MEMBERS

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Annie Braddon-Miller

Honorary Professor

Annie works at the intersection between the metaphysics and psychology of time, and metaphysics and physics.

Her research at the intersection of metaphysics and physics aims to provide a new account of the fundamental nature of reality. She is pursuing a research programme that develops the view that fundamentally, reality is composed of Bonds and Lattice-Like Spheres, or BALLS. This is a view of fundamental reality on which it's not the case there are, fundamentally, space-time atoms. Nor is it the case that, fundamentally, there exist chunks of space connected into a lattice-like structure as, for instance, in loop quantum gravity. Rather, on this new picture there exists a lattice structure, with discrete spheres of space connected via curved structures. The resulting BALLS are the fundamental reality from which spacetime emerges. 

Another  aspect of Annie's research involves the connections between the metaphysics  of time, and rationality. For instance, on the face of it, it would  seem that two balls yesterday, are better than one ball tomorrow. After all, all things being equal, more balls are better than fewer. Yet, it is also intuitive that tomorrow's balls are better than yesterday's balls. Yesterday's balls have already been chased. Tomorrow's have not.  Given the value of balls, should we differently value tomorrow's balls relative to yesterday's, or is this a terrible mistake? It is possible that this research, primarily into balls, also generalises to other goods, such as beefs, and lambs, and other fuds. But research has not progressed into these other areas as yet.

You can find her research here.

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Freddie Braddon-Miller

Honorary Professor

Freddie works primarily on the nature of temporal intervals and durations. While his research is currently theoretical, he aims to bring it about that temporal durations between certain kinds of events are shorter, and between others are longer. In particular, his work focusses on temporal durations between pairs of walks, pairs of pees, and pairs of fuds (a technical term for the ingestion of food). He aims to make the durations between these sorts of pairs of events shorter. In turn, he aims to make the durations between baffs (a technical term for the application of shampoo and water in a bathroom setting) and grooms, longer. 

To do this, he is committed to temporal durations themselves being fundamentally undeterines, and determined only by the kind of event that is thus temporally separated. He calls this the Fundamental Underdetermination of Duration, or FUD. In turn, he is committed to the temporal dimension itself having no determinate metric. So far, research is slow.

You can see his work here. 

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Kristie Miller

Associate Professor and Director

Kristie works at the intersection of the metaphysics, physics, and psychology of time. At present (the indexical one) she has three broad projects underway.  

 

One of these projects investigates the picture of time that emerges from fundamental physics, in particular, theories of quantum gravity. Are these theories on which time really disappears? If so, what sense are we to make of this?

The second project lies at at the intesrection of metaphysics and eperimental phiosophy, and focusses on exporing the folk (i.e. non-philosophical) concept of time. What do non-philosophers think time is like? What concept of time do they employ? What, if anything does this tell us about the metaphysics of time?  Connected to this project is a project investigating our phenomenology of time. Does it seem to us as though time passes in some robust dynamical sense? What implications, if any, does this have for a metaphysical theory of time?

The third project focusses on the intersection of the metaphysics of time, psychology  and diachronic rationality. This project focusses on our cross-temporal preferences, and in particular, the sorts of time-biases that people have been shown to have. For instance, near bias—preferring pleasant things to be in the near father than the far future, and unpleasant things to be in the far future rather than the near future, and future bias, preferring pleasant things to be future, and unpleasant things to be past. This project investigates the conditions under which we exhibit these biases and aims to determine whether there is some connection between the way people conceptualise  or experience, time, and the presence of these biases. In turn, the aim is to have something to say about the rationality of these biases.

Her work can be found here.

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Dean Rickles

Professor and Director

Dean is a professor in history and philosophy of science at the University of Sydney.

Dean received his PhD from the University of Leeds in 2004, under the supervision of Steven French, with a thesis on conceptual issues in quantum gravity. He took up a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Calgary in 2005 (split between health sciences and philosophy), on the application of complex systems theory to population health. He joined HPS at the University of Sydney in 2007, receiving an ARC Australian Research Fellowship in 2008. Held then an ARC Future Fellowship 2014-2018. He has written various books.

Dean's primary research focus is the foundations of quantum gravity research, including the connections between approaches to quantum gravity and the nature of time.

 

He is interested in the connections between a completed theory of quantum gravity, and an account of the nature of time. 

His work can be found here. 

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Alex Holcombe

Professor and Director

Alex is a psychologist as the University of Sydney working on the nature of temporal processing. He studies the relation between the dynamics of perception, attention, and cognition.

Experiments in Alex's lab reveal how streams of visual information are buffered and prioritized for recognition and processing into memory. Alex's team have developed techniques that recently have provided insights into how naps can boost learning and into how damage to the parietal lobe of the brain affects rapid letter processing.

One challenge during reading and other tasks is keeping separated, while processing in parallel, the representations of rapidly encountered stimuli. This is also an issue when we try to keep track of multiple moving objects in a busy scene. Behavioral experiments, illustrated by the animations here, compare speed limits for different features and the dynamics of how these features are bound into a coherent percept.

International collaborations include work with stroke patients whose parietal lobe damage perturbs their processing dynamics.

 

His work can be found here. 

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Nicholas Smith

Professor

Nick  has been at Sydney since 2005. From 2001-2004 he was a Lecturer in Philosophy at Victoria University of Wellington. Before that he was a graduate student at Princeton University, where he was awarded an MA in 1998 and a PhD in 2001. He did my undergraduate work at the University of Sydney, where he was awarded a BA (Hons) in 1995.

He works in logic,  philosophy of language, vagueness, probability and decision theory, metaphysics, philosophy of time, time travel, epistemology, history of analytic philosophy, and Frege.

His work can be found here

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David Braddon-Mitchell

Professor

David works predominantly in the philosophy of mind and metaphysics. He is the author of articles in leading philosophy journals including The Journal of Philosophy, Nous, Mind, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy and Phenomenological Review, Synthese, Erkenntnis, Analysis, The Monist, Ratio, The Journal of Political Philosophy, and the Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

 

 

He is the author, with Frank Jackson, of The Philosophy of Mind and Cognition.

In the philosophy of time he is perhaps best known for defending the view that we cannot know thats now, now, if our world is a growing block. 

You can find his work here. 

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Professor Mark Colyvan

Professor of Philosophy

Mark works in the philosophy of maths, philosophy of ecology, and philosophy of decision. He has published widely in these areas. He has extensive work on mathematical explanation, and in particular, on whether mathematics is explanatory, and if its, whether that means we should accept that mathematical objects exist. His work on explanation, and on decision intersects with broader research at the Centre at the intersection of time, explanation, and decision. 

Mark's  research can be found here.

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Andrew J. Latham

Post doctoral Fellow

Andrew recently completed his PhD in the Department of Philosophy, and Brain and Mind Centre, at the University of Sydney, working with Professor David Braddon-Mitchell (Philosophy) and Professor Bernard Balleine (Brain and Mind Centre). Andrew works at the intersection of philosophy psychology and neuroscience. 

 

His PhD dissertation developed a new account of free will: indirect compatibilism. Indirect compatibilism is a new, compatibilist account of free will that is the combination of two theses. The first is that the best understanding of the conceptual relationship between determinism and free will is that it is a conditional concept – roughly, indeterminism or libertarian powers are necessary if they are actual, but not if they are not. The second is indirection – roughly, actions are free either when they are caused by standard conscious psychological processes, or else by sub-personal level processes influenced in various ways by conscious psychological processes. 

 

Currently Andrew is working on areas related to philosophy of mind and metaphysics (especially free will and, experimental philosophy and time). In particular, he is involved with projects in the experimental philosphy of time, that aim to work out what sort of tacit concept of time we deploy, and how that concept interacts with the way we reason cross-temporally.  For more on some of the projects he is involved with, go to our research. 

To see Andrew's papers visit his PhilPapers profile. 

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Heather Dyke

Associate Professor,

University of Otago

Heather specialises in metaphysics, in particular, the philosophy of time. She defends the B-theory of time according to which there is no distinction between past, present and future, and no flow of time, independently of any perceiver. She gained her BA (Hons) and PhD from the University of Leeds, where she worked with Robin Le Poidevin. She is the author of Metaphysics and the Representational Fallacy (Routledge, 2008) and co-editor with Adrian Bardon of A Companion to the Philosophy of Time(Wiley-Blackwell, 2013). She has published numerous journal articles. She has taught at the University of Otago and the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

To see Heather's papers visit her homepage here.

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Giuliano Torrengo

Associate Professor,

University of Milan

Giuliano is founder and coordinator of the Centre for the Philosophy of Time in Milan.

 

He has written widely on the philosophy of time.

 

His current focus is the connection between temporal experience and the fundamental features of temporal reality. On the one hand, he is developing an account of temporal experience that aims at being empirically plausible and compatible with the B-theory.  On the other hand, he is exploring alternative metaphysics to the standard A- and B-theory.

His work can be found here

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James Norton

Postdoctoral Fellow

University of Iceland

James completed his PhD in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sydney, working with Associate Professor Kristie Miller. His thesis investigates the nature of metaphysical explanation, and critiqued existing grounding-based accounts of that phenomena. Since then he has been working on a range of projects, including working on a new subjectivist account of metaphysical explanation which more tightly ties metaphysical explanation to recent work in psychology. 

He is currently a postdoctoral fellow on the "Understanding Progress, in Science and Beyond’ project in Iceland. 

In addition he is currently working with Andrew Latham and Kristie Miller on a series of experimental philosophy projects that aim to probe both the folk concept of time, and the ways in which the folk experience time. In particular, this latter research targets the question of whether it seems to people as though time passes.

This research on the folk concept of, and phenomenology of, time is also connected with new research into people's preferences about where events are located in time. In that research James and other members of the team ask whether people's concept of, and phenomenology of, time, is connected with their cross-temporal preferences. 

James' research can be viewed here.

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Natalja Deng

Associate Professor

Yonsei University

Natalja completed her PhD at Oxford, on the nature of time and experience.  She originally studies physics as Murray Edwards College Cambridge. Since then she has worked on the nature and experience of time, and on the connection between religion and science, at Cambridge, Notre Dame, and Geneva. She has a book, God and Time, with OUP which came out in 2019. 

Natalja has written extensively on whether it seems to us that time passes, and, if it does, how we can accommodate its seeming that way within a 'static' B-theoretic framework. She has developed an account of temporal passage within that framework.

To see more of her work visit her homepage.

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Naoyuki Kajimoto

Postdoctoral Fellow

Nao completed his PhD in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sydney, working with Associate Professor Kristie Miller.

Nao works mainly in metaphysics and the philosophy of time.

His current research focuses on two topics. Firstly, he addresses the question of whether time has, or indeed must have, an objective direction. In the philosophy of time there are two major positions: the A-theory and the B-theory. Although they disagree about various issues, both assume that time must have an objective direction. Nao challenges this assumption by examining various arguments for objective temporal direction, and arguing that no such arguments succeed.

 

Second, Nao explores the C-theory, according to which there is no objective fact of the matter as to which direction is the past and which is the future. Although he believes that the C-theory is promising, this view seems to face some serious difficulties. For example, how can we understand claims that appear to presuppose objective temporal directionality, like ‘E is earlier than E*? How can we understand various significant concepts such as causation, agency, and change without objective temporal direction? In order to defend C-theory, he tackles these difficulties.

Nao's  research can be found here and here.

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Sam Baron

Associate Professor, ACU

Sam completed his PhD in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Sydney, working with Professor David Braddon-Mitchell

Since then, he has published widely on topics in metaphysics and philosophy of science, in a range of philosophy journals including Journal of Philosophy, Mind, Philosophical Studies, Philosophers’ Imprint, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophical Quarterly, British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, Synthese, American Philosophical Quarterly, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, and Erkenntnis. He holds two large grants from the Australian Research Council: A Discovery Early Career Researcher Award on timelessness in physics and metaphysics and a Discovery Project on time in the scientific and manifest images (held jointly with Kristie Miller and David Braddon-Mitchell from the Centre for Time at the University of Sydney). In media work, he has spoken for TEDx Fremantle, Radio National and RTR FM.

Visit his website here

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Helen Beebee

Professor, Manchester

Helen works in the metaphysics of causation and free will. She has published widely in these, and other, areas.

 

From September 2016 to August 2019, she is the Principal investigator on the AHRC-funded project, 'The age of metaphysical revolution: David Lewis and his place in the history of analytic philosophy'. She is  one of the co-editors of Philosophy and Phenomenological Research and an associate editor of the Journal of the American Philosophical Association. She is currently President of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science and President Elect of the Aristotelian Society, and co-chair (with Jenny Saul) of the BPA/Society for Women in Philosophy (UK) Committee for Women in Philosophy. I was Director of the British Philosophical Assocation from 2007 to 2011 and a member of the AHRC's Advisory Board from 2009 to 2013.  

 

Her work can be found here. 

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Jonathan Tallant

Professor, Nottingham

Jonathan works, among other things, on the metaphysics of time. He tries to motivate and defend a version of presentism--that he calls 'Existence Presentism'. This involves discussions of temporal passage, successful reference to the past, change, and how we should understand the connection between philosophy and science. His work also encompasses truths and truth making. He argues that not all truths require ground. He is working on spelling out which truths need ground, and which not. His book 'Truth and the World' spells out quite a bit of my thinking on this topic.

 

He is also working on the questions pertaining to whether or not time is real. We normally assume that time is real. Philosophical positions that deny the reality of time get a pretty short shrift. But what does it mean to deny the reality of time? People aren't always so clear. And what exactly is so bad about a model that denies the reality of time? Might such a view even be made to work? Well, maybe. He is currently working on a project exploring these issues.

You can see his work here

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Adrian Bardon

Professor, Wake Forest

Adrian Bardon holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He works in the philosophy of space and time. His  book "A Brief History of the Philosophy of Time" is a great introduction to many of the themes in the philosophy of time. 

 

Adrian also researches in philosophy and social psychology, 17th-18th century European philosophy, Kant, critical reasoning, the philosophy of religion, and political philosophy. His current research focuses on the philosophy, social psychology, and politics of ideological science denial.

You can find his work here