Most of my research focuses on beliefs. I am interested in what kind of beliefs individuals hold and why they hold them. More specifically, I am interested in the moral psychology of non-standard beliefs, in particular those that are recalcitrant and irrational, and the kind of obligations agents have, if any, to revise their non-standard beliefs and come to their (epistemic) senses. 

While most of the debate on irrational phenomena (e.g. wishful thinking, akrasia, self-deception) has been focusing on the question of how we ‘backslide’, my work focuses on the overlooked phenomenon where agents abandon their irrational, albeit oftentimes comforting, beliefs for the price of a cold truth.

 

In my doctoral work I have examined the phenomenon of self-deception and developed an account of how individuals cease to be self-deceived. My ongoing project focuses on conspiracy theories and advances a new argument for why they are so tenaciously resistant to revision.

 

Papers (drafts available on request)

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

Abstract: In this paper we advance a transversal account of self-control that applies both to the domain of action and to the domain of belief.

[Paper on Self-Deception], under review.

Abstract removed to facilitate blind review.

[Paper on Self-Deception], under review.

Abstract removed to facilitate blind 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.

Project on Conspiracy Theories 

This ongoing project focuses on conspiratorial beliefs, and it advances a new argument for why they are so tenaciously resistant to revision. In a nutshell, I argue that conspiratorial beliefs (including anti-vaccine attitudes) are not standard, bland beliefs, but rather they are what I call loaded beliefs. That is, they are 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 loaded beliefs locked, in the sense of being resistant to revision, is precisely their non-epistemic features which give back positive returns to those individuals who hold those loaded beliefs. Because loaded beliefs have an affective component, evidence alone is often unsuccessful when it comes to revision as it exclusively targets evidential considerations. And this raises challenges that pertain to the role that loaded beliefs play in relation to technology and society. In particular, issues that I am tackling in my work are whether, and how, responsible technology has been for spreading loaded beliefs, and whether it has contributed to making these beliefs so immune to revision.