Most of my research focuses on beliefs. I am interested in what kind of beliefs individuals hold and why they hold them. On a theoretical level, my work explores the moral psychology of non-standard beliefs, that is, beliefs that are recalcitrant and irrational (think self-deceptive beliefs, conspiratorial beliefs, anti-vaccine attitudes, and so on). On a more practical level, I am also  interested in what steps individuals can take to counteract non-standard beliefs and come to their (epistemic) senses. 

In this respect, while most of the debate on irrational phenomena focuses on the question of how we ‘backslide’, my research explores the overlooked phenomenon where agents come to abandon their irrational, albeit oftentimes comforting, beliefs for the price of a cold truth.

 

In my doctoral work I have developed an account of how individuals cease to be self-deceived. My ongoing project focuses on exploring the implications of my previous project for phenomena that involve conspiracy theories and anti-vaccine attitudes.

Current Project on Conspiracy Theories 

I advance a new argument for why conspiratorial beliefs are so tenaciously resistant to revision. In a nutshell, I argue that conspiratorial beliefs are not standard beliefs, but rather beliefs that in addition to having epistemic functions (e.g. navigating the environment) also possess the following non-epistemic functions: they allow those who hold them to be the main character of a self-serving narrative and speak to their identity in important ways, they provide purpose and meaning, they are emotionally charged, they bind people together, they modulate access to specific communities, and so on.

I suggest that what makes conspiratorial beliefs persist over time (and resist revision) is precisely their non-epistemic features which give back positive returns to individuals who hold those beliefs. This also explains why correcting conspiratorial beliefs through reiterating evidence is bound to fail: beliefs that have an affective component will not capitulate to evidence alone as this exclusively targets evidential considerations. 

 

Papers (drafts available on request)

Self-Control in Action and Belief (with Sarah Stroud), Philosophical Explorations.

Abstract: Self-control is normally, if only tacitly, viewed as an inherently practical capacity or achievement: as exercised only in the domain of action. Questioning this assumption, we wish to motivate the perhaps unexpected idea that self-control is in fact a transversal phenomenon which is applicable both to action and to belief. While there may be some differences in how self-control is manifested in the respective realms of action and belief, these differences do not undermine the basic takeaway: that agents can and do exercise self-control with respect to both actions and beliefs. These arguments target synchronic self-control, or the exercise of self-control on a discrete occasion; in the final section, we examine whether there is also a more holistic trait or stable state of a person which could aptly be considered a form of self-control.

[Paper on Self-Deception], currently revise & resubmit at Synthese.

Abstract removed to facilitate anonymous review.

[Paper on Self-Deception], under review.

Abstract removed to facilitate anonymous review.

[Paper on Adaptive Preferences], final draft ready.

Abstract: I argue that the metaethical distinction about internal and external reasons can inform questions pertaining the autonomy of individuals with adaptive preferences. The paper examines whether individuals whose preferences are adaptive qualify as autonomous according to an account of autonomy that incorporates John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza’s conception of reasons-responsiveness, in particular when internal and external reasons are considered. I show that while externalism’s verdict is that adaptive preferences are nonautonomous, internalism is instead committed to conclude that they are autonomous.