The Control Theory of Action
In this paper, I develop a novel theory of action. The central claim of the theory is that action is movement that is controlled by the mover, where movement is understood capaciously and control is characterized by a trio of conditions consisting of an aim condition, a modal condition, and an explanatory condition. Importantly, I show how being controlled is a determinable property of movements, and I isolate its determination dimensions. Paired with the claim that action is movement that is controlled by the mover, this account of control as a determinable illuminates a second key idea motivating the theory, namely that there is a variety of forms of action.
Intentional Action as Intrinsically Ethical
I argue that intentional action is, in a sense, intrinsically ethical. The central claim that I defend is the following two-part thesis spelling out the precise sense in which intentional action is intrinsically ethical. First, the concept of intentional action plays a functional role in our ethical conceptual scheme: it flags behaviors that are of priority for ethical evaluation broadly construed. Second, by way of fixing the degree of control required for intentional action, this ethical functional role partially determines the extension of the concept of intentional action. As we will see, the sense in which intentional action is intrinsically ethical is also, to a large degree, consistent with naturalistic theories of action and thus should be appealing to the naturalist.
Action in a Virtual World
I discuss the relationship between one's actions and the doings of one's virtual self in a virtual world.
Deliberative Indispensability, Epistemic Justification, and Being a Successful Inquirer
Enoch (2007, 2011) offers a novel argument to the conclusion that we are prima facie epistemically justified to believe in the existence of irreducibly normative facts. The key epistemological claim that the argument relies on is: in virtue of the fact that irreducibly normative facts are instrumentally indispensable to the intrinsically indispensable project of practical deliberation, we are prima facie epistemically justified to believe that such facts exist. McPherson and Plunkett (2015) offer a compelling objection to this key epistemological claim, namely that it fails to respect a basic connection between epistemic justification and truth. In this paper, I offer an improved version of Enoch's deliberative indispensability argument that avoids this objection of McPherson and Plunkett and thereby has a stronger epistemological core. The improved argument is based on the thought that in light of our agential natures, engaging in practical deliberation is constitutive of being a successful inquirer for creatures like us.
A Contextual Accuracy Dominance Argument for Probabilism
A central motivation for Probabilism---the principle of rationality that requires one to have credences that satisfy the axioms of probability---is the accuracy dominance argument: one should not have accuracy dominated credences, and one avoids accuracy dominance just in case one satisfies Probabilism. Up until recently, the accuracy dominance argument for Probabilism has been restricted to the finite setting. One reason for this is that it is not easy to measure the accuracy of infinitely many credences in a motivated way. In particular, as recent work has shown, the conditions often imposed in the finite setting are mutually inconsistent in the infinite setting. One response to these impossibility results---the one taken by Michael Nielsen---is to weaken the conditions on a legitimate measure of accuracy. However, this response runs the risk of offering an accuracy dominance argument using illegitimate measures of accuracy. In this paper, I offer an alternative response which concedes the possibility that not all sets of credences can be measured for accuracy. I then offer an accuracy dominance argument for Probabilism that allows for this restrictedness. The normative core of the argument is the principle that one should not have credences that would be accuracy dominated in some epistemic context one might find oneself in if there are alternative credences which do not have this defect.