Cornell University
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 1994
CV
Los Angeles, California, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Epistemology
Meta-Ethics

My philosophical views

Question Answer Comments
A priori knowledge: yes and no Accept: yes
Abstract objects: Platonism and nominalism Accept: Platonism Platonism rocks!
Aesthetic value: objective and subjective Lean toward: objective
Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes and no Accept: yes
Epistemic justification: internalism and externalism Accept: internalism I accept the "mentalist" version of internalism only. I'm not an "access internalist"!
External world: idealism, skepticism or non-skeptical realism Accept: non-skeptical realism
Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism or no free will Accept: compatibilism I don't accept any of the positive theories of free will and responsibility that any compatibilists have developed so far. So I may try to develop my own compatibilist theory myself one of these days...
God: theism and atheism Accept: atheism
Knowledge: empiricism and rationalism Accept: rationalism
Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism or invariantism Accept: contextualism
Laws of nature: Humean and non-Humean Lean toward: non-Humean
Logic: classical and non-classical Accept: classical
Mental content: internalism and externalism Accept an intermediate view I'm an externalist about what is attributed by "that..." clauses and the like; I deny the existence of "narrow content". However, there are also purely narrow or internal mental properties (not content but "types of content" as I put it) that play an important explanatory role in psychology.
Meta-ethics: moral realism and moral anti-realism Accept: moral realism
Metaphilosophy: naturalism and non-naturalism Accept an intermediate view Philosophy must take note of and aim to cohere with what has been discovered by the natural sciences. Moreover, this is not a trivial constraint on philosophy. However, philosophy does have a priori methods of its own, which are epistemically and methodologically legitimate.
Mind: physicalism and non-physicalism Lean toward: physicalism But only non-reductive physicalism!
Moral judgment: cognitivism and non-cognitivism Accept: cognitivism
Moral motivation: internalism and externalism Accept: internalism
Newcomb's problem: one box and two boxes Accept: two boxes My intuitions are those of a two-boxer, but I don't accept causal decision theory. So I have tried to develop a different story about why two-boxing is right...
Normative ethics: deontology, consequentialism or virtue ethics Accept: deontology My intuitions are distinctly deontological. I am opposed to the vague and pretentious moral theories that most deontologists have devised, however, and so my moral theory has much more in common with consequentialists than most deontologists.
Perceptual experience: disjunctivism, qualia theory, representationalism or sense-datum theory Accept more than one Although I reject both disjunctivism and sense-datum theory, I accept both representationalism and qualia theory. Perceptual experience is a many-splendoured thing!
Personal identity: biological view, psychological view or further-fact view Lean toward: biological view
Politics: communitarianism, egalitarianism or libertarianism Accept more than one I'm inclined to accept forms of all three -- at least when they are carefully adapted to allow them to be consistent with each other.
Proper names: Fregean and Millian Accept: Fregean Like most Oxford philosophers, I venerate the memory of Gareth Evans.
Science: scientific realism and scientific anti-realism Lean toward: scientific realism
Teletransporter (new matter): survival and death Lean toward: death I strongly lean towards animalism, and I suspect that the right biological theory of animal life will entail that an organism like an animal can't survive a sudden total replacement of all its matter.
Time: A-theory and B-theory Lean toward: B-theory
Trolley problem (five straight ahead, one on side track, turn requires switching, what ought one do?): switch and don't switch Accept: switch
Truth: correspondence, deflationary or epistemic Lean toward: correspondence
Zombies: inconceivable, conceivable but not metaphysically possible or metaphysically possible Accept: conceivable but not metaphysically possible Not metaphysically possible, but at least possibly possibly possibly.... possible. (This is one place where the failure of S4 turns out to matter!)