•  991
    What is Reasoning?
    Mind 127 (505): 167-196. 2018.
    Reasoning is a certain kind of attitude-revision. What kind? The aim of this paper is to introduce and defend a new answer to this question, based on the idea that reasoning is a goodness-fixing kind. Our central claim is that reasoning is a functional kind: it has a constitutive point or aim that fixes the standards for good reasoning. We claim, further, that this aim is to get fitting attitudes. We start by considering recent accounts of reasoning due to Ralph Wedgwood and John Broome, and arg…Read more
  •  790
    Fittingness First
    Ethics 126 (3): 575-606. 2016.
    According to the fitting-attitudes account of value, for X to be good is for it to be fitting to value X. But what is it for an attitude to be fitting? A popular recent view is that it is for there to be sufficient reason for the attitude. In this paper we argue that proponents of the fitting-attitudes account should reject this view and instead take fittingness as basic. In this way they avoid the notorious ‘wrong kind of reason’ problem, and can offer attractive accounts of reasons and good re…Read more
  •  703
    The Normativity of Belief
    Analysis 74 (4): 698-713. 2014.
    This is a survey of recent debates concerning the normativity of belief. We explain what the thesis that belief is normative involves, consider arguments for and against that thesis, and explore its bearing on debates in metaethics
  •  541
    Engel on doxastic correctness
    Synthese 194 (5): 1451-1462. 2017.
    In this paper I discuss Pascal Engel’s recent work on doxastic correctness. I raise worries about two elements of his view—the role played in it by the distinction between i -correctness and e -correctness, and the construal of doxastic correctness as an ideal of reason. I propose an alternative approach
  •  488
    What is Good Reasoning?
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 153-174. 2018.
    What makes the difference between good and bad reasoning? In this paper we defend a novel account of good reasoning—both theoretical and practical—according to which it preserves fittingness or correctness: good reasoning is reasoning which is such as to take you from fitting attitudes to further fitting attitudes, other things equal. This account, we argue, is preferable to two others that feature in the recent literature. The first, which has been made prominent by John Broome, holds that the …Read more
  •  396
    Against the Taking Condition
    Philosophical Issues 26 (1): 314-331. 2016.
    According to Paul Boghossian and others, inference is subject to the taking condition: it necessarily involves the thinker taking his premises to support his conclusion, and drawing the conclusion because of that fact. Boghossian argues that this condition vindicates the idea that inference is an expression of agency, and that it has several other important implications too. However, we argue in this paper that the taking condition should be rejected. The condition gives rise to several serious …Read more
  •  365
    Objectivism and Perspectivism about the Epistemic Ought
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4. 2017.
    What ought you believe? According to a traditional view, it depends on your evidence: you ought to believe (only) what your evidence supports. Recently, however, some have claimed that what you ought to believe depends not on your evidence but simply on what is true: you ought to believe (only) the truth. In this paper, we present and defend two arguments against this latter view. We also explore some of the parallels between this debate in epistemology, and the debate in ethics about whether ho…Read more
  •  247
    Self-knowledge and the KK principle
    Synthese 173 (3): 231-257. 2010.
    I argue that a version of the so-called KK principle is true for principled epistemic reasons; and that this does not entail access internalism, as is commonly supposed, but is consistent with a broad spectrum of epistemological views. The version of the principle I defend states that, given certain normal conditions, knowing p entails being in a position to know that you know p. My argument for the principle proceeds from reflection on what it would take to know that you know something, rather …Read more
  •  218
    Exercising Doxastic Freedom
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (1): 1-37. 2014.
    This paper defends the possibility of doxastic freedom, arguing that doxastic freedom should be modelled not on freedom of action but on freedom of intention. Freedom of action is exercised by agents like us, I argue, through voluntary control. This involves two conditions, intentions-reactivity and reasons-reactivity, that are not met in the case of doxastic states. Freedom of intention is central to our agency and to our moral responsibility, but is not exercised through voluntary control. I d…Read more
  •  215
    Attitudinal control
    Synthese 194 (8): 2745-2762. 2017.
    Beliefs are held to norms in a way that seems to require control over what we believe. Yet we don’t control our beliefs at will, in the way we control our actions. I argue that this problem can be solved by recognising a different form of control, which we exercise when we revise our beliefs directly for reasons. We enjoy this form of attitudinal control not only over our beliefs, but also over other attitudes, including intentions—that is, over the will itself. Closely tied to our capacity for …Read more
  •  211
    Epistemic Deontology and Voluntariness
    Erkenntnis 77 (1): 65-94. 2012.
    We tend to prescribe and appraise doxastic states in terms that are broadly deontic. According to a simple argument, such prescriptions and appraisals are improper, because they wrongly presuppose that our doxastic states are voluntary. One strategy for resisting this argument, recently endorsed by a number of philosophers, is to claim that our doxastic states are in fact voluntary (This strategy has been pursued by Steup 2008 ; Weatherson 2008 ). In this paper I argue that this strategy is neit…Read more
  •  193
    Belief and aims
    Philosophical Studies 160 (3): 425-439. 2012.
    Does belief have an aim? According to the claim of exclusivity, non-truth-directed considerations cannot motivate belief within doxastic deliberation. This claim has been used to argue that, far from aiming at truth, belief is not aim-directed at all, because the regulation of belief fails to exhibit a kind of interaction among aims that is characteristic of ordinary aim-directed behaviour. The most prominent reply to this objection has been offered by Steglich-Petersen (Philos Stud 145:395–405,…Read more
  •  178
    The truth Norm of belief
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (1): 8-30. 2012.
    I argue that, if belief is subject to a norm of truth, then that norm is evaluative rather than prescriptive in character. No prescriptive norm of truth is both plausible as a norm that we are subject to, and also capable of explaining what the truth norm of belief is supposed to explain. Candidate prescriptive norms also have implausible consequences for the normative status of withholding belief. An evaluative norm fares better in all of these respects. I propose an evaluative account accordin…Read more
  •  178
    Judging as a non-voluntary action
    Philosophical Studies 152 (2). 2011.
    Many philosophers categorise judgment as a type of action. On the face of it, this claim is at odds with the seeming fact that judging a certain proposition is not something you can do voluntarily. I argue that we can resolve this tension by recognising a category of non-voluntary action. An action can be non-voluntary without being involuntary. The notion of non-voluntary action is developed by appeal to the claim that judging has truth as a constitutive goal. This claim, when combined with a c…Read more
  •  157
    What Do We Aim At When We Believe?
    Dialectica 65 (3): 369-392. 2011.
    It is often said that belief aims at truth. I argue that if belief has an aim then that aim is knowledge rather than merely truth. My main argument appeals to the impossibility of forming a belief on the basis of evidence that only weakly favours a proposition. This phenomenon, I argue, is a problem for the truth-aim hypothesis. By contrast, it can be given a simple and satisfying explanation on the knowledge-aim hypothesis. Furthermore, the knowledge-aim hypothesis suggests a very plausible acc…Read more
  •  152
    Epistemic responsibility and doxastic agency
    Philosophical Issues 23 (1): 132-157. 2013.
  •  146
    Control of Belief and Intention
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (4): 337-346. 2012.
    This paper considers a view according to which there are certain symmetries between the nature of belief and that of intention. I do not defend this Symmetry View in detail, but rather try to adjudicate between different versions of it: what I call Evaluative, Normative and Teleological versions. I argue that the central motivation for the Symmetry View in fact supports only a specific Teleological version of the view
  •  144
    Broome on reasoning
    with Jonathan Way
    Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 34 (2). 2015.
    Among the many important contributions of John Broome’s Rationality Through Reasoning is an account of what reasoning is and what makes reasoning correct. In this paper we raise some problems for both of these accounts and recommend an alternative approach
  •  130
    Fitting belief
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 114 (2pt2): 167-187. 2014.
    Beliefs can be correct or incorrect, and this standard of correctness is widely thought to be fundamental to epistemic normativity. But how should this standard be understood, and in what way is it so fundamental? I argue that we should resist understanding correctness for belief as either a prescriptive or an evaluative norm. Rather, we should understand it as an instance of the distinct normative category of fittingness for attitudes. This yields an attractive account of epistemic reasons.
  •  129
    What sort of thing is the mind? And how can such a thing at the same time - belong to the natural world, - represent the world, - give rise to our subjective experience, - and ground human knowledge? Content, Consciousness and Perception is an edited collection, comprising eleven new contributions to the philosophy of mind, written by some of the most promising young philosophers in the UK and Ireland. The book is arranged into three parts. Part I, Concepts and Mental Content, which begins with …Read more
  •  93
    The Illusion of Exclusivity
    European Journal of Philosophy 23 (4): 1117-1136. 2015.
    It is widely held that when you are deliberating about whether to believe some proposition p, only considerations relevant to the truth of p can be taken into account as reasons bearing on whether to believe p and motivate you accordingly. This thesis of exclusivity has significance for debates about the nature of belief, about control of belief, and about certain forms of evidentialism. In this paper I distinguish a strong and a weak version of exclusivity. I provide reason to think that strong…Read more
  •  77
    Self‐Knowing Agents, by Lucy O'Brien
    European Journal of Philosophy 18 (1): 153-158. 2010.
  •  69
    What Assertion Doesn't Show
    European Journal of Philosophy 20 (3): 407-429. 2012.
    Abstract: Some recent arguments against the classical invariantist account of knowledge exploit the idea that there is a ‘knowledge norm’ for assertion. It is claimed that, given the existence of this norm, certain intuitions about assertability support contextualism, or contrastivism, over classical invariantism. In this paper I show that, even if we accept the existence of a knowledge norm, these assertability-based arguments fail. The classical invariantist can accommodate and explain the rel…Read more
  •  59
    The Normativity of Rationality, by Benjamin Kiesewetter
    Mind 127 (508): 1245-1253. 2018.
    _ The Normativity of Rationality _, by KiesewetterBenjamin. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xii + 314.
  •  27
    Objectivism and Perspectivism about the Epistemic Ought
    with Jonathan Way
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4. 2017.
  •  6
    Normativity: Epistemic and Practical (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2018.
    What should I do? What should I think? Traditionally, ethicists tackle the first question, while epistemologists tackle the second. Philosophers have tended to investigate the issue of what to do independently of the issue of what to think, that is, to do ethics independently of epistemology, and vice versa. This collection of new essays by leading philosophers focuses on a central concern of both epistemology and ethics: normativity. Normativity is a matter of what one should or may do or think…Read more
  • Metaepistemology
    with Jonathan Way and Daniel Whiting
    Oxford University Press. 2018.
    Epistemology, like ethics, is normative. Just as ethics addresses questions about how we ought to act, so epistemology addresses questions about how we ought to believe and enquire. We can also ask metanormative questions. What does it mean to claim that someone ought to do or believe something? Do such claims express beliefs about independently existing facts, or only attitudes of approval and disapproval towards certain pieces of conduct? How do putative facts about what people ought to do or …Read more