I am an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy at San Francisco State University . I work primarily on the history of Modern philosophy, especially Hume and Kant, and also have interests in German Idealism and the work of Wilfrid Sellars.
I am the very happy father of Madeline and Violet who were born in November 2012, not to mention husband of Margo, who was born in June some years before that.
When I am not doing philosophy, I can be found following the latest advances in baseball analytics, playing video games, volunteering to help build and renovate houses, or enjoying the beauty of the San Francisco Bay Area. I have also earned the rank of Life Master from the American Contract Bridge League.
CV here (pdf).
In Kant's Inferentialism: The Case Against Hume (Routledge: 2015, paperback 2017), I present a systematic interpretation of Kant’s replacement of Hume’s theory of mental representation with an account of concepts as inferential rules. I recast Kant’s understanding of human experience as an essentially normative enterprise aimed at producing a representation of a world of causally-governed material objects.
Hume's Science of Human Nature
In Hume's Science of Human Nature: Scientifc Realism, Reason, and Substantial Explanation (Routledge: 2017, forthcoming) I investigate the philosophical commitments underlying Hume's methodology in pursuing the science of human nature. I there argue that Hume understands scientific explanation as aiming at explaining the inductively-established universal regularites discovered in experience via an appeal to the nature of the substance underlying manifest phenomena.
Other Research Interests
My research also extends to the work of historical figures other than Hume and Kant such as Descartes, Berkeley, and Hegel, as well as that of more recent philosophers, most notably Sellars and his philosophical heirs.
My complete CV is here (pdf).
This course will take the form of a close reading of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit qua a treatise on the philosophy of mind the core thesis of which is that mental representation is an essentially social phenomenon. We will begin with an examination of Kant’s account of mental representation and the shortcomings that Hegel finds in it. We will then examine the opening four chapters of Hegel’s Phenomenology, which is where Hegel addresses just these shortcomings. Finally, we will follow Hegel through his answer to the question that occupies the remainder of that work: what kind of community is adequate for instituting social-conceptual norms?
Philosophy and Film
This course will address the question of the relation of philosophy to film, and more specifically the purpose and effectivenesss of expressing philosophical theses in non-written forms. Written texts will include Plato's Republic, Descartes' Meditations, Perry's Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality, and selected readings on free will.
Seminar on Philosophical Writing, Late Modern Philosophy, Philosophy of Human Nature, Hegel, Kant, Hume, Kant and Sellars
Modern Philosophy, Metaphysics, Philosophy and Film, Hume and Kant, Being and Knowing, Introduction to Philosophy
Participants can view course materials on iLearn
Hume's Science of Human Nature: Scientifc Realism, Reason, and Substantial Explanation New York: Routledge, forthcoming
Kant's Inferentialism: The Case Against Hume New York: Routledge, 2015. (Paperback 2017)
Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
Is Hume an Inductivist?Hume Studies, 41, 2 (November 2015): 231-61
Recent Scholarship on Hume's Theory of Mental RepresentationEuropean Journal of Philosophy, forthcoming
A Puzzle about Hume's Theory of General Representation (final draft) Journal of the History Philosophy, 54, 2 (April 2016): 257-82.
A Rebuttal to a Classic Objection to Kant's Argument in the First Analogy History of Philosophy Quarterly, 31, 4 (October 2014): 331-345.
What Incongruent Counterparts Show European Journal of Philosophy, 21, 4 (December 2013): 507-524.
Hume's Theory of Mental Representation Hume Studies, 38, 1 (April 2012): 23-54.
Descartes' Compositional Theory of Mental RepresentationPacific Philosophical Quarterly, 92, 1 (June 2011): 214-231.
Sellars on Hume and Kant on Representing Complexes European Journal of Philosophy, 17, 2 (August 2009): 224-246.
Inferentialism and the Transcendental Deduction Kantian Review, 14, 1 (March 2009): 1-30.
Hegel's Account of Rule-Following Inquiry, 51, 3 (October 2008): 169-192.
A (Sellarsian) Critique of Hume's Theory of Concepts Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 88, 4 (December 2007): 445-457.
Hume's Impression-Idea Distinction Hume Studies, 32, 1 (April 2006): 119-139.
Sellars and Hume Sellars and the History of Philosophy, Eds. Antonio Nunziante and Luca Corti, forthcoming
Scientific Realism without Rigid Designation. Kant e-Prints, forthcoming
Reply to Gomes and Jankowiak Critique, virtualcritique.wordpress.com
Qualities and Simple Ideas: Hume and his Debt to Berkeley. (with Alan Nelson) Primary and Secondary Qualities: The Historical and Ongoing Debate. Ed. Lawrence Nolan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011: 216-238.
The Premise That Even Hume Must Accept. Self, Language, and World: Problems from Kant, Sellars, and Rosenberg. Eds. Jim O’Shea and Eric Rubenstein. Atascadero, CA: Ridgeview Publishing Co., 2010: 28-46.
Book Reviews and Discussions
Robert Hanna, Cognition, Content, and the A Priori. Critique, virtualcritique.wordpress.com
Robert Hanna, Cognition, Content, and the A Priori. Kantian Review, 21, 2 (July 2016)
Sally Sedgwick, Hegel's Critique of Kant: From Dichotomy to Identity. Kantian Review, 18, 1 (March 2013): 157-162.
James R. O'Shea Kant's Critique of Pure Reason: An Introduction and Interpretation. Notre Dame Philosophical Review, 2012.07.04.