Heather Dyke

  Philosophy, University of Otago  

Heather Dyke

BA(Hons)(1991) PhD (1996)(Leeds)

Email: heather.dyke@otago.ac.nz



From January 2013 Heather will be taking 18 months leave of absence in the UK. See here for more details.



I studied philosophy at the University of Leeds, both for my BA (Hons) and PhD, which I was awarded in 1996. The topic of my PhD thesis was the metaphysics of time and tense. In February 1998 I arrived in New Zealand to take up my first academic post as Lecturer in philosophy at the University of Otago in Dunedin. In 2009 I became Associate Professor in philosophy.


The focus of much of my research to date has been the philosophy of time. I am an advocate of the new B-theory of time, according to which there is no distinction between past, present and future, and time does not flow, even though our temporal language seems to suggest otherwise.

I have published a book about the relationship between language and reality called Metaphysics and the Representational Fallacy (New York: Routledge, 2008). My interest in this issue grew out of my interest in the philosophy of time, where much of the debate appeared to be centred around the ontological significance of different kinds of temporal language. I argue that metaphysics should (and on the whole does) take itself to be concerned with investigating the nature of reality, and I suggest that the ontological significance of language has been grossly exaggerated in the pursuit of that aim.

I have recently started extending my research into applied ethics. My first project in this area is a paper entitled 'Playing By the Rules: Can a Doping Ban Be Justified?'. In the paper I criticise the arguments against a blanket ban on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport. Such an approach is a blunt instrument that fails to justify a ban on doping. I argue that the best way to approach the problem is on a case-by-case basis, considering for each performance-enhancing substance or technique, whether allowing or prohibiting its use in a particular sport, would contribute to, or detract from, the ideals and function of that particular sport.

I have edited two collections of essays, the most recent being From Truth to Reality: New Essays in Logic and Metaphysics (New York: Routledge, 2009). Contributors to the volume are:

JC Beall, Mark Colyvan, Michael Devitt, John Heil, Frank Jackson, Fred Kroon, D. H. Mellor, Luca Moretti, Alan Musgrave, Robert Nola, J. J. C. Smart, Paul Snowdon, Daniel Stoljar.

I am currently co-editing, with Adrian Bardon of Wake Forest University, A Companion to the Philosophy of Time (Wiley-Blackwell). The volume is due to appear some time in 2013.

Some Recent Publications


'What is Analytic Metaphysics For?' Australasian Journal of Philosophy (2012) With James Maclaurin. Published online via iFirst 30 June 2011.

'On Methodology in the Metaphysics of Time' in Adrian Bardon (ed) The Future of the Philosophy of Time. New York: Routledge, 2011: 169-187.

'The Evolutionary Origins of Tensed Language and Belief' Biology and Philosophy 26 (2011): 401-418. Published online via Online First 22 March 2011 here.

'Words, Pictures and Ontology: A Commentary on John Heil's From an Ontological Point of View', SWIF Philosophy of Mind Review 6 (2007): 31-41. Available online.

'Tenseless/Non-Modal Truthmakers for Tensed/Modal Truths', Logique et Analyse 199: 269-87 (2007)


Encyclopedia Entries

Heather Dyke, 'Time, Metaphysics of' Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online www.rep.routledge.com (2005) Updated 2010