Current Research

My in-progress dissertation argues that believers aren't to be understood as "aiming at the truth" in their believing, or at anything else; so we can't make sense of rational requirements on belief as instrumental constraints on our pursuit of epistemic goodies. I try to imagine the kind of epistemology that emerges when we accept this fact, and show how it helps resolve disputes like the one over practical reasons for belief.

Works in Progress

Email me for drafts of papers on:

  • the supposed aim of belief at truth

  • combining practical and theoretical reasons for belief

  • theoretical reasons and reasoning

  • the transparency of doxastic deliberation to truth

Published Works

  • "In Search of Doxastic Involuntarism," in Philosophical Studies, rebuts a number of arguments for the view that, necessarily, believing is not an intentional action. Moreover, I say, attention to the failures of these arguments shows that it's hard to frame involuntarism in any form that is both plausible and significant. (Pre-print here.)

  • "Against Schmought," in The Journal of Philosophy, responds to a metaethical problem raised by the prospect of alternative normative concepts—concepts that are used like our concepts RIGHT and WRONG, but that apply to different actions. If you've been worried about those, maybe I can set you at ease: I argue we're rationally required to reject such concepts, because of the incoherent commitments we would be making by countenancing them. (Pre-print here.)

  • "Retraction and Testimonial Justification: A New Problem for the Assurance View," in Philosophical Studies, makes trouble for one way of understanding how we're rational in believing what people tell us. It can't be that it's a matter of a testifier being held responsible for the truth of our beliefs, I say, because in some interesting cases—ones involving retractions—you get rational testimonial belief without such responsibility. Along the way we get to investigate how the speech-act of retraction works, which is kind of fun in its own right. (Pre-print here.)