Previous Work

“Externalism for Doxastic Agents?”

There is a tension between externalism and a central obligation of doxastic agency—the obligation to be involved in deliberately shaping one’s beliefs in light of one’s best judgments about what the reasons support. I consider the familiar case of Norman, the reliable clairvoyant, and argue that Norman’s case reveals a deliberative problem for externalism that arises from within a person’s first-person point of view. Externalism leaves open the possibility that sometimes the only way to aim at knowledge is to reject the aim of having reasonable belief, and a common distinction between various epistemological aims or concerns does not dissipate this tension. I then show that despite the fact that the tension arises from within a person’s deliberations, it cannot be settled by deliberation. Rather, it is a higher-order worry about whether pursuing knowledge can direct a person qua doxastic agent to eschew her own doxastic agency. As a result, externalists need to recognize that the onus is on them to defend the significance of doxastic agency within an externalist theory of knowledge.

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“The Perspective of Rational Deliberation”

Many philosophers take there to be something epistemologically significant about having a view of the reasonableness of one’s own beliefs. But under what conditions does a person count as having such a perspective? I argue here that there is a special circumstance in which a person who engages in an entirely first-order rational deliberation (involving no self-regarding thoughts) and draws a first-order conclusion has a second-order perspective on the reasonableness of her own beliefs. In doing so, I defend two claims: first, when a person believes that p as the result of her first-order rational deliberation, she undertakes a second-order commitment to taking herself to have good reasons for believing that p. Second, when a person believes that p as the result of her first-order rational deliberation, she will also have a second-order view that she has good reasons for believing what she does.

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