Research

I research philosophy of religion, metaphysics, and philosophy of time. More specifically, my research focuses on explanations of persistence, models of God, and arguments for and against God’s existence.

Below you can find my published articles and books with links to the full papers. All published papers are available for free download via the PhilPapers links. You can also find out what papers of mine are under review or in progress.

Journal Articles

(9) Naturalism, classical theism, and first causes. Forthcoming in Religious Studies.

  • Abstract: Enric F. Gel has recently argued that classical theism enjoys a significant advantage over Graham Oppy’s naturalism. According to Gel, classical theism – unlike Oppy’s naturalism – satisfactorily answers two questions: first, how many first causes are there, and second, why is it that number rather than another? In this article, I reply to Gel’s argument for classical theism’s advantage over Oppy’s naturalism. I also draw out wider implications of my investigation for the gap problem and Christian doctrine along the way.
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(8) Classical Theism, Arbitrary Creation, and Reason-Based Action. Forthcoming in Sophia.

  • Abstract: Surely God, as a perfectly rational being, created the universe for some reason. But is God’s creating the universe for a reason compatible with divine impassibility? That is the question I investigate in this article. The prima facie tension between impassibility and God’s creating for a reason arises from impassibility’s commitment to God being uninfluenced by anything ad extra. If God is uninfluenced in this way, asks the detractor, how could he be moved to create anything at all? This prima facie tension has recently been formalized and dubbed the ‘Problem of Arbitrary Creation’. In this article, I defend a novel extension of this problem. I begin by characterizing classical theism, divine simplicity, and divine impassibility. I then spell out the Problem of Arbitrary Creation as developed by R. T. Mullins. I next raise a worry for Mullins’ version of the argument. Finally, I extend the argument and show how my extension avoids the aforementioned worry.
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(7) From Modal Collapse to Providential Collapse. Forthcoming in Philosophia.

  • Abstract: The modal collapse objection to classical theism has received significant attention among philosophers as of late. My aim in this paper is to advance this blossoming debate. First, I briefly survey the modal collapse literature and argue that classical theists avoid modal collapse if and only if they embrace an indeterministic link between God and his effects. Second, I argue that this indeterminism poses two challenges to classical theism. The first challenge is that it collapses God’s status as an intentional agent who knows and intends what he is bringing about in advance. The second challenge is that it collapses God’s providential control over which creation obtains.
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(6) A Step-by-Step Argument for Causal Finitism. Forthcoming in Erkenntnis.

  • Abstract: I defend a new argument for causal finitism, the view that nothing can have an infinite causal history. I begin by defending a number of plausible metaphysical principles, after which I explore a host of novel variants of the Littlewood-Ross and Thomson’s Lamp paradoxes that violate such principles. I argue that causal finitism is the best solution to the paradoxes.
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(5) Simply Unsuccessful: The Neo-Platonic Proof of God’s Existence. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 13(4): 129-156. (2021)

  • Abstract: Edward Feser defends the ‘Neo-Platonic proof’ for the existence of the God of classical theism. After articulating the argument and a number of preliminaries, I first argue that premise three of Feser’s argument—the causal principle that every composite object requires a sustaining efficient cause to combine its parts—is both unjustified and dialectically ill-situated. I then argue that the Neo-Platonic proof fails to deliver the mindedness of the absolutely simple being and instead militates against its mindedness. Finally, I uncover two tensions between Trinitarianism and the Neo-Platonic proof.
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(4) The fruitful death of modal collapse arguments. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 91: 3-22. (2022)

  • Abstract: Modal collapse arguments are all the rage in certain philosophical circles as of late. The arguments purport to show that classical theism entails the absurdly fatalistic conclusion that everything exists necessarily. My first aim in this paper is bold: to put an end to action-based modal collapse arguments against classical theism. To accomplish this, I first articulate the ‘Simple Modal Collapse Argument’ and then characterize and defend Tomaszewski’s criticism thereof. Second, I critically examine Mullins’ new modal collapse argument formulated in response to the aforementioned criticism. I argue that Mullins’ new argument does not succeed. Third, I critically examine a powers-based modal collapse argument against classical theism that has received much less attention in the literature. Fourth, I show why God’s being purely actual, as well God’s being identical to each of God’s acts, simply cannot entail modal collapse given indeterministic causation. This, I take it, signals the death of modal collapse arguments. But not all hope is lost for proponents of modal collapse arguments—for the death is a fruitful one insofar as it paves the way for new inquiry into at least two new potential problems for classical theism. Showing this is my paper’s second aim.
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(3) Stage One of the Aristotelian Proof: A Critical Appraisal. Sophia, 60(4): 781-796. (2021)

  • Abstract: What explains change? Edward Feser argues in his ‘Aristotelian proof’ that the only adequate answer to these questions is ultimately in terms of an unchangeable, purely actual being. In this paper, I target the cogency of Feser’s reasoning to such an answer. In particular, I present novel paths of criticism — both undercutting and rebutting — against one of Feser’s central premises. I then argue that Feser’s inference that the unactualized actualizer lacks any potentialities contains a number of non-sequiturs.
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(2) The aloneness argument against classical theism (with R. T. Mullins). Religious Studies, 58(2): 401-419. (2022)

  • Abstract: We argue that there is a conflict among classical theism’s commitments to divine simplicity, divine creative freedom, and omniscience. We start by defining key terms for the debate related to classical theism. Then we articulate a new argument, the Aloneness Argument, aiming to establish a conflict among these attributes. In broad outline, the argument proceeds as follows. Under classical theism, it’s possible that God exists without anything apart from Him. Any knowledge God has in such a world would be wholly intrinsic. But there are contingent truths in every world, including the world in which God exists alone. So, it’s possible that God (given His omniscience) contingently has wholly intrinsic knowledge. But whatever is contingent and wholly intrinsic is an accident. So, God possibly has an accident. This is incompatible with classical theism. Finally, we consider and rebut several objections.
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(1) Existential inertia and the Aristotelian proof. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 89: 201-220. (2021)

  • Abstract: Edward Feser defends the ‘Aristotelian proof’ for the existence of God, which reasons that the only adequate explanation of the existence of change is in terms of an unchangeable, purely actual being. His argument, however, relies on the falsity of the Existential Inertia Thesis (EIT), according to which concrete objects tend to persist in existence without requiring an existential sustaining cause. In this article, I first characterize the dialectical context of Feser’s Aristotelian proof, paying special attention to EIT and its rival thesis—the Existential Expiration Thesis. Next, I provide a more precise characterization of EIT, after which I outline two metaphysical accounts of existential inertia. I then develop new lines of reasoning in favor of EIT that appeal to the theoretical virtues of explanatory power and simplicity. Finally, I address the predominant criticisms of EIT in the literature.
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Books

(2) Existential Inertia and Classical Theistic Proofs (with Daniel J. Linford). Springer, forthcoming.

Description

[To be added]

 

Extended Table of Contents

Click here for the extended table of contents

 

(1) The Majesty of Reason: A Short Guide to Critical Thinking in Philosophy. (2020). Kindle Direct Publishing, 220 pages.

Description

How do we think critically about issues in philosophy, science, and religion? How do we discover treasures of truth that can serve others? And how do we relay our insights in a productive, fruitful way? It is precisely these questions that The Majesty of Reason: A Short Guide to Critical Thinking in Philosophy addresses. The first step on our journey equips you with the intellectual virtues and conversational tactics necessary for critical thinking. The second step equips you with a variety of methods and tools in critical thinking and philosophical reasoning. Through tangible suggestions, lively and engaging examples, and a bit of technical jargon, you’ll come away a better thinker and – ideally – a better human being. Critical thinking, like mastering a musical instrument, requires practice. That’s why the next three steps on our journey will apply a number of the methods and tools previously explored to central issues in philosophy of science and philosophy of mind: scientism, laws of nature, and the nature of the mind. With a depth of insight, a breadth of coverage, and a touch of humor, this book will engage both beginner and advance readers in the field of philosophy. Your mind will undoubtedly be sharpened. This book is just the beginning of your journey of discovery. The treasure of truth awaits.

 

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Under Review or In Progress

A paper on the modal ontological argument

A paper on the De Ente proof (with Graham Oppy)

A paper on modal metaphysics and cosmological arguments (with Alex Malpass)

A paper on classical theism and truth supervenes on being

A paper on a modal argument for moral realism

Two (or three?) papers on Benardete paradoxes and causal finitism