“Aristotle’s Infallible Perception,” Apeiron 52.4 (2019): pp. 415-443. [Penultimate draft]
“Warranted Catholic Belief,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 97.2 (Spring 2023). [Penultimate draft]
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.