Alastair Wilson University of Birmingham
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About me
I’m a Senior Birmingham Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Birmingham, focusing on research in metaphysics and philosophy of physics. I also have research interests in epistemology and philosophy of science.
My works
21 items found.
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  1.  26
    Alastair Wilson (forthcoming). The Quantum Doomsday Argument. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axv035.
    If the most familiar overlapping interpretation of Everettian quantum mechanics is correct, then each of us is constantly splitting into multiple people. This consequence gives rise to the quantum doomsday argument, which threatens to draw crippling epistemic consequences from EQM. However, a diverging interpretation of EQM undermines the quantum doomsday argument completely. This appears to tell in favour of the diverging interpretation. But it is surprising that a metaphysical question that is apparently underdetermined by the physics should be settled by (...)
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  2.  12
    Alastair Wilson (2016). Grounding Entails Counterpossible Non‐Triviality. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2).
    This paper outlines a non-reductive counterfactual account of grounding along interventionist lines, and uses the account to argue that taking grounding seriously requires ascribing non-trivial truth-conditions to a range of counterpossible counterfactuals. This result allows for a diagnosis of a route to scepticism about grounding, as deriving at least in part from scepticism about non-trivial counterpossible truth and falsity.
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  3.  14
    Alastair Wilson (2016). Grounding Entails Counterpossible Non‐Triviality. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (3).
    This paper outlines a non-reductive counterfactual account of grounding along interventionist lines, and uses the account to argue that taking grounding seriously requires ascribing non-trivial truth-conditions to a range of counterpossible counterfactuals. This result allows for a diagnosis of a route to scepticism about grounding, as deriving at least in part from scepticism about non-trivial counterpossible truth and falsity.
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    Alastair Wilson (2016). Grounding Entails Counterpossible Non‐Triviality. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2).
    This paper outlines a non-reductive counterfactual account of grounding along interventionist lines, and uses the account to argue that taking grounding seriously requires ascribing non-trivial truth-conditions to a range of counterpossible counterfactuals. This result allows for a diagnosis of a route to scepticism about grounding, as deriving at least in part from scepticism about non-trivial counterpossible truth and falsity.
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  5. Toby Handfield & Alastair Wilson (2014). Chance and Context. In Alastair Wilson (ed.), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press
    The most familiar philosophical conception of objective chance renders determinism incompatible with non-trivial chances. This conception – associated in particular with the work of David Lewis – is not a good fit with our use of the word ‘chance’ and its cognates in ordinary discourse. In this paper we show how a generalized framework for chance can reconcile determinism with non-trivial chances, and provide for a more charitable interpretation of ordinary chance-talk. According to our proposal, variation in an admissible ‘evidence (...)
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  6.  4
    A. Wilson (2014). Everettian Confirmation and Sleeping Beauty. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (3):573-598.
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  7.  12
    Alastair Wilson (ed.) (2014). Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press.
    This volume presents twelve original essays on the metaphysics of science, with particular focus on the physics of chance and time. Experts in the field subject familiar approaches to searching critiques, and make bold new proposals in a number of key areas. Together, they set the agenda for future work on the subject.
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  8.  23
    Alastair Wilson (2014). Introduction: Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. In Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press
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  9.  38
    Alastair Wilson (2014). MICHAEL G. TITELBAUM Quitting Certainties: A Bayesian Framework Modeling Degrees of Belief. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):887-891.
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  10.  55
    Alastair Wilson (2013). Demystifying the Multiverse. Metascience 22 (3):583-586.
  11. Alastair Wilson (2013). Everettian Confirmation and Sleeping Beauty. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (3):axt018.
    Darren Bradley has recently appealed to observation selection effects to argue that conditionalization presents no special problem for Everettian quantum mechanics, and to defend the ‘halfer’ answer to the puzzle of Sleeping Beauty. I assess Bradley’s arguments and conclude that while he is right about confirmation in Everettian quantum mechanics, he is wrong about Sleeping Beauty. This result is doubly good news for Everettians: they can endorse Bayesian confirmation theory without qualification, but they are not thereby compelled to adopt the (...)
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  12.  19
    Alastair Wilson (2013). Mind, Meaning, and Reality: Essays in Philosophy, by Mellor, D. H. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):626 - 627.
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  13. Alastair Wilson (2013). Schaffer on Laws of Nature. Philosophical Studies 164 (3):653-667.
    In ‘Quiddistic Knowledge’ (Schaffer in Philos Stud 123:1–32, 2005), Jonathan Schaffer argued influentially against the view that the laws of nature are metaphysically necessary. In this reply I aim to show how a coherent and well-motivated form of necessitarianism can withstand his critique. Modal necessitarianism—the view that the actual laws are the laws of all possible worlds—can do justice to some intuitive motivations for necessitarianism, and it has the resources to respond to all of Schaffer’s objections. It also has certain (...)
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  14. A. Wilson (2012). Objective Probability in Everettian Quantum Mechanics. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 64 (4):709-737.
    David Wallace has given a decision-theoretic argument for the Born Rule in the context of Everettian quantum mechanics. This approach promises to resolve some long-standing problems with probability in EQM, but it has faced plenty of resistance. One kind of objection charges that the requisite notion of decision-theoretic uncertainty is unavailable in the Everettian picture, so that the argument cannot gain any traction; another kind of objection grants the proof’s applicability and targets the premises. In this article I propose some (...)
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  15. Alastair Wilson (2012). Everettian Quantum Mechanics Without Branching Time. Synthese 188 (1):67-84.
    In this paper I assess the prospects for combining contemporary Everettian quantum mechanics (EQM) with branching-time semantics in the tradition of Kripke, Prior, Thomason and Belnap. I begin by outlining the salient features of ‘decoherence-based’ EQM, and of the ‘consistent histories’ formalism that is particularly apt for conceptual discussions in EQM. This formalism permits of both ‘branching worlds’ and ‘parallel worlds’ interpretations; the metaphysics of EQM is in this sense underdetermined by the physics. A prominent argument due to Lewis (On (...)
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  16. Alastair Wilson (2012). The Human Story Behind Everettian Quantum Mechanics. Metascience 21 (1):143-146.
    The human story behind Everettian quantum mechanics Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9510-4 Authors Alastair Wilson, University College, Oxford, OX1 4BH UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
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  17.  77
    Alastair Wilson (2011). Modality: Metaphysics, Logic and Epistemology. [REVIEW] Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):755 - 756.
  18. Alastair Wilson (2011). Macroscopic Ontology in Everettian Quantum Mechanics. Philosophical Quarterly 61 (243):363-382.
    Simon Saunders and David Wallace have proposed an attractive semantics for interpreting linguistic communities embedded in an Everettian multiverse. It provides a charitable interpretation of our ordinary talk about the future, and allows us to retain a principle of bivalence for propositions and to retain the law of excluded middle in the logic of propositions about the future. But difficulties arise when it comes to providing an appropriate account of the metaphysics of macroscopic objects and events. I evaluate various metaphysical (...)
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  19. Alastair Wilson (2010). Disagreement, Equal Weight and Commutativity. Philosophical Studies 149 (3):321 - 326.
    How should we respond to cases of disagreement where two epistemic agents have the same evidence but come to different conclusions? Adam Elga has provided a Bayesian framework for addressing this question. In this paper, I shall highlight two unfortunate consequences of this framework, which Elga does not anticipate. Both problems derive from a failure of commutativity between application of the equal weight view and updating in the light of other evidence.
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  20.  72
    Alastair Wilson (2009). Disposition-Manifestations and Reference-Frames. Dialectica 63 (4):591-601.
    Dispositions can combine as vector sums. Recent authors on dispositions, such as George Molnar and Stephen Mumford, have responded to this feature of dispositions by introducing a distinction between effects and contributions to effects, and by identifying disposition-manifestations with the latter. But some have been sceptical of the reality or knowability of component vectors; Jennifer McKitrick (forthcoming) presses these concerns against the conception of manifestations as contributions to effects. In this paper, I aim to respond to McKitrick's arguments and to (...)
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  21. Alastair Wilson (2005). Modal Metaphysics and the Everett Interpretation (BA Thesis). Dissertation, Oxford
    Recent work on probability in the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics yields a decision-theoretic derivation of David Lewis’ Principal Principle, and hence a general metaphysical theory of probability; part 1 is a discussion of this remarkable result. I defend the claim that the ‘subjective uncertainty’ principle is required for the derivation to succeed, arguing that it amounts to a theoretical identification of chance. In part 2, I generalize this account, and suggest that the Everett interpretation, in combination with a plausible (...)
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