I'm a Ph.D student in Philosophy at NYU. I work mainly in philosophy of science and metaphysics. My dissertation is about the value of the special sciences, particularly special science explanations, in a world of physics.
I also have research interests in philosophy of economics, philosophy of physics, and epistemology.
Before coming to NYU I did a B.Phil in Philosophy and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, both at the University of Oxford.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- “What the Humean should say about Entanglement” (with
Zee R Perry)
Forthcoming, Noûs (Abstract) (PDF) (Published Version)
Tim Maudlin has influentially argued that Humeanism about laws of nature stands in conflict with quantum mechanics. Specifically Humeanism implies the principle Separability: the complete physical state of a world is determined by the intrinsic physical state of each space-time point. Maudlin argues Separability is violated by the entangled states posited by QM.
We argue that Maudlin only establishes that a stronger principle, which we call Strong Separability, is in tension with QM. Separability is not in tension with QM. Moreover, while the Humean requires Separability to capture the core tenets of her view, there's no Humean-specific motivation for accepting Strong Separability.
We go on to give a Humean account of entangled states which satisfies Separability. The core idea is that certain quantum states depend upon the Humean mosaic in much the same way as the laws do. In fact, we offer a variant of the Best System account on which the systemization procedure that generates the laws also serves to ground these states.
We show how this account works by applying it to the example of Bohmian Mechanics. The 3N-dimensional configuration space, the world particle in it and the wave function on it are part of the best system of the Humean mosaic, which consists of N particles moving in 3-dimensional space. We argue that this account is superior to the Humean account of Bohmian Mechanics defended by Loewer and Albert, which takes the 3N-dimensional space, and its inhabitants, as fundamental.
- “Minimal Anti-Humeanism”
Forthcoming, Australasian Journal of Philosophy (Abstract) (PDF) (Published Version)
I argue that there is a tension in our theorizing about laws of nature. We have powerful reasons to think that laws are not universal generalizations -- if they are we would face the problem of explanatory circularity. But we have powerful reasons, stemming from our practice of using and reasoning with laws of nature, to think that laws are universal generalizations.
I start by elucidating this tension. I then suggest a view of laws that avoids this tension -- I call it Minimal anti-Humeanism. The view says that the laws are the universal generalizations that are not grounded in their instances. This view has advantages in addition to avoiding the tension -- for example, it is ontologically minimal and provides clear answers to the classic identification and inference problems for accounts of law. I end by locating the view in the Humean versus anti-Humean debate. The view turns out to be not easy to classify in these terms -- as the name suggests, I think it is best understood as an anti-Humean view, but reasonable people could disagree. Either way, the view is one which could be attractive to people with both Humean and anti-Humean inclinations.
- “Nomothetic Explanation and Humeanism about Laws of Nature ”
- “Explanatory Goodness and Levels of Explanation ”
- “Special Science Naturalness ”
- “Neuroeconomics and Special Science Autonomy ”
- “The Explanatory Theory of Special Science Chances ”
- “Humean Nomic Essentialism (with Zee R Perry) ”