You’re doing a bunch of things at this very moment. You’re reading this research summary. You’re maintaining your balance. And you’re exerting a certain number of newtons of force on the surface supporting your weight. Exerting a certain number of newtons of force is something that any other massive object can do:  it is not an exercise of agency at all. Maintaining your balance is something that many other animals can do: it is an exercise of what we can call animal agency. But reading this research summary is distinctive. You can read this research summary only because you, unlike rocks and (presumably) rhinos, can engage in better or worse reasoning: your reading the summary is an exercise of rational agency. You could have a better or worse reason for reading this summary. Perhaps you’re curious about my research; or perhaps you’re putting off reading the paper your past self generously, but foolhardily, agreed to referee. Because you can have a better or worse reason for doing it, your reading this summary might be a more or less rational action.

What distinguishes your reading this summary from your maintaining your balance, or from a rhino’s scratching its hide against a tree? What distinguishes your giving yourself a chocolate at the end of a long day because you darn well earned it from your exerting a downward force? My research aims to answer these questions. In so doing, I hope to shed light on the role that logic and reasoning play in exercises of rational agency, and on how rational agency can in turn inform our thinking about logic.

At the moment, my main research project is on the basing relation, which is crucial to many exercises of rational agency. The basing relation obtains between an action or a state and reason for which it is done. I’m currently pursuing three lines of inquiry related to the basing relation. First, how unified are different exercises of rational agency, such as believing on the basis of a reason and acting on the basis of a reason? Second, are there distinctive norms that govern how an agent’s attitudes are based on one another? If so, how do they interact with other rational norms? Third, what progress can we make in thinking about logic’s normativity (for instance in the context of logical pluralism) by foregrounding basing?

I’m also working on some miscellaneous papers on, among other things: neopragmatism about logic; the singular “they”; metaepistemic negotiation; and the possibility of basic action.


2023. “Logical Pluralism”. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Coauthored with Gillian Russell.

2022. “The Hereby-Commit Account of Inference”. Australasian Journal of Philosophy.

2022. “Acting and Believing on the Basis of Reasons”. Philosophy Compass.

2021. “Reasons, Basing, and the Normative Collapse of Logical Pluralism”. Philosophical Studies.

2021. “Logical Pluralism without the Normativity”. Synthese. Coauthored with Gillian Russell.

2020. “Fake News, Relevant Alternatives, and the Degradation of Our Epistemic Environment”. Inquiry. You can see an interview of me talking about the ideas in this paper here.

2020. “Deflationism about Logic”. Journal of Philosophical Logic.