Research

 

“How Skeptical is the Equal Weight View?” (co-authored with Brandon Carey) In Diego Machuca (Ed.) Disagreement and Skepticism, Routledge, forthcoming.

The Equal Weight View has been taken by both its critics and its proponents to have quite drastic skeptical ramifications given contingent empirical facts that we are aware of regarding disagreements in philosophy, religion, science, and politics.  In this paper we examine two routes from the Equal Weight View to skepticism about such matters.  The first claims that our awareness of peers or experts who significantly disagree with us about such issues requires that we abandon these beliefs.  The second claims that our awareness of merely possible peers or experts who significantly disagree with us requires us to abandon our beliefs.  We find both routes from the Equal Weight View to a form of skepticism defective.  However, we present nearby considerations which return many of the skeptical consequences of the Equal Weight View without the same defects.

 

“Epistemic Relativism.” In Andrew Cullison (Ed.) Continuum Companion to Epistemology.  Continuum, forthcoming.

This chapter examines the case for and against epistemic relativism.  Epistemic relativism is the claim that facts about what an individual is justified in believing (or what an individual knows) are not absolute, but rather are relative to either individuals or communities. So, according to the epistemic relativist, we can fi x what information a particular individual has at a particular time, and there are still no absolute facts about what that individual knows or is justified in believing at that time.  I argue that epistemic relativism is false.

 

“Skeptical Theism and Phenomenal Conservatism.” In Trent Dougherty and Justin McBrayer (Eds.) Skeptical Theism, Oxford University Press, forthcoming.
 
There is currently a debate regarding whether epistemological views like Phenomenal Conservatism pose a problem for Skeptical Theism.  In this paper I further defend the claim that there is no tension between Phenomenal Conservatism and Skeptical Theism.   Any tension between these two views is removed by supplementing them with an account of defeat.  Further, this account of defeat is friendly to both Phenomenal Conservatism and Skeptical Theism.  In addition, I argue that this account of defeat has it that the Skeptical Theist can get what she wants.   In giving this account, I respond to several objections coming from Dougherty (2011) and Tucker (this volume), as well as to an additional worry coming from the epistemology of disagreement.

 

“The Case for Rational Uniqueness.” Logos & Episteme: An International Journal of Epistemology, (2011) 2(3): 359-73.

The Uniqueness Thesis, or rational uniqueness, claims that a body of evidence severely constrains one’s doxastic options. In particular, it claims that for any body of evidence E and proposition P, E justifies at most one doxastic attitude toward P. In this paper I defend this formulation of the uniqueness thesis and examine the case for its truth. I begin by clarifying my formulation of the Uniqueness Thesis and examining its close relationship to evidentialism. I proceed to give some motivation for this strong epistemic claim and to defend it from several recent objections in the literature. In particular I look at objections to the Uniqueness Thesis coming from considerations of rational disagreement (can’t reasonable people disagree?), the breadth of doxastic attitudes (can’t what is justified by the evidence encompass more than one doxastic attitude?), borderline cases and caution (can’t it be rational to be cautious and suspend judgment even when the evidence slightly supports belief?), vagueness (doesn’t the vagueness of justification spell trouble for the Uniqueness Thesis?), and degrees of belief (doesn’t a finegrained doxastic picture present additional problems for the Uniqueness Thesis?).

 

“Epistemological Considerations Concerning Skeptical Theism: A Response to Dougherty.”  Faith and Philosophy, (2011) 28(3): 323-331.
           
Recently Trent Dougherty has claimed that there is a tension between skeptical theism and common sense epistemology—that the more plausible one of these views is, the less plausible the other is. In this paper I explain Dougherty’s argument and develop an account of defeaters which removes the alleged tension between skeptical theism and common sense epistemology.

 

“Bergmann’s Dilemma: Exit Strategies for Internalists.” (co-authored with Jason Rogers).  Philosophical Studies (2011) 152(1): 55-80.

Michael Bergmann claims that all versions of epistemic internalism face an irresolvable dilemma. We show that there are many plausible versions of internalism that falsify this claim. First, we demonstrate that there are versions of ‘‘weak awareness internalism’’ that, contra Bergmann, do not succumb to the ‘‘Subject’s Perspective Objection’’ horn of the dilemma. Second, we show that there are versions of ‘‘strong awareness internalism’’ that do not fall prey to the dilemma’s ‘‘vicious regress’’ horn. We note along the way that these versions of internalism do not, in avoiding one horn of the dilemma, succumb to the dilemma’s other horn. The upshot is that internalists have many available strategies for avoiding dilemmatic defeat.

 

“Conciliatory Views of Disagreement and Higher-Order Evidence.”  Episteme: A Journal of Social Philosophy (2009) 6(3): 269-279. 

Conciliatory views of disagreement maintain that discovering a particular type of disagreement requires that one make doxastic conciliation. In this paper I give a more formal characterization of such a view. After explaining and motivating this view as the correct view regarding the epistemic significance of disagreement, I proceed to defend it from several objections concerning higher-order evidence (evidence about the character of one’s evidence) made by Thomas Kelly (2005).