•  8
    Locating the contradiction in our understanding of time
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 42. 2019.
    I offer some clarification concerning the kind of contradiction that Hoerl & McCormack's account could help explain and the scope of the metaphysical intuitions that could be explained by such a theory. I conclude that we need to know more about the sense in which the temporal reasoning system would represent time as a dimension.
  •  2
    The Nature of Perception (review)
    Review of Metaphysics 55 (1): 132-133. 2001.
    Following his earlier books The Case for Idealism and The Immaterial Self John Foster once again defends a form of idealism. For much of this book, however, idealism remains in the background. Instead, the focus is on theories of perception; Foster examines what purports to be an exhaustive taxonomy of physical realist theories of perception and, finding each one wanting, portrays idealism as the only acceptable alternative. The arguments, a selection of which are summarized below, are highly or…Read more
  •  292
    The Metaphysics of Mental Files
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3): 657-676. 2020.
    There is much to be said for a diachronic or interpersonal individuation of singular modes of presentation (MOPs) in terms of a criterion of epistemic transparency between thought tokens. This way of individuating MOPs has been discussed recently within the mental files framework, though the issues discussed here arise for all theories that individuate MOPs in terms of relations among tokens. All such theories face objections concerning apparent failures of the transitivity of the ‘same MOP’ rel…Read more
  •  659
    In this chapter I argue that despite its current popularity the doctrine of the specious present, or at least every current version of it, should be rejected. I describe two alternative accounts, which deal with experiences of two different kinds of change. The first is what I call the dynamic snapshot theory, which accounts for the way we experience continuous changes such as motion and other motion-like phenomena. The second account deals with the way we experience discontinuous changes, thos…Read more
  •  490
    Shared modes of presentation
    Mind and Language 34 (4): 465-482. 2019.
    What is it for two people to think of an object, natural kind or other entity under the same mode of presentation (MOP)? This has seemed a particularly difficult question for advocates of the Mental Files approach, the Language of Thought, or other ‘atomistic’ theories. In this paper I propose a simple answer. I first argue that, by parallel with the synchronic intrapersonal case, the sharing of a MOP should involve a certain kind of epistemic transparency between the token thoughts of the two t…Read more
  •  670
    Replies to Deng, Lee, and Skow
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (3): 328-350. 2018.
    This paper is a contribution to a book symposium on my book Experiencing Time. I reply to comments on the book by Natalja Deng, Geoffrey Lee and Bradford Skow. Although several chapters of the book are discussed, the main focus of my reply is on Chapters 2 and 6. In Chapter 2 I argue that the putative mind-independent passage of time could not be experienced, and from this I develop an argument against the A-theory of time. In Chapter 6 I offer one part of an explanation of why we are disposed t…Read more
  •  24
    The central claim of this thesis is that concepts, the components from which cognitively significant truth evaluable content (thought) is composed, are unstructured entities an account of whose individuation makes no essential reference to other concepts in the possession of the thinking subject or to any particular means by which the reference of the concept is identified by the thinking subject. This position is called Conceptual Atomism and contrasts with Inferential Role Semantics, according…Read more
  •  514
    Zeno objects and supervenience
    Analysis 69 (1). 2009.
    Many philosophers accept a ‘layered’ world‐view according to which the facts about the higher ontological levels supervene on the facts about the lower levels. Advocates of such views often have in mind a version of atomism, according to which there is a fundamental level of indivisible objects known as simples or atoms upon whose spatiotemporal locations and intrinsic properties everything at the higher levels supervenes.1 Some, however, accept the possibility of ‘gunk’ worlds in which there ar…Read more
  •  98
    Immunity to error through misidentification (edited book)
    with François Recanati
    Cambridge University Press. 2012.
    In this collection of newly commissioned essays, the contributors present a variety of approaches to it, engaging with historical and empirical aspects of the subject as well as contemporary philosophical work.
  •  745
    A new problem for the A-theory of time
    Philosophical Quarterly 50 (201): 494-498. 2000.
    : I offer a new approach to the increasingly convoluted debate between the A- and B-theories of time, the ‘tensed’ and ‘tenseless’ theories. It is often assumed that the B-theory faces more difficulties than the A-theory in explaining the apparently tensed features of temporal experience. I argue that the A-theory cannot explain these features at all, because on any physicalist or supervenience theory of the mind, in which the nature of experience is fixed by the physical state of the world, the…Read more
  •  562
    The Two-Dimensional Content of Consciousness
    Philosophical Studies 136 (3). 2007.
    In this paper I put forward a representationalist theory of conscious experience based on Robert Stalnaker's version of two-dimensional modal semantics. According to this theory the phenomenal character of an experience correlates with a content equivalent to what Stalnaker calls the diagonal proposition. I show that the theory is closely related both to functionalist theories of consciousness and to higher-order representational theories. It is also more compatible with an anti-Cartesian view o…Read more
  •  105
    Experiencing Time
    Oxford University Press UK. 2016.
    Our engagement with time is a ubiquitous feature of our lives. We are aware of time on many scales, from the briefest flicker of change to the way our lives unfold over many years. But to what extent does this encounter reveal the true nature of temporal reality? To the extent that temporal reality is as it seems, how do we come to be aware of it? And to the extent that temporal reality is not as it seems, why does it seem that way? These are the central questions addressed by Simon Prosser in E…Read more
  •  793
    Sources of Immunity to Error Through Misidentification
    In Simon Prosser Francois Recanati (ed.), Immunity to Error Through Misidentification: New Essays, Cambridge University Press. pp. 158-179. 2012.
    Saying ┌ that ψ is F ┐ when one should have said ┌ that φ is F ┐ involves making one of two different kinds of error. Either the wrong nominal term (┌ ψ ┐ instead of ┌ φ ┐) is ascribed to the right object or the right nominal term is ascribed to the wrong object. Judgments susceptible to one kind of error are immune to the other. Indexical terms such as ‘here’ and ‘now’ exhibit a corresponding pattern of immunity and susceptibility to error, which suggests that they are complex demonstratives. T…Read more
  •  821
    Passage and Perception
    Noûs 47 (1): 69-84. 2013.
    The nature of experience has been held to be a major reason for accepting the A-theory of time. I argue, however, that experience does not favour the A-theory over the B-theory; and that even if the A-theory were true it would not be possible to perceive the passage of time. The main argument for this draws on the constraint that a satisfactory theory of perception must explain why phenomenal characters map uniquely onto perceived worldly features. Thus, if passage is perceived, it must be expla…Read more
  •  689
    Cognitive dynamics and indexicals
    Mind and Language 20 (4). 2005.
    Frege held that indexical thoughts could be retained through changes of context that required a change of indexical term. I argue that Frege was partially right in that a singular mode of presentation can be retained through changes of indexical. There must, however, be a further mode of presentation that changes when the indexical term changes. This suggests that indexicals should be regarded as complex demonstratives; a change of indexical term is like a change between 'that φ' and 'that ψ', w…Read more
  •  1126
    Why Does Time Seem to Pass?
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (1): 92-116. 2012.
    According to the B-theory, the passage of time is an illusion. The B-theory therefore requires an explanation of this illusion before it can be regarded as fullysatisfactory; yet very few B-theorists have taken up the challenge of trying to provide one. In this paper I take some first steps toward such an explanation by first making a methodological proposal, then a hypothesis about a key element in the phenomenology of temporal passage. The methodological proposal focuses onthe representational…Read more
  •  506
    Experience, thought, and the metaphysics of time
    In Kasia M. Jaszczolt & Louis de Saussure (eds.), Time: Language, Cognition & Reality, Oxford University Press. pp. 1--157. 2013.
    In this chapter I argue that there can be no mental representation of objective ‘tensed’ features of reality of the kind that might be thought to occur when we experience time passing or think of times as past, present or future, whether or not such features are part of mind-independent reality. This, I hold, has important consequences for metaphysics; but (as will be most relevant to this volume) it is also likely to have important consequences for a correct semantics for tense. In a nutshell, …Read more
  •  776
    The Passage of Time
    In Adrian Bardon Heather Dyke (ed.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Time, Wiley-blackwell. pp. 315-327. 2013.
    This chapter discusses the notion that time passes, along with two major families of objections to this notion. The first kind of objection concerns the rate at which time passes; it has often been suggested that no coherent rate can be given. The alleged problems for the standard view, that time passes at one second per second, are discussed. A positive suggestion is then made for a way of making sense of the claim that time passes at one second per second, based on the notion of ‘stretching’ p…Read more
  •  631
    The eleatic non-stick frying pan
    Analysis 66 (3). 2006.
    A novel way of making a non-stick frying pan using a topologically open surface is described. While the article has a slight humorous element to it, it is also intended to contain some serious philosophical points concerning the nature of infinitely divisible matter and the kind of contact that must occur between objects in order for them to interact.
  •  1289
    Could we experience the passage of time?
    Ratio 20 (1): 75-90. 2007.
    This is an expanded and revised discussion of the argument briefly put forward in my 'A New Problem for the A-Theory of Time', where it is claimed that it is impossible to experience real temporal passage and that no such phenomenon exists. In the first half of the paper the premises of the argument are discussed in more detail than before. In the second half responses are given to several possible objections, none of which were addressed in the earlier paper. There is also some discussion of so…Read more
  •  853
    XII—Why Are Indexicals Essential?
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 115 (3_pt_3): 211-233. 2015.
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Volume 115, Issue 3pt3, Page 211-233, December 2015.
  •  26
    Foster, John. The Nature of Perception
    Review of Metaphysics 55 (1): 132-134. 2001.
    This is a review of John Foster's book, The Nature of Perception (OUP, 2000).
  •  661
    Affordances and Phenomenal Character in Spatial Perception
    Philosophical Review 120 (4): 475-513. 2011.
    Intentionalism is the view that the phenomenal character of a conscious experience is wholly determined by, or even reducible to, its representational content. In this essay I put forward a version of intentionalism that allows (though does not require) the reduction of phenomenal character to representational content. Unlike other reductionist theories, however, it does not require the acceptance of phenomenal externalism (the view that phenomenal character does not supervene on the internal st…Read more
  •  542
    Temporal metaphysics in z-land
    Synthese 149 (1). 2006.
    John Perry has argued that language, thought and experience often contain unarticulated constituents. I argue that this idea holds the key to explaining away the intuitive appeal of the A-theory of time and the endurance theory of persistence. The A-theory has seemed intuitively appealing because the nature of temporal experience makes it natural for us to use one-place predicates like past to deal with what are really two-place relations, one of whose constituents is unarticulated. The enduranc…Read more
  •  695
    Emergent Causation
    Philosophical Studies 159 (1): 21-39. 2012.
    Downward causation is commonly held to create problems for ontologically emergent properties. In this paper I describe two novel examples of ontologically emergent properties and show how they avoid two main problems of downward causation, the causal exclusion problem and the causal closure problem. One example involves an object whose colour does not logically supervene on the colours of its atomic parts. The other example is inspired by quantum entanglement cases but avoids controversies regar…Read more