Brad Weslake

Associate Professor of Philosophy, NYU Shanghai


NYU Shanghai
567 West Yangsi Road
Pudong, Shanghai
China 200126

Areas of speciality

Philosophy of Science • Metaphysics

Areas of competence

Philosophy of Mind


Associate Professor of Philosophy, NYU Shanghai
Global Network Associate Professor of Philosophy, NYU
Visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy, NYU
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Rochester


phd in Philosophy, University of Sydney
ba with Class I Honours in Philosophy, University of Newcastle
bcompsci and ba in Philosophy, University of Wollongong




Barry Loewer, Eric Winsberg and Brad Weslake (Eds), The Probability Map of the Universe: Essays on David Albert’s Time and Chance, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA.


Shamik Dasgupta and Brad Weslake (Eds), Current Controversies in Philosophy of Science, Routledge, London.



“Exclusion Excluded”, Alastair Wilson and Katie Robertson (Eds), Levels of Explanation, Oxford University Press, Oxford. preprint:


“Difference-Making, Closure and Exclusion”, in Helen Beebee, Chris Hitchcock and Huw Price (Eds), Making a Difference, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 215–231.


“Statistical Mechanical Imperialism”, in Alastair Wilson (Ed), Chance and Temporal Asymmetry, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 241–257.


“Proportionality, Contrast and Explanation”, in Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol. 91, no. 4, pp. 785–797.


McCain, Kevin and Weslake, Brad. “Evolutionary Theory and the Epistemology of Science”, in Kostas Kampourakis (Ed), The Philosophy of Biology: A Companion for Educators, Springer, Dordrecht, pp. 101–119.


“Explanatory Depth”, in Philosophy of Science, vol. 77, no. 2, apr 2010, pp. 273–294.


Price, Huw and Weslake, Brad. “The Time-Asymmetry of Causation”, in Helen Beebee, Chris Hitchcock and Peter Menzies (Eds), Oxford Handbook of Causation, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2009, pp. 414–443.


“Common Causes and The Direction of Causation”, in Minds and Machines, Rolf Haenni and Stephan Hartmann (Eds), Special Issue on Causality, Uncertainty and Ignorance, vol. 16, no. 3, aug 2006, pp. 239–257.

papers in progress

“A Partial Theory of Actual Causation”

“The Problem of Disjunctive Explanations”

encyclopædia entries


“Causation”, in Graham Oppy and Nick Trakakis (Eds), A Companion to Philosophy in Australia and New Zealand, Monash ePress, Melbourne, 2010.


“Causation”, “Time”, in Martin Cohen (Ed), Essentials of Philosophy and Ethics, Hodder Arnold, London, 2006, pp. 44–45, 283–284.



“James Woodward, Making Things Happen”, in Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol. 84, no. 1, mar 2006, pp. 136-140.


“William Robinson, Understanding Phenomenal Consciousness”, in Metapsychology Online Reviews, vol. 8, no. 49, 29 nov 2004.

grants and collaborations


Invited collaborator for project Causation and Explanation, hosted by Philosophisches Seminar der Universität zu Köln and funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.


Principal Investigator (with Tim Byrnes, NYU Shanghai) on Shanghai Research Challenge Fund grant Origins of Randomness in Quantum Mechanics ($50,000).


  • “What is Causal Explanation?”, Philosophy Meets Science, NYU Shanghai, 20 oct.
  • “Comments on Michael Strevens, Why High-Level Explanations Exist”, Fudan University, 19 oct.
  • “Tolstoy’s Philosophy in War and Peace”, NYU Shanghai, 5 may.
  • “Surrogacy: Some Philosophical Dimensions”, NYU Shanghai, 4 mar.
  • “Comments on Darrell Rowbottom, Does Science Progress?”, Asian Epistemology Network, 18 dec.
  • “Explanation in Evolution and Artificial Intelligence”, NYU Trailblazer Series, 2 dec.
  • “Interventionism, Externalism and Exclusion”, Causality Workshop, Harvard University, 12-14 dec.
  • Debate on Evolutionary Explanations of Human Homosexuality, NYU Shanghai, 10 dec.
  • “Interventionism, Externalism and Exclusion”, Workshop on Causal Reasoning, Shandong University, 29 nov.
  • “(A Little) Philosophy of Sex, Gender and Sexual Orientation”, Playground, Shanghai, 24 nov.
  • “Recent Philosophy of Sex and Gender”, Gender Studies Discussion Group, NYU Shanghai, 29 feb.
  • “The Philosophy and Physics of Time”, Volta, All Club, Shanghai, 19 dec.
  • “Fitness and Variance”, Workshop on Modeling and Reasoning in the Sciences, National Yang Ming University, Taiwan, 23–24 nov.
  • “Fitness and Variance”, Philosophy Workshop, NYU Shanghai, 21 aug.
  • Radcliffe Seminar on Causation, Harvard, 8–9 jan.
  • Invited Author Meets Critics session on Brad Skow, Reasons Why, American Philosophical Association, 3–6 jan.
  • “Fitness and Variance“, Frontier in the Philosophy of Specific Sciences, Tsinghua University, 19-20 aug.
  • Debate with Paul Glimcher on Neuroscience and Free Will, NYU Shanghai, 24 apr.
  • “Fitness and Variance“, Foundations of Probability Seminar Rutgers, 27 mar.
  • “Causation, Information and Specificity”, MuST 10: Causation and Complexity, Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science, 1–3 mar.
  • “A Confusion in Concepts of Causal Importance”, East China Normal University, 9 dec.
  • Panel Discussion on Lu Yang, NYU Shanghai Art Gallery, 6 dec.
  • “Causation, Information and Specificity”, Philosophy of Science Association, Atlanta, 3-6 nov.
  • “Recent Work on The Direction of Causation”, Causation and the Physical World, Universität zu Köln, 17–18 jun.
  • “Introduction to Philosophy of Causation“ (with Ned Hall), Causation Workshop, Harvard, 10–11 jun.
  • “Probability in the Law: A Case Study”, International Conference on Facts and Evidence: A Dialogue Between Philosophy and Law, East China Normal University, 28-29 may.
  • “Sudden Infant Death or Murder? The Seductive Allure of Probability Models in the Law”, Colloquium in the Humanities and Social Sciences, NYU Shanghai, 3 may.
  • “Interventionism, Externalism and Exclusion”, Emergence, Exclusion, and Causation Workshop, University of Glasgow, 14–15 apr.
  • “Fitness and Variance”, Reduction in Physics and Biology, Instituto de Filosofía y Ciencias de la Complejidad, Santiago de Chile, 4–7 jan.
  • “Fitness and Variance”, 15th Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, Helsinki, 3–8 aug.
  • “Fitness and Variance”, Australasian Association of Philosophy, Sydney, 5–9 jul.
  • Invited participant to Varieties of Understanding Midpoint Conference, New York, 24–26 jun.
  • “Why Think Causally?”, University College London, 18 jun.
  • Invited participant to Orange Beach Epistemology Workshop 7: Inference to the Best Explanation, Orange Beach, 18–19 may.
  • “Fitness in Evolutionary Theory”, Faculty Lunch Speaker Series, NYU Shanghai, 16 apr.
  • “Interventionism, Externalism and Exclusion”, Mental Causation: Old Problems, New Solutions?, Center for Logic and Analytic Philosophy, Institute of Philosophy, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 20–21 nov.
  • “Why Think Causally?”, Causation: A Workshop with Ned Hall, Universität zu Köln, 10 nov.
  • “Selection, Drift, and Causal Explanation”, Explanation Beyond Causation, Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 23-24 oct.
  • “Why Think Causally?”, New York University, 3 feb.
  • “Why Think Causally?”, Causation: New Prospects, Collège de France, Paris, 5-6 dec.
  • “Explanation and The Explanatory Gap”, Colloquium, Marist College, 11 oct.
  • “Explanation and The Explanatory Gap”, Explanation in Metaphysics, Neuchâtel, 22-23 jun.
  • Invited participant, The Passage of Time, MIT, 19 jun.
  • “Against Explanatory Fundamentalism”, University of Pittsburgh, 29 mar.
  • “Was Darwin a Materialist?”, Philosophy Colloquium, Nazareth College, 7 feb.
  • “Comments on Ned Hall, Physical and Metaphysical Modality”, Back at the Ranch, Tucson, 30 jan-3 feb.
  • “Comments on Jeff Engelhardt, The Problem of Second Effects”, Eastern APA, Atlanta, 27-30 dec.
  • “Difference-Making, Closure and Exclusion”, Causation Workshop, Macquarie University, 23 aug.
  • “Difference-Making, Closure and Exclusion”, Philosophy Colloquium, University of Sydney, 22 aug.
  • “Difference-Making, Closure and Exclusion”, Thursday Seminar Series, ANU, 16 aug.
  • “Difference-Making, Closure and Exclusion”, Philosophy Seminar, University of Tasmania, 15 aug.
  • “Was Darwin a Materialist?”, XII Gathering of Noble Savages, Hobart, 11 aug.
  • “Difference-Making, Closure and Exclusion”, Current Projects Seminar, University of Sydney, 23 jul.
  • “Statistical Mechanical Imperialism”, Australasian Association of Philosophy, Wollongong, 1-6 jul.
  • “Statistical Mechanical Imperialism”, Semantics and Pragmatics of Ceteris Paribus Conditions, Düsseldorf, 28-29 jun.
  • “Comments on Carolina Sartorio, Who Killed the Thirsty Traveler? And Other Mysteries in Causation in the Law”, Pacific APA, 4-7 apr.
  • “A Partial Theory of Actual Causation”, Work in Progress Seminar, MIT, 15 mar.
  • “A Partial Theory of Actual Causation”, Philosophy Colloquium, University of Sydney, 31 aug.
  • “Causation, Counterfactual Dependence, and the Transition Problem”, Temporal Asymmetries Conference, Monash University, 17–18 aug.
  • “A Tangled History: On Science and Religion” (with H. Allen Orr), Phelps Colloquium Series, University of Rochester, 3 dec.
  • “Against Explanatory Fundamentalism”, Philosophy Colloquium, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 8 oct.
  • Symposium on Causation, Laws, and Natural Kinds, European Philosophy of Science Association, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 21-24 oct.
  • “Explanation in Neuroscience and Folk Psychology”, Neuroscience Cluster Annual Retreat, University of Rochester, 22 may.
  • “Initial Conditions, Laws and Explanation”, Philosophical Issues in Statistical Mechanics, Center for Philosophy and the Sciences, Rutgers University, 13–14 may.
  • “Causal Relativism”, Mellon Metaphysics Workshop, Cornell University, 2 may.
  • “Scientific Models and Explanatory Depth”, Models and Simulations 3, University of Virginia, 6–8 mar.
  • “Comments on Brad Skow, The Dynamics of Non-Being”, Arizona Ontology Conference, Tucson, 7–10 jan.
  • “Interventionism and Exclusion”, Mellon Mental Causation Workshop, Syracuse University, 30 nov–1 dec.
  • “Interventionism and Exclusion”, CUNY Cognitive Science Symposium, 14 nov.
  • “Explanatory Depth”, Australasian Association of Philosophy, Melbourne, 6–11 jul.
  • “Realism and Instrumentalism in Science”, History and Philosophy of Modern Physics Speaker Series, University of Rochester, 10 apr.
  • “Comments on Thomas Bontly, Psychological Explanation without Mental Quasation”, Pacific APA, Pasadena, 19–23 mar.
  • “Two Varieties of Causal Anti-Realism”, The Foundations of Physics Group, University of Maryland College Park, 7 may.
  • “Two Problems for Theories of The Asymmetry of Causal Counterfactuals”, The 2007 Shapiro Conference: Causal and Epistemic Asymmetry, Brown University, 27–28 apr.
  • Invited participant, Workshop on the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, Center for Philosophy and the Sciences, Rutgers University, 11–12 jan.
  • “Two Varieties of Causal Anti-Realism”, The Origins and Functions of Causal Thinking III: Intervention, Time and Physics, University of Sydney, 19 jul.
  • “Two Varieties of Causal Anti-Realism”, On What There Isn’t: A Mid-Summer Mini-Conference on Metaphysical Anti-Realism, University of Sydney, 28 feb.
  • “There Is No Problem of Mental Causation”, Postgraduate Work in Progress Seminar, University of Sydney, 30 nov.
  • “There Is No Problem of Mental Causation”, The 11th Annual Australasian Postgraduate Philosophy Conference, Melbourne University, Melbourne, 28–30 sep.
  • “The Past Hypothesis and The Asymmetry of Causal Counterfactuals”, Philosophy, Probability and Physics, University of Konstanz, Germany, 7–13 aug.
  • “Lewis on The Asymmetry of Causal Counterfactuals”, Australasian Association of Philosophy, University of Sydney, 3–8 jul.
  • “Just Passing Through: Passage in a Block Universe”, Presentism and Passage, Centre for Time, Sydney, 6 may.
  • “The Passing of Time, Again”, The 10th Annual Australasian Postgraduate Philosophy Conference, Macquarie University, Sydney, 29 sep–1 oct.
  • “Common Causes and The Direction of Causation”, Postgraduate Mini-Conference in Philosophy, University of Sydney, 24 sep.
  • “Common Causes and The Direction of Causation”, Causality, Uncertainty and Ignorance, University of Konstanz, Germany, 15–21 aug.
  • “Common Causes and The Direction of Causation”, Russellian Society Discussion Group, University of Sydney, 10 aug.
  • “Reply to Maudlin”, The Origins of Temporal Experience, Centre for Time, Sydney, 16–17 jul.
  • “Explaining Causal Asymmetry”, The 9th Annual Australasian Postgraduate Philosophy Conference, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 1–3 oct.

Teaching & supervision


  • Philosophy of Technology (with Anna Greenspan), 2021.
  • Causal Inference (with Jeff Erlich), 2021.
  • Advanced Introduction to Philosophy of Science, 2014, 2020.
  • The Direction of Time (Reading Course), 2013.
  • Causation, 2012.
  • Perception (Reading Course), 2012.
  • Philosophy of Biology (Guest Lectures in Department of Biology), 2010.
  • Causation and Counterfactuals (Reading Course), 2010.
  • Models and Idealisation (Reading Course), 2009.
  • Inference to the Best Explanation and Scientific Realism, 2008.
  • Scientific Explanation, 2007.
  • Conditionals and Counterfactuals (Reading Course), 2007.

upper level

lower level

dissertation committees

Kevin McCain phd, University of Rochester
Hannah Oh phd, University of Rochester



American Philosophical Quarterly
Australasian Journal of Philosophy
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Canadian Journal of Philosophy
International Studies in the Philosophy of Science
InVisible Culture
Journal for General Philosophy of Science
Journal of the American Philosophical Association
Oxford University Press
Philosophers' Imprint
Philosophical Quarterly
Philosophical Studies
Philosophy of Science
Social Epistemology
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Theory and Research in Education
University of Chicago Press

Updated: 4 apr 2024

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