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Profile: Bradford Skow (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  1. Brad Skow, Acknowledgements.
    This dissertation concerns the nature of spacetime. It is divided into two parts. The first part, which comprises chapters 1, 2, and 3, addresses ontological questions: does spacetime exist? And if so, are there any other spatiotemporal things? In chapter 1 I argue that spacetime does exist, and in chapter 2 I respond to modal arguments against this view. In chapter 3 I examine and defend supersubstantivalism—the claim that all concrete physical objects (tables, chairs, electrons and quarks) are regions of (...)
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  2. Bradford Skow, Notes on the Grandfather Paradox.
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  3. Bradford Skow, Once Upon a Spacetime.
  4. Bradford Skow (forthcoming). Review: Shelly Kagan, The Geometry of Desert. [REVIEW] Philosophical Explorations.
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  5. Bradford Skow (2014). Kagan , Shelly . The Geometry of Desert . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. Pp. Xviii+656. $74.00 (Cloth). Ethics 124 (2):417-426.
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  6. Bradford Skow (2013). Are There Non-Causal Explanations (of Particular Events)? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science (3):axs047.
    Philosophers have proposed many alleged examples of non-causal explanations of particular events. I discuss several well-known examples and argue that they fail to be non-causal. 1 Questions2 Preliminaries3 Explanations That Cite Causally Inert Entities4 Explanations That Merely Cite Laws I5 Stellar Collapse6 Explanations That Merely Cite Laws II7 A Final Example8 Conclusion.
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  7. Bradford Skow (2013). The Role of Chance in Explanation. Australasian Journal of Philosophy (1):1-21.
    ?Those ice cubes melted because by melting total entropy increased and entropy increase has a very high objective chance.? What role does the chance in this explanation play? I argue that it contributes to the explanation by entailing that the melting was almost necessary, and defend the claim that the fact that some event was almost necessary can, in the right circumstances, constitute a causal explanation of that event.
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  8. Bradford Skow (2012). A Solution to the Problem of Indeterminate Desert. Mind 121 (481):37-65.
    A desert-sensitive moral theory says that whether people get what they deserve, whether they are treated as they deserve to be treated, plays a role in determining what we ought to do. Some popular forms of consequentialism are desert-sensitive. But where do facts about what people deserve come from? If someone deserves a raise, or a kiss, in virtue of what does he deserve those things? One plausible answer is that what someone deserves depends, at least in part, on how (...)
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  9. Bradford Skow (2012). How to Adjust Utility for Desert. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2):235-257.
    It is better when people get what they deserve. So we need an axiology according to which the intrinsic value of a possible world is a function of both how well-off and how deserving the people in that world are. But how should these ?desert-adjusted? values of possible worlds be calculated? It is easy to come up with some qualitative ideas. But these qualitative ideas leave us with an embarrassment of riches: too many quantitative functions that implement those qualitative ideas. (...)
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  10. Bradford Skow (2012). ''One Second Per Second''. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2):377-389.
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  11. Bradford Skow (2012). Why Does Time Pass? Noûs 46 (2):223-242.
    According to the moving spotlight theory of time, the property of being present moves from earlier times to later times, like a spotlight shone on spacetime by God. In more detail, the theory has three components. First, it is a version of eternalism: all times, past present and future, exist. (Here I use “exist” in its tenseless sense.) Second, it is a version of the A-theory of time: there are nonrelative facts about which times are past, which time is present, (...)
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  12. Marc Lange, Raphael van Riel, Maximilian Schlosshauer, Gregory Wheeler, Zalán Gyenis, Miklós Rédei, John Byron Manchak, James Owen Weatherall, Bruce Glymour & Bradford Skow (2011). 10. Discussion: Problems for Natural Selection as a Mechanism Discussion: Problems for Natural Selection as a Mechanism (Pp. 512-523). [REVIEW] Philosophy of Science 78 (3).
     
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  13. Brad Skow (2011). On the Meaning of the Question “How Fast Does Time Pass?”. Philosophical Studies 155 (3):325-344.
    In this paper I distinguish interpretations of the question ``How fast does time pass?’’ that are important for the debate over the reality of objective becoming from interpretations that are not. Then I discuss how one theory that incorporates objective becoming—the moving spotlight theory of time—answers this question. It turns out that there are several ways to formulate the moving spotlight theory of time. One formulation says that time passes but it makes no sense to ask how fast; another formulation (...)
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  14. Bradford Skow (2011). Does Temperature Have a Metric Structure? Philosophy of Science 78 (3):472-489.
    Is there anything more to temperature than the ordering of things from colder to hotter? Are there also facts, for example, about how much hotter (twice as hot, three times as hot...) one thing is than another? There certainly are---but the only strong justification for this claim comes from statistical mechanics. What we knew about temperature before the advent of statistical mechanics (what we knew about it from thermodynamics) provided only weak reasons to believe it.
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  15. Bradford Skow (2011). Experience and the Passage of Time. Philosophical Perspectives 25 (1):359-387.
    Some philosophers believe that the passage of time is a real phenomenon. And some of them find a reason to believe this when they attend to features of their conscious experience. In fact this “argument from experience” is supposed to be one of the main arguments for passage. What exactly does this argument look like? Is it any good?
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  16. Bradford Skow (2011). More on Haecceitism and Possible Worlds. Analytic Philosophy 52 (4):267-269.
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  17. Bradford Skow (2011). On the Meaning of the Question "How Fast Does Time Pass?". Philosophical Studies 155 (3):325 - 344.
    In this paper I distinguish interpretations of the question "How fast does time pass?" that are important for the debate over the reality of objective becoming from interpretations that are not. Then I discuss how one theory that incorporates objective becoming—the moving spotlight theory of time—answers this question. It turns out that there are several ways to formulate the moving spotlight theory of time. One formulation says that time passes but it makes no sense to ask how fast; another formulation (...)
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  18. Bradford Skow (2010). Deep Metaphysical Indeterminacy. Philosophical Quarterly 60 (241):851 - 858.
    A recent theory of metaphysical indeterminacy says that metaphysical indeterminacy is multiple actuality: there is metaphysical indeterminacy when there are many 'complete precisifications of reality'. But it is possible for there to be metaphysical indeterminacy even when it is impossible to precisify reality completely. The orthodox interpretation of quantum mechanics illustrates this possibility. So this theory of metaphysical indeterminacy is not adequate.
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  19. Bradford Skow (2010). Extrinsic Temporal Metrics. In Dean Zimmerman (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, volume 5. Oup Oxford.
    When distinguishing absolute, true, and mathematical time from relative, apparent, and common time, Newton wrote: “absolute, true, and mathematical time, in and of itself and of its own nature, without reference to anything external, flows uniformly” [Newton 2004b: 64]. Newton thought that the temporal metric is intrinsic. Many philosophers have argued—for empiricist reasons or otherwise—that Newton was wrong about the nature of time. They think that the flow of time does involve “reference to something external.” They think that the temporal (...)
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  20. Bradford Skow (2010). On a Symmetry Argument for the Guidance Equation in Bohmian Mechanics. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 24 (4):393-410.
    Bohmian mechanics faces an underdetermination problem: when it comes to solving the measurement problem, alternatives to the Bohmian guidance equation work just as well as the official guidance equation. One way to argue that the guidance equation is superior to its rivals is to use a symmetry argument: of the candidate guidance equations, the official guidance equation is the simplest Galilean-invariant candidate. This symmetry argument---if it worked---would solve the underdetermination problem. But the argument does not work. It fails because it (...)
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  21. Bradford Skow (2010). The Dynamics of Non-Being. Philosophers' Imprint 10 (01).
    Maybe there is something rather than nothing because the nothingness force acted on itself, and when the nothing nothings itself it produces something. Robert Nozick suggested this as a candidate explanation of the fact that there is something rather than nothing. If he is right that it is a candidate explanation, we should pay attention: there are not many candidates out there. But his "explanation" looks, instead, like a paradigm case of philosophical nonsense. In this paper I describe a "metaphysical (...)
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  22. Bradford Skow (2009). Preferentism and the Paradox of Desire. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 2009.
    The paradox of desire is an objection to desire-satisfaction, or preferentist, theories of welfare. In a nutshell, the objection goes like this. I can certainly desire that I be badly off. But if a desire-satisfaction theory of welfare is true, then—under certain assumptions—the hypothesis that I desire that I be badly off entails a contradiction. So much the worse for desire-satisfaction theories of welfare.
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  23. Bradford Skow (2009). Relativity and the Moving Spotlight. Journal of Philosophy 106 (12):666-678.
    A standard objection to the moving spotlight theory of time is that it is incompatible with special relativity. I show how to formulate the moving spotlight theory so that it is perfectly compatible with special relativity. There is no need to re-interpret the physics or add to it a notion of absolute simultaneity.
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  24. Brad Skow (2008). Haecceitism, Anti-Haecceitism, and Possible Worlds: A Case Study. Philosophical Quarterly 58:97-107.
    Possible-worlds talk obscures, rather than clarifies, the debate about haecceitism. In this paper I distinguish haecceitism and anti-haecceitism from other doctrines that sometimes go under those names. Then I defend the claim that there are no non-tendentious definitions of ‘haecceitism’ and ‘anti-haecceitism’ using possible-worlds talk. That is, any definition of ‘haecceitism’ using possible-worlds talk depends, for its correctness, on a substantive theory of the nature of possible worlds. This explains why using possible-worlds talk when discussing haecceitism causes confusion: if the (...)
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  25. Bradford Skow (2008). Haecceitism, Anti-Haecceitism and Possible Worlds. Philosophical Quarterly 58 (230):98-107.
    Possible-worlds talk obscures the debate about haecceitism, rather than clarifying it. I distinguish haecceitism and anti-haeccatismfrom other doctrìnes which sometimes go under those names. Then defend the claim that any definition of 'haecceitism' using possible-worlds talk depends for its conectness on a substantive theory of the nature of possible worlds. This explains why using possible-worlds talk when discussing haecceitism causes confusion: the term will mean different things to parties who depend on different presuppositions about possible worlds.
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  26. Bradford Skow (2008). Local and Global Relativity Principles. Philosophers' Imprint 8 (10):1-14.
    Local versions of the (special) principle of relativity say that if the same type of experiment is conducted in two isolated, unaccelerated laboratories, then the outcomes of those experiments must be the same. Global versions of the principle say that if you take a physically possible world and boost the entire material content of that world, you get another physically possible world. Some authors say that the local and the global principles are logically independent, and that the local version is (...)
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  27. Bradford Skow (2007). Are Shapes Intrinsic? Philosophical Studies 133 (1):111 - 130.
    It is widely believed that shapes are intrinsic properties. But this claim is hard to defend. I survey all known theories of shape properties, and argue that each theory is either incompatible with the claim that shapes are intrinsic, or can be shown to be false.
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  28. Bradford Skow (2007). Earman and Roberts on Empiricism About Laws. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):158–162.
    Earman and Roberts (2005) argue that a standard definition of “empiricism about laws of nature” is inadequate, and propose an alternative definition they think is better. But their argument against the standard definition fails, and their alternative is defective.
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  29. Bradford Skow (2007). Sklar's Maneuver. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 58 (4):777 - 786.
    Sklar ([1974]) claimed that relationalism about ontology-the doctrine that space and time do not exist-is compatible with Newtonian mechanics. To defend this claim he sketched a relationalist interpretation of Newtonian mechanics. In his interpretation, absolute acceleration is a fundamental, intrinsic property of material bodies; that a body undergoes absolute acceleration does not entail that space and time exist. But Sklar left his proposal as just a sketch; his defense of relationalism succeeds only if the sketch can be filled in. I (...)
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  30. Bradford Skow (2007). What Makes Time Different From Space? Noûs 41 (2):227–252.
    No one denies that time and space are different; and it is easy to catalog differences between them. I can point my finger toward the west, but I can’t point my finger toward the future. If I choose, I can now move to the left, but I cannot now choose to move toward the past. And (as D. C. Williams points out) for many of us, our attitudes toward time differ from our attitudes toward space. We want to maximize our (...)
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  31. Bradford Skow (2006). Review of Harvey R. Brown, Physical Relativity: Space-Time Structure From a Dynamical Perspective. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2006 (5).
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