I am Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Director of the Experimental Philosophy Research Group at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. The bulk of my work has been to reform philosophical debates by holding them to account for how philosophical concepts are understood and behave in natural language. While linguists, philosophers of language, and computer scientists have largely relied upon a priori analyses for studies like these, I have incorporated empirical work into my research by asking people about their views on truth or observing how truth-talk is employed in the wild, as it were.
In 2021, I was a co-PI with Jeremy Wyatt on a multi-centre research project called Truth Without Borders, which studied cross-linguistic and cross-cultural aspects of the nature of truth. Our short-term plan is to expand this project in the coming years with colleagues across Europe to include as many languages as possible; in the longer term, we would like to work with colleagues across South, America, Africa, and Asia. More information about the project may be obtained here. A consequence of that project is a special issue of Asian Journal of Philosophy co-edited by Jeremy, Masaharu Mizumoto, and I, and a monograph by Jeremy and I aptly-titled Truth for the Essential Knowledge Series with MIT Press.
A spin-off of the 2021 project which Jeremy and I undertake with Diane Proudfoot (Canterbury, NZ) in 2023 is a Centenary Grant issued by the Australasian Association of Philosophy on the nature of truth and women in Australasian Philosophy. Our project explores the study of truth in the early to mid 20C, with a special emphasis upon non-philosophers' views and the work of an underappreciated woman philosopher from Aotearoa New Zealand: Dorothy Grover. Our first collaboratively authored work is a forthcoming short entry published in the Encyclopedia of Concise Concepts By Women Philosophers.
In my 2017 book Commonsense Pluralism about Truth I showed how addressing the question, "what is truth?" has to be informed by empirical data on truth-talk and that that data recommend a pluralism about truth. In my recently completed book manuscript, Why Facts Matter, I argue for a complementary pluralistic view of facts. There, I show why philosophical theories of fact have missed an opportunity to learn from fact-talk in the wild, and, likewise, it looks like "fact-checkers", etc., have imperilled their livelihood by not taking philosophical theories of facts seriously enough.
I approach philosophical problems using a diverse range of methodological approaches. For more about what I'm currently working on and how I'm exploring these issues, check out my projects page.
The story of how I got into philosophy doesn't begin with a profound conversion that happened to me as a teenager after having read Plato, Descartes, Derrida, or Žižek but rather an explosion of sorts in my undergraduate university days. If you want to know more about why I chose to pursue philosophy, please see my "Why philosophy?" page. If you want to learn more about me, check out my brief biography.
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On peer-reviewing for book publishers and professional journals:
While I am usually very happy to review a book manuscript or journal submission, I have decided to take a break from reviewing articles or books for publication. I will not be available from 12 December 2022 to 15 August 2023.