Dissertation Defense Date Set (May 29, 2018)
On May 29th at 2pm I will defend my dissertation. The title of this project is "Assessing the Moral Evaluations of Pharmacological Enhancement". The project has been supervised by Walter Glannon and my committee consists of Professors Jeremy Fantl, Mark Migotti, and Ann Levey. I will be examined externally by Dr. Fabrice Jotterand.
Accepted Philosophy Instructor Position at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT)
I am happy to announce that I have accepted a contracted Philosophy Instructor position at SAIT to teach 5 courses in the Fall of 2017 (3 sections of Ethics and 2 sections of Ethics and Technology). This position is housed in the school of Academic Services as SAIT does not have a philosophy department). I am looking forward to joining to the team at SAIT and engaging with their students and my new colleagues; I am thankful for the opportunity.
2016 J.B Hyne Research Innovation Award Recipient
On September 29th I humbly accepted the 2016 J.B Hyne Research Innovation Award. The Faculty of Graduate Studies created this award to recognize graduate students in any discipline who excel in research. It is named to honour Dr. James B. Hyne, the first Dean of Graduate Studies (1966-1989). Three of these awards were given to graduate students across all disciplines to acknowledge excellence in research. I'd like to thank my department for nominating me for the award as well as those who have helped assist me in my research over the past 5 years. More information on the award can be found here. I'm especially excited to receive this award as it marks the first time someone from the Philosophy Department has been bestowed this honor.
The 6th Annual UCalgary Graduate Philosophy Conference (2017)
I am happy to announce that I will be coordinating the 6th Annual Graduate Conference at the University of Calgary. We have already secured three plenary speakers (Katrina Sifferd, Gregg D. Caruso, and Samir Chopra) The conference will be held on May 3rd and 4th of 2017. The conference topic will be Ethics in the Age of Science. The aim of the conference will be to explore the implications of cognitive and neuroscientific findings for our ethical theories and social practices. The following questions (among others) will be explored. Do ethical evaluations change in light of these findings? Should they? Does knowledge of our cognitive limitations change what we can be obligated to do? Should it? Should findings by neuroscientists and cognitive scientists affect what we ought to hold people responsible for with regards to their decisions and behavior? Should the neuroscience of emotions change how we should treat others? Should our growing knowledge of animal cognition change their moral status? Does the failure to replicate certain social psychological experiments change how we feel social psychological research should inform our ethical decisions? I would like to thank the University of Calgary's Department of Philosophy for graciously helping to fund this conference.
UPDATE (12/20/2017) The conference went extremely well and I was able to converse at length with Katrina, Gregg, and especially Samir on a number of philosophical topics I've been wrestling with over the past few months. Thanks to all who attended!
Currently, I have 2 papers under review for publication, one on Supererogation and the other on the 'Ought Implies Can' principle. For the sake of anonymity in the peer review process I will not share any details of those papers.
(1) "Enhancement and Cheating: Implications for Policy in Sport" (with Allen Habib) for D. Boonin (ed) the Handook of Philosophy and Public Policy, Palgrave Macmillan.
(2) "Free Will, Psychopathy, and Addiction" for J. Campbell (ed) Companion to Free Will, Wiley-Blackwell.
UPDATE (5/1/2018) The paper with Allen has been submitted and should be out by the end of 2018, or so that's what we were told by David Boonin, the editor of the volume. You can find the pre-print of that piece under the publications tab and under the CV tab.
Upcoming or Recent Presentations
Presentation at the 2018 meeting of the (APA) Pacific Division in San Diego, California, March 28.
I've been invited to present as part of an invited symposium on Moral Luck at the 2018 American Philosophical Association (APA) Pacific Division Meeting in San Diego, California on March 28, 2018 from 9am-12pm. Others presenting during that symposium are Gregg Caruso, Philip Swenson, and Grace Campbell. My paper is tentatively titled "Human Agency, Moral Obligation, and Moral Responsibility: What's luck got to do with it?"
UPDATE (4/1/2018) The presentation went well and I received great feedback from those in attendance and from the other panelists. I plan to send off a draft to be reviewed for publication early in the summer.
Presentation for the 69th Annual Northwest Philosophy Conference in Pullman, Washington, October 7, 2017.
On Saturday, October 7th, 2017 I presented a paper titled "Against Free Will Skepticism: An Argument From Ethics". I've been working through this argument for some time now so it was nice to present it formally. In this paper I argue that the free will skeptic is not justified in holding her skepticism. To show why this is so I appeal to pragmatic encroachment which couches the nature of epistemic justification on the stakes within the context. By showing how free will skepticism affects our moral practices, concepts, and judgments I aimed to raise the stakes in the free will debate. By raising the stakes I make it the case the free will skeptic is never justified in holding onto their skepticism as long as there are plausible alternative theories. I argue that since libertarianism and compatibilism are plausible (by the skeptics own lights), the free will skeptic is not justified in believing in free will skepticism.
Comments at the 2017 meeting of the (APA) Pacific Division in Seattle, Washington.
Unable to make the conference due to funding issues my colleague Stephanie Reyes delivered my comments for me. The colloquium paper was titled "A New Argument Against 'Ought-Implies-Can'" by P.Roger Turner and was presented at the 2017 American Philosophical Association (APA) Pacific Division Meeting in Seattle, Washington.
Comments at the 2017 meeting of the (APA) Eastern Division in Baltimore, Maryland.
I delivered a commentary on Janell Dewitt's paper "Feeling and Inclination: Rationalizing the Animal Within" at the 2017 American Philosophical Association (APA) Eastern Division Meeting in Baltmore, Maryland on January 6th.
Presentation for the Apeiron Society for the Advancement of Philosophy, November 22, 2016
I presented a paper from my dissertation titled "Enhancement and Cheating" I received great comments and the crowd was enthused and lively during the Q & A which made discussing my work lots of fun!
Comments at the 2016 meeting of the (CPA) Canadian Philosophical Association in Calgary
On Sunday (May 29th at 10:15am, in room SH 288) I delivered comments on on Devlin Russell’s “Action Under Development” at the 2016 Meeting of the Canadian Philosophical Association (CPA) in Calgary, Alberta.
The Moral Psychology of Compassion
I was approached by Prof. Mark Alfano to co-edit a volume on one of the moral emotions, compassion, with Prof. Carolyn Price from the Open University. The volume will be part of a series that includes emotions such as anger, contempt, disgust, and forgiveness, among others. As the project progresses I will post updates to this page. I am excited to work with the 11 authors that have already supplied me with abstracts for the volume. The series homepage can be found here.
UPDATE (1/28/2017): Carolyn and I have signed our contract and are working with our authors to finish up the volume. Stay tuned!
UPDATE (10/26/2017): All chapters have been edited and submitted to the publisher.
UPDATE (1/8/2018): Final corrections have been made and sent to the publisher in late 2017. Book is expected out in March 2018.
The Logic of Free Will and Moral Responsibility
In this paper, Aaron Thomas-Bolduc and I (my office mate for the past 4 years) develop the idea that the free will debate, or at least one central debate regarding the compatibility of free will and determinism, might be settled by getting clear on the correct logic we ought to employee when assessing the arguments put forward by both compatibilists and incompatibilists. This aspect of the free will debate (the compatibility of free will concepts and both determinism and indeterminism) seems to be at a stalemate. Some have suggested we are at an impasse, while others have made the stronger claim that the free will debate cannot be solved at all. In this paper we want to suggest that there might be a way forward. First, we diagnose why the debate seems to be at an impasse. We argue that the use of classical logic within the debate about an agent’s future action is to blame; classical logic is question-begging against the open-future thesis, a thesis we suggest should be endorsed by incompatibilists. To remedy this issue we suggest using non-classical logics that both compatibilists and incompatibilists can endorse. We model how this can be done and justify the need for the use of non-classical logics in the free will debate.