•  93
    Rejecting Epiphobia
    Synthese 1-19. forthcoming.
    Epiphenomenalism denies some or all putative cases of mental causation. The view is widely taken to be absurd: if a theory can be shown to entail epiphenomenalism, many see that as a reductio of that theory. Opponents take epiphenomenalism to be absurd because they regard the view as undermining the evident agency we have in action and precluding substantial self-knowledge. In this paper, I defend epiphenomenalism against these objections, and thus against the negative dialectical role that the …Read more
  •  1373
    One of the central limitations of sensory substitution devices (SSDs) is their inability to reproduce the non-sensory feelings that are normally associated with visual experiences, especially hedonic and aesthetic responses. This limitation is sometimes reported to cause SSD users frustration. To make matters worse, it is unclear that improvements in acuity, bandwidth, or training will resolve the issue. Yet, if SSDs are to actually reproduce visual experience in its fullness, it seems that the …Read more
  •  13
    Quidditism and Contingent Laws
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (4): 286-290. 2019.
    According to contingentism, laws of nature hold contingently. An objection to contingentism is that it implies quidditism, and therefore inherits its implausible consequences. This paper argues that this objection is misguided. Understood one way, quidditism is not an implication of contingentism, hence even if it has implausible consequences, these are not relevant to contingentism. Understood another way, quidditism is implied by contingentism, but it is less clear if this version of quidditis…Read more
  •  441
    Emergence, Function and Realization
    In Sophie Gibb, Robin Hendry & Tom Lancaster (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Emergence, Routledge. forthcoming.
    “Realization” and “emergence” are two concepts that are sometimes used to describe same or similar phenomena in philosophy of mind and the special sciences, where such phenomena involve the synchronic dependence of some higher-level states of affairs on the lower-level ones. According to a popular line of thought, higher-level properties that are invoked in the special sciences are realized by, and/or emergent from, lower-level, broadly physical, properties. So, these two concepts are taken to r…Read more
  •  16
    Memory, Confabulation, and Epistemic Failure
    Logos and Episteme 9 (4): 369-378. 2018.
    Mnemonic confabulation is an epistemic failure that involves memory error. In this paper, I examine an account of mnemonic confabulation offered by Sarah Robins in a number of works. In Robins’ framework, mnemonic cognitive states in general are individuated by three conditions: existence of the target event, matching of the representation and the target event, and an appropriate causal connection between the target event and its representation. Robins argues that when these three conditions are…Read more
  •  176
    Mad Qualia
    Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276): 467-485. 2019.
    This paper revisits some classic thought experiments in which experiences are detached from their characteristic causal roles, and explores what these thought experiments tell us about qualia epiphenomenalism, i.e., the view that qualia are epiphenomenal properties. It argues that qualia epiphenomenalism is true just in case it is possible for experiences of the same type to have entirely different causal powers. This is done with the help of new conceptual tools regarding the concept of an epip…Read more
  •  41
    Why Incompatibilism about Mental Causation is Incompatible with Non-reductive Physicalism
    with Jonas Christensen
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 1-23. forthcoming.
    The exclusion problem is meant to show that non-reductive physicalism leads to epiphenomenalism: if mental properties are not identical with physical properties, then they are not causally efficacious. Defenders of a difference-making account of causation suggest that the exclusion problem can be solved because mental properties can be difference-making causes of physical effects. Here, we focus on what we dub an incompatibilist implementation of this general strategy and argue against it from a…Read more
  •  101
    Causal Emergence and Epiphenomenal Emergence
    Erkenntnis 85 (4): 891-904. 2020.
    According to one conception of strong emergence, strongly emergent properties are nomologically necessitated by their base properties and have novel causal powers relative to them. In this paper, I raise a difficulty for this conception of strong emergence, arguing that these two features are incompatible. Instead of presenting this as an objection to the friends of strong emergence, I argue that this indicates that there are distinct varieties of strong emergence: causal emergence and epiphenom…Read more
  •  29
    © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Analysis Trust. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.comWhen fish propel their bodies under water in order to travel from one place to another, are they doing the same kind of thing that we do when we swim? If swimming is to be identified with exactly the kind of thing that we do when we swim, we should seriously consider the following question: Do fish swim? Believe it or not, how yo…Read more
  •  106
    Epiphenomenal Properties
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3): 419-431. 2018.
    What is an epiphenomenal property? This question needs to be settled before we can decide whether higher-level properties are epiphenomenal or not. In this paper, I offer an account of what it is for a property to have some causal power. From this, I derive a characterisation of the notion of an epiphenomenal property. I then argue that physically realized higher-level properties are not epiphenomenal because laws of nature impose causal similarities on the bearers of such properties, and these …Read more
  •  178
    Review of The Multiple Realization Book (review)
    Analysis. forthcoming.
    _The Multiple Realization Book_By PolgerThomas W. and ShapiroLawrence A.Oxford University Press, 2016. xiv + 258 pp. £71.14 cloth, £18.99 paper.
  •  268
    Causal Powers and the Necessity of Realization
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25 (4): 525-531. 2017.
    Non-reductive physicalists hold that mental properties are realized by physical properties. The realization relation is typically taken to be a metaphysical necessitation relation. Here, I explore how the metaphysical necessitation feature of realization can be explained by what is known as ‘the subset view’ of realization. The subset view holds that the causal powers that are associated with a realized property are a proper subset of the causal powers that are associated with the realizer prope…Read more
  •  136
    Lawful mimickers
    Analysis 77 (3): 488-494. 2017.
    The nomic view of dispositions holds that properties confer dispositions on their bearers with nomological necessity. The argument against nomic dispositions challenges the nomic view: if the nomic view is true, then objects don't have dispositions, but 'mimic' them. This paper presents an explication of disposition conferral which shows that the nomic view is not vulnerable to this objection.
  •  178
    Must strong emergence collapse?
    Philosophica 91 49--104. 2017.
    Some claim that the notion of strong emergence as involving ontological or causal novelty makes no sense, on grounds that any purportedly strongly emergent features or associated powers 'collapse', one way or another, into the lower-level base features upon which they depend. Here we argue that there are several independently motivated and defensible means of preventing the collapse of strongly emergent features or powers into their lower-level bases, as directed against a conception of strongly…Read more
  •  70
    An Argument for Power Inheritance
    Philosophical Quarterly (263). 2016.
    Abstract: Non-reductive physicalism is commonly understood as the view that mental properties are realized by physical properties. Here, I argue that the realization relation in question is a power inheritance relation: if a property P realizes a property Q, then the causal powers of Q are a subset of the causal powers of P. Whereas others have motivated this claim by appealing to its theoretical benefits, I argue that it is in fact entailed by two theses: (i) realization is a same-subject neces…Read more
  •  68
    Realization and Causal Powers
    Dissertation, University of Glasgow. 2014.
    In this thesis, I argue that physicalism should be understood to be the view that mental properties are realized by physical properties. In doing this, I explore what the realization relation might be. Since realization is the relation that should help us formulate physicalism, I suggest that the theoretical role of realization consists in explaining some of the things that physicalists wish to explain. These are: How are mental properties metaphysically necessitated by physical properties? How …Read more
  •  581
    A New Response to the New Evil Demon Problem
    Logos and Episteme 8 (1): 41-45. 2017.
    The New Evil Demon Problem is meant to show that reliabilism about epistemic justification is incompatible with the intuitive idea that the external-world beliefs of a subject who is the victim of a Cartesian demon could be epistemically justified. Here, I present a new argument that such beliefs can be justified on reliabilism. Whereas others have argued for this conclusion by making some alterations in the formulation of reliabilism, I argue that, as far as the said problem is concerned, such …Read more
  •  179
    Realization Relations in Metaphysics
    Minds and Machines (3): 1-14. 2015.
    “Realization” is a technical term that is used by metaphysicians, philosophers of mind, and philosophers of science to denote some dependence relation that is thought to obtain between higher-level properties and lower-level properties. It is said that mental properties are realized by physical properties; functional and computational properties are realized by first-order properties that occupy certain causal/functional roles; dispositional properties are realized by categorical properties; so …Read more