Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Specialisation

Metaphysics (esp. time, modality, ontology, truth, composition, persistence, metametaphysics, indeterminacy, vagueness, metaphysics of aesthetics)

Areas of Competence

Formal and Philosophical Logic
Philosophy of Religion


Ph.D. Jan 2006, University of St Andrews. Thesis title: The Source of Modal Truth. Supervised by Prof. Crispin Wright

MPhil, University of Glasgow, 2002 (Distinction)

MA, University of Glasgow, 2001 (First class honours)


August 2017 - present: Professor in Philosophy, University of Virginia

August 2014 - August 2017: Associate Professor in Philosophy, University of Virginia

August 2009 - August 2014: Associate Professor in Philosophy, University of Leeds

September 2006 - August 2009: Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Leeds

August 2005 - September 2006: Research Fellow in Metaphysics, University of Leeds

Honorary Positions

December 2009 - Nov 2014: Associate Fellow, Northern Institute of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen

March 2006 – Feb 2011: Associate Fellow, Arché, University of St Andrews and Honorary Research Fellow, University of St Andrews



The Moving Spotlight: An Essay on Time & Ontology, Oxford University Press, (2015)

The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics, edited with Robin Le Poidevin, Peter Simons and Andrew McGonigal, Routledge, (2009)


'Infinite Regress Arguments', forthcoming in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

'Comments on Karen Bennett's Making Things Up', forthcoming in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

'Precis of The Moving Spotlight' and 'Reply to Miller, Sider and Skow', forthcoming in Analysis Reviews

'Skow, Objective Becoming, and the Moving Spotlight', forthcoming in Analysis Reviews

'Modal Conventionalism', forthcoming in The Routledge Handbook of Modality, edited by Otavio Bueno and Scott Shalkowski

‘Truthmakers’, forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Truth, edited by Michael Glanzberg, Oxford University Press

'Are There Indeterminate States of Affairs? No', in Current Controversies in Metaphysics, edited by Elizabeth Barnes, Routledge, p120-131, (2017), (with Elizabeth Barnes)

'On Characterizing the Presentism/Eternalism and Actualism/Possibilism Debates', Analytic Philosophy, Vol. 57, No. 2, p110-140, (2016)

'Do We Need Grounding?', Inquiry, Vol. 59, No. 4, p382-397, (2016)

'Improve your thought experiments overnight with Speculative Fiction!', Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. 39, special issue on Science Fiction and Philosophy, p29-45, (2015)

'Parts Generate The Whole, But They Are Not Identical To It', in Composition as Identity, edited by Donald Baxter and Aaron Cotnoir, Oxford University Press, p90-107, (2014)

'On the lack of direction in Rayo's The Construction of Logical Space'Inquiry Vol. 57, Issue 4, p427-441, (2014).  (Special issue devoted to Agustin Rayo's book The Construction of Logical Space)

'Changing Truthmakers: Reply to Tallant and Ingram', Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Vol. 8, edited by Karen Bennett and Dean Zimmerman, Oxford University Press, p362-373, (2013)

‘Composition as Identity Doesn’t Settle the Special Composition Question’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 84, No. 3, p531-554, (2012)

‘Why Lewis's Analysis of Modality Succeeds in its Reductive Ambitions’, Philosophers’ Imprint, Vol. 12, No. 8, p1-21, (2012)

‘How to be a nominalist and a fictional realist’, in Art and Abstract Objects, edited by Christy Mag Uidhir, Oxford University Press, p179-196, (2012)

‘Back to the Open Future’, Philosophical Perspectives Vol. 25, Metaphysics, p1-26, (2011), (with Elizabeth Barnes)

Truthmaking for Presentists’, Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Vol.6, edited by Karen Bennett and Dean Zimmerman, Oxford University Press, p55-100, (2011)

‘From Humean Truthmaker Theory to Priority Monism’, Nous, Vol. 44, No. 1, p178-198, (2010)

How to have a radically minimal ontology’, Philosophical Studies, Vol. 151, No. 2, p249-264, (2010)

‘Necessity and Triviality’, The Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 88, No. 3, p401-415, (2010)

‘Quantification, Naturalness and Ontology’, in New Waves in Metaphysics, Allan Hazlett (ed), New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, p8-26, (2010)

‘On the Source of Necessity’, in Modality: Metaphysics, Logic and Epistemology, edited by Bob Hale and Aviv Hoffman, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p137-152, (2010)

‘Response to Dominic Gregory’s ‘Conceivability and Apparent Possibility’’, in Modality: Metaphysics, Logic and Epistemology, edited by Bob Hale and Aviv Hoffman, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p342-346, (2010)

‘Vagueness and Naturalness’, Erkenntnis, Vol. 72, No. 2, p281-293, (2010)

'A Critical Notice of Worlds and Individuals, Possible and Otherwise by Takashi Yagisawa’, Analysis Reviews Vol. 70, No. 4, p783-792, (2010)

‘The Grounds of Necessity’, Philosophy Compass, Vol. 4, No. 4, p348-358, (2010)

The Open Future: Bivalence, Determinism and Ontology’, Philosophical Studies, Vol.146, No.2, p291-309, (2009). (With Elizabeth Barnes)

‘What's Metaphysical about Metaphysical Necessity?’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research Vol. 79, No. 1, p1-16, (2009)

‘God exists at every (modal realist) world: response to Sheehy’, Religious Studies Vol. 45, No. 1, p95-100, (2009)

‘Intrinsic and Extrinsic Properties’, in The Routledge Companion to Metaphysics, edited by Robin LePoidevin, Peter Simons, Andrew McGonigal and Ross Cameron, London and New York: Routledge, (2009), p265-275

‘How to be a truthmaker maximalist’, Nous, Vol. 42, No. 3, p410-421, (2008)

‘Turtles all the way down: Regress, Priority and Fundamentality’, The Philosophical Quarterly Vol.58, No.230, p1-14, (2008)

‘Truthmakers and Ontological commitment: or, how to deal with complex objects and mathematical ontology without getting into trouble’, Philosophical Studies Vol. 140, No. 1, (Special issue for selected papers from the 2008 Bellingham Summer Philosophy Conference), p1-18, (2008)

‘Truthmakers, Realism and Ontology’, in Being: Contemporary Developments in Metaphysics, Robin LePoidevin (ed), Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, 83, p107-128, (2008)

‘There are no things that are musical works’, The British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol.48, p295-314, (2008)

‘Truthmakers and Modality’, Synthese, Vol. 164, No. 2, p261-280, (2008)

‘Recombination and Intrinsicality’, Ratio XXI(1), p1-12, (2008)

‘Truthmakers and Necessary Connections’, Synthese, 161.1, p. 27-45, (2008)

‘Comments on Trenton Merricks’ Truth and Ontology’, Philosophical Books Vol.49, No.4, p292-301, (2008)

‘Critical Study of John Heil's From an Ontological Point of View’, SWIF Philosophy of Mind Review, Vol.6 No.2, p22-30, (2008). (With Elizabeth Barnes)

‘The Contingency of Composition’, Philosophical Studies Vol.136, No.1, (Special issue for selected papers from the 2006 Bellingham Summer Philosophy Conference), p99-121, (2007)

‘Subtractability and Concreteness’, The Philosophical Quarterly Vol.57, No.227, p273-279, (2007)

‘Lewisian Realism: Methodology, Epistemology and Circularity’, Synthese, 156.1, p.143-159, (2007)

‘Much Ado About Nothing: A Study of Metaphysical Nihilism’, Erkenntnis 64.2, pp.193-222, (2006)

‘Tropes, Necessary Connections, and Non-Transferability’, Dialectica 60.2, p99-113, (2006)

‘Rohrbaugh and deRosset on the Necessity of Origin’, Mind Vol.115 No.458, p361-366, (2006). (With Sonia Roca)

‘Truthmaker Necessitarianism and Maximalism’, Logique et Analyse 48.189-192, p43-56, (2005)

‘A Note on Kripke's Footnote 56 Argument for the Essentiality of Origin’, Ratio XVIII(3), p262-275, (2005)

Reviews, Short Encyclopedia entries, etc.

'Mereological Essentialism', forthcoming in Handbook of Mereology, edited by Johanna Seibt, Guido Imaguire, Stamatios Gerogiorgakis, Verlag

'Review of Metametaphysics, edited by Chalmers, Manley and Wasserman', Mind, Vol. 119, No. 474, p459-462, (2010)

‘Review of Truth and Ontology by Trenton Merricks', The Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 232, p544-546, (2008)

Editorial Work

  • March 2014 - present, member of editorial board, Thought
  • Oct 2011 - March 2014, Metaphysics sub-editor, Thought
  • July 2009 - July 2014, Metaphysics section editor, Philosophy Compass


At the graduate level I have taught courses on: metaphysics of time; ontology; modality; metaphysical issues in the philosophy of religion; history of analytic philosophy

At the undergraduate level I have taught courses on: formal logic; non-classical logic; metaphysics of time; Introduction to philosophy; ontology; aesthetics; Leibniz and Hume


At University of Virginia:

Director of the Undergraduate Program, 2014 - 

Graduate admissions committee: 2016

At University of Leeds:

Director of Research and Innovation and member of School Management Group for School of Philosophy, History of Science and Religious Studies, 2011-14

Member of philosophy Learning and Teaching Committee and faculty representative to student: staff forum, 2007-2011

Grant Income

I received a British Academy Mid-Career research award of £95,978 which bought me out completely from my normal duties in the academic year 2011-12.

With my colleagues Elizabeth Barnes and Robert Williams, I was awarded £133,681 over three years, from Sep ‘10-Sep ‘13, under the AHRC Early Careers Researchers Scheme, for a project on Metaphysical Indeterminacy.

Workshop & Conference Organisation

  • I organised a workshop on metaphysical indeterminacy, which took place 21-22 Jan, 2011, University of Leeds.
  • I co-organised with Robbie Williams and Elizabeth Barnes a workshop on metaphysical indeterminacy, May 9th 09, University of Leeds, for which we received £3650 in funding from the British Academy.
  • I co-organised (with Elizabeth Barnes) a major international metaphysics conference, ‘Perspectives on Ontology’, at the University of Leeds Sep 5th-7th 2008, for which we received £2785 in funding.
  • I organised the workshop ‘Structure in Metaphysics’, University of Leeds, 10th March 2007.

Selected Presentations

  • 16 March, 2018, tba, Virginia Tech
  • 28 June, 2017, 'Passage in the Moving Spotlight', workshop on the Moving Spotlight, University of Milan (via Skype)
  • 24 Feb, 2017, 'Why I cannot travel in time and meet my younger self', College of William and Mary
  • 4-7 Jan, 2017, Author meets critics session on my book 'The Moving Spotlight' (with critics Ted Sider and Meghan Sullivan), Eastern APA, Baltimore
  • 22 Sep, 2016, 'Why I cannot travel in time and meet my younger self', University of Richmond
  • 8-12 Aug, 2016, 'Logic, Truthmaking and Ontology', Metaphysical Mayhem, Rutgers University
  • 22-23 April, 2016, 'Truthmaking, Second-Order Quantification, and Ontological Commitment', Workshop on Fundamental Truthmakers, University of Miami
  • 5-8 June, 2015, 'How to know you're present', Workshop on Temporal and Transformative Experience, University of Sydney (via Skype)
  • 27 Feb, 2015, 'The History of Unsettledness and the Unsettledness of History', University of Colorado at Boulder
  • 18 Sep, 2013, 'How Can You Know You're Present?', University of Edinburgh
  • 1 May, 2013, 'How Can You Know You're Present?', Workshop on the metaphysics of time, University of Birmingham
  • 27-31 March, 2013, 'The Moving Spotlight View Isn't As Bad As You Think', Invited Symposium on Metaphysics, Pacific APA, San Francisco
  • 25-28 June, 2012, 'Comments on Raul Saucedo's 'Collective Allism'', Carolina Metaphysics Workshop
  • 28-30 June, 2011, 'Back to the Open Future', Carolina Metaphysics Workshop
  • 3 November, 2010, ‘Why Lewis’s Modal Realism Succeeds in its Reductive Ambitions’, University of Nottingham
  • 13 October, 2010, ‘Why Lewis’s Modal Realism Succeeds in its Reductive Ambitions’, University of Manchester
  • 30 August – 1 September, 2010, ‘Grounding and Truthmaking’, Workshop on explanation, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • 29 October, 2009, ‘CAI doesn’t settle SCQ’, University of Durham
  • 16 October, 2009, ‘Truthmaking for Presentists’, Oxford University
  • 2-6 August, 2009, ‘Truthmaking for Presentists’, Bellingham Summer Philosophy Conference, Western Washington University*
  • 25-26 June, 2009, ‘Truth-Making and Determinacy-Making’, Barcelona Vagueness and Metaphysics workshop
  • 4th June, 2009, ‘Why a table exists in a different sense than its parts’, University of Birmingham
  • 14th April, 2009, ‘Truthmaking for Presentists’, University of Toronto
  • April 2009, 'Quantification, Naturalness and Ontology', session on New Waves in Metaphysics, Pacific APA, Vancouver.
  • April 2009, ‘Composition and Necessity’, Symposium on Mereology and Ontology, Pacific APA, Vancouver.
  • 24th March, 2009, ‘Necessity and Triviality’, University of Glasgow
  • 7-10 Jan, 2009, ‘Response to Peter van Inwagen’s ‘The New Anti-Metaphysicians’’, Arizona Ontology Conference.
  • 8th Dec, 2008, ‘Necessary truth, truthmaking and triviality’, University of Liverpool.
  • 11 November, 2008, ‘Truthmaking for Presentists’, London Logic and Metaphysics Forum.
  • 7th March, 2008, ‘Truthmaking for Presentists’, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • 16th-17th February, 2008, ‘Truthmaking for Presentists’, Workshop on Themes in the Metaphysics of David Armstrong, University of Nottingham
  • 1st Nov 2007, ‘Truthmakers and Ontological Commitment’, University of York
  • 17th May 2007, 'Truth Without Ontology' (with Robbie Williams), Metaphysics Workshop, University of St Andrews
  • 3rd-8th April 2007, `Comment on Jonathan Schaffer's `The Most Promiscuous and Least Discerning Truthmaker'', Pacific APA, San Francisco.
  • 1st-3rd Sep 2006, `Response to Helen Beebee's "Truthmakers: who needs 'em?"', Being: Developments in Contemporary Metaphysics, Royal Institute of Philosophy annual conference, University of Leeds
  • 30th July - Aug 3rd 2006, 'The Contingency of Composition', Bellingham Summer Philosophy Conference, Western Washington University*
  • 7th-9th June 2006, `Response to Dominic Gregory on Necessity and A Priority', Arché Conference on the Metaphysics and Epistemology of Modality, University of St Andrews
  • 6th March 2006, `Contingent Composition', University of Birmingham
  • 22 Feb 2006, `Truthmakers and Necessary Connections', University of Nottingham
  • 26 Jan 2006, `Contingent Composition', University of Leeds
  • 2nd-3rd Dec 2005, `Contingent Composition', Arché Modality Workshop, University of St Andrews
  • Nov 2005, `Response to Efird and Stoneham on the Subtraction Argument', workshop on Modality and Nothingness, University of Leeds