•  5
    Rationalization and self-sabotage
    Behavioral and Brain Sciences 43. 2020.
    In making the case that “rationalization is rational,” Cushman downplays its signature liability: Rationalization exposes a person to the hazard of delusion and self-sabotage. In paradigm cases, rationalization undermines instrumental rationality by introducing inaccuracies into the representational map required for planning and effective agency.
  • Promises and Consistency
    In Iskra Fileva (ed.), Questions of Character, Oxford University Press. pp. 215-230. 2017.
    Situationists in moral philosophy infer from empirical studies in social psychology that human beings lack cross-situational behavioral consistency: that is, for the most part, we human beings are not able to act in the same trait-relevant way across a range of distinct types of situations, because those situational differences trigger differences in behavior. In this paper we defend the following thesis: one who accepts this conclusion (that is, one who judges that human beings in general are n…Read more
  •  41
    Humble trust
    Philosophical Studies 176 (4): 933-953. 2019.
    I challenge the common view that trust is characteristically risky compared to distrust by drawing attention to the moral and epistemic risks of distrust. Distrust that is based in real fear yet fails to target ill will, lack of integrity, or incompetence, serves to marginalize and exclude individuals who have done nothing that would justify their marginalization or exclusion. I begin with a characterization of the suite of behaviors characteristic of trust and distrust. I then survey the episte…Read more
  •  279
    Are Digital Images Allographic?
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 72 (4): 417-427. 2014.
    Nelson Goodman's distinction between autographic and allographic arts is appealing, we suggest, because it promises to resolve several prima facie puzzles. We consider and rebut a recent argument that alleges that digital images explode the autographic/allographic distinction. Regardless, there is another familiar problem with the distinction, especially as Goodman formulates it: it seems to entirely ignore an important sense in which all artworks are historical. We note in reply that some artwo…Read more
  •  43
    Preserving the Autographic/Allographic Distinction
    Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 73 (4): 453-457. 2015.
  •  19
    Trust within Limits
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies 26 (2): 240-250. 2018.
    There have two recent challenges to the orthodoxy that ‘X trusts Y to ø’ is the fundamental notion of trust. Domenicucci and Holton maintain that trust, like love and friendship, is fundamentally two-place. Paul Faulkner argues to the more radical conclusion that the one-place ‘X is trusting’ is explanatorily basic. I argue that ‘X trusts Y in domain D’ is the explanatorily basic notion. I make the case that only by thinking of trust as domain-specific can we make sense of the relationships betw…Read more
  •  62
    Promising to Try
    Ethics 125 (3): 797-806. 2015.
    We maintain that in many contexts promising to try is expressive of responsibility as a promiser. This morally significant application of promising to try speaks in favor of the view that responsible promisers favor evidentialism about promises. Contra Berislav Marušić, we contend that responsible promisers typically withdraw from promising to act and instead promise to try, in circumstances in which they recognize that there is a significant chance that they will not succeed.
  •  353
    Trust, Trustworthiness, and the Moral Consequence of Consistency
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (3): 467-484. 2015.
    Situationists such as John Doris, Gilbert Harman, and Maria Merritt suppose that appeal to reliable behavioral dispositions can be dispensed with without radical revision to morality as we know it. This paper challenges this supposition, arguing that abandoning hope in reliable dispositions rules out genuine trust and forces us to suspend core reactive attitudes of gratitude and resentment, esteem and indignation. By examining situationism through the lens of trust we learn something about situa…Read more
  •  174
    Volatile Reasons
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (1). 2013.
    I argue for the existence of a category of practical reasons which I call "Deliberation-Volatile Reasons" or "DVRs". DVRs have the distinguishing feature that their status as reasons for action is diminished when they are weighed in deliberation by the agent. I argue that DVRs are evidence of "deliberative blind spots". I submit that an agent manifests a peculiar kind of practical irrationality in so far as she endeavours to find a deliberative path to what she has reason to do, when the discove…Read more
  •  40
    On what basis, and to what extent, are refugees obligated to obey the laws of their host countries? Consideration of the specific case of asylum-seekers generates, I think, two competing intuitions: the refugee has a prima facie obligation to obey the laws of her host country and none of the popularly canvassed substrates of political obligation—consent, tacit consent, fairness, or social role—is at all apt to explain the presence of this obligation. I contend that the unfashionable gratitude ac…Read more
  •  322
    Rationalization as performative pretense
    Philosophical Psychology 28 (7): 980-1000. 2015.
    Rationalization in the sense of biased self-justification is very familiar. It's not cheating because everyone else is doing it too. I didn't report the abuse because it wasn't my place. I understated my income this year because I paid too much in tax last year. I'm only a social smoker, so I won't get cancer. The mental mechanisms subserving rationalization have been studied closely by psychologists. However, when viewed against the backdrop of philosophical accounts of the regulative role of t…Read more
  •  276
    Rationalization, Evidence, and Pretense
    Ratio 28 (3): 318-331. 2015.
    In this paper I distinguish the category of “rationalization” from various forms of epistemic irrationality. I maintain that only if we model rationalizers as pretenders can we make sense of the rationalizer's distinctive relationship to the evidence in her possession. I contrast the cognitive attitude of the rationalizer with that of believers whose relationship to the evidence I describe as “waffling” or “intransigent”. In the final section of the paper, I compare the rationalizer to the Frank…Read more