Pasnau in Print (May 2022)

Links supply the full text of articles, of book reviews, and of my first book, Theories of Cognition in the Later Middle Ages. For more recent books, I supply only the introduction.



After Certainty: A History of Our Epistemic Ideals and Illusions (Oxford: OUP, 2017).

Metaphysical Themes 1274-1671 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2011). [Errata]

The Philosophy of Aquinas (Boulder: Westview Press, 2003; 2nd ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016). Coauthored with Christopher Shields.

Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature. A Philosophical Study of Summa theologiae 1a 75-89 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

Theories of Cognition in the Later Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). [Chinese translation by Hongbo Yu, Peking University Press, 2018.]


Edited and Translated Books

Thomas Aquinas, Basic Works (Hackett, 2014) (co-edited with Jeffrey Hause)

Oxford Studies in Medieval Philosophy, vols. 1-10 (Oxford University Press, 2013-2022)

The Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010; rev. paperback ed. 2014) [associate editor Christina Van Dyke].

The contributions to the hardback edition by M.W.F. Stone -- Chapter 38 on Practical Ethics and the first half of Chapter 50 on Philosophy and Theology -- are now known to have been substantially plagiarized. These chapters have been replaced in the 2014 paperback edition. The pagination remains exactly the same in the two editions. This new material from the revised edition is made freely available here with the kind permission of the authors and Cambridge University Press:

Chapter 38. "Practical Ethics," by Rudolf Schüssler
Chapter 50. "Philosophy and Theology," by Maarten J. J. M. Hoenen and Robert Wisnovsky

Cambridge Translations of Medieval Philosophical Texts. Volume III: Mind and Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 2002).

Thomas Aquinas, Treatise on Human Nature (Summa theologiae 1a 75-89) (Hackett, 2002).

Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Aristotle's De anima, translation with introduction and notes (Yale University Press, 1999).



"Bias and Interpersonal Skepticism," Nous 56 (2022) 154-75.

Recent philosophy has paid considerable attention to the way our biases are liable to encroach upon our cognitive lives, diminishing our capacity to know and unjustly denigrating the knowledge of others. The extent of the bias, and the range of domains to which it applies, has struck some (esp. Saul 2013) as so great as to license talk of a new form of skepticism. I argue that these depressing consequences are real and, in some ways, even more intractable than has previously been recognized. For the difficulties we face in this domain are fueled not only by illicit biases but by various other sorts of entrenched cognitive attitudes we bear toward others, whether or not we judge them to be our peers. Inasmuch as the epistemic standing of this broader set of attitudes is itself quite dubious, the problem of epistemic injustice turns out to be just one special case--albeit of a particularly nasty kind--from a broader domain of cases where the collaborative character of knowledge clashes with tendencies that make collaboration difficult. This makes the threat of skepticism all the greater, and at the same time makes it harder to see what path of escape there might be.

"Enthusiasm", in J. Gorden Roth and S. Weinberg (eds.), The Lockean Mind (Routledge, 2022), 554-63, coauthored with Mark Boespflug.

To be an enthusiast, for Locke, is to believe oneself, on insufficient evidence, to be the recipient of immediate divine inspiration. We describe the theological context that led Locke to insert a chapter on this subject into the fourth edition of the Essay, and then examine why Locke held enthusiasm to be particularly objectionable. Far from being an obscure historical footnote, the chapter raises foundational questions for Locke's epistemology. We look more closely than have previous treatments of this topic at the religious practices that Locke targets, and find them to be less obviously irrational than his criticisms suggest. Reflection on those criticisms allows us a clearer understanding of where Locke locates the ultimate grounds of rational belief.

"Voluntarism and the Self in Piers Plowman," in I. Nelson and J. A. Jahner, Gender, Poetry, and the Form of Thought in Later Medieval Literature: Essays in Honor of Elizabeth A. Robertson (Lehigh University Press, 2022).

I offer an overview of the later medieval voluntarist movement, and on that basis identify some of the ways in which these philosophical ideas shape the great medieval allegorical poem, Piers Plowman.

"Where Socratic Akrasia Meets the Platonic Good," Journal of the History of Philosophy 59 (2021) 1-21.

The Protagoras's case against akrasia comes in two stages. First, at 352bc, we get an extremely quick argument grounded on knowledge as an epistemic ideal. This argument does not persuade the many, and so the dialogue turns, starting at 355a, to a technical and carefully developed argument aimed that proceeds on an entirely different basis. This argument has considerable force, but only once we make certain idealizing assumptions about an agent's ability to grasp the unitary, homogeneous nature of value. Reading the dialogue in this way offers the further tantalizing possibility of showing us precisely where Socrates's thought leaves off and Plato's begins: that the dialogue takes off from the famous and historical Socratic rejection of akrasia and then attempts to ground that dictum in a novel argument, one that displays Plato's characteristic interest in the distance between surface appearances and ultimate reality.

"Qualitative Change", in J. T. Paasch and R. Cross (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Medieval Philosophy (Routledge, 2021) 194-201.

At the boundaries of metaphysics and natural philosophy lies a fascinating medieval dispute over the way qualitative change takes place. Although modern philosophy has had little to say about this issue, anyone who needs properties or dispositions to do serious explanatory work should attend to how such qualitative features of reality intensify and diminish. For now, the most sophisticated such accounts are to be found in the later Middle Ages.

"Medieval Modal Spaces," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society suppl. vol. 94 (2020) 225-54.

There is often said to be something peculiar about the history of modal theory up until the turn of the fourteenth century, when John Duns Scotus decisively reframed the issues. This impression of dramatic discontinuity is almost entirely a misimpression. Premodern philosophers prescind from the wide-open modal space of all possible worlds because they seek to adapt their modal discourse to the explanatory and linguistic demands of their context.

"Teleology in the Later Middle Ages," in J. McDonough (ed.), Teleology: A History (Oxford University Press, 2020) 90-115.

Teleological explanation is one of the legacies of antiquity that received a surprisingly muted response in the Middle Ages. Aristotle's naturalized approach to teleology met with little enthusiasm, and grave doubts arose in the later Middle Ages over whether final causes are a legitimate kind of cause at all. This was a natural reaction to the distinctive features of medieval teleology, which is that teleological causes are universal, intelligent, particular, forward-looking, intentional, and (in non-rational cases) extrinsic. When teleology is so understood, its explanatory role becomes limited to certain special cases. Indeed, the one place where reflection on ends plays a truly robust role in later medieval philosophy is in ethics. Even here, however, the consensus of antiquity -- that human beings are and ought to be ultimately motivated by their own happiness -- meets with growing resistance and eventually outright rejection.

“Belief in a Fallen World,” Res Philosophica (Special Issue on the Philosophy of Religion) 95 (2018) 531-59.

In an ideal epistemic world, our beliefs would correspond to our evidence, and our evidence would be bountiful. In the world we live in, however, if we wish to live meaningful lives, other epistemic strategies are necessary. Here I attempt to work out, systematically, the ways in which evidentialism fails us as a guide to belief. This is so preeminently for lives of a religious character, but the point applies more broadly.

“On What There Is in Aquinas,” in J. Hause (ed.), Aquinas's Summa theologiae: A Critical Guide (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018) 10-28.

Suppose we ask of Aquinas's talk of form and matter, actuality and potentiality, substance and accident: how much of this is ontology, and how much is mere ideology? The correct answer is that very little of it is ontology. But that is not to say that the rest is mere ideology, because the ideology serves to map the basic modal structure of reality.

“Therapeutic Reflections on Our Bipolar History of Perception,” Analytic Philosophy 57 (2016) 253-84.

The long history of theorizing about perception divides into two quite distinct and irreconcilable camps, one that takes sensory experience to show us external reality just as it is, and one that takes such experience to reveal our own mind. I argue that we should reject both sides of this debate, and admit that the phenomenal character of experience, as such, reveals little about the nature of the external world and even less about the mind.

“A Lewisian History of Philosophy,” in B. Loewer and J. Schaffer (eds.), A Companion to David Lewis (Oxford: Blackwell, 2015) 60-79.

Reading the history of philosophy from a Lewisian perspective.

“Disagreement and the Value of Self-Trust,” Philosophical Studies 172 (2015) 2315-2339.

Controversy over the epistemology of disagreement endures because there is an unnoticed factor at work: the intrinsic value we give to self-trust. Even if there are many instances of disagreement where, from a strictly epistemic or rational point of view, we ought to suspend belief, there are other values at work that influence our all-things-considered judgments about what we ought to believe. Hence those who would give equal-weight to both sides in many cases of disagreement may be right, from the perspective of pure rationality. But their critics are right too, in seeing something undesirable in the consequences of giving equal weight. Among epistemologists, there is a tendency to set aside trust and other such non-epistemic factors, on the grounds that these are not germane to their topic. But ultimately, the value of self-trust shows signs of encroaching on the strictly epistemic question of when our beliefs may be said to be justified. Hence again, even if the equal-weighters are right about what is rational, they may be wrong about what knowledge requires.

“Snatching Hope from the Jaws of Epistemic Defeat,” Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (2015) 257-75.

Reflection on the history of skepticism shows that philosophers have often conjoined as a single doctrine various theses that are best kept apart. Some of these theses are incredible – literally almost impossible to accept – whereas others seem quite plausible, and even verging on the platitudinous. Mixing them together, one arrives at a view – skepticism – that is as a whole indefensible. My aim is to pull these different elements apart, and to focus on one particular strand of skepticism that deserves sustained and respectful attention. The strand I have in mind I will refer to as epistemic defeatism. Roughly, in its most global form, it is the view that, in the final analysis, we have no good evidence for the truth of any proposition. Working through various historical texts, I attempt to untangle epistemic defeatism from neighboring views, and in particular to establish its independence from questions about knowledge. Having thus established the view's autonomy, I turn to the options for self-consciously accepting defeat. One may despair or one may have faith. But I will ultimately propose that the most attractive option – the option that preserves the most of our epistemic integrity – is to have hope.

“Veiled Disagreement,” Journal of Philosophy 111 (2014) 608-30.

A theory of how rationally to respond to disagreement requires a clear account of how to measure comparative reliability. Such an account faces a Generality Problem analogous to the well-known problem that besets reliabilist theories of knowledge. But whereas the problem for reliabilism has proved recalcitrant, I show that a solution in the case of disagreement is available. That solution is to measure reliability in the most fine-grained way possible, in light of all the circumstances of the present disagreement, but behind a veil that precludes taking into account which views are one's own. This resolves two of the leading obstacles to understanding what disagreement rationally requires: the objection from neglecting the evidence, and the objection from absurd disagreements. Appealing to the contractualist's veil of ignorance also sheds an interesting light on the very different ways in which disagreement gets resolved in epistemology versus political theory. The comparison raises troubling questions on both sides, because it seems doubtful that the political theorist's usual strategies are epistemically rational, and it seems doubtful that the epistemologist's usual strategies are sufficiently attuned to what we care about.

“Epistemology Idealized,” Mind 122 (2014) 987-1021.

Epistemology today centrally concerns the conceptual analysis of knowledge. Historically, however, this is a concept that philosophers have seldom been interested in analyzing, particularly when it is construed as broadly as the English language would have it. Instead, the overriding focus of epistemologists over the centuries has been, first, to describe the epistemic ideal that human beings might hope to achieve, and then go on to chart the various ways in which we ordinarily fall off from that ideal. I discuss in detail two historical manifestations of idealized epistemology – Aristotle and Descartes – and then consider how this perspective might make a difference to the discipline today. In the end, an idealized epistemology points toward a normative, prescriptive rather than descriptive enterprise.

“On Metaphysical Themes: Replies to Critics,” Philosophical Studies 171 (2014) 37-50.

From an author-meets-critics session at the 2013 Pacific APA.

“Divisions of Epistemic Labor: Some Remarks on the History of Fideism and Esotericism,” Proceedings of the British Academy 189 (2013) 83-117

Who can know? Who can merely believe on faith? Who should be kept in the dark entirely? This essay considers various episodes from the history of philosophy -- Locke, Aquinas, Averroes, Maimonides, al-Ghazali -- where one or another such division of epistemic labor has been affirmed. Written for the 2011 Dawes-Hicks Colloquium at the British Academy.

“The Latin Aristotle,” in C. Shields (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Aristotle (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) 665-89.

A guide to the fate of Aristotle's philosophy in Western Europe.

“Mind and Hylomorphism,” in J. Marenbon (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) 486-504.

An overview to medieval thinking about the mind as the form of the body.

“Philosophy of Mind and Human Nature,” in B. Davies and E. Stump (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Aquinas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) 348-68.

A survey of Aquinas's conception of the human soul.

“Scholastic Qualities, Primary and Secondary,” in L. Nolan (ed.) Primary and Secondary Qualities: The Historical and Ongoing Debate (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011) 41-61.

A summary of scholastic theories of the primary and secondary qualities, showing their views to be interesting both for the similarities and differences from seventeenth-century views. Reprints material from Metaphysical Themes chs. 21-22.

“On Existing All at Once,” in C. Tapp and E. Runggaldier (eds.) God, Eternity, and Time (Burlington: Ashgate, 2011) 11-29.

It is important to distinguish between two ways in which God might be timelessly eternal: eternality as being wholly outside of time, versus the sort of timelessness that consists in lacking temporal parts, and so existing “all at once.” A prominent but neglected historical tradition, most clearly evident in Anselm, advocates putting God in time, but in an all-at-once sort of way that makes God immune to temporal change. This is an intrinsically plausible conception of divine eternality, which also might shed some light on the modern dispute over the endurance or perdurance of material objects.

“Medieval Social Epistemology: Scientia for Mere Mortals,” Episteme 7 (2010) 23-41.

This paper was written for a special issue on the history of social epistemology. My argument is that the notion of a social epistemology can be found in later medieval thought in the attempt to construct a theory of scientia that weakens, along various dimensions, the very strict requirements of the Aristotelian framework as set out in the Posterior Analytics. The resultant accounts move away from epistemology conceived of as ideal theory, toward a conception that is relevant to ordinary folk in their everyday lives.

“Science and Certainty,” in R. Pasnau (ed.) Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010) 357-68.

An overview of medieval conceptions of knowledge, as grounded in the tradition of Aristotle's Posterior Analytics.

“Form and Matter,” in R. Pasnau (ed.) Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010) 635-46.

An overview of medieval Aristotelian hylomorphism.

“A Sotyl Thinge withouten Tonge and Teeth: Soul’s Dialogue with Body, and Literature’s Dialogue with Philosophy,” English Language Notes 47 (2009) 135-45 (with Elizabeth Robertson).

The results of a collaborative effort between two medievalists, a philosopher and a literary scholar. This paper is a contribution to a special issue on pedagogy. We discuss the experience of team-teaching an interdisciplinary class on the medieval soul.

"The Event of Color," Philosophical Studies 142 (2009) 353-69.

I argue that there is another, hitherto unnoticed way of thinking about color: that colors are not standing properties or dispositions of objects, but events that take place when a surface is illuminated by light. If physicalism about color is true at all, this is its most defensible form.

“Id Quo Cognoscimus,” in H. Lagerlund and P. Kärkkäinen (eds.) Theories of Perception in Medieval and Early Modern Thought (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008).

Aquinas holds that the mental likeness or "species" in cognition is "that by which we cognize" rather than the thing itself that is cognized. In my Theories of Cognition monograph I claimed that, surprisingly, Aquinas is committed to treating the species as in fact the object of cognition in a certain sense. Here I reaffirm that conclusion, responding to some critics along the way, by considering the ontological status of species as accidents of the soul.

“The Mind-Soul Problem,” in H. Thijssen (ed.) Mind, Perception, and Cognition (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008).

Whereas we now think of dualism as plagued principally by the difficulty of explaining the mind's union and interaction with the body (the mind-body problem), I argue that medieval versions of dualism are best seen as facing a rather different problem, that of explaining the relationship between soul and mind (the mind-soul problem). Some scholastic authors, such as Aquinas, distinguish between the soul and its powers, which helps them explain how the soul can both be the form of the body and give rise to mental phenomena. Other authors, such as Ockham, identify the soul with its powers. Each view poses problems of its own, and these issues anticipate various issues that would become central in the seventeenth century.

"Democritus on Secondary Qualities," Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 89 (2007) 99-121.

Democritus is customarily described as having drawn the distinction betwen primary and secondary qualities that would become famous in John Locke. I argue that this is not so, and that Democritus is better viewed as an anti-realist regarding all sensible qualities, primary and secondary. Just how far his anti-realism extends is a difficult question, which I attempt to address.

“Mind and Extension (Descartes, Hobbes, More),” in H. Lagerlund and O. Pluta (eds.) Forming the Mind (Dordrecht: Springer, 2007).

Descartes, Hobbes, and More form an interesting philosopher's triangle, agreeing and disagreeing in overlapping ways regarding whether the mind is extended and whether it is incorporeal. Their agreements and disagreements raise some fundamental questions regarding how to understand what demarcates the distinction between the material and immaterial realms.

“Abstract Truth in Thomas Aquinas,” in H. Lagerlund (ed.), Representation and Objects of Thought in Medieval Philosophy (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007) 33-63.

Thomas Aquinas holds that the proper objects of intellect are the natures of material objects, conceived of universally through intellectual abstraction. This paper considers two questions regarding that doctrine: first, what are these abstracted, universal objects and second, given that the world is concrete and particular, how can such abstract, universal thoughts yield true beliefs about the world?

“A Theory of Secondary Qualities,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 73 (2006) 568-91.

The secondary qualities are those qualities of objects that bear a certain relation to our sensory powers: roughly, they are those qualities that we can readily detect only through a certain distinctive phenomenal experience. Contrary to what is sometimes supposed, there is nothing about the world itself (independent of our minds) that determines the distinction between primary and secondary qualities. Instead, a theory of the secondary qualities must be grounded in facts about how we conceive of these qualities, and ultimately in facts about human perception.

“Form, Substance, and Mechanism,” Philosophical Review 113 (2004) 31-88.

The scholastic doctrine of substantial form is two-sided, at times appearing concrete and causal, and at other times abstract and metaphysical. Both sides of the theory serve to explain the special sort of unity possessed by substances, but in later medieval thought the concrete side seems ascendant. Turning to the seventeenth century, the paper first considering several gross misunderstandings of the theory, and then evaluates the extent to which substantial forms can be seen to have survived in the work of Descartes, Boyle, and Locke. Contrary to some recent suggestions, Descartes accepts virtually nothing of the doctrine. Boyle and especially Locke, however, can be read as accepting large portions of the doctrine, albeit within a mechanistic framework.

“Human Nature,” in A. S. McGrade (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2003), 208-30.

A very fast summary of medieval thought on mind, knowledge, free will, immortality, and the mind-body problem, extending from Augustine into the later Middle Ages.

“Souls and the Beginning of Life (A Reply to Haldane and Lee),” Philosophy 78 (2003) 509-19.

My monograph Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature attempts to use Aquinas's metaphysics to defend a moderate view on the ethics of abortion: that an abortion at any time during a pregnancy should be considered a grave loss, but that it should be considered murder only after roughly the middle of the second trimester. John Haldane and Patrick Lee contend that I have misunderstood the implications of Aquinas's view, and that in fact his metaphysics supports the conclusion that a human being comes into existence at the moment of conception. Here I make a brief reply.

“Cognition,” in T. Williams (ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus (Cambridge University Press, 2003), 285-311.

A summary of John Duns Scotus's theories of sensory and intellectual cognition, mental representation, intentionality, intuitive cognition, and divine illumination.

“What is Cognition? A Reply to Some Critics,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 76 (2002) 483-90.

In my Theories of Cognition monograph, I proposed understanding Aquinas's theory of cognition in terms of the possession of information about the world. This proposal has seemed problematic in various ways. It has been said to include too much, and too little, and to be the wrong sort of account altogether. Nevertheless, I continue to think of it as the most plausible interpretation of Aquinas's theory.

“Intentionality and Final Causes,” in D. Perler (ed.) Ancient and Medieval Theories of Intentionality (Brill, 2001) 301-23.

"Plotting Augustine's Confessions," Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 3 (2000) 77-106.

A guide to teaching the Confessions in the setting of an introductory philosophy class. Rejected by Teaching Philosophy on the grounds that it did not talk about teaching philosophy.

"Sensible Qualities: The Case of Sound," Journal of the History of Philosophy 38 (2000) 27-40.

Medieval theories of perception rest on the sensible qualities that are the objects of perception. In the Aristotelian tradition, the different kinds of perception and the different sensory modalities are defined in terms of these objects. One of the most interesting cases is that of sound, for two reasons. First, the medievals (unlike us) standardly took sound to be an irreducible quality. But since it was obvious that sound is tightly linked with motion, questions arose over whether sound might in the end just be a certain kind of motion and, therefore, not a sensible quality at all. Second, the medievals (like us) standardly supposed that sounds are located in the surrounding medium. But this raised difficulties for their wider theory of perception, leading to questions of whether sounds should instead be located at their point of origin.

"Divine Illumination" in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (orig. vers. November 2, 1999).

"Peter John Olivi" in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (orig. vers. November 2, 1999).

"What is Sound?" Philosophical Quarterly 49 (1999) 309-24.

Our standard view about sound is incoherent. On one hand we suppose that sound is a quality not of the object that makes the sound, but of the surrounding medium. This is the supposition of our ordinary language, modern science, and a long philosophical tradition. On the other hand, we suppose that sound is the object of hearing. This, too, is the assumption of ordinary language, modern science, and a long philosophical tradition. Yet these two assumptions cannot both be right--not unless we wish to concede that hearing is illusory and that we do not listen to the objects that make sounds. To avoid these consequences we must recognize and repair the inconsistencies contained in our standard view of what sound is. I offer an account that ascribes sound as a quality belonging not to the medium, but to the object that makes the sound.

"Olivi on Human Freedom," in Pierre De Jean Olivi (1248-1298) (Paris: Vrin, 1999) 15-25.

"Aquinas and the Content Fallacy," Modern Schoolman 75 (1998) 293-314.

The content fallacy is my name for the mistake in reasoning that comes from conflating two kinds of facts: facts about the content of our thoughts, and facts about what shape or form our thoughts take in our mind. This mistake appears throughout Thomas Aquinas's philosophical work, in many different contexts: it shapes his account of agent intellect; it grounds his insistence that intellect has no direct apprehension of singular material objects; it provides a principal argument for the human soul's immateriality and incorruptibility. {Addendum of December 2008: When I published this paper, I expected there to be someone out there who could show me how to defend Aquinas against this seemingly devastating objection. It was when I realized there was no one out there who could do this that my philosophical adolescence was over.}

"Aquinas on Thought's Linguistic Nature," Monist 80 (1997) 558-75.

Thomas Aquinas gives us many reasons to think that conceptual thought is linguistic in nature. But how exactly should we understand the apparent connection between thought and language? This paper focuses on two respects in which thought is language-like, each of which finds some support in Aquinas's work. One is the claim that the content of our thought is in some way linguistic. The second is the claim that thoughts are structurally linguistic, that there is a language of thought. Although Aquinas defends this latter claim, he does not go as far as William Ockham later would.

"Olivi on the Metaphysics of Soul," Medieval Philosophy and Theology 6 (1997) 109-32.

"Petri Iohannis Olivi Tractatus de verbo," in Essays in Honor of Fr. Gedeon Gál (St. Bonaventure, NY: Franciscan Institute Press, 1997). [Franciscan Studies 53 (1993) 121-53].

An edition of the beginning of Olivi's commentary on the Gospel of John, where he discusses at length his theory of the mental word (verbum). In an extended introduction to the text, I analyze the philosophical significance of Olivi's account for the philosophy of mind.

"Who Needs an Answer to Skepticism?" American Philosophical Quarterly 33 (1996) 421-32.

"William Heytesbury on Knowledge: Epistemology Without Necessary and Sufficient Conditions," History of Philosophy Quarterly 12 (1995) 347-66.

Sometime around 1335 William Heytesbury proposed the following account of what he called knowledge in the ordinary sense: "to know is nothing other than unhesitatingly to apprehend the truth -- i.e., to believe unhesitatingly that it is so when it is so in reality." Despite the ease with which counterexamples to this proposal can be formulated, Heytesbury's proposal deserves our attention. Its apparent inadequacy stems from the mistaken presupposition that this must be a criterion of knowledge. Once we set aside that interpretive bias, we can see this proposal as an interesting attempt to characterize ordinary empirical knowledge as distinct from demonstrative scientia.

"Henry of Ghent and the Twilight of Divine Illumination," Review of Metaphysics 49 (1995) 49-75.

Henry of Ghent, in the opening questions of his Summa , makes the last sustained medieval attempt to save Augustine's theory of divine illumination. His efforts are particularly interesting, because he tries to make room for divine illumination while embracing much of Aristotle's theory of cognition, in particular agent intellect's role in abstraction. In order to incorporate divine illumination within a generally Aristotelian framework, Henry develops a distinctive and philosophically interesting argument: he argues that the human mind, on its own, is unable to grasp the real natures of things, even as they occur in the natural world.

"Justified Until Proven Guilty: William Alston's New Epistemology," Philosophical Studies 72 (1993) 1-33.

In "Perceiving God" William Alston argues that we cannot show that our most basic beliefs are justified. Our only option, he says, is to suppose that they are justified and act accordingly. Here I argue that Alston is not entitled to this last, comforting, solution. If our epistemic situation is as Alston claims, then we have no reason, pragmatic or otherwise, to suppose that we ever have knowledge.


Reviews and Brief Articles

Review of Therese Cory, Aquinas on Human Self-Knowledge , in Mind 124 (2015) 623-26.

Review of Thomas M. Ward, John Duns Scotus on Parts, Wholes, and Hylomorphism , in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2015).

Review of Nicole Oresme, Questiones super Physicam , in Journal of the History of Philosophy 52 (2014) 610-11 (co-authored with Tyler Huismann).

Review of Wallace Matson, Grand Theories and Everyday Beliefs in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2012) (co-authored with Joseph Stenberg).

“Response to Arlig and Symington” [symposium on Metaphysical Themes at the 2012 Kalamazoo Medieval Congress], in G. Klima and A. W. Hall (eds.) Metaphysical Themes, Medieval and Modern (Proceedings of the Society for Medieval Logic and Metaphysics, vol. 11) (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 2014), 57-72.

“The Islamic Scholar Who Gave Us Modern Philosophy,” Humanities (Nov/Dec 2011) 34-37, 51.

Review of John Cottingham and Peter Hacker (eds.), Mind, Method, and Morality: Essays in Honour of Anthony Kenny, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010.

Review of Eleonore Stump, Aquinas, in Mind 114 (2005) 203-6.

Review of John Inglis, On Aquinas, for Philosophical Books, but seemingly never published.

Review of Thomas Aquinas, On Evil (translations by R. Regan and J.A. & J.T. Oesterle) in Review of Metaphysics (forthcoming).

Review of Dennis Des Chene, Life’s Form: Late Aristotelian Conceptions of the Soul, in The Philosophical Review 111 (2002) 308-10.

Review of Anthony Kenny, Aquinas on Being , in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2003).

“William Crathorn,” in J. Gracia and T. Noone (eds.) The Blackwell Companion to Medieval Philosophy (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003).

Review of Stephen J. Pope, The Ethics of Aquinas, in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (2003).

Review of Richard Cross, The Physics of Duns Scotus: The Scientific Context of a Theological Vision, in Speculum 77 (2002) 1268-70.

Review of Armand Maurer, The Philosophy of William of Ockham in the Light of Its Principles in Journal of the History of Philosophy 38 (2000) 590-91.

Review of John Finnis, Aquinas: Moral, Political, and Legal Theory in Faith and Philosophy 17 (2000) 407-13.

The Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1998). Articles on Peter Aureol, William Crathorn, Robert Holcot, and Peter John Olivi.

Review of Jerome Gellman, Experience of God and the Rationality of Theistic Belief in The Philosophical Review 107 (1998) 624-26.

Review of Thomas Nagel, Other Minds: Critical Essays 1969- 1994 in Review of Metaphysics 50 (1997) 166-68.

Review of Simon Kemp, Cognitive Psychology in the Middle Ages in Isis 88 (1997) 703-4.

Review of Roderick Chisholm, A Realistic Theory of Categories: An Essay on Ontology in Review of Metaphysics 666-67.

Review of John Wippel, Mediaeval Reactions to the Encounter Between Faith and Reason in The Review of Metaphysics 50 (1997) 179-80.

Review of Francisco Suarez, On Efficient Causality. Metaphysical Disputations 17, 18, and 19 (translated by Alfred Freddoso) in The Philosophical Review 105 (1996) 533-35.

Review of Robert Fogelin, Pyrrhonian Reflections on Knowledge and Justification in The Review of Metaphysics 49 (1996) 653-54.

Review of Stephen Everson, Language (Companions to Ancient Thought 3) in The Review of Metaphysics 49 (1996) 650- 51.

Review of Robert Audi, Action, Intention, and Reason in The Review of Metaphysics 49 (1995) 398-400.

Review of Anthony Kenny's Aquinas on Mind in The Philosophical Review 103 (1994) 745-48.

Review of Richard Dales's Medieval Discussions of the Eternity of the World in Speculum (July 1992) 654-656 (co-authored with Norman Kretzmann).