“Aristotle’s Infallible Perception,” Apeiron 52.4 (2019): pp. 415-443. [Penultimate draft]
“Warranted Catholic Belief,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 97.2 (forthcoming–Spring 2023).
A paper on the conditions for the warrant of a belief held by a group (R&R, Episteme)Abstract: Philosophers have begun asking what the conditions are for a group's beliefs to be justified. In this paper, I consider Jennifer Lackey's account which takes group justification to consist in the justification of the beliefs of the operative members in a group along with a requirement that evidence-sharing among group members in open deliberation wouldn't uncover evidence that would make the belief insufficiently probable. I criticize Lackey's account on the basis of counterexamples where individuals in the group come to possess evidence for the group belief but that evidence also undermines the reasons the operative members have for that belief. In the place of Lackey's account, I propose a "collectivized" version of Alvin Plantinga's proper functionalist account of warranted belief. In particular, I argue that the beliefs of a group are warranted if they are formed by properly functioning members of a group in a social environment sufficiently similar to that for which the group was designed.
A paper on Aristotle’s action theory regarding virtuous and sudden actions (under review)Abstract: In Nicomachean Ethics 3.2 and 3.8, Aristotle apparently contradicts himself, first denying that any sudden actions are decided upon and then later saying that the courageous person does decide upon sudden actions. I argue that Aristotle is committed to the first claim and that a better translation of the NE 3.8 passage avoids the contradiction: the courageous person decides to endure sudden dangers. This leaves us with another puzzle: how does the courageous person have enough time to deliberate and then decide in the face of sudden danger? I propose a distinction between imminent dangers and dangers that appear out of nowhere to resolve this puzzle. Only the latter sort of sudden danger is relevant in NE 3.8. Finally, I argue that since virtuous actions are based on a decision and no sudden actions are decided upon, Aristotle is committed to there being no sudden virtuous actions. Despite these actions' not being virtuous, they are still the right thing for one to do. This suggests the limits of Aristotle's virtue ethics: there may be cases where the virtuous person cannot act virtuously, and non-virtuous sudden actions may be the best way to act.
“What gives the layperson in the pews warrant?”Abstract: In this paper, I use the model for the warrant of the Catholic Church's group beliefs to show how the Church can transmit warrant to individual believers by means of group testimony. I then show the advantages of this account of the warrant of the beliefs of individual Catholics over competing accounts.
Aristotle on Privations
Contemporary hylomorphism has restored inquiry into two of Aristotle’s intrinsic principles of material substances—matter and form. Despite this achievement, almost no attention has been paid to Aristotle’s third principle—privations. Privations have been largely neglected in the ancient philosophy scholarship as well, and I aim to rectify this gap. Privations are really new terrain, and much of the work I do in this dissertation will push both Aristotle scholarship and Neo-Aristotelian metaphysics to consider new issues like: how does Aristotle fit negative causation into his paradigmatic theory of efficient causation? What sort of existence does a non-being like a privation have for Aristotle? How can Aristotle’s concept of a privation resolve recent problems in the metaphysics of omissions?
Warranted Catholic Belief
Collective epistemology is a relatively new sub-field of epistemology that investigates the nature and properties of group belief and other collective epistemic attitudes. I’m working on a project to develop a novel account of the warrant of group beliefs based on Alvin Plantinga’s proper functionalist account of warrant. In my piece “Warranted Catholic Belief,” I apply this model of group warrant to the beliefs of the Catholic Church. In subsequent work, I aim to develop an account of how the beliefs of individual Catholics have both prima facie warrant in virtue of group testimony provided by the Catholic Church and to consider how such individuals can overcome defeaters for this belief.