Research Overview

My primary research focus to date has been on the philosophy of causation and its application. I have worked on counterfactual, contrastive, and interventionist theories of causation, and on issues of causal exclusion in science and in the philosophy of mind. I am also interested in how causation and causal explanation feature elsewhere in philosophy (especially in normative philosophy and epistemology) and beyond (in accident investigation, the assessment of safety systems, and the law). I am interested in how causation and explanation relate.

PhD Thesis:

"Counterfactuals and Counterparts: Defending a Neo-Humean Theory of Causation"

In this thesis I take a novel stance on the modality of events, and show that this can solve a range of problems with counterfactual analyses of causation. I also argue that the methodology of testing metaphysical theories of causation, against the yard-stick of ordinary causal assertions, confuses two related but distinct projects: the analysis of causation, and the analysis of causal explanation. My findings have ramifications for theories in the philosophy of mind, of science, in epistemology, in the law, in ethical and political theories, and theories of human agency.


(* for peer review)

"The Privileged Context"

2020 Cologne Workshop on Causal distinctions: specificity and beyond.

"The Non-occurrence of Events"

2016 Hamburg Workshop on David Lewis

"Causal Exclusion and the Limits of Proportionality"

*2016 Society for the Metaphysics of Science Conference, Geneva

"Making a Difference and Making a Contribution"

2016 Emergence, exclusion and causation workshop, University of Glasgow

*2016 Joint Meeting of the North and South Philosophy Societies (Prize: Best Essay by Untenured Faculty)

"Causal Talk and Causal Ontology"

2016 Workshop on Language and Ontology, Humbolt-Universität zu Berlin

"Causation's Two Masters: Science and Sense"

* 2016 Science versus Common Sense? Conference, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

“Freedom and The Normativity of Omissions”

2015 Political Obligation, Liberty and the Law: A Conference in Memory of Dudley Knowles

“Difference Making and Emergence”

2015 Grounding and Emergence Conference

“Exclusion and Proportion”

2015 Glasgow Senior Seminar

“Transitivity and Deviance: When causes go bad!”

2015 Glasgow Philosophy Society

2017 National Institute of Aerospace

Reply to Heil "Emergence and Panpsychism"

2015 Glasgow Philosophy-Psychology Joint Seminar

“Transitivity and Proportion in Causation”

2014 Glasgow-Edinburgh Joint Seminar

“Causal Contextualism and Event Modality”

2013 University of Glasgow Postgraduate Seminar

“Causation, Counterfactuals and Computer Science”

2013 Computing Sciences Seminar (Glasgow)

“Counterfactual Causation and the Pragmatics of Fragile Events”

2013 University of Glasgow Philosophy Society

2013 University of Glasgow Postgraduate Seminar

2012 Australian National University Philosophy Society

2012 Macquarie University Workshop on Causation

“Fragility and Contrast in Counterfactual Accounts of Causation”

2012 Australasian Association of Philosophy Conference (Wollongong)

2012 Macquarie University Postgraduate Seminar

“Worldbound Events”

2011 University of Glasgow Postgraduate Seminar

“Trumping Trumped”

*2011 Northern Institute of Philosophy Graduate Conference

2011 University of Glasgow Postgraduate Seminar

“Pre-emption and Fragility”

2010 University of Glasgow Postgraduate Seminar

“Teletransportation is Deadly Serious”

2009 University of Glasgow Postgraduate Seminar

“Persistent Tension: Tropes and Temporary Intrinsics”

2008 University of Glasgow Postgraduate Seminar

Published work:


Review of "Making a Difference", eds. Beebee, H., Hitchcock, C., and Price, H. (2017)

(Forthcoming in Philosophical Quarterly)


"The Non-Occurrence of Events"

(Philosophy and Phenomenological Research)

Draft Official

"Making a Difference and Making a Contribution"

(American Philosophical Quarterly)

Draft Official

“Transitivity and Proportion in Causation”


Draft Official


"Causal Exclusion and the Limits of Proportion"

(Philosophical Studies)

Draft Official


“Events and their Counterparts"

(Philosophical Studies)

Draft Official


"The Deviance in Deviant Causal Chains"

(Thought: A Journal of Philosophy)

Draft Official

In progress:

“Liberty and Absence Causation”

(with Ben Colburn and Dudley Knowles - under consideration)

We argue, with Knowles, that negative conceptions of liberty face a problem with the inherent normativity of absence causal claims. The result is a dilemma: deny that absences can constrain freedom, or accept that there is a normative element in our assessment of liberty.

“Causal Description and Causal Explanation”

(in preparation)

It is one thing to describe, another to explain. Whilst the total causal description of some event should contain every detail of that event's history, however irrelevant to our whims and interests, a causal explanation of the same event, if it is to be any good qua explanation, had better not. I will argue that problematic cases of absence causation, proportionality, and extensionality serve as keys to unlock the distinction between causal description and causation explanation. Building on these examples, I will offer two modifications of the classic Lewisian account of 'causation' from 1973 and show that these give us all the resources we need to give an account of causal description, and an account of how causal description relates to causal explanation.