Doctoral Researcher, Freie Universität Berlin
Epistemology, metaphysics, theory of action
I am a PhD-student at Freie Universität Berlin, primarily engaged in epistemology and everything in its vicinity. More recently, I also got very interested in the nature of action, especially intentional action, and the metaphysics of modality and causation. In my dissertation project, these areas intertwine. It aims at a better understanding of relations that, in Sosa's words, "span mind and world." Two very prominent specimens are knowledge and intentional action. Both have notoriously resisted philosophical analysis. In the wake of Gettier, epistemologists today tend to think that the "spanning" between belief and fact in knowledge is done by some modal condition. Action theorists think that the "spanning" between intention and doing in action is attained through causation. Yet, extant modal theories of knowledge turn out susceptible to Gettier-style counterexamples again. Causal theories of action, on the other hand, are plagued by a fairly similar problem, the problem of deviant causal chains. Many action theorists today maintain that the culprit for the latter problem lies in the widespread Humean conception of causation. Thus, the story goes, action theory can make headway by relying on an anti-Humean understanding of causation. Taking a leaf from the action theorist's book, I submit that a similar diagnosis is applicable in epistemology. Epistemologists tend to think about modality in recognizably (neo-)Humean ways. If, as I suggest, this tendency is responsible for recurring troubles with analyzing knowledge, then epistemology might be better off going anti-Humean about modality. The latter, in turn, will involve ranking the abilities, powers and dispositions of agents as important explanantia, rather than problematic explananda.