•  331
    The epistemological significance of psychic trauma
    Hypatia 21 (2): 104-125. 2006.
    This essay explores the epistemological significance of the kinds of beliefs that grow out of traumatic experiences, such as the rape survivor's belief that she is never safe. On current theories of justification, beliefs like this one are generally dismissed due to either insufficient evidence or insufficient propositional content. Here, Freedman distinguishes two discrete sides of the aftermath of psychic trauma, the shattered self and the shattered worldview. This move enables us to see these…Read more
  •  230
    Group Accountability Versus Justified Belief: A Reply to Kukla
    Social Epistemology Reply and Review Collective. 2015.
    In this paper I respond to Rebecca Kukla's (2014) "Commentary on Karyn Freedman, "Testimony and Epistemic Risk: The Dependence Account.""
  •  86
    Normative naturalism and epistemic relativism
    International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 20 (3). 2006.
    In previous work, I defended Larry Laudan against the criticism that the axiological component of his normative naturalism lacks a naturalistic justification. I argued that this criticism depends on an equivocation over the term 'naturalism' and that it begs the question against what we are entitled to include in our concept of nature. In this paper, I generalize that argument and explore its implications for Laudan and other proponents of epistemic naturalism. Here, I argue that a commitment to…Read more
  •  73
    Rethinking the Wrong of Rape
    Philosophical Issues. forthcoming.
    In their well-known paper, John Gardner and Stephen Shute (2000) propose a pure case of rape, in which a woman is raped while unconscious and the rape, for a variety of stipulated reasons, never comes to light. This makes the pure case a harmless case of rape, or so they argue. In this paper I show that their argument hinges on an outdated conception of trauma, one which conflates evaluative responses that arise in the aftermath of rape with the non-deliberative somatic responses of a central ne…Read more
  •  70
    Disquotationalism, Truth and Justification: The Pragmatist’s Wrong Turn
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (3): 371-386. 2006.
    Cheryl Misak argues that since disquotationalism cannot distinguish between different kinds of declarative sentences it cannot make sense of the disciplined nature of moral discourse. This apparent weakness is overcome by her pragmatist theory of truth, which reinflates truth by linking it to our everyday practices of justification and verification. In this paper I argue that the criticism that a deflated notion of truth cannot capture our justificatory practices has no purchase with someone who…Read more
  •  60
    Testimony and Epistemic Risk: The Dependence Account
    Social Epistemology 29 (3): 251-269. 2015.
    In this paper, I give an answer to the central epistemic question regarding the normative requirements for beliefs based on testimony. My suggestion here is that our best strategy for coming up with the conditions for justification is to look at cases where the adoption of the belief matters to the person considering it. This leads me to develop, in Part One of the paper, an interest-relative theory of justification, according to which our justification for a proposition p depends on our evidenc…Read more
  •  58
    Diversity and the Fate of Objectivity
    Social Epistemology 23 (1): 45-56. 2009.
    Helen Longino argues that the way to ensure scientific knowledge is objective is to have a diversity of scientific investigators. This is the best example of recent feminist arguments which hold that the real value of diversity is epistemic, and not political, but it only partly succeeds. In the end, Longino's objectivity amounts to intersubjective agreement about contextually based standards, and while her account gives us a good reason for wanting diversity in our scientific communities, this …Read more
  •  45
    Naturalized epistemology, or what the Strong Programme can’t explain
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 36 (1): 135-148. 2005.
    In this paper I argue that the Strong Programme’s aim to provide robust explanations of belief acquisition is limited by its commitment to the symmetry principle. For Bloor and Barnes, the symmetry principle is intended to drive home the fact that epistemic norms are socially constituted. My argument here is that even if our epistemic standards are fully naturalized—even relativized—they nevertheless can play a pivotal role in why individuals adopt the beliefs that they do. Indeed, sometimes the…Read more
  •  40
    In this paper I argue against what I call ‘strict evidentialism’, the view that evidence is the sole factor for determining the normative status of beliefs. I argue that strict evidentialism fails to capture the uniquely subjective standpoint of believers and as a result it fails to provide us with the tools necessary to apply its own epistemic norms. In its place I develop an interest-relative theory of justification which I call quasi-evidentialism, according to which S has a justified belief …Read more
  •  36
    The Limits of Internalism: A Case Study: Dialogue
    Dialogue 49 (1): 73-89. 2010.
    ABSTRACT: Looking at specific populations of knowers reveals that the presumption of sameness within knowledge communities can lead to a number of epistemological oversights. A good example of this is found in the case of survivors of sexual violence. In this paper I argue that this case study offers a new perspective on the debate between the epistemic internalist and externalist by providing us with a fresh insight into the complicated psychological dimensions of belief formation and the impli…Read more
  •  31
    Akratic Believing, Psychological Trauma, and Somatic Representations
    Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 24 (4): 337-346. 2017.
    Akrasia is a classical Greek term that is typically translated as “incontinence,” although it is sometimes translated as “weakness of the will”. Someone who displays practical akrasia exhibits a failure of control, but not an absence of control. In the practical case, the akratic individual intentionally and voluntarily acts in a way that is contrary to what she judges she ought to do. I tuck into a large piece of cheesecake even though I know I ought not to, or I light up a cigarette although I…Read more
  •  27
    The Epistemic Significance of #MeToo
    Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 6 (2). 2020.
    In part I of this paper, I argue that #MeToo testimony increases epistemic value for the survivor qua hearer when experiences like hers are represented by others; for society at large when false but dominant narratives about sexual violence and sexual harassment against women are challenged and replaced with true stories; and for the survivor qua teller when her true story is believed. In part II, I argue that the epistemic significance of #MeToo testimony compels us to consider the tremendous a…Read more
  •  19
    Interests, Disagreement and Epistemic Risk
    Dialogue 52 (3): 587-604. 2013.
    In this paper, I develop an interest-relative theory of justification in order to answer the question, “How can I maintain that P when someone whom I consider to be my epistemic peer maintains that not-P?” The answer to this question cannot be determined by looking at evidence alone, I argue, since justification cannot be determined by looking at evidence alone. Rather, in order to determine whether a subject S is justified in believing that P at time t, we need to assess her evidence in favour …Read more
  •  17
    Akratic Feelings
    Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 24 (4): 355-357. 2017.
    It sometimes seems to us that our judgments about what we ought to believe diverge from what we in fact believe. I may be perfectly aware that I am not particularly risking my life by flying, for instance, and yet, as I tighten my seatbelt in preparation for takeoff, I may nevertheless embrace the seemingly paradoxical thought that I am likely to die in a matter of mere seconds. In moments like this, it can feel to us like we are experiencing a failure of rationality, as we seem to embrace a bel…Read more
  •  16
    Traumatic Blocking and Brandom's Oversight
    Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 14 (1): 1-12. 2007.
    Robert Brandom grants that an individual can know even if she cannot provide a reasoned defense of her non-accidentally true beliefs about the world. Brandom is wrong, I argue, to suggest that this phenomenon of super blindsightedness is rare or fringe. This oversight becomes clear when we turn from the eccentric example of the industrial chicken-sexer to the case of the survivor of sexual violence. What we have in this instance is a subject who, qua survivor, has certain reliably formed, that i…Read more
  •  5
    One Hour in Paris: A True Story of Rape and Recovery
    University of Chicago Press. 2014.
    In this powerful memoir, philosopher Karyn L. Freedman travels back to a Paris night in 1990 when she was twenty-two and, in one violent hour, her life was changed forever by a brutal rape. _One Hour in Paris_ takes the reader on a harrowing yet inspirational journey through suffering and recovery both personal and global. We follow Freedman from an apartment in Paris to a French courtroom, then from a trauma center in Toronto to a rape clinic in Africa. At a time when as many as one in three wo…Read more
  •  5
    Knowledge Without Citable Reasons
    Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 14 (1): 25-28. 2007.
    I want to thank Paul Lieberman, Nancy Nyquist Potter, and Marilyn Nissim-Sabat for their very thoughtful and stimulating commentaries on my paper (Lieberman 2007; Potter 2007; Nissim-Sabat 2007). Each offers an interesting and distinct challenge to my work and I am happy for the opportunity to reply to the insights they bring to it. In this short response, I focus on what I take to be the most serious objections from each commentator, with the hopes of both clearing up some ambiguities and loose…Read more
  •  2
    Rethinking the wrong of rape1
    Philosophical Issues. forthcoming.
    Philosophical Issues, EarlyView.
  • Naturalized Epistemology and the Construction of Normativity
    Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada). 2001.
    Naturalized epistemology gives epistemic priority to the question, 'why do people hold the beliefs that they do?', and it asks us to recognize that we can't hope to answer this question unless we look at the context in which beliefs are held. Like all epistemic naturalists, I think that the descriptive question about belief acquisition is the most important one, but I don't think that it is the only genuine one. Normativity is a legitimate epistemic concern, and in this thesis I argue that there…Read more