Research

Overview 

I have ongoing research projects in social and individual epistemology, philosophy of cognitive science, and social metaphysics. I am especially interested in the possibility for groups and other non-individual entities to realize cognitive states and processes, and in the implications of this possibility for epistemology. 

Book project

My current research priority is a monograph tentatively titled Thought in Space: The Metaphysics and Epistemology of Hybrid Cognitive Subjects. The project, which expands on work initially developed in several of the publications listed below, has two main aims.  The first is to defend a form of vehicle externalism that can be understood as a middle ground between the extended cognition and embedded cognition approaches. The guiding thought behind this approach is that the extended cognition and embedded cognition approaches are both, in some respect, overly individualistic. Whereas the embedded cognition approach focuses on the causal impacts of features of the environment on the cognition of individual human persons and the extended cognition approach takes some such features to partially realize human cognitive states and activities, the approach I defend encourages attending to role of human individuals in animating cognitive systems distinct from themselves. The second main aim of the project is to unify that form of vehicle externalism with a virtue reliabilist approach to epistemic normativity. The result is an approach to the epistemic states of hybrid subjects–subjects whose mental states are realized by a combination of biological and non-biological components–that offers a response to an important existing line of objection to virtue reliabilism and serves as the foundation for an account of the epistemic states of group agents. 

Additional research projects

Alongside my current book project, I am working to develop the applications of the approach to group doxastic and epistemic states defended therein. In particular, I defend the view that scientific progress can be understood in terms of the growth of group knowledge. In future work, I will consider the implications of this approach for groups that, unlike the scientific community, tend not to exhibit reliable belief-forming methods. 

The latter work exemplifies my broader interest in applied epistemology. My previous work in this field has centered on the epistemology of conspiracy theories, deepfakes, and disinformation. Some of this work has been published, and considerable additional work in this area is under review or in development. 

Drafts of my recent work in these areas are available below, and I welcome feedback. 

Publications

Published 

Knowledge-How and False Belief

What’s Epistemically Wrong with Conspiracy Theorising

Whose (Extended) Mind is it, Anyway?

How Individuals Constitute Group Agents

Group Minds as Extended Minds

Why the Self Does Not Extend 

Collective Intellectual Humility and Arrogance 

Scientific Progress and Collective Attitudes 

Video on Demand: What Deepfakes Do and How They Harm

Forthcoming

Does Knowledge Intellectualism Have a Gettier Problem?

Book Reviews

Philosophical Method and the Limits of Empirical Science (A review of J.D. Trout’s All Talked Out)

Works in Progress 

Structure and the Metaphysics of Groups

Vehicle Externalism Without Extension