•  274
    Feyerabend, Pluralism, and Parapsychology
    Bulletin of the Parapsychological Association 5 (1): 5-9. 2018.
    Feyerabend is well-known as a pluralist, and notorious for his defences of, and sympathetic references to, heterodox subjects, such as parapsychology. Focusing on the latter, I ask how we should understand the relationship between the pluralism and the defences, drawing on Marcello Truzzi's and Martin Gardner's remarks on Feyerabend along the way.
  •  279
    Epistemic Courage and the Harms of Epistemic Life
    In Heather Battaly (ed.), The Routledge Handbook to Virtue Epistemology, Routledge. pp. 244-255. forthcoming.
    Since subjection to harm is an intrinsic feature of our social and epistemic lives, there is a perpetual need for individual and collective agents with the virtue of epistemic courage. In this chapter, I survey some of the main issues germane to this virtue, such as the nature of courage and of harm, the range of epistemic activities that can manifest courage, and the status of epistemic courage as a collective and as a professional virtue.
  •  176
    Confucianism, Curiosity, and Moral Self-Cultivation
    In Ilhan Inan, Lani Watson, Safiye Yigit & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Curiosity, Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 97-116. 2018.
    I propose that Confucianism incorporates a latent commitment to the closely related epistemic virtues of curiosity and inquisitiveness. Confucian praise of certain people, practices, and dispositions is only fully intelligible if these are seen as exercises and expressions of epistemic virtues, of which curiosity and inquisitiveness are the obvious candidates. My strategy is to take two core components of Confucian ethical and educational practice and argue that each presupposes a specific virtu…Read more
  •  11
    Life, "Technics", and the Decline of the West
    The Berlin Review of Books 00-00. 2017.
    An essay review of the Routledge Revival edition of Oswald Spengler, 'Man and Technics (1932)
  •  6
    We propose that certain forms of chronic illness can be transformative experiences, in the sense described by L.A. Paul.
  •  129
    Epistemic Corruption and Manufactured Doubt: The Case of Climate Science
    with Justin B. Biddle and Anna Leuschner
    Public Affairs Quarterly 31 (3): 165-187. 2017.
    Criticism plays an essential role in the growth of scientific knowledge. In some cases, however, criticism can have detrimental effects; for example, it can be used to ‘manufacture doubt’ for the purpose of impeding public policy making on issues such as tobacco consumption and greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., Oreskes & Conway 2010). In this paper, we build on previous work by Biddle and Leuschner (2015) who argue that criticism that meets certain conditions can be epistemically detrimental. We e…Read more
  •  93
    Capital Epistemic Vices
    Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 6 (8): 11-16. 2017.
    I offer a way to reflect on and taxonomise the vices of the mind. This is the idea of capital vices, an idea that has, historically, been mainly confined to moral and spiritual character traits, but is able to play a role in vice epistemology—or so I propose.
  •  403
    Epistemic Corruption and Education
    Episteme 16 (2): 220-235. 2019.
    I argue that, although education should have positive effects on students’ epistemic character, it is often actually damaging, having bad effects. Rather than cultivating virtues of the mind, certain forms of education lead to the development of the vices of the mind - it is therefore epistemically corrupting. After sketching an account of that concept, I offer three illustrative case studies.
  •  129
    Spiritual exemplars
    International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 79 (4): 410-424. 2018.
    This paper proposes that spiritual persons are an excellent focus for the study of 'living religion' and offers a methodology for doing so. By ‘spiritual persons’, I have in mind both exemplary figures – like Jesus or the Buddha – and the multitude of ‘ordinary’ spiritual persons whose lives are led in aspiration to the spiritual goods the exemplars manifest (enlightenment, say, or holiness). I start with Linda Zagzebski's recent argument that moral persuasion primarily occurs through encounters…Read more
  •  46
    Oswald Spengler, Technology, and Human Nature
    The European Legacy 17 (1). 2012.
    Oswald Spengler (1880?1936) is a neglected figure in the history of European philosophical thought. This article examines the philosophical anthropology developed in his later work, particularly his Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life (1931). My purpose is twofold: the first is to argue that Spengler's later thought is a response to criticisms of the ?pessimism? of his earlier work, The Decline of the West (1919). Man and Technics overcomes this charge by providing a novel p…Read more
  •  27
    Humane philosophy and the question of progress
    Ratio 25 (3): 277-290. 2012.
    According to some recent critics, philosophy has not progressed over the course of its history because it has not exhibited any substantial increase in the stock of human wisdom. I reject this pessimistic conclusion by arguing that such criticisms employ a conception of progress drawn from the sciences which is inapplicable to a humanistic discipline such as philosophy. Philosophy should not be understood as the accumulation of epistemic goods in a manner analogous to the natural sciences. I arg…Read more
  •  78
    This paper explores the influence of the fifth-century Christian Neoplatonist Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (Denys) on the twentieth-century philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend. I argue that the later Feyerabend took from Denys a metaphysical claim—the ‘doctrine of ineffability’—intended to support epistemic pluralism. The paper has five parts. Part one introduces Denys and Feyerabend’s common epistemological concern to deny the possibility of human knowledge of ultimate reality. Part two e…Read more
  •  475
    I offer an account of the virtue of intellectual humility, construed as a pair of dispositions enabling proper management of one's intellectual confidence. I then show its integral role in a range of familiar educational practices and concerns, and finally describe how certain entrenched educational attitudes and conceptions marginalise or militate against the cultivation and exercise of this virtue.
  •  21
    Doing Away With Scientism
    Philosophy Now 102 30-31. 2014.
    Scientism has none of the virtues of science or philosophy, so let's do away with it.
  •  50
    A Pluralist Challenge to 'Integrative Medicine': Feyerabend and Popper on the Cognitive Value of Alternative Medicine
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 44 (3). 2013.
    This paper is a critique of ‘integrative medicine’ as an ideal of medical progress on the grounds that it fails to realise the cognitive value of alternative medicine. After a brief account of the cognitive value of alternative medicine, I outline the form of ‘integrative medicine’ defended by the late Stephen Straus, former director of the US National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Straus’ account is then considered in the light of Zuzana Parusnikova’s recent criticism of ‘i…Read more
  •  47
    Was Sir William Crookes epistemically virtuous?
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 48 67-74. 2014.
    The aim of this paper is to use Sir William Crookes‘ researches into psychical phenomena as a sustained case study of the role of epistemic virtues within scientific enquiry. Despite growing interest in virtues in science, there are few integrated historical and philosophical studies, and even fewer studies focusing on controversial or ‗fringe‘ sciences where, one might suppose, certain epistemic virtues (like open-mindedness and tolerance) may be subjected to sterner tests. Using the virtue of …Read more
  •  76
    This paper explores the relationship between epistemic integrity, virtue, and authority by offering a virtue epistemological reading of the defences of non-scientific beliefs, practices, and traditions in the writings of Paul Feyerabend. I argue that there was a robust epistemic rationale for those defences and that it can inform contemporary reflection on the epistemic authority of the sciences. Two common explanations of the purpose of those defences are rejected as lacking textual support. A …Read more
  •  16
    Renewing the Senses: A Study of the Philosophy and Theology of the Spiritual Life
    Philosophical Quarterly 64 (255): 356-358. 2014.
    Review of Mark Wynn's book, Renewing the Senses: A Study of the Philosophy and Theology of the Spiritual Life
  •  66
    Phenomenology, Naturalism, and Religious Experience
    In Frazer Watts & Alasdair Coles (eds.), Religion and Neurology, Cambridge University Press. pp. 35-47. 2019.
    Contemporary philosophical debates about the competing merits of neurological and phenomenological approaches to understanding both psychiatric illness and religious experience—and, indeed, the relationship, if any, between psychiatric illness and religious experience. In this chapter, I propose that both psychiatric illness and religious experiences - at least in some of their diverse forms - are best understood phenomenologically in terms of radical changes in a person's 'existential feelings'…Read more
  •  482
    Although critics often argue that the new atheists are arrogant, dogmatic, closed-minded and so on, there is currently no philosophical analysis of this complaint - which I will call 'the vice charge' - and no assessment of whether it is merely a rhetorical aside or a substantive objection in its own right. This Chapter therefore uses the resources of virtue epistemology to articulate this ' vice charge' and to argue that critics are right to imply that new atheism is intrinsically epistemically…Read more
  •  16
    Feyerabend and the Monster 'Science'
    Philosophy Now 74 18-20. 2009.
  •  108
    Charging Others With Epistemic Vice
    The Monist 99 (3): 181-197. 2016.
    This paper offers an analysis of the structure of epistemic vice-charging, the critical practice of charging other persons with epistemic vice. Several desiderata for a robust vice-charge are offered and two deep obstacles to the practice of epistemic vice-charging are then identified and discussed. The problem of responsibility is that few of us enjoy conditions that are required for effective socialisation as responsible epistemic agents. The problem of consensus is that the efficacy of a vice…Read more
  •  46
    Introduction: Historiography and the philosophy of the sciences
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 55 1-2. 2016.
    The history of science and the philosophy of science have a long and tangled relationship. On the one hand, philosophical reflection on science can be guided, shaped, and challenged by historical scholarship—a process begun by Thomas Kuhn and continued by successive generations of ‘post-positivist’ historians and philosophers of science. On the other hand, the activity of writing the history of science raises methodological questions concerning, for instance, progress in science, realism and ant…Read more
  •  176
    Other histories, other sciences
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 61 57-60. 2017.
    An essay review of Léna Soler, Emiliano Trizio, and Andrew Pickering (eds.), Science As It Could Have Been: Discussing the Contingency/Inevitability Problem (Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press)
  •  1
    The Contingency of Science and the Future of Philosophy
    Essays in Philosophy 12 (2): 312-328. 2011.
    Contemporary metaphilosophical debates on the future of philosophy invariably include references to the natural sciences. This is wholly understandable given the cognitive and cultural authority of the sciences and their contributions to philosophical thought and practice. However such appeals to the sciences should be moderated by reflections on contingency of sciences. Using the work of contemporary historians and philosophers of science, I argue that an awareness of the radical contingency of…Read more
  •  56
    Transformative Suffering and The Cultivation of Virtue
    Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 22 (4): 291-294. 2015.
    The idea that certain experiences of suffering can be positively transformative has a central role in the practical and pastoral aspects of Christian theology. It is easy to identify different historical and doctrinal reasons why physical, mental, and spiritual suffering enjoy a central role in that tradition, but less easy to articulate and justify the provocative claim that suffering can be positively transformative. Indeed, some critics protest that the very idea is deeply offensive, on moral…Read more
  •  102
    Is Naturalism Bleak? A Reply to Holland and Cottingham
    Environmental Values 22 (6): 689-702. 2013.
    Although Cottingham and Holland make a persuasive case for the claim that it is difficult to situate a meaningful life within a Darwinian naturalistic cosmology, this paper argues that their case should be modified in response to the apparent fact that certain persons seem genuinely not to experience the ‘bleakness’ that they describe. Although certain of these cases will reflect an incomplete appreciation of the existential implications of Darwinian naturalism, at least some of those cases may …Read more