•  38
    Belief as the Power to Judge
    Topoi 39 (5): 1167-1176. 2020.
    A number of metaphysicians of powers have argued that we need to distinguish the actualization of a power from the effects of that actualization. This distinction, I argue, has important consequences for the dispositional theory of belief. In particular, it suggests that dispositionalists have in effect been trying to define belief, not in terms of its actualization, but instead in terms of the effects of its actualization. As a general rule, however, powers are to be defined in terms of their a…Read more
  •  139
    Belief as an act of reason
    Manuscrito 41 (4): 287-318. 2018.
    Most philosophers assume (often without argument) that belief is a mental state. Call their view the orthodoxy. In a pair of recent papers, Matthew Boyle has argued that the orthodoxy is mistaken: belief is not a state but (as I like to put it) an act of reason. I argue here that at least part of his disagreement with the orthodoxy rests on an equivocation. For to say that belief is an act of reason might mean either (i) that it’s an actualization of its subject’s rational capacities or (ii) tha…Read more
  •  105
    Inferring as a way of knowing
    Synthese (Suppl 7): 1563-1582. 2017.
    Plausibly, an inference is an act of coming to believe something on the basis of something else you already believe. But what is it to come to believe some- thing on the basis of something else? I propose a disjunctive answer: it is either for some beliefs to rationally cause another—where rational causation is understood as causation that is either actually or potentially productive of knowledge—or for some beliefs to “deviantly” cause another, but for the believer mistakenly to come thereby to…Read more
  •  52
    Extensionality, Indirect Contexts and Frege's Hierarchy
    Dialectica 70 (3): 431-462. 2016.
    It is well known that Frege was an extensionalist, in the following sense: he held that the truth-value of a sentence is always a function only of the references of its parts. One consequence of this view is that expressions occurring in certain linguistic contexts – for example, the that-clauses of propositional attitude ascriptions – do not have their usual references, but refer instead to what are usually their senses. But although a number of philosophers have objected to this result, no one…Read more