Work in Progress

I’m engaged in various projects that haven’t yet been published, and have plans for more not listed here. I’m always looking out for new opportunities to collaborate on interesting projects, so do contact me, if you’re interested in working together.

I defend the Growing-Block view of time, and I’m interested in exploring the respects in which our practices might reveal the presuppositions about time, causation, and persistence we need to successfully navigate the world. I’m strongly influenced by Aristotelian and Classical Pragmatist methods in philosophy. I’m primarily a metaphysician, but I don’t think metaphysics can be done without a concern for how we discover the world, or intervene upon it. My interest in character, and virtue theory more generally, stems from the thought that a practical response to the dynamic nature of time is curating our own characters. This leads to a long-standing interest in virtue ethics, virtue epistemology and virtue aesthetics.

Monograph: The Times They Are A-Changin’ (under review)

Why should we think time passes? If we do think that time passes, why think that there is a metaphysical asymmetry between past and future? If we think time passes, and there is a metaphysical asymmetry between past and future, what account of time should we adopt? I defend the Growing-Block view, which claims that the passage of time is events being brought into existence (in accordance with the laws of nature. I argue that this view is the natural view to hold if we are committed to believing our best attempt to make sense of things. A report for the 94th Joint Session of the Mind Association and the Aristotelian Society is below:

Book Chapters:

Critical Commonsensism in Contemporary Metaphysics for Robert Talisse, Paniel Reyes Cárdenas and Daniel Herbert (eds.) Pragmatic Reason: Christopher Hookway and the American Philosophical Tradition, New York: Routledge (under contract with routledge)

I aim to sketch a view of a methodology for metaphysics, suggested by Hookway’s reading of C.S. Peirce, that allows one to hold realist metaphysical views.  It is named for Peirce’s ‘Critical Commonsensism’, and uses pragmatic transcendental arguments to defend realism about non-optional basic commitments, e.g. inquiry and agency. It is critical because we are entitled to hope that the presuppositions of our most basic non-optional commitments obtain, and commonsensical because we begin with our current practices and proceed with anti-sceptical fallibilism.

I consider a number of objections to the proposed methodology, including concerns associated with our identification of presuppositions, with the basic non-optional commitments they are presuppositions of, and the community who are so committed. These questions, I will claim, are open to empirical and anthropological investigation, but can begin with careful observation of human practices of agency and inquiry. I will defend the view we end up with as realist, against concerns it lacks the appropriate humility, and against the quietist position that one can make such presuppositions without engendering metaphysical commitments.

Articles:

Delayed Causation with Veli-Pekka Parkkinen

Sometimes there is a big gap between a cause and our awareness of an effect. We don’t think that this gap can be due to action at a distance, so we explore the other options to explain this gap, and look at the prospects for interventions between cause and our awareness of the effect.

Counterfeasibles with R.A. Briggs

In addition to ways the world could develop, and ways the world didn’t develop but could have, there ways that a world could be that aren’t ways this world ever could have been and ways no world could have been. We build on our previous work on future truth and counterfactual truth to understand counterfeasible truth (i.e. truth about ways this world never could have been).

Being in the Same Place with Catherine Robb

Why might we prefer being in the same place to other people over meeting them virtually, we consider a number of possible explanations: the clumsiness of the virtual environment contrasted with the ease of being in the physical environment; the immersive sharedness of a shared spatial environment; the tactility of being co-located; the immediacy of not requiring extra equipment through which engagement is mediated. We further argue that many of these features are contingent features of current technology, but there’s reason to thinlk that some will be harder to overcome than others.