Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Linguistics and Philosophy
PhD, 2010
South Hadley, Massachusetts, United States of America
  •  472
    We are fallible creatures, prone to making all sorts of mistakes. So, we should be open to evidence of error. But what constitutes such evidence? And what is it to rationally accommodate it? I approach these questions by considering an evolutionary debunking argument according to which (a) we have good, scientific, reason to think our moral beliefs are mistaken, and (b) rationally accommodating this requires revising our confidence in, or altogether abandoning the suspect beliefs. I present a di…Read more
  •  617
    Confidence, Evidence, and Disagreement
    Erkenntnis 79 (S1): 173-183. 2014.
    Should learning we disagree about p lead you to reduce confidence in p? Some who think so want to except beliefs in which you are rationally highly confident. I argue that this is wrong; we should reject accounts that rely on this intuitive thought. I then show that quite the opposite holds: factors that justify low confidence in p also make disagreement about p less significant. I examine two such factors: your antecedent expectations about your peers’ opinions and the difficulty of evaluating …Read more
  •  1090
    Moral disagreement and moral skepticism
    Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1): 302-333. 2014.
    The fact of moral disagreement when conjoined with Conciliationism, an independently attractive view about the epistemic significance disagreement, seems to entail moral skepticism. This worries those who like Conciliationism, the independently attractive view, but dislike moral skepticism. Others, equally inclined against moral skepticism, think this is a reductio of Conciliationism. I argue that they are both wrong. There is no reductio and nothing to worry about.
  •  4816
    Debunking Evolutionary Debunking
    Oxford Studies in Metaethics 9 76-101. 2014.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments start with a premise about the influence of evolutionary forces on our evaluative beliefs, and conclude that we are not justified in those beliefs. The value realist holds that there are attitude-independent evaluative truths. But the debunker argues that we have no reason to think that the evolutionary forces that shaped human evaluative attitudes would track those truths. Worse yet, we seem to have a good reason to think that they wouldn’t: evolution selects fo…Read more
  •  354
    "Deliberation and prediction: it's complicated"
    Episteme 13 (4): 529-538. 2016.
    Alan Hájek launches a formidable attack on the idea that deliberation crowds out prediction – that when we are deliberating about what to do, we cannot rationally accommodate evidence about what we are likely to do. Although Hájek rightly diagnoses the problems with some of the arguments for the view, his treatment falls short in crucial ways. In particular, he fails to consider the most plausible version of the view, the best argument for it, and why anyone would ever believe it in the first pl…Read more
  •  4378
    Evolutionary Debunking of Moral Realism
    Philosophy Compass 10 (2): 104-116. 2015.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments move from a premise about the influence of evolutionary forces on our moral beliefs to a skeptical conclusion about those beliefs. My primary aim is to clarify this empirically grounded epistemological challenge. I begin by distinguishing among importantly different sorts of epistemological attacks. I then demonstrate that instances of each appear in the literature under the ‘evolutionary debunking’ title. Distinguishing them clears up some confusions and helps u…Read more
  •  761
    Irrelevant Influences
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 134-152. 2018.
    We often hear such casual accusations: you just believe that because you are a liberal, a Christian, an American, a woman… When such charges are made they are meant to sting—not just emotionally, but epistemically. But should they? It can be disturbing to learn that one's beliefs reflect the influence of such irrelevant factors. The pervasiveness of such influence has led some to worry that we are not justified in many of our beliefs. That same pervasiveness has led others to doubt whether there…Read more