Associate Professor of Philosophy, Indiana University, Bloomington
Department of Philosophy
My current research covers a broad range of topics in contemporary epistemology, including skepticism, empirical justification, testimony, epistemic reasons and epistemic normativity, and the relation between epistemological categories and our practices of assertion and justification. Much of my work in epistemology is continuous with issues pertaining to metaethics, moral psychology, philosophy of action, and the nature of commonsense psychological explanation. Roughly speaking, I approach epistemic norms and evaluation as part of the broader project of understanding the nature of norms and the forms of evaluation they engender, and I regard both epistemic norms and epistemic appraisal of persons as deeply related to the facts that we are social and deliberative beings: beings capable of making, evaluating, and accepting or rejecting claims to and upon each other as well as of determining our beliefs (and other attitudes) by considering reasons in the course of deliberation. I have historical interests including Ancient Greek Philosophy, Kant, Wittgenstein, and the history of Analytic Philosophy. Despite my work's contemporary flavor, I see it as belonging in large part to a tradition that includes G. E. Moore, Wittgenstein, and J. L. Austin: much of my epistemological data arise from careful investigations of our actual epistemic practices, and my response to, e.g., external world skepticism, begins from a position within those practices, asking what reason we can give ourselves for changing our views in the ways the skeptic suggests we should. One of my future projects is a study of (the history of) Ordinary Language Philosophy clarifying its aims and methods, its genuine weaknesses, and its lasting (though neglected) contributions. I am also becoming increasingly interested in philosophical aspects of psychoanalytic thought.
Here are some of the issues I have been working on in the recent past:
“Austin, Dreams, and Skepticism” forthcoming in a volume of new essays on J. L. Austin (Oxford University Press). Austin thought that empirical considerations about what dreams are like could provide a satisfactory reply to the dreaming argument for external world skepticism. I argue that given his larger epistemological framework, he was right. (Includes previously neglected material from Austin's notes for Sense and Sensibilia.)
“Immediate Warrant, Epistemic Responsibility, and Moorean Dogmatism,” (pdf) forthcoming in Synthese (special volume on epistemic reasons). Draft of December 2008.
"Believing One's Reasons are Good" (pdf) Synthese (special volume on epistemic responsibility), 161(3), 419-441. April 2008. (The paper here is the final draft; the original publication is available at www.springerlink.com)
"On Justifying and Being Justified" (pdf) (Philosophical Issues (a supplement to Nous), vol. 14, Epistemology, 2004, pp. 219 - 253.) (As required by Blackwell's for copyright purposes: This is an electronic version of an article published in Philosophical Issues. Complete citation information for the final version of the paper, as published in the print edition of Philosophical Issues, is available on the Blackwell Synergy online delivery service, accessible via the journal’s web site at www.blackwellpublishing.com/journals/nous or http://www.blackwell-synergy.com.)
"Epistemological Externalism and the Project of Traditional Epistemology" (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, vol. LXX no. 3, May 2005, 505 - 533). (Abstract pdf) (Paper pdf ) The version here is the final draft, not the published version.
"A Localist Solution to the Regress of Epistemic Justification" (Australasian Journal of Philosophy, vol. 83 no. 3, Sept., 2005, pp. 395 - 421). (Abstract pdf)(Paper pdf ) The version here is the final draft, not the published version.
“Is Fallibility an Epistemological Shortcoming?” (The Philosophical Quarterly, Volume 54: Issue 215, April 2004, pp. 232 – 251.) (Abstract pdf) (Paper pdf) The version here differs slightly from the published version.
"Some Worries for Would-Be WAMmers" (Grazer Philosophische Studien, special issue on contextualism in epistemology, vol. 69, 2005, pp. 101 - 25) (Paper pdf) (Note: This is an uncorrected galley proof of the paper.)
"Skepticism, Closure, and Sensitivity, or Why the Closure Principle is Irrelevant to Skepticism" (The Croatian Journal of Philosophy (special issue on Robert Nozick), vol. IV no. 12, 2005, pp. 335 - 350) (Paper pdf)
"On Williamson's Arguments that Knowledge is a Mental State" (Ratio (new series), vol. XVIII no. 2, June 2005, pp. 165 - 75) (Abstract.pdf) (Paper pdf) The version here is the final draft, not the published version.
“How to Link Assertion and Knowledge Without Going Contextualist: A reply to DeRose’s 'Assertion, Knowledge, and Context',” Philosophical Studies, 134 (2), 2007, pp. 111-129 (Abstract pdf) (Paper pdf ) The version here is the final draft, not the published version.
Critical Review of Duncan Prichard, Epistemic Luck (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, April 20, 2006). (Prichard Review - External Link)
“Epistemic Instrumentalism and Reasons for Belief: a reply to Tom Kelly,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2), 2007, 456–464. (Paper pdf) The version here is the final draft, not the published version.
"Fallibilism" (draft of an article to appear in the Blackwell's Companion to Epistemology, 2nd ed., edited by Sosa and Steup; updated to remove an error in the previously posted version regarding Williamson's view of knowledge). (paper pdf)
I regularly teach introduction to philosophy, upper-level undergraduate courses on epistemology, philosophy of action, and Wittgenstein, and a variety of graduate courses. My standard introductory course, "Appearance and Reality," is historically oriented, with readings from Plato, Descartes, Berkeley, Kant, and Schlick. My standard upper-level undergraduate epistemology course includes units on external world skepticism, a priori knowledge, and knowledge of mind (self knowledge and knowledge of other minds). I have taught graduate seminars on self-knowledge, empirical justification, the epistemology of testimony, history of analytic philosophy (Sellars, Quine, Davidson), and epistemic and practical normativity (with Kevin Toh). I am currently advising dissertation projects on perception, reasons and experience, and epistemic responsibility. I am or have recently been involved in dissertation projects on a priori knowledge, metaphysical aspects of explanation, guidance by norms, epistemological aspects of classification, Levinas and epistemic reasons, Kierkegaard on communication, and Kierkegaard on self-deception.
Last updated 6/09