I received my undergraduate degree from Glasgow University and did my PhD at the University of London, writing a thesis about the metaphysics of mental causation. I now work mainly on metaphysics, the philosophy of science and philosophical methodology, and my first book, A Critical Introduction to Properties (which is not particularly introductory in places), was published by Bloomsbury in 2016. I am currently working on disagreement in metaphysics and beyond.
I joined Keele in 2015 as a Lecturer in Philosophy, having been at Oxford University since 2002 where I was a Supernumerary Fellow at Harris Manchester College and a Lecturer in Philosophy, mainly at St Peter’s College and Harris Manchester College. Prior to that, I taught at University College London and worked at the Royal Institute of Philosophy.
Research and scholarship
I’m primarily interested in the intersection between metaphysics, science and mind, as well as meta-metaphysics and issues of methodology and interpretation which arise when doing philosophy.
My particular interests include:
- The metaphysics of properties and qualitative similarity
- Causation and laws in philosophy and the sciences
- Kinds in natural and social sciences
- The metaphysics of modality
- Scientific realism
- Metaphysical realism and alternatives to it
- The relationship between metaphysics and science
- What metaphysical theories are about
- What metaphysical categories are
- The explanation of consciousness
- Theories of meaning and interpretation
Or, summarise that in language which a non-philosopher can understand:
- What is there, and what is it doing?
- What does science tell us?
- What are philosophers and scientists talking about?
- Continental Philosophy (Year 1)
- Ancient Philosophy (Year 1)
- Philosophy of Science (Year 2)
- Philosophy of Language (Year 3)
- Philosophy of Social Science (MRes)
If you would like further information about any of these courses, please email me.
Full Publications Listshow
A Critical Introduction to Properties. Bloomsbury Publishing. link>2016.
What Matters in (Naturalized) Metaphysics?. Essays in Philosophy, 212-242, vol. 13(1). doi>
Can Theoretical Underdetermination support the Indeterminacy of Translation? Revisiting Quine's ‘Real Ground’. Philosophy, 67-90, vol. 85(1). doi>2010.
The Definition of Consciousness: Is Triviality or Falsehood Inevitable?. Journal of Consciousness Studies: controversies in science and the humanities.2009.
What's the point in Scientific Realism if we don't know what's really there?. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, 97-123, vol. 61. doi>2007.
A Space Oddity: McGinn on Consciousness and Space. Journal of Consciousness Studies: controversies in science and the humanities.2006.
Disorder at the Border. Philo, 176-202, vol. 7(2). doi>
Deepening the Controversy over Metaphysical Realism. Philosophy, 519-541, vol. 77(4). doi>2002.
I am happy to supervise postgraduate work in the following subject areas:
- Philosophy of science
- Philosophy of mind
- Philosophy of language
I have a special interest in the connections between these different areas of philosophy, in meta-metaphysics and in philosophical methodology. Prospective students who are interested in these areas are welcome to get in touch with me.
I encourage research students to work collaboratively with academics in the same field and to begin publishing their own work as soon as they are able. Research by current postgraduate students includes:
- Language Games
- Panpsychism, Self-Organisation and the Combination Problem
Further information is available about studying in SPGS, including funding available for pursuing a doctoral research degree.