•  8
    Fiction and Content in Hume’s Labyrinth
    Philosophical Quarterly. forthcoming.
    In the “Appendix” to the Treatise, Hume claims that he has discovered a “very considerable” mistake in his earlier discussion of the self. Hume's expression of the problem is notoriously opaque, leading to a vast scholarly debate as to exactly what problem he identified in his earlier account of the self. I propose a new solution to this interpretive puzzle. I argue that a tension generated by Hume's conceptual skepticism about real “principles of union” and his account of fictions of the imagi…Read more
  •  139
    Locke, Simplicity, and Extension
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie. forthcoming.
    This paper aims to clarify Locke’s distinction between simple and complex ideas. I argue that Locke accepts what I call the “compositional criterion of simplicity.” According to this criterion, an idea is simple just in case it does not have another idea as a proper part. This criterion is prima facie inconsistent with Locke’s view that there are simple ideas of extension. This objection was presented to Locke by his French translator, Pierre Coste, on behalf of Jean Barbeyrac. Locke responded t…Read more
  •  543
    Leibniz and the Molyneux Problem
    Journal of Modern Philosophy 2 (1): 8. 2020.
    The Molyneux problem is one of the major questions addressed by early modern authors. Whereas Locke’s response to Molyneux’s question has been the subject of extensive scholarly discussion, Leibniz’s response has received comparatively little attention. This paper defends an interpretation of Leibniz’s nuanced response to the problem and criticizes a competing interpretation that has recently been proposed.
  •  50
    Rationalizing Socrates’ daimonion
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (2): 225-240. 2018.
    That Socrates took himself to possess a divine sign is well attested by ancient sources. Both Plato and Xenophon mention Socrates’ daimonion on numerous occasions. What is problematic for contemporary scholars is that Socrates unfailingly obeys the warnings of his sign. Scholars have worried that Socrates seems to ascribe greater epistemic authority to his sign than his own critical reasoning. Moreover, he never so much as questions the authority of his sign to guide his actions, much less its d…Read more