Contrastive mental causationSynthese 198 (Suppl 3): 861-883. 2019.Any theory of mind needs to explain mental causation. Kim’s exclusion argument concludes that non-reductive physicalism cannot meet this challenge. One classic reply is that mental properties capture the causally relevant level of generality, because they are insensitive to physical realization. However, this reply suggests downward exclusion, contrary to physicalism’s assumption of closure. This paper shows how non-reductive physicalists can solve this problem by introducing a contrastive accou…Read more
Theoretical Motivation of “Ought Implies Can”Philosophia 48 (1): 83-94. 2020.A standard principle in ethics is that moral obligation entails ability, or that “ought implies can”. A strong case has been made that this principle is not well motivated in moral psychology. This paper presents an analogous case against the theoretical motivation for the principle. The principle is in tension with several foundational areas of ethical theorizing, including research on apologies, excuses, promises, moral dilemmas, moral language, disability, and moral agency. Across each of the…Read more
When and why people think beliefs are “debunked” by scientific explanations of their originsMind and Language 35 (1): 3-28. 2020.
Knowledge, Ignorance and Climate Change (New York Times)The New York Times 2018 (nov 26). 2018.
Normality and actual causal strengthCognition 161 80-93. 2017.Existing research suggests that people's judgments of actual causation can be influenced by the degree to which they regard certain events as normal. We develop an explanation for this phenomenon that draws on standard tools from the literature on graphical causal models and, in particular, on the idea of probabilistic sampling. Using these tools, we propose a new measure of actual causal strength. This measure accurately captures three effects of normality on causal judgment that have been obse…Read more
Lake Forest CollegeDepartment of Philosophy
Neuroscience ProgramAssistant Professor
Department of Philosophy
Lake Forest, Illinois, United States of America