Below you will find information about my research sorted into three categories:
Publications: published and forthcoming work.
Completed: Projects that are completed and ready (or near-ready) for submission. Drafts of some of these papers are posted (comments welcomed). Titles have been removed for blind review.
In the works: Projects still under development: those closer to the top are at an advanced enough stage that I am usually happy to share drafts if you email me.
You will also find a copy of my dissertation at the bottom of the page.
(For drafts, email me at email@example.com).
"Authoritative Knowledge" forthcoming in Erkenntnis.
Abstract: This paper investigates ‘authoritative knowledge’, a neglected species of practical knowledge gained on the basis of exercising practical authority. I argue that, like perceptual knowledge, authoritative knowledge is non-inferential. I then present a broadly reliabilist account of the process by which authority yields knowledge, and use this account to address certain objections.
"Alienation or Regress: On the Non-Inferential Character of Agential Knowledge" forthcoming in Philosophical Studies.
Abstract: A central debate in philosophy of action concerns whether agential knowledge, the knowledge agents characteristically have of their own actions, is inferential. While inferentialists like Paul (2009a) hold that it is inferential, others like O’Brien (2007) and Setiya (2007, 2009, 2008) argue that it is not. In this paper, I offer a novel argument for the view that agential knowledge is non-inferential, by posing a dilemma for inferentialists: on the first horn, inferentialism is committed to holding that agents have only alienated knowledge of their own actions; on the second horn, inferentialism is caught in a vicious regress. Neither option is attractive, so inferentialism should be rejected.
"Practical Knowledge and Luminosity" forthcoming in Mind.
Abstract: Many philosophers hold that if an agent acts intentionally, she must know what she is doing. Although the scholarly consensus for many years was to reject the thesis in light of presumed counterexamples by Donald Davidson, several scholars have recently argued that attention to aspectual distinctions and the practical nature of this knowledge shows that these counterexamples fail. In this paper I defend a new objection against the thesis, one modelled after Timothy Williamson’s anti-luminosity argument. Since this argument relies on general principles about the nature of knowledge rather than on intuitions about fringe cases, the recent responses that have been given to defuse the force of Davidson’s objection are silent against it. Moreover, the argument suggests that even weaker theses connecting practical entities (e.g. basic actions, intentions, attempts, etc.) with knowledge are also false. Recent defenders of the thesis that there is a necessary connection between knowledge and intentional action are motivated by the insight that this connection is non-accidental. I close with a positive proposal to account for the non-accidentality of this link without appeal to necessary connections by drawing an extended analogy between practical and perceptual knowledge.
(2019) "Reason in Action in Aristotle: A Reading of EE 5.12 /NE 6.12" Journal of the History of Philosophy, vol.57, no.3. pp.391-417.
Abstract: I present a reading of EE 5.12/NE 6.12 according to which Aristotle argues for an executive account of φρόνησις (practical wisdom) to show why it is useful to possess this virtue. On this account, the practically wise person's actions are expressive of his knowledge of the fine, a knowledge that only the practically wise person has. This is why he must not only be a good deliberator, but also cunning (δεινότης), able to execute his actions well. An important consequence of this reading is that the debate about whether Aristotle holds a Humean account of practical reason presupposes assumptions about the scope of rationality that Aristotle rejects.
Short Abstract: Defends subject sensitive invariantism against the influential charge that it allows knowledge laundering, by arguing that the knowledge-transmission principles that motivate the objection must be modified.
Short Abstract: A version of Aristotle's puzzle in NE 2.4 about how we come to learn to Φ by Φing yields the conclusion that at least some forms of knowledge-how is gradable. Contrary to appearances, I argue that this is compatible with a version of intellectualism, and in fact serves as the groundwork for an intellectualist account of skill.
Short Abstract: Defends a second-personal account of testimonial knowledge on the basis of general principles concerning the personal and direct nature of this type of knowledge.
Short Abstract: Defends the view that canonical causal sentences are intensional, and that this is not in tension, as has usually been thought, with the objectivity of causality.
In the works
THE WILL AS EPISTEMIC FACULTY
Short Abstract: To account for the spontaneity of agential knowledge I defend a 'token-level' cognitivism: the token states that constitute agential knowledge are both intentions and beliefs. To account for the directness and epistemic-wellfoundedness of agential knowledge I defend a Reidean account of warrant: as perceptions give us direct warrant to form beliefs about our envirnoment, exercises of the will give us direct warrant to form beliefs about our actions. Thus, the intentions that constitute agential knowledge are self-warranting beliefs.
PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATIVES, PRACTICAL ANSWERS, AND THE NATURE OF SKILL
Short Abstract: I defend a novel account of the nature of skill that blends the best features from intellectualist and anti-intellectualist accounts of know-how. The central idea is that skill is the capacity to know how to do something in a particularly practical way, a way such that one can answer a question by acting (e.g. one can answer the question 'How do you cut carrot confetti?' by displaying how to cut it correctly). Like the intellectualist, I thus maintain that know-how consists in knowing answers; but like the anti-intellectualist, I hold that this is fundamentally a practical capacity. We need such an account, I argue, to understand the particular grasp that skilled agents express through what I call 'practical demonstratives': 'You do it like this' [while acting or being about to act in the relevant way].
AGAINST COGNITIVISM ABOUT AGENTIAL KNOWLEDGE
Short Abstract: The necessary connections between practical and cognitive entities that cognitivists posit are implausible, as shown both by counterexamples and x-phi studies. Indeed, we can give a recipe that shows that cognitivism cannot escape the counterexamples, unless we claim, implausibly, that the connections are not just necessary but analytic.
Short Abstract: I present a puzzle for disjunctivism about perception, showing it to conflict with attractive epistemic principles, like safety. To solve the puzzle, we need to weaken our understanding of the 'no common factor' claim that defines disjunctivist views.
Short Abstract: Offers a critical interpretation of this chapter in Anscombe's book by appeal to the idea of authoritative knowledge.
THE UNITY IN ARISTOTLE'S ACCOUNT OF PROPER AND INCIDENTAL PERCEPTION
Short Abstract: Argues for a unified account of Aristotle's view on proper and incidental perception. On this view, the most basic forms of perception are already objectual in nature (we properly perceive e.g. coloured objects rather than coloured patches), as shown by a careful study of the role that perceptual unities play in an argument in DA 3.1. Incidental perception requires only our ability to recognize by identifying and reidentifying an 'incidental object' (e.g. Diares's son) with a proper object of perception (e.g. a white, humanly-shaped thing). It is as such a genuine form of perception, rather than an act of reason, as some have thought.
PROCESSES, PERSISTENCE, AND REAL CHANGE
Short Abstract: Argues that four-dimensionalist's standard solution to the problem of change (Lewis' 'problem of temporary intrisincs') commits them to the view that all basic entities are instantaneous, i.e. have a minimal temporal extension. This shows that four-dimensionalists are committed to the view that processes are reducible to instantaneous entities. I raise doubts about the viability of such a reduction.
PROTEST AS SECOND-PERSONAL, SOCIAL ADDRESS
Short abstract: I argue that political protests are essentially second-personal social engagements, with their distinctive rational requirements. Because they are second-personal, they aim to give reasons that are grounded in the very act of making a claim; and because they are social, the claim takes an irreducibly plural form ('We demand that you F').
MENTAL TYPE EXTERNALISM AND THE EMOTIONS
Short abstract: Some form of externalism about content is widely accepted by philosophers of mind. This paper defends a more radical form of externalism ('mental type externalsim'). On this view, what type of mental state one is in (e.g. a state of anger or a state fear) partly depends on external conditions. The central argument appeals to recent empirical research on the social nature of emotions (especially Paul Ekman's influential work on emotion-expression). I argue that this research strongly suggests that an essential function of basic emotional states (such as anger and fear) is communicative. As such, the best account of the individuation of emotion-types will include external factors.
A NORMATIVE ACCOUNT OF EPISTEMIC EMOTIONS (co-written with Mike Deigan)
Short abstract: We present a novel account of epistemic emotions, according to which an emotion is epistemic iff it is subject to epistemic norms. The account is much less permissive than outstanding views of the notion, and that's a good thing.
PUZZLEMENT (co-written with Mike Deigan)
Short abstract: We argue that puzzlement is an epistemic emotion: it is an emotion that is governed by epistemic norms. You should puzzle just in case all the otherwise live answers to a question are closed.
ON 'EPISTEMIC PARTIALITY' AND THE EXPERIENCE OF A FRIEND
Short abstract: I argue that friendship (and similar relationships) does not impose especial epistemic demands. The cases that appear to suggest otherwise are best accounted for in terms of the way friends do or should experience the world vis-a-vis their friends. Once this fact is recognized it becomes apparent that these cases are compatible with standard accounts of epistemic rationality (both internalist and externalist alike). Still, defenders of epistemic partiality are right to focus on these cases, since they tell us something important about what it is to be a friend: it imposes and is constituted by certain emotional demands.
ACTION (co-written with Sergio Tenenbaum)
Short abstract: Survey article for Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. [commissioned but subject to review]
PROSPECTIVE PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE (co-written with John Schwenkler)
Short abstract: Re-examines the subjugation of prospective practical knowledge (to progressive practical knowledge) within an Anscombean framework. We argue that knowledge of future action should be
considered an equally central form of practical knowledge. The account aims to solve a number of puzzles for the notion of prospective practical knowledge, building on Anscombe's writings on knowledge of future contingents.
ACTION, KNOWLEDGE, AND AUTHORITY: VARIATIONS ON A REIDEAN THEME
Click here to download a copy of my dissertation.