Oxford University
Faculty of Philosophy
DPhil, 1995
St Andrews, FIfe, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  •  378
    Thought Experiments, Intuitions and Philosophical Evidence
    Dialectica 65 (4): 493-516. 2011.
    What is the nature of the evidence provided by thought experiments in philosophy? For instance, what evidence is provided by the Gettier thought experiment against the JTB theory of knowledge? According to one view, it provides as evidence only a certain psychological proposition, e.g. that it seems to one that the subject in the Gettier case lacks knowledge. On an alternative, nonpsychological view, the Gettier thought experiment provides as evidence the nonpsychological proposition that the su…Read more
  •  342
    Contextualism and warranted assertibility manoeuvres
    Philosophical Studies 130 (3). 2006.
    Contextualists such as Cohen and DeRose claim that the truth conditions of knowledge attributions vary contextually, in particular that the strength of epistemic position required for one to be truly ascribed knowledge depends on features of the attributor's context. Contextualists support their view by appeal to our intuitions about when it's correct (or incorrect) to ascribe knowledge. Someone might argue that some of these intuitions merely reflect when it is conversationally appropriate to a…Read more
  •  318
    Knowing-how: linguistics and cognitive science
    Analysis 73 (2): 220-227. 2013.
    Stanley and Williamson have defended the intellectualist thesis that knowing-how is a subspecies of knowing-that by appeal to the syntax and semantics of ascriptions of knowing-how. Critics have objected that this way of defending intellectualism places undue weight on linguistic considerations and fails to give sufficient attention to empirical considerations from the scientific study of the mind. In this paper, I examine and reject Stanley's recent attempt to answer the critics.
  •  311
    Knowledge and practical reason
    Philosophy Compass 3 (6): 1135-1152. 2008.
    It has become recently popular to suggest that knowledge is the epistemic norm of practical reasoning and that this provides an important constraint on the correct account of knowledge, one which favours subject-sensitive invariantism over contextualism and classic invariantism. I argue that there are putative counterexamples to both directions of the knowledge norm. Even if the knowledge norm can be defended against these counterexamples, I argue that it is a delicate issue whether it is true, …Read more
  •  306
    Infallibilism, evidence and pragmatics
    Analysis 73 (4): 626-635. 2013.
    According to one contemporary formulation of infallibilism, probability 1 infallibilism, if a subject knows that p, then the probability of p on her evidence is 1. To avoid an implausible scepticism about knowledge, probability 1 infallibilism needs to allow that, in a wide range of cases, a proposition can be evidence for itself. However, such infallibilism needs to explain why it is typically infelicitous to cite p as evidence for p itself. I argue that probability 1 infallibilism has no expla…Read more
  •  286
    The knowledge Norm for assertion
    Philosophical Issues 18 (1): 89-103. 2008.
    No Abstract
  •  274
    Experimental Philosophy, Contextualism and SSI
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (2): 233-261. 2013.
    I will ask the conditional question: if folk attributions of "know" are not sensitive to the stakes and/or the salience of error, does this cast doubt on contextualism or subject-sensitive invariantism (SSI)? I argue that if it should turn out that folk attributions of knowledge are insensitive to such factors, then this undermines contextualism, but not SSI. That is not to say that SSI is invulnerable to empirical work of any kind. Rather, I defend the more modest claim that leading versions of…Read more
  •  265
    Bergmann argues that we should accept epistemically circular reasoning since, he claims, it is a consequence of the plausible assumption that some justification is noninferential (Bergmann, M. "Epistemic Circularity, Malignant and Benign", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research forthcoming). I show that epistemically circular reasoning does not follow merely from the assumption that some justification is noninferential, but only from that view combined with the assumption of basic justificatio…Read more
  •  254
    Knowledge and Assertion
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (3): 549-566. 2010.
  •  225
    In this paper, I defend McKinsey's argument (Analysis 1991) that Burge's antiindividualist position is incompatible with privileged access, viz. the claim that each subject can know his own thought contents just by reflection and without having undertaken an empirical investigation. I argue that Burge thinks that there are certain necessary conditions for a subject to have thoughts involving certain sorts of concepts; these conditions are appropriately different for thoughts involving natural ki…Read more
  •  201
    Assertion and Practical Reasoning: Common or Divergent Epistemic Standards?
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1): 123-157. 2012.
  •  199
    I consider but reject one broad strategy for answering the threshold problem for fallibilist accounts of knowledge, namely what fixes the degree of probability required for one to know? According to the impurist strategy to be considered, the required degree of probability is fixed by one's practical reasoning situation. I distinguish two different ways to implement the suggested impurist strategy. According to the Relevance Approach, the threshold for a subject to know a proposition at a time i…Read more
  •  192
    Assertion: New Philosophical Essays (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2011.
    Assertion is a fundamental feature of language. This volume will be the place to look for anyone interested in current work on the topic.
  •  182
    Sosa on scepticism (review)
    Philosophical Studies 143 (3): 397--405. 2009.
    In my remarks, I discuss Sosa's attempt to deal with the sceptical threat posed by dreaming. Sosa explores two replies to the problem of dreaming scepticism. First, he argues that, on the imagination model of dreaming, dreaming does not threaten the safety of our beliefs. Second, he argues that knowledge does not require safety, but a weaker condition which is not threatened by dreaming skepticism. I raise questions about both elements of his reply.
  •  179
    Boghossian on externalism and privileged access
    Analysis 59 (1): 52-59. 1999.
    Boghossian has argued that Putnam's externalism is incompatible with privileged access, i.e., the claim that a subject can have nonempirical knowledge of her thought contents ('What the externalist can know a priori', PAS 1997). Boghossian's argument assumes that Oscar can know a priori that (1) 'water' aims to name a natural kind; and (2) 'water' expresses an atomic concept. However, I show that if Burge's externalism is correct, then these assumptions may well be false. This leaves Boghossian …Read more
  •  170
    Critical reasoning, understanding and self-knowledge
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3): 659-676. 2000.
    Following Burge, many anti-individualists suppose that a subject can possess a concept even if she incompletely understands it. While agreeing that this is possible, I argue that there is a limit on the extent to which a subject can incompletely understand the set of concepts she thinks with. This limit derives from our conception of our ability to reflectively evaluate our own thoughts or, as Burge puts it, our ability to engage in critical reasoning. The paper extends Burge’s own work on criti…Read more
  •  159
    Contextualism about Evidential Support
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2): 329-354. 2016.
    In this paper, I examine a contextualist thesis that has been little discussed in comparison with contextualism about knowledge, namely contextualism about evidential support. This seems surprising since, prima facie, evidential support statements seem shifty in a way parallel to knowledge ascriptions. I examine but reject the suggestion that contrastivism about evidential support is motivated by arguments analogous to those used to motivate contrastivism about knowledge including sceptical clos…Read more
  •  153
    Natural kind terms and recognitional capacities
    Mind 107 (426): 275-303. 1998.
    The main contribution of this paper is a new account of how a community may introduce a term for a natural kind in advance of knowing the correct scientific account of that kind. The account is motivated by the inadequacy of the currently dominant accounts of how a community may do this, namely those proposed by Kripke and by Putman. Their accounts fail to deal satisfactorily with the facts that (1) typically, an item that instantiates one natural kind instantiates several - 'the higher-level na…Read more
  •  126
    Anti-individualism and agnosticism
    Analysis 61 (3): 213-24. 2001.
    McKinsey-style reductio arguments aim to show that anti-individualism is incompatible with privileged access, the claim that a subject can have a priori knowledge of her thought contents. I defend my version of the reductio against the objections of Falvey, and McLaughlin and Tye. However, I raise and discuss a more serious objection--that it may be difficult for a subject to know a priori that she is agnostic about a concept, given that agnosticism involves being unsure whether a concept applie…Read more
  •  121
    In this paper, I focus on the most important form of argument for anti-intellectualism, one that exploits alleged connections between knowledge and practical reasoning. I first focus on a form of this argument which exploits a universal principle, Sufficiency, connecting knowledge and practical reasoning. In the face of putative counterexamples to Sufficiency, a number of authors have attempted to reformulate the argument with a weaker principle. However, I argue that the weaker principles sugge…Read more
  •  118
    Adapt or die: The death of invariantism&quest
    Philosophical Quarterly 55 (219): 263-285. 2005.
    Contextualists support their view by appeal to cases which show that whether an attribution of knowledge seems correct depends on attributor factors. Contextualists conclude that the truth-conditions of knowledge attributions depend on the attributor's context. Invariantists respond that these cases show only that the warranted assertability-conditions of knowledge attributions depend on the attributor's context. I examine DeRose's recent argument against the possibility of such an invariantist …Read more
  •  116
    Williamson on Luminosity and Contextualism
    Philosophical Quarterly 55 (219). 2005.
    According to contextualism, the truth-conditions of knowledge attributions depend on features of the attributor's context. Contextualists take their view to be supported by cases in which the intuitive correctness of knowledge attributions depends on the attributor's context. Williamson offers a complex invariantist account of such cases which appeals to two elements, psychological bias and a failure of luminosity. He provides independent reasons for thinking that contextualist cases are charact…Read more
  •  111
    Intuitions, evidence and hopefulness
    Synthese 190 (12): 2021-2046. 2013.
    Experimental philosophers have recently conducted surveys of folk judgements about a range of phenomena of interest to philosophy including knowledge, reference, and free will. Some experimental philosophers take these results to undermine the philosophical practice of appealing to intuitions as evidence. I consider several different replies to the suggestion that these results undermine philosophical appeal to intuition, both piecemeal replies which raise concerns about particular surveys, and …Read more