•  50
    Feldman on the Epistemic Value of Truth
    Acta Analytica 1-15. forthcoming.
    Most epistemologists maintain that true beliefs are of final epistemic value. However, Richard Feldman is a rare philosopher who is skeptical that true beliefs are of final epistemic value. The aim of this paper is to evaluate Feldman’s criticisms. I’ll argue that Feldman’s arguments ultimately turn on a view about the relation between epistemic duties and epistemic value that is implausible and underdeveloped.
  •  110
    Evidentialism, Knowledge, and Evidence Possession
    Logos and Episteme 9 (4): 433-449. 2018.
    Evidentialism has shown itself to be an important research program in contemporary epistemology, with evidentialists giving theories of virtually every important topic in epistemology. Nevertheless, at the heart of evidentialism is a handful of concepts, namely evidence, evidence possession, and evidential fit. If evidentialists cannot give us a plausible account of these concepts, then their research program, with all its various theories, will be in serious trouble. In this paper, I argue that…Read more
  •  72
    Basic Final Value and Zimmerman’s The Nature of Intrinsic Value
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (4): 979-996. 2018.
    This paper critically examines Michael Zimmerman’s account of basic final value in The Nature of Intrinsic Value. Zimmerman’s account has several positive features. Unfortunately, as I argue, given one plausible assumption about value his account derives a contradiction. I argue that rejecting that assumption has several implausible results and that we should instead reject Zimmerman’s account. I then sketch an alternative account of basic final value, showing how it retains some of the positive…Read more
  •  67
    Justification, Justifying, and Leite’s Localism
    Acta Analytica 33 (4): 505-524. 2018.
    In a series of papers, Adam Leite has developed a novel view of justification tied to being able to responsibly justify a belief. Leite touts his view as faithful to our ordinary practice of justifying beliefs, providing a novel response to an epistemological problem of the infinite regress, and resolving the “persistent interlocutor” problem. Though I find elements of Leite’s view of being able to justify a belief promising, I hold that there are several problems afflicting the overall picture …Read more
  •  112
    Epistemic deontology maintains that our beliefs and degrees of belief are open to deontic evaluations—evaluations of what we ought to believe or may not believe. Some philosophers endorse strong internalist versions of epistemic deontology on which agents can always access what determines the deontic status of their beliefs and degrees of belief. This paper articulates a new challenge for strong internalist versions of epistemic deontology. Any version of epistemic deontology must face William A…Read more
  •  113
    There’s a growing sense among philosophers of religion that Humean arguments from evil are some of the most formidable arguments against theism, and skeptical theism fails to undermine those arguments because they fail to make the inferences skeptical theists criticize. In line with this trend, Wes Morriston has recently formulated a Humean argument from evil, and his chief defense of it is that skeptical theism is irrelevant to it. Here I argue that skeptical theism is relevant to Humean argume…Read more
  •  493
    Envy and Its Discontents
    In Kevin Timpe & Craig Boyd (eds.), Virtues and Their Vices, Oxford University Press. pp. 225-244. 2014.
    Envy is, roughly, the disposition to desire that another lose a perceived good so that one can, by comparison, feel better about one’s self. The divisiveness of envy follows not just from one’s willing against the good of the other, but also from the other vices that spring from it. It is for this second reason that envy is a capital vice. This chapter begins by arguing for a definition of envy similar to that given by Aquinas and then considers its relationship to other vices (e.g. jealousy, sc…Read more
  •  527
    Skeptical Theism
    In Paul K. Moser & Chad Meister (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Problem of Evil, Cambridge University Press. pp. 85-107. 2017.
    Skeptical theism is a family of responses to the evidential problem of evil. What unifies this family is two general claims. First, that even if God were to exist, we shouldn’t expect to see God’s reasons for permitting the suffering we observe. Second, the previous claim entails the failure of a variety of arguments from evil against the existence of God. In this essay, we identify three particular articulations of skeptical theism—three different ways of “filling in” those two claims—and descr…Read more
  •  521
    Almost everyone agrees that many testimonial beliefs constitute knowledge. According to non-reductionists, some testimonial beliefs possess positive epistemic status independent of that conferred by perception, memory, and induction. Recently, Jennifer Lackey has provided a counterexample to a popular version of this view. Here I argue that her counterexample fails
  •  234
    Against Kornblith Against Reflective Knowledge
    Logos and Episteme 5 (3): 351-360. 2014.
    In On Reflection, Hilary Kornblith criticizes Sosa’s distinction between animal and reflective knowledge. His two chief criticisms are that reflective knowledge is not superior to animal knowledge and that Sosa’s distinction does not identify two kinds of knowledge. I argue that Sosa can successfully avoid both of these charges.
  •  391
    Undermining truthmaker theory
    Synthese 192 (1): 185-200. 2015.
    Truthmaker theorists hold that there is a metaphysically explanatory relation that holds between true claims and what exists. While some critics try to provide counterexamples to truthmaker theory, that response quickly leads to a dialectical standoff. The aim of this paper is to move beyond that standoff by attempting to undermine some standard arguments for truthmaker theory. Using realism about truth and a more pragmatic account of explanation, I show how some of those arguments can be underm…Read more
  •  634
    Skeptical Theism, Abductive Atheology, and Theory Versioning
    In Trent Dougherty & Justin McBrayer (eds.), Skeptical Theism: New Essays, Oxford University Press.. 2014.
    What we call “the evidential argument from evil” is not one argument but a family of them, originating (perhaps) in the 1979 formulation of William Rowe. Wykstra’s early versions of skeptical theism emerged in response to Rowe’s evidential arguments. But what sufficed as a response to Rowe may not suffice against later more sophisticated versions of the problem of evil—in particular, those along the lines pioneered by Paul Draper. Our chief aim here is to make an earlier version of skeptical the…Read more
  •  219
    In a recent article, David Kyle Johnson has claimed to have provided a ‘refutation’ of skeptical theism. Johnson’s refutation raises several interesting issues. But in this note, I focus on only one—an implicit principle Johnson uses in his refutation to update probabilities after receiving new evidence. I argue that this principle is false. Consequently, Johnson’s refutation, as it currently stands, is undermined
  •  557
    The Foundations of Skeptical Theism
    Faith and Philosophy 29 (4): 375-399. 2012.
    Some skeptical theists use Wykstra’s CORNEA constraint to undercut Rowe-style inductive arguments from evil. Many critics of skeptical theism accept CORNEA, but argue that Rowe-style arguments meet its constraint. But Justin McBrayer argues that CORNEA is itself mistaken. It is, he claims, akin to “sensitivity” or “truth-tracking” constraints like those of Robert Nozick; but counterexamples show that inductive evidence is often insensitive. We here defend CORNEA against McBrayer’s chief countere…Read more
  •  1725
    Envy and Self-worth
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 85 (3): 433-446. 2011.
    In the Summa Theologiae, Aquinas offers an adept account of the vice of envy. Despite the virtues of his account, he nevertheless fails to provide an adequatedefinition of the vice. Instead, he offers two different definitions each of which fails to identify what is common to all cases of envy. Here I supplement Aquinas’saccount by providing what I take to be common to all cases of envy. I argue that what is common is a “perception of inferiority”—when a person perceives her ownself-worth to be …Read more
  •  914
    Cornell Realism, Explanation, and Natural Properties
    European Journal of Philosophy 25 (2): 1021-1038. 2017.
    The claim that ordinary ethical discourse is typically true and that ethical facts are typically knowable seems in tension with the claim that ordinary ethical discourse is about features of reality friendly to a scientific worldview. Cornell Realism attempts to dispel this tension by claiming that ordinary ethical discourse is, in fact, discourse about the same kinds of things that scientific discourse is about: natural properties. We offer two novel arguments in reply. First, we identify a key…Read more