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Education
PhD, Philosophy, Duke University                                                                Expected graduation: Spring 2016
Areas of Specialization:    Epistemology, Ethical Theory, Applied Ethics
Areas of Competence:      Political Philosophy, Logic

Certificate in College Teaching, Duke University                                       
Expected graduation: Spring 2016 
Completed both philosophy-specific and general courses on college teaching: learned about effective teaching strategies, syllabus and materials design, how to develop and apply grading criteria appropriately, and how to utilize instructional technology. Also participated in a teaching observation and review process with peers, and created an online teaching portfolio.

B.A., Triple Major in Philosophy, Mathematics, and English, Vanderbilt University                                 2008
Graduated Magna Cum Laude

Dissertation
Title:                                 Emotional Seemings & Epistemic Justification
Chair:                                Gopal Sreenivasan
Committee Members:         Jennifer Hawkins, Ram Neta, & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong 

Abstract: The issue of whether seemings can justify beliefs has been the subject of many recent debates in epistemology. In the literature on seemings, philosophers often suggest that seemings can be sorted into different categories. For instance, Michael Huemer distinguishes between perceptual, memory-based, and intellectual seemings, and other species of seemings that philosophers have recognized include introspective, ethical, and emotional seemings. Some philosophers have suggested, not only that there are differences between species of seemings, but also that there are epistemically significant differences between species of seemings. For instance, some philosophers argue that not all species of seemings are equally capable of justifying beliefs. One view that has been especially popular is dogmatism about perception, according to which, if it perceptually seems to S that p, then—in the absence of counterevidence—S is justified in believing that p. In my dissertation, I investigate the connection between emotional seemings and justified belief. More specifically, I attempt to answer the following questions: When the way that things seem to us is significantly influenced by our emotions, are we justified in believing that things are, in fact, the way that they seem—at least assuming that we lack counterevidence? If emotional seemings are capable of justifying beliefs, under what conditions do they confer justification (for instance, does it depend on the content of the belief in question, the context, etc.)?

Honors, Fellowships, & Service
Graduate Fellow, Kenan Institute for Ethics                                                                                   2010 – 2011
Met weekly with an interdisciplinary group of faculty members, other graduate fellows, & visiting speakers— all with research interests in the area of ethics—to present and discuss our work.

Research Assistant to Allen Buchanan                                                                                             2011 – 2012
Performed wide range of research tasks. Provided feedback on works in progress, sought out factual information, summarized journal articles, and collected resources.

Judge, National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference                                                                              2011
Judged undergraduate debates about various controversies and case studies in medical ethics. Evaluated arguments for soundness of reasoning, focus on and sensitivity to ethically relevant factors, and thoughtfulness of deliberation.

Graduate Student Representative to the Faculty                                                                           2011 – 2012
Selected to represent the philosophy graduate students at faculty meetings.

Teaching Experience
Primary Instructor
Introduction to Ethics                                                                                                      Fall 2012, Spring 2013
Logic                                                                                                                                                     Fall 2013
Introduction to Philosophy                                                                                                              Spring 2014

Teaching Assistant – Graduate Courses
Clinical Research Ethics                                                                                                                   Spring 2012

Teaching Assistant – Undergraduate Courses
Knowledge and Certainty                                                                                                                 Spring 2012
Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology                                                                                   Fall 2011
Introduction to Ethics                                                                                                                          Fall 2011
Medical Ethics                                                                                                                                  Spring 2011
Human Rights                                                                                                                                       Fall 2010

Dissertation Chapter Summaries
Chapter 1: Objections to my view 
In Chapter 1, I identify what I consider to be the most threatening objections to the claim that emotional seemings can justify beliefs. These objections come from two major sources. One source is the recent philosophical literature on phenomenal conservatism and dogmatism about perception. Phenomenal conservatism is the view that, if it seems to S that p, then—in the absence of defeaters—S is justified in believing that p. Dogmatism about perception is the view that, if it perceptually seems to S that p, then—in the absence of defeaters—S is justified in believing that p. The literature on phenomenal conservatism raises objections to the claim that emotional seemings can justify beliefs which apply in virtue of the fact that emotional seemings are seemings. The literature on dogmatism about perception raises objections to this claim which apply in virtue of the fact that emotional seemings have something in common with perceptual seemings. The second major source of objections is the recent philosophical literature on affective epistemology. One might think that, while some kinds of seemings can justify beliefs, emotional seemings cannot. It might be the case that emotional seemings face a unique set of problems—problems that do not pertain to other kinds of seemings. Affective epistemologists argue that some affective state can play a role in helping us obtain beliefs with some positive epistemic characteristic, and most have identified emotions as being the affective state that is of epistemological significance. Thus, critics of affective epistemology raise concerns about the ability of emotional seemings to justify beliefs which arise due to the fact that emotional seemings are emotional. 

Chapter 2: 
What are seemings? 
Whether or not emotional seemings are capable of justifying beliefs depends on what exactly seemings are. Many philosophers have recently devoted attention to elucidating the nature of seemings—identifying what exactly seemings are, and how seemings as a group differ from other kinds of things, such as beliefs or desires. The prominent views cab be roughly classified into four types: (1) special attitude views, (2) special content views, (3) extra phenomenal character views, and (4) inclination views. In the second chapter of my dissertation, I describe each of these kinds of views and then present and defend my own view.

Chapter 3: 
What distinguishes species of seemings? What is an emotional seeming? 
In the recent work on seemings, philosophers often suggest that seemings can be sorted into different categories. For instance, Michael Huemer distinguishes between perceptual, memory-based, and intellectual seemings, and other species of seemings that philosophers have recognized include introspective, ethical, and emotional seemings. Although they frequently identify different categories of seemings, philosophers have not spent a great deal of time explaining the basis upon which they draw the distinctions that they do. In fact, I am not aware of any serious attempt to articulate the nature of the differences between various species. Instead, philosophers usually offer examples of the species that they acknowledge and expect that their audience will appreciate their taxonomy. However, gaining a deeper understanding of how the various species differ from one another would be valuable for a number of reasons, and in the third chapter of my dissertation, I attempt to identify distinguishing characteristics of each kind of seeming and explain why this is an important endeavor.

Chapter 4
: Replies to objections
Equipped with a clear picture of what constitutes an emotional seeming, in the fourth chapter of my dissertation, I consider whether the major objections discussed in Chapter 1 can be surmounted.