"Obsessive-Compulsive Akrasia." Mind & Language 35.4 (2020): 475-92. Version of Record.
Abstract: Epistemic akrasia is the phenomenon of voluntarily believing what you think you shouldn’t. Whether epistemic akrasia is possible is a matter of controversy. I argue that at least some people who suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are genuinely epistemically akratic. I advance an account of epistemic akrasia that explains the clinical data and provides broader insight into the nature of doxastic attitude-formation.
Note: M&L embargoes post-prints, but an extended version of this paper appears in my dissertation.
Abstract: Actors, undercover investigators, and readers of fiction sometimes report "losing themselves" in the characters they imitate or read about. They speak of "taking on" or "assuming" the beliefs, thoughts, and feelings of someone else. I offer an account of this strange but familiar phenomenon—what I call imaginative transportation.
Note: After publishing this paper, I came across an excellent master's thesis from Scott A. Harman (2010), whose attentional account of method acting shares much in common with my own. I discuss Harman (2010) and Stanislavski's (1936) accounts in an extended version of this paper, which appears in my dissertation.
Abstract: The Generality Problem is widely recognized to be a serious problem for reliabilist theories of justification. James R. Beebe’s (2004) Statistical Solution is one of only a handful of attempted solutions that has garnered serious attention in the literature. In their recent response to Beebe, Julien Dutant and Erik J. Olsson (2013) successfully refute Beebe’s Statistical Solution. This paper presents a New Statistical Solution that countenances Dutant and Olsson’s objections, dodges the serious problems that trouble rival solutions, and retains the theoretical virtues that made Beebe’s solution so attractive in the first place. There indeed exists a principled, rigorous, conceptually sparse, and plausible solution to the Generality Problem: it is the New Statistical Solution.
Note: Jeffrey Tolly recently published a challenging response to my paper. While I belief the contours of my account survive the attempted refutation, I am indebted to Tolly for identifying genuine problems and engaging charitably with my work.
Erratum: Note 19 misattributes an idea. I intended to credit Joshua Tarzia.
Abstract: A trope is an abstract particular. Trope theorists maintain that tropes exist and argue that they can solve important philosophical problems, such as explaining the nature of properties. While many contemporary interpreters of Aristotle read him as a trope theorist, few commentators distinguish different versions of trope theory. Which, of any, of these versions did Aristotle hold? Classical trope theorists say that individuals just are bundles of tropes. This essay offers a reading of Categories 2-5 and Metaphysics VII-VIII that aligns Aristotle's view with nonclassical trope theory, according to which objects are more than just bundles of tropes.
"Luck and Significance" (with Nathan Ballantyne). Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy and Psychology of Luck, edited by Ian M. Church and Robert Hartman (Oxford: Routledge, 2019): 160-70. Version of Record. Post-print.
Philosophy for a General Audience
"What I Learned from Leaving Academic Philosophy." The Philosophers' Cocoon (April 2020). Version of Record.
"Is Acting Hazardous? On the Risks of Immersing Oneself in a Role." Aeon Magazine (April 2019). Version of Record.
"Imaginative Transportation." The Junkyard (February 2018). Version of Record.
Old Papers That Aren't Fit for Print
"Williamson on Haecceitism." Draft.
Abstract: In his book Modal Logic as Metaphysics (2013), Timothy Williamson defends necessitism, a theory according to which “necessarily, everything is necessarily something”. In the course of defending necessitism, Williamson attacks haecceitism, a contingentist theory according to which necessarily all properties are necessarily something and some individuals are contingently something. My aim in this paper is to show that Williamson’s critique of haecceitism is unconvincing. Along the way, I try to show that the two major problems that Williamson ascribes to haecceitism are, at worst, minor problems compared to those that befall Williamson’s account. I conclude that, contra Williamson, haecceitism is preferable to necessitism.
A version of this paper was presented at the International Conference on Williamson, Logic, and Philosophy at Peking University (Beijing, China, 2015). After several journal rejections, along with some excellent feedback from reviewers, I abandoned the project.
"Luck and Disagreement." Draft.
Abstract: Both luck and disagreement are widely discussed topics in contemporary epistemology. And yet, there are almost no sustained treatments of the relationship between luck and disagreement in the current literature. Why has so little been written on the subject? Are there simply no interesting connections between luck and disagreement? I maintain, on the contrary, that luck and disagreement are conceptually and normatively linked and that this linkage should be of interest to anyone concerned with either luck or disagreement. Moreover, I argue that evidence of peer disagreement is evidence of knowledge-precluding luck; that the normative significance of peer disagreement reduces to the normative significance of knowledge-precluding luck; and that one’s theory of luck bears directly on one’s epistemic analysis of peer disagreement. The upshots are that luck and disagreement are closely related and their relatedness matters.
Versions of this paper were presented at the APA Central Division Meeting (Kansas City, MO, 2017) and the University of Rochester Graduate Epistemology Conference (Rochester, NY, 2016).