•  83
    The Structure of Phenomenal Justification
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    An increasing number of epistemologists defend the notion that some perceptual experiences can immediately justify some beliefs and do so in virtue of (some of) their phenomenal properties. But this view, which we may call phenomenal dogmatism, is also the target of various objections. Here I want to consider an objection that may be put as follows: What is so special about perceptual phenomenology that only it can immediately justify beliefs, while other kinds of phenomenology – including quite…Read more
  •  127
    Emotions seem to be epistemically assessable: fear of an onrushing truck is epistemically justified, mutatis mutandis, whereas fear of a peanut rolling on the floor is not. But there is a difficulty in understanding why emotions are epistemically assessable. It is clear why beliefs, for instance, are epistemically assessable: epistemic assessability is, arguably, assessability with respect to likely truth, and belief is by its nature concerned with truth; truth is, we might say, belief’s “formal…Read more
  •  163
    In a series of publications, L. A. Paul has defended a version of the bundle theory according to which material objects are nothing but mereological sums of ‘their’ properties. This ‘mereological’ bundle theory improves in important ways on earlier bundle theories, but here I present a new argument against it. The argument is roughly this: 1) Material objects occupy space; 2) even if properties have spatial characteristics, they do not quite occupy space; 3) on no plausible construal of mereolog…Read more
  •  212
    Nominalism and Material Plenitude
    Res Philosophica 98 (1): 89-112. 2021.
    The idea of “material plenitude” has been gaining traction in recent discussions of the metaphysics of material objects. My main goal here is to show that this idea may have important dialectical implications for the metaphysics of properties – more specifically, that it provides nominalists with new resources in their attempt to reject an ontology of universals. I will recapitulate one of the main arguments against nominalism – due to David Armstrong – and show how plenitude helps the nominalis…Read more
  •  294
    Moral Judgment and the Content-Attitude Distinction
    Philosophical Studies 1-18. forthcoming.
    Let cognitivism be the view that moral judgments are cognitive mental states and noncognitivism the view that they are noncognitive mental states. Here I argue for moral judgment pluralism: some moral judgments are cognitive states and some are noncognitive states. More specifically, according to my pluralism some judgments are moral because they carry a moral content (e.g., that genocide is wrong) and some are moral because they employ a moral attitude (e.g., indignation, or guilt); the former …Read more
  •  411
    My aims in this essay are two. First (§§1-4), I want to get clear on the very idea of a theory of the history of philosophy, the idea of an overarching account of the evolution of philosophical reflection since the inception of written philosophy. And secondly (§§5-8), I want to actually sketch such a global theory of the history of philosophy, which I call the two-streams theory.
  •  197
    It is a regrettable feature of this book symposium that it appears only after the book itself. If I could solicit from three outstanding philosophers detailed analyses of substantial portions of the book before publishing it, the book would have been far better. Below, I indicate some of the ways the book would have been better.
  •  309
    The Epistemology of Intentionality: Notional Constituents vs. Direct Grasp
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    Franz Brentano is well known for highlighting the importance of intentionality, but he said curiously little about the nature of intentionality. According to Mark Textor, there is a deep reason for this: Brentano took intentionality to be a conceptual primitive the nature of which is revealed only in direct grasp. Although there is certainly textual support for this interpretation, it appears in tension with Brentano’s repeated attempts to analyze intentionality in terms of ‘notional constituent…Read more
  •  435
    One of David Rosenthal’s many important contributions to the philosophy of mind was his clear and unshirking account of introspection. Here we argue that while there is a kind of introspection (we call it “reflective introspection”) that Rosenthal’s account may be structurally fit to accommodate, there is also a second kind (“primitive introspection”) that his account cannot recover. We introduce Rosenthal’s account of introspection in §1, present the case for the psychological reality of primit…Read more
  •  395
    This paper pulls together three debates fundamental in metaphysics and proposes a novel unified approach to them. The three debates are (i) between bundle theory and substrate theory about the nature of objects, (ii) dispositionalism and categoricalism about the nature of properties, and (iii) regularity theory and production theory about the nature of causation. The first part of the paper (§§2-4) suggests that although these debates are metaphysical, the considerations motivating the competing…Read more
  •  126
    A number of prominent metaphysicians have recently defended a set of ideas which I will call ‘essentialist plenitude.’ Very roughly, and to a first approximation, essentialist plenitude says that wherever there is an object with properties P1, …, Pn there is in fact a plenitude of coincident objects that differ only in the distribution of essentiality and accidentality across P1, …, Pn (§1). The main purpose of this paper is to arouse the suspicion that essentialist plenitude may have far-reachi…Read more
  •  652
    Indignation, Appreciation, and the Unity of Moral Experience
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1-15. forthcoming.
    Moral experience comes in many flavors. Some philosophers have argued that there is nothing common to the many forms moral experience can take. In this paper, I argue that close attention to the phenomenology of certain key emotions, combined with a clear distinction between essentially and accidentally moral experiences, suggests that there is a group of (essentially) moral emotions which in fact exhibit significant unity.
  •  363
    The Intentional Structure of Moods
    Philosophers' Imprint 19 1-19. 2019.
    Moods are sometimes claimed to constitute an exception to the rule that mental phenomena are intentional (in the sense of representing something). In reaction, some philosophers have argued that moods are in fact intentional, but exhibit a special and unusual kind of intentionality: they represent the world as a whole, or everything indiscriminately, rather than some more specific object(s). In this paper, I present a problem for extant versions of this idea, then propose a revision that solves …Read more
  •  356
    Précis of Brentano’s Philosophical System
    European Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    Here is a rather difficult two-part question: How may we grasp (a) the nature of reality and (b) the nature of value? As I understand the man, answering this question was the principal, overarching aim of Franz Brentano’s philosophical work. More specifically, he wanted to provide an answer that respected a self-imposed theoretical constraint, namely, that our grasp of a thing’s status as real or as valuable be ultimately grounded in direct encounter with certain aspects of our conscious experie…Read more
  •  1786
    The Value of Consciousness
    Analysis 79 (3): 503-520. 2019.
    Recent work within such disparate research areas as the epistemology of perception, theories of well-being, animal and medical ethics, the philosophy of consciousness, and theories of understanding in philosophy of science and epistemology has featured disconnected discussions of what is arguably a single underlying question: What is the value of consciousness? The purpose of this paper is to review some of this work and place it within a unified theoretical framework that makes contributions (a…Read more
  •  759
    What is ontology? A dialogue
    Think 18 (53): 49-65. 2019.
    This dialogue presents a substantive account of the nature and aim of ontology.Export citation.
  •  668
    Moral phenomenology is the dedicated study of the experiential dimension of our moral inner life – of the phenomenal character of moral mental states. Many different questions arise within moral phenomenology, but three stand out. The first concerns the scope of moral experience: How much of our moral mental life is experienced by us? The second concerns the nature of moral experience: What is it like to undergo the various kinds of moral experience we have? The third concerns the theoretical ​s…Read more
  •  1053
    One of Brian Loar’s most central contributions to contemporary philosophy of mind is the notion of phenomenal intentionality: a kind of intentional directedness fully grounded in phenomenal character. Proponents of phenomenal intentionality typically also endorse the idea of cognitive phenomenology: a sui generis phenomenal character of cognitive states such as thoughts and judgments that grounds these states’ intentional directedness. This combination creates a challenge, though: namely, how to…Read more
  •  301
    Key Terms: Phenomenal consciousness, access consciousness, qualitative character, subjective character, intransitive self-consciousness, disposition, categorical basis, subliminal perception, blindsight
  •  4
    Philosophical theories of consciousness: Contemporary western perspectives
    In Morris Moscovitch, Evan Thompson & P. Zelazo (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness, Cambridge University Press. pp. 35--66. 2006.
    This chapter surveys current approaches to consciousness in Anglo-American analytic philosophy. It focuses on five approaches, to which I will refer as mysterianism, dualism, representationalism, higher-order monitoring theory, and self-representationalism. With each approach, I will present in order the leading account of consciousness along its line, the case for the approach, and the case against the approach. I will not issue a final verdict on any approach, though by the end of the chapter …Read more
  •  679
    Theories of consciousness
    Philosophy Compass 1 (1): 58-64. 2006.
    Phenomenal consciousness is the property mental states, events, and processes have when, and only when, there is something it is like for their subject to undergo them, or be in them. What it is like to have a conscious experience is customarily referred to as the experience’s phenomenal character. Theories of consciousness attempt to account for this phenomenal character. This article surveys the currently prominent theories, paying special attention to the various attempts to explain a state’s…Read more
  •  1174
    The Perception/Cognition Divide: One More Time, with Feeling
    In Christoph Limbeck-Lilienau & Friedrich Stadler (eds.), The Philosophy of Perception, De Gruyter. pp. 149-170. 2019.
    Traditional accounts of the perception/cognition divide tend to draw it in terms of subpersonal psychological processes, processes into which the subject has no first-person insight. Whatever betides such accounts, there seems to also be some first-personally accessible difference between perception and thought. At least in normal circumstances, naïve subjects can typically tell apart their perceptual states from their cognitive or intellectual ones. What are such subjects picking up on when the…Read more
  •  46
    Uriah Kriegel presents a rich exploration of the philosophy of the great nineteenth-century thinker Franz Brentano. He locates Brentano at the crossroads where the Anglo-American and continental European philosophical traditions diverged. At the centre of this account of Brentano's philosophy is the connection between mind and reality. Kriegel aims to develop Brentano's central ideas where they are overly programmatic or do not take into account philosophical developments that have taken place s…Read more
  •  2968
    One of the newest research areas in moral philosophy is moral phenomenology: the dedicated study of the experiential dimension of moral mental life. The idea has been to bring phenomenological evidence to bear on some central issues in metaethics and moral psychology, such as cognitivism and noncognitivism about moral judgment, motivational internalism and externalism, and so on. However, moral phenomenology faces certain foundational challenges, pertaining especially to the existence, describab…Read more
  •  429
    Contemporary theories of consciousness can be divided along several major fault lines, but one of the most prominent concerns the question of whether they accept the principle that a mental state's being conscious involves essentially its subject being aware of it. Call this the awareness principle: For any mental state M of a subject S, M is conscious only if S is aware of M. Although analytic philosophers divide sharply on whether to accept the principle, the philosophy-of-mind literature appe…Read more
  •  375
    Moral Phenomenology
    In Hugh LaFolette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Blackwell. 2013.
    In the philosophy of mind, the study of mental life has tended to focus on three central aspects of mental states: their representational content, their functional role, and their phenomenal character. The representational content of a mental state is what the state represents, what it is about; its functional role is the role it plays within the functional organization of the subject’s overall psychology; its phenomenal character is the experiential or subjective quality that goes with what it …Read more