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Profile: Alastair Wilson (University of Birmingham)
  1. Metaphysical Causation.Alastair Wilson - forthcoming - Noûs.
    There is a systematic and suggestive analogy between grounding and causation. In my view, this analogy is no coincidence. Grounding and causation are alike because grounding is a type of causation: metaphysical causation. In this paper I defend the identification of grounding with metaphysical causation, drawing on the causation literature to explore systematic connections between grounding and metaphysical dependence counterfactuals, and I outline a non-reductive counterfactual theory of grounding along interventionist lines.
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  2.  93
    Grounding Entails Counterpossible Non‐Triviality.Alastair Wilson - 2016 - 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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  3. Everettian Quantum Mechanics Without Branching Time.Alastair Wilson - 2012 - 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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  4. Schaffer on Laws of Nature.Alastair Wilson - 2013 - 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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  5. Everettian Confirmation and Sleeping Beauty.Alastair Wilson - 2013 - 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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  6. Macroscopic Ontology in Everettian Quantum Mechanics.Alastair Wilson - 2011 - 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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  7. Chance and Context.Toby Handfield & Alastair Wilson - 2014 - 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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  8.  12
    Skow on the Passage of Time.Alastair Wilson - 2018 - Analysis 78 (1):117-128.
    © The Author 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Analysis Trust. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.comIn his book Objective Becoming, Bradford Skow has offered a rich and systematic treatment of the passage of time. We learn much about what objective passage could and could not amount to from engaging with his careful work....Skow’s overall conclusion is that the ‘block universe’ deflationary theory of passage is stronger than any currently available version of the recently-popular (...)
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  9.  41
    The Quantum Doomsday Argument.Alastair Wilson - 2017 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 68 (2).
    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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  10. Disagreement, Equal Weight and Commutativity.Alastair Wilson - 2010 - 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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  11.  20
    Chance and Temporal Asymmetry.Alastair Wilson (ed.) - 2014 - 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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  12.  26
    Introduction: Chance and Temporal Asymmetry.Alastair Wilson - 2014 - In Chance and Temporal Asymmetry. Oxford University Press.
  13.  96
    Disposition-Manifestations and Reference-Frames.Alastair Wilson - 2009 - 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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  14. The Human Story Behind Everettian Quantum Mechanics.Alastair Wilson - 2012 - 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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  15.  59
    Demystifying the Multiverse.Alastair Wilson - 2013 - Metascience 22 (3):583-586.
  16.  82
    Modality: Metaphysics, Logic and Epistemology. [REVIEW]Alastair Wilson - 2011 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):755 - 756.
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    MICHAEL G. TITELBAUM Quitting Certainties: A Bayesian Framework Modeling Degrees of Belief.Alastair Wilson - 2014 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (4):887-891.
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    Mind, Meaning, and Reality: Essays in Philosophy, by Mellor, D. H.Alastair Wilson - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (3):626 - 627.
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    Key Informants’ Perspectives on Teacher Learning in Scotland.Aileen Kennedy, Donald Christie, Christine Fraser, Lesley Reid, Stephen McKinney, Mary Welsh, Alastair Wilson & Morwenna Griffiths - 2008 - British Journal of Educational Studies 56 (4):400-419.
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  20.  1
    Disposition‐Manifestations and Reference‐Frames.Alastair Wilson - 2009 - 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 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 defend (...)
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  21. The Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Physics.Eleanor Knox & Alastair Wilson (eds.) - forthcoming - New York, USA: Routledge.
     
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  22. Modal Metaphysics and the Everett Interpretation (BA Thesis).Alastair Wilson - 2005 - 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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