University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Department of Philosophy
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Metaphysics and Epistemology
Value Theory
  •  1
  • Richard Fumerton, Epistemology
    Philosophy in Review 27 (2): 113. 2007.
  •  79
    Suspension-to-Suspension Justification Principles
    Belgrade Philosophical Annual. forthcoming.
    We will be in a better position to evaluate some important skeptical theses if we first investigate two questions about justified suspended judgment. One question is this: when, if ever, does one justified suspension confer justification on another suspension? And the other is this: what is the structure of justified suspension? The goal of this essay is to make headway at answering these questions. After surveying the four main views about the non-normative nature of suspended judgment and offe…Read more
  •  26
    Review of Richard Fumerton, Epistemology (review)
    Philosophy in Review 27 1. 2007.
  •  115
    Using Gattaca to Teach Genetic Discrimination
    Film and Philosophy 1 (13): 65-76. 2009.
  •  99
  •  27
    The Defect in Effective Skeptical Scenarios
    International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 3 (4): 271-281. 2013.
    What epistemic defect needs to show up in a skeptical scenario if it is to effectively target some belief? According to the false belief account, the targeted belief must be false in the skeptical scenario. According to the competing ignorance account, the targeted belief must fall short of being knowledge in the skeptical scenario. This paper argues for two claims. The first is that, contrary to what is often assumed, the ignorance account is superior to the false belief account. The second is …Read more
  •  18
    Review of Collins, Hall, and Paul, Causation and Counterfactuals (review)
    Metapsychology Online Reviews 2005. 2005.
    As you scroll through this review, you move your hand; this causes the mouse to move; in turn this causes, via a series of intermediary events, changes on your screen. A bit more reflection shows that this case is entirely mundane: causal relations are a ubiquitous feature of the physical world. Causal relations are also, according to many philosophers, at the center of phenomena like knowledge, perception, linguistic meaning, mental content, belief, free action, and right action. In fact, one i…Read more
  •  25
    Would Donation Undercut the Morality of Execution?
    American Journal of Bioethics 11 (10). 2011.
  •  155
    Rewriting the A Priori/A Posteriori Distinction
    Journal of Philosophical Research 33 279-284. 2008.
    The traditional way of drawing the a priori/a posteriori distinction, bequeathed to us by Kant, leads to overestimating the role that experience plays in justifying ourbeliefs. There is an irony in this: though Kant was in the rationalist camp, his way of drawing the distinction gives an unfair advantage to radical empiricism. I offer an alternative way of drawing the distinction, one that does not bias the rationalist/empiricist debate.
  •  61
    Skeptical Effectiveness: A Reply to Buford and Brueckner
    International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (4): 397-403. 2016.
    In an earlier paper, I presented a novel objection to closure-based skeptical arguments. There I argued that the best account of what makes skeptical scenarios effective cripples the closure-based skeptical arguments that use those scenarios. On behalf of the skeptic, Christopher Buford and Anthony Brueckner have replied to my objection. Here I review my original argument, criticize their replies, and highlight two important issues for further investigation.
  •  78
    Teaching applied ethics to the righteous mind
    Journal of Moral Education 43 (4): 413-428. 2014.
    What does current empirically informed moral psychology imply about the goals that can be realistically achieved in college-level applied ethics courses? This paper takes up this question from the vantage point of Jonathan Haidt’s Social Intuitionist Model of human moral judgment. I summarize Haidt’s model, and then consider a variety of pedagogical goals. I begin with two of the loftiest goals of ethics education, and argue that neither is within realistic reach if Haidt’s model is correct. I t…Read more
  •  47
    Review of Janet Broughton, Descartes's Method of Doubt (review)
    Essays in Philosophy 10 (1): 8. 2005.
    The book has two parts. The first looks at the destructive use to which Descartes puts the method of doubt. But this is just half the story since, according to Broughton, Descartes also uses the method of doubt constructively. The second part of the book takes up the constructive use. Both uses fit into an overarching claim that is set out in the introduction. According to this claim, Descartes employs the method of doubt in order to establish fundamental metaphysical claims – or, as he says, cl…Read more
  •  7
    Review of Michael Resnik, Owning the Genome: A Moral Analysis of DNA Patenting (review)
    Politics and the Life Sciences 23 75-77. 2004.
    This book is devoted to showing that with the single exception of patents on people's whole genomes, DNA patents are morally permissible. Resnik begins with three useful background chapters: one on recent controversies over DNA patents in the United States and abroad; another on the basic science of DNA, as well as research and product development related to DNA; and another, especially useful, chapter on the legal nature of patents and intellectual property. The focus of moral evaluation is pat…Read more
  •  129
    Conceivability is an important source of our beliefs about what is possible; inconceivability is an important source of our beliefs about what is impossible. What are the connections between the reliability of these sources? If one is reliable, does it follow that the other is also reliable? The central contention of this paper is that suitably qualified the reliability of inconceivability implies the reliability of conceivability, but the reliability of conceivability fails to imply the reliabi…Read more
  •  124
    Justified Belief from Unjustified Belief
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (4): 602-617. 2017.
    Under what conditions is a belief inferentially justified? A partial answer is found in Justification from Justification : a belief is inferentially justified only if all of the beliefs from which it is essentially inferred are justified. After reviewing some important features of JFJ, I offer a counterexample to it. Then I outline a positive suggestion for how to think about inferentially justified beliefs while still retaining a basing condition. I end by concluding that epistemologists need a…Read more
  •  20
    French abortion opinion and the possibility of framing effects
    American Journal of Bioethics 7 (8). 2007.
    No abstract
  •  121
    Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2006.
    Coherentism is a theory of epistemic justification. It implies that for a belief to be justified it must belong to a coherent system of beliefs. For a system of beliefs to be coherent, the beliefs that make up that system must “cohere” with one another. Typically, this coherence is taken to involve three components: logical consistency, explanatory relations, and various inductive (non-explanatory) relations. Rival versions of coherentism spell out these relations in different ways. They also di…Read more
  •  24
    Harm is not enough
    American Journal of Bioethics 8 (10). 2008.
  •  138
    Closure failures for safety
    Philosophia 33 (1-4): 331-334. 2005.
    Ernest Sosa and others have proposed a safety condition on knowledge: If S knows p, then in the nearest (non-actual) worlds in which S believes p, p is true.1 Colloquially, this is the idea that knowing requires not being easily mistaken. Here, I will argue that like another condition requiring a counterfactual relation between a subject’s belief and the world, viz. Robert Nozick’s sensitivity condition, safety leads, in certain cases, to the unacceptable result that knowledge is not closed unde…Read more
  •  5
    Help the Patient, But Be Complicit With Homophobic Social Norms? Four Issues
    American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 5 (1): 13-14. 2014.
  •  62
    But Does It Hurt?
    Essays in Philosophy 18 (1): 131-145. 2017.
    As effective altruists often point out affluent people can do great good for others without having to make significant self-sacrifices. What is the correct moral assessment of patterns of giving that bring about great good and yet carry little in the way of self-sacrifice? Here I will clarify this question, state why it is important, and argue for an answer to it. After sketching the intuitive category of the morally best acts, I argue that self-sacrifice is not a condition that an act must meet…Read more