Who are you?
How do you know?
My research on the nature of selfhood and self-knowledge means that I work at the intersection of several different disciplines. I consider myself a metaphysician, because metaphysics is my first love. I want to know how our perspectival experience of the world could help inform metaphysics. What can our understanding of things from here tell us about the way things really are?
However, my interest in the perspectival self takes me to a lot of different philosophical subfields, including: epistemology (how do you know your mind?), philosophy of mind (what is the structure of intention?), feminist philosophy (how does identification impact identity?), and even cognitive science (what is the difference between the self and the true self?).
Here are some of the things I’m working on right now.
Coming unhinged: Selfhood and Existential crisis
I give an account of existential crisis that appeals to what I call personal hinges. Personal hinges are the propositions or commitments that help you make sense of the world and your place in it. During an existential crisis, you find yourself temporarily without the personal hinges that were crucial for making sense of the world.
Most of the time, you know your own mind in a special, first-personal way. What exactly is this special way? I argue that you know your attitudes toward things in the same way you know the camera’s relative position to the objects in a photograph. The camera doesn’t have to be in the picture in order to give away where it is with respect to the objects represented.
[A paper about qualia knowledge]
(Title redacted for blind review.) Presumably, you know you’re not a philosophical zombie. You know this because you, unlike a zombie, have qualia. You know what it’s like to feel a cool breeze, to see the color red. How do you know your qualia? I say you know your qualia, in good cases, in the same way you know facts about the external world.
De se Discontent: getting the de se out of content
Most people think that, if there is something distinctive about self-locating (de se) beliefs, that whatever is distinctive must be located in the content of the belief. I think this is too quick. Instead, we can find the special de se character of de se belief not in the content of the belief, but in the belief itself, qua vessel of content.
Who are you, really? Unpacking existential identity
I argue for a difference between identity and existential identity. This is the difference between who you are, and who you are really. Between who you are and who you are deep down. Socially constructed factors determine whether you count as a teacher or a philosopher. You determine whether you’re a teacher or a philosopher deep down.