For a list of papers, click here.
As human agents, we are constantly faced with questions about what to do, think, and feel. Such questions are usually addressed separately in different areas of philosophy such as ethics and epistemology. But there is an important sense in which they are all aspects of the same question: the question of how to live. In my research, I aim to provide unified answers to questions we face about how to live. As such, my research spans several areas of philosophy, including ethics, metaethics, epistemology, and the philosophy of mind and action.
We care about whether we are doing what we should do, thinking what we should think, and feeling what we should feel. But it isn’t enough that our actions and attitudes just happen to comply with these standards. It matters that the success involved in complying with these standards is attributable to us as agents, instead of being merely accidental. For our success to be attributable to us, we must not just comply with these standards, but actually be guided by them in acting, thinking, and feeling.
My primary research project addresses the question of what it is to be guided by a standard. In it, I develop and defend a reasons-based account of what I call normative achievements. When someone does the right thing, that is a form of success. But it’s not a form of success that’s attributable to her unless it’s no accident that she acts rightly. Similarly, the success involved in believing the truth is not attributable to us unless it’s no accident that we believe the truth. When our actions, thoughts, and feelings are not just successful, but non-accidentally successful, they count as normative achievements on our part. Moral worth, knowledge, and rationality are all examples of normative achievements, because all of them consist in being creditworthy for a certain kind of success. As part of this project:
Finally, I have forthcoming or work-in-progress papers on evidentialism, pragmatic encroachment, the normativity of coherence, consequentialism, moral acquaintance, and Anscombe's theory of practical reason. For abstracts of these papers, see my list of papers here.