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Publications

Accepted. Flow, Unreflective Immersive Action, and the Fringe of Consciousness. In Larsen, T. M. and Sageng J. R., Varieties of Immersive Experience (TBC).

Summary: This paper is about the type of agency that people exercise when they are immersed in some activity. I understand immersion roughly along the lines of Csikszentmihalyi’s (1990) notion of flow, so that when someone is immersed in an activity, they are highly focused on the activity in which they are engaged, their explicit awareness of their own self is lessened in some manner, there is a reduction (if not absence) of discursive, reflective thought, and their sense of time is changed. This paper is an attempt to articulate the kind of control, and thus the type or quality of agency, that a person can exercise when so immersed. In particular, it considers the question of whether such immersive performances can be considered Anscombean, which is to say, whether the agent would, if they were stopped mid flow, be able to answer questions about what they were doing.

2024. Science, Determinism, and Free Will. In Harris, M. God and the Book of Nature: Experiments in Theology of Science (Abingdon: Routledge).

Summary: Many scientists argue that various empirical findings, especially from the brain sciences, show that we have no free will. Their arguments assume incompatibilist notions of free will that were developed in the 18th century. In light of these claims, some theists aim to insulate theology from these findings by suggesting that theists should adopt a compatibilist understanding of free will. In this article I show that (a) contemporary, incompatibilist accounts of free will are not inconsistent with the empirical findings, and (b) the fact that theistic compatibilism bypasses the science-vs-free will debate is of little aid to the theist, given that theistic compatibilism (i) makes the problem of evil intractable and (ii) requires a highly counter-intuitive understanding of freedom (i.e., a notion of freedom that disconnects it from agential control).

2023. Mindfulness and Agential Control. Journal of Humanistic Psychology. doi: 10.1177/00221678231191564

Abstract: Mindfulness meditation seems to generate the following puzzle: On one hand, mindfulness reveals to the meditator that many of their thoughts are outside of their control and leads to a diminished sense of self; on the other, regular mindfulness practice is supposed to lead to greater self-awareness and self-control. In this article, the author develops an agent-causal account of agential control that explains both claims. It is suggested that the work of phenomenologist Hans Reiner shows us why the feeling of agency extends further than that which is directly controlled; this provides a way of addressing the puzzle above, while also explaining why many beginner meditators are surprised that much conscious thought is uncontrolled. The author then extends the account by appealing to William James’s notion of the fringe of consciousness, a notion that has been extensively developed by thinkers in the phenomenological tradition, in particular, Aron Gurwitsch. Inspired by Bruce Mangan’s use of the fringe in service of “explanatory phenomenology,” the author argues that Gurwitsch’s model of awareness suggests that the fringe makes possible a distinctive type of choice. This facilitates an account of agency that can explain the types of control possessed during different stages of mindfulness practice.

2023. The Conditional Analysis of the Agentive Modals: A Reply to Mandelkern et al.. Philosophia. doi: 10.1007/s11406-023-00664-7 open access OA

2023. Free Will and Cognitive Biases. In Vainio, O-P. & Visala, A. Theological Perspectives on Free Will, 136-151. (Abingdon: Routledge). doi: 10.4324/9781003306191-10

2022. On General and Non-General Abilities. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly. OnlineFirst. (journal) open access OA

2022. Does the automaticity in human behaviour undermine human moral responsibility? Theological Puzzles 8. (journal; video abstract) open access OA

2022. How (not) to think about the sense of 'able' relevant to free will. Inquiry 65(10): 1289-1307. (journal; postprint).

Cover of The Divine Nature

2022. Against Synchronic Free Will. In Kittle, S. and Gasser, G. The Divine Nature: Personal and A-Personal Perspectives, 176-194. (New York: Routledge). (preprint)

2022. An Introduction to Thinking about Personal and A-Personal Aspects of the Divine. In Kittle, S. and Gasser, G. The Divine Nature: Personal and A-Personal Perspectives, 1-20. (with Georg Gasser) (New York: Routledge). (preprint)

2022. The Incompatibility of Universal, Determinate Divine Causation with Human Free Will. In Vicens, L. and Furlong, P. Theological Determinism: New Perspectives, 100-118. (Cambridge University Press).

2022. Grace and Free Will: On Quiescence and Avoiding Semi-Pelagianism. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14(4): 70-95. (journal).

2022. God is (probably) a cause among causes. Theology and Science 22(2): 247-262. (journal; shortDOI: 10/hr3g) open access OA

2022. Evaluating the Value of Free Will: Comments on Ekstrom's God, Suffering and the Value of Free Will. Faith and Philosophy 39(3): 446-453. (journal w/pdf) open access OA

2020. Heavenly freedom, derivative freedom, and the value of free choices. Religious Studies 56(4): 455-472. (journal; postprint)

Cover of God and Human Freedom >

2019. God and Human Freedom. Cambridge University Press. (with Leigh Vicens) (CUP page)

Peter Furlong has reviewed the book in Faith and Philosophy 37(3): 390-394. (journal) open access OA

2019. Does everyone think the ability to do otherwise is necessary for free will & moral responsibility? Philosophia 47(4): 1177–1183. (journal; postprint)

2019. When is an alternative possibility robust? European Journal of Philosophy 27(1): 199-210. (journal) open access OA

2018. Some problems of heavenly freedom. TheoLogica 2 (2): 97-115. (journal w/pdf) open access OA

2017. Robustness and up-to-us-ness. Disputatio 9 (44): 35-57. (journal w/pdf) open access OA

2016. Possibilities for divine freedom. Roczniki Filozoficzne 64 (4): 93-122. (journal w/pdf) open access OA

2015. Abilities to do otherwise. Philosophical Studies 172 (11): 3017-3035. (journal; postprint).

2015. Powers opposed and intrinsic finks. The Philosophical Quarterly 65 (260): 372-380. (journal; postprint).

2015. Grace and free will: quiescence and control. Journal of Analytic Theology 3: 89-108. (journal w/pdf) open access OA

2014. Vihvelin and Fischer on ‘pre-decisional’ intervention. Philosophia 42 (4): 987-997. (journal; postprint).

Book reviews

2020. Review of W. Matthews Grant’s Free Will and God's Universal Causality. Faith and Philosophy 37(3): 374-379. (journal w/pdf) open access OA

2016. Review of John Martin Fischer’s Deep Control. Faith and Philosophy 33 (2): 235-239. (journal w/pdf) open access OA

2013. Review of Huoranszki’s Freedom of the Will. Disputatio V (37): 368-374. (journal w/pdf) open access OA


I also have a list of non-academic articles and a list of works in progress.