Forthcoming. "Direct Acquaintance" in the Blackwell Companion to Epistemology 3rd Edition, ed. by Kurt Sylvan
- An encyclopedia style entry introducing Bertrand Russell's concept of direct acquaintance. The article gives an overview of the supposed nature of the acquaintance relation, how it has been used in epistemology, central objections to its use in epistemology, and some potential replies to those objections.
2023. "The Importance of Philosophical Reflections on Teaching." For the professor reflection series of the APA's Official Blog.
- A blog post discussing the value and importance of professors engaging in and sharing their reflections on teaching within philosophy. It also briefly discusses a few examples of how other professors published reflections have helped me to improve my own teaching by helping to create assignments where students explicitly apply philosophical ideas to their own lives and lived experiences.
2022. "Comments on Simpson's 'More Clarity about Concessive Knowledge Attributions." Southwest Philosophy Review 38 (2): 13-16.
- In his article "More Clarity about Concessive Knowledge Attributions" in this journal, James Simpson attempts to show how fallibilism can explain the apparent infelicity of concessive knowledge attributions (CKAs) in terms of a pragmatic infelicity and an account of epistemic possibility he adopts from Clayton Littlejohn. I argue that James has misunderstood Dodd's (2010) criticism of the pragmatic strategy and his defense of the pragmatic nature of the infelicity is thereby question begging. Second, I argue that Simpson's supposed counterexample to an alternative account of epistemic possibility is question begging due to problematic assumptions it makes about what evidence a subject has. Lastly, I argue that the account of epistemic possibility that James adopts from Littlejohn is circular and that this is especially problematic within the context of the challenge CKAs pose to fallibilism.
2022. "Brain-Mind: From Neurons to Consciousness and Creativity by Paul Thagard" (Review). Review of Metaphysics 75 (4): 831-833.
- A book review. Paul Thagard's book Brain-Mind is an ambitious attempt to give a unified explanation of mental phenomena by appealing to neural-mechanisms known as semantic pointers. My review of the book gives an overview of these semantic pointers and how Thagard attempts to use them to provide explanations of mental imagery, analogical thought, emotions, and much more. I also raise worries that Thagard might be taking too general of an approach and sometimes gives only surface level defenses of his views. For instance, the concept of emergence which is subject to much philosophical controversy and Thagard makes very liberal use of this concept. Moreover, he makes use of emergence in very non-standard ways such as appealing to various levels where emergent properties often give rise to further high-level of emergent properties. However, Thagard's discussion ignores these controversies and largely treats emergence as if it is a straightforward and non-controversial concept.
2015. "Is Justification Easy or Impossible? Getting Acquainted with a Middle Road." Synthese 192 (9): 2987-3009.
- Various philosophers have argued that allowing basic or foundational sources of justification gives rise to a problematic form of bootstrapping and a problem of easy justification. In this article I make an analogous distinction between basic and non-basic inferences and show how allowing basic inferences also seems to allow bootstrapping to 'easy' justification for beliefs about the reliability of inferential patterns. However, if we reject basic inferences, we end up in a vicious regress that would have overly skeptical results concerning inferential justification. I then show how appealing to acquaintance with evidential relations opens up a middle road where inferential justification neither gives rise to problematic bootstrapping nor vicious regress. Finally, I show how my solution at the level of inferential justification can be modified to provide an analogous solution for in the case of foundational sources of justification.
2015. "What Seemings Seem to Be." Episteme 12 (3): 363-384.
- According to Phenomenal Conservatism (PC), if it seems to a subject S that P, S thereby has some degree of (defeasible) justification for believing P. But what is it for P to seem true? Answering this question is vital for assessing what role (if any) such states can play. Many have appeared to adopt a kind of non-reductionism that construes seemings as intentional states which cannot be reduced to more familiar mental states like beliefs or sensations. In this paper, I aim to show that reductive accounts need to be taken more seriously by illustrating the plausibility of identifying seemings and conscious inclinations to form a belief. I briefly close the paper by considering the implications such an analysis might have for views such as PC.
2013. "The Problem of Easy Justification: An Investigation of Evidence, Justification, and Reliability." Dissertation. University of Iowa.
- We trust perception, memory, induction, etc. to provide reliable information about the world around us. My dissertation investigates how this trust can be justified. Chapter one explains my focus on justification rather than knowledge, introduces the internalism/externalism debate, and proposes the evidentialist thesis as providing a starting framework for epistemological theorizing. Chapter two introduces a dilemma where justifying the reliability of our belief sources seems to be either unsatisfying or impossible. Chapter three considers and rejects several solutions to the puzzle that have been proposed. Chapter four discusses the metaphysics of evidence and defends the view that evidence consists of facts. Chapter five defends the view that a subject only possesses a piece of evidence if they are both aware of that evidence and aware of the support relation that holds between the evidence and the proposition that it supports. Chapter six argues that evidential support relations are a sui generic, irreducible, and knowable a priori. Chapter seven develops a fallibilist version of the acquaintance theory and illustrates how it meets several desiderata for a theory of justification set down in the earlier chapters. Chapter either applies the resulting acquaintance theory to our initial puzzle and shows how it avoids problematic bootstrapping without making it impossible to have justified beliefs about the reliability of our sources of belief.