Andrew M. Bailey

Yale-NUS College, Singapore


About

I am an associate professor of humanities at Yale-NUS College. In that capacity, I read, write, and teach classes. I'm delighted to call Singapore my adopted home. 🇸🇬

Teaching

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 cryptocurrency, foreign direct investment, access to credit, J.R.R. Tolkien, philosophy of education, and the metaphysics and philosophy of mind.

Resources

Miscellany

Social Media

Research

My research is mostly about people, God, and money. Early articles defend and explore the view that we are living human animals (as opposed to, say, brains or luminous spiritual beings). More recent work concerns our deep value as people and links between human nature and conceptions of the divine. My research on cryptocurrency aims to understand and evaluate Bitcoin and its promise in a way that integrates philosophy, politics, and economics.

I enjoy co-authoring. If you'd like to work on a project together, do drop me a line.

My Erdős number is 5. [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 J. Rasmussen.
5. J. Rasmussen coauthored with me.

Book

  1. Monotheism and Human Nature (under contract) [abstract]
  2. The central question of this short monograph (under contract with Cambridge University Press) is how the existence and uniqueness of an almighty and immaterial God bear on our own nature. I aim to uncover lessons about what we are by thinking about what God might be. A dominant theme is that, though Abrahamic monotheism is compatible with the view that we are wholly material beings, it nonetheless demands revisions to standard materialist theories.

Articles

  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. The feeling animal (with A.K. Thornton) [abstract]
  6. 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.
  7. Magical thinking [abstract]
  8. 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.
  9. A new puppet puzzle (with J. Rasmussen) [abstract]
  10. 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.
  11. Material through and through [abstract]
  12. 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'.
  13. How to build a thought (with J. Rasmussen) [abstract]
  14. 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.
  15. Freedom in a physical world [abstract]
  16. 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.
  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. On the concept of a spirit [abstract]
  22. 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.
  23. You are an animal [abstract]
  24. In this article, I argue that you are an animal (and indeed, that human persons in general are animals).
  25. How valuable could a material object be? (with J. Rasmussen) [abstract]
  26. 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.
  27. Composition and the cases [abstract]
  28. 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.
  29. Animalism [abstract]
  30. 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.
  31. The priority principle [abstract]
  32. 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.
  33. You needn't be simple [abstract]
  34. 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.
  35. The elimination argument [abstract]
  36. 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.
  37. Incompatibilism and the past [abstract]
  38. 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.
  39. No bare particulars [abstract]
  40. 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.
  41. The incompatibility of composition as identity, priority pluralism, and irreflexive grounding [abstract]
  42. 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.
  43. No pairing problem (with J. Rasmussen and L. Van Horn) [abstract]
  44. 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.
  45. Warrant is unique [abstract]
  46. 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

Reviews and reference

  1. Review (with J. Han and A. Sng) of Are We Bodies or Souls? (R. Swinburne)
  2. Review of Maximal God (Yujin Nagasawa)
  3. Contemporary Hylomorphism (with S. Wilkins), Oxford Bibliographies.
  4. Review of The Feeling Body (Giovanna Colombetti)
  5. Review of Persons, Animals, Ourselves (P. Snowdon)
  6. Pairing problem (with J. Rasmussen), Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy
  7. Review of Hard Luck (N. Levy)
  8. Review of The Waning of Materialism (R. Koons and G. Bealer, eds.)

In progress (drafts available on request)

  1. Resistance Money: Why the World Needs Bitcoin (with B. Rettler and C. Warmke)
  2. Cryptocurrency (with B. Rettler and C. Warmke)
  3. Human beings and the beasts (with A. Pruss)
  4. Inside-out compatibilism
  5. Composition isn't trivial (with A. Brenner)
  6. A ransom for all (with B. Rettler)
  7. Facing the animal (with A.K. Thornton and P. van Elswyk)
  8. Very contingent materialism
  9. Flip-flopping is fine (with A. Seymour)
  10. Deeper magic