Philosophical Work

I received my PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto in 2001. My thesis was in the area of philosophy of science, a subject which I still enjoy teaching, but currently the focus of my research is on issues that arise in epistemology, or the theory of knowledge. My main preoccupation here has to do with the requirements of justified belief and the nature of epistemic responsibility, which I see as basically the same thing. The question that interests me is: what entitles us to hold the beliefs that we do? Some argue that if our beliefs are supported by evidence then they are justified, but I think it’s important to emphasize the respect in which the evidential burden varies from individual to individual depending on one’s interest in a matter. The idea that questions about justification and responsibility can’t adequately be answered without looking at our everyday epistemic practices is a standard feminist imperative in epistemology, and this is my philosophical orientation (for more on my feminist outlook see here).

I am also keenly interested in testimony as a source of knowledge and the epistemology of disagreement, though most recently I am continuing to investigate certain issues that I raise in my book One Hour in Paris. In particular, I have been exploring the phenomenon of recalcitrant emotions: fear in the acknowledged absence of danger. I am trying to think through the best philosophical characterization of recalcitrant emotions. I suspect that the answer here is going to come via the perceptual theory of emotions, but I am still working out these details. I also suspect that we can learn a lot about the problem of emotional recalcitrance by looking at a closely related phenomenon, epistemic akrasia: believing against one’s better judgment.

You can read more about my philosophical research and have a look at my philosophical publications here.