Work in Progress I welcome feedback. Please email me for drafts or with comments. Second Best Epistemology: Fallibility and Normativity (Under Review) Abstract: The Fallibility Norm – the claim that we ought to take our fallibility into account when managing our beliefs – appears to conflict with several other compelling epistemic norms. To shed light on these apparent conflicts, I distinguish two kinds of norms: norms of perfection and norms of compensation. Roughly, norms of perfection tell us how agents ought to behave if they’re to be perfect; norms of compensation tell us how imperfect agents ought to behave in order to compensate for their imperfections. I argue that the Fallibility Norm is a norm of compensation, and that thinking of it like this helps us make progress in debates surrounding disagreement, higher-order evidence, and epistemic akrasia.
Conversion, Epistemic Virtue, and Self-Licensing (In Preparation) Abstract: In this paper, I address epistemic issues related to the philosophically underexplored topic of conversion. In particular, I consider the question of whether evidence of an agent’s conversion is evidence of that agent having the epistemic virtues of open-mindedness and intellectual integrity. The answer, I argue, is that it depends on three factors: the nature of the conversion, the “new worldview” to which the agent has converted, and how one reasons with information about her conversion. In §1, I raise the question about conversion in the context of etiological challenges to agents’ beliefs. In §2, I distinguish four kinds of conversion (Indoctrinating, Voluntaristic, Reflective, and Experiential), and I argue that only evidence of the latter two is evidence of epistemic virtue. In §3, I explain how conversion might make one more closed-minded and dogmatic.