•  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
  •  637
    Tensed Truthmaker Theory
    Erkenntnis 80 (5): 923-944. 2015.
    Presentism faces a serious challenge from truthmaker theory. Standard solutions to the truthmaker objection against presentism proceed in one of two ways. Easy road presentists invoke new entities to satisfy the requirements of truthmaker theory. Hard road presentists, by contrast, flatly refuse to give in to truthmaker demands. Recently, a third way has been proposed. This response seeks to address the truthmaking problem by tensing our truthmaker principles. These views, though intuitive, are …Read more
  •  607
    Tensed Supervenience: A No‐Go for Presentism
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 51 (3): 383-401. 2013.
    Recent attempts to resolve the truthmaker objection to presentism employ a fundamentally tensed account of the relationship between truth and being. On this view, the truth of a proposition concerning the past supervenes on how things are, in the present, along with how things were, in the past. This tensed approach to truthmaking arises in response to pressure placed on presentists to abandon the standard response to the truthmaker objection, whereby one invokes presently existing entities as t…Read more
  •  428
    Our Concept of Time
    In B. Mölder, V. Arstila & P. Ohrstrom (eds.), Philosophy and Psychology of Time, Springer. pp. 29-52. 2015.
    In this chapter we argue that our concept of time is a functional concept. We argue that our concept of time is such that time is whatever it is that plays the time role, and we spell out what we take the time role to consist in. We evaluate this proposal against a number of other analyses of our concept of time, and argue that it better explains various features of our dispositions as speakers and our practices as agents
  •  334
    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
  •  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
  •  276
    Groundless Truth
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 57 (2): 175-195. 2014.
    We defend two claims: (1) if one is attracted to a strong non-maximalist view about truthmaking, then it is natural to construe this as the view that there exist fundamental truths; (2) despite considerable aversion to fundamental truths, there is as yet no viable independent argument against them. That is, there is no argument against the existence of fundamental truths that is independent of any more specific arguments against the ontology accepted by the strong non-maximalist. Thus there is n…Read more
  •  247
    Why is there female under-representation among philosophy majors? Evidence of a pre-university effect
    with Tom Doherty and Kristie Miller
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2. 2015.
    Why does female under- representation emerge during undergraduate education? At the University of Sydney, we surveyed students before and after their first philosophy course. We failed to find any evidence that this course disproportionately discouraged female students from continuing in philosophy relative to male students. Instead, we found evidence of an interaction effect between gender and existing attitudes about philosophy coming into tertiary education that appears at least partially res…Read more
  •  230
    Time Enough for Explanation
    Journal of Philosophy 113 (2): 61-88. 2016.
    The present paper advances an analogy between cases of extra-mathematical explanation and cases of what might be termed ‘extra-logical explanation’: the explanation of a physical fact by a logical fact. A particular case of extra-logical explanation is identified that arises in the philosophical literature on time travel. This instance of extra-logical explanation is subsequently shown to be of a piece with cases of extra-mathematical explanation. Using this analogy, we argue extra-mathematical …Read more
  •  229
    Causation sans Time
    American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (1): 27-40. 2015.
    Is time necessary for causation? We argue that, given a counterfactual theory of causation, it is not. We defend this claim by considering cases of counterfactual dependence in quantum mechanics. These cases involve laws of nature that govern entanglement. These laws make possible the evaluation of causal counterfactuals between space-like separated entangled particles. There is, for the proponent of a counterfactual theory of causation, a possible world in which causation but not time exists th…Read more
  •  220
    A Truthmaker Indispensability Argument
    Synthese 190 (12): 2413-2427. 2013.
    Recently, nominalists have made a case against the Quine–Putnam indispensability argument for mathematical Platonism by taking issue with Quine’s criterion of ontological commitment. In this paper I propose and defend an indispensability argument founded on an alternative criterion of ontological commitment: that advocated by David Armstrong. By defending such an argument I place the burden back onto the nominalist to defend her favourite criterion of ontological commitment and, furthermore, sho…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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  162
    Back to the Unchanging Past
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1): 129-147. 2017.
    The standard philosophical view of time travel has it that time travelers cannot change the past. It has been argued by some that the standard view is false, and that this can be shown using a two-dimensional model of time. I defend the standard view against this attack. I show, first, that the addition of a second temporal dimension does not provide a model of changing the past and, second, that neither does the addition of n temporal dimensions for any n &gt; 1.
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  124
    Presentism, truth and supervenience
    Ratio 26 (1): 3-18. 2013.
    Truthmaker theory is commonly thought to pose a challenge for presentism. Presentism seems to lack the ontological and ideological resources required to adequately underwrite the truth of propositions concerning the past. That is because if presentism is true, then the past does not exist. According to the standard response to this challenge, the truth of propositions concerning the past supervenes on surrogate entities that ‘stand proxy’ for past things. I argue that in order for the standard r…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
  •  115
    Feel the flow
    Synthese 194 (2): 609-630. 2017.
    The experience of temporal flow is, for many, the central—if not the only—reason for believing an A-theory of time. Recently, however, B-theorists have argued that experience does not, in fact, favor the A-theory. Call such an argument: a debunking argument. The goal of the present paper is to defend the A-theory against two prominent versions of the debunking argument.
  •  114
    In this article I consider what it would take to combine a certain kind of mathematical Platonism with serious presentism. I argue that a Platonist moved to accept the existence of mathematical objects on the basis of an indispensability argument faces a significant challenge if she wishes to accept presentism. This is because, on the one hand, the indispensability argument can be reformulated as a new argument for the existence of past entities and, on the other hand, if one accepts the indispe…Read more
  •  108
    What is temporal error theory?
    Philosophical Studies 172 (9): 2427-2444. 2015.
    Much current debate in the metaphysics of time is between A-theorists and B-theorists. Central to this debate is the assumption that time exists and that the task of metaphysics is to catalogue time’s features. Relatively little consideration has been given to an error theory about time. Since there is very little extant work on temporal error theory the goal of this paper is simply to lay the groundwork to allow future discussion of the relative merits of such a view. The paper thus develops a …Read more
  •  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.
  •  97
    Metaphysics as fairness
    Synthese 193 (7): 2237-2259. 2016.
    What are the rules of the metaphysical game? And how are the rules, whatever they are, to be justified? Above all, the rules should be fair. They should be rules that we metaphysicians would all accept, and thus should be justifiable to all rational persons engaged in metaphysical inquiry. Borrowing from Rawls’s conception of justice as fairness, I develop a model for determining and justifying the rules of metaphysics as a going concern.
  •  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
  •  94
    The indispensability argument seeks to establish the existence of mathematical objects. The success of the indispensability argument turns on finding cases of genuine extra- mathematical explanation. In this paper, I identify a new case of extra- mathematical explanation, involving the search patterns of fully-aquatic marine predators. I go on to use this case to predict the prevalence of extra- mathematical explanation in science
  •  92
    Talking About the Past
    Erkenntnis 78 (3): 547-560. 2013.
    In this paper I consider the aboutness objection against standard truth-preserving presentism (STP). According to STP: (1) past-directed propositions (propositions that seem to be about the past) like , are sometimes true (2) truth supervenes on being and (3) the truth of past-directed propositions does not supervene on how things were, in the past. According to the aboutness objection (3) is implausible, given (1) and (2): for any proposition, P, P ought to be true in virtue of what P is about,…Read more