•  6
    The Truth Fairy and the Indirect Epistemic Consequentialist
    In Peter J. Graham & Nikolaj J. L. L. Pedersen (eds.), Epistemic Entitlement, . pp. 344-360. 2020.
    Friends of Wright-entitlement cannot appeal to direct epistemic consequentialism (believe or accept what maximizes expected epistemic value) in order to account for the epistemic rationality of accepting Wright-entitled propositions. The tenability of direct consequentialism is undermined by the “Truth Fairy”: a powerful being who offers you great epistemic reward (in terms of true beliefs) if you accept a proposition p for which you have evidence neither for nor against. However, this chapter a…Read more
  •  6
    Intuition, ‘Intuition’, Concepts and the A Priori
    In Booth Anthony Robert & P. Rowbottom Darrell (eds.), Intuitions, Oxford University Press. 2014.
    This chapter attempts to put structure on some of the different philosophical uses of ‘intuition’. It argues that ‘intuition’-hood is associated with four bundles of symptoms: a commonsensicality bundle; an a prioricity and immediacy bundle, and a metaphilosophical bundle. Tentatively suggesting that the word ‘intuition’ as used by philosophers is best regarded as ambiguous, the chapter offers a much simpler view concerning the meaning of ‘intuition’ in philosophy. With some of the attacks on ‘i…Read more
  •  54
    Metaphysical Vagueness Without Vague Objects
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (4): 278-283. 2018.
    Elizabeth Barnes and Robert Williams have developed a theory of metaphysical indeterminacy, via which they defend the theoretical legitimacy of vague objects. In this paper, we argue that while the Barnes–Williams theory supplies a viable account of genuine metaphysical vagueness, it cannot underwrite an account of genuinely vague objects. First we clarify the distinction between these two key theses. Then we argue that the Barnes–Williams theory of metaphysical vagueness not only fails to deliv…Read more
  •  70
    Liar-like paradox and object language features
    American Philosophical Quarterly 45 (1). 2008.
    We argue that it would seem to be a mistake to blame Liar-like paradox on certain features of the object language, since the effect can be created with very minimal object languages that contain none of the usual suspects (truth-like predicates, reference to their own truth-bearers, negation, etc.).
  •  14
    'Addicted'? To 'Love'?
    Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 24 (1): 93-96. 2017.
    Earp et al. offer a very interesting summary of, and ethical commentary on, recent multidisciplinary research suggesting that at least some cases of what we call ‘romantic love’ involve phenomena that physically and/or psychologically resemble cases of what we call ‘addiction.’ They draw a conceptual distinction between what they call ‘narrow’ and ‘broad’ concepts of addiction. On the narrow conception, only extreme, harmful, or abnormal cases of love would count as addiction. On the broad conce…Read more
  •  69
    What Is Love? An Incomplete Map of the Metaphysics
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (2): 349--364. 2015.
  •  80
    Modal Monogamy
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2. 2015.
  •  218
    Serious Verbal Disputes: Ontology, Metaontology, and Analyticity
    Journal of Philosophy 111 (9-10): 454-469. 2014.
    This paper builds on some important recent work by Amie Thomasson, wherein she argues that recent disputes about the existence of ordinary objects have arisen due to eliminiativist metaphysicians’ misunderstandings. Some, she argues, are mistaken about how the language of quantification works, while others neglect the existence and significance of certain analytic entailments. Thomasson claims that once these misunderstandings are cleared away, it is trivially easy to answer existence questions …Read more
  •  186
    Boghossian and epistemic analyticity
    Croatian Journal of Philosophy 22 (1): 113-127. 2008.
    Boghossian claims that we can acquire a priori knowledge by means of a certain form of argument, our grasp of whose premises relies on the existence of implicit definitions. I discuss an objection to his ‘analytic theory of the a priori’. The worry is that in order to employ this kind of argument we must already know its conclusion. Boghossian has responded to this type of objection in recent work, but I argue that his responses are unconvincing. Along the way, I resist Ebert’s reasons for think…Read more
  •  11
    A Priori
    In Albert Casullo & Joshua C. Thurow (eds.), The a Priori in Philosophy, Oxford University Press. pp. 274. 2013.
  •  76
  •  90
    Sleeping Beauty: A Wake-Up Call
    Philosophia Mathematica 13 (2): 194-201. 2005.
    This note concerns a puzzle about probability which has recently caught the attention of a number of philosophers. According to the current philosophical consensus, the solution to the puzzle reveals that one can acquire new information, sufficient to change one's credences in certain events, just by having a certain experience, even though one knew all along that one would have an experience which felt exactly like this. I argue that the philosophical consensus is mistaken
  •  62
    Review: The Knowability Paradox (review)
    Mind 115 (460): 1141-1147. 2006.
  •  204
    A priori knowledge: Debates and developments
    Philosophy Compass 3 (3). 2008.
    forthcoming in Philosophy Compass. This is a paper which aims both to survey the field and do some work at its cutting edge.
  •  286
    What Is Ontological Realism?
    Philosophy Compass 5 (10): 880-890. 2010.
  •  198
    Lewis has argued that quasi-realism is fictionalism. Blackburn denies this, offering reasons which rely on a descriptive reading of quasi-realism. This note offers a different, more general argument against Lewis's claim, available to prescriptive as well as descriptive quasi-realists.
  •  209
    Disposition Impossible
    Noûs 46 (4): 732-753. 2012.
    Are there dispositions which not only do not manifest, but which could not manifest? We argue that there are dispositions to Ф in circumstances C where C is impossible, and some where Ф is impossible. Furthermore, postulating these dispositions does useful theoretical work. This paper describes a number of cases of dispositions had by objects even though those dispositions are not possibly manifest, and argues for the importance of these dispositions.
  •  93
    The traditional conception of the a priori
    Synthese 192 (9): 2725-2746. 2015.
    In this paper, we explore the traditional conception of a prioricity as epistemic independence of evidence from sense experience. We investigate the fortunes of the traditional conception in the light of recent challenges by Timothy Williamson. We contend that Williamson’s arguments can be resisted in various ways. En route, we argue that Williamson’s views are not as distant from tradition as they might seem at first glance
  •  41
    The mystery of the disappearing diamond
    In Joe Salerno (ed.), New Essays on the Knowability Paradox, Oxford University Press. pp. 302--319. 2009.
    Addresses the question of why we find Fitch's knowability 'paradox' argument surprising.
  •  66
    Anti-realism and Epistemic Accessibility
    Philosophical Studies 132 (3): 525-551. 2007.
    I argue that Fitch’s ‘paradox of knowability’ presents no special problem for the epistemic anti-realist who believes that reality is epistemically accessible to us. For the claim which is the target of the argument (If p then it is possible to know p) is not a commitment of anti-realism. The epistemic anti-realist’s commitment is (or should be) to the recognizability of the states of affairs which render true propositions true, not to the knowability of the propositions themselves. A formal app…Read more
  •  96
    Justification magnets
    Philosophical Studies 164 (1): 93-111. 2013.
    David Lewis is associated with the controversial thesis that some properties are more eligible than others to be the referents of our predicates solely in virtue of those properties’ being more natural; independently, that is, of anything to do with our patterns of usage of the relevant predicates. On such a view, the natural properties act as ‘reference magnets’. In this paper I explore (though I do not endorse) a related thesis in epistemology: that some propositions are ‘justification magnets…Read more
  •  224
    Modal knowledge, counterfactual knowledge and the role of experience
    Philosophical Quarterly 58 (233): 693-701. 2008.
    In recent work Timothy Williamson argues that the epistemology of metaphysical modality is a special case of the epistemology of counterfactuals. I argue that Williamson has not provided an adequate argument for this controversial claim, and that it is not obvious how what he says should be supplemented in order to derive such an argument. But I suggest that an important moral of his discussion survives this point. The moral is that experience could play an epistemic role which is more epistemic…Read more
  •  207
    Entitlement and rationality
    Synthese 157 (1): 25-45. 2007.
    This paper takes the form of a critical discussion of Crispin Wright’s notion of entitlement of cognitive project. I examine various strategies for defending the claim that entitlement can make acceptance of a proposition epistemically rational, including one which appeals to epistemic consequentialism. Ultimately, I argue, none of these strategies is successful, but the attempt to isolate points of disagreement with Wright issues in some positive proposals as to how an epistemic consequentialis…Read more
  •  32
    What Love Is And What It Could Be
    Basic Books. forthcoming.
    This book unpicks the conceptual, ideological, and metaphysical tangles that get in the way of understanding romantic love. Written for a general audience, What Love Is And What It Could Be explores different disciplinary perspectives on love, in search of the bigger picture. It presents a "dual-nature" theory: romantic love is simultaneously both a biological phenomenon and a social construct. The key philosophical insight comes in explaining why this a coherent—and indeed a necessary—position …Read more
  •  106
    The nature of normativity
    Analysis 69 (1): 156-166. 2009.
    This is a big-picture book, 2 written with a breadth of focus which I find admirable. It exhibits what's come to be known as the ‘intersubdiscplinary’ approach to philosophy, which is not restricted by traditional boundaries within the discipline but rather proceeds with an eye to all sorts of areas of philosophy where relevant arguments, results, analogies and strategies might be lurking. I approve of this way of doing philosophy; it seems to me that all too often that wheels are reinvented, or…Read more
  •  125
    Backwards explanation
    Philosophical Studies 140 (1). 2008.
    We discuss explanation of an earlier event by a later event, and argue that prima facie cases of backwards event explanation are ubiquitous. Some examples: (1) I am tidying my flat because my brother is coming to visit tomorrow. (2) The scarlet pimpernels are closing because it is about to rain. (3) The volcano is smoking because it is going to erupt soon. We then look at various ways people might attempt to explain away these prima facie cases by arguing that in each case the 'real' explanation…Read more
  •  255
    Merely Verbal Disputes
    Erkenntnis 79 (S1): 11-30. 2014.
    Philosophers readily talk about merely verbal disputes, usually without much or any explicit reflection on what these are, and a good deal of methodological significance is attached to discovering whether a dispute is merely verbal or not. Currently, metaphilosophical advances are being made towards a clearer understanding of what exactly it takes for something to be a merely verbal dispute. This paper engages with this growing literature, pointing out some problems with existing approaches, and…Read more