Biography

I am Professor of Metaphysics in the Department of Philosophy at Durham, UK, and Professor II in the School of Economics and Business at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. I am author of Dispositions (Oxford, 1998), Russell on Metaphysics (Routledge, 2003), Laws in Nature (Routledge, 2004), David Armstrong (Acumen, 2007), Watching Sport: Aesthetics, Ethics and Emotion (Routledge, 2011), Getting Causes from Powers (Oxford, 2011 with Rani Lill Anjum), Metaphysics: a Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2012) and Causation: a Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2013 with Rani Lill Anjum). I was editor of George Molnar's posthumous Powers: a Study in Metaphysics (Oxford, 2003) and Metaphysics and Science (Oxford, 2013 with Matthew Tugby). My PhD was from the University of Leeds in 1994 and I was at Nottingham between 1995 and 2016, serving served as Head of the Department of Philosophy, Head of the School of Humanities and Dean of the Faculty of Arts. I am currently completing a number of book projects: What Tends to Be: Essays on the Dispositional Modality and Causation in Science: on the Methods of Scientific Discovery (both with Rani Lill Anjum). I will shortly be publishing my first philosophical novel, Glimpse of Light (Bloomsbury). From 2016 to 2019 I will be on leave as I hold a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship to work on the metaphysics of nothingness and absence. The project will result in a book to be called Nothing Really Matters.


I was born in Wakefield, West Yorkshire on July 31st 1965 and attended Outwood Grange School. After working as a low-grade civil servant for three years, I read Philosophy and History of Ideas with Politics at Huddersfield Polytechnic (now University). After that I entered the Philosophy Department at the University of Leeds to take an MA in Philosophy of Mind. There I met Robin LePoidevin who became my PhD supervisor. I was awarded a PhD in 1994 for 'Dispositions and Reductionism' and was offered a two-year lectureship at Leeds. I left to join the Philosophy department at Nottingham in 1995. In September 2016, I moved to Durham University and started three years as a Leverhulme Major Research Fellow. My research is very important to me and I like to travel to meet other philosophers and attend conferences. I find it very helpful to discuss philosophy with others and try out ideas and I also like to see how philosophy is done in other parts of the world. I like to be involved in collaborative projects, including co-authored work.