Graduate students

One of my greatest professional blessings has been to work with some really excellent graduate students. These are a few of the students I have supervised to date:

  • Matt King completed his PhD at the University of Maryland in February 2008 with a dissertation on moral responsibility, and is currently assistant professor at the University of Alabama Birmingham. His articles have appeared in EthicsSocial Theory and Practice, the Journal of Moral Philosophy, the European Journal of Philosophy, and the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, among other places.

  • Sam Shpall completed his PhD at USC in May 2011. He was a USC Dornsife Distinguished Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow in 2011-2013, a postdoctoral fellow in law and philosophy at Yale University in 2013-2015, and has accepted a permanent lectureship at the University of Sydney starting in 2015. Sam works in ethics, action theory, and aesthetics, particularly on the normative concept of commitment and the philosophy of film. His article, 'Wide and Narrow Scope', has appeared in Philosophical Studies, and 'Moral and Rational Commitment' as appeared Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

  • Ryan Hay completed his PhD at USC in August 2011, writing a dissertation on hybrid expressivism and the analogy between moral terms and pejorative expressions. He has taught courses at UC-Riverside and Occidental College, and is currently a lecturer at UW-Stevens Point. His article, "Hybrid Expressivism and the Analogy between Pejoratives and Moral Language", has appeared in the European Journal of Philosophy, and he was an invited speaker at the international conference on Hybrid Metaethical Theories held at the University of Edinburgh in July 2012.

  • Johannes Schmitt completed his PhD at USC in August 2012. His dissertation showed how to embed the insights of probabilistic approaches to conditionals in a dynamic framework. Our co-authored paper, 'Supervenience Under Relaxed Assumptions', has appeared in Philosophical Studies. Johannes completed a three-year postdoc at the University of Konstanz, and has moved into a career in business.

  • Ben Lennertz completed a dissertation on epistemic modals at USC, focusing on their role in thought and on their pragmatic role in conversation. His paper, 'Taking 'Might' Communication Seriously', has appeared in  the Journal of Analytic Philosophy, and 'Quantificational Credences' has appeared in Philosophers' Imprint.  In 2014-15 he was visiting assistant professor at Davidson College, and in 2015-16 he will be visiting assistant professor at Colgate University.

  • Justin Snedegar received his PhD from USC in May 2013. His dissertation defended contrastivism about reasons and explores a range of applications for different kinds of constrastivist theses. His paper, 'Contrastive Semantics for Deontic Modals', has been published in a volume of work on Contrastivism in Philosophy, edited by Martijn Blaauw, and he has also published in EthicsOxford Studies in MetaethicsPhilosophical StudiesThought and, with Steve Finlay, in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. He now holds a regular faculty position as a lecturer at the University of St. Andrews.

  • Alida Liberman has completed a dissertation at USC about the nature of promissory obligation. She is particularly interested in the relationship between sincere promises and resolutions, and in the conditions under which it is permissible to break a promise. Her review of David Owens' book, Shaping the Normative Landscape, is published in Ethics, and our co-authored paper, 'Commitment: Worth the Weight', will appear in Errol Lord and Barry Maguire, eds, Weighing Reasons, forthcoming from Oxford University Press.  Her paper, 'A Promise Acceptance Model of Organ Donation', is published in Social Theory and Practice.  In 2015-16, she will be a postdoctoral fellow in bioethics at the Rotman Institute of Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario.

  • Indrek Reiland completed a dissertation at USC defending an account of the nature of linguistic meaning in terms of rules of use. His paper, 'Propositional Attitudes and Mental Acts', had been published in Thought, and he has also published papers in American Philosophical Quarterly and in the Southern Journal of Philosophy. Indrek has wide interests in the philosophy of mind and language, covering topics connected to content, including work on the nature and structure of perception.  In 2014-15 he was visiting assistant professor at Rice University.

  • Shyam Nair completed a dissertation at USC focusing on issues at the intersection of ethics, logic, and epistemology that are raised by the idea that reasons explain oughts. His paper, 'Consequences of Reasoning with Conflicting Obligations', has been published in Mind and was nominated for the 2014 Philosophers' Annual.  His paper, 'Conflicting Reasons, Conflicting Obligations' is forthcoming in Philosophical Studies.  He is now assistant professor at Lingnan University, in Hong Kong.

  • Nick Laskowski is working on a dissertation at the intersection of metaethics and the philosophy of mind, focusing on analogies between 'just too different' intuitions in metaethics and in the philosophy of mind.  His dissertation explores whether reductive naturalists in metaethics can fruitfully take advantage of an analogue of the phenomenal concepts strategy in the philosophy of mind, as well as whether reductivists should believe that it is possible to know the true reductive theory.  He has published related papers in Res Philosophica and in the Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.

  • Michael Milona is is writing a dissertation focusing on the possible role in moral epistemology of the idea that desires and emotions are analogous to perceptions of the good.  His dissertation argues that the most defensible form of perceptual moral epistemology must attribute moral perceptions to affective states of some kind, and develops a view about the most promising way of doing so, in the face of problems about content determination, armchair knowledge, and perspective.  One early chapter of his dissertation is tentatively forthcoming in a volume on moral perception to be published by Oxford University Press.
  • Abelard Podgorski is writing a dissertation about the basic targets of rational assessment.  His dissertation argues that most of contemporary theorizing about rationality has gone astray in taking rational requirements to apply to states of agents, either synchronically, or diachronically.  He argues that rational requirements are instead best construed as applying to processes that unfold over time.  One small piece of this project is forthcoming in Mind, and other pieces further advance his core argument and show that it bears useful fruits for some of the deeply puzzling questions about rational belief.
  • Caleb Perl has broad interests in language and metaethics. His dissertation develops an elegant view that he calls deontic positivism, which promises to solve a range of interesting problems in moral epistemology by appeal to an underlying rationale in the philosophy of language.  According to deontic positivism, the basic import of deontic claims like 'you ought to phi' divide into a core semantic content, which varies from context to context, and a presupposed content, which says that the contextual parameter is the correct parameter.  One of his early papers in the philosophy of language has been published in Philosophical Studies.
  • Tanya Kostochka  is a third-year PhD student, with special interests in moral psychology and Buddhist philosophy.  We will be jointly participating in the Author-meets-Critics session on Nomy Arpaly and Timothy Schroeder's book, In Praise of Desire, at the 2016 Pacific Division APA meeting.
  • Nathan Howard is a third-year PhD student, with special interests in metaethics and moral semantics, particularly deontic modals.