•  663
    In this paper, I consider the relationship between Inference to the Best Explanation and Bayesianism, both of which are well-known accounts of the nature of scientific inference. In Sect. 2, I give a brief overview of Bayesianism and IBE. In Sect. 3, I argue that IBE in its most prominently defended forms is difficult to reconcile with Bayesianism because not all of the items that feature on popular lists of “explanatory virtues”—by means of which IBE ranks competing explanations—have confirmati…Read more
  •  350
    In this paper, I offer an analysis of the radical disagreement over the adequacy of string theory. The prominence of string theory despite its notorious lack of empirical support is sometimes explained as a troubling case of science gone awry, driven largely by sociological mechanisms such as groupthink (e.g. Smolin 2006). Others, such as Dawid (2013), explain the controversy by positing a methodological revolution of sorts, according to which string theorists have quietly turned to nonempirical…Read more
  •  331
    Here, I consider the recent application of phylogenetic methods in historical linguistics. After a preliminary survey of one such method, i.e. cladistic parsimony, I respond to two common criticisms of cultural phylogenies: that cultural artifacts cannot be modeled as tree-like because of borrowing across lineages, and that the mechanism of cultural change differs radically from that of biological evolution. I argue that while perhaps remains true for certain cultural artifacts, the nature of la…Read more
  •  322
    Does IBE Require a ‘Model’ of Explanation?
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 71 (2): 727-750. 2020.
    In this article, I consider an important challenge to the popular theory of scientific inference commonly known as ‘inference to the best explanation’, one that has received scant attention.1 1 The problem is that there exists a wide array of rival models of explanation, thus leaving IBE objectionably indeterminate. First, I briefly introduce IBE. Then, I motivate the problem and offer three potential solutions, the most plausible of which is to adopt a kind of pluralism about the rival models o…Read more
  •  270
    Fake News and Epistemic Vice: Combating a Uniquely Noxious Market
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association. forthcoming.
    The topic of fake news has received increased attention from philosophers since the term became a favorite of politicians (Habgood-Coote 2016; Dentith 2016). Notably missing from the conversation, however, is a discussion of fake news and conspiracy theory media as a market. This paper will take as its starting point the account of noxious markets put forward by Debra Satz (2010), and will argue that there is a pro tanto moral reason to restrict the market for fake news. Specifically, we begin w…Read more
  •  258
    Kevin McCain and Ted Poston’s Best Explanations
    International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 10 (2): 1-10. 2020.
    In this critical notice, I focus my attention on the chapters that deal with the explanationist response to skepticism.
  •  187
    Evidence and explanation in Cicero's On Divination
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 82 34-43. 2020.
    In this paper, I examine Cicero’s oft-neglected De Divinatione, a dialogue investigating the legitimacy of the practice of divination. First, I offer a novel analysis of the main arguments for divination given by Quintus, highlighting the fact that he employs two logically distinct argument forms. Next, I turn to the first of the main arguments against divination given by Marcus. Here I show, with the help of modern probabilistic tools, that Marcus’ skeptical response is far from the decisive, p…Read more
  •  173
    The Fate of Explanatory Reasoning in the Age of Big Data
    Philosophy and Technology 1-21. 2020.
    In this paper, I critically evaluate several related, provocative claims made by proponents of data-intensive science and “Big Data” which bear on scientific methodology, especially the claim that scientists will soon no longer have any use for familiar concepts like causation and explanation. After introducing the issue, in section 2, I elaborate on the alleged changes to scientific method that feature prominently in discussions of Big Data. In section 3, I argue that these methodological claim…Read more
  •  133
    Second Philosophy and Testimonial Reliability: Philosophy of Science for STEM Students
    European Journal for Philosophy of Science (3): 1-15. 2021.
    In this paper, I describe some strategies for teaching an introductory philosophy of science course to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students, with reference to my own experience teaching a philosophy of science course in the Fall of 2020. The most important strategy that I advocate is what I call the “Second Philosophy” approach, according to which instructors ought to emphasize that the problems that concern philosophers of science are not manufactured and imposed by…Read more
  •  80
    In this paper, I discuss the ways in which epistemic anxiety promotes well-being, specifically by examining the positive contributions that feelings of epistemic anxiety make toward intellectually virtuous inquiry. While the prospects for connecting the concept of epistemic anxiety to the two most prominent accounts of intellectual virtue, i.e., “virtue-reliabilism” and “virtue-responsibilism”, are promising, I primarily focus on whether the capacity for epistemic anxiety counts as an intellectu…Read more
  •  66
    AI Recruitment Algorithms and the Dehumanization Problem
    Ethics and Information Technology 1-11. 2021.
    According to a recent survey by the HR Research Institute, as the presence of artificial intelligence (AI) becomes increasingly common in the workplace, HR professionals are worried that the use of recruitment algorithms will lead to a “dehumanization” of the hiring process. Our main goals in this paper are threefold: i) to bring attention to this neglected issue, ii) to clarify what exactly this concern about dehumanization might amount to, and iii) to sketch an argument for why dehumanizing th…Read more
  •  42
    In this paper, we examine how the availability of massive quantities of data i.e., the “Big Data” phenomenon, contributes to the creation, spread, and harms of online misinformation. Specifically, we argue that a factor in the problem of online misinformation is the evolved human instinct to recognize patterns. While the pattern-recognition instinct is a crucial evolutionary adaptation, we argue that in the age of Big Data, these capacities have, unfortunately, rendered us vulnerable. Given the …Read more