•  155
    The irrelevance of folk intuitions to the “hard problem” of consciousness
    Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2): 644-650. 2012.
    Recently, a number of philosophers have turned to folk intuitions about mental states for data about qualia and phenomenal consciousness. In this paper I argue that current research along these lines does not tell us about these subjects. I focus on a series of studies, performed by Justin Sytsma and Edouard Machery, to make my argument. Folk judgments studied by these researchers are mostly likely generated by a certain cognitive system – System One – that will generate the same data whether or…Read more
  •  132
    Reforming intuition pumps: when are the old ways the best?
    Philosophical Studies 165 (2): 315-334. 2013.
    One mainstream approach to philosophy involves trying to learn about philosophically interesting, non-mental phenomena—ethical properties, for example, or causation—by gathering data from human beings. I call this approach “wide tent traditionalism.” It is associated with the use of philosophers’ intuitions as data, the making of deductive arguments from this data, and the gathering of intuitions by eliciting reactions to often quite bizarre thought experiments. These methods have been criticize…Read more
  •  126
    Psychology and the Use of Intuitions in Philosophy
    Studia Philosophica Estonica 2 (2): 157-176. 2009.
    There is widespread controversy about the use of intuitions in philosophy. In this paper I will argue that there are legitimate concerns about this use, and that these concerns cannot be fully responded to using the traditional methods of philosophy. We need an understanding of how intuitions are generated and what it is they are based on, and this understanding must be founded on the psychological investigation of the mind. I explore how a psychological understanding of intuitions is likely …Read more
  •  123
    Repugnant Accuracy
    Noûs 53 (3): 540-563. 2019.
    Accuracy‐first epistemology is an approach to formal epistemology which takes accuracy to be a measure of epistemic utility and attempts to vindicate norms of epistemic rationality by showing how conformity with them is beneficial. If accuracy‐first epistemology can actually vindicate any epistemic norms, it must adopt a plausible account of epistemic value. Any such account must avoid the epistemic version of Derek Parfit's “repugnant conclusion.” I argue that the only plausible way of doing so…Read more
  •  103
    Truth promoting non-evidential reasons for belief
    Philosophical Studies 168 (3): 599-618. 2014.
    Sometimes a belief that p promotes having true beliefs, whether or not p is true. This gives reasons to believe that p, but most epistemologists would deny that it gives epistemic reasons, or that these reasons can epistemically justify the belief that p. Call these reasons to believe “truth promoting non-evidential reasons for belief.” This paper argues that three common views in epistemology, taken together, entail that reasons of this sort can epistemically justify beliefs. These three claims…Read more
  •  93
    Headaches for epistemologists
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. forthcoming.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
  •  80
    Student Relativism: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
    Teaching Philosophy 35 (2): 171-187. 2012.
    I present a novel approach to teaching ethics to students who are moral relativists. I argue that we should not try to convince students to abandon moral relativism; while we can and should present arguments against the view, we should not try to use these arguments to change students’ minds. Attempts to convince student relativists to change their minds can be disrespectful, and often overlook the reasons why students are relativists. I explain how instead to show moral relativists that their c…Read more
  •  78
    Why so negative? Evidence aggregation and armchair philosophy
    Synthese 191 (16): 3865-3896. 2014.
    This paper aims to clarify a debate on philosophical method, and to give a probabilistic argument vindicating armchair philosophy under a wide range of plausible assumptions. The use of intuitions by so-called armchair philosophers has been criticized on empirical grounds. The debate between armchair philosophers and their empirical critics would benefit from greater clarity and precision in our understanding of what it takes for intuition-based approaches to philosophy to make sense. This paper…Read more
  •  77
    Collective action problems and conflicting obligations
    Philosophical Studies 175 (9): 2239-2261. 2018.
    Enormous harms, such as climate change, often occur as the result of large numbers of individuals acting separately. In collective action problems, an individual has so little chance of making a difference to these harms that changing their behavior has insignificant expected utility. Even so, it is intuitive that individuals in many collective action problems should not be parts of groups that cause these great harms. This paper gives an account of when we do and do not have obligations to chan…Read more
  •  61
    To argue that “ought” implies “can,” one can appeal to general principles or to intuitions about specific cases. One general truism that seems to show that “ought” implies “can” is that obligations must be able to guide action, and putative obligations that are unfulfillable are unable to do so. This paper argues that obligations that are unfulfillable can still guide action, and that moral theories which reject the principle that “ought” implies “can” are actually better able to account for h…Read more
  •  44
    Replaceable Lawyers and Guilty Defendants
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (1): 23-47. 2017.
    Many criminal lawyers should expect that, were they to not defend a certain client, someone no less capable would do so. It is morally wrong for such attorneys to defend defendants who should be punished. This is true even if we grant that the defendant’s right to be defended outweighs any rights that might be infringed by the defense and that the benefits of defending are greater than the harm. Nor does this argument depend on any particular view of punishment. The fact that the attorney expect…Read more
  •  21
    _ Metaepistemology _Edited by McHughConor, WayJonathan and WhitingDanielOxford University Press, 2018. viii + 216 pp.
  •  19
    Interest as a Starting Place for Philosophy
    Essays in Philosophy 13 (1): 8. 2012.
    This paper discusses a puzzle about philosophical beliefs. Core philosophical beliefs that are widely shared among philosophers, such as the belief that skepticism is false, are often held with extreme confidence. However, this confidence is not justified if these beliefs are based on what are traditionally seen as the sources of philosophical evidence, such as intuitions or observation . Charity requires that we should look for some other basis for these beliefs. I argue that these beliefs are …Read more
  •  12
    To consequentialize a deontological moral theory is to give a theory which issues the same moral verdicts, but explains those verdicts in terms of maximizing or satisficing value. There are many motivations for consequentializing: to reconcile plausible ideas behind deontology with plausible ideas behind consequentialism, to help us better understand deontological theories, or to extend deontological theories beyond what intuitions alone tell us. It has proven difficult to consequentialize theor…Read more
  •  10
    Epistemic repugnance four ways
    Synthese 1-22. forthcoming.
    Value-based epistemology sees epistemic norms as explained by or grounded in distinctively epistemic values. This paper argues that, no matter what epistemic value is, credences or beliefs about some topics have at most infinitesimal amounts of this value. This makes it hard to explain why epistemic norms apply at all to credences or beliefs on these topics. My argument is inspired by a recent series of papers on epistemic versions of Parfit’s Repugnant Conclusion. The discussion in those papers…Read more
  • How to Use Intuitions in Philosophy
    Dissertation, University of Southern California. 2009.