I have two main interests:
1. The first concerns our common-sense or "manifest" images of life, agency, intentionality, and rationality, particularly whether and how they can be brought under the purview of the natural sciences. Can rationality and epistemic justification be understood as natural phenomena? Or do we have to abandon the stance of natural science in order to investigate them?
Addressed from the opposite direction, these issues pose foundational questions about the sciences of agents and minds. Can biology or psychology be pursued without the use of teleological or normative notions? And if not, what does this tell us about those sciences and their domains? Does the involvement of teleology and normativity scotch their status as natural sciences? Can we allow for the (say) teleological characterization of organisms without putting in jeopardy the objectivity and mind-independence of biology?
In "Neurath's Fiberglass Powerboat" [abstract], I explore some of these issues as they arise in epistemology. I sketch a revision of Quine's naturalized epistemology, intended to bring his picture of science in line with current scientific practice and push his arguments to their proper conclusions. This raises problems for the objectivity of epistemic justification, and I go on to develop the position in a way that preserves both the manifest character and the objectivity of epistemic justification.
2. Second, I'm interested in the nature of discovery, proof, and explanation in the cognitive sciences. Currently this has me thinking about the role of representations in cognitive theories: whether they are required, whether they are defensible, and how exactly they should be understood. In "The Intentional Status of Representations" (in progress) I discuss and evaluate some different ways to understand representations in cognitive theories (particularly with respect to their explanatory role), and argue that they should — and given some other commitments, must — be understood as tools of scientific inquiry, rather than posits. This deflates some common objections to the use of representations, and builds a radical middle ground between traditional internalist and externalist views of representational content.
These problems come together in many ways, and together comprise an attempt to make cohesive sense of our various and fragmented perspectives on agents and minds. The questions canvassed here also bring me into contact with other issues in metaphysics, epistemology, cognitive science, and the philosophy of science. E.g., in "Perceptual Discrimination and Quality Space Nominalism" [abstract] I argue for nominalism about color qualities by defending a scientific explanation of color vision, and argue more generally for a "Psychology First" approach to the metaphysics of some domains.