•  866
    Epistemic Reasons I: Normativity
    Philosophy Compass 11 (7): 364-376. 2016.
    This paper is an opinionated guide to the literature on normative epistemic reasons. After making some distinctions in §1, I begin in §2 by discussing the ontology of normative epistemic reasons, assessing arguments for and against the view that they are mental states, and concluding that they are not mental states. In §3, I examine the distinction between normative epistemic reasons there are and normative epistemic reasons we possess. I offer a novel account of this distinction and argue that …Read more
  •  857
    This paper considers the place of reasons in the metaphysics of epistemic normativity and defends a middle ground between two popular extremes in the literature. Against members of the ‘reasons first’ movement, we argue that reasons are not the sole fundamental constituents of epistemic normativity. We suggest instead that the virtue-theoretic property of competence is the key building block. To support this approach, we note that reasons must be possessed to play a role in the analysis of ce…Read more
  •  781
    An Epistemic Non-Consequentialism
    The Philosophical Review 129 (1): 1-51. 2020.
    Despite the recent backlash against epistemic consequentialism, an explicit systematic alternative has yet to emerge. This paper articulates and defends a novel alternative, Epistemic Kantianism, which rests on a requirement of respect for the truth. §1 tackles some preliminaries concerning the proper formulation of the epistemic consequentialism / non-consequentialism divide, explains where Epistemic Kantianism falls in the dialectical landscape, and shows how it can capture what seems attrac…Read more
  •  529
    Epistemic Reasons II: Basing
    Philosophy Compass 11 (7): 377-389. 2016.
    The paper is an opinionated tour of the literature on the reasons for which we hold beliefs and other doxastic attitudes, which I call ‘operative epistemic reasons’. After drawing some distinctions in §1, I begin in §2 by discussing the ontology of operative epistemic reasons, assessing arguments for and against the view that they are mental states. I recommend a pluralist non-mentalist view that takes seriously the variety of operative epistemic reasons ascriptions and allows these reasons to b…Read more
  •  509
    How to be a redundant realist
    Episteme 9 (3): 271-282. 2012.
    In Group Agency, List and Pettit defend ‘non-redundant realism’ about group agency, a view on which facts about group agents are not ‘readily reducible’ to facts about individuals, and the dependence of group agents on individuals is so holistic that one cannot predict facts about group agents on the basis of facts about their members. This paper undermines L&P's case in three stages. §1 shows that L&P's core argument is invalid. L&P infer and from two facts: that group agents must often believe…Read more
  •  480
    This paper surveys some ways in which epistemic reasons ascriptions (or ERAs) appear to be context-sensitive, and outlines a framework for thinking about the nature of this context-sensitivity that is intimately related to ERAs' explanatory function.
  •  475
    Knowledge as a Non‐Normative Relation
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1): 190-222. 2018.
    According to a view I’ll call Epistemic Normativism, knowledge is normative in the same sense in which paradigmatically normative properties like justification are normative. This paper argues against EN in two stages and defends a positive non-normativist alternative. After clarifying the target in §1, I consider in §2 some arguments for EN from the premise that knowledge entails justification. I first raise some worries about inferring constitution from entailment. I then rehearse the reasons …Read more
  •  467
    Veritism Unswamped
    Mind 127 (506): 381-435. 2018.
    According to Veritism, true belief is the sole fundamental epistemic value. Epistemologists often take Veritism to entail that all other epistemic items can only have value by standing in certain instrumental relations—namely, by tending to produce a high ratio of true to false beliefs or by being products of sources with this tendency. Yet many value theorists outside epistemology deny that all derivative value is grounded in instrumental relations to fundamental value. Veritists, I believe, ca…Read more
  •  465
    Reliabilism without Epistemic Consequentialism
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (3): 525-555. 2018.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
  •  386
    Truth monism without teleology
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 1 (3): 161-163. 2012.
  •  359
    Skorupski on spontaneity, apriority and normative truth
    Philosophical Quarterly 66 (264): 617-628. 2016.
    This paper raises a dilemma for Skorupski’s meta-normative outlook in The Domain of Reasons and explores some escape routes, recommending a more thoroughgoing Kantianism as the best option. §1 argues that we cannot plausibly combine Skorupski’s spontaneity-based epistemology of normativity with his cognition-independent view of normative truth. §§2–4 consider whether we should keep the epistemology and revise the metaphysics, opting for constructivism. While Skorupski’s negative case for his s…Read more
  •  319
    Reasons: Wrong, Right, Normative, Fundamental
    with Errol Lord
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 15 (1). 2019.
    Reasons fundamentalists maintain that we can analyze all derivative normative properties in terms of normative reasons. These theorists famously encounter the Wrong Kind of Reasons problem, since not all reasons for reactions seem relevant for reasons-based analyses. Some have argued that this problem is a general one for many theorists, and claim that this lightens the burden for reasons fundamentalists. We argue in this paper that the reverse is true: the generality of the problem makes life h…Read more
  •  283
    Reasons in epistemology
    Oxford Bibliographies Online. 2014.
  •  240
    Many epistemologists treat rationality and justification as the same thing. Those who don’t lack detailed accounts of the difference, leading their opponents to suspect that the distinction is an ad hoc attempt to safeguard their theories of justification. In this paper, I offer a new and detailed account of the distinction. The account is inspired by no particular views in epistemology, but rather by insights from the literature on reasons and rationality outside of epistemology. Specifically, i…Read more
  •  220
    It is often assumed that believing that p for a normative reason consists in nothing more than (i) believing that p for a reason and (ii) that reason’s corresponding to a normative reason to believe that p, where (i) and (ii) are independent factors. This is the Composite View. In this paper, we argue against the Composite View on extensional and theoretical grounds. We advocate an alternative that we call the Prime View. On this view, believing for a normative reason is a distinctive achieveme…Read more
  •  202
    Responsibilism out of character
    In Mark Alfano & Abrol Fairweather (eds.), Epistemic Situationism, . 2017.
    Recent writers claim that responsibilist virtue epistemology courts skepticism, owing to the fact that most of us lack the virtues it deems necessary for justified belief and knowledge. A powerful version of this objection is the challenge from situationist social psychology pressed by Alfano (2012, 2013) and Olin and Doris (2014). This paper develops a new version of responsibilism that is immune from this objection, and shows that this view has many advantages over other forms of virtue episte…Read more
  •  191
    Respect and the Reality of Apparent Reasons
    Philosophical Studies. forthcoming.
    Some say that rationality only requires us to respond to apparent normative reasons. Given the independence of appearance and reality, why think that apparent normative reasons necessarily provide real normative reasons? And if they do not, why think that mistakes of rationality are necessarily real mistakes? This paper gives a novel answer to these questions. I argue first that in the moral domain, there are objective duties of respect that we violate whenever we do what appears to violate our …Read more
  •  183
    What apparent reasons appear to be
    Philosophical Studies 172 (3): 587-606. 2015.
    Many meta-ethicists have thought that rationality requires us to heed apparent normative reasons, not objective normative reasons. But what are apparent reasons? There are two kinds of standard answers. On de dicto views, R is an apparent reason for S to \ when it appears to S that R is an objective reason to \ . On de re views, R is an apparent reason for S to \ when R’s truth would constitute an objective reason for S to \ , and it appears to S that R. De re views are currently more popular be…Read more
  •  169
    The illusion of discretion
    Synthese 193 (6): 1635-1665. 2016.
    Having direct doxastic control would not be particularly desirable if exercising it required a failure of epistemic rationality. With that thought in mind, recent writers have invoked the view that epistemic rationality gives us options to defend the possibility of a significant form of direct doxastic control. Specifically, they suggest that when the evidence for p is sufficient but not conclusive, it would be epistemically rational either to believe p or to be agnostic on p, and they argue tha…Read more
  •  154
    Responsibilism within Reason
    In Christoph Kelp & John Greco (eds.), Virtue-Theoretic Epistemology: New Methods and Approaches, . forthcoming.
    According to ambitious responsibilism (AR), the virtues that are constitutive of epistemic responsibility should play a central and fundamental role in traditional projects like the analysis of justification and knowledge. While AR enjoyed a shining moment in the mid-1990s, it has fallen on hard times. Part of the reason is that many epistemologists—including fellow responsibilists—think it paints an unreasonably demanding picture of knowledge and justification. I agree that such worries undermi…Read more