Research

My research is primarily in epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and (as I initially planned to become a lawyer) in philosophy of law.

Much of my recent work has been attempting to answer the following broad questions: what do we (individuals, groups, institutions) aim for when we engage in inquiry? why do we aim for the things we aim for? and what is inquiry, anyway?

Recent projects within this topic have investigated:

  • what is curiosity, and how does it motivate inquiry? is curiosity important for how we evaluate inquirers (e.g. in formulating norms or thinking about virtue)?
  • some people think it is important to aim for understanding rather than knowledge: what is the difference between them? what different roles do these states play?
  • how do groups engage in collective inquiry? does thinking about collective inquiry help us theorise about academic groups (e.g. how they progress)?
  • in what way is legal inquiry (e.g. in the courtroom) different from other types of inquiry? what does the answer mean for how we should think about legal norms (e.g. evidence law)?

Beyond my interest in inquiry, I am (or recently have been) writing about a number of other questions: 

  • what is the relationship between the different ‘burdens of proof’ found in the legal system and familiar epistemic notions like belief, credence, and knowledge?
  • how should philosophers respond to recent critiques of the methods of analytic philosophy (e.g. regarding intuition and the method of cases)?
  • what is the psychology of moral judgement? are ethical intuitions sui generis compared to other sorts of judgements?
  • what are the cognitive prerequisites (i.e. regarding motives and beliefs) for acting in a morally worthy way? how does this fit into our understanding of what it is to be a virtuous agent?
  • what theory in political philosophy best makes sense of secession movements? are recent secession movements (e.g. in Scotland or Catalonia) importantly different from secession movements prior to the 21st century?