Oxford University
Faculty of Philosophy
DPhil, 1995
St Andrews, FIfe, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  •  126
    Anti-individualism and agnosticism
    Analysis 61 (3): 213-24. 2001.
    McKinsey-style reductio arguments aim to show that anti-individualism is incompatible with privileged access, the claim that a subject can have a priori knowledge of her thought contents. I defend my version of the reductio against the objections of Falvey, and McLaughlin and Tye. However, I raise and discuss a more serious objection--that it may be difficult for a subject to know a priori that she is agnostic about a concept, given that agnosticism involves being unsure whether a concept applie…Read more
  •  8
    Reasons, Justification, and Defeat (edited book)
    with Mona Simion
    Oxford University Press. 2021.
    This volume is about the notion of 'defeat' in philosophy. The idea is that someone who has some knowledge, or a justified belief, can lose this knowledge or justified belief if they acquire a 'defeater' - evidence that undermines it. The contributors examine the role of defeat not just in epistemology but in practical reasoning and ethics.
  •  153
    Natural kind terms and recognitional capacities
    Mind 107 (426): 275-303. 1998.
    The main contribution of this paper is a new account of how a community may introduce a term for a natural kind in advance of knowing the correct scientific account of that kind. The account is motivated by the inadequacy of the currently dominant accounts of how a community may do this, namely those proposed by Kripke and by Putman. Their accounts fail to deal satisfactorily with the facts that (1) typically, an item that instantiates one natural kind instantiates several - 'the higher-level na…Read more
  •  182
    Sosa on scepticism (review)
    Philosophical Studies 143 (3): 397--405. 2009.
    In my remarks, I discuss Sosa's attempt to deal with the sceptical threat posed by dreaming. Sosa explores two replies to the problem of dreaming scepticism. First, he argues that, on the imagination model of dreaming, dreaming does not threaten the safety of our beliefs. Second, he argues that knowledge does not require safety, but a weaker condition which is not threatened by dreaming skepticism. I raise questions about both elements of his reply.
  •  311
    Knowledge and practical reason
    Philosophy Compass 3 (6): 1135-1152. 2008.
    It has become recently popular to suggest that knowledge is the epistemic norm of practical reasoning and that this provides an important constraint on the correct account of knowledge, one which favours subject-sensitive invariantism over contextualism and classic invariantism. I argue that there are putative counterexamples to both directions of the knowledge norm. Even if the knowledge norm can be defended against these counterexamples, I argue that it is a delicate issue whether it is true, …Read more
  •  108
    Contextualism is motivated by cases in which the intuitive correctness of a range of phenomena, including knowledge attributions, assertions and reasoning, depends on the attributor's context. Contextualists offer a charitable understanding of these intuitions, interpreting them as reflecting the truth value of the knowledge attributions and the appropriateness of the relevant assertions and reasoning. Here, I investigate a range of different invariantist accounts and examine the extent to which…Read more
  •  116
    Williamson on Luminosity and Contextualism
    Philosophical Quarterly 55 (219). 2005.
    According to contextualism, the truth-conditions of knowledge attributions depend on features of the attributor's context. Contextualists take their view to be supported by cases in which the intuitive correctness of knowledge attributions depends on the attributor's context. Williamson offers a complex invariantist account of such cases which appeals to two elements, psychological bias and a failure of luminosity. He provides independent reasons for thinking that contextualist cases are charact…Read more
  •  265
    Bergmann argues that we should accept epistemically circular reasoning since, he claims, it is a consequence of the plausible assumption that some justification is noninferential (Bergmann, M. "Epistemic Circularity, Malignant and Benign", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research forthcoming). I show that epistemically circular reasoning does not follow merely from the assumption that some justification is noninferential, but only from that view combined with the assumption of basic justificatio…Read more
  •  342
    Contextualism and warranted assertibility manoeuvres
    Philosophical Studies 130 (3). 2006.
    Contextualists such as Cohen and DeRose claim that the truth conditions of knowledge attributions vary contextually, in particular that the strength of epistemic position required for one to be truly ascribed knowledge depends on features of the attributor's context. Contextualists support their view by appeal to our intuitions about when it's correct (or incorrect) to ascribe knowledge. Someone might argue that some of these intuitions merely reflect when it is conversationally appropriate to a…Read more
  •  199
    I consider but reject one broad strategy for answering the threshold problem for fallibilist accounts of knowledge, namely what fixes the degree of probability required for one to know? According to the impurist strategy to be considered, the required degree of probability is fixed by one's practical reasoning situation. I distinguish two different ways to implement the suggested impurist strategy. According to the Relevance Approach, the threshold for a subject to know a proposition at a time i…Read more
  •  79
    Knowledge Ascriptions (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2012.
    Knowledge ascriptions are a central topic of research in both philosophy and science. In this collection of new essays on knowledge ascriptions, world class philosophers offer novel approaches to this long standing topic.
  •  318
    Knowing-how: linguistics and cognitive science
    Analysis 73 (2): 220-227. 2013.
    Stanley and Williamson have defended the intellectualist thesis that knowing-how is a subspecies of knowing-that by appeal to the syntax and semantics of ascriptions of knowing-how. Critics have objected that this way of defending intellectualism places undue weight on linguistic considerations and fails to give sufficient attention to empirical considerations from the scientific study of the mind. In this paper, I examine and reject Stanley's recent attempt to answer the critics.
  •  274
    Experimental Philosophy, Contextualism and SSI
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (2): 233-261. 2013.
    I will ask the conditional question: if folk attributions of "know" are not sensitive to the stakes and/or the salience of error, does this cast doubt on contextualism or subject-sensitive invariantism (SSI)? I argue that if it should turn out that folk attributions of knowledge are insensitive to such factors, then this undermines contextualism, but not SSI. That is not to say that SSI is invulnerable to empirical work of any kind. Rather, I defend the more modest claim that leading versions of…Read more
  •  95
    Shifty talk: knowledge and causation
    Philosophical Studies 167 (2): 183-199. 2014.
    In this paper, I criticise one main strategy for supporting anti-intellectualism, the view that whether a subject knows may depend on the stakes. This strategy appeals to difficulties with developing contextualist and pragmatic treatments of the shiftiness of our talk about knowledge to motivate anti-intellectualism. I criticise this strategy by drawing an analogy between debates about causation and knowledge. In each case, talk about a phenomenon is shifty and contextualist and pragmatic explan…Read more
  •  121
    In this paper, I focus on the most important form of argument for anti-intellectualism, one that exploits alleged connections between knowledge and practical reasoning. I first focus on a form of this argument which exploits a universal principle, Sufficiency, connecting knowledge and practical reasoning. In the face of putative counterexamples to Sufficiency, a number of authors have attempted to reformulate the argument with a weaker principle. However, I argue that the weaker principles sugge…Read more