•  2352
    Why You Should Vote to Change the Outcome
    Philosophy and Public Affairs 48 (4): 422-446. 2020.
    Prevailing opinion—defended by Jason Brennan and others—is that voting to change the outcome is irrational, since although the payoffs of tipping an election can be quite large, the probability of doing so is extraordinarily small. This paper argues that prevailing opinion is incorrect. Voting is shown to be rational so long as two conditions are satisfied: First, the average social benefit of electing the better candidate must be at least twice as great as the individual cost of voting, and sec…Read more
  •  1193
    Philosophy Without Belief
    Mind 128 (509): 109-138. 2019.
    Should we believe our controversial philosophical views? Recently, several authors have argued from broadly conciliationist premises that we should not. If they are right, we philosophers face a dilemma: If we believe our views, we are irrational. If we do not, we are not sincere in holding them. This paper offers a way out, proposing an attitude we can rationally take toward our views that can support sincerity of the appropriate sort. We should arrive at our views via a certain sort of ‘insula…Read more
  •  892
    There is a well-known moral quandary concerning how to account for the rightness or wrongness of acts that clearly contribute to some morally significant outcome – but which each seem too small, individually, to make any meaningful difference. One consequentialist-friendly response to this problem is to deny that there could ever be a case of this type. This paper pursues this general strategy, but in an unusual way. Existing arguments for the consequentialist-friendly position are sorites-style…Read more
  •  725
    Belief dependence: How do the numbers count?
    Philosophical Studies 176 (2): 297-319. 2019.
    This paper is about how to aggregate outside opinion. If two experts are on one side of an issue, while three experts are on the other side, what should a non-expert believe? Certainly, the non-expert should take into account more than just the numbers. But which other factors are relevant, and why? According to the view developed here, one important factor is whether the experts should have been expected, in advance, to reach the same conclusion. When the agreement of two (or of twenty) thinker…Read more
  •  684
    Tolerance and the distributed sorites
    Synthese 196 (3): 1071-1077. 2019.
    On some accounts of vagueness, predicates like “is a heap” are tolerant. That is, their correct application tolerates sufficiently small changes in the objects to which they are applied. Of course, such views face the sorites paradox, and various solutions have been proposed. One proposed solution involves banning repeated appeals to tolerance, while affirming tolerance in any individual case. In effect, this solution rejects the reasoning of the sorites argument. This paper discusses a thorny p…Read more
  •  564
    Rational Moral Ignorance
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3): 645-664. 2021.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
  •  422
    Fool me once: Can indifference vindicate induction?
    with Han Li
    Episteme 15 (2): 202-208. 2018.
    Roger White (2015) sketches an ingenious new solution to the problem of induction. He argues from the principle of indifference for the conclusion that the world is more likely to be induction- friendly than induction-unfriendly. But there is reason to be skeptical about the proposed indifference-based vindication of induction. It can be shown that, in the crucial test cases White concentrates on, the assumption of indifference renders induction no more accurate than random guessing. After discu…Read more
  •  335
    Conciliationism and merely possible disagreement
    with Han Li
    Synthese 193 (9): 1-13. 2016.
    Conciliationism faces a challenge that has not been satisfactorily addressed. There are clear cases of epistemically significant merely possible disagreement, but there are also clear cases where merely possible disagreement is epistemically irrelevant. Conciliationists have not yet accounted for this asymmetry. In this paper, we propose that the asymmetry can be explained by positing a selection constraint on all cases of peer disagreement—whether actual or merely possible. If a peer’s opinion …Read more
  •  127
    A Senseless Conversation
    Think 10 (29): 9-21. 2011.
    Can machines think? Until what happened today, I thought that no human-made machine could ever think as a human does. I now know that I was wrong