•  148
    Hume on Modal Projection
    Mind 133 (529): 167-195. 2024.
    Hume’s claim that we project necessity onto objects we take to be causally related has been influential in contemporary discussions of modality, inspiring deflationary accounts of our modal commitments. Hume is commonly understood as holding that modal projection explains our judging that an effect must follow its cause. This misunderstands the role of projection in Hume’s discussions of causation and causal judgement. Projection is a diagnosis of a distinctively philosophical confusion: the com…Read more
  •  186
    Fiction and Content in Hume’s Labyrinth
    Philosophical Quarterly 74 (1): 187-207. 2024.
    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
  •  337
    Locke, Simplicity, and Extension
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 105 (2): 289-314. 2023.
    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
  •  880
    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.
  •  69
    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