Philosophy at St Andrews

Simon Prosser

Senior Lecturer in Philosophy

Simon Prosser

Office: Room 204, Edgecliffe


Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Perception, Metaphysics


Office Hours (semester 2, 2015/16): (On research leave, email me for an appointment)

I joined the department in 2002 after completing my PhD at the University of Warwick. I originally studied physics at the University of Birmingham then changed direction and studied philosophy at Warwick. During my graduate studies I also spent one year at CREA, Paris (CNRS/École Polytechnique).

You can listen to a public lecture that I gave at the Institute of Advanced Study in Durham ('Does Time Really Pass?') here, and a talk that I gave to the Aristotelian Society ('Why are Indexicals Essential?") here

I am Chair of the Management Committee of The Philosophical Quarterly. Details of my research interests are given below.

See also the PURE research profile.

Selected publications

For additional drafts etc. please see my page at


 Articles, chapters etc.

  • 'Why are Indexicals Essential?' Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 115 (2015): 211-233. [Paper, Podcast]
  • Is There a ‘Specious Present’? Insights (E-Journal of Durham Institute of Advanced Study, ISSN 1756-2074), 6 (2013). [Published Paper]
  • 'Experience, Thought, and the Metaphysics of Time', in K. M. Jaszczolt and L. de Saussure (eds.), Time: Language, Cognition, and Reality. Oxford Studies of Time in Language and Thought, volume 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013: 157-174.
  • 'The Passage of Time', in Heather Dyke and Adrian Bardon (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Time. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013: 315-327.
  • 'Passage and Perception', Noûs, 47 (2013): 69-84. [Draft]
  • 'Emergent Causation', Philosophical Studies, 159 (2012): 21-39. [Draft]
  • 'Why Does Time Seem to Pass?', Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 85 (2012): 92-116. [Draft]
  • 'Sources of Immunity to Error Through Misidentification', in S. Prosser and F. Recanati (eds.) Immunity to Error Through Misidentification: New Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012: 158-179. [Draft]
  • 'Affordances and Phenomenal Character in Spatial Perception', The Philosophical Review, 120.4 (2011): 475-513. [Draft]
  • 'Zeno Objects and Supervenience', Analysis, 69 (2009): 18-26. [Draft]
  • 'The Two-Dimensional Content of Consciousness', Philosophical Studies, 136 (2007): 319-349. [Draft]
  • 'Could We Experience the Passage of Time?', Ratio, 20.1 (2007): 75-90. Reprinted in L. Nathan Oaklander (ed.), Philosophy of Time: Critical Concepts in Philosophy. New York/London: Routledge, 2008. [Draft]
  • 'The Eleatic Non-Stick Frying Pan', Analysis, 66 (2006): 187-194. [Draft]
  • 'Temporal Metaphysics in Z-Land', Synthese, 149 (2006): 77-96. [Draft]
  • 'Cognitive Dynamics and Indexicals', Mind & Language, 20 (2005): 369-391. [Draft]
  • 'A New Problem for the A-Theory of Time', The Philosophical Quarterly, 50 (2000): 494-498. [Draft]


Research interests

My research interests are principally in the philosophy of mind and perception, and secondarily in metaphysics. The areas that I am most interested in are as follows:

  1. Conscious experience. I am developing a theory of conscious experience according to which (i) all phenomenology is an awareness of relations between subject and environment, and (ii) these states of awareness have an epistemic property that I call first-person redundancy. This theory provides a satisfying explanation, compatible with materialism, for the existence of an 'explanatory gap', and also solves several other significant problems. I have started work on a book on this, giving a general theoretical framework as well as chapters on experiences of space, time, colours, bodily sensations and other phenomena. I plan to write some articles on this while working on the book.
  2. Temporal thought and experience, and the relation between temporal experience and the metaphysics of time. I recently finished a book on this (see above).
  3. The nature of concepts/modes of presentation. I wrote my PhD thesis on this topic, and have recently returned to it after getting side-tracked by other issues for a while. I have been writing about what it takes for two people to think of an object under the same mode of presentation, and about the correct metaphysics for the 'mental files' framework.
  4. Indexical/perspectival thought and experience. I have written about what David Kaplan called 'the problem of cognitive dynamics' (which is related to what is sometimes known as the 'Rip van Winkle' problem), the phenomenon of immunity to error through misidentification, and the alleged 'essential' nature of indexicals. I am very interested in what is meant by the 'first-person perspective'. These interests connect with several of my other projects.
  5. Emergent properties. I hold that there are logically possible ontologically emergent properties that do not face problems of downward causation, though I do not think that actual mental properties are among them. My interest in this topic arises partly from an interest in supertasks and the so-called 'new Zeno' phenomena, about which I have also written in a more light-hearted way.

Research students

Ines De Asis, Lisa Nowak, Clotilde Torregrossa, Miguel Egler, Anthony Haynes and Paul Black

Additional information

In my spare time I like taking pictures of the local landscape, often with cumbersome old-fashioned equipment. Some of my efforts can be seen here, along with a few pictures from graduations, reading parties and other St Andrews philosophy events. Some older pictures of the latter kind can be found here.

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