(Feel free to email me for drafts not linked here!)
“Wagering Against Divine Hiddenness.” (2016). In the European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8(4): 85-105.
(I discuss this paper on “The Ultimist” podcast here!)
“The Nature and Rationality of Faith.” (Forthcoming). In The New Theists (Joshua Rasmussen and Kevin Vallier, eds.). Under contract with Routledge.
Dissertation: Belief and Credence (expected 2019)
ABSTRACT: In this paper, I explore how rational belief and rational credence relate to evidence. I begin by looking at three cases where rational belief and credence seem to respond differently to evidence: lotteries, cases of naked statistical evidence, and cases where some proposition lacks normic support. I consider an explanation for these cases, namely, that one ought not form beliefs on the basis of statistical evidence alone, and raise worries for this view. Then, I suggest another view that explains how belief and credence relate to evidence. My view focuses on the possibilities that the evidence makes salient. I argue that this makes better sense of the difference between rational credence and rational belief than other accounts.
ABSTRACT: In this paper, I argue that the relationship between belief and credence is a central question in epistemology. This is because the belief-credence relationship has significant implications for a number of current epistemological issues. I focus on five controversies: permissivism, disagreement, pragmatic encroachment, doxastic voluntarism, and the relationship between doxastic attitudes and prudential rationality. I argue that the implications of each debate depend on whether the relevant attitude is belief or credence. This means that (i) epistemologists should pay attention to whether they are framing questions in terms of belief or in terms of credence and (ii) the success or failure of a reductionist project in the belief-credence realm has significant implications for epistemology generally.
How Belief-Credence Dualism Can Explain (Away) Pragmatic Encroachment
ABSTRACT: In this paper, I argue that belief-credence Dualism, the view that we have both beliefs and credences and neither is reducible to the other, can offer a purist explanation of Pragmatic Encroachment cases. First, I explain Dualism and outline some of the basic philosophical and psychological motivations for it. Then, I explain the Pragmatic Encroachment thesis and the motivations for it. Finally, I show how Dualism can explain the intuitions that underlie Pragmatic Encroachment. My basic proposal is that in high stakes cases, it is not that one cannot rationally believe that p; instead, one ought to not rely on one’s belief that p. One should rather rely on one’s credence in p. I conclude that we need not commit ourselves to Pragmatic Encroachment in order to explain why it seems rational to rely on a particular proposition in one circumstance but not in another.
Belief, Credence, and Faith
ABSTRACT: In this paper, I argue that faith’s going beyond the evidence need not compromise faith’s epistemic rationality. First, I explain how some of the recent literature on belief and credence points to a distinction between what I call B-evidence and C-evidence. Then, I apply this distinction to rational faith. I argue that the idea that faith is more sensitive to B-evidence than to C-evidence entails that faith can go beyond the evidence and still be epistemically rational.
Other Works in Progress
A Defense of Intrapersonal Belief Permissivism
ABSTRACT: In this paper, I defend a version of permissivism, the view that there can be more than one rational doxastic attitude for a body of evidence. I argue for Intrapersonal Belief Permissivism (IBP): that possibly, for some proposition p, a single agent, given her evidence, can rationally hold more than one belief-attitude toward p. First, I explain and respond to several objections to IBP from White, Hedden, and others. Then, I give two positive arguments for IBP; the first involves epistemic supererogation and the second involves doubt. I conclude that IBP is a view that philosophers should take seriously.
Belief, Faith, and Hope
ABSTRACT: In this paper, I examine three attitudes: belief, faith, and hope. I argue that all three attitudes can play the same role in rationalizing action. First, I explain two models of rational action – the decision-theory model and the belief-desire model. Both models entail there are two components of rational action: an epistemic component and an affective component. Then, using this framework, I show how belief, faith, and hope that p can all make it rational to accept, or act as if, p. I conclude by showing how my picture can explain how action-oriented commitments can be rational over time, both in the face of counterevidence and in the face of waning affections.