Find me at Philpapers and Academia.edu

Journal Articles 

On the Psychological Reality of Practical Representation, forthcoming in Philosophical Psychology, pending final review.
Know-How, Action, and Luck, forthcoming in Synthese
A Theory of Practical Meaning, in Philosophical Topics, vol. 45 no 2 (45.2), Fall 2017, pp. 85-116.
Know How and Gradability, (with Technical Appendix to "Know How and Gradability" as supplementary material) in The Philosophical Review, 126.3: 345-83, 2017. 
On the Meaning of 'Therefore', in Analysis 77 (1): 88-97, 2017.
Skill in Epistemology, Part I and Part II, Philosophy Compass11642660, 2016 [Preprint part I] [Preprint part II] 
Logical Inference and its Dynamics, in Deontic Logic and Normative Systems. Proceedings of the 13th International Conference (DEON 2016), Olivier Roy, Allard Tamminga and Malte Willer, eds. College Publications, Milton Keynes - GBR, June 2016. (The online version of the proceedings is available for download here.)
Practical Senses, Philosophers' Imprint, Volume 15 (29): 1-25, 2015. 
Knowing a rulePhilosophical Issues, a supplement to Nous, Volume 25 (1): 165-188, 2015.
 Significati, Proposizioni e Decitazionalismo (Meanings, Propositions, and Disquotationalism), Iride, 20 (51): 361-68, 2007. 

Work in Progress

The Modal Dimensions of Skillfulness and Knowledge (with Bob Beddor) (Under review)

   Abstract: We argue that skillfulness and knowledge share a common modal dimension and that the extant attempts at providing a unified account of skillfulness and knowledge virtue epistemology, which analyses knowledge in terms of skillfulness and Stanley & Williamson 2017, who analyze skills in terms of dispositions to know fail at capturing this common modal dimension: virtue epistemology fails at providing a convincing account of the modal dimension of knowledge; Stanley & Williamson 2017 fail at capturing the modal dimensions of skills. We argue that two alternative unified accounts fare better in this respect: the first advances a fully modal view of skillfulness and knowledge; the second proposes a throughly intellectualist view about skills.

Presuppositions and the Regress of the Premises.

  Abstract: I look at a popular diagnosis of Lewis Carroll's regress of the premises (Dummett 1981; Smiley 1995), that consists in distinguishing between deductions, or arguments, and conditional statements, and develop it in an unexpected direction by looking at the semantics of arguments. (This proposal is based on my semantics for "therefore" in "On the Meaning of "Therefore"" (Analysis, 2017)).  On my proposal, making an argument from premises P1, ..., Pn to a conclusion C is different from stating the conditional if P1, ..., Pn then C in that it is a matter of presupposing, rather than adding it as an extra premise, that if P1, ..., Pn then C. 

On The Possibility of Active Reasoning. 

    Abstract: Active reasoning is a sort of reasoning that is explicit, and something the reasoner does, rather than merely undergoes. It is tempting to capture this active component to active reasoning by appealing to the so-called taking condition: in actively reasoning from P1, ..., Pn to Q, a reasoner takes it that if P1, ..., Pn then Q.  However, several authors have observed that the assumption that active reasoning is a causal process together with a doxastic construal of the taking condition leads to a version of Lewis Carroll's regress of the premises (Broome 2012, Boghossian 2014, Valaris 2014, Railton 2016).  This raises the question whether active reasoning is really possible and intelligible. In this essay, I consider several responses to this challenge and show them all wanting. Then I argue, by appeal to my semantics for arguments in "On the Meaning of "Therefore" and to my diagnosis of Lewis Carroll's regress in "Presuppositions and the Regress of the Premise" that active reasoning is possible and intelligible, provided that we think of its causal structure on the model of communication, under some relevant respects.  

The Language of Motor Behavior.

   Abstract: In this essay, I argue for a form of representationalism about motor skills starting from their productivity. It is customary for neuroscientists and cognitive scientists to think of motor skills as productive and systematic. It is also customary for them to explain their productivity by postulating primitive representations that are combinatorial (Jeannerod 1997; Lewis, Vera & Howes 2004; Wolpert & Diedrichsen & Flanagan 2011). In the first part of the essay, I justify this common practice by formulating an argument to the effect that motor skills must be compositional representations of sort, analogous to the argument that explains the productivity of language-understanding in terms of a few combinatorial primitive meanings. Yet, this conclusion faces a problem: it is prima facie at odds with the phenomenon of “chunking,” a phenomenon posited by cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists in order to explain certain instances of performance improvements through practice. According to common descriptions of the phenomenon by neuroscientists, chunking makes the parts of a sequence of instructions to “disappear,” so to say. As I explain in the paper, if motor skills can be improved and learned through chunking, then there seems to be a prima facie argument against their compositionality. In this essay, I propose we understand chunk- ing as the analog of idioms for motor representations. So understood, the phenomenon of chunking constitutes a challenge to the systematicity and compositionality of motor skills only if idioms constitute an objection to the systematicity and compositionality of linguistic representations. But arguably, idioms are no objection to the compositionality of linguistic representations. If so, then a prominent argument to the effect that motor skills and motor representation are not systematic nor compositional does not hold close scrutiny. Finally, I consider two better arguments against an unrestricted compositionality / systematicity principle for practical representation but in the end I propose that a restricted compositionality / systematicity principle holds for practical representation too.

Intentionality and Practical Representation.

Abstract: In this essay, I discuss the role of practical representation in a reductive theory of intentionality. First, following Neander (2017), I distinguish between the origination question (in virtue of what representations with original representation get their content?) and the derivation question (how do mental representations with derived intentionality get their intentionality from mental representations with original intentionality?). Then I make a case that practical representations (in particular, motor representation) have original intentionality. And I contend that, by contrast, some mental representations, in particular conceptual representations, do not have original intentionality. The core of the essay is, however, about the derivation question: how do mental representations with derived intentionality get their content from practical representation? My essay explores several possible answers and defends one in particular.

Arguments and their semantics. 

Abstract: This essay expands on the semantic proposal made in "On the Meaning of "Therefore" (Analysis 2017). I extend this semantics to cover uses of ‘therefore’ in arguments with non-declarative conclusions, as in:

(1) The doctor and the lawyer were the two main (and only) suspects. But then the detective has found a stethoscope near the location of the murderer. Therefore, who is the chief suspect now? (‘therefore’-question sentence)

(2) If May arrives late tonight, you should go to the store. As a matter of fact, Mary is arriving late. Therefore, go to the store! (‘therefore’-imperatival sentence)

Moreover, I consider the use of ‘therefore’ and its kins (such as ‘so,’ ‘thus,’ ’hence’) in non-deductive and inductive arguments, and I propose we expand the taxonomy of tests so to allow for probabilistic support and probabilistic tests, alongside classical support and classical tests. Finally, I develop a relevantist semantics for ‘therefore,’ in order to defuse the objection that certain non-relevantist uses of ‘therefore’ are infelicitous.

Knowledge in sensu diviso.

Abstract: In this essay, I develop a theory according to which propositional knowledge is an ability to use information for the purpose of action. (This theory stems from ideas that can be found — even though not in a fully developed form — in the work of Robert Stalnaker.) By providing textual evidence, I argued that the standard conception of knowledge in the literature is one according to which the content of knowledge is, at least in principle, accessible to consciousness. I compare this view to one on which knowledge is a state of the subject by virtue of which the subject can bring certain information to bear practically but in which the relevant information may not even in principle be accessible to conscious- ness or at least does not need to be in order to qualify as knowledge. I explain that this conception of knowledge is also epistemically interesting and I provide some reasons for why epistemologists should shift their attention from knowledge in the former sense to knowledge in the latter sense — a kind of knowledge that, following Lewis (1969), we can call ’knowledge in sensu diviso’.

Edited Volumes/Issues 

Special issue on Memory and Skill, in Philosophical Psychology (with Felipe De Brigard), forthcoming.  
The Routledge Handbook on Skill and Expertise (with Ellen Fridland), under contract.
Topoi Special issue on Foundational Issues in Philosophical Semantics, forthcoming. 

Blog posts

The Practical Mind, a short overview of my book project, published as blogpost at The Philosop-her.
My Comments at the Minds Online Conference 2016. 

Work in progress

Note: I am not listing many papers currently under review, to allow for blind review. Feel free to email me for drafts of papers I am working on.

Other stuff

The Epistemological relevance of the Declarative/Procedural knowledge distinction.  Slides of a talk for the Memory and Skills interdisciplinary meeting at Duke.  
The Practical Mind, Book Project, in progress.