•  25
    Skeptical theism is a family of responses to arguments from evil. One important member of that family is Stephen Wykstra’s CORNEA-based criticism of William Rowe’s arguments from evil. A cornerstone of Wykstra’s approach is his CORNEA principle. However, a number of authors have criticized CORNEA on various grounds, including that it has odd results, it cannot do the work it was meant to, and it problematically conflicts with the so-called common sense epistemology. In this paper, I explicate an…Read more
  •  28
    Default Vegetarianism and Veganism
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 34 (2): 1-19. 2021.
    This paper describes a pair of dietary practices I label default vegetarianism and default veganism. The basic idea is that one adopts a default of adhering to vegetarian and vegan diets, with periodic exceptions. While I do not exhaustively defend either of these dietary practices as morally required, I do suggest that they are more promising than other dietary practices that are normally discussed like strict veganism and vegetarianism. For they may do a better job of striking a balance betwee…Read more
  •  56
    Arithmetic, Logicism, and Frege’s Definitions
    International Philosophical Quarterly 61 (1): 5-25. 2021.
    This paper describes both an exegetical puzzle that lies at the heart of Frege’s writings—how to reconcile his logicism with his definitions and claims about his definitions—and two interpretations that try to resolve that puzzle, what I call the “explicative interpretation” and the “analysis interpretation.” This paper defends the explicative interpretation primarily by criticizing the most careful and sophisticated defenses of the analysis interpretation, those given my Michael Dummett and Pat…Read more
  •  129
    On Some Arguments for Epistemic Value Pluralism
    Logos and Episteme 11 (1): 77-96. 2020.
    Epistemic Value Monism is the view that there is only one kind of thing of basic, final epistemic value. Perhaps the most plausible version of Epistemic Value Monism is Truth Value Monism, the view that only true beliefs are of basic, final epistemic value. Several authors—notably Jonathan Kvanvig and Michael DePaul—have criticized Truth Value Monism by appealing to the epistemic value of things other than knowledge. Such arguments, if successful, would establish Epistemic Value Pluralism is tru…Read more
  •  121
    A challenge to the new metaphysics: deRosset, Priority, and explanation
    with David Fisher and Hao Hong
    Synthese 1-31. forthcoming.
    Priority Theory is an increasingly popular view in metaphysics. By seeing metaphysical questions as primarily concerned with what explains what, instead of merely what exists, it promises not only an interesting approach to traditional metaphysical issues but also the resolution of some outstanding disputes. In a recent paper, Louis deRosset argues that Priority Theory isn’t up to the task: Priority Theory is committed to there being explanations that violate a formal constraint on any adequate …Read more
  •  178
    Consequentialism, Animal Ethics, and the Value of Valuing
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 37 (3): 485-501. 2020.
    Peter Singer argues, on consequentialist grounds, that individuals ought to be vegetarian. Many have pressed, in response, a causal impotence objection to Singer’s argument: any individual person’s refraining from purchasing and consuming animal products will not have an important effect on contemporary farming practices. In this paper, I sketch a Singer-inspired consequentialist argument for vegetarianism that avoids this objection. The basic idea is that, for agents who are aware of the origin…Read more
  •  129
    Hsiao on the Moral Status of Animals: Two Simple Responses
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 32 (5): 927-933. 2019.
    According to a common view, animals have moral status. Further, a standard defense of this view is the Argument from Consciousness: animals have moral status because they are conscious and can experience pain and it would be bad were they to experience pain. In a series of papers :277–291, 2015a, J Agric Environ Ethics 28:11270–1138, 2015b, J Agric Environ Ethics 30:37–54, 2017), Timothy Hsiao claims that animals do not have moral status and criticizes the Argument from Consciousness. This short…Read more
  •  136
    Feldman on the Epistemic Value of Truth
    Acta Analytica 34 (4): 515-529. 2019.
    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.
  •  285
    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
  •  152
    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
  •  157
    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
  •  243
    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
  •  249
    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
  •  651
    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
  •  1049
    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
  •  813
    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
  •  2225
    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
  •  1638
    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
  •  731
    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
  •  24
    Review of Jonathan A Lear, A Case for Irony (review)
    Review of Metaphysics 66 (1): 155-6. 2012.
    A brief description of Lear's A CASE FOR IRONY
  •  360
    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.
  •  480
    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
  •  918
    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
  •  319
    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