Research in Progress

 

April-June 2017 

David Glick

During Trinity Term, David gave talks at the University of Pittsburgh, the American Philosophical Association Pacific meeting in Seattle, and the Italian Society for Logic and Philosophy of Science meeting in Bologna. He also submitted two papers to journals. One of those papers—“Against Quantum Indeterminacy”—was accepted for publication in the journal Thought.

Daniel Kodaj

In Trinity term, Daniel presented a paper on dispositional Achilles heels at the work-in-progress seminar, a paper on the problem of evil at King’s College, London, and a paper on evolutionary and psychological debunking arguments against religion at the Theoretical Work in Progress seminar at Jesus College.

 

March 2017 

David Glick

In March, David completed two papers and sent them to major journals for publication. He also submitted a paper to the Society for the Metaphysics of Science conference to be held in Spring 2017. He presented his paper “Pluralist Structural Realism” at the conference Scientific Knowledge Under Pluralism hosted by the Center for the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. He also co-organized the conference The Foundation of Reality: Space, Time and Fundamentality held at the Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

Daniel Kodaj

In March, Daniel received requests for further revisions on his critique of dispositionalist analyses of modality. He also worked on, and submitted, a paper against Plantinga’s solution to the problem of evil.

Martin Pickup

During March Martin gave his paper on petitionary prayer at the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain as the inaugural talk of their Philosophical Theology research group. While at the University of Navarra he also taught a Masters seminar on Post-Modal Metaphysics. His most recent Leibniz paper has been accepted for presentation at the 4th Finnish-Hungarian Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy at the University of Turku, Finland and he has been invited to Milan, Italy to give a his paper on situations and persistence to the Ontoformat Metaphysical Seminar. He also organised a one-day workshop on Powers and Change in Oxford on the 24th March through the Society for the Philosophy of Time, of which he is a member, together with Florian Fischer of The University of Bonn. Martin continued to work on revisions to his petitionary prayer paper and began a new version of the paper on situation and persistence.

February  2017 

David Glick

In February, David presented two papers at the project’s Work in Progress seminar: One is a paper on criticizing metaphysical indeterminacy in quantum mechanics and the other concerns scientific pluralism and structural realism. He continued work on several other papers in progress.

Daniel Kodaj

In February, Daniel received a revise-and-resubmit decision on his critique of dispositionalist analyses of modality. He also reworked and submitted a paper that links the analysis of dispositions to totality conditions.

Martin Pickup

In February Martin finished a joint paper with George Darby and Jon Robson entitled 'Deep Indeterminacy in Physics and Fiction' for a Routledge edited collection. This has been accepted and will be forthcoming later this year. He gave a work-in-progess paper setting out some joint work with George on metaphysical indeterminacy. He also submitted abstracts of two papers, one on Leibniz's infinite analysis account of contingency and one on situations and persistence through change, for talks in Finland and Italy.

January 2017 

David Glick

In January, David started work on two new projects. First, a paper on structural realism and pluralism to be presented at a conference this March at the University of Pittsburgh. Second, a paper on quantum indeterminacy. In addition to these new projects, further revision and development of several papers was undertaken.

Daniel Kodaj

In January, Daniel presented the new version of his critique of dispositionalist analyses of modality at the work-in-progress seminar, then submitted the paper after some further revision. He also presented his objections to Humean counterfactual semantics, which are undergoing extensive revision. Additionally, he started reading up on second-order logic in metaphysics.

Martin Pickup

In January Martin presented his paper on petitionary prayer to the Christian Philosophy Conference in Wonersh, Surrey. He also attended the Eastern APA. He has worked on revisions to several papers for upcoming conferences and submissions.

December  2016 

David Glick

In December, David continued working on his paper concerning entanglement swapping. After much discussion, the direction of the paper has changed somewhat and a new version is currently in progress with Chris Timpson as a co-author. He hopes to complete the new version of the paper next month. David has also been researching the emergence of spacetime in quantum gravity.

Daniel Kodaj

In December, Daniel received a rejection decision on his critique of dispositionalist analyses of modality, and set about revising it. He also finished his paper on Humean counterfactuals, and started reading up on stochastic mechanics.

Martin Pickup

Martin received a 'revise and resubmit' decision on his paper on petitionary prayer in December, and spent part of the month working on a new draft in the light of the reviewers' comments. He has continued to prepare other papers for presentation and submission. This month Martin has also begun organising a conference on the philosophy of time, to take place in March, for the Society for Philosophy of Time (with Florian Fischer).

November  2016 

David Glick

In November, David traveled to Atlanta to the biannual meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association where he presenting his paper “Swapping Something Real” on entanglement swapping and realism. Upon returning to Oxford, he presented this paper to the Philosophy of Physics Research Seminar. In addition, he presented on action at a distance at the project's Work in Progress seminar and presented a chapter of The Metaphysics of Contemporary Physics at the project reading group. His paper on the metaphysics of ontic structural realism was submitted to a journal.

Daniel Kodaj

In November, Daniel continued to work on his objection to Humean counterfactuals, shifting the focus of the argument from an outright attack on Humean Supervenience to an attack on Lewis's later theory of causation (causation as counterfactual influence). He also started reading up on the principle of least action, which he would like to relate to dispositionalism.

Martin Pickup

During November, Martin submitted a book manuscript to Routledge for consideration. He also travelled to the University of York to give his paper on petitionary prayer. He presented his ongoing work on unextended complexes to work-in-progress groups in the porject and at Worcester College. His papers 'Unextended Complexes' and 'The Trinity and Extended Simples' were published this month, in the journals Thought and Faith and Philosophy respectively.

October  2016 

David Glick

In October, David presented his paper “The Metaphysics of Ontic Structural Realism” at the University of Oxford’s Theoretical Work in Progress seminar. The paper will be revised in light of feedback received and will be submitted to a journal soon. He also continued research and revisions on several ongoing projects concerning the metaphysics of quantum entanglement.

Daniel Kodaj

In October, Daniel presented two papers at the Work in Progress seminar, one on grounding counterfactual semantics in powers, and one on an objection to Lewis’s Humean counterfactual semantics. He’s working on drafts of both papers.

Martin Pickup

During October, Martin largely focused on his book manuscript. He also submitted his joint paper with George, on metaphyical indeterminacy, to a journal. Finally, he submitted his paper on petitionary prayer to the Christian Philosophy Conference, where it was accepted (the conference takes place in January).

September  2016 

David Glick

In September, David continued work on his papers dealing with (a) the metaphysics of ontic structural realism and (b) entanglement swapping experiments. A version of the former was accepted for presentation at the American Philosophical Association meeting in Seattle in April 2017 and the latter will be presented at the Philosophy of Science Association meeting in Atlanta this November. He has also been researching the history of action at a distance in physics to get an idea of what makes it “spooky.”

Daniel Kodaj

In September, Daniel revised his paper on Plantinga's counterfactuals of freedom, the first version of which was rejected. He also drafted a new version of his paper on grounding counterfactual semantics in powers.

Martin Pickup

In September Martin learned that his paper 'Unextended Complexes' was accepted by the journal Thought, and made the relevant adjustments for publication. He also presented a longer version of the paper in Rio de Janerio at the 5th Colloquium of Analytic Metaphysics and 5th International Symposium on Philosophy of Language and Metaphysics. He also submitted his petitionary prayer paper to a journal and his latest Leibniz paper (on infinite analysis) to an essay prize competition. He continues to develop several other papers which are at earlier stages.

August  2016 

David Glick

In August, David revised and sent off his paper on the explanation of non-local correlations. He also submitted a new paper on the metaphysics of ontic structural realism to the APA - Pacific conference. He is also revising his paper on entanglement swapping. He has two presentations on this topic scheduled for the Fall.

Daniel Kodaj

Daniel finished and submitted three papers in August, one on a new definition of omnipotence and a critique of existing ones, one on Plantinga's use of counterfactuals of freedom in his Molinist free will defense, and one on the increasingly prevalent idea that power ontology can overthrow the old definition of possibility and necessity in terms of possible worlds.

Martin Pickup

During August, Martin completed his paper on petitionary prayer and submitted it to an essay competition. He also made final changes to his paper on the Trinity for Faith and Philosophy and prepared for a conference presentation next month expanding on his metaphysics paper discussing unextended complexes.

July  2016 

David Glick

In July, David continued work on three papers he aiming to publish this summer. His article, The Ontology of Quantum Field Theory: Structural Realism Vindicated? is now available online in Studies in the History and Philosophy of Science Part B.

Daniel Kodaj

In July, Daniel presented a paper at the Open Sessions of the 90th Joint Session, organized by Cardiff University. The paper argues that power ontology does not make the old modal othodoxy obsolete, because power-based counterfactual semantics needs possible worlds to work. The paper was extensively revised on the basis of the Q&A. In July, Daniel also read up on modality and he gave a talk at the UNIQ summer school at Oxford (see the Outreach page).

Martin Pickup

During July, Martin heard that his paper concerning the Trinity and Extended Simples was accepted for publication in Faith and Philosophy. He has also completed requested revisions to his paper on Unextended Complexes and resubmitted it for consideration. He has returned to thinking about petitionary prayer, as well as aspects of his paper on Leibniz and infinite analysis.


June  2016 

David Glick

In June, David travelled to the University of Cologne to present his paper on the explanation of non-local correlations. He also continued to revise several papers in light of comments and feedback from referees.

Daniel Kodaj

In June, Daniel completed the first draft of his paper on omnipotence, and received very helpful feedback on it at the work-in-progress seminar. His paper on the conditional analysis of dispositions was rejected, so he revised and enlarged it before submitting to another journal. He also finished his paper on Plantinga’s use of counterfactuals of freedom.

Martin Pickup

Martin continued to work on a number of different projects in June. He resubmitted his paper on the Trinity to Faith and Philosophy, and his paper on Unextended Complexes received a revise and resubmit decision from another journal. His paper on Leibniz and infinite analysis was also submitted to an essay prize competition this month. He returned to an old draft paper 'The Problem of Change', which has now been sent for consideration for inclusion in a journal special issue. In June, he was also involved in the HowTheLightGetsIn Festival, described on the Outreach page.


May  2016 

George Darby

In May George mostly worked on his paper for an upcoming conference on physics and metaphysics in Bristol. The main aim of the paper is to argue against metaphysical excesses of various kinds that are supposed to be motivated by entanglement and, as usual, to defend something like a Humean metaphysics. But since some of the metaphysical excesses are not clearly unHumean, a second aim of the paper is to articulate what exactly the more conservative metaphysics is and why it should be preferred.

David Glick

In May, David presented his paper about the explanation of non-local correlations to the group’s Work in Progress seminar. The presentation was a practice run for an invited talk at the University of Cologne in June. He subsequently revised the paper in light of feedback and submitted it to a journal for publication. His paper on entanglement swapping was accepted for presentation at the Philosophy of Science Association’s biannual meeting in Atlanta in November. It is currently under review for publication in the journal Philosophy of Science. He continues to work on his paper on the metaphysics of structural realism, which he hopes to complete next month.

Daniel Kodaj

In May, Daniel submitted his paper on the conditional analysis of dispositions, and he continued working on his paper on omnipotence, to be presented at the work-in-progress seminar.

Martin Pickup

In May, Martin moved a number of different paper projects forward. He and George completed their revisions to the Modelling Indeterminacy paper and submitted it to a journal. He also completed his unextended complexes paper and submitted for consideration at a journal. He also presented his paper concerning Leibniz, contingency and infinity of analysis to the work in progress group and, subsequently, at the 9th Nordic Early Modern Philosophy conference in Tampere, Finland. Martin's paper on the Trinity and Extended Simples received a further revise and resubmit verdict from Faith and Philosophy, and he will be making the appropriate revisions next month.


April  2016 

George Darby

In April George drafted his contribution to a forthcoming book that he is co-editing on the relationship between aesthetics and the philosophy of science, focussing on issues concerning representation.

David Glick

In April, David completed his paper on the explanation of non-local correlations. This paper will be presented next month and sent off for publication shortly thereafter. David also began work on a new paper addressing the metaphysics of structural realism.

Daniel Kodaj

Daniel continued his struggle to understand bits of quantum field theory. This attempt is part of a wider research project that aims to relate the principle of least action to dispositionalism, and possibly defend the latter from Joel Katzav’s challenge. During April, Daniel also finished a short paper on the conditional analysis of dispositions, continued his paper on omnipotence, and sketched a paper criticizing Plantinga’s use of counterfactuals in his free will defense.

Martin Pickup

Martin's work in April focused on some papers in metaphysics. He continued to work on an initial draft of his paper concerning unextended complexes, returned to consider and resuscitate an old draft paper on the problem of change and, together with George, made revisions to the indeterminacy paper.


March  2016 

David Glick

In March, David submitted a paper to the Philosophy of Science Association for consideration as a presentation at their biannual conference in November. The paper will also be considered for publication in the journal Philosophy of Science. David continued to work on his paper on the explanation of non-local correlations. He travelled to the American Philosophical Association Pacific meeting in San Francisco where he chaired a session on the philosophy of physics. He also spent time at the University of Arizona, where he met with Richard Healey and Jenann Ismael.

Daniel Kodaj

Daniel’s paper on the relationship between counterfactuals and accessibility was accepted by Thought. He submitted an extended abstract to a conference on chance, started rewriting his paper on nomic necessitarianism, and started drafting a paper on a new power-based definition of omnipotence.

Martin Pickup

Martin had a busy March. Early in the month he gave the group work in progress session on his paper concerning petitionary prayer: this produced lots of helpful feedback to be incorporated into a new draft. The Metaphysics of the Trinity conference run by the project took place in the middle of the month, and Martin co-organised the event. Towards the end of the month, he began a draft of a new paper in metaphysics. This paper introduces unextended complexes, which are the converse of extended simples: unextended complexes are not extended in space but have proper parts. The paper examines the concept of unextended simples and concludes they are entities that can be usefully discussed in metaphysical debates about mereology, space and their relation and about properties and location. In March Martin also learned that his paper on Leibniz and infinite analysis has been accepted for presentation at the Nordic Early Modern Philosophy conference in Tampere, Finland in late May.


February  2016 

George Darby

In February George worked on revisions to a paper on conditionals and on his book proposal. He spent the rest of the month reading about the different conceptions of metaphysics found in the literature.

David Glick

In February, David continued work on two papers on the metaphysics of quantum entanglement. One of these, tentatively titled “Can there be entanglement across time?”, was presented at the project's Work in Progress seminar. The stimulating discussion there will be incorporated in a new and improved version of the paper that is currently in progress.

Daniel Kodaj

In February, Daniel revised and resubmitted his paper on counterfactuals and accessibility, continued reworking his paper criticizing Lewis’s theory of counterfactuals, and started reading up on quantum field theory.

Martin Pickup

Martin resubmitted his paper on the metaphysics of the Trinity in February, and made preparations for a conference on the same topic in Oxford. He also submitted a variety of paper abstracts for different international conferences, including papers on petitionary prayer and Leibniz's infinite analysis account of causation. The petitionary prayer paper will be presented at the work in progress seminar in early March, so Martin has been revisiting and revising this paper.


January  2016 

George Darby

In January George worked on the Synthese special issue that he is editing, thought about the wider context and methodological stance of his book proposal, and planned replies to arguments that have been made in recent publications against his favoured Humean response to entanglement.

David Glick

Since beginning in January, David has been working on two papers on the metaphysics of entanglement. The first considers the possibility of entanglement across time and the second asks what is required of an explanation of Bell-type correlations. He has also been thinking about the status of spacetime; in particular, whether it may be viewed as emergent rather than fundamental.

Daniel Kodaj

In January, Daniel finished his paper defending Swinburne’s anti-dispositionalist regress argument and presented it at the work-in-progress seminar. He also finished his paper on grounding counterfactuals in powers, and started reading up on probability and teleology.

Martin Pickup

Martin's research in January focused on revisions to his paper on the Trinity. This is shortly to be resubmitted to the journal 'Faith and Philosophy'. He also had an initial meeting with the Institute of Art and Ideas to begin work on his Fellowship with them and received comments on his book manuscript.


December  2015 

George Darby

In December, George was drafting a book proposal and finalising his component of the Emergence paper with Dani.

Daniel Kodaj

In December, Daniel worked on the latest incarnation of his paper on the regress argument against dispositionalism, defending Richard Swinburne’s version of it. He received a revise&resubmit on his paper on the relation between the accessibility relation and counterfactuals.


November  2015 

George Darby

In November George looked at ways of articulating the Lewisian conception of analysis, and how it relates to questions previously discussed, but not resolved, about "truthmakers". It looks as though careless application of the latter concept (of which many philosophers, including Lewis, are suspicious) generates some misleading conceptions of the wider project, but this is still not fully worked out.

Daniel Kodaj

In November, Daniel updated his paper against nomic necessitarianism and his paper on a flaw in Lewis’s account of causal counterfactuals. He contributed a draft on the metaphysics of long-run propensities to the team's joint investigations into probabilistic dispositions. He also finished his part of a paper on entanglement as emergence, co-written with George and presented at the Durham emergence workshop in July. He looked at models that portray entanglement as a form of diachronic emergence, and argued that diachronic emergence does not capture anything essential about entangled states. Rather, it is decoherence which can be properly said to be a case of diachronic emergence.

Martin Pickup

During November, Martin worked on his two philosophy of religion papers: finishing a draft of the paper on petitionary prayer, which was presented to the group, and revising his Trinity paper. In conjunction with the rest of the team, he also began a collaborative paper on probabilistic dispositions. They are jointly investigating the different ways that a powers metaphysics can try to capture chancy events. Finally, Martin gave a well received talk called 'Quantum Entanglement and the Trinity' at Cranleigh School's Purvis Society (a description of which can be found here.)


October  2015 

George Darby

In October George returned to the metaphysical questions about superquantum correlations, investigating ways in which their metaphysics might be thought to differ from that of regular entanglement. He also worked on understanding some objections to counterfactual analyses of dispositions found in works such as Barbara Vetter's (the subject of our current reading group).

Daniel Kodaj

In October, Daniel worked on two drafts for the work-in-progress seminar. The first, on Dispositions and totalities, argues that we can use totality states to make sense of the complete manifestation conditions of dispositions, the latter of which must exist for the nature of dispositions to be fully determinate. The second draft deals with the reducibility of laws to dispositions. He also revised his argument against nomic necessitarianism.

Martin Pickup

Martin continued to work on the paper concerning petitionary prayer, to be presented at the end of term at the work in progress seminar. He also received a 'revise and resubmit' verdict on his paper about the Trinity and extended simples, and began these revisions. This paper was also accepted to be presented at a conference in January.


September  2015 

Daniel Kodaj

In September, Daniel worked on the second draft of his paper on power-based counterfactual semantics. He added an extra section on Barbara Vetter’s theory (outlined in her Potentiality) and he simplified his own, possible-worlds based account. He started reading up on decoherence, and he drafted and submitted a short paper on the connection between Lewis/Stalnaker-style counterfactual semantics and the accessibility relation in modal logic.

Martin Pickup

Martin's paper on dispositions and divine action has morphed into a consideration of the problem of petitionary prayer. In September, he began research into the topic. The problem is the following: for petitionary prayer to be effective, it must make a difference. But suppose I pray for some event. If the event is good, God would bring it about anyway. If it is not good, God won't bring it about even if I pray. So either way my prayer does not make a difference. Martin's suggestion will be that this argument is a specific form of a more general problem. Martin also had his paper on the Ship of Theseus puzzle accepted by the journal Erkenntnis: the paper presents his 'situationalist' solution and is connected to his book project. The paper is available online. He also received an invitation to present at a metaphysics conference next September in Rio de Janeiro.

 

August  2015 

George Darby

In August George worked mostly on a question about the metaphysical significance of "superquantum'' correlations: Our main project question is about the metaphysical significance of the kind of entanglement found in the actual world that we inhabit. But what if the world were entangled in a different way? Would the same kinds of metaphysical consequences apply? How could things be better, or worse, or different, for metaphysicians such as Lewis? As well as being intrinsically interesting, thinking about these kinds of questions might tell us something about what is at stake in debates about what entanglement means for the metaphysics of the actual world.

Daniel Kodaj

In the first half of August, Daniel worked on grounding counterfactuals in powers, he read up on quantum mechanics, and he revised his paper on quiddities to take into account Lewis’s classic formulation of quidditism. In the second half of August, he was on holiday.

Martin Pickup

Martin took paternity leave for two weeks of August. In the remainder of the month, he continued working on the Leibniz paper and began sketching a paper on dispositions and divine action. This latter paper aims to explore the connections between certain dispositional views of the laws of nature and the possibility of God's miraculous intervention in the world.

July  2015 

George Darby

In July George worked on a paper on the view that entanglement is an example of metaphysical emergence, and gave a talk with Dani at the Emergence conference in Durham. There are lots of ways in which one might approach this question, because there are lots of things that have been meant by "emergence''. The aim in this paper is to connect with some recent discussions in the mainstream metaphysics literature on characterising emergence and to see whether common accounts of the metaphysics of entanglement fit the picture.

Daniel Kodaj

In July, Daniel presented his paper on the strict conditional analysis of dispositions at the Joint Session at Warwick University, and accompanied George to the Durham summer workshop on emergence in physics to present their joint paper on entanglement as emergence. He also began revising his paper on grounding counterfactuals in powers, based on extensive comments by Professor Hughes, and he read up on laws and probability.

Martin Pickup

During July, Martin finished his paper on 'The Trinity and Extended Simples' and submitted it to a journal. In short, the paper argues that an analogy exists between two, and that the latter can thus be used to model an account of the former. The conceptual resources developed for discussion in the literature of contemporary analytic metaphysics are therefore applicable to longstanding issues concerning Trinitarian doctrine.
Martin has begun a paper looking at infinite analysis in Leibniz. Leibniz uses this concept to try to distinguish between contingent and necessary truths (intuitively this is the distinction between things that could have been otherwise and those that couldn't). The Problem of Lucky Proof is raised for Leibniz's concept, and the paper offers a reply on Leibniz's behalf by being sensitive to different sorts of infinity.

 

June  2015 

George Darby

In June George presented papers on the logic and pragmatics of conditionals to the philosophy faculty's Theoretical Work in Progress seminar and submitted them to journals. On the philosophy of physics side, he gave a talk at the faculty's Philosophy of Physics seminar series, focussing on interactions between philosophy of physics and mainstream metaphysical methodology, and incorporated the material into his current book project. With Martin and Dani, he updated the joint paper on indeterminacy for publication and for the Society for Metaphysics of Science conference at Rutgers in September.

Daniel Kodaj

In June, Daniel presented a paper on the strict conditional analysis of dispositions at the Workshop on the Morphological, Syntactic and Semantic Aspects of Dispositions, organized by the University of Stuttgart. He read up on entanglement, and touched up his paper against the Humean theory of counterfactuals.

Erasmus Mayr

In June, Erasmus developed a paper called “Power manifestation and processes.” A short version of it has been accepted for the German Analytical Philosophy Society conference in September 2015. A second journal article with the title “Powers, emergence, and downward causation” is still in preparation and it is meant to go into a Routledge volume on downward causation.

Martin Pickup

Martin's research in June focussed on completing a revised version of his book manuscript, Reality in Pieces, which has now been finished. The book presents a novel solution to a series of problems about the continued existence of material objects over time, along with an underlying metaphysics to ground the solution. He also worked on his paper 'The Trinity and Extended Simples' and on the joint paper 'Modelling Deep Indeterminacy', aiming to have both ready for submission soon.

 

May  2015 

George Darby

In May George presented the initial work on a paper on the analysis of entanglement as a kind of metaphysical emergence to the project seminar, and then worked on clarifying the analysis of nonseparability that is required to deliver emergence in the traditional sense. He also drafted the materials for sessions on Humeanism at a summer school on the philosophy of physics to be held in Germany in July.

Daniel Kodaj

In May, Daniel finished the second draft of his paper on grounding counterfactuals in powers, and finished and submitted a paper on the recombination argument against quiddities. He read up on the trinity and entanglement, and he drafted one half of a paper (to be co-written with George) on entanglement and emergence.

Erasmus Mayr

In May, Erasmus gave a talk on the connection between issues of emergence and realism about powers at a workshop at the University of Macerata, about parallels between questions about the reduction of powers and their manifestations, on the one hand, and issues of downward causation, on the other hand. He also went to a student seminar on earlier work of his near Nuremberg, and started working on a joint introductory book on Metaphysics with Anna Marmodoro.

Martin Pickup

During May, Martin travelled to Helsinki to present a paper jointly prepared with Dani and George. The paper, 'Modelling Deep Indeterminacy', provides an account of metaphysical indeterminacy that is compatible with quantum mechanics (unlike, arguably, others already available). He also resubmitted his revised Ship of Theseus paper and continued to work on the book. He will attend a conference on probability and time travel in Birmingham at the end of the month.

 

April  2015 

George Darby

In April, George continued the work on truthmakers and drafted a paper on the topic. For the rest of the month he worked on the understanding of spatiotemporal relations in Lewis's metaphysics and in physics.

Daniel Kodaj

In April, Daniel worked on his second draft on grounding counterfactuals in powers. His paper on the strict conditional analysis of disposition was accepted at both the 2015 Joint Session and at the Workshop on the Morphological, Syntactic and Semantic Aspects of Dispositions (University of Stuttgart).

Erasmus Mayr

In April, Erasmus came back from the HU and continued his earlier research both on the individuation of particular processes and the connection between issues of emergence and realism about powers.

Martin Pickup

Martin largely spent April working on revisions to his book manuscript. He also began work on revising a paper for a journal. The paper is connected to the book, and presents a novel solution to the Ship of Theseus puzzle.
 

March 2015 

George Darby

In March George returned to a perennial issue, the analysis of various relations that arise in physics as "external", and the importance of this category in various metaphysical systems. He also tried to better understand a new interpretation that has emerged in the recent literature on David Lewis's metaphysics, to the effect that one can think of the "truthmakers" for modals and counterfactuals as residing in the actual world, not in other possible worlds, as is usually thought.

Daniel Kodaj

In March, Daniel presented a paper on organic unities at Liverpool, and submitted his paper on pandispositionalist regresses to a journal. He submitted his paper against Humean causal counterfactuals, which was rejected with very useful comments. He also started writing a second draft of the paper on grounding counterfactuals in powers.

 

Martin Pickup

During March, Martin worked on revising his book manuscript 'Reality in Pieces'. The book focuses on the problems of the continued existence of material objects over time, and presents a radical new solution to these problems. Within the group, Martin presented the early stages of his research into the relationship between time and powers to the Work in Progress seminar. He also attended the Oxford Seminar in Early Modern Philosophy, at Mansfield College and gave a talk to the Magdalen College School Philosophy Society on 'Puzzles of Persistence: The Ship of Theseus'.

 

Erasmus Mayr

In March, Erasmus was spending the last month of his Visiting professorship at the HU Berlin. Besides continuing his reseach from the previous month, he attended and gave talks at a conference on Real Possibilities, Indeterminism and Free Will in Konstanz and at the kick-off workshop of another Templeton-funded project on Agency and Quantum Indeterminacy at Innsbruck.

 

February 2015 

George Darby

In February, George focussed on the philosophy of physics side of the project, including joint work with Martin and Dani on the analysis of indeterminacy in quantum mechanics, which we will be presenting at a conference in Helsinki in May. He also continued some work on the semantics and pragmatics of conditionals.

Daniel Kodaj

In February, Daniel completed a paper against the view that the laws of nature are metaphysically necessary (“nomic necessitarianism,” NN). The paper distinguishes three versions of NN and argues against the strongest one (which is, roughly, the view that the same set of laws govern all possible worlds). The paper looks at two common ways of arguing for NN, Kripkean necessity claims and (Aristotelian) power-based accounts of laws and argues that neither can secure NN. During February, Daniel also completed a short draft on defining powers in terms of strict conditionals, submitting it to two conferences, and he contributed to a draft on deep metaphysical indeterminacy co-written with George and Martin.

 

Martin Pickup

Martin submitted an application to a workshop in the US this summer on Classical Theism, for his paper on the Trinity and extended simples. He also, with George and Dani, submitted their joint paper on quantum mechanics and indeterminacy to two international conferences. He did further work on his paper concerning the possible connections between the metaphysics of time and the metaphysics of powers.

 

Erasmus Mayr

In February, Erasmus, still continuing the Visiting professorship worked on the issue of how a robust realism about powers and processes impinges on the question of downward causation.

 

January 2015 

George Darby

In January, George thought about some metaphysical applications of Arrow's theorem and finished off a paper on one of them. (There has also, coincidentally, been some interest in the common ground between Arrow's theorem and some no-go theorems in the foundations of quantum mechanics, such as the Kochen-Specker theorem. It looks like that has proved inconclusive in recent literature, but this may be an area to explore in the future.)

Daniel Kodaj

In January, Daniel started reading up on counterfactuals and wrote the first draft of a paper on deriving counterfactuals from powers. The paper uses powers as the metaphysical ground of a Lewis/Stalnaker-style account of counterfactual truth. The basic idea is to ground closeness of worlds in the similarity of the power structure (with powers analyzed via strict conditionals). The paper argues that the resulting theory is more coherent than Lewis’s account of interworld closeness and it can handle problem cases that Lewis’s account cannot.

 

Martin Pickup

Martin's research in January included completing a revised draft his paper on the Trinity and extended simples, after comments from Brian Leftow, and the initial stages of an investigation into the possible interrelations between views in the philosophy of time and the literature concerning powers.

 

Erasmus Mayr

In January, Erasmus was continuing the Visiting Professorship at the Humboldt-University in Berlin which he had taken up in October 2014. In addition, he continued working on the issue of the individuation of particular ongoing processes, in respect to which he tries to show that, for an important subclass of processes, namely 'directed processes', we can explain that they possess a certain modal robustness in virtue of their internal structure, which also helps us to make sense of their relationship to the complete events which have occurred once the processes have been completed. 

 

December 2014 

George Darby

In December, George mostly worked on questions about the metaphysical background of our topic, and methodological questions relating to it, especially about the nature of analysis and contemporary discussions of truthmakers. These become important in our current project through connections with the metaphysics of modality and the analysis of counterfactuals.

Daniel Kodaj

In December, Daniel completed the research for, and the first draft of, a paper against Lewis’s response to the worry that his account of counterfactual truth (coupled with the hypothesis that determinism is true) entails that we have the power to break the laws.

Martin Pickup

Throughout December, Martin worked on producing a first draft of his paper concerning the Trinity and extended simples. He also received the first set of reader's comments from OUP on his book manuscript, based on his DPhil thesis, entitled 'Reality in Pieces: a theory of how the world is', and composed a plan for revision to the manuscript in light of them. He aims to resubmit the revised version to OUP in the early summer.

 

October/November 2014 

George Darby

In October, George began work on a component of the project concerning the way in which entanglement can be thought of as emergent. Emergence as a topic in metaphysics has a long and detailed history, which has periodically touched on issues in quantum mechanics. This is now an area in which there is quite a lot of research, so it will be very interesting to see how our particular concerns on this project relate to others.
In November, George mostly worked on clarifying some technical issues about entanglement that are relevant for our metaphysical themes, in particular the relationship between some arguments based on the standard vector-space formalism and similar arguments that start from Bell's theorem.

Daniel Kodaj

In October, Daniel polished his paper on regress arguments, did some catch-up reading on causation for the reading group, and sketched two papers, one on the need for counterlegal worlds (possible worlds where the laws of nature are different from the laws that govern our world), and one against the permutation argument against quiddities (which says that quiddities can be freely shifted around without disturbing the causal order and hence quiddities are unknowable). He also contributed to a proposed abstract on entanglement as emergence, to be co-written with George.
In November, Daniel rewrote the regress paper using input from the work-in-progress seminar. The new version avoids controversial assumptions about the metaphysics of manifestations and ontological priority. In November, Daniel also started research on the concept of organic unity, sketched a paper on the metaphysics of organic unities, and joined Goerge in an intensive self-taught study of relativity. Daniel hopes to use this knowledge to assess the claim that spatiotemporal position is a disposition. 

Martin Pickup

During October and November Martin's research focused on two papers: one discussing the persistence of material objects through change and another looking at the Trinity and extended simples. The former paper was presented at a conference in St Andrews and has now been submitted to a journal. It presents a controversial view of change over time that involves fundamental incompatibility between parts of the world. The latter was presented at the internal work in progress group, which has lead to further avenues to explore. The paper will attempt to draw an analogy between extended simples and the Trinity to defend the 'Latin' Trinitarian approach of Leftow and others.

 

September 2014 

George Darby

In September, George mostly worked on his paper for the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics conference. The basic aim of this is to articulate some open questions that are of interest to metaphysicians in general, once a particular popular conception of the basic metaphysical consequences of entanglement is accepted. That popular conception is that there are relations between entangled systems that are not reducible to intrinsic properties of their parts. The open questions concern things like this: If those extra relations fall under analyses already used by metaphysicians (for example, David Lewis already has a category of "external" relations, in which he includes spatiotemporal relations), what exactly is it that is metaphysically novel about entanglement?

Daniel Kodaj

Daniel finished his paper on regress arguments, adding a section on nomic necessitarianism. He also drafted a paper on quiddities, and started reading up on intrinsic properties and quantum mechanics.

Martin Pickup

Martin finished a final draft of his paper on the Eucharist and time-travel, and worked on a revised version of the paper on the problem of change. He also attended a summer school and conference in Rome, and the metaphysics of quantum mechanics conference in Oxford. 

 

August 2014 

George Darby

In August, George worked on his paper for Leeds, and on some topics in the philosophy of logic around conditionals (conditionals, especially counterfactuals, are important in some strands of analysis of Bell's theorem, and so will be important later on in the project).

Daniel Kodaj

Daniel continued research on nomic necessitarianism. This topic is significant because the view that all properties are powers is deeply entwined with the idea that laws are necessary. The paper Daniel begun in July  argues that pandispositionalism requires the strongest version of this thesis, the version on which worlds with different laws are metaphysically impossible. If this thesis is unmotivated on independent grounds, then pandispositionalism seems to be in trouble. In August, Daniel also completed the research for a paper on masks. 

Martin Pickup

In August Martin's paper 'Real Presence in the Eucharist and Time-Travel' was accepted for publication by Religious Studies and he has worked on a final draft. He has also produced a first draft of a paper giving a new solution to the problem of change, presenting it at a metaphysics work-in-progress group in Oxford. His research on the Trinity and extended simples is ongoing.

 

July 2014

George Darby

In July, George mostly worked on two conference papers: One for Shaping the Trading Zone: Bringing Aesthetics and Philosophy of Science Together, in Leeds, September 5th-6th, and one for the Metaphysics of Quantum Mechanics conference here in Oxford, October 2nd-3rd. The first paper concerns the ways in which philosophers of literature think about truth in fiction, and the various problems that such accounts face to do with fictions that are incomplete, inconsistent, and the like; those connect to questions in the philosophy of science about incomplete and inconsistent theories, underdetermination, and perhaps indeterminacy in physics. The second paper is on one of the core themes of our Entanglement Project: the impact of quantum mechanics on some of the questions and theories of traditional mainstream metaphysics. 

Daniel Kodaj

In July, Daniel drafted a paper on regress arguments against pandispositionalism, and started research on nomic necessitarianism, trope theory, and essence.

Martin Pickup

In July, Martin submitted a paper on the Eucharist and time-travel and began work on a paper concerning the problem of change. He is also doing preparatory work on the metaphysics of the Trinity and extended simples.