According to the doctrine of infallibility, one is permitted to believe p if one knows that necessarily, one would be right if one believed that p. This plausible principle—made famous in Descartes’ cogito—is false. There are some self-fulfilling, higher-order propositions one can’t be wrong about but shouldn’t believe anyway: believing them would immediately make one’s overall doxastic state worse.
2020. "Being in a Position to Know is the Norm of Assertion," Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 101: 328–352. (Manuscript: Published Version)
This paper defends a new norm of assertion: Assert that p only if you are in a position to know that p. We test the norm by judging its performance in explaining three phenomena that appear jointly inexplicable at first: Moorean paradoxes, lottery propositions, and selfless assertions. The norm succeeds by tethering unassertability to unknowability while simultaneously untethering belief from assertion. The PtK-Norm foregrounds the public nature of assertion as a practice that can be other-regarding, allowing asserters to act in the best interests of their audience when psychological pressures would otherwise prevent them from communicating the knowable truth..
Recently, a number of epistemologists (notably Feldman ,  and White , ) have argued for the rational uniqueness thesis, the principle that any set of evidence permits only one rationally acceptable attitude toward a given proposition. In contrast, this paper argues for extreme rational permissivism, the view that two agents with the same evidence may sometimes arrive at contradictory beliefs rationally. This paper identifies different versions of uniqueness and permissivism that vary in strength and range, argues that evidential peers with different interests need not rationally endorse all the same hypotheses, argues that evidential peers who weigh the theoretic virtues differently can sometimes rationally endorse contradictory conclusions, and finally defends the permissivist appeal to standards against objections in the works of Feldman and White.
2012. “Epistemicism and the Problem of Arbitrariness for Vagueness,” Dialogue, 55 (1):54–64,
This paper distinguishes between epistemic and metaphysical problems of arbitrariness for vagueness. It argues that epistemicism can resolve the epistemic problem of arbitrariness but not the metaphysical one.
2011. “Josiah Parsons Cooke Jr.: Epistemology in the Service of Science, Pedagogy, and Natural Theology,” Hyle, International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry, 17 (1):1–23, (Coauthored with Stephen M. Contakes) (Published Version)
Josiah Parsons Cooke established chemistry education at Harvard University, initiated an atomic weight research program, and broadly impacted American chemical education through his students, the introduction of laboratory instruction, textbooks, and influence on Harvard's admissions requirements. The devoutly Unitarian Cooke also articulated and defended a biogeochemical natural theology, which he defended by arguing for commonalities between the epistemologies of science and religion. Cooke's pre-Mendeleev classification scheme for the elements and atomic weight research were motivated by his interest in numerical order in nature, which reflected his belief in a divine lawgiver
Surprising Suspensions: The Epistemic Value of Being Ignorant (PhD Dissertation, Rutgers University) (manuscript)
Knowledge is good, ignorance is bad. So it seems, anyway. But in this dissertation, I argue that some ignorance is epistemically valuable. Sometimes, we should suspend judgment even though by believing we would achieve knowledge. In this apology for ignorance (ignorance, that is, of a certain kind), I defend the following four theses:
Sometimes, we should continue inquiry in ignorance, even though we are in a position to know the answer, in order to achieve more than mere knowledge (e.g. understanding) while minimizing the effects of confirmation bias.
It’s false that we should believe every proposition such that we are guaranteed to be right about it (and even such that we are guaranteed to know it) if we believe it.
Being in a position to know is the norm of assertion: importantly, this does not require belief or (thereby) knowledge, and so proper assertion can survive speaker-ignorance.
It can be permissible and conversationally useful to tell audiences things that it is logically impossible for them to come to know: Proper assertion can survive (necessary) audience-side ignorance.
Cumulatively, this project suggests that, properly understood, ignorance has an important role to play in the good epistemic life.
Rational Uniqueness and Religious Disagreement (MPhil Thesis, University of Oxford) (manuscript)
Are we epistemically allowed to stick with our controversial religious or philosophical beliefs when equally smart people considering the same kinds of reasons have come to such different conclusions? I argue that an under-appreciated factor in how one should revise belief in the face of such disagreement is the difficulty of the question one is trying to answer. When a question is difficult, it is sometimes rational for agents to maintain their controversial religious or philosophical beliefs so long as they also reduce their confidence that their beliefs are rational. This produces tension between the agents lower- and higher-order beliefs, but not any inconsistency or incoherence.
forthcoming. [review] 'All Things Wise and Wonderful' by E. Janet Warren, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith. (Penultimate Manuscript)