Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
|Office||154A Dodd Hall|
|Office Hours||(Spring 2015): T/R 2:00- 3:30 and by appointment|
My research has focused primarily on human agency, particularly intentional action, free will, and moral responsibility. I’ve also written on practical reason, mental causation, and dispositions.
I favor a causal theory of action, on which something counts as an intentional action in virtue of being appropriately caused by mental events of certain sorts, such as the agent’s having an intention with pertinent content. This kind of action theory takes human agency to be a natural phenomenon, something of a kind with (even if differing in sophistication from) the agency of many non-human animals.
Many philosophers have thought that free and morally responsible action would be ruled out if our actions were causally determined by prior events. My book, Libertarian Accounts of Free Will, examines whether indeterminism of any sort is more hospitable. Although I defend libertarian views (accounts requiring indeterminism) from several common objections, I argue that none of these accounts is adequate. If responsibility isn’t compatible with determinism, then, I think, it isn’t possible.
I'm currently working on a book about omissions. Omitting to act isn't typically acting, but it shares many features with it: we can deliberate about whether to omit or refrain, we can omit or refrain for reasons and intentionally, and we can be responsible for not doing certain things. I'll be looking at this phenomenon from the perspectives of agency, metaphysics, and ethics.
|Libertarian Accounts of Free Will. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.|
|"Absence of Action:" Philosophical Studies 158 (2012), 361-76.|
|"Intentional Omissions," Nous 44 (2010), 27-35.|
|"Opposing Powers," Philosophical Studies 149 (2010), 153-60.|
|"Dispositions, Abilities to Act, and Free Will: The New Dispositionalism," Mind 118 (2009), 323-51.|
|“Intrinsic Finks,"Philosophical Quarterly 58 (2008), 512-18.|
|“Autonomous Reasons for Intending,”Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (2008), 191-212.|
|“Indeterminism and Control,”American Philosophical Quarterly 32 (1995), 125-38.|
|“Toward a Credible Agent-Causal Account of Free Will,”Nous 27 (1993), 191-203.|
|"What Is an Omission?" Philosophical Studies (forthcoming)|