Below you can find some information about my specific research projects, and abstracts of some papers in progress.
Currently I am working on a dissertation about the ethics of linguistic interactions, as well as separate projects about the epistemology of generic generalizations, the phenomenal basis of rational agency, and the relationship between attitude reports and psychological states. If there is a unifying theme to all of my work, it is representation: how creatures like us can (and should) represent the world in thought and talk.
THE ETHICS OF LINGUISTIC INTERACTION
In my dissertation (and elsewhere) I examine the role that linguistic competence plays in shaping our social obligations. In one chapter ("Linguistic Agency and Evaluation"), I argue that language gives rise to certain responsibilities and obligations that are distinctive of language use. Subsequent chapters consider these normative facts in light of questions concerning discourse participation ("What are you on the hook for in a discourse?"), semantic competence ("Poverty and Competence"), as well as a discussion of the relationship between social meaning and natural meaning ("Accountability and Inference in Meaningful Social Practice").
In other papers, I consider linguistic interventions into rational decision making. I examine the question of how agents make themselves responsible, through speech, for the decisions made by their interlocutors. I mainly focus on a puzzle about imperatives ("Persuasion and Force") and other kinds of persuasive speech ("Is that a threat?" forthcoming in Erkenntnis). In a paper co-written with Josh Dever, we consider the way that speakers change one another's minds using epistemic modals ("This Paper Might Change your Mind").
EPISTEMOLOGY OF GENERALIZATIONS
When and why do we make generic generalizations? And are we ever justified (morally or rationally) in doing so? In a series of papers I argue that generics play an important role in inductive reasoning, and sketch an account of what it is to have epistemic justification for belief in a generic sentence. I am also interested in the notion that generic generalizations are a kind of singular thought (which connects with some of my other work).
I think that the reason we come to believe generics is that it makes practical sense to draw partitions among kinds. What underwrites this can vary, and can be sensitive to the practical task at hand.
In one paper I argue that we are justified in acting on an inductive inference because that inference provides justification for a belief in a generic, rather than a universal generalization. Induction from confirming instances of a generic to a generic is part of a reasoning instinct that is typically (but not always) correct, and allows us to approximate the predictions that formal epistemology would make.
ATTITUDES AND ATTITUDE REPORTS
I am interested in what attitude reports actually have to tell us about psychological attitudes. Several of my published articles deal with questions concerning our ability to report on our own thoughts ("Acquaintance and First-Person Attitude Reports" published in Analysis), our ability to ascribe thoughts to others ("Phenomenal Dispositions" forthcoming in Synthese), and the relationship between attitude reports and occurrent episodes of thinking ("Acts of Desire" forthcoming in Inquiry).
I am also interested in how work on belief in the philosophy of mind bears on epistemological considerations concerning knowledge and credence. I am interested in examining these questions from a range of perspectives, including linguistic data concerning attitude reports, cognitive psychology, and (occasionally) from a comparative historical standpoint ("The Nyaya Argument for Disjunctivism" published in History of Philosophy Quarterly).