"Narrative, Theology, and Philosophy of Religion" | Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Religion, Wiley-Blackwell with Joshua W. Seachris (forthcoming)
In this entry, we survey key discussions on the role of narrative in theology and philosophy of religion. We begin with epistemological questions about whether and how narrative offers genuine understanding of reality. We explore how narrative intersects with the problems of evil and divine hiddenness. We discuss narrative’s role in theological reflection and practice in general, and in black and feminist theologies specifically. We close by briefly exploring the role of narrative in theorization about life’s meaning.
"Review of Ritualized Faith by Terence Cuneo” | Religious Studies Review, (forthcoming)
"A Defense of Cognitive Penetration" | (under review)
Cognitive Penetration holds that semantic or representational mental states (such as beliefs, goals or concepts) may sometimes penetrate, and directly influence perceptions, often affecting their phenomenal features. Traditional theories of perception maintain that these kinds of mental states, at most, can only interpret or judge our perceptions. I present and defend a particular version of Cognitive Penetration against some of the most pressing objections leveled against both theoretical and experimental components. Specifically, I challenge misguided expectations for evidence and crucial misunderstandings of key experimental research on Cognitive Penetration.
Presented at the American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division Conference, Seattle (2017)
“An Improved Account of Thought Insertion” | (draft available on request, feedback appreciated!)
I critique a well-known theory of thought insertion, and propose an improved account which locates a more important role for the self and introspection in understanding how the breakdowns involved in thought insertion occur.
Presented at the New College of the Humanities Annual Mind and Brain Conference, London (2016)
Presented at the Southeast Graduate Philosophy Conference, Florida State University (2013)
“A New Understanding of Perception and Cognitive Penetration” | (draft available on request, feedback appreciated!)
I address the worry that Cognitive Penetration mechanisms are epistemically pernicious because they undermine perceptual accuracy. I propose a new understanding of the aims of perception based on recent work in cognitive science which can contribute to a more explanatorily powerful account of Cognitive Penetration, and perception more generally.
Presenting at the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division Conference, Savannah (2018)
“Self-Narrative and the Problem of Evil” | (draft available on request, feedback appreciated!)
I challenge traditional responses to the problem of evil as, at best, incomplete, and at worst misguided and harmful because they solely address the ‘Logical Problem of Evil’, while failing to respond to the ‘Pastoral Problem of Evil’. I draw on research on the self-narrative and underlying processes, and the ways they are undermined in experiences of trauma to offer a response to the Problem of Evil that is both theoretically informative and practically useful. I hope to further explore the effects of trauma on our self-narrative and the underlying operations of these cognitive and perceptual systems.
Presented at the Society of Christian Philosophers Conference, Spring Hill University (2015)
For more on my current and future research projects, and how they relate, see my research statement (available upon request).
"Embodied Cognition and the Grip of Computationalism"
Embodied Cognition maintains that bodily states and processes (including those involved in perceptions, interoception, proprioception, motor feedback, and simulations of these experiences), sometimes directly, or even constitutively participate in carrying out various cognitive functions (such as reasoning, belief formation, and concept construction and application). I present and defend a version of Embodied Cognition, highlight compelling evidence, and respond to pressing objections. In my response to objections, I specify ways in which underlying Computationalist biases and metaphors might cause us to over-evaluate their strength.
“Predictive Processing and Self-Generated Experience”
Predictive Processing holds that our perceptual and cognitive systems constantly interact to predict our experiences, and then 'strive’ to make our experiences accord with these predictions – often through generating aspects of our experiences, or manipulating our environment. I address the ‘Darkened Room objection’, which objects to Predictive Processing on the basis of its supposedly incorrect predictions about the nature of perceptual experiences. I address two misconceptions at the root of this objection, propose an improved version, and respond to it. According to my response, Predictive Processing mechanisms act as a 'lens', rather than a 'veil' between us and the external world.
“Embodied Cognition, Religious Experience, and Intellectual Disability” | (draft available on request, feedback appreciated!)
I challenge traditional accounts of religious experience for their failure to account for the robust religious experiences of people with intellectual disabilities. I draw on Embodied Cognition research to sketch an alternative account of religious experience according to which much of the ‘religious character’ of an experience can be communicated through and to the body. This account can better capture the religious experiences of many religious believers, including and especially those with intellectual disabilities.
Presented at the Templeton Interfaith Workshop, The Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies, Jordan (2017)
Presented at the Society of Christian Philosophers Conference, Evangel University (2016)
Presented at the Embodied Religious Experience Workshop, Princeton University (2016)
“Tycho Brahe and the Aesthetics of Scientific Revolution”
In this paper I explore the role of aesthetics in the astronomical revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, and its role in theory choice more generally. As a concrete case, I examine the role of aesthetics in the motivation, work, and influence of Tycho Brahe’s scientific work and its interaction with his empirical concerns and commitments.
Presented at the History of Philosophy of Science Conference, University of Ghent, Belgium (2014)
Presented at the Scientiae Conference, University of Vienna, Austria (2014)
Presented at the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts Conference, University of Notre Dame (2013)