•  439
    Causal refutations of idealism revisited
    Philosophical Quarterly 61 (242): 184-186. 2011.
    Causal refutations of external-world scepticism start from our ability to make justified judgements about the order of our own experiences, and end with the claim that there must be perceptible external objects, some of whose states can be causally correlated with that order. In a recent paper, I made a series of objections to this broadly Kantian anti-sceptical strategy. Georges Dicker has provided substantive replies on behalf of a version of the causal refutation of idealism. Here I offer a f…Read more
  •  702
    'As Kant Has Shown:' Analytic Theology and the Critical Philosophy
    In M. Rea & O. Crisp (eds.), Analytic Theology, Oxford University Press. pp. 116--135. 2009.
    On why Kant may not have shown what modern theologians often take him to have shown.
  •  84
    An early version of "Kant on the Normativity of Taste" above. Original abstract: In moving away from the objective, property-based theories of earlier periods to a subject-based aesthetic, Kant did not intend to give up the idea that judgments of beauty are universalizable. Accordingly, the “Deduction of Judgments of Taste” aims to show how reflective aesthetic judgments can be “imputed” a priori to all human subjects. The Deduction is not successful: Kant manages only to justify the imputation…Read more
  •  95
    Neo-Kantianism in Contemporary Philosophy (review)
    with Peter Gilgen
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. 2013.
    A review of a volume on Neo-Kantianism edited by Rudolf Makkreel and Sebastian Luft. -/- .
  •  114
    Prolegomena to any future non-doxastic religion
    Religious Studies 49 (2): 195-207. 2013.
    A discussion of the relationship between religion and belief, in the context of an engagement with J.L. Schellenberg's recent "Prolegomena." I suggest that there may be an authentic way of being "religious" without having full-blown religious belief.
  •  777
    Kant on the normativity of taste: The role of aesthetic ideas
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (3). 2007.
    For Kant, the form of a subject's experience of an object provides the normative basis for an aesthetic judgement about it. In other words, if the subject's experience of an object has certain structural properties, then Kant thinks she can legitimately judge that the object is beautiful - and that it is beautiful for everyone. My goal in this paper is to provide a new account of how this 'subjective universalism' is supposed to work. In doing so, I appeal to Kant's notions of an aesthetic idea …Read more
  •  101
    Infant suffering revisited
    Religious Studies 37 (4): 475-484. 2001.
    I respond to two sets of objections to my characterization of infant suffering and the problem that it presents to traditional theism. My main theses were that infant suffering to death is not ‘horrendous’ in the technical sense defined, but that a good God still needs to "balance off" rather than "defeat" such suffering. David Basinger, on the other hand, claims that some infant suffering should be considered horrendous, while Nathan Nobis suggests that such suffering must be defeated rather th…Read more
  •  1322
    Belief in Kant
    Philosophical Review 116 (3): 323-360. 2007.
    Most work in Kant’s epistemology focuses on what happens “upstream” from experience, prior to the formation of conscious propositional attitudes. By contrast, this essay focuses on what happens "downstream": the formation of assent (Fuerwahrhalten) in its various modes. The mode of assent that Kant calls "Belief" (Glaube) is the main topic: not only moral Belief but also "pragmatic" and "doctrinal" Belief as well. I argue that Kant’s discussion shows that we should reject standard accounts of …Read more
  •  626
    Review: Saving God from Saving God (review)
    Books and Culture 15 (3). 2012.
    Mark Johnston’s book, Saving God (Princeton University Press, 2010) has two main goals, one negative and the other positive: (1) to eliminate the gods of the major Western monotheisms (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) as candidates for the role of “the Highest One”; (2) to introduce the real Highest One, a panentheistic deity worthy of devotion and capable of extending to us the grace needed to transform us from inwardly-turned sinners to practitioners of agape. In this review, we argue that Jo…Read more
  •  506
    My goal in this paper is to show that Kant’s prohibition on certain kinds of knowledge of things-in-themselves is motivated less by his anti-soporific encounter with Hume than by his new view of the distinction between “real” and “logical” modality, a view that developed out of his reflection on the rationalist tradition in which he was trained. In brief: at some point in the 1770’s, Kant came to hold that a necessary condition on knowing a proposition is that one be able to prove that all the i…Read more
  •  1
    Most accounts of Kant's epistemology focus narrowly on cognition and knowledge . Kant himself, however, thought that there are many other important species of assent : opinion, persuasion, conviction, belief, acceptance, and assent to the deliverances of common sense. ;My goal in this dissertation is to isolate and motivate the principles of rational acceptability which, for Kant, govern each of these kinds of assent, instead of focusing merely on cognition and knowledge. Some of the principles …Read more
  •  139
    Descartes's lack of clarity about the causal connections between brain states and mental states has led many commentators to conclude that he has no coherent account of body-mind relations in sensation, or that he was simply confused about the issue. In this paper I develop what I take to be a coherent account that was available to Descartes, and argue that there are both textual and systematic reasons to think that it was his considered view. The account has brain states serving as occasions fo…Read more
  •  57
    Kant on how certain experiences might give us considerations counting in favor of the real possibility of certain things.
  •  371
    Three Skeptics and the Critique: Review of Michael Forster's Kant and Skepticism
    with Colin Mclear
    Philosophical Books 51 (4): 228-244. 2010.
    A long critical notice of Michael Forster's recent book, "Kant and Skepticism." We argue that Forster's characterization of Kant's response to skepticism is both textually dubious and philosophically flawed. -/- .
  •  476
    An effort to expand and defend aspects of my earlier reading of the Deduction of Taste. The Red Scorpion is just for fun.
  •  1226
    Kant, Real Possibility, and the Threat of Spinoza
    Mind 121 (483): 635-675. 2012.
    In the first part of the paper I reconstruct Kant’s proof of the existence of a ‘most real being’ while also highlighting the theory of modality that motivates Kant’s departure from Leibniz’s version of the proof. I go on to argue that it is precisely this departure that makes the being that falls out of the pre-critical proof look more like Spinoza’s extended natura naturans than an independent, personal creator-God. In the critical period, Kant seems to think that transcendental idealism allow…Read more
  •  467
    I reply to recent criticisms by Uygar Abaci and Peter Yong, among others, of my reading of Kant's pre-Critical of God's existence, and of its fate in the Critical period. Along the way I discuss some implications of this debate for our understanding of Kant's modal metaphysics and modal epistemology generally.
  •  337
    Can Kantian Laws Be Broken? Kant on Miracles
    Res Philosophica 91 (1): 103-121. 2014.
    In this paper I explore Kant’s critical discussions of the topic of miracles (including the important but neglected fragment from the 1780s called “On Miracles”) in an effort to answer the question in the title. Along the way I discuss some of the different kinds of “laws” in Kant’s system, and also the argument for his claim that, even if empirical miracles do occur, we will never be in a good position to identify instances of them. I conclude with some tentative remarks about the notorious sug…Read more
  •  81
    Kant's Anatomy of Evil (review)
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (2): 393-397. 2014.
    No abstract
  •  612
    The ethics of belief
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2016.
    The “ ethics of belief” refers to a cluster of questions at the intersection of epistemology, philosophy of mind, psychology, and ethics. The central question in the debate is whether there are norms of some sort governing our habits of belief formation, belief maintenance, and belief relinquishment. Is it ever or always morally wrong to hold a belief on insufficient evidence? Is it ever or always morally right to believe on the basis of sufficient evidence, or to withhold belief in the perceive…Read more
  •  1325
    Kant, Modality, and the Most Real Being
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 91 (2): 157-192. 2009.
    Kant's speculative theistic proof rests on a distinction between “logical” and “real” modality that he developed very early in the pre-critical period. The only way to explain facts about real possibility, according to Kant, is to appeal to the properties of a unique, necessary, and “most real” being. Here I reconstruct the proof in its historical context, focusing on the role played by the theory of modality both in motivating the argument (in the pre-critical period) and, ultimately, in undoin…Read more
  •  326
    Introduction: On Defending Kant at the AAR
    Faith and Philosophy 29 (2): 144-150. 2012.
    I briefly describe the unusually contentious author-meets-critics session that was the origin of the book symposium below. I then try to situate the present symposium within broader contemporary scholarship on Kant.
  •  460
    Accidentally true belief and warrant
    Synthese 137 (3). 2003.
    The Proper Functionist account of warrant – like many otherexternalist accounts – is vulnerable to certain Gettier-style counterexamples involving accidentally true beliefs. In this paper, I briefly survey the development of the account, noting the way it was altered in response to such counterexamples. I then argue that Alvin Plantinga's latest amendment to the account is flawed insofar as it rules out cases of true beliefs which do intuitively strike us as knowledge, and that a conjecture rece…Read more
  •  474
    A Dialogue Concerning Aesthetics and Apolaustics
    Journal of Scottish Philosophy 9 (1). 2011.
    A debate between two aestheticians concerning the relative influence of Scottish and German philosophers on the contemporary discipline.
  •  1104
    In this paper I sketch out one of the most important conditions on rational hope, and argue that Kant embraced a version of it. I go on to suggest that we can use this analysis to solve a longstanding 'conundrum' in Kant's ethics and religion regarding the nature of the individual moral revolution.
  •  768
    Real Repugnance and our Ignorance of Things-in-Themselves: A Lockean Problem in Kant and Hegel
    Internationales Jahrbuch des Deutschen Idealismus 7 135-159. 2011.
    Kant holds that in order to have knowledge of an object, a subject must be able to “prove” that the object is really possible—i.e., prove that there is neither logical inconsistency nor “real repugnance” between its properties. This is (usually) easy to do with respect to empirical objects, but (usually) impossible to do with respect to particular things-in-themselves. In the first section of the paper I argue that an important predecessor of Kant’s account of our ignorance of real possibility…Read more