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Dr Simon Prosser

Arché role: Arché Affiliated Staff, Management

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

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



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


Front cover of Experiencing Time

Front cover of Immunity to Error Through Misidentification

 Articles, chapters etc.

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

  • 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 currently Head of the Department of Philosophy

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 like taking pictures, mainly local landscapes and seascapes. Some of my pictures can be seen on the walls in the philosophy department and on the philosophy website.  My best pictures can be seen here.

Selected publications

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., Sep 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, (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

Is There a 'Specious Present'?

Prosser, S. J., 2013, In: Insights. 6, p. 2-11

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Passage and Perception

Prosser, S. J., Mar 2013, In: Noûs. 47, 1, p. 69-84

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review