In my dissertation, I present a novel account of logical normativity. According to my view, logic is normative because what it is to think is constitutively dependent on being evaluable or answerable to certain logical rules. I distinguish my view from contemporary alternatives by drawing on the Kantian idea that logical rules are explicit prescriptions for how we ought to think, but also by rejecting the Kantian idea that all thought must be so constituted. The resulting view is that, simply as a matter of our contingent history, we came to have certain logical rules hold fast for us as a standard of correctness for thinking.

New projects
I have a number of new projects that I am developing in light of some of the ideas of my dissertation.

Logico-structural norms of acceptance and attention: Logical normativity and/or structural norms are often taken to bear on our beliefs and contribute to our understanding of epistemic rationality. However, we can identify and isolate certain logical and structural norms that bear on the attitude of acceptance and the focus of our attention. Acceptances and attention are not necessarily (or ever) relevant to epistemic evaluation, and in this project, I aim to explore the nature of these non-epistemic logical and structural norms, and the ways they connect to or conflict with epistemic norms.

Abductive inference, attention, and the methods of science and philosophy: On a standard gloss of scientific methodology, inference to the best explanation, or abductive inference, is the defining feature of scientific theorizing. There are two aspects of this method in particular, both for science and philosophy, that this project aims to develop. First, it seems that the appropriate attitude for a scientist (or philosopher) to hold toward a working hypothesis is one of acceptance rather than belief. I aim to shed light on the nature of the norms of acceptance and their role in guiding scientific inquiry. Second, engaging in abductive inference is very unlike other forms of inference. It takes a particular kind of attentiveness to draw out the relations between seemingly disparate bits of evidence in order to build the case that a certain explanation is the single best explanation for a given explanandum. I aim to argue that one can train oneself to become more adept at abductive inference by improving one’s involuntary attention.

Papers in progress:

  • A paper on logical mistakes and attention
  • A paper on logical aliens
  • A paper on logical normativity
  • A paper on the Adoption Problem
  • A paper on logical pluralism