucky subject of gun jammings, banana peels, sudden changes of heart, and so on. A number of challenges have been raised against Lewis's response. The latest of these focuses on explanation. This paper diagnoses the source of this new disgruntlement and offers an alternative explanation for Tim's failure, one that Lewis would not hav…Read more
  •  7140
    A Formal Apology for Metaphysics
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5. 2018.
    There is an old meta-philosophical worry: very roughly, metaphysical theories have no observational consequences and so the study of metaphysics has no value. The worry has been around in some form since the rise of logical positivism in the early twentieth century but has seen a bit of a renaissance recently. In this paper, I provide an apology for metaphysics in the face of this kind of concern. The core of the argument is this: pure mathematics detaches from science in much the same manner as…Read more
  •  76
    Time is woven into the fabric of our lives. Everything we do, we do in and across time. It is not just that our lives are stretched out in time, from the moment of birth to the moment of our death. It is that our lives are stories. We make sense of ourselves, today, by understanding who we were yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that; by understanding what we did and why we did it. Our memories shape our present selves, since we are the product of who we were, and who we remember …Read more
  •  22
    In this paper we offer a response to one argument in favour of Priority Monism, what Jonathan Schaffer calls the nomic argument for monism. We proceed in three stages. We begin by introducing Jonathan Schaffer’s Priority Monism and the nomic argument for that view. We then consider a response to the nomic argument that we presented in an earlier paper. We show that this argument suffers from a flaw. We then go on to offer a different response to the nomic argument. The core idea is that the curr…Read more
  •  17
    Reality Making By Mark Jago
    Analysis 78 (4): 777-780. 2018.
    Reality Making By JagoMarkOxford University Press, 2016, vi + 200 pp.
  •  159
    Deflating Deflationary Truthmaking
    with Jamin Asay
    Philosophical Quarterly. forthcoming.
    In this paper we confront a challenge to truthmaker theory that is analogous to the objections raised by deflationists against substantive theories of truth. Several critics of truthmaker theory espouse a “deflationary” attitude about truthmaking, though it has not been clearly presented as such. Our goal is to articulate and then object to the underlying rationale behind deflationary truthmaking. We begin by developing the analogy between deflationary truth and deflationary truthmaking, and the…Read more
  •  40
    How to endure presentism
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 62 (6): 659-673. 2018.
    ABSTRACTPresentism and endurantism are natural bedfellows: arguments have been mounted from endurantism to presentism and vice versa. I generalise an argument against the compatibility between presentism and endurantism offered recently by Tallant. I then show how to reformulate endurantism so that it is compatible with presentism. I demonstrate that this reformulated version of endurantism can do the same work with respect to the problem of temporary intrinsics as can standard definitions.
  •  65
    What's So Spatial About Time Anyway?
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. forthcoming.
    Skow ([2007]), and much more recently Callender ([2017]), argue that time can be distinguished from space due to the special role it plays in our laws of nature: our laws determine the behaviour of physical systems across time, but not across space. In this work we assess the claim that the laws of nature might provide the basis for distinguishing time from space. We find that there is an obvious reason to be sceptical of the argument Skow submits for distinguishing time from space: Skow fails t…Read more
  •  47
    Time, physics, and philosophy: It's all relative
    Philosophy Compass 13 (1). 2018.
    This article provides a non-technical overview of the conflict between the special theory of relativity and the dynamic theories of time. The chief argument against dynamic theories of time from relativistic mechanics is presented. The space of current responses to that argument is subsequently mapped.
  •  61
    Mathematical Explanation by Law
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 1. 2018.
    Call an explanation in which a non-mathematical fact is explained—in part or in whole—by mathematical facts: an extra-mathematical explanation. Such explanations have attracted a great deal of interest recently in arguments over mathematical realism. In this paper, a theory of extra-mathematical explanation is developed. The theory is modelled on a deductive-nomological theory of scientific explanation. A basic DN account of extra-mathematical explanation is proposed and then redeveloped in the …Read more
  •  12
    Images of time: a cautionary tale (review)
    Metascience 27 (2): 337-340. 2018.
  •  8
    Harrington’s time as a historical Introduction (review)
    Metascience 27 (2): 331-336. 2018.
  •  101
    Do Not Revise Ockham's Razor Without Necessity
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (3): 596-619. 2018.
    Ockham's razor asks that we not multiply entities beyond necessity. The razor is a powerful methodological tool, enabling us to articulate reasons for preferring one theory to another. There are those, however, who would modify the razor. Schaffer, for one, tells us that, ‘I think the proper rendering of Ockham's razor should be ‘Do not multiply fundamental entities without necessity’’. Our aim, here, is to challenge such re-workings of Ockham's razor.
  •  214
    The Priority of the Now
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 0-0. 2014.
    This paper motivates and develops a new theory of time: priority presentism. Priority presentism is the view according to which (i) only present entities exist fundamentally and (ii) past and future entities exist, but they are grounded in the present. The articulation of priority presentism is an exercise in applied grounding: it draws on concepts from the recent literature on ontological dependence and applies those concepts in a new way, to the philosophy of time. The result, as I will argue,…Read more
  •  154
    Causation in a timeless world
    Synthese 191 (12): 2867-2886. 2014.
    This paper offers a new way to evaluate counterfactual conditionals on the supposition that actually, there is no time. We then parlay this method of evaluation into a way of evaluating causal claims. Our primary aim is to preserve, at a minimum, the assertibility of certain counterfactual and causal claims once time has been excised from reality. This is an important first step in a more general reconstruction project that has two important components. First, recovering our ordinary language cl…Read more
  •  179
    Why Is There Female Under-Representation among Philosophy Majors?
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2. 2015.
    The anglophone philosophy profession has a well-known problem with gender equity. A sig-nificant aspect of the problem is the fact that there are simply so many more male philoso-phers than female philosophers among students and faculty alike. The problem is at its stark-est at the faculty level, where only 22% - 24% of philosophers are female in the United States (Van Camp 2014), the United Kingdom (Beebee & Saul 2011) and Australia (Goddard 2008).<1> While this is a result of the percentage of…Read more
  •  219
    Monism: The Islands of Plurality
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3): 583-606. 2016.
    Priority monism (hereafter, ‘monism’) is the view that there exists one fundamental entity—the world—and that all other objects that exist (a set of objects typically taken to include tables, chairs, and the whole menagerie of everyday items) are merely derivative. Jonathan Schaffer has defended monism in its current guise, across a range of papers. Each paper looks to add something to the monistic picture of the world. In this paper we argue that monism—as Schaffer describes it—is false. To do …Read more
  •  115
    How Mathematics Can Make a Difference
    Philosophers' Imprint 17. 2017.
    Standard approaches to counterfactuals in the philosophy of explanation are geared toward causal explanation. We show how to extend the counterfactual theory of explanation to non-causal cases, involving extra-mathematical explanation: the explanation of physical facts by mathematical facts. Using a structural equation framework, we model impossible perturbations to mathematics and the resulting differences made to physical explananda in two important cases of extra-mathematical explanation. We …Read more
  •  317
    Animal Interrupted, or Why Accepting Pascal's Wager Might Be the Last Thing You Ever Do
    with Christina Dyke
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (S1): 109-133. 2014.
    According to conventionalist accounts of personal identity, persons are constituted in part by practices and attitudes of certain sorts of care. In this paper, we concentrate on the most well-developed and defended version of conventionalism currently on offer (namely, that proposed by David Braddon-Mitchell, Caroline West, and Kristie Miller) and discuss how the conventionalist appears forced either (1) to accept arbitrariness concerning from which perspective to judge one's survival or (2) to …Read more
  •  144
    Presentism and Causation Revisited
    Philosophical Papers 41 (1): 1-21. 2012.
    One of the major difficulties facing presentism is the problem of causation. In this paper, I propose a new solution to that problem, one that is compatible with intrinsic, fundamental causal relations. Accommodating relations of this kind is important because (i) according to David Lewis (2004), such relations are needed to account for causation in our world and worlds relevantly similar to our own, (ii) there is no other strategy currently available that successfully reconciles presentism with…Read more