•  748
    Reasoning and Regress
    Mind 123 (489): 101-127. 2014.
    Regress arguments have convinced many that reasoning cannot require beliefs about what follows from what. In this paper I argue that this is a mistake. Regress arguments rest on dubious (although deeply entrenched) assumptions about the nature of reasoning — most prominently, the assumption that believing p by reasoning is simply a matter of having a belief in p with the right causal ancestry. I propose an alternative account, according to which beliefs about what follows from what play a consti…Read more
  •  565
    Transparency as Inference: Reply to Alex Byrne
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 111 (2pt2): 319-324. 2011.
    In his essay ‘Transparency, Belief, Intention’, Alex Byrne (2011) argues that transparency—our ability to form beliefs about some of our intentional mental states by considering their subject matter, rather than on the basis of special psychological evidence—involves inferring ‘from world to mind’. In this reply I argue that this cannot be correct. I articulate an intuitive necessary condition for a pattern of belief to count as a rule of inference, and I show that the pattern involved in transp…Read more
  •  316
    What reasoning might be
    Synthese 194 (6). 2017.
    The philosophical literature on reasoning is dominated by the assumption that reasoning is essentially a matter of following rules. This paper challenges this view, by arguing that it misrepresents the nature of reasoning as a personal level activity. Reasoning must reflect the reasoner’s take on her evidence. The rule-following model seems ill-suited to accommodate this fact. Accordingly, this paper suggests replacing the rule-following model with a different, semantic approach to reasoning
  •  240
    Attention and Synthesis in Kant's Conception of Experience
    Philosophical Quarterly 67 (268): 571-592. 2017.
    In an intriguing but neglected passage in the Transcendental Deduction, Kant appears to link the synthetic activity of the understanding in experience with the phenomenon of attention (B156-7n). In this paper, we take up this hint, and draw upon Kant's remarks about attention in the Anthropology to shed light on the vexed question of what, exactly, the understanding's role in experience is for Kant. We argue that reading Kant's claims about synthesis in this light allows us to combine two aspect…Read more
  •  220
    Instrumental Rationality
    European Journal of Philosophy 20 (4): 443-462. 2012.
    Does rationality require us to take the means to our ends? Intuitively, it seems clear that it does. And yet it has proven difficult to explain why this should be so: after all, if one is pursuing an end that one has decisive reason not to pursue, the balance of reasons will presumably speak against one's taking the means necessary to bring that end about. In this paper I propose a novel account of the instrumental requirement which addresses this problem. On the view I develop, the instrumental…Read more
  •  176
    In §24 of the Transcendental Deduction, Kant remarks that his account of the capacity of the understanding to spontaneously determine sensibility explains how empirical self-knowledge is possible through inner-sense. Although most commentators consider Kant's conception of empirical self-knowledge through inner sense to be either a failure or at least drastically under-developed, I argue that (just as Kant claims) his account of the capacity of the understanding to determine sensibility - the "p…Read more
  •  132
    I develop an account of our capacity to know what we consciously believe, which is based on an account of the phenomenology of conscious belief. While other recent authors have suggested that phenomenally conscious states play a role in the epistemology of self-ascriptions of belief, they have failed to give a satisfying account of how exactly the phenomenology is supposed to help with the epistemology — i.e., an account of the way “what it is like” for the subject of a conscious belief makes it…Read more
  •  95
    Two-dimensionalism and the epistemology of recognition
    Philosophical Studies 142 (3). 2009.
    There is reason to expect a reasonable account of a priori knowledge to be linked with an account of the nature of conceptual thought. Recent “two-dimensionalist” accounts of conceptual thought propose an extremely direct connection between the two: on such views, being in a position to know a priori a large number of non-trivial propositions is a necessary condition of concept-possession. In this paper I criticize this view, by arguing that it requires an implausibly internalist and intellectua…Read more
  •  84
    The Instrumental Structure of Actions
    Philosophical Quarterly 65 (258): 64-83. 2015.
    According to current orthodoxy in the philosophy of action, intentional actions consist in intrinsically mindless bodily movements that stand in causal relations to appropriate mental states. This paper challenges this approach to intentional action, by arguing that there are not enough appropriate mental states around to ‘animate’ all of the bodily movements we intuitively count as intentional actions. In the alternative picture I suggest, the bodily movements that constitute our intentional ac…Read more
  •  71
    Reasoning and Deducing
    Mind 128 (511): 861-885. 2019.
    What exactly is reasoning? While debate on this question is ongoing, most philosophers seem to agree on at least the following: reasoning is a mental process operating on contents, which consists in adopting or revising some of your attitudes in light of others. In this paper, I argue that this characterisation is mistaken: there is no single mental phenomenon that satisfies both of these conditions. Instead, I characterise two distinct mental phenomena, which I call ‘deducing’, on the one hand,…Read more
  •  69
    Spontaneity and Cognitive Agency
    Kant Yearbook 5 (1). 2013.
    Cognitive agency - the idea that our judgments and beliefs are manifestations of agency on our part - is a deeply entrenched aspect of our self-conception as persons. And yet it has proven hard to give a satisfying account of what such agency might consist in. In this paper I argue that getting clear about Kant’s notion of spontaneity might help us make progress in that debate. In particular, I argue that the very same assumption - namely, that agency must be understood on the model of productio…Read more
  •  65
    Time Travel for Endurantists
    American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (4): 357-364. 2015.
    Famously, David Lewis argued that we can avoid the apparent paradoxes of time travel by introducing a notion of personal time, which by and large follows the causal flow of the time traveler's life history. This paper argues that a related approach can be adapted for use by three-dimensionalists in response to Ted Sider's claim that three-dimensionalism is inconsistent with time travel. In contrast to Lewis (and others who follow him on this point), however, this paper argues that the order of e…Read more
  •  44
    Supposition and Blindness
    Mind 125 (499): 895-901. 2016.
    In ‘Reasoning and Regress’ I argued that inferring a conclusion from a set of propositions may simply consist in taking it that the conclusion follows from these propositions—thereby defusing familiar regress arguments. Sinan Dogramaci challenges the generality of this view, on the grounds that sometimes you may draw conclusions from no premisses that you believe. I respond by clarifying a distinction between the premisses of an argument from the reasons your conclusion is based upon. While supp…Read more
  •  44
    Discussions of Ryle’s regress argument against the “intellectualist legend” have largely focused on whether it is effective against a certain view about knowledge how, namely, the view that knowledge how is a species of propositional knowledge. This is understandable, as this is how Ryle himself framed the issue. Nevertheless, this focus has tended to obscure some different concerns which are no less pressing—either for Ryle or for us today. More specifically, I argue that a version of Ryle’s re…Read more
  •  42
    This paper concerns the apparent fact — discussed by Sinan Dogramaci and Brian Weatherson — that inductive reasoning often interacts in disastrous ways with patterns of reasoning that seem perfectly fine in the deductive case. In contrast to Dogramaci's and Weatherson's own suggestions, I argue that these cases show that we cannot reason inductively about arbitrary objects. Moreover, as I argue, this prohibition is neatly explained by a certain hypothesis about the rational basis of inductive re…Read more
  •  33
    What The Tortoise Has To Say About Diachronic Rationality
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1): 293-307. 2017.
  •  24
    Ratio, EarlyView.
  •  24
    This paper concerns the apparent fact — discussed by Sinan Dogramaci and Brian Weatherson — that inductive reasoning often interacts in disastrous ways with patterns of reasoning that seem perfectly fine in the deductive case. In contrast to Dogramaci's and Weatherson's own suggestions, I argue that these cases show that we cannot reason inductively about arbitrary objects. Moreover, as I argue, this prohibition is neatly explained by a certain hypothesis about the rational basis of inductive re…Read more
  •  19
    Attention, by Wayne Wu: London: Routledge, 2014, pp. 313, £26.99
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (3): 630-631. 2015.
  •  17
    Instrumental Rationality
    European Journal of Philosophy 22 (3): 443-462. 2014.
  •  10
    Reasoning, Defeasibility, and the Taking Condition
    Philosophers' Imprint 20 (28): 1-16. 2020.
    According to the so-called ‘Taking Condition’ (a label due to Boghossian 2014) on inference, for a response R in circumstances C to count as an instance of reasoning or inferring, it must be the case that the agent’s taking it that R is warranted or justified in C plays (the right sort of) explanatory role in her R-ing. The Taking Condition has come under much criticism in the theory of reasoning. While I believe that these criticisms can be answered, my aim in this paper is to build a positive …Read more
  •  1
    Knowledge in Contemporary Philosophy (edited book)
    with Stephen Hetherington
    Bloomsbury Publishing. 2018.
    "Divided chronologically into four volumes, The Philosophy of Knowledge: A History presents the history of one of Western philosophy's greatest challenges: understanding the nature of knowledge. Each volume follows conceptions of knowledge that have been proposed, defended, replaced, and proposed anew. Knowledge in Contemporary Philosophy covers discussions about scientific knowledge, social knowledge, and self-knowledge, along with attempts to understand knowledge naturalistically, contextually…Read more