•  527
    Although critics often argue that the new atheists are arrogant, dogmatic, closed-minded and so on, there is currently no philosophical analysis of this complaint - which I will call 'the vice charge' - and no assessment of whether it is merely a rhetorical aside or a substantive objection in its own right. This Chapter therefore uses the resources of virtue epistemology to articulate this ' vice charge' and to argue that critics are right to imply that new atheism is intrinsically epistemically…Read more
  •  520
    I offer an account of the virtue of intellectual humility, construed as a pair of dispositions enabling proper management of one's intellectual confidence. I then show its integral role in a range of familiar educational practices and concerns, and finally describe how certain entrenched educational attitudes and conceptions marginalise or militate against the cultivation and exercise of this virtue.
  •  463
    Deep Epistemic Vices
    Journal of Philosophical Research 43. 2018.
    Although the discipline of vice epistemology is only a decade old, the broader project of studying epistemic vices and failings is much older. This paper argues that contemporary vice epistemologists ought to engage more closely with these earlier projects. After sketching some general arguments in section one, I then turn to deep epistemic vices: ones whose identity and intelligibility depends on some underlying conception of human nature or the nature of reality. The final section then offers …Read more
  •  425
    Healthcare Practice, Epistemic Injustice, and Naturalism
    with Havi Carel
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 84 1-23. 2018.
    Ill persons suffer from a variety of epistemically-inflected harms and wrongs. Many of these are interpretable as specific forms of what we dub pathocentric epistemic injustices, these being ones that target and track ill persons. We sketch the general forms of pathocentric testimonial and hermeneutical injustice, each of which are pervasive within the experiences of ill persons during their encounters in healthcare contexts and the social world. What’s epistemically unjust might not be only age…Read more
  •  411
    Epistemic Corruption and Education
    Episteme 16 (2): 220-235. 2019.
    I argue that, although education should have positive effects on students’ epistemic character, it is often actually damaging, having bad effects. Rather than cultivating virtues of the mind, certain forms of education lead to the development of the vices of the mind - it is therefore epistemically corrupting. After sketching an account of that concept, I offer three illustrative case studies.
  •  401
    Admiration, attraction and the aesthetics of exemplarity
    Journal of Moral Education 48 (3): 369-380. 2019.
    The aim of this paper is to show that an aesthetics of exemplarity could be a useful component of projects of moral self-cultivation. Using some in Linda Zagzebski's exemplarism, I describe a distinctive, aesthetically-inflected mode of admiration called moral attraction whose object is the inner beauty of a persn - the expression of the 'inner' virtues or excellences of character of a person in 'outer' forms of bodily comportment that are experienced, by others, as beautiful. I then argue that …Read more
  •  396
    Pathophobia, Illness, and Vices
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (2): 286-306. 2019.
    I introduce the concept pathophobia, to capture the range of morally objectionable forms of treatment to which somatically ill persons are subjected. After distinguishing this concept from sanism and ableism, I argue that the moral wrongs of pathophobia are best analysed using a framework of vice ethics. To that end I describe five clusters of pathophobic vices and failings, illustrating each with examples from three influential illness narratives.
  •  387
    Epistemic Injustice and Illness
    with Havi Carel
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 34 (2): 172-190. 2017.
    This article analyses the phenomenon of epistemic injustice within contemporary healthcare. We begin by detailing the persistent complaints patients make about their testimonial frustration and hermeneutical marginalization, and the negative impact this has on their care. We offer an epistemic analysis of this problem using Miranda Fricker's account of epistemic injustice. We detail two types of epistemic injustice, testimonial and hermeneutical, and identify the negative stereotypes and structu…Read more
  •  381
    Beautiful Bodhisattvas: The Aesthetics of Spiritual Exemplarity
    Contemporary Buddhism 18 (2): 331-345. 2017.
    The world’s spiritual traditions incorporate a variety of types of exemplar, persons who exemplify a life of aspiration to, or attainment of, spiritual goods. Within Buddhism, the range of exemplars includes monastics, boddhisattvas, the Zen masters, and the Buddha himself. Spiritual exemplars are typically described as having a distinctive form of bodily beauty, closely related to their ethical and spiritual qualities, that manifests as a form of radiance, luminosity, or charisma. Drawing on re…Read more
  •  336
    Exemplars, Ethics, and Illness Narratives
    Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (4): 323-334. 2017.
    Many people report that reading first-person narratives of the experience of illness can be morally instructive or educative. But although they are ubiquitous and typically sincere, the precise nature of such educative experiences is puzzling—for those narratives typically lack the features that modern philosophers regard as constitutive of moral reason. I argue that such puzzlement should disappear, and the morally educative power of illness narratives explained, if one distinguishes two differ…Read more
  •  329
    Adversity, Wisdom, and Exemplarism
    Journal of Value Inquiry 52 (4): 379-393. 2018.
    According to a venerable ideal, the core aim of philosophical practice is wisdom. The guiding concern of the ancient Greek, Indian, and Chinese traditions was the nature of the good life for human beings and the nature of reality. Central to these traditions is profound recognition of the subjection to adversities intrinsic to human life. I consider paradigmatic exemplars of wisdom, from ancient Western and Asian traditions, and the ways that experiences of adversity shaped their life. The sugge…Read more
  •  323
    Epistemic Corruption and Social Oppression
    In Ian James Kidd, Quassim Cassam & Heather Battaly (eds.), Vice Epistemology, Routledge. forthcoming.
    I offer a working analysis of the concept of 'epistemic corruption', then explain how it can help us to understand the relations between epistemic vices and social oppression, and use this to motivate a style of vice epistemology, inspired by the work of Robin Dillon, that I call critical character epistemology.
  •  307
    Daoism, Humanity, and the Way of Heaven
    Religious Studies 56 111-126. 2020.
    I argue that Zhuangist Daoism manifests what I label the spiritual aspiration to emulation, and then use this to challenge some of John Cottingham's attempts to confine authentic spiritual experience to theistic traditions.
  •  294
    Epistemic Courage and the Harms of Epistemic Life
    In Heather Battaly (ed.), The Routledge Handbook to Virtue Epistemology, Routledge. pp. 244-255. forthcoming.
    Since subjection to harm is an intrinsic feature of our social and epistemic lives, there is a perpetual need for individual and collective agents with the virtue of epistemic courage. In this chapter, I survey some of the main issues germane to this virtue, such as the nature of courage and of harm, the range of epistemic activities that can manifest courage, and the status of epistemic courage as a collective and as a professional virtue.
  •  284
    Feyerabend, Pluralism, and Parapsychology
    Bulletin of the Parapsychological Association 5 (1): 5-9. 2018.
    Feyerabend is well-known as a pluralist, and notorious for his defences of, and sympathetic references to, heterodox subjects, such as parapsychology. Focusing on the latter, I ask how we should understand the relationship between the pluralism and the defences, drawing on Marcello Truzzi's and Martin Gardner's remarks on Feyerabend along the way.
  •  274
    ‘Following the Way of Heaven’: Exemplarism, Emulation, and Daoism
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association 6 (1): 1-15. 2020.
    Many ancient traditions recognise certain people as exemplars of virtue. I argue that some of these traditions incorporate a 'cosmic' mode of emulation, where certain of the qualities or aspects of the grounds or source of the world manifest, in human form, as virtues. If so, the ultimate objection of emulation is not a human being. I illustrate this with the forms of Daoist exemplarity found in the Book of Zhuangzi, and end by considering the charge that the aspiration to cosmic emulation is in…Read more
  •  270
    Phenomenology of Illness, Philosophy, and Life
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 62 56-62. 2017.
    An essay review of Havi Carel, 'Phenomenology of Illness' (OUP 2015).
  •  269
    Resisters, Diversity in Philosophy, and the Demographic Problem
    Rivista di Estetica 64 118-133. 2017.
    The discipline of academic philosophy suffers from serious problems of diversity and inclusion whose acknowledgement and amelioration are often resisted by members of our profession. In this paper, I distinguish four main modes of resistance—naiveté, conservatism, pride, and hostility—and describe how and why they manifest by using them as the basis for a typology of types of ‘resister’. This typology can hopefully be useful to those of us trying to counteract such resistance in ways sensitive t…Read more
  •  223
    Reawakening to Wonder: Wittgenstein, Feyerabend, and Scientism
    In Jonathan Beale & Ian James Kidd (eds.), Wittgenstein and Scientism, Routledge. pp. 101-115. 2018.
    My aim in this chapter is to reconstruct Feyerabend’s anti-scientism by comparing it with the similar critiques of one of his main philosophical influences – Ludwig Wittgenstein. I argue that they share a common conception of scientism that gathers around a concern that it erodes a sense of wonder or mystery required for a full appreciation of human existence – a sense that Feyerabend, like Wittgenstein, characterised in terms of the ‘mystical’.
  •  209
    Epistemic Injustice in Healthcare: A Philosophical Analysis
    with Havi Carel
    Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 17 (4): 529-540. 2014.
    In this paper we argue that ill persons are particularly vulnerable to epistemic injustice in the sense articulated by Fricker. Ill persons are vulnerable to testimonial injustice through the presumptive attribution of characteristics like cognitive unreliability and emotional instability that downgrade the credibility of their testimonies. Ill persons are also vulnerable to hermeneutical injustice because many aspects of the experience of illness are difficult to understand and communicate and …Read more
  •  204
    Pathocentric Epistemic Injustice and Conceptions of Health
    with Havi Carel
    In Benjamin Sherman & Stacey Goguen (eds.), Overcoming Epistemic Injustice: Social and Psychological Perspectives, Rowman and Littlefield. pp. 00-00. forthcoming.
    In this paper, we argue that certain theoretical conceptions of health, particularly those described as ‘biomedical’ or ‘naturalistic’, are viciously epistemically unjust. Drawing on some recent work in vice epistemology, we identity three ways that abstract objects (such as theoretical conceptions, doctrines, or stances) can be legitimately described as epistemically vicious. If this is right, then robust reform of individuals, social systems, and institutions would not be enough to secure epi…Read more
  •  192
    Animals, Misanthropy, and Humanity
    Journal of Animal Ethics 10 (1): 66. 2020.
    David. E. Cooper’s claim in Animals and Misanthropy is that honest reflection on the ways human beings treat and compare with animals encourages a dark, misanthropic judgment on humankind. Treatment of animals manifests a range of vices and failings that are ubiquitous and entrenched in our practices, institutions, and forms of life, organized by Cooper into five clusters. Moreover, comparisons of humans and animals reveals both affinities and similarities, including a crucial difference that an…Read more
  •  191
    Confucianism, Curiosity, and Moral Self-Cultivation
    In Ilhan Inan, Lani Watson, Safiye Yigit & Dennis Whitcomb (eds.), The Moral Psychology of Curiosity, Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 97-116. 2018.
    I propose that Confucianism incorporates a latent commitment to the closely related epistemic virtues of curiosity and inquisitiveness. Confucian praise of certain people, practices, and dispositions is only fully intelligible if these are seen as exercises and expressions of epistemic virtues, of which curiosity and inquisitiveness are the obvious candidates. My strategy is to take two core components of Confucian ethical and educational practice and argue that each presupposes a specific virtu…Read more
  •  187
    A review of David E. Cooper's book, "Animals and Misanthropy", which argues that reflection on awful treatment of animals justifies a negative critical judgment on human life and culture.
  •  178
    Other histories, other sciences
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 61 57-60. 2017.
    An essay review of Léna Soler, Emiliano Trizio, and Andrew Pickering (eds.), Science As It Could Have Been: Discussing the Contingency/Inevitability Problem (Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh University Press)
  •  173
    Humility, Contingency, and Pluralism in the Sciences
    In Mark Alfano, Michael Lynch & Alessandra Tanesini (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Humility, Routledge. pp. 346-358. forthcoming.
    A chapter exploring the relations between humility and the sciences.
  •  171
    One way to think about the philosophical significance of hatred is to consider doctrines that are characterised by feelings of hatred. A good candidate is misanthropy, which is often conceived as an attitude of hatred directed at humankind at large. I start by sketching a working account of misanthropy as a critical verdict or judgment on the contemporary condition of humankind as it has become. The criticism is directed at the array of vices and failings that are ubiquitous and entrenched withi…Read more
  •  167
    Epistemic Corruption and Political Institutions
    In Michael Hannon & Jeroen de Ridder (eds.), The Routledge Handbook to Political Epistemology, Routledge. pp. 357-358. 2021.
    Institutions play an indispensable role in our political and epistemic lives. This Chapter explores sympathetically the claim that political institutions can be bearers of epistemic vices. I start by describing one form of collectivism - the claim that the vices of institutions do not reduce to the vices of their members. I then describe the phenomenon of epistemic corruption and the various processes that can corrupt the epistemic ethoi of political institutions. The discussion focuses on some …Read more
  •  166
    Receptivity to Mystery: Cultivation, Loss, and Scientism
    European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 4 (3): 51-68. 2012.
    The cultivation of receptivity to the mystery of reality is a central feature of many religious and philosophical traditions, both Western and Asian. This paper considers two contemporary accounts of receptivity to mystery – those of David E. Cooper and John Cottingham – and considers them in light of the problem of loss of receptivity. I argue that a person may lose their receptivity to mystery by embracing what I call a scientistic stance, and the paper concludes by offering two possible respo…Read more
  •  163
    Philosophical Misanthropy
    Philosophy Now 139 28-31. 2020.
    A short piece on philosophy and misanthropy.