My primary research interest is in philosophy of mind, specifically concerning the phenomenal character of consciousness. I currently subscribe to some form of atomistic panpsychism, and I'm working on a few projects in its defense. One such project concerns making sense of the phenomenal or protophenomenal properties of the fundamental constituents of matter. More specifically, I believe panpsychists are tasked with saying more than just that said constituents have "whatever it takes" to account for consciousness. We are owed at least a few options (and a defense of their viability) as to what such properties are like. Another project, which I believe follows naturally, concerns making sense of how such constituents could possibly combine to form the conscious experience with which we are familiar. Unlike panpsychism's opponents, I believe there are actually a number of viable paths we could take. Or so I argue in my notes somewhere.

Outside of philosophy of mind, I'm interested in researching the metaphysics of time and properties (separately). In the metaphysics of time, I'm primarily interested in defending endurantism. This is mostly because I believe that perdurantists fail to account for the first-person experience of the passage of time. As for the metaphysics of properties, I'm convinced by John Heil and C. B. Martin that the lauded distinction between qualities and dispositions is suspect. I have argued that we could perhaps take things further and collapse the distinction between properties and their bearers, though lately I have been less confident that this is true.


Against the Irreducibility of Subjects
Panpsychism has a problem. We are subjects of experience, and according to panpsychism, we are also somehow the combination of the smaller subjects of experience that comprise us. But we have a seemingly unshakeable intuition that we are irreducible. If this is so, then combination is impossible, and panpsychism fails. The question, then, is: why believe that subjects are irreducible? A number of arguments have been offered in defense of the irreducibility of subjects. I consider five. The primary purpose of this paper is to show that none of them clearly succeed. For each argument, at least one premise is either false, likely false, or in serious need of defense. I end the paper by attempting to nudge us away from the intuition that we are neither reducible nor combinable through the use of a fanciful thought experiment.

Endurantism, Presentism, and the Problem of Temporary Intrinsics | [Link]
The most common form of endurantism takes enduring objects to be wholly located at every time they occupy. Such a view is believed to give rise to a problem concerning intrinsic change. My laptop may have been shut before, but it is currently open. Yet, if we understand endurantism as above, then my laptop is in possession of two contradictory properties: the shapes of being open and shut. This problem is known as the "problem of temporary intrinsics," and, to avoid it, two major kinds of moves have been made. The first is to meddle with the relationship between an enduring object and its properties by, for instance, claiming enduring objects bear their properties relationally to times rather than intrinsically. Many who have found this move unappealing have instead turned to presentism, claiming that endurantists should be presentists to avoid the problem. I take it that while both options can work, neither is optimal. Instead, I argue in favor of an alternative understanding of endurantism that allows endurantists to have it all: there is a version of endurantism that leaves the intrinsic properties of objects untouched, avoids the problem of temporary intrinsics, and does not require adopting presentism.

Works in Progress

Quidditism and the Boundary Problem | Coauthored with Andrei Buckareff
Our conscious minds have boundaries. There are the experiences that exist within the boundaries of one's mind, and then there are the experiences that exist without. We feel our stubbed toes, but we do not feel the stubbed toes of others. For some reason, these boundaries exist at the edges of our gray matter. The subsystems of our brains interact, and they are unbounded with respect to one another—they can share their experiences. Brains, too, interact with one another, but for some reason they jealously guard their experiences behind a barrier. Explaining why the boundaries of experience exist at this mid-level of reality is exceedingly difficult—this is the boundary problem. Some theories may have the requisite tools to draw the boundaries where appropriate. We argue, however, that Russellian panpsychism is not such a theory. Russellian panpsychists will have to give up one of their central tenets—quidditism—to have any hope of solving the boundary problem.

The New Causal Exclusion Argument
I'm in the drafting process of arguing that, with some tweaking, Kim's causal exclusion argument is successful, and unavoidably so. The tweaking is sufficient, for the sake of a compelling title, to call the argument 'new'. In essence, this new exclusion argument has the weaker (though equally problematic for nonreductive physicalists, I think) upshot that we have no good reason, within a nonreductive framework, to grant causal efficacy to mental events. This argument works regardless of the oft-cited defense that the supervenience relation saves the causal efficacy of mind by appeal to the purported dependence relation it bears to matter. Even in the case of dependent properties, I argue, we are justified in asking whether x or y is causally efficacious in bringing about z. Given anything but the strongest supervenience relation will entail that we are not justified in believing mental properties to be causally efficacious, and the strongest supervenience relation threatens to violate the causal closure of the physical or, given modification, risks reduction.

The Building Blocks of Sentience
Panpsychists claim that mental properties (or events or whatever) are fundamental. Atomistic panpsychists claim that these mental properties are to be found possessed by the basic constituents of matter (the philosophical atoms or simples). Given this, we are supposedly better off than physicalists in the following regard: we have essential ingredients they lack in building up consciousness. But we cannot build minds by fiat—we must say more about what these fundamental mental properties (call them 'microphenomenal properties') are like. I believe there are a number of avenues available to panpsychists, and in this paper, I defend at least three (three for now, maybe more if more occur to me). I argue that the options are (1) microphenomenal properties are protophenomenal, (2) microphenomenal properties are minimally phenomenal, and (3) microphenomenal properties are maximally phenomenal. I expound upon each option, considering their strengths and weaknesses, and, while I believe that all three options can work (contra Karen Bennett (see, e.g., "Why I Am Not a Dualist," 2021)), I find option (2) to be the most viable.

Other Works

Collapsing the Substance-Property Distinction | [PDF]
The distinction between dispositions and their qualitative causal bases is widely accepted and owes much of its popularity to Elizabeth Prior, Robert Pargetter, and Frank Jackson. One unpleasant consequence of the view as they defend it, however, is that it renders dispositions—the would-be powers of the world—causally inert. There is reason, then, to deny the distinction, and John Heil has extensively argued against it in favor of identity. If dispositions are identical with their qualitative bases, then a clean, parsimonious possibility becomes available: properties are identical with their substances. My aim in this paper is to defend that this view is highly plausible and worth taking seriously as an alternative to the standard view of substances and properties.

Other other works
I'm juggling another handful of projects, some of which I have drafts of and others which can best be characterized as scattered notes. For example, I have a paper on scientific disagreement which I have taken off the burners for the time being. I have a few projects that have only recently been extracted from the depths of my dissertation. One such project is an argument in defense of (a brand of) atomistic panpsychism as a geniunely physicalist theory; another provides a defense against the palette problem for panpsychism; and yet another argues, contra Dennett, that RoboMary, like Mary, cannot learn phenomenal information from physical information. When (and for some of these, whether) I'll pick these up again depends upon (1) when I get my current projects finished, (2) the demands of my teaching load, (3) whether I still believe the projects to be viable, and (4) the will of the animal spirits.