Source: William James, Principles of Psychology v. 1 (New York: Dover/Henry Holt & Co., 1890), p. 57

Research

My main line of research addresses normative aspects of rational agency from the purview of the philosophy of action, the philosophy of mind, and ethics.

I have also published work on transparency in perceptual experience.

Publications

"The Irrational Failure to Act," forthcoming in The Philosophical Quarterly (accepted 15 February 2024).

I defend against a salient objection the thesis that practical rationality requires us to perform intentional actions (cf. Asarnow 2019). The objection is that if rationality requires the performance of intentional actions, then agents are irrational for failing to succeed in what they intend to do (Broome 2005; 2013; 2020). I reply to this objection by hewing closely to the principle that the rational ‘ought’ implies ‘can’. We are rationally required, not to successfully realize the content of our intentions, but to exercise the fallible abilities in our possession. Taking this line permits us to agree that we are not irrational for failing to succeed, while also endorsing the anti-Internalist claim that practical rationality embraces intentional actions themselves, rather than merely the beliefs and intentions that prompt and sustain them.

"Deciding Under a Description," forthcoming in Pacific Philosophical Quarterly (accepted 24 January 2024).

I issue a challenge for the view that deciding-to-A is rendered intentional by an intention or other pro-attitude towards deciding. Either such an attitude cannot rationalize my deciding specifically to A for a reason I take to support doing A, or, fixing for this, cannot accommodate deciding without entertaining alternatives. If successful, the argument motivates the search for an account that does not source the intentionality of deciding in a rationalizing pro-attitude.

"Diachronic Agency and Practical Entitlement," European Journal of Philosophy 28, no. 1 (2020): 177–198.

https://doi.org/10.1111/ejop.12479

As diachronic agents, we deliberate and decide in the present to perform future courses of action. Such future-directed decisions normally enjoy a distinctive species of rational authority over subsequent thought and action. But what is the nature of this authority, and what underwrites its normative force? In this paper, I argue that our answer to this question must begin by situating future-directed deciding within an intrapersonal model of cross-temporal influence. The role of future-directed deciding (and intending), then, is not to generate a novel decision-based reason for action, but instead to preserve a certain positive normative status over time. I develop an entitlement approach to decisional authority, according to which an agent who rationally decides to φ enjoys a practical entitlement, rather than a reason-based practical justification, to φ at the appointed time. This entitlement is underwritten, I argue, by the warrant-preserving nature of the sequence taking an agent from deliberation to subsequent action. 

"Perceptual Transparency and the Temporal Structure of Experience," Philosophical Studies 178 (6) (2021): 18291844.

https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-020-01511-1

According to the Matching Thesis (MT), the temporal structure of experience in time matches the apparent temporal structure of the objects and events represented in the content of perceptual experience. In this paper I critically address attempts to show the MT on the grounds that perceptual experience is transparent: that experiences themselves possess no introspectively discernible temporal structure apart from that of the apparent objects perceived. Pace such a Transparency Argument for the MT, I argue that considerations of perceptual transparency can in fact ground no view about the relationship between the temporal structure of perceptual experiences and the apparent temporal structure of objects and events that experience represents. I defend this outcome against a line of objection having to do with self-knowledge.