Andrew M. Bailey

Yale-NUS College, Singapore

I am a Professor at Yale-NUS College. In that capacity, I read, write, and teach classes in the humanities and social sciences. I'm delighted to call Singapore my adopted home. 🇸🇬


I'm an aspiring generalist with teaching interests that span the curriculum. Lately, I've been especially intrigued by the intersection of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and served as Head of Studies for PPE at Yale-NUS for some years. In the recent past, I've supervised undergraduate theses on metaphysics of science, technology ethics, metaphilosophy, financial inclusion, cryptocurrency, gambling, decentralized finance, foreign direct investment, access to credit, J.R.R. Tolkien, philosophy of education, and the metaphysics and philosophy of mind.

You can catch some of my recent lectures online — on Nietzsche, for example, or on the occasion of the closure of Yale-NUS College and its common curriculum.



Social Media


My research is mostly about money, people, and God. My work on money with B. Rettler and C. Warmke, culminating in a monograph, aims to understand and evaluate bitcoin in a way that integrates philosophy, politics, and economics. Early articles in philosophy defend the view that we are living human animals (as opposed to, say, brains or luminous spiritual beings). More recent metaphysical work, culminating in two monographs, concerns our value as people and links between human nature and conceptions of the divine.

I enjoy co-authoring for both academic and non-academic venues. If you'd like to work on a project together, do drop me a line. My Erdős number is 4. [path]

1. Paul Erdős coauthored with S. Janson.
2. S. Janson coauthored with R.C. Bradley, Jr.
3. R.C. Bradley, Jr. coauthored with A.R. Pruss.
4. A.R. Pruss coauthored with me.

Money and Technology (academic)

  1. Resistance Money (with B. Rettler and C. Warmke) [abstract]
  2. This volume (under contract with Routledge Press) is a systematic examination of bitcoin using the tools of philosophy, politics, and economics. A central theme is that bitcoin is resistance money: a check against the authority and overreach of corporations, states, and anyone else who would serve as an intermediary between people and their money. Above all, it offers a way to elude and resist the interlocking and increasingly tight gears of institutions both private and public.
  3. Digital value [abstract]
  4. Digital artifacts — humanly-constructed items that inhabit our computers and networks — suffer an unfortunate reputation as being virtual and therefore unreal, and all too easy to reproduce on the cheap. These features together prompt the question of this article: if digital artifacts can be reproduced for free, and if they are unreal, why do they have economic value at all? Using a focal case study of bitcoin — the most unreal digital artifact of them all, and one that has been copied and pasted a thousand times over — I answer the question. Some digital artifacts can't be copied on the cheap, as it turns out, and they are real enough to be useful.
  5. What Satoshi did (with C. Warmke) [abstract]
  6. You may be familiar with Satoshi Nakamoto, the software engineer. Renowned or reviled, he’s well-known under that guise. You might also know Satoshi as a monetary designer – the creator of a new kind of digital asset. But in this article, we'll introduce you to Satoshi, the social architect and founding father. Our topic is bitcoin’s social layer: its people. Our questions are these: what social features enable bitcoin to be what it is? How does bitcoin’s network of users differ from more familiar institutions or organized groups of people? More to the point: what was Satoshi’s own role in all this? How did Satoshi’s decisions as a social architect shape bitcoin’s future institutional profile?
  7. Carbon-neutral bitcoin for nation states (with T. Cross) [abstract]
  8. Sovereign adoption of bitcoin, whether as legal tender or in treasury reserves, increases the profitability of energy-intensive bitcoin mining, creating significant carbon emissions. This paper explores methods for adopting bitcoin while mitigating or eliminating associated carbon emissions. We survey three solutions: regulation/taxation, carbon offsetting, and finally, state-directed or state-supported carbon-neutral mining, arguing for the advantages of the latter. We then compare two ways of executing this last approach: (1) the state must mine all its bitcoin holdings; (2) the state must mine the same percentage of mining as its percentage of all bitcoin holdings. We show that (2) is a superior method, and that a nation state can adopt bitcoin in a carbon-neutral manner with a relatively small investment in carbon-neutral mining. At present levels of bitcoin mining and bitcoin pricing, an annual allocation of around 1% of the state’s bitcoin holdings towards mining will suffice, and may generate a positive return. El Salvador is used throughout as a case study, and we make specific suggestions for how much El Salvador should mine to achieve carbon neutrality with respect to their bitcoin holdings.
  9. Bitcoin is king (with C. Warmke) [abstract]
  10. Paul Krugman and others deny that bitcoin has legitimate uses. Critics like Krugman also fail to distinguish bitcoin from other cryptocurrencies. But once we isolate bitcoin from the rest of the field, we see how special, and how useful, it is. In this chapter, we explain why bitcoin is unique among cryptocurrencies as a credibly neutral monetary asset and why this is important. Its uniqueness doesn’t owe entirely to its age (as the oldest) or market ranking (as the most valuable). As a credibly neutral monetary asset, bitcoin solves problems for those in less than ideal circumstances. And beyond bitcoin’s functionality, its origin and surrounding culture also help to explain why people trust bitcoin more than any other cryptocurrency to solve these problems. Nothing else comes close. This gap between bitcoin and everything else has implications for policy-making, journalism, and academic research.
  11. Money without state (with B. Rettler and C. Warmke) [abstract]
  12. In this article, we describe what cryptocurrency is, how it works, and how it relates to familiar conceptions of and questions about money. We then show how normative questions about monetary policy find new expression in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. These questions can play a role in addressing not just what money is, but what it should be. A guiding theme in our discussion is that progress here requires a mixed approach that integrates philosophical tools with the purely technical results of disciplines like computer science and economics.
  13. The moral landscape of monetary design (with B. Rettler and C. Warmke) [abstract]
  14. In this article, we identify three key design dimensions along which cryptocurrencies differ -- privacy, censorship-resistance, and consensus procedure. Each raises important normative issues. Our discussion uncovers new ways to approach the question of whether Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies should be used as money, and new avenues for developing a positive answer to that question. A guiding theme is that progress here requires a mixed approach that integrates philosophical tools with the purely technical results of disciplines like computer science and economics.

Money and Technology (popular)

  1. Bitcoin can protect freedom and help win elections (with T. Cross, B. Rettler, K. Saunders, and C. Warmke)
  2. Bitcoin’s halving is a spectacle — that’s the point (with B. Rettler and C. Warmke)
  3. Is bitcoin really a bubble? (with B. Rettler and C. Warmke)
  4. Worldcoin isn’t as bad as it sounds: It’s worse (with N. Almond)
  5. Bitcoin stands apart (with B. Rettler and C. Warmke)
  6. Why privacy matters for digital money (with W. Luther)
  7. The U.S. needs digital cash, not digital money (with W. Luther)
  8. Bitcoin is for anyone, left or right (with B. Rettler and C. Warmke)
  9. Governments should invest in the bitcoin network (with B. Rettler)
  10. Mine your values (with T. Cross)
  11. An orange new deal (with B. Rettler)
  12. Why bitcoin needs philosophy (with B. Rettler and C. Warmke)

Philosophy of Religion

  1. The Problem of Divine Personality (with B. Rettler) [abstract]
  2. The main question of this study (under contract with Cambridge University Press) is whether God has a personality. One reason for thinking this might be so is that reality seems at times arbitrary; a God with personality could make good sense of that apparent truth. And adopting the view that God has a personality -- complete with particular, sometimes peculiar, often seemingly unexplainable preferences -- makes good sense, too, of various important problems: divine silence, apparently unanswered petitionary prayers, otherwise inexplicable divine choices about who is saved or damned, and the like. But problems arise here too, and furthermore the view that God has a personality has revisionary implications across a range of topics, including the task of inquiry itself. If God has a personality, then reality does too, and so to understand reality, one must come to know a strange and untamed God.
  3. Might all be saved? (With B. Rettler) [abstract]
  4. According to universalists, everyone will eventually enjoy eternal union with God. Many hope that universalism is true. But to their dismay, it faces a seemingly decisive objection: some people reject God. In this article, we show that this fact is not a decisive problem for universalism after all. We situate our argument within a framework of hope, and contend that the good news of universalism furnishes special reason to take a kindly view towards otherwise murky or speculative metaphysical hypotheses — hypotheses that not only remove a problem for universalism but also uncover novel defenses of the view.
  5. You could be immaterial (or not) [abstract]
  6. Materialists about human persons say that we are, and must be, wholly material beings. Substance dualists say that we are, and must be, wholly immaterial. In this paper, I take issue with the “and must be” bits. Both materialists and substance dualists would do well to reject modal extensions of their views and instead opt for contingent doctrines, or doctrines that are silent about those modal extensions. Or so I argue.
  7. Monotheism and Human Nature [abstract]
  8. The main question of this short monograph (Cambridge University Press, 2021) is how the existence, supremacy, and uniqueness of an almighty and immaterial God bear on our own nature. It aims to uncover lessons about what we are by thinking about what God might be. A dominant theme is that Abrahamic monotheism is a surprisingly hospitable framework within which to defend and develop the view that we are wholly material beings. But the resulting materialism cannot be of any standard variety. It demands revisions and twists on the usual views. We can indeed learn about ourselves by learning about God. One thing we learn is that, though we are indeed wholly material beings, we’re not nearly as ordinary as we might seem.
  9. Magical thinking [abstract]
  10. According to theists, God is an immaterial thinking being. The main question of this article is whether theism supports the view that we are immaterial thinking beings too. I argue in the negative. Along the way, I also explore some implications in the philosophy of mind following from the observation that, on theism, God’s mentality is in a certain respect magical.
  11. On the concept of a spirit [abstract]
  12. Substance dualism is on the move. Though the view remains unfashionable, a growing and diverse group of philosophers endorse it on impressive empirical, religious, and purely metaphysical grounds. In this note, I develop and evaluate one conceptual argument for substance dualism. According to that argument, we may derive a conclusion about our nature from the mere fact that we have the concept of a spirit. The argument is intriguing and fruitful; but I shall contend that it is, nonetheless, unsound.


  1. Generic animalism (with P. van Elswyk) [abstract]
  2. The animalist says we are animals. This thesis is commonly understood as the universal generalization that all human persons are human animals. This article proposes an alternative: the thesis is a generic that admits of exceptions. We defend the resulting view, which we call generic animalism, and show its aptitude for diagnosing the limits of eight case-based objections to animalism.
  3. How valuable could a person be? (with J. Rasmussen) [abstract]
  4. We investigate the value of persons. Our primary goal is to chart a path from equal and extreme value to infinite value. We advance two arguments; each offers a reason to think that equal and extreme value are best accounted for if we are infinitely valuable. We then raise some difficult but fruitful questions about the possible grounds or sources of our infinite value, if we indeed have such value.
  5. Why animalism matters (with A.K. Thornton and P. van Elswyk) [abstract]
  6. Here is a question as intriguing as it is brief: what are we? The animalist's answer is equal in brevity: we are animals. This stark formulation of the animalist slogan distances it from nearby claims – that we are essentially animals, for example, or that we have purely biological criteria of identity over time. Is the animalist slogan -- unburdened by modal or criterial commitments – still interesting, though? Or has it lost its bite? In this article we address such questions by presenting a positive case for the importance of animalism and applying that case to recent critiques.
  7. Human beings among the beasts (with A. Pruss) [abstract]
  8. In this article, we develop and defend a new argument for animalism -- the thesis that we human persons are human animals. The argument takes this rough form: since our pets are animals, we are too. We’ll begin with remarks on animalism and its rivals, develop our main argument, and then defend it against a few replies.
  9. The feeling animal (with A.K. Thornton) [abstract]
  10. We present a novel argument for the view that we are animals. The argument begins with the fact that we have emotions and draws from recent scientific work on the somatic dimensions of feeling.
  11. Why composition matters (with A. Brenner) [abstract]
  12. Many say that ontological disputes are defective because they are unimportant or without substance. In this paper, we defend ontological disputes from the charge, with a special focus on disputes over the existence of composite objects. Disputes over the existence of composite objects, we argue, have a number of substantive implications across a variety of topics in metaphysics, science, philosophical theology, philosophy of mind, and ethics. Since the disputes over the existence of composite objects have these substantive implications, they are themselves substantive.
  13. Material through and through [abstract]
  14. Materialists about human persons think that we are material through and through -- wholly material beings. Those who endorse materialism more widely think that everything is material through and through. But what is it to be wholly material? In this article, I answer that question. I identify and defend a definition or analysis of 'wholly material'.
  15. How to build a thought (with J. Rasmussen) [abstract]
  16. There are more thoughts than non-thoughts. It follows that either some thoughts aren't built out of non-thoughts or that the items out of which thoughts are built do not necessitate those thoughts.
  17. Object (with B. Rettler) [abstract]
  18. An opinionated and encyclopedic discussion of the category of object, its role in metaphysical theory, and its possible contrast, extension, and nature.
  19. Our animal interests [abstract]
  20. Animalism is at once a bold metaphysical theory and a pedestrian biological observation. For according to animalists, human persons are organisms; we are members of a certain biological species. In this article, I introduce some heretofore unnoticed data concerning the interlocking interests of human persons and human organisms. I then show that the data support animalism. The result is a novel and powerful argument for animalism. Bold or pedestrian, animalism is true.
  21. You are an animal [abstract]
  22. In this article, I argue that you are an animal (and indeed, that human persons in general are animals).
  23. How valuable could a material object be? (with J. Rasmussen) [abstract]
  24. Arguments for substance dualism -- the theory that we are at least partly non-material beings -- abound. Many of them begin with our capacity to engage in conscious thought and end with dualism. Such are familiar. But there is another kind of argument for dualism. It begins with our moral value and ends with dualism. In this article, we develop and assess the prospects for this new style of argument for dualism. We show that, though one extant version of the argument does not succeed, there may yet be a deep problem for many standard physical accounts of our nature.
  25. Composition and the cases [abstract]
  26. I here offer a new way of handling a host of problematic cases that have gripped philosophers of mind over the past several decades. Attending to composition, I argue, can aid in charting a path through these murky waters.
  27. Animalism [abstract]
  28. An (extremely!) opinionated survey of animalism, the doctrine that we are animals. Includes a semi-novel argument for animalism and a few non-standard routes for animalists to take in reply to standard objections.
  29. The priority principle [abstract]
  30. I introduce and argue for a Priority Principle, according to which we exemplify certain of our mental properties in the primary or non-derivative sense. I then apply this principle to several debates in the metaphysics and philosophy of mind.
  31. You needn't be simple [abstract]
  32. Here's an interesting question: what are we? David Barnett has claimed that reflection on consciousness suggests an answer: we are simple. Barnett argues that the mereological simplicity of conscious beings best explains the Datum: that no pair of persons can itself be conscious. In this article, I offer two alternative explanations of the Datum. If either is correct, Barnett's argument fails. First, there aren't any such things as pairs of persons. Second, consciousness is maximal; no conscious thing is a proper part of another conscious thing. I conclude by showing how both moves comport with materialist theories of what we are and then apply them to another anti-materialist argument.
  33. The elimination argument [abstract]
  34. Animalism is the view that we are animals: living, breathing, wholly material beings. Despite its considerable appeal, animalism has come under fire. Other philosophers have had much to say about objections to animalism that stem from reflection on personal identity over time. But one promising objection ("The Elimination Argument") has been overlooked. In this article, I remedy this situation and examine the Elimination Argument in some detail. I contend that the Elimination Argument is both unsound and unmotivated.
  35. No bare particulars [abstract]
  36. There are predicates and subjects. It is thus tempting to think that there are properties on the one hand, and things that have them on the other. I have no quarrel with this thought; it is a fine place to begin a theory of properties and property-having. But in this article, I argue that one such theory—bare particularism—is false. I pose a dilemma. Either bare particulars instantiate the properties of their host substances or they do not. If they do not, then bare particularism is both unmotivated and false. If they do, then the view faces a problematic—and, I shall argue, false—crowding consequence.
  37. The incompatibility of composition as identity, priority pluralism, and irreflexive grounding [abstract]
  38. Some have it that wholes are, somehow, identical to their parts. This doctrine is as alluring as it is puzzling. But in this article, I show that the doctrine is incompatible with two widely accepted theses. Something has to go.
  39. No pairing problem (with J. Rasmussen and L. Van Horn) [abstract]
  40. Many have thought that there is a problem with causal commerce between immaterial souls and material bodies. In Physicalism or Something Near Enough, Jaegwon Kim attempts to spell out that problem. Rather than merely posing a question or raising a mystery for defenders of substance dualism to answer or address, he offers a compelling argument for the conclusion that immaterial souls cannot causally interact with material bodies. We offer a reconstruction of that argument that hinges on two premises: Kim's Dictum and the Nowhere Man principle. Kim's Dictum says that causation requires a spatial relation. Nowhere Man says that souls can't be in space. By our lights, both premises can be called into question. We'll begin our evaluation of the argument by pointing out some consequences of Kim's Dictum. For some, these will be costs. We will then present two defeaters for Kim's Dictum and a critical analysis of Kim's case for Nowhere Man. The upshot is that Kim's argument against substance dualism fails.

Free Will and Moral Responsibility

  1. In defense of flip-flopping (with A. Seymour) [abstract]
  2. Some incompatibilists about free will or moral responsibility and determinism would abandon their incompatibilism were they to learn that determinism is true. But is it reasonable to flip-flop in this way? In this article, we contend that it is and show what follows. The result is both a defense of a particular incompatibilist strategy and a general framework for assessing other cases of flip-flopping.
  3. Compatibilism from the inside out [abstract]
  4. In this article, I focus on internal dimensions of moral responsibility. I argue that if such dimensions are real -- and it seems they are -- then moral responsibility is compatible with determinism.
  5. Destinism [abstract]
  6. I raise a puzzle concerning Destinism -- the view that that the only things we can do are those things we in fact do.
  7. A new puppet puzzle (with J. Rasmussen) [abstract]
  8. We develop a new puzzle concerning a material being's relationship to the smallest parts of the material world. In particular, we investigate how a being could be responsible for anything if its behavior is completely determined by the behavior of those small parts. Many discussions of determinism and responsibility have focused on a determinism that moves from past to future. The determination at issue in our paper is importantly different: it moves from the bottom up.
  9. Freedom in a physical world [abstract]
  10. Making room for agency in a physical world is no easy task. Can it be done at all? In this article, I argue in the affirmative.
  11. Incompatibilism and the past [abstract]
  12. There is a new objection to the Consequence Argument for incompatibilism. I argue that the objection is more wide-ranging than originally thought. In particular: if it tells against the Consequence Argument, it tells against other arguments for incompatibilism too. I survey a few ways of dealing with this objection and show the costs of each. I then present an argument for incompatibilism that is immune to the objection and that enjoys other advantages.

Misc, Reviews, and Reference

  1. Warrant is unique [abstract]
  2. Warrant is what fills the gap between mere true belief and knowledge. But a problem arises. Is there just one condition that satisfies this description? Suppose there isn't: can anything interesting be said about warrant after all? Call this the uniqueness problem. In this article, I solve the problem. I examine one plausible argument that there is no one condition filling the gap between mere true belief and knowledge. I then motivate and formulate revisions of the standard analysis of warrant. Given these revisions, I argue that there is, after all, exactly one warrant condition
  3. Review (with K. Boyce) of Divine Ideas (T. Ward)
  4. Review (with J. Han and A. Sng) of Are We Bodies or Souls? (R. Swinburne)
  5. Review of Maximal God (Y. Nagasawa)
  6. Contemporary Hylomorphism (with S. Wilkins)
  7. Review of The Feeling Body (Giovanna Colombetti)
  8. Review of Persons, Animals, Ourselves (P. Snowdon)
  9. Pairing problem (with J. Rasmussen)
  10. Review of Hard Luck (N. Levy)
  11. Review of The Waning of Materialism (R. Koons and G. Bealer, eds.)

In progress

  1. What Money Means (monograph)
  2. Informed bodies
  3. Digital possession
  4. Can lightning scale? (with T. Cross, J. Hendrickson, W. Luther, B. Rettler, and C. Warmke)
  5. Greening bitcoin with incentive offsets (with T. Cross)
  6. Review of The Substance of Consciousness (by. J.P. Moreland and B. Rickabaugh)