• Vice and Virtue in Sikh Ethics
    The Monist 104 (3): 319-336. 2021.
    In recent years, there has been increasing interest in analytic philosophy that engages with non-Western philosophical traditions, including South Asian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. However, thus far, there has been no engagement with Sikhism, despite its status as a major world religion with a rich philosophical tradition. This paper is an attempt to get a start at analytic philosophical engagement with Sikh philosophy. My focus is on Sikh ethics, and in particular on the …Read more
  • De Re Significance accounts of moral appraisal consider an agent’s responsiveness to a particular kind of reason, normative moral reasons de re, to be of central significance for moral appraisal. Here, I argue that such accounts find it difficult to accommodate some neuroatypical agents. I offer an alternative account of how an agent’s responsiveness to normative moral reasons affects moral appraisal – the Reasonable Expectations Account. According to this account, what is significant for apprai…Read more
  • Metaphor and that certain 'je ne sais quoi'
    Philosophical Studies 129 (1). 2006.
    Philosophers have traditionally inclined toward one of two opposite extremes when it comes to metaphor. On the one hand, partisans of metaphor have tended to believe that metaphors do something different in kind from literal utterances; it is a ‘heresy’, they think, either to deny that what metaphors do is genuinely cognitive, or to assume that it can be translated into literal terms. On the other hand, analytic philosophers have typically denied just this: they tend to assume that if metaphors …Read more
  • A novel solution to the knowability paradox is proposed based on Kant’s transcendental epistemology. The ‘paradox’ refers to a simple argument from the moderate claim that all truths are knowable to the extreme claim that all truths are known. It is significant because anti-realists have wanted to maintain knowability but reject omniscience. The core of the proposed solution is to concede realism about epistemic statements while maintaining anti-realism about non-epistemic statements. Transcende…Read more
  • What does it mean to say that logic is formal? The short answer is: it means (or can mean) several different things. In this paper, I argue that there are (at least) eight main variations of the notion of the formal that are relevant for current discussions in philosophy and logic, and that they are structured in two main clusters, namely the formal as pertaining to forms, and the formal as pertaining to rules. To the first cluster belong the formal as schematic; the formal as indifference to pa…Read more
  • The utilitarian conception, which I call “action as production,” holds that action is a way of making use of the world, conceived as a causal mechanism. According to the rational intuitionist conception, which I call “action as assertion,” action is a way of acknowledging the value in the world, conceived as a realm of status. On the Kantian constructivist conception, which I call “action as participation,” action is a way of making the world, qua causal mechanism, come to count as a realm of st…Read more
  • The Benefit to Philosophy of the Study of its History
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 23 (1): 161-184. 2015.
    This paper advances the view that the history of philosophy is both a kind of history and a kind of philosophy. Through a discussion of some examples from epistemology, metaphysics, and the historiography of philosophy, it explores the benefit to philosophy of a deep and broad engagement with its history. It comes to the conclusion that doing history of philosophy is a way to think outside the box of the current philosophical orthodoxies. Somewhat paradoxically, far from imprisoning its students…Read more
  • Marx’s vision of unalienated production is often thought to be subject to decisive objections. This article argues that these objections rely on a misinterpretation of Marx’s position. It provides a new interpretation of Marx’s vision of unalienated production. Unlike another well-known account, it suggests that unalienated production involves realizing oneself through providing others with the goods and services they need for their self-realization. It argues that this view is appealing and tha…Read more
  • Why be rational
    Mind 114 (455): 509-563. 2005.
    Normativity involves two kinds of relation. On the one hand, there is the relation of being a reason for. This is a relation between a fact and an attitude. On the other hand, there are relations specified by requirements of rationality. These are relations among a person's attitudes, viewed in abstraction from the reasons for them. I ask how the normativity of rationality—the sense in which we ‘ought’ to comply with requirements of rationality—is related to the normativity of reasons—the sense …Read more
  • Upward mobility through the path of higher education has been an article of faith for generations of working-class, low-income, and immigrant college students. While we know this path usually entails financial sacrifices and hard work, very little attention has been paid to the deep personal compromises such students have to make as they enter worlds vastly different from their own. Measuring the true cost of higher education for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, Moving Up without Losing You…Read more
  • There has been considerable discussion recently of consequentialist justifications of epistemic norms. In this paper, I shall argue that these justifications are not justifications. The consequentialist needs a value theory, a theory of the epistemic good. The standard theory treats accuracy as the fundamental epistemic good and assumes that it is a good that calls for promotion. Both claims are mistaken. The fundamental epistemic good involves accuracy, but it involves more than just that. The …Read more