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Dr Simon Prosser

Arché role: Arché Affiliated Staff, Management, Management Committee

Current Projects: Language and Mind (Member) and Epistemology: Current Themes (Member)

Past Projects: Metaphysics: Identity, Existence & Structure (Co-investigator)


News from Arché


My research interests are principally in the philosophy of mind and perception, and secondarily in certain areas of metaphysics. The topics that I am most interested in are listed below. I am best able to supervise doctoral research in areas 1-4 (though I can also supervise work on a few related topics):

  1. Conscious experience - Intentionalism, phenomenal concepts, explanatory gap. I am currently writing a book on this, emphasising the role of the first-person perspective.
  2. Temporal experience - I am interested in all aspects of current philosophical work on temporal experience, including, but not limited to, connections with the metaphysics of time.
  3. Egocentric thought and experience - I have written about 'essential indexicals', the problem of cognitive dynamics, shared indexical/egocentric thoughts, and immunity to error through misidentification. The first-person perspective is important in much of my current work.
  4. The nature of concepts/modes of presentation/mental files - I wrote my PhD thesis on this topic, and have recently returned to it in a couple of articles.
  5. Emergent properties and 'new Zeno' phenomena - This started from a light-hearted article on 'new Zeno' phenomena, but led to more serious work on emergence and downward causation.

Published Work

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. You can also read my recent entry in the OUP blog.

See also my pages at Philpapers


 Articles, chapters etc.

  • Shared Egocentric Thoughts. In José Luis Bermúdez, Victor Verdejo, and Matheus Valente (eds.) Sharing Thoughts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.

  • Tense and Emotion. In K. M. Jaszczolt (ed.) Understanding Human Time. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023: 11-29.

  • Commentary: Physical Time within Human Time, Frontiers in Psychology (Sec. Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology), 14 (2023). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1096592. Commentary on R. Gruber, R. A. Block and C. Montemayor 'Physical Time within Human Time', and D. Buonomano and C. Rovelli, 'Bridging the Neuroscience and Physics of Time'.

  • The Metaphysics of Mental Files. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 100 (2020): 657-676. [Draft]

  • Locating the Contradiction in Our Understanding of Time. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 42 (2019). Commentary on Christoph Hoerl and Teresa McCormack, 'Thinking in and About Time: A Dual Systems Perspective on Temporal Cognition' Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 42 (2019). [Published Paper]

  • Shared Modes of Presentation. Mind & Language, 34 (2019): 465-482. [Draft]

  • Replies to Deng, Lee, and Skow. Inquiry, 61 (2018): 328-350. (Contribution to a book symposium on my book Experiencing Time.) [Draft]

  • Rethinking the Specious Present. In Ian Phillips (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Temporal Experience. London: Routledge, 2017: 146-156. [Draft]

  • Why are Indexicals Essential? Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 115 (2015): 211-233. [Draft, 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. [Draft]

  • The Passage of Time. In Heather Dyke and Adrian Bardon (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Time. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013: 315-327. [Draft]

  • 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]


I am on research leave from September 2023 until January 2025, funded for the first 12 months by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship. I'm spending this period working on a book, provisionally entitled Conscious Experience: A Defence of External World Functionalism.

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 doctoral studies I also spent one year at CREA, Paris (CNRS/École Polytechnique).

When I have some spare time, I'm a keen landscape photographer (pictures here). Some of my pictures can be seen on the walls in the philosophy department and on the philosophy website.

Selected publications

Commentary: physical time within human time

Prosser, S., 15 Jun 2023, In: Frontiers in Psychology. 14

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Tense and emotion

Prosser, S., 18 Aug 2023, Understanding human time. Jaszczolt, K. M. (ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 11-29 (Oxford studies of time in language and thought).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

The metaphysics of mental files

Prosser, S., 13 May 2020, In: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. 100, 3, p. 657-676

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Locating the contradiction in our understanding of time

Prosser, S. J., 12 Dec 2019, In: Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 42, e272.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Shared modes of presentation

Prosser, S., Sept 2019, In: Mind & Language. 34, 4, p. 465-482

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Replies to Deng, Lee, and Skow

Prosser, S., 2018, In: Inquiry - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy. 61, 3, p. 328-350 23 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Rethinking the specious present

Prosser, S. J., 10 May 2017, Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Temporal Experience. Phillips, I. (ed.). Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, (Routledge Handbooks in Philosophy).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Experiencing time

Prosser, S. J., 5 May 2016, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 238 p.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

XII - Why are indexicals essential?

Prosser, S. J., 1 Dec 2015, In: Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. 115, 3 pt 3, p. 211-233

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Experience, Thought, and the Metaphysics of Time

Prosser, S. J., 2013, Time : Language, Cognition, and Reality. Jaszczolt, K. M. & de Saussure, L. (eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 157-174 (Oxford Studies of Time in Language and Thought).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Indexical Thought

Prosser, S. J., Jan 2013, The Encyclopedia of the Mind. Pashler, H. (ed.). Sage

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary