•  138
    Paradoxes of Time Travel to the Future
    In Helen Beebee & Anthony Fisher (eds.), Perspectives on the Philosophy of David K. Lewis, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    This paper brings two fresh perspectives on Lewis’s theory of time travel. First: many key aspects and theoretical desiderata of Lewis’s theory can be captured in a framework that does not commit to eternalism about time. Second: implementing aspects of Lewisian time travel in a non-eternalist framework provides theoretical resources for a better treatment of time travel to the future. While time travel to the past has been extensively analyzed, time travel to the future has been comparatively u…Read more
  •  6
    Non-Being: New Essays on the Metaphysics of Nonexistence (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2021.
    Nonexistence is ubiquitous, yet mysterious. This volume explores some of the most puzzling questions about non-being and nonexistence, from metaphysics to ethics and beyond: the contributors offer answers from diverse philosophical perspectives, drawing on analytic, continental, Buddhist, and Jewish philosophical traditions.
  •  328
    Ontological Pluralism about Non-Being
    In Sara Bernstein & Tyron Goldschmidt (eds.), Non-being: New Essays on the Metaphysics of Nonexistence, Oxford University Press. pp. 1-16. 2021.
    I develop ontological pluralism about non-being, the view that there are multiple ways, kinds, or modes of non-being. I suggest that the view is both more plausible and defensible than it first seems, and that it has many useful applications across a wide variety of metaphysical and explanatory problems. After drawing out the relationship between pluralism about being and pluralism about non-being, I discuss quantificational strategies for the pluralist about non-being. I examine historical prec…Read more
  •  99
    Can Unmodified Food be Culinary Art?
    Argumenta 2 (5): 185-198. 2020.
    You are sitting in Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’ acclaimed restaurant in Berkeley, California. After an extensively prepared, multi-course meal, out comes the dessert course: an unmodified but perfectly juicy, fresh peach. Many chefs serve such unmodified or barely-modified foods with the intention that they count as culinary art. This paper takes up the question of whether unmodified foods, served in the relevant institutional settings, can count as culinary art. I propose that there is a distinc…Read more
  •  347
    Moral Luck and Deviant Causation
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1): 151-161. 2019.
    This paper discusses a puzzling tension in attributions of moral responsibility in cases of resultant moral luck: we seem to hold agents fully morally responsible for unlucky outcomes, but less-than-fully-responsible for unlucky outcomes brought about differently than intended. This tension cannot be easily discharged or explained, but it does shed light on a famous puzzle about causation and responsibility, the Thirsty Traveler.
  •  49
    Causation and Free Will (review)
    Philosophical Review 127 (4): 550-554. 2018.
  •  1035
    The metaphysics of intersectionality
    Philosophical Studies 177 (2): 321-335. 2020.
    This paper develops and articulates a metaphysics of intersectionality, the idea that multiple axes of social oppression cross-cut each other. Though intersectionality is often described through metaphor, theories of intersectionality can be formulated using the tools of contemporary analytic metaphysics. A central tenet of intersectionality theory, that intersectional identities are inseparable, can be framed in terms of explanatory unity. Further, intersectionality is best understood as metaph…Read more
  •  421
    Deviant Causation and the Law
    In Teresa Marques & Chiara Valentini (eds.), Collective Action, Philosophy, and the Law, . forthcoming.
    A gunman intends to shoot and kill Victim. He shoots and misses his target, but the gunshot startles a group of water buffalo, causing them to trample the victim to death. The gunman brings about the intended effect, Victim’s death, but in a “deviant” way rather than the one planned. This paper argues that such causal structures, deviant causal chains, pose serious problems for several key legal concepts. I show that deviant causal chains pose problems for the legal distinction between attempts…Read more
  •  51
    Erratum to: Overdetermination Underdetermined
    Erkenntnis 81 (1): 183-183. 2016.
    Widespread causal overdetermination is often levied as an objection to nonreductive theories of minds and objects. In response, nonreductive metaphysicians have argued that the type of overdetermination generated by their theories is different from the sorts of coincidental cases involving multiple rock-throwers, and thus not problematic. This paper pushes back. I argue that attention to differences between types of overdetermination discharges very few explanatory burdens, and that overdetermin…Read more
  •  399
    Could a middle level be the most fundamental?
    Philosophical Studies 178 (4): 1065-1078. 2021.
    Debates over what is fundamental assume that what is most fundamental must be either a “top” level (roughly, the biggest or highest-level thing), or a “bottom” level (roughly, the smallest or lowest-level things). Here I sketch an alternative to top-ism and bottom-ism, the view that a middle level could be the most fundamental, and argue for its plausibility. I then suggest that the view satisfies the desiderata of asymmetry, irreflexivity, transitivity, and well-foundedness of fundamentality, t…Read more
  •  1102
    In "Changing the Past" (2010), Peter van Inwagen argues that a time traveler can change the past without paradox in a growing block universe. After erasing the portion of past existence that generates paradox, a new, non-paradox-generating block can be "grown" after the temporal relocation of the time traveler. I articulate and explore the underlying mechanism of Van Inwagen's model: the time traveler's control over the location of the objective present. Van Inwagen's model is aimed at preventi…Read more
  •  714
    Causal Idealism
    In Tyron Goldschmidt & Kenneth Pearce (eds.), Idealism: New Essays in Metaphysics, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    This paper argues that causal idealism, the view that causation is a product of mental activity, should be considered a competetitor to contemporary views that incorporate human thought and agency into the causal relation. Weighing contextualism, contrastivism, or pragmatism about causation against causal idealism results in at least a tie with respect to the virtues of these theories.
  •  424
    Two Problems for Proportionality about Omissions
    Dialectica 68 (3): 429-441. 2014.
    Theories of causation grounded in counterfactual dependence face the problem of profligate omissions: numerous irrelevant omissions count as causes of an outcome. A recent purported solution to this problem is proportionality, which selects one omission among many candidates as the cause of an outcome. This paper argues that proportionality cannot solve the problem of profligate omissions for two reasons. First: the determinate/determinable relationship that holds between properties like aqua an…Read more
  •  720
    Omission impossible
    Philosophical Studies 173 (10): 2575-2589. 2016.
    This paper gives a framework for understanding causal counterpossibles, counterfactuals imbued with causal content whose antecedents appeal to metaphysically impossible worlds. Such statements are generated by omissive causal claims that appeal to metaphysically impossible events, such as “If the mathematician had not failed to prove that 2+2=5, the math textbooks would not have remained intact.” After providing an account of impossible omissions, the paper argues for three claims: (i) impossibl…Read more
  •  660
    Grounding Is Not Causation
    Philosophical Perspectives 30 (1): 21-38. 2016.
    Proponents of grounding often describe the notion as "metaphysical causation" involving determination and production relations similar to causation. This paper argues that the similarities between grounding and causation are merely superficial. I show that there are several sorts of causation that have no analogue in grounding; that the type of "bringing into existence" that both involve is extremely different; and that the synchronicity of ground and the diachronicity of causation make them too…Read more
  •  1521
    Causal Proportions and Moral Responsibility
    In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility, Volume 4, Oxford University Press. pp. 165-182. 2017.
    This paper poses an original puzzle about the relationship between causation and moral responsibility called The Moral Difference Puzzle. Using the puzzle, the paper argues for three related ideas: (1) the existence of a new sort of moral luck; (2) an intractable conflict between the causal concepts used in moral assessment; and (3) inability of leading theories of causation to capture the sorts of causal differences that matter for moral evaluation of agents’ causal contributions to outcomes.
  •  358
    Suppose that Billy and Suzy each throw a rock at window, and either rock is sufficient to shatter the window. While some consider this a paradigmatic case of causal overdetermination, in which multiple cases are sufficient for an outcome, others consider it a case of joint causation, in which multiple causes are necessary to bring about an effect. Some hold that every case of overdetermination is a case of joint causation underdescribed: at a maximal level of description, every cause is necessar…Read more
  •  1077
    Overdetermination Underdetermined
    Erkenntnis 81 (1): 17-40. 2016.
    Widespread causal overdetermination is often levied as an objection to nonreductive theories of minds and objects. In response, nonreductive metaphysicians have argued that the type of overdetermination generated by their theories is different from the sorts of coincidental cases involving multiple rock-throwers, and thus not problematic. This paper pushes back. I argue that attention to differences between types of overdetermination discharges very few explanatory burdens, and that overdetermin…Read more
  •  558
    A Closer Look at Trumping
    Acta Analytica 30 (1): 1-22. 2015.
    This paper argues that so-called “trumping preemption” is in fact overdetermination or early preemption, and is thus not a distinctive form of redundant causation. I draw a novel lesson from cases thought to be trumping: that the boundary between preemption and overdetermination should be reconsidered.
  •  388
    Nowhere Man: Time Travel and Spatial Location
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 39 (1): 158-168. 2015.
    This paper suggests that time travelling scenarios commonly depicted in science fiction introduce problems and dangers for the time traveller. If time travel takes time, then time travellers risk collision with past objects, relocation to distant parts of the universe, and time travel-specific injuries. I propose several models of time travel that avoid the dangers and risks of time travel taking time, and that introduce new questions about the relationship between time travel and spatial locati…Read more
  •  236
    Free will and mental quausation
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association 2 (2): 310-331. 2016.
    Free will, if such there be, involves free choosing: the ability to mentally choose an outcome, where the outcome is 'free' in being, in some substantive sense, up to the agent of the choice. As such, it is clear that the questions of how to understand free will and mental causation are connected, for events of seemingly free choosing are mental events that appear to be efficacious vis-a-vis other mental events as well as physical events. Nonetheless, the free will and mental causation debates …Read more
  •  425
    Causal and Moral Indeterminacy
    Ratio 29 (4): 434-447. 2016.
    This paper argues that several sorts of metaphysical and semantic indeterminacy afflict the causal relation. If, as it is plausible to hold, there is a relationship between causation and moral responsibility, then indeterminacy in the causal relation results in indeterminacy of moral responsibility more generally.
  •  243
    The Metaphysics of Omissions
    Philosophy Compass 10 (3): 208-218. 2015.
    Omissions – any events, actions, or things that do not occur – are central to numerous debates in causation and ethics. This article surveys views on what omissions are, whether they are causally efficacious, and how they ground moral responsibility
  •  761
    Omissions as possibilities
    Philosophical Studies 167 (1): 1-23. 2014.
    I present and develop the view that omissions are de re possibilities of actual events. Omissions do not literally fail to occur; rather, they possibly occur. An omission is a tripartite metaphysical entity composed of an actual event, a possible event, and a contextually specified counterpart relation between them. This view resolves ontological, causal, and semantic puzzles about omissions, and also accounts for important data about moral responsibility for outcomes resulting from omissions