Ph.D., Vanderbilt University (2006), Philosophy
M.A., University of Montana (1999), Philosophy
B.A., Washington University in St. Louis (1994), Classics
I work primarily in epistemology, and my focus of research has
been on the regress problem of justification. My recent book,
Epistemology and the Regress Problem (Routledge 2010), is an account of
how regresses of reasons get started and why they are so troubling. My
work in epistemology overlaps in a variety of other areas of philosophy.
My work in ancient philosophy has been to investigate the variety of
conceptions of knowing in Presocratic philosophy (primarily with
Xenophanes) and in Hellenistic philosophy (primarily with the Stoics and
Skeptics). My work in informal logic has been focused on epistemic
appraisal of arguments and a correlate program for fallacy theory. And
my research in philosophy of religion has been inspired by challenges to
and conditions for knowledge of God’s (non)existence and His
properties. In effect, I’ve been inspired by the regular retort: “So
you’re an atheist… How can you really know that God doesn’t exist?”
I am very lucky that my teaching and research overlap. I teach a regular survey of logic course, General Logic, and in it we survey basic propositional, categorical, and informal logic. My intermediate logic course, the Formal Logic, is a full development of the proofing systems in propositional and quantificational logics and some involved philosophical discussion of what follows from the basic truths of logic. I’ve been using my co-edited Thinking about Logic (Westview 2010) for the last few years, and I’ve been very pleased with how students respond to discussions of Fatalism, the Justification of Deduction, and Lewis Carroll’s logical version of Achilles and the Tortoise. My Ancient Philosophy course surveys developments in philosophical method from the Presocratics, through Plato and Aristotle, to the Imperial Skeptics and Stoics. And my Philosophy of Knowledge course is a survey of what I take to be the highlights of epistemology from Sextus Empiricus to Tim Williamson. It’s a wild ride!
Epistemology, Pragmatism, and Ancient Philosophy
Evidentialism and the Will to Believe (2014)
Why We Argue (And How We Should) (2013)
Epistemology and the Regress Problem Routledge (2010)
Reasonable Atheism Prometheus Press (2011) with Robert B. Talisse
Pragmatism: A Guide for the Perplexed Continuum Press (2008) with Robert B. Talisse
Edited: The Pragmatism Reader Princeton University Press (2011) with Robert B. Talisse
Edited: Thinking About Logic: Classic Essays Westview Press (2010) with Steven M. Cahn and Robert B. Talisse
"Who's Afraid of Epistemology's Regress Problem?" Philosophical Studies (2005) 126:2
"Why Pragmatists Can't Be Pluralists," Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society (2005) 41:1. With Robert B. Talisse
"Modest Evidentialism," International Philosophical Quarterly (2006) 46:3
"Contrastive Self Attribution of Belief," Social Epistemology (2006) 20:1"
"Two Forms of the Straw Man" Argumentation (2006) 20:3. With Robert B. Talisse
"Prospects for Skeptical Foundationalism," Metaphilosophy (2007) 38:5
"Evidentialism for Everyone," Think (2007) 15
"Meta-epistemology and the Varieties of Epistemic Infinitism," Synthese (2008) 163:2
"Tu Quoque Arguments and the Significance of Hypocrisy," Informal Logic (2008) 28:2
"Levinasian Otherism, Skepticism, and the Problem of Self-Refutation" Philosophical Forum (2009) With J. Aaron Simmons.
"Holding One's Own," Argumentation (2008) 22:4
"Don't Fear the Regress: Epistemic Infinitism and Cognitive Value." Think (2009) 23
"A Consistency Challenge for Moral and Religious Beliefs." Teaching Philosophy (2009) 32:2. With Brian Ribeiro
"The Problem of the Criterion and a Hegelian Model for
Epistemic Infinitism." History of Philosophy Quarterly (2010) 27:4.
"The Problem of Worship." Think (2010) 25.
"Three Challenges to Jamesian Ethics." With Robert B. Talisse. William James Studies (2011) 6.
Recent and Upcoming Presentations
"Tu Quoque Arguments, Subjunctive Inconsistency, and Relevance"
with Colin Anderson and John Casey. Ontario Society for the Study of
Argumentation. May, 2011.
"All Philosophers Go to Hell: The Problem of Hell (and Heaven) in Dante's Inferno" With Jason Aleksander. MidSouth Philosophy Conference. March, 2010.
"Miracle-Avowal as Expressive," with Michael Hodges at The Tennessee Philosophical Association. November, 2011.
"Poe's Law, Group Polarization, and Availability Errors in
Religious and Political Argument." Vanderbilt University's Social and
Political Thought Workshop. January 2011.
"The Truth about Hypocrisy" (with Robert B. Talisse)
"What do you do when they call you a 'tree-hugger'?"
"The Problem of Worship"
"An Interview in The Western Scholar: "Ethical Communication"
"Armed for the War on Christmas" Published in Christmas and Philosophy
I write for the Informal Logic Blog The NonSequitur
I am also a regular Monday columnist at 3QuarksDaily
Talisse and I were interviewed about Reasonable Atheism on NPR's "All Sides with Ann Fisher" (4/14/2011) streaming audio HERE