Baylor University
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2016
Hillsdale, Michigan, United States of America
  •  1906
    The problem of evil is broadly considered to be one of the greatest intellectual threats to traditional brands of theism. And William Rowe’s 1979 formulation of the problem in “The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism” is the most cited formulation in the contemporary philosophical literature. In this paper, we explore how the tools and resources of experimental philosophy might be brought to bear on Rowe’s seminal formulation, arguing that our empirical findings raise significant ques…Read more
  •  1141
    Alvin Plantinga theorizes the existence of a sensus divinitatis – a special cognitive faulty or mechanism dedicated to the production and non-inferential justification of theistic belief. Following Chris Tucker, we offer an evidentialist-friendly model of the sensus divinitatis whereon it produces theistic seemings that non-inferentially justify theistic belief. We suggest that the sensus divinitatis produces these seemings by tacitly grasping support relations between the content of ordinary ex…Read more
  •  1077
    In this chapter, we argue for a phenomenal conservative perspective on religious epistemology and attempt to answer some common criticisms of this perspective.
  •  636
    The Perspective of Faith: It's Nature and Epistemic Implications
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 92 (3): 515-533. 2018.
    A number of philosophers, going back at least to Kierkegaard, argue that to have faith in something is, in part, to have a passion for that thing—to possess a lasting, formative disposition to feel certain positive patterns of emotion towards the object of faith. I propose that (at least some of) the intellectual dimensions of faith can be modeled in much the same way. Having faith in a person involves taking a certain perspective towards the object of faith—in possessing a lasting, formative di…Read more
  •  546
    Divine Command Theory and Moral Supervenience
    Philosophia Christi 18 (1): 65-78. 2016.
    Mark Murphy argues that the property identity version of divine command theory, coupled with the doctrine that God has freedom in commanding, violates the supervenience of the moral on the nonmoral. In other words, they permit two situations exactly alike in nonmoral facts to differ in moral facts. I give three arguments to show that a divine command theorist of this sort can consistently affirm moral supervenience. Each argument contends that there are always nonmoral differences between worlds…Read more
  •  492
    Re-evaluating Reid's Response to Skepticism
    Journal of Scottish Philosophy 14 (3): 317-339. 2016.
    I argue that some of the most prominent interpretations of Reid's response to skepticism marginalize a crucial aspect of his thought: namely, that our common sense beliefs meet whatever normative standards of rationality the skeptic might fairly demand of them. This should be seen as supplementary to reliabilist or proper functionalist interpretations of Reid, which often ignore this half of the story. I also show how Reid defends the rationality of believing first principles by appealing to the…Read more
  •  484
    From One Conservative to Another: A Critique of Epistemic Conservatism
    Southwest Philosophy Review 37 (2): 167-186. 2021.
    Epistemic conservatism maintains that some beliefs are immediately justified simply because they are believed. The intuitive implausibility of this claim sets the burden of proof against it. Some epistemic conservatives have sought to lessen this burden by limiting its scope, but I show that they cannot remove it entirely. The only hope for epistemic conservativism is to appeal to its theoretical fruit. However, such a defense is undercut by the introduction of phenomenal conservatism, which acc…Read more
  •  407
    Adequate and Inadequate Ideas in Spinoza
    History of Philosophy Quarterly 31 (2): 119-136. 2014.
    Adequate and inadequate ideas play a central role in Spinoza’s system. A number of recent commentators have suggested that the internality or externality of an idea’s immediate cause is a necessary and sufficient condition of the idea’s adequacy or inadequacy, respectively. I show that this thesis is subject to counterexample and briefly explore the significance of this critique for recent interpretations. I offer an alternative interpretation on which adequate and inadequate ideas are character…Read more
  •  376
    Conceptualism and Concept Acquisition
    Theoria 87 (1): 69-86. 2019.
    Many think that the perceptual theory known as “conceptualism” cannot honor a common and intuitive constraint on concept acquisition—that we gain the initial power to deploy primitive concepts through experience. Their argument is: if experience involves the deployment of concepts, then one must possess the power to deploy those concepts prior to experience. I argue that the plausibility of this argument rests on a subtle equivocation. It’s true that conceptualism requires a particular kind of p…Read more
  •  297
    We criticize the approach of covenantal epistemology to religious epistemology as articulated by Scott Oliphint from the perspective of phenomenal conservatism.
  •  265
    Restoring Common Sense: Restorationism and Common Sense Epistemology
    In J. Caleb Clanton (ed.), Restoration & Philosophy, University of Tennessee Press. pp. 35-78. 2019.
    Alexander Campbell once declared “a solemn league and covenant” between philosophy and common sense. Campbell’s pronouncement is representative of a broader trend in the Restorationist movement to look favorably on the common sense response to skepticism—a response originating in the work of Scottish philosopher and former minister Thomas Reid. I recount the tumultuous history between philosophy and common sense followed by the efforts of Campbell and Reid to reunite them. Turning to the prese…Read more
  •  254
    We critique MacIntyre's traditions-based perspectivalist approach to religious epistemology as articulated by Erik Baldwin from the perspective of phenomenal conservatism.
  •  252
    Seemings as sui generis
    Synthese 195 (7): 3079-3096. 2018.
    The epistemic value of seemings is increasingly debated. Such debates are hindered, however, by a lack of consensus about the nature of seemings. There are four prominent conceptions in the literature, and the plausibility of principles such as phenomenal conservatism, which assign a prominent epistemic role to seemings, varies greatly from one conception to another. It is therefore crucial that we identify the correct conception of seemings. I argue that seemings are best understood as sui gene…Read more
  •  235
    We criticize the proper functionalist approach to religious epistemology as articulated by Tyler McNabb from the perspective of phenomenal conservatism.
  •  231
    Rescuing a traditional argument for internalism
    Synthese 201 (4): 1-22. 2023.
    Early moderns such as Locke and Descartes thought we could guarantee the justification of our beliefs, even in worlds most hostile to their truth, if only we form those beliefs with sufficient care. That is, they thought it possible for us to be impeccable with respect to justification. This principle has traditionally been used to argue for internalism. By placing all of the normatively relevant conditions in our minds, we ensure reflective access to what those norms require of us and so sustai…Read more
  •  214
    PC: Response to Critics
    In John M. DePoe & Tyler Dalton McNabb (eds.), Debating Christian Religious Epistemology: An Introduction to Five Views on the Knowledge of God, Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 98-106. 2020.
    In this chapter, Gage and McAllister respond to various objections to the phenomenal conservative position in religious epistemology. In particular, they respond to the objections that seemings are the ultimate source of justification, that PC makes epistemic justification too easy, that PC involves conceptual circularity, and that PC lacks an objective connection to truth.
  •  210
    Seemings as sui generis
    Synthese 1-18. 2017.
    The epistemic value of seemings is increasingly debated. Such debates are hindered, however, by a lack of consensus about the nature of seemings. There are four prominent conceptions in the literature, and the plausibility of principles such as phenomenal conservatism, which assign a prominent epistemic role to seemings, varies greatly from one conception to another. It is therefore crucial that we identify the correct conception of seemings. I argue that seemings are best understood as sui gene…Read more
  •  195
    The Partiality of Faith
    Australasian Philosophical Review 5 (1): 36-45. 2021.
    ABSTRACT Katherine Dormandy argues that there is no partiality in virtuous faith. Partiality biases and leads to noetic entrenchment. In response, I contend there is an important sense in which virtuous faith is partial towards its object. Namely, it disposes one to perceive the object as more trustworthy and to rely on this partialist evidence in forming beliefs, even when the impartialist evidence points in the other direction. There are, after all, situations in which impartialist evidence is…Read more
  •  185
    Justification Without Excuses: A Defense of Classical Deontologism
    American Philosophical Quarterly 59 (4): 353-366. 2022.
    Arguably, the original conception of epistemic justification comes from Descartes and Locke, who thought of justification deontologically. Moreover, their deontological conception was especially strict: there are no excuses for unjustified beliefs. Call this the “classical deontologist” conception of justification. As the original conception, we ought to accept it unless proven untenable. Nowadays, however, most have abandoned classical deontologism as precisely that—untenable. It stands accused…Read more
  •  168
    We criticize the classical evidentialist approach to religious epistemology as articulated by John DePoe from the perspective of phenomenal conservatism.
  •  122
    How Seemings Resolve Bergmann's Dilemma for Internalism
    Acta Analytica 1-14. forthcoming.
    A prominent argument for internalism appeals to the requirement that justified beliefs not be accidentally true from the subject’s perspective. Bergmann’s dilemma remains the most troublesome obstacle to those who defend internalism in this way. In a word, what is required for a belief to be non-accidental? If we require the subject to justifiably believe that one is aware of something counting in its favor, then a vicious regress results and one is never justified in believing anything. But we …Read more
  •  88
    I examine Leibniz’s version of the Principle of Sufficient Reason with respect to free will, paying particular attention to Peter van Inwagen’s argument that this principle leads to determinism. Ultimately I conclude that Leibniz’s formulation is incompatible with free will. I then discuss a reformulation of the Principle of Sufficient Reason endorsed by Alexander Pruss that, I argue, manages to both retain the strength of Leibniz’s formulation and remain consistent with free will.
  •  61
    The Perspectival Problem of Evil
    Faith and Philosophy 37 (4): 421-450. 2020.
    Whether evil provides evidence against the existence of God, and to what degree, depends on how things seem to the subject—i.e., on one’s perspective. I explain three ways in which adopting an atheistic perspective can increase support for atheism via considerations of evil. The first is by intensifying the common sense problem of evil by making evil seem gratuitous or intrinsically wrong to allow. The second is by diminishing the apparent fit between theism and our observations of evil. The thi…Read more
  •  59
    Deep moral disagreements exist between Christians and non-Christians. I argue that Christians should resist the temptation to pin all such disagreements on the irrationality of their disputants. To this end, I develop an epistemological framework on which both parties can be rational—the key being that their beliefs are formed from different perspectives and, hence, on the basis of different sets of evidence. I then alleviate concerns that such moral perspectivalism leads to relativism or skepti…Read more
  •  40
    All justified beliefs ultimately rest on attitudes that are immediately justified. This book illuminates the nature of immediate justification and the states that provide it. Simply put, immediate justification arises from how things appear to us--from all and only our "seemings." The author defends each aspect of this "seemings foundationalism," including the assumption of foundationalism itself. Most notably, the author draws from common sense philosopher Thomas Reid to present new and improve…Read more
  •  26
    The Universe Began to Exist?
    Stance 4 (1): 103-114. 2011.
    William Lane Craig offers two philosophical arguments for the conclusion that the universe began to exist. To be compelling, these arguments must not only be sound—we must also have reasons to believe that they are sound. I determine that these arguments do not provide such reasons to many individuals. The arguments ultimately rely on supposedly intuitively obvious absurdities. However, if one fails to see these ostensible absurdities—as many philosophers do—then for her, Craig’s arguments lack …Read more
  •  24
    Common sense epistemology : a defense of seemings as evidence
    Dissertation, Baylor University. 2016.
    Starting from an internalist, evidentialist, deontological conception of epistemic justification, this dissertation constitutes a defense of common sense epistemology. Common sense epistemology is a theory of ultimate evidence. At its center is a type of mental state called “seemings”—the kind we possess when something seems true or false. Common sense epistemology maintains, first, that all seemings are evidence for or against their content and, second, that all our ultimate evidence for or aga…Read more
  • Seemings and Truth
    In Kevin McCain, Scott Stapleford & Matthias Steup (eds.), Seemings: New Arguments, New Angles, Routledge. 2023.
  • Seemings and Truth
    In , . pp. 23-37. 2023.