University of California, Irvine
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 1995
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, United States of America
Areas of Interest
  •  549
    What Is Lying
    Journal of Philosophy 106 (1): 29-56. 2009.
    In order to lie, you have to say something that you believe to be false. But lying is not simply saying what you believe to be false. Philosophers have made several suggestions for what the additional condition might be. For example, it has been suggested that the liar has to intend to deceive (Augustine 395, Bok 1978, Mahon 2006), that she has to believe that she will deceive (Chisholm and Feehan 1977), or that she has to warrant the truth of what she says (Carson 2006). In this paper, I argue …Read more
  •  349
    Lying and Deception
    Philosophers' Imprint 10. 2010.
    According to the standard philosophical definition of lying, you lie if you say something that you believe to be false with the intent to deceive. Recently, several philosophers have argued that an intention to deceive is not a necessary condition on lying. But even if they are correct, it might still be suggested that the standard philosophical definition captures the type of lie that philosophers are primarily interested in (viz., lies that are intended to deceive). In this paper, I argue that…Read more
  •  210
    Epistemic Value Theory and Social Epistemology
    Episteme 2 (3): 177-188. 2006.
    In order to guide the decisions of real people who want to bring about good epistemic outcomes for themselves and others, we need to understand our epistemic values. In Knowledge in a Social World, Alvin Goldman has proposed an epistemic value theory that allows us to say whether one outcome is epistemically better than another. However, it has been suggested that Goldman's theory is not really an epistemic value theory at all because whether one outcome is epistemically better than another part…Read more
  •  196
    Epistemic value theory and information ethics
    Minds and Machines 14 (1): 101-117. 2004.
    Three of the major issues in information ethics – intellectual property, speech regulation, and privacy – concern the morality of restricting people’s access to certain information. Consequently, policies in these areas have a significant impact on the amount and types of knowledge that people acquire. As a result, epistemic considerations are critical to the ethics of information policy decisions (cf. Mill, 1978 [1859]). The fact that information ethics is a part of the philosophy of informatio…Read more
  •  120
    Lies, damned lies, and statistics: An empirical investigation of the concept of lying
    with Adam J. Arico
    Philosophical Psychology 26 (6). 2013.
    There are many philosophical questions surrounding the notion of lying. Is it ever morally acceptable to lie? Can we acquire knowledge from people who might be lying to us? More fundamental, however, is the question of what, exactly, constitutes the concept of lying. According to one traditional definition, lying requires intending to deceive (Augustine. (1952). Lying (M. Muldowney, Trans.). In R. Deferrari (Ed.), Treatises on various subjects (pp. 53?120). New York, NY: Catholic University of A…Read more
  •  110
    Collective epistemic goals
    Social Epistemology 21 (3). 2007.
    We all pursue epistemic goals as individuals. But we also pursue collective epistemic goals. In the case of many groups to which we belong, we want each member of the group - and sometimes even the group itself - to have as many true beliefs as possible and as few false beliefs as possible. In this paper, I respond to the main objections to the very idea of such collective epistemic goals. Furthermore, I describe the various ways that our collective epistemic goals can come into conflict with ea…Read more
  •  107
    An Objectivist Argument for Thirdism
    with Ian Evans, Peter Gross, Terry Horgan, Jenann Ismael, John Pollock, Paul D. Thorn, Jacob N. Caton, Adam Arico, Daniel Sanderman, Orlin Vakerelov, Nathan Ballantyne, Matthew S. Bedke, Brian Fiala, and Martin Fricke
    Analysis 68 (2): 149-155. 2008.
    Bayesians take “definite” or “single-case” probabilities to be basic. Definite probabilities attach to closed formulas or propositions. We write them here using small caps: PROB(P) and PROB(P/Q). Most objective probability theories begin instead with “indefinite” or “general” probabilities (sometimes called “statistical probabilities”). Indefinite probabilities attach to open formulas or propositions. We write indefinite probabilities using lower case “prob” and free variables: prob(Bx/Ax). The …Read more
  •  102
    Bullshitting, Lying, and Indifference toward Truth
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4. 2017.
    This paper is about some of the ways in which people sometimes speak while be- ing indifferent toward what they say. We argue that what Harry Frankfurt called ‘bullshitting’ is a mode of speech marked by indifference toward inquiry, the coop- erative project of reaching truth in discourse. On this view bullshitting is character- ized by indifference toward the project of advancing inquiry by making progress on specific subinquiries, represented by so-called questions under discussion. This ac- c…Read more
  •  101
    Toward an epistemology of Wikipedia
    Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 59 (10): 1662--1674. 2008.
    Wikipedia is having a huge impact on how a great many people gather information about the world. So, it is important for epistemologists and information scientists to ask whether people are likely to acquire knowledge as a result of having access to this information source. In other words, is Wikipedia having good epistemic consequences? After surveying the various concerns that have been raised about the reliability of Wikipedia, this article argues that the epistemic consequences of people usi…Read more
  •  97
    Are Bald‐Faced Lies Deceptive after All?
    Ratio 28 (1): 81-96. 2015.
    According to the traditional philosophical definition, you lie if and only if you say something that you believe to be false and you intend to deceive someone into believing what you say. However, philosophers have recently noted the existence of bald-faced lies, lies which are not intended to deceive anyone into believing what is said. As a result, many philosophers have removed deception from their definitions of lying. According to Jennifer Lackey, this is ‘an unhappy divorce’ because it prec…Read more
  •  88
    Davidson was Almost Right about Lying
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2): 337-353. 2013.
    Donald Davidson once suggested that a liar ?must intend to represent himself as believing what he does not?. In this paper I argue that, while Davidson was mistaken about lying in a few important respects, his main insight yields a very attractive definition of lying. Namely, you lie if and only if you say something that you do not believe and you intend to represent yourself as believing what you say. Moreover, I show that this Davidsonian definition can handle counter-examples that undercut fo…Read more
  •  88
    The Epistemic Costs and Benefits of Collaboration
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 44 (S1): 197-208. 2006.
    In “How to Collaborate,” Paul Thagard tries to explain why there is so much collaboration in science, and so little collaboration in philosophy, by giving an epistemic cost-benefit analysis. In this paper, I argue that an adequate explanation requires a more fully developed epistemic value theory than Thagard utilizes. In addition, I offer an alternative to Thagard’s explanation of the lack of collaboration in philosophy. He appeals to its lack of a tradition of collaboration and to the a priori…Read more
  •  81
    What Liars Can Tell Us about the Knowledge Norm of Practical Reasoning
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (4): 347-367. 2011.
    If knowledge is the norm of practical reasoning, then we should be able to alter people's behavior by affecting their knowledge as well as by affecting their beliefs. Thus, as Roy Sorensen (2010) suggests, we should expect to find people telling lies that target knowledge rather than just lies that target beliefs. In this paper, however, I argue that Sorensen's discovery of “knowledge-lies” does not support the claim that knowledge is the norm of practical reasoning. First, I use a Bayesian fram…Read more
  •  80
    Fake news is counterfeit news
    Tandf: Inquiry 1-20. forthcoming.
  •  75
    Epistemic Value Theory and Judgment Aggregation
    Episteme 2 (1): 39-55. 2005.
    The doctrinal paradox shows that aggregating individual judgments by taking a majority vote does not always yield a consistent set of collective judgments. Philip Pettit, Luc Bovens, and Wlodek Rabinowicz have recently argued for the epistemic superiority of an aggregation procedure that always yields a consistent set of judgments. This paper identifies several additional epistemic advantages of their consistency maintaining procedure. However, this paper also shows that there are some circumsta…Read more
  •  73
    Human beings regularly work together to get things done. In particular, people frequently collaborate on the production and dissemination of knowledge. For example, scientists often work together in teams to make new discoveries. How such collaborations produce knowledge, and how well they produce knowledge, are important questions for epistemology. In fact, several epistemologists have addressed such questions regarding collaborative scientific research
  •  73
    Attitudes Toward Epistemic Risk and the Value of Experiments
    Studia Logica 86 (2): 215-246. 2007.
    Several different Bayesian models of epistemic utilities (see, e. g., [37], [24], [40], [46]) have been used to explain why it is rational for scientists to perform experiments. In this paper, I argue that a model-suggested independently by Patrick Maher [40] and Graham Oddie [46]-that assigns epistemic utility to degrees of belief in hypotheses provides the most comprehensive explanation. This is because this proper scoring rule (PSR) model captures a wider range of scientifically acceptable at…Read more
  •  72
    The Reliability of Randomized Algorithms
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51 (2): 255-271. 2000.
    Recently, certain philosophers of mathematics (Fallis [1997]; Womack and Farach [(1997]) have argued that there are no epistemic considerations that should stop mathematicians from using probabilistic methods to establish that mathematical propositions are true. However, mathematicians clearly should not use methods that are unreliable. Unfortunately, due to the fact that randomized algorithms are not really random in practice, there is reason to doubt their reliability. In this paper, I analyze…Read more
  •  68
    The Brier Rule Is not a Good Measure of Epistemic Utility
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3): 576-590. 2016.
    Measures of epistemic utility are used by formal epistemologists to make determinations of epistemic betterness among cognitive states. The Brier rule is the most popular choice among formal epistemologists for such a measure. In this paper, however, we show that the Brier rule is sometimes seriously wrong about whether one cognitive state is epistemically better than another. In particular, there are cases where an agent gets evidence that definitively eliminates a false hypothesis, but where t…Read more
  •  61
    Lying as a Violation of Grice’s First Maxim of Quality
    Dialectica 66 (4): 563-581. 2012.
    According to the traditional philosophical definition, you lie if and only if you assert what you believe to be false with the intent to deceive. However, several philosophers (e.g., Carson 2006, Sorensen 2007, Fallis 2009) have pointed out that there are lies that are not intended to deceive and, thus, that the traditional definition fails. In 2009, I suggested an alternative definition: you lie if and only if you say what you believe to be false when you believe that one of Paul Grice's conver…Read more
  •  56
    Floridi on Disinformation
    Etica and Politica / Ethics and Politics (2): 201-214. 2011.
  •  55
    Accuracy-based arguments for conditionalization and probabilism appear to have a significant advantage over their Dutch Book rivals. They rely only on the plausible epistemic norm that one should try to decrease the inaccuracy of one's beliefs. Furthermore, it seems that conditionalization and probabilism follow from a wide range of measures of inaccuracy. However, we argue that among the measures in the literature, there are some from which one can prove conditionalization, others from which on…Read more
  •  51
    Toward a formal analysis of deceptive signaling
    Synthese (6): 2279-2303. 2019.
    Deception has long been an important topic in philosophy. However, the traditional analysis of the concept, which requires that a deceiver intentionally cause her victim to have a false belief, rules out the possibility of much deception in the animal kingdom. Cognitively unsophisticated species, such as fireflies and butterflies, have simply evolved to mislead potential predators and/or prey. To capture such cases of “functional deception,” several researchers Machiavellian intelligence II, Cam…Read more
  •  49
    Introduction: Social epistemology and information science
    Social Epistemology 16 (1). 2002.
    This Article does not have an abstract
  •  49
    Toward an Epistemology of Intellectual Property
    Journal of Information Ethics 16 (2): 34-51. 2007.
    An important issue for information ethics is how much control people should have over the dissemination of information that they have created. Since intellectual property policies have an impact on our welfare primarily because they have a huge impact on our ability to acquire knowledge, there is an important role for epistemology in resolving this issue. This paper discusses the various ways in which intellectual property policies can impact knowledge acquisition both positively and negatively.…Read more
  •  48
    The Epistemic Threat of Deepfakes
    Philosophy and Technology 1-21. forthcoming.
    Deepfakes are realistic videos created using new machine learning techniques rather than traditional photographic means. They tend to depict people saying and doing things that they did not actually say or do. In the news media and the blogosphere, the worry has been raised that, as a result of deepfakes, we are heading toward an “infopocalypse” where we cannot tell what is real from what is not. Several philosophers have now issued similar warnings. In this paper, I offer an analysis of why dee…Read more
  •  45
    Several philosophers have used the framework of means/ends reasoning to explain the methodological choices made by scientists and mathematicians (see, e.g., Goldman 1999, Levi 1962, Maddy 1997). In particular, they have tried to identify the epistemic objectives of scientists and mathematicians that will explain these choices. In this paper, the framework of means/ends reasoning is used to study an important methodological choice made by mathematicians. Namely, mathematicians will only use deduc…Read more
  •  44
    Information Ethics and the Library Profession
    In Herman Tavani and Kenneth Himma (ed.), The handbook of information and computer ethics, . pp. 221-244. 2008.
    We consider the mission of the librarian as an information provider and the core value that gives this mission its social importance. Our focus here is on those issues that arise in relation to the role of the librarian as an information provider. In particular, we focus on questions of the selection and organization of information, which bring up issues of bias, neutrality, advocacy, and children's rights to access information.