I'm a lecturer (=assistant professor) at the University of Southampton, and also the director of undergraduate admissions for philosophy. I finished my PhD at Rutgers in 2014. Ernest Sosa was my advisor and Ruth Chang, Jonathan Dancy, Alvin Goldman, and Susanna Schellenberg were on my committee; you can see a post-defense picture here, complete with a Skype projection on my face. My dissertation was entitled On the Normativity of Epistemic Rationality. It sought to explain why we should care about being epistemically rational by appealing to the idea that it constitutes respect for truth. In my current work, I am moving away from talk of rationality, which has ideological connotations that I reject and plan to oppose in future work. The current project is instead to show why perspectival obligations have perspective-independent significance. I do this by appealing to (i) the idea that objective value calls fundamentally for respect, and (ii) the idea that respect is constituted by heeding the demands of perspective. Perhaps unsurprisingly, my longest-standing area of specialization is epistemology. I have more recent research interests in moral philosophy, political philosophy, and the philosophy of practical reason. I have also taught modules in other areas, including aesthetics, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics. Much of my research combines my interests in epistemology in the broad sense and ethics, and is best described as work in the ethics of belief(also the name of a module I teach). I'm currently working on the first explicit and systematic non-consequentialist ethics of belief, Epistemic Kantianism, which rests on the idea of respect for truth I introduced in my dissertation. I'm also drafting funding bids for a wider project on respect for truth.
Since coming to the United Kingdom in 2014 and becoming intrigued by British parliamentary politics, my interests in meta-ethics and the philosophy of practical reason have transformed into interests at the intersection of moral and political philosophy. Here I'm interested in defending equality as the form of moral value, and subjecthood (a wider notion than personhood) as its matter. I'm also interested in figuring out what kind of economic and political order is needed to respect subjects and their moral equality. I want to develop a relational framework that reconciles the insights of Elizabeth Anderson (especially her classic 'What is the Point of Equality?' and Value in Ethics and Economics), the early work of Jerry Cohen (especially the papers in History, Labour, and Freedom, whose ideas don't support luck egaliatarianism but rather a demanding kind of relational egalitarianism), and figures wrongly ignored by analytic philosophy, such as Nancy Fraser, David Harvey, Rosa Luxemburg, Theodor Adorno, and Max Horkheimer.* This work is not unrelated to my work in the ethics of belief, whose underlying theme is opposition to the commodification of epistemic value.
My work in epistemology in the narrow sense (i.e., the theory of knowledge) is mostly separate from this business, however. For I think epistemology in the narrow sense is non-normative, and really a branch of the philosophy of mind. I defend this view in a recent publication. In work in progress that emerged from a graduate seminar I taught last year, I'm developing a descendant of the first account of knowledge considered in the history of philosophy, which has been wrongly overlooked in contemporary epistemology; this view was defended by many figures before the 20th century (including figures in classical Indian epistemology), and in the early 20th century by the forgotten British epistemologist Helen Wodehouse in The Presentation of Reality. According to this account, knowledge is that general factive mental state which, when occurrent, presentsone with a fact, where presentations are quasi-perceptual states. This view partly vindicates Theaetetus's thought that 'knowledge is nothing but perception'. But the perception at issue is intellectual rather than sensory, in line with Plato's real view about knowledge (which was clearly not a version of JTB).**
* Although I became an analytic philosopher for pragmatic reasons–I thought it would make for an easier job–I became interested in philosophy three years before I was an undergraduate, ultimately through David Bowie. I read a lot of Continental philosophy and critical theory. I also studied critical theory for a year as a double-major in English and philosophy before converting to 'straight' philosophy as a sophomore. Lately I've been integrating my post- and pre-undergraduate selves, and I now consider myself a student of Philosophy, period, without gaps. Philosophy clearly includes figures like Fraser, Adorno, and Horkheimer. It also clearly includes ideas in figures from traditions founded outside of Europe like (e.g.) the Śramaṇa and Brahmanical schools of classical Indian philosophy, and in religions, political movements, and artworks.
** Note that I and others in this tradition cover inferential knowledge by allowing for secondary seeings of truth, of roughly the sort discussed in Dretske's Seeing and Knowing. Inferential knowledge is indirect in one way (the seeing is secondary) but direct in a more important way (the seeing is seeing). As for testimonial knowledge (in contrast to testimonially justified true belief), I think Reid got it right when he emphasized the 'striking analogy' between the testimony of persons and the testimony of the senses, and in effect suggested that we can secondarily hear truths through a trustworthy speaker's words. Indeed, the speaker must plausibly make the truth clear to one in order for one to gain knowledge just from their say-so. Such making-clear is presentation.