I’m planning to collect papers that I’m relatively satisfied with on this page. Any comments would be very much appreciated.

Two Types of Defective Actions. 1/15/12. In this paper I argue that action done for a reason (not mere behavior) is essentially rational in that it necessarily involves the agent seeing something valuable or worthwhile in the action she is undertaking. I mention willpower in closing at the end.

The Pragmatic Introduction of Multiple Propositions 1/15/12. In this paper I extend the arguments in my paper on open quotation below. I discuss puns as a case in which the pragmatics of a situation attach multiple propositions to a single utterance. I also use a negation of an open quotation as an argument against Recanati’s pragmatic approach.

Are Practical Reasons like Theoretical Reasons? 3/30/10. In this paper I discuss moral particularism, which is the claim that features of actions can support or oppose a course of action depending on the context.

Harman’s Moral Relativism 3/17/10. I wrote this paper for a metaethics class. The papers discusses the objections of David Lyons and Betsy Postow. Ultimately, I claim that there is a non-fatal worry for Harman’s position, which is that it cannot make sense of offering sincere moral advice to someone who does not share one’s morality.

*Weakness of the Will. I’ve been working on this paper for about 6 months now, and it’s probably my best work so far. The argument in this paper is that weakness of the will is only comprehensible if we allow for reasons to be divided into two types: first person and third person reasons. Here’s an updated version Willpower 10.4.10, and the paper I actually submitted: Action Perception, Action Imagination. (note: this paper turned out not to get me accepted anywhere and in retrospect, I think it’s highly flawed).

Competition as Value. 5/10/10. This paper tries to make sense of the value of personal projects and their agent relative nature. I’m not so happy with the way that I frame the problem, but I think the solution that I gave in the last  few sections is interesting.

Open Quotation. 11/3/10. I defend Davidson’s demonstrative theory of quotation against Francois Recanati’s pragmatic approach. I think the very last argument I level against Recanati is new and possibly worth elaborating in more detail. I’m pretty proud of this paper because it was received positively by some of my professors.

Reference. 12/20/10. How do proper names refer to their objects. It doesn’t seem to be by nature of a description, so Kripke suggests that causal chains anchor our use of words. That too has problems, as shown by Evan’s Madagascar example. This paper is still very unrefined, but I try to show how a combination of the two views can accommodate facts about language use and about reference-shifting.

Gideon Rosen’s Account of the Milgram Experiment Participants. 9/16/12. The participants in the Milgram experiment act wrongly, but are they blameworthy for what they do? Gideon Rosen argues that they are not, because they have a unique excuse that renders them not blameworthy. I argue against this claim; I believe the Milgram participants are blameworthy for what they do.

Scanlon Feb13 revision 12/14/12. I wrote this paper for a class on moral blame. In it I argue that Scanlon’s claim that the psychopath is blameworthy begs the question because it assumes that psychopaths are the type of creatures that are rational enough to justify making them responsible for the reasons that they act for.

Foot Paper #2, Fall 2012x 10/5/12. I wrote this paper for a class on metaethics. In it, I exposit Philippa Foot’s argument for non-reductive moral naturalism.

Donkey Anaphora 3/22/12. I’m pretty proud of this paper. It’s an exposition of Paul Elbourne’s 2005 manuscript titled Situations and Individuals. The paper is about linguistic concepts like donkey anaphora and NP deletion. 

Perceptual Representation 3/22/12. This paper was for Tyler Burge. Here I argue that Susan Carey’s notion of core cognition shortchanges the representative power of perception. I draw on an interesting study about what is called the “wolfpack effect.”

 

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