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I am a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Barcelona and a senior member of the LOGOS Research Group in Analytic Philosophy.
 
I work on topics at the intersection of philosophy of mind and epistemology with a focus on the imagination and imagistic representation.

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BIO

I am a postdoctoral research fellow in the LOGOS research group at the University of Barcelona.

 

I recently earned my PhD in philosophy from New York University, under the supervision of Paul Boghossian, David Chalmers, and Jane Friedman.

I was an undergraduate at the University of Miami. I graduated in 2017 with a B.A. in philosophy and psychology.

When I'm not doing philosophy, I enjoy noodling around on my guitar, cooking vegetarian feasts, listening to tons of music (mostly extreme metal), playing videogames, and walking all over the place.

 

I am lucky to have an incredible and talented partner, Madelyn, who does a lot of cool things.

RESEARCH

I work at the intersection of epistemology and philosophy of mind. I am especially interested in images: their nature, semantics, epistemology, and role in the mind. 

The primary strand of my research is on the epistemology of imagination. In this work, I am developing a comprehensive account of how imagination justifies empirical belief. This has given me the opportunity to think about a lot of interesting questions like: Can we reconcile the justificatory force of the imagination with its voluntariness? Is imagination reducible to inference? Can the imagination generate new justification or does it merely preserve existing justification? Are there epistemic norms governing what you ought to imagine? Is vividness epistemically relevant, and if so, how? I am the editor for the PhilPapers category on epistemology of imagination.

I also have an ongoing research project on iconic representation. Consider the difference between a painting of a brown dog and the sentence 'there is a brown dog.' There is a sense in which they represent the same thing. But they do so in very different ways. The painting is iconic while the sentence is not. My research investigates the nature of this difference. Along the way, I've thought about the metaphysical grounds of representational format, the semantics of iconic representation, whether there are iconic representations in the mind, and the epistemic and practical advantages and disadvantages of representing iconically.

Click here for a more comprehensive research statement.

I enjoy talking about my research interests with others! Feel free to reach out if you have feedback, comments or questions, or if you would like access to a draft paper.

Published Papers

How Imagination Informs (forthcoming)

Philosophical Quarterly

I argue, against the received view, that the imagination is robustly informative—it can contain more information than is put into it and can thereby generate justification that is not conferred by a subject's antecedent evidence. Moreover, I defend a novel account of how the imagination informs according to which the imagination is informative in virtue of its analog representational format.

The Structure of Analog Representation (2023)

Noûs (co-authored with Andrew Lee and Gabriel Rabin)

We explicate and defend the rulebound structure theory of analog representation, according to which analog representation is a matter of interpretive rules mapping syntactic structure to semantic structure. First, we argue that the mark of the analog is to be found in the rules of a system's interpretation function. We go on to develop measures that capture three different dimensions of analogicity. (PDF)

The Epistemic Status of the Imagination (2021)

Philosophical Studies

The imagination is typically thought to fall outside of the scope of epistemic evaluation. Against this, I argue that imaginings are justified justifiers. Imaginings can manifest an epistemic status, this epistemic status grounds their ability to justify beliefs, and they acquire this status by being epistemically based on evidence. I show how this view best explains the structure of imaginative justification. (PDF)

Reasoning with Imagination (2021)

Epistemic Uses of Imagination, Routledge

I argue that epistemic uses of the imagination are a sui generis form of reasoning. First, I argue that the imagination instantiates an epistemic structure that is distinctive of reasoning. Then, I argue that reasoning with imagination is not reducible to reasoning with beliefs. This provides a useful framework for theorizing about the epistemology of imagination. (PDF)

Under Review

The Epistemic Role of Vividness (Revise + Resubmit)

I argue that vividness is higher-order evidence. This project started as a scholarly blog post.

Imaginative Beliefs (Revise + Resubmit)

I argue for the existence of states that are simultaneously imaginative and doxastic.

Imagination as a Source of Empirical Justification

I survey the state of the literature on the epistemology of imagination.

In Progress

Imaginative Justification and the Challenge from Voluntary Control

I argue that robustly voluntary imaginings can justify belief.

The Structure of Iconic Representation (co-authored with Andrew Lee and Gabriel Rabin)

We argue that iconic representations are 'locatively structured' analog representations.

Imaginative Justification: Neither Immediate Nor Inferential

I argue that imaginative justification is mediate but non-inferential.

Aphantasia and Unconscious Imaginative Justification

I argue that aphantasia poses a challenge to phenomenal accounts of epistemic justification.

Imagination and Hypothesis Generation

I develop an account of the role of imagination in hypothesis generation. I'm expanding on this scholarly blog post.

THE EPISTEMIC STRUCTURE OF THE IMAGINATION

Dissertation, 2023

Abstract

The imagination is ubiquitous in our cognitive lives. You might imagine rotating a puzzle piece to determine whether it fits in an open space, or imagine what things are like from another person's perspective to figure out how they are feeling, or imagine a new rug in your living room to determine whether it matches the color of your sofa. These examples are mundane, but they point to a deep philosophical puzzle: how could merely imagining something give you any reason to believe that it is true? After all, you can imagine anything you want to, from the fictional to the fantastical. This has led many philosophers to be deeply skeptical of the epistemic value of the imagination. When imagination is accorded a justificatory role, it is typically limited to beliefs about what is metaphysically possible. More recently, some philosophers have begun to push back against this orthodoxy by arguing that the imagination can justify empirical beliefs about the actual world. But even then, most contemporary discussions focus on whether the imagination can justify empirical belief, rather than on how the imagination justifies empirical belief, thereby leaving many central questions about the epistemology of the imagination unanswered.

 

This dissertation attempts to fill this lacuna by canvassing the theoretical landscape of this exciting new literature and developing an account of the epistemic structure of the imagination. The first chapter sets the stage for the rest of the dissertation by reviewing extant arguments for and against the view that the imagination can justify empirical belief before posing a new argument in its favor. The second chapter argues that imaginative justification is mediate but non-inferential; it depends on one’s prior justification without depending on an inference from one’s prior beliefs. The third chapter argues that the imagination is informative—it can represent new content and generate new justification—in virtue of its analog representational format. The fourth and final chapter argues that some imaginings just are beliefs, and that this grounds their justificatory force. Together, the arguments of this dissertation suggest that the imagination is a distinctive kind of ampliative reasoning, and that it plays this cognitive and epistemic role by combining the analog representational format of imagery with the evidence-sensitive function of belief.

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TEACHING

PRIMARY INSTRUCTOR

Aesthetics (Summer 2021, syllabus)

Epistemology (Summer 2020, 2 sections, syllabus)

TEACHING ASSISTANT

Early Modern Philosophy (Spring 2021, with Don Garrett)
Ancient Philosophy (Fall 2020, with Jessica Moss)
Nature of Values (Spring 2020, with Sharon Street)
Minds and Machines (Fall 2019, with David Chalmers)
Religion, Mind, and Society (Spring 2017, with William Green and Michael McCullough)

HIGH SCHOOL OUTREACH

Big Questions NYU/NYIP Outreach
(Fall 2017-Spring 2019, with Jessica Moss)

GET IN TOUCH

Please feel free to reach out to me here. I love talking philosophy and I welcome feedback/questions/comments/requests for drafts.

As a bonus for scrolling all the way to the bottom of my site, here is a cool photo that I took of lightning over Washington DC.

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