Publications

ps ps ps
DIA Phil Papers Cover
axio 1363352147 1363352147

 

2019 (forthcoming). ‘The No-Self View and the Meaning of Life’, Philosophy East and West 69(2).

psABSTRACT: Several philosophers, both in Buddhist and Western philosophy, have claimed that the self does not exist. This no-self view may, at first glance, appear as a reason to believe that life is meaningless. In the present article, I argue indirectly in favor of the no-self view by showing that it does not entail that life is meaningless. I then examine Buddhism and argue that the view may even be construed further as partially grounding an account of the meaning of life.

Draft.

2018. ‘Contre les défenses du présentisme par le sens commun’, Igitur 9(1): 1-23.

ABSTRACT: According to presentism, only the present exists. The view is in a bad dialectical situation since it has to face several objections based on physics and a priori arguments. The view remains nonetheless popular because it is, allegedly, more intuitive than alternative views, namely eternalism (past, present and future entities exist) and no-futurism (only past and present entities exist). In the essay, I shall not discuss whether intuitivity is an accurate criterion for ontological enquiry. I will rather argue that any philosophically acceptable version of presentism entails highly counterintuitive consequences. Indeed, the presentist has to commit herself to substantial claims in order to provide an answer to two problems : the grounding problem and the cross-temporal relations problem. Therefore, if the main motivation for presentism is the willingness to stick with common sense intuitions, presentists should consider endorsing another view about existence in time.

Publisher’s link (open access).

2018. ‘Priority Monism Beyond Spacetime’, Metaphysica 19(1): 95-111.

psABSTRACT: I will defend two claims. First, Schaffer’s priority monism is in tension with many research programs in quantum gravity. Second, priority monism can be modified into a view more amenable to this physics. The first claim is grounded in the fact that promising approaches to quantum gravity such as loop quantum gravity or string theory deny the fundamental reality of spacetime. Since fundamental spacetime plays an important role in Schaffer’s priority monism by being identified with the fundamental structure, namely the cosmos, the disappearance of spacetime in these views might undermine classical priority monism. My second claim is that priority monism can avoid this issue with two moves: first, in dropping one of its core assumption, namely that the fundamental structure is spatio-temporal, second, by identifying the connection between the non-spatio-temporal structure and the derivative spatio-temporal structure with mereological composition.

The penultimate draft is herePublisher’s link.

2016. ‘Super-Relationism: Combining Eliminativism about Objects and Relationism about Spacetime’, Philosophical Studies, 173(8): 2151-2172.

psABSTRACT:  I will introduce and motivate eliminativist super-relationism. This is the conjunction of relationism about spacetime and eliminativism about material objects. According to the view, the universe is a big collection of spatio-temporal relations and natural properties, and no substance (material or spatio-temporal) exists in it. The view is original since eliminativism about material objects, when understood as including not only ordinary objects like tables or chairs but also physical particles, is generally taken to imply substantivalism about spacetime: if properties are directly instantiated by spacetime without the mediation of material objects, then, surely, spacetime has to be a substance. After introducing briefly the two debates about spacetime (§1) and material objects (§2), I will present Schaffer’s super-substantivalism (§3), the conjunction of substantivalism about spacetime and eliminativism about material objects at the fundamental level. I shall then expose and discuss the assumption from which the implication from eliminativism to substantivalism is drawn, and discuss the compatibility of eliminativism with relationism: if spacetime is not a substance, and if material objects are not real, how are we to understand the instantiation of properties (4§)? And what are the relata of spatio-temporal relations (5§)? I then show that each argument in favor of super-substantivalism offered by Schaffer also holds for super-relationism (§6) and examine several metaphysical consequences of the view (§7). I conclude that both super-substantivalism and super-relationism are compatible with Schaffer’s priority monism (§8).

The penultimate draft is here. Publisher’s link.

2016. ‘Les propriétés du vide et de l’espace-temps’, Philosophiques 43(1): 49-66. ps
ABSTRACT:  Les propriétés matérielles sont généralement appréhendées comme les propriétés d’une substance matérielle : cette chemise possède la propriété d’être bleue, cette chaussure la propriété d’être en bon état. Pourtant, on peut trouver plusieurs raisons de douter que les propriétés soient nécessairement les propriétés d’une substance matérielle, à la fois en métaphysique avec la théorie du faisceau, et en physique contemporaine à travers les notions d’énergie du vide et de champ. Or, si les propriétés ne sont pas les propriétés de substances matérielles, on peut s’interroger sur la théorie de l’instanciation qu’implique une telle thèse. Dans cet essai, je m’emploierai à examiner la cohérence et la plausibilité de la thèse selon laquelle certaines, voir toutes les, propriétés matérielles, ne sont pas instanciées par une substance et la théorie de l’instanciation qui en découle.

L’article est disponible en libre accès ici.

2015. ‘No Physical Particles for a Dispositional Monist?’, Philosophical Papers 44 (2): 207-232.
Phil Papers CoverABSTRACT: Dispositional monists believe that all properties are essentially causal. Recently, an overdetermination argument has been proposed by Trenton Merricks to support nihilism about ordinary objects. I argue that this argument can be extended to target both nihilism about ordinary objects and nihilism about physical particles when dispositional monism is assumed. It implies that a philosopher who both endorses dispositional monism and takes seriously the overdetermination argument should not believe in the existence of physical particles. I end up by discussing possible objections. I suggest, then, that if we live in a world that is inhabited by causal properties but not by chairs and tables, then we also live in a world without electrons and quarks, a world of dispositional properties, that is, a world of causal fields.

The draft is here. Publisher’s link with 50 free Eprints.

2015. ‘The Unrealities of Time’, Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review 54 (1): 25-44.
DIA ABSTRACT:  is time flowing? A-theorists say yes, B-theorists say no. But both take time to be real. It means that B-theorists accept that time might be real, even if lacking a property usually ascribed to it. In this paper, I want to ask what are the different properties usually ascribed to time in order to draw the list of different possible kinds of realism and anti-realism about time. As we will see, there are three main kinds of anti-realism. It will appear that if time is defined as the universe’s fourth dimension, there is no way time could be unreal.

The draft is here ; Publisher’s link

2014. ‘No-futurism and Metaphysical Contingentism’, Axiomathes 24: 483-497.
axioABSTRACT: According to no-futurism, past and present entities are real, but future ones are not. This view faces a skeptical challenge (Bourne 2002, 2006, Braddon-Mitchell, 2004): if no-futurism is true, how do you know you are present? I shall propose a new skeptical argument based on the physical possibility of Gödelian worlds (1949). This argument shows that a no-futurist has to endorse a metaphysical contingentist reading of no-futurism, the view that no-futurism is contingently true. But then, the no-futurist has to face a new skeptical challenge: how do you know that you are in a no-futurist world?

Publisher’s link ; Free penultimate draft

2013. ‘Why a Gunk World is Compatible with Nihilism about Objects’, Studia Philosophica Estonica, 6 (1), 1-14.

1363352147

ABSTRACT: Ted Sider argues that nihilism about objects is incompatible with the metaphysical possibility of gunk and takes this point to show that nihilism is flawed. I shall describe one kind of nihilism able to answer this objection. I believe that most of the things we usually encounter do not exist. That is, I take talk of macroscopic objects and macroscopic properties to refer to sets of fundamental properties, which are invoked as a matter of linguistic convention. This view is a kind of nihilism: it rules out the existence of objects; that is, from an ontological point of view, there are no objects. But unlike the moderate nihilism of Mark Heller, Peter van Inwagen and Trenton Merricks that claims that most objects do not exist, I endorse a radical nihilism according to which there are no objects in the world, but only properties instantiated in spacetime. As I will show, radical nihilism is perfectly compatible with the metaphysical possibility of gunk. It is also compatible with the epistemic possibility that we actually live in a gunk world. The objection raised by Ted Sider only applies to moderate nihilism that admits some objects in its ontology.

Paper (open acces)

Encyclopedia Entries

2016. Le temps, entrée académique, L’Encyclopédie Philosophique, http://encyclo-philo.fr/temps-a/ .

RESUME: Le temps est une notion associée aux changements, qu’ils soient futiles ou existentiels. Il permet ainsi l’organisation moderne de nos sociétés à travers les agendas, la planification du travail ou les rendez-vous galants. Il rythme les saisons et nous expérimentons chaque année les couleurs chatoyantes de l’automne et les nuages sombres de l’hiver. Notre corps évolue constamment et vieillit sans cesse entre notre naissance passée et notre mort future. Toutes ces descriptions font intervenir le concept de temps, ou une notion plus spécifique généralement associée au temps comme le changement, le passé, le présent, le futur, la simultanéité ou la synchronisation. Mais quelle est la nature du temps ? Que peut-on comprendre de cette notion si fondamentale et si présente dans notre vie quotidienne, et pourtant si difficilement définissable ? Cet article vise à introduire les différentes conceptions contemporaines du temps objectif, indépendamment des perceptions que nous en avons. Le temps existe-t-il (section 1.) ? Le temps s’écoule-t-il (section 2.) ? Le passé et le futur existent-ils (section 3.) ? Le présent possède-t-il une étendue (section 4.) ? Le futur est-il déjà écrit maintenant (section 5.) ? Le temps est-il une substance qui contient les objets matériels, ou une collection de relations entre les objets matériels (section 6.) ? Quelle est la source de la direction apparente du temps (section 7.) ? Peut-on voyager dans le temps (section 8.) ? Ces questions seront présentées sous un angle contemporain.

2016. Le temps, entrée grand public, L’Encyclopédie Philosophique, http://encyclo-philo.fr/temps/ .

RESUME: Lorsqu’on affirme, en assistant à un cours ennuyeux, que le temps semble s’être arrêté ou, lors d’une soirée endiablée avec des amis, que l’on n’a pas vu le temps passer, qu’affirme-t-on exactement ? On pose par là une connexion entre nos activités et notre perception du temps. Mais ce temps perçu désigne en fait notre expérience du temps, une expérience qu’il faut distinguer de l’objet même de cette expérience, le temps affiché sur nos montres, nos smartphones et nos ordinateurs. Cependant, par-delà ces différences de perception, il semble que le temps soit quelque chose d’objectif. En effet, le temps semble s’écouler uniformément à la surface de la Terre, rendant par exemple possible de synchroniser nos rendez-vous et de coordonner nos différentes activités. Comment comprendre la nature de cette chose si fondamentale dans la vie de tous les jours et, pourtant, si difficile à appréhender ? Pour répondre à cette question, nous allons examiner deux caractéristiques de notre concept de temps (section 2.) et montrer qu’en accentuant l’une ou l’autre d’entre elles, on aboutit à deux grandes conceptions opposées de la nature du temps, l’une reconnaissant que le temps s’écoule, l’autre rejetant au contraire cette idée (section 3.). Nous examinerons ensuite quelques questions dans le cadre de ces deux grandes conceptions : comment les objets et les personnes traversent-ils le temps (section 4.) ? Quelles raisons avons-nous de privilégier l’une ou l’autre des deux conceptions (section 5.) ? Finalement, peut-on voyager dans le temps (section 6.) ?