PHILOSOPHY

I'm in my fifth year in University of Pittsburgh's Philosophy PhD program.  I received my B.A. in Philosophy and Japanese Language from UC Berkeley.  My research concerns skepticism and transcendental arguments.

 

INTERESTS

My central philosophical interest is how to be in dialogue with skeptics.  In particular, I think about the dialectical force of transcendental arguments against various forms of skepticism.  A prospectus, which introduces and outlines my topic, is available here.

I am also interested in philosophy of action, moral psychology and existentialism, as well as the works of Aristotle, Hume, Kant, and Heidegger.

CV

Available here.

PAPERS

All of the following are papers in progress.  Comments of any level of detail are greatly appreciated.

A prospectus, which introduces and outlines my dissertation topic, is available here.

Does Kant try to refute Humean skepticism?  I argue that Kant’s transcendental deduction is not intended to refute ‘Humean skepticism,’ or doubt about the application of pure concepts in synthetic a priori knowledge. I do this, first, by showing that Kant doesn’t intend to the deduction to convince the Humean skeptic that the categories are objectively valid and, second, by showing that Kant doesn’t intend to the deduction to make the Humean skeptic acknowledge an inconsistency in her view. I sketch the basic outline of an alternative interpretation on which the deduction’s work is explanatory, i.e., to “expound and render intelligible” the understanding’s a priori relating to the objects of knowledge (Axvi–xvii). On this reading, the deduction has a modestly anti-skeptical upshot: The explanation may help the Humean skeptic comprehend how the class of knowledge that she doubts is possible. I discuss the conditions under which this explanation may succeed in exorcizing the Humean skeptic’s doubt.  (aprox. 4500 words)

The equivocality of Aristotle's expression 'choice'   I argue that Aristotle’s use of the expression ‘prohairesis,’ often translated as ‘choice,’ is equivocal.  In particular, I argue that the expression has both a generic and specific sense.  The generic sense is choice conceived as a distinctively human cause of action through thought and reasoning.  Generically, choice is of a course of action for the sake of some desired for end.  The specific sense is choice made with reference to a person’s values.  In other words, choice is of a course of action as what, from the chooser’s perspective, is worthy of pursuit.  I argue that the occurrence of both senses has been overlooked in interpretation, and that the specific sense has been privileged, in part because Aristotle sometimes equivocates between the two senses.  This is most clear in Aristotle’s discussion of incontinence (akrasia) as a failing made possible by human beings’ animal nature.  Keeping the senses distinct allows for a broader conception of incontinence in which practical thought and reason can go against their own aims.  (aprox. 6500 words)

The intended scope of Anscombe’s use of Aquinas’s formula about practical knowledge   Many interpreters take Anscombe’s recitation of Aquinas’s formula in §48 of Intention as meant to state an essence of practical knowledge.  But the two conditions Anscombe states on the holding of this formula suggest qualifications, and thus that formula cannot state an essence.  In this paper, I argue that the first of these conditions does not imply qualifications.  Instead, I show that this condition draws attention to a structural feature of practical knowledge and intentional action: the doer knows her doing under a particular description.  (aprox. 3500 words)