I'm a grad student in philosophy at Baylor University. I’m finishing the fifth year of my contract with Baylor even though last spring I defended my dissertation on epistemology and metaphilosophy directed by Jon Kvanvig (details below). Trent Dougherty, Alex Pruss, and Todd Buras were also on my panel.
I love to travel, try new food, play disc golf, play games (e.g. Settlers of Catan), and spend time with my family.
Here's a description of my recent publications and dissertation:
Abstract: There is a modal relative of Euthyphro's dilemma that goes like this: are necessary truths true because God affirms them, or does God affirm them because they're true? If you accept the first horn, necessary truths are as contingent as God's free will. If you accept the second, God is less ultimate than the modal ontology that establishes certain truths as necessary. If you try to split the horns by affirming that necessary truths are somehow grounded in God's nature, Brian Leftow meets you with an argument. I will argue that Leftow's argument fails and that, contrary to his argument, there is a good reason to believe that necessary truths are grounded in God's nature.
Abstract: Religious epistemology is the study of how subjects' religious beliefs might have, or fail to have, some form of positive epistemic status (such as knowledge, justification, warrant, rationality, etc.). The current debate is focused upon the kind of basis upon which a religious believer might rationally hold certain beliefs about God (whether God exists, what attributes God has, what God is doing, etc.). Engaging this issue are three groups of people who call themselves "fideists," "reformed epistemologists," and "evidentialists." Each group has a position, but the positions are not mutually exclusive in every case, and in the debate, the names better describe the groups' emphases rather than mutually exclusive positions in the debate. In this article, we will first give a brief historical survey of evidentialism, fideism, and reformed epistemology. Second, we will give the fideist's position. Third, we will give the evidentialist's position. Fourth, we will give the reformed epistemologist's position, and last, we will include some comments on the current state of the debate, where we will show that the groups' positions are not mutually exclusive.
My dissertation is in metaphilosophy and epistemology. Here's what it's about. Common sense philosophers give us some advice about how to deal with philosophical debate: begin with what's obvious, and never give up the more obvious for the less obvious. No one, though, has said what it is for something to be obvious. In my dissertation, I first give the different ways something can be obvious, and I say which of these ways is relevant to the common sense philosopher's advice (chapter 1). Then, I say what it is for a proposition to be obvious to someone and what it is for a proposition to be obvious simpliciter (chapter 2). I then show the work that my account enables obviousness to do. First, it enables someone to remain steadfast even when she disagrees with an epistemic superior: someone who is much more intelligent, more intellectually virtuous, and who possibly has more evidence (chapter 3). Second, it enables someone to successfully argue against the global skeptic with a neo-Moorean argument: e.g. it's obvious to me that I have hands, so I'm not just dreaming that I have hands (chapter 4). There, I also argue that using what's obvious to oneself instead of what she merely knows enables the neo-Moorean to overcome common problems with neo-Moorean arguments (epistemic priority worries and the problem of easy knowledge). This work (steadfastness during superior disagreement, neo-Moorean arguments) is work the common sense philosopher wants obviousness to do, and if my account is correct, the common sense philosophers' advice will be a helpful piece of advice to keep during philosophical—and other—disagreements.