•  129
    Elusive freedom? A reply to Helen Beebee
    Philosophical Review 113 (3): 411-416. 2004.
    I defend my earlier argument for incompatibilism, against Helen Beebee’s reply. Beebee’s reply would allow one to have free will despite that nothing one does counts as an exercise of that freedom, and would grant one the ability to do A even when one’s doing A requires something to happen that one cannot bring about and that in fact will not happen.
  •  124
    Lob der Untätigkeit
    In Thomas Leske (ed.), Wider die Anmaßung der Politik, Thomas Leske. 2015.
    Den Beteiligten des Politikbetriebs einschließlich Wählern, Aktivisten und Spitzenpolitikern fehlt häufig der grundlegende Sachverstand für die jeweiligen politischen Entscheidungen. Selbst Experten verstehen gesellschaftliche Mechanismen kaum und können deren Auswirkung kaum vorhersagen. Nur auf einfachste und unstrittige politische Behauptungen ist Verlass. Teilweise rührt das daher, dass politisches Wissen schwer zu erlangen ist, und teilweise daher, dass der Einzelne keinen ausreichenden Ans…Read more
  •  123
    Phenomenal Conservatism
    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2013.
    Phenomenal Conservatism Phenomenal Conservatism is a theory in epistemology that seeks, roughly, to ground justified beliefs in the way things “appear” or “seem” to the subject who holds a belief. The theory fits with an internalistic form of foundationalism—that is, the view that some beliefs are justified non-inferentially (not on the basis of other beliefs), and that […]
  •  120
    Values and morals: Outline of a skeptical realism
    Philosophical Issues 19 (1): 113-130. 2009.
    I propose a skeptical form of moral realism, according to which, while there are objective values, many of the evaluative properties appealed to in common sense moral thinking, particularly “thick” evaluative properties, may be illusory. I suggest that “immorality” may be an example of a thick evaluative term that denotes no real property.
  •  120
    Confessions of a utopophobe
    Social Philosophy and Policy 33 (1-2): 214-234. 2016.
  •  111
    Weak Bayesian coherentism
    Synthese 157 (3): 337-346. 2007.
    Recent results in probability theory have cast doubt on coherentism, purportedly showing (a) that coherence among a set of beliefs cannot raise their probability unless individual beliefs have some independent credibility, and (b) that no possible measure of coherence makes coherence generally probability-enhancing. I argue that coherentists can reject assumptions on which these theorems depend, and I derive a general condition under which the concurrence of two information sources lacking indiv…Read more
  •  106
    A Defense of the Given
    with Evan Fales
    Philosophical Review 108 (1): 128. 1999.
    The “doctrine of the given” that Fales defends holds that there are certain experiences such that we can have justified beliefs about their “contents” that are not based on any other beliefs, and that the rest of our justified empirical beliefs rest on those “basic beliefs.” The features of experience basic beliefs are about are said to be “given.” Fales holds that some basic beliefs are infallible, having a kind of clarity that guarantees their truth to the believer. In addition, some basic bel…Read more
  •  105
    People want things, and they tend to act in such a way as to get the things they want, to the best of their ability.1 Sometimes our wants conflict with each other, so that we are forced to choose between different things that we want. When this happens, we normally choose the thing that we want more, over the thing that we want less. Behaving in this way is what we call “rational”; more specifically, it is “instrumentally rational.” Instrumental rationality consists in choosing the means that be…Read more
  •  102
    A Direct Realist Account of Perceptual Awareness
    Dissertation, Rutgers University. 1998.
    In the first chapter, I explain the concept of awareness and the distinction between direct and indirect awareness. Direct awareness of x is understood as awareness of x which is not based on awareness of anything else, and the "based on" relation is understood as a particular way in which one state of awareness can be caused by another state of awareness when the contents of the two states are logically related.
  •  98
    Logical Properties of Warrant
    Philosophical Studies 122 (2): 171-182. 2005.
    Trenton Merricks argues that on any reasonable account, warrant must entailtruth. I demonstrate three theses about the properties ofwarrant: (1) Warrant is not unique;there are many properties that satisfy the definition of warrant. (2) Warrant need not entail truth; there are some warrant properties that entailtruthand others that do not. (3) Warrant need not be closed under entailment, even if knowledge is. If knowledge satisfies closure, then some warrant properties satisfy closure while othe…Read more
  •  93
    Rawls's Problem of Stability
    Social Theory and Practice 22 (3): 375-395. 1996.
    Rawls addresses the problem of the stability of his conception of justice by arguing that it could become the focus of an “overlapping consensus,” in which individuals with diverse moral, philosophical, and religious views all accept the Rawlsian conception for different reasons. Using the example of Christian fundamentalists, I show that, subject to constraints that Rawls himself delineates, no such consensus is possible.
  •  92
    Informal student evaluations of faculty were started in the 1960's by enterprising college students.(1) Since then, their use has spread so that now they are administered in almost all American colleges and universities and are probably the main source of information used for evaluating faculty teaching performance.(2) There is an enormous literature on the subject of student evaluations of faculty (SEF).(3) The following is a summary of some developments in that literature that should be of spe…Read more
  •  87
    Arbitrary foundations?
    Philosophical Forum 34 (2). 2003.
    Foundationalism has often been charged with the defect of endorsing “arbitrary” foundations. On the most obvious interpretations of the term “arbitrary,” this objection transparently begs the question. A more sophisticated interpretation reveals the objection as resting on a conceptual confusion between reasons why a belief is justified and reasons that the believer has for the belief.
  •  78
    Epistemological egoism and agent-centered norms
    In Trent Dougherty (ed.), Evidentialism and its Discontents, Oxford University Press. pp. 17. 2011.
    Agent-centered epistemic norms direct thinkers to attach different significance to their own epistemically relevant states than they attach to the similar states of others. Thus, if S and T both know, for certain, that S has the intuition that P, this might justify S in believing that P, yet fail to justify T in believing that P. I defend agent-centeredness and explain how an agent-centered theory can accommodate intuitions that seem to favor agent-neutrality.
  •  75
    Epistemology: Contemporary Readings (edited book)
    Routledge. 2002.
    This comprehensive anthology draws together classic and contemporary readings by leading philosophers on epistemology. Ideal for any philosophy student, it will prove essential reading for epistemology courses, and is designed to complement Robert Audi's textbook _Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction_. Themes covered include, perception, memory, inductive inference, reason and the a priori, the architecture of knowledge, skepticism, the analysis of knowledge, testimony. Each section begins …Read more
  •  70
    Gun Rights as Deontic Constraints
    Social Theory and Practice 45 (4): 601-612. 2019.
    In earlier work, I argued that gun prohibition is unjustified because it violates an individual right to self-defense. Here, I defend that argument against objections posed by Nicholas Dixon and Jeff McMahan to the effect that the right of citizens to be free from gun violence counterbalances the right of self-defense, and that gun prohibition does not violate the right of self-defense because it renders everyone overall safer.
  •  68
    The Duty to Disregard the Law
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 12 (1): 1-18. 2018.
    In the practice of jury nullification, a jury votes to acquit a defendant in disregard of the factual evidence, on the grounds that a conviction would result in injustice, either because the law itself is unjust or because its application in the particular case would be unjust. Though the practice is widely condemned by courts, the arguments against jury nullification are surprisingly weak. I argue that, pursuant to the general ethical duty to avoid causing unjust harms to others, jurors are oft…Read more
  •  66
    Reply to Walter Block on Ethical Vegetarianism
    Studia Humana 10 (1): 41-50. 2021.
    I address Walter Block’s recent criticisms of my book, Dialogues on Ethical Vegetarianism. Methodologically, Block relies too much on appeals to contentious and extreme assumptions. Substantively, most of his objections are irrelevant to the central issue of the book. Those that are relevant turn on false assumptions or lead to absurd consequences. In the end, Block’s claim to oppose suffering cannot be reconciled with his indifference to a practice that probably causes, every few years, more su…Read more
  •  61
    Van Inwagen’s Consequence Argument
    Philosophical Review 109 (4): 525. 2000.
    Peter van Inwagen has presented a compelling argument for the incompatibility of free will and determinism, which he calls “the Consequence Argument.” This argument depends on a controversial inference rule, “rule beta,” which says.
  •  58
    Self-Locating Beliefs
    In Paradox Lost, Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 219-243. 2018.
    Beauty is put to sleep and woken up either once or twice, depending on the flip of a coin; after each waking, she will fall asleep and forget having woken. Upon waking, what should be her credence that the coin came up heads? Some say 1/2; others say 1/3. I propose that evidence supports a theory for you when your having that qualitative evidence would be more likely if the theory were true than if it were false. This view supports the “1/3” answer to the Sleeping Beauty problem. It also has app…Read more
  •  56
    Approaching Infinity
    Palgrave Macmillan. 2016.
    Approaching Infinity addresses seventeen paradoxes of the infinite, most of which have no generally accepted solutions. The book addresses these paradoxes using a new theory of infinity, which entails that an infinite series is uncompletable when it requires something to possess an infinite intensive magnitude. Along the way, the author addresses the nature of numbers, sets, geometric points, and related matters. The book addresses the need for a theory of infinity, and reviews both old and new …Read more
  •  50
    When All Else Fails: The Ethics of Resistance to State Injustice (review)
    The Philosophers' Magazine 85 114-116. 2019.
  •  50
    Is Benevolent Egoism Coherent?
    Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 3 (2). 2002.
    Michael Huemer argues that there is a tension between two principles putatively essential to Rand's ethics: the principle of egoism, which states that the only reason for doing (or not doing) anything is that it will serve (or frustrate) one's own interests; and the principle that one must not sacrifice others. Huemer considers several arguments that Rand offers for the second principle but finds that each involves either implausible empirical assumptions or assumptions that conflict with egoism…Read more
  •  47
    The Oxford Handbook of Free Will (review)
    Philosophical Review 113 (2): 279-283. 2004.
    The free will literature is sufficiently voluminous that even philosophers already working in the area can profit from the Handbook. Beyond the survey articles, it provides a boon in the shape of summary statements and defenses, by several prominent writers on free will, of theories that they have developed at greater length elsewhere. It is, of course, impossible to discuss every article in the book; here I shall mention only a handful of the more salient.
  •  41
    Egoism and Prudent Predation
    Journal of Ayn Rand Studies 5 (2). 2004.
  •  36
    Alternative Self-Defeat Arguments: A Reply to Mizrahi
    Logos and Episteme 5 (2): 223-229. 2014.
    I address Moti Mizrahi‟s objections to my use of the Self-Defeat Argument for Phenomenal Conservatism. Mizrahi contends that other epistemologicaltheories can be supported by parallel self-defeat arguments. I argue that the self-defeat arguments for other theories either are compatible with PC and thus present no problem, or have a false premise, unlike the self-defeat argument for PC.