Jon Kvanvig. Trent Dougherty, Alex Pruss, and Todd Buras were also on my committee.
My interests include epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion.
I love to travel, try new food, mountain bike, 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, directed by Jon Kvanvig, is about obviousness. My ultimate goal is to provide a foundation for ethical reasoning, in particular a kind of Mooreanism about ethics. When we disagree with others who seem to be our epistemic peers or superiors, and when we doubt the reliability of, say, our fundamental ethical intuitions, we need a place to start. Common sense philosophers give us this advice about what to do in these situations: begin with whatâs obvious. No one, though, has said what it is for something to be obvious. In my dissertation, I say what it is for something to be obvious, then I say how my account can help provide starting points in the face of disagreement and skeptical threats, starting points that lay the foundation for philosophical views, especially views about ethics.