• Deciding to Trust
    In Paul Faulkner & Thomas W. Simpson (eds.), The Philosophy of Trust, Oxford University Press. pp. 161-176. 2017.
    In this paper I argue that even if one accepts non-cognitivism about trust, the view that trust is not a species of and does not require belief, one should reject voluntarism about trust, the view that we can trust directly at will. There is good reason to think that we cannot trust directly at will, in the way that we can act, and this is so regardless of whether trust requires belief.
  • In recent years several philosophers have argued that there is an irreducibly interpersonal dimension to the epistemology of testimony. I here revisit the account of testimony that I offered in Testimony, Trust, and Authority and explore some of its broader ethical and political implications. On the account that I propose, there is a deep parallel between the way in which the testimony of epistemic authorities impacts on the agency that we exercise in settling theoretical questions and the way…Read more
  •  43
    Recent Work on Trust and Tesimony
    with Adebayo Ogungbure
    American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (3): 217-230. 2018.
    Epistemologists have recently started appealing to the moral philosophy literature on interpersonal trust in order to help explain the epistemology of testimony. We argue that epistemologists who have given trust a significant role in their accounts of the epistemology of testimony have appealed to very different conceptions of the nature of trust, which have inevitably influenced the shape of their epistemological theorizing. Some have employed accounts of the nature of interpersonal trust acco…Read more
  •  26
    On not making up one’s own mind
    Synthese 1-17. forthcoming.
    In believing or acting on authority, an agent appears to believe or act without making up her own mind about what is the case or what to do. How is this possible? How can an agent make up her mind about a theoretical or practical question, and so believe or act intentionally, without doing so for herself? This paper argues that the standard account available in the literature of how it is that an agent can make up her mind without doing so for herself, an account framed in terms of Joseph Raz’s …Read more
  •  102
    Responsibility for Testimonial Belief
    Erkenntnis 76 (3): 337-352. 2012.
    According to so-called “credit views of knowledge,” knowledge is an achievement of an epistemic agent, something for which an agent is creditable or responsible. One influential criticism of the credit view of knowledge holds that the credit view has difficulty making sense of knowledge acquired from testimony. As Jennifer Lackey has argued, in many ordinary cases of the acquisition of testimonial knowledge, if anyone deserves credit for the truth of the audience’s belief it is the testimonial s…Read more
  •  49
    The epistemic significance of address
    Synthese 190 (6): 1059-1078. 2013.
    The overwhelming consensus amongst epistemologists is that there is no salient epistemological difference between the addressees of a speaker’s testimony and non-addressees. I argue that this overwhelming consensus is mistaken. Addressees of a speaker’s testimony are entitled to pass the epistemic buck or defer justificatory responsibility for their beliefs back to the testimonial speaker, while non-addressees are not. I then develop a provisional account of address that is in a position to mark…Read more
  •  84
    Knowing at second hand
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50 (5). 2007.
    Participants on both sides of the contemporary debate between reductionism and anti-reductionism about testimony commonly describe testimonial knowledge as knowledge acquired at second hand. I argue that fully appreciating the distinctive sense in which testimonial knowledge is secondhand supports anti-reductionism over reductionism but also that it supports a particular kind of anti-reductionism very different from that typically offered in the literature. Testimonial knowledge is secondhand in…Read more
  •  4
    Theoretical Anarchism
    Philosophical Topics 42 (1): 219-242. 2014.
    Philosophical anarchists hold that there is no such thing as genuine practical authority. Most epistemologists seem to at least tacitly accept an analogous position with respect to theoretical authority, that there is no such thing as a kind of authority over belief that is robustly analogous to genuine practical authority. I argue that appreciating this has an important consequence. Absent reason to think that there is a relevant difference between the practical and theoretical cases, anarchism…Read more
  •  37
    Obedience and Believing a Person
    Philosophical Investigations 39 (1): 58-77. 2016.
    I argue that there is a mutually illuminating parallel between the concept of obedience and the concept of believing a person. Just as both believing what a person says and believing what a person says for the reason that the person says it are insufficient for believing the person, so acting as a person demands and acting as a person demands for the reason that the person demands it are insufficient for obeying the person. Unlike the concept of believing a person, however, the concept of obedie…Read more
  •  84
    Testimony, Trust, and Authority
    Oxford University Press. 2011.
    In Testimony, Trust, and Authority, Benjamin McMyler argues that philosophers have failed to appreciate the nature and significance of our epistemic dependence ...
  •  64
    Doxastic coercion
    Philosophical Quarterly 61 (244): 537-557. 2011.
    I examine ways in which belief can and cannot be coerced. Belief simply cannot be coerced in a way analogous to central cases of coerced action, for it cannot be coerced by threats which serve as genuine reasons for belief. But there are two other ways in which the concept of coercion can apply to belief. Belief can be indirectly coerced by threats which serve as reasons for acting in ways designed to bring about a belief, and it can be coercively compelled by threats which non-rationally cause …Read more
  •  57
    Requesting Belief
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1). 2017.
    Requests belong to a family of forms of social influence on action that appear problematic when employed in the attempt to directly influence belief. Explaining why this is so is more difficult than it might at first appear. The fact that belief is not directly subject to the will can only be part of the explanation. It must also be the case that requests are incapable of providing epistemic reasons in a way that parallels that in which they provide practical reasons. I propose an account of the…Read more
  •  86
    Epistemic Authority, Preemption and Normative Power
    European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 6 (4): 101--119. 2014.