Normative Requirements and Contrary-to-Duty Obligations

(pdf)

Forthcoming in The Journal of Philosophy.

I argue that normative requirements (like “If you believe that it is raining, you ought to believe that it is precipitating”) shoud be interpreted as the conditional obligations of dyadic deontic logic. Semantically, normative requirements are conditionals understood as restrictors, the prevailing view of conditionals in linguistics. This means that Modus Ponens is invalid, even dynamically so.

Being Rational and Being Right

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With Stewart Cohen.

Forthcoming in Dutant and Dorsch (eds.), The New Evil Demon, Oxford University Press.

We argue (again) for the possibility of false justified beliefs.

Perceptual Reasons

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With Matthew MacGrath.

Forthcoming in Philosophical Studies.

Phenomenalism gets it right about bad cases (cases where our perceptual beliefs), but has troubles dealing with good cases (where our beliefs are true). Factualism gets it right about good cases, but has troubles with bad cases. We argue for Propositionalism, a view which gets it right about both good and bad cases.

Can We Believe for Practical Reasons?

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Forthcoming in Philosophical Issues.

We can believe for practical reasons, but that is not the interesting question. We cannot believe for what we take to be merely practical reasons, but that says more about what it is to take something to be a reason than it says about belief.

Evidence of evidence is evidence (trivially)

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With Eyal Tal

Forthcoming in Analysis.

Richard Felmand has argued that if you have evidence that somebody else has evidence for p, then you have evidence for p. Branden Fitelson has argued that Feldman’s principle is false. Feldman has replied that Fitelson’s case is not a counterexample to his principle. We agree with Feldman that Fitelson’s case is not a counterexample, but only because Feldman’s principle is trivial.

Is Evidence of Evidence Evidence?

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With Eyal Tal. Forthcoming in Noûs.

We examine recent discussions of “evidence of evidence” principles and propose our own version.

Difference-Making in Epistemology

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Noûs, Vol. 48, issue 2 (2014), pp. 368-87. With Carolina Sartorio.

We argue for a non-reductive condition on epistemic support, and show how it can illuminate the easy knowledge problem.

Having False Reasons

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With Matthew McGrath.

In Littlejohn and Turri (eds.), Epistemic Norms, Oxford University Press (2014).

We argue that we can have false reasons for acting and believing.

On An Argument Against Immediate Justification

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In Sosa, Steup and Turri (eds.),Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, 2nd. edition (2013), Blackwell.

This paper is my side of a debate with Jim Pryor on immediate justification. Pryor’s side is There is Immediate Justification.

On a puzzle about withholding

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Philosophical Quarterly 63, 251, pp. 374-6.

This paper is a response to Turri’s “A puzzle about Withholding”

Reply to Pryor

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In Sosa, Steup and Turri (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, 2nd. edition (2013), Blackwell.

This is my reply to Pryor’s reply to my paper above.

Sosa on Safety and Epistemic Frankfurt Cases

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In John Turri (ed.), Virtuous Thoughts: The Philosophy of Ernest Sosa (2013), Springer.

This paper has an exegetical and a theoretical aim. The exegetical aim is to argue that we should interpret Sosa as having abandoned safety as an enlightening condition on knowledge. The theoretical aim is to argue that Sosa’s abandonment of safety is best seen in the light of the existence of epistemic Frankfurt cases.

Williamson on Gettier Cases in Epistemic Logic and the Knowledge Norm for Rational Belief: A Reply to a Reply to a Reply

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With Stew Cohen.

Inquiry 56, 4 (2013), pp. 400-15.

Williamson replied to our reply to his paper. We reply to his reply to our reply.

Epistemic Pragmatism: An Argument Against Moderation

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Res Philosophica 90, 2, pp. 237-60.

I argue that moderate epistemic pragmatism, according to which how much evidence is needed to know varies with practical stakes, collapses into extreme epistemic pragmatism, according to which how much evidence one has varies with practical stakes.

Williamson on Gettier Cases and Epistemic Logic

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With Stew Cohen.

Inquiry 56, 1, pp. 15-29.

Part of a symposium on a paper from Timothy Williamson. We argue, against Williamson, that the notion of justification at issue in Gettier cases cannot be identified with excusable or blameless belief. We also construct models for epistemic logic based on S4 which exhibit different and, we argue, preferable behavior than Williamson’s models.

Conciliation and Peer-Demotion in the Epistemology of Disagreement

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American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 49, N.3 (2012), pp. 237-52.

I argue for a conciliatory view about cases of disagreement, but also for the view that we can legitimately demote someone from their peer status on the basis of the fact that they disagree with us.

Conservatism, Preservationism, Conservationism and Mentalism

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Analysis, 71 (3) (2011), pp. 489-92.

I notice some relations between different epistemological theses.

Evidentialist Reliabilism

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Noûs 44:4 (2010), 571-600.

I argue for a theory that combines elements of reliabilism and evidentialism.

Is Evidence Knowledge?

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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 20, Issue 2 (2010), pp. 447-54.

With Holly Kantin.

We argue that the answer is “No.”

Reliabilism

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In Sven Bernecker and Duncan Pritchard (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Epistemology, Routledge (2010).

A presentation of Reliabilism, the main problems that the theory faces, and some answers to those problems.

What Lottery Problem for Reliabilism?

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Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, v. 19, n.1 (2009), pp. 1-20.

I argue that reliabilism, properly understood, faces no special problems stemming from lotteries.

Could There Be Exactly Two Things?

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Synthese 162 (2008), pp. 31-35.

I say “Yes.”

A Well-Founded Solution to the Generality Problem

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In Philosophical Studies 129 (2006), 27-47.

A solution to the generality problem for reliabilism.

Justified vs. Warranted Perceptual Belief: Resisting Disjunctivism

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Philosophy and Phenomenological Research LXXI (2005), 367-383.

I argue that one reason for being a disjunctivist advanced by McDowell (having to do with the indefeasibility of perceptual knowledge) fails because it ignores the distinction between justification and warrant.

Unsafe Knowledge

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Synthese 146 (2005), 393-402.

Many epistemologists think that if someone knows that p, then his belief that p is “safe.” In this paper I argue that safety, as defined by Sosa, is not a necessary condition on knowledge–we can have unsafe knowledge.

We Are (Almost) All Externalists Now

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Philosophical Perspectives 19 (2005), 59-76.

I argue that anyone who accepts that support facts (linking evidence with propositions justified by such evidence) are not mental is an externalist.

The Diagonal and the Demon

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Philosophical Studies 100 (2002), 249-266

I present a solution to the “new evil demon” problem for reliabilism.