•  13
    Van Fraassen’s (1989) infamous best of a bad lot objection is widely taken to be the most serious problem that afflicts theories of inference to the best explanation (IBE), for it alleges to show that we should not accept the conclusion of any case of such reasoning as it actually proceeds. Moreover, this is supposed to be the case irrespective of the details of the particular criteria used to select best explanations. The best of a bad lot objection is predicated on, and really only requires,…Read more
  •  13
    Can Knowledge Really be Non-factive?
    Logos and Episteme: An International Journal of Epistemology. forthcoming.
    This paper contains a critical examination of the prospects for analyses of knowledge that weaken the factivity condition such that knowledge implies approximate truth.
  •  320
    The Availability Heuristic and Inference to the Best Explanation
    Logos and Episteme 10 (4): 409-432. 2019.
    This paper shows how the availability heuristic can be used to justify inference to the best explanation in such a way that van Fraassen's infamous "best of a bad lot" objection can be adroitly avoided. With this end in mind, a dynamic and contextual version of the erotetic model of explanation sufficient to ground this response is presented and defended.
  •  141
    Unification and the Myth of Purely Reductive Understanding
    Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 27 142-168. 2020.
    In this paper significant challenges are raised with respect to the view that explanation essentially involves unification. These objections are raised specifically with respect to the well-known versions of unificationism developed and defended by Michael Friedman and Philip Kitcher. The objections involve the explanatory regress argument and the concepts of reduction and scientific understanding. Essentially, the contention made here is that these versions of unificationism wrongly assume t…Read more
  •  161
    This paper introduces a model for evidence denial that explains this behavior as a manifestation of rationality and it is based on the contention that social values (measurable as utilities) often underwrite these sorts of responses. Moreover, it is contended that the value associated with group membership in particular can override epistemic reason when the expected utility of a belief or belief system is great. However, it is also true that it appears to be the case that it is still possible…Read more
  •  181
    Quine and the Incoherence of the Indispensability Argument
    Logos and Episteme 10 (2): 207-213. 2019.
    It is an under-appreciated fact that Quine's rejection of the analytic/synthetic distinction, when coupled with some other plausible and related views, implies that there are serious difficulties in demarcating empirical theories from pure mathematical theories within the Quinean framework. This is a serious problem because there seems to be a principled difference between the two disciplines that cannot apparently be captured in the orthodox Quienan framework. For the purpose of simplicity le…Read more
  •  206
    Hans Reichenbach’s pragmatic treatment of the problem of induction in his later works on inductive inference was, and still is, of great interest. However, it has been dismissed as a pseudo-solution and it has been regarded as problematically obscure. This is, in large part, due to the difficulty in understanding exactly what Reichenbach’s solution is supposed to amount to, especially as it appears to offer no response to the inductive skeptic. For entirely different reasons, the significance of…Read more
  •  307
    Safety, the Preface Paradox and Possible Worlds Semantics
    Axiomathes 29 (4): 347-361. 2019.
    This paper contains an argument to the effect that possible worlds semantics renders semantic knowledge impossible, no matter what ontological interpretation is given to possible worlds. The essential contention made is that possible worlds semantic knowledge is unsafe and this is shown by a parallel with the preface paradox.
  •  243
    Rescuing the Assertability of Measurement Reports
    Acta Analytica 34 (1): 39-51. 2019.
    It is wholly uncontroversial that measurements-or, more properly, propositions that are measurement reports-are often paradigmatically good cases of propositions that serve the function of evidence. In normal cases it is also obvious that stating such a report is an utterly pedestrian case of successful assertion. So, for example, there is nothing controversial about the following claims: (1) that a proposition to the effect that a particular thermometer reads 104C when properly used to determ…Read more
  • From an Ontological Point of View (review)
    Philosophical Psychology 18 273-277. 2005.
  •  28
    Safety and the Preface Paradox
    Logos and Episteme 9 (2): 215-219. 2018.
    In the preface paradox the posited author is supposed to know both that every sentence in a book is true and that not every sentence in that book is true. But, this result is paradoxically contradictory. The paradoxicality exhibited in such cases arises chiefly out of the recognition that large-scale and difficult tasks like verifying the truth of large sets of sentences typically involve errors even given our best efforts to be epistemically diligent. This paper introduces an argument design…Read more
  •  111
    Some Recent Existential Appeals to Mathematical Experience
    Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 10 (2): 143-170. 2006.
    Some recent work by philosophers of mathematics has been aimed at showing that our knowledge of the existence of at least some mathematical objects and/or sets can be epistemically grounded by appealing to perceptual experience. The sensory capacity that they refer to in doing so is the ability to perceive numbers, mathematical properties and/or sets. The chief defense of this view as it applies to the perception of sets is found in Penelope Maddy’s Realism in Mathematics, but a number of other …Read more
  •  98
    Folk Judgments About Conditional Excluded Middle
    In Andrew Aberdein & Matthew Inglis (eds.), Advances in Experimental Philosophy of Logic and Mathematics, Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 251-276. 2019.
    In this chapter we consider three philosophical perspectives (including those of Stalnaker and Lewis) on the question of whether and how the principle of conditional excluded middle should figure in the logic and semantics of counterfactuals. We articulate and defend a third view that is patterned after belief revision theories offered in other areas of logic and philosophy. Unlike Lewis’ view, the belief revision perspective does not reject conditional excluded middle, and unlike Stalnaker’s, i…Read more
  • Idealization and Empirical Testing
    Dissertation, University of Miami. 2000.
    It has been argued that the presence of idealizations in physical theories implies that scientific realism is false. Furthermore, it has also been argued that because physical theories incorporate idealizations scientific theories must be accepted a priori, because the objects, processes, etc. quantified over in such expressions cannot be observed in the actual world. I argue against the former view by showing that scientific realism is compatible with the fact that all theoretical claims depend…Read more
  •  156
    Defusing the Miners Paradox
    Filosofiska Notiser 5 57-67. 2018.
    This paper presents a case for the claim that the infamous miners paradox is not a paradox. This contention is based on some important observations about the nature of ignorance with respect to both disjunctions and conditional obligations and their modal features. The gist of the argument is that given the uncertainty about the location of the miners in the story and the nature of obligations, the apparent obligation to block either mine shaft is cancelled.
  •  447
    Knowledge of Abstract Objects in Physics and Mathematics
    Acta Analytica 32 (4): 397-409. 2017.
    In this paper a parallel is drawn between the problem of epistemic access to abstract objects in mathematics and the problem of epistemic access to idealized systems in the physical sciences. On this basis it is argued that some recent and more traditional approaches to solving these problems are problematic.
  •  205
    This paper introduces a new argument against Richard Foley’s threshold view of belief. His view is based on the Lockean Thesis (LT) and the Rational Threshold Thesis (RTT). The argument introduced here shows that the views derived from the LT and the RTT violate the safety condition on knowledge in way that threatens the LT and/or the RTT.
  •  36
    An Argument for the Safety Condition on Knowledge
    Logos and Episteme 8 (4): 517-520. 2017.
    This paper introduces a new argument for the safety condition on knowledge. It is based on the contention that the rejection of safety entails the rejection of the factivity condition on knowledge. But, since we should maintain factivity, we should endorse safery.
  •  202
    Internalism, Evidentialism and Appeals to Expert Knowledge
    Logos and Episteme 8 (3): 291-305. 2017.
    Given the sheer vastness of the totality of contemporary human knowledge and our individual epistemic finitude it is commonplace for those of us who lack knowledge with respect to some proposition(s) to appeal to experts (those who do have knowledge with respect to that proposition(s)) as an epistemic resource. Of course, much ink has been spilled on this issue and so concern here will be very narrowly focused on testimony in the context of epistemological views that incorporate evidentialism a…Read more
  •  251
    Grounding Reichenbach’s Pragmatic Vindication of Induction
    Polish Journal of Philosophy 11 (1): 43-55. 2017.
    This paper has three interdependent aims. The first is to make Reichenbach’s views on induction and probabilities clearer, especially as they pertain to his pragmatic justification of induction. The second aim is to show how his view of pragmatic justification arises out of his commitment to extensional empiricism and moots the possibility of a non-pragmatic justification of induction. Finally, and most importantly, a formal decision-theoretic account of Reichenbach’s pragmatic justification …Read more
  •  54
    Stanley and the Stakes Hypothesis
    The Reasoner 11 73-74. 2017.
    The main examples of pragmatic encroachment presented by Jason Stanley involve the idea that knowledge ascription occurs more readily in cases where stakes are low rather than high. This is the stakes hypothesis. In this paper an example is presented showing that in some cases knowledge ascription is more readily appropriate where stakes are high rather than low.
  •  41
    A Thoroughly Modern Wager
    Logos and Episteme 8 (2): 207-231. 2017.
    This paper presents a corrected version of Pascal's wager that makes it consonant with modern decision theory. The corrected wager shows that not committing to God's existence is the rational choice.
  •  51
    Theorists in various scientific disciplines offer radically different accounts of the origin of violent behavior in humans, but it is not clear how the study of violence is to be scientifically grounded. This problem is made more complicated because both what sorts of acts constitute violence and what needs to be appealed to in explaining violence differs according to social scientists, biologists, anthropologists and neurophysiologists, and this generates serious problems with respect to even …Read more
  •  196
    Probability and Tempered Modal Eliminativism
    History and Philosophy of Logic 25 (4): 305-318. 2004.
    In this paper the strategy for the eliminative reduction of the alethic modalities suggested by John Venn is outlined and it is shown to anticipate certain related contemporary empiricistic and nominalistic projects. Venn attempted to reduce the alethic modalities to probabilities, and thus suggested a promising solution to the nagging issue of the inclusion of modal statements in empiricistic philosophical systems. However, despite the promise that this suggestion held for laying the ‘ghost o…Read more
  • Counterfactuals and Scientific Realism
    Palgrave MacMillan. 2012.
    This book is a sustained defense of the compatibility of the presence of idealizations in the sciences and scientific realism. So, the book is essentially a detailed response to the infamous arguments raised by Nancy Cartwright to the effect that idealization and scientific realism are incompatible.