Works in Progress
Papers in progress or under review
Comments very welcome. Please email me for the most recent draft.
Mooreanism in Metaphysics from Mooreanism in Physics
I argue that the way the world appears to be plays an important role in science, and should therefore play a similar role in metaphysics as well. I then show how the argument bears on the debate over whether there are composite objects. Upshot: the way in which metaphysical debates can be informed by our best science is more complex and far-reaching than is often acknowledged in the literature.
The Governing Conception of Laws
I argue that although it is not a conceptual truth that laws govern the fact that laws govern follows straightforwardly from the combination of an important (though under-appreciated) principle of scientific theory choice with the highly plausible claim that the principles of scientific theory choice ought to constrain theory choice in metaphysics.
The Governing Conception of the Wavefunction
I argue that an account of quantum ontology should make sense of the idea that the wavefunction is the reason why quantum systems behave the way they do.
Configuration Space Realism & Fundamentality (co-authored work with Gabrielle Kerbel)
We present a novel account of quantum ontology, according to which the wavefunction represents a field in a high-dimensional but non-fundamental space. We then argue that this account of quantum ontology deserves to be taken more seriously in the literature than it currently is.
Quantum Correlations and the Explanatory Power of Radical Metaphysical Hypotheses
I argue that, in at least one straightforward and scientifically significant sense, the hypothesis that you are a brain in a vat does a better job explaining a certain kind of quantum mechanical phenomena than any of the explanations that are compatible with our best science.
The Explanatory Role Argument and the Metaphysics of Deterministic Chance
One common reason for thinking that there are deterministic chances is that such probabilities play an important explanatory role. I examine this argument in detail and show that insofar as it is successful, it places significant constraints on the further metaphysical theory that we give of deterministic chance.
I have two current book projects. The first, tentatively titled Naturalism Beyond the Sciences, expands on the themes of several of my recent papers including 'Actualism without Presentism? Not by way of the Relativity Objection?', 'The Governing Conception of Laws' and 'Mooreanism in Metaphysics from Mooreanism in Physics'. In it, I investigate a type of methodological naturalism that has largely been overlooked in the current literature, and show how a better understanding of this type of naturalism has significant impacts for contemporary metaphysics.
The second is a co-authored book with Ned Hall tentatively titled Philosophical Issues in Quantum Mechanics. In it we draw on our experiences teaching Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics to undergraduates and graduates at Harvard, MIT, Brown and Mount Hoyoke College to present an accessible introduction to the quantum formalism and the philosophical issues that arise from that formalism.