(1) “An Empirical Analysis of Perceptual Judgments,” Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication: Vol. 9 (under the direction of Eduard Machery and Jesse Prinz), December 2014, pp. 1-35.
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This paper is a defense of Reformed Empiricism, especially against those critics who take Reformed Empiricism to be a viable account of empirical rationality only if it avails itself of certain rationalist assumptions that are inconsistent with empiricism. I argue against three broad types of criticism that are found in the current literature, and propose a way of characterising Gupta’s constraints for any model of experience as analytic of empiricism itself, avoiding the charge by some (e.g. McDowell, Berker, and Schafer) who think that the constraints are substantive.
(2) “Interpreting Russell’s Gray’s Elegy Argument”, Dialogue Vol. 51, Issue 4, December 2012, pp. 667-682.
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“On Denoting” is central to the analytic tradition, yet one of its key arguments (the Gray’s Elegy Argument) lacks a canonical reading. Some interpret the passage as rejecting denoting concepts as inconsistent, or the theory that posits them as incoherent. Such readings are too strong, and at odds with the passage. We interpret the argument as a set of considerations that leave the old view as a logically viable (though uneconomical and cumbersome) competitor to Russell’s new semantic theory.
(3) Ordinary Empirical Judgments and Our Scientific Knowledge (PhD Dissertation, Western University, 2012).
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The present essay examines the relationship between ordinary empirical judgments and our scientific worldviews. It is concerned with how ordinary judgments (and the primitive frameworks in which they are formulated) might be usefully integrated into an account of epistemological progress, both of our personal views and scientific theories, so that the sciences (especially modern theories of space and time) can reasonably be thought as being informed by, and evolving out of, at least some of the various pre-scientific views they have replaced. We examine our normal perceptual judgments of magnitude, position, orientation, and displacement in the hope of uncovering the logical, conceptual, and empirical relations that exist between such judgments (as well as the views of the world they presuppose) and our sophisticated understandings of space, time, and motion in physical theory.
This research contends that experience and a rich type of conceptual analysis—one that examines the presuppositions that make possible the application of concepts in empirical contexts—together provide the framework within which a rational account of such relations can be proposed. The project thus defends a form of empiricism, but one distinct from classical forms (be they British empiricism, Russellian empiricism, or logical empiricism)—rather a slightly modified version of Anil Gupta’s “Reformed Empiricism”. This empiricism is capable of avoiding the logical excesses and errors of earlier forms, whilst providing an account of how a set of basic empiricist principles might be extended from their context in general epistemology to recalcitrant problems in the philosophy of science, such as the problem of our formal knowledge, the problem of the communicability of observation, and the rationality of theoretical progress. Such an extension offers a comprehensive account both of our ordinary and scientific knowledge.
Keywords: classical empiricism (British and post-Kantian); logical empiricism; Reformed Empiricism; the given; experience; perception; perceptual knowledge; empirical judgment; geometry; space and time; scientific progress; conceptual analysis; conceptual revision; dialecticism; history and philosophy of science.
WORKS IN PROGRESS:
“What is Fregean About Neo-Fregeanism?”
“A Tenuous Foundation: Revisiting Schlick and Carnap on Protocols”
“Mach and Helmholtz: Two Ways of Naturalising Empiricism”
“A Lesson from Special Relativity: Divorcing Synthetic History from the Dynamics of Reason on Empiricist Grounds”