Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature pursues a naturalistic project of providing an “anatomy” of the human mind alongside the development of a series of skeptical arguments. Implicit in Hume's philosophy is a distinction between epistemological skepticism and conceptual skepticism.  The former aims to show that some class of beliefs lacks epistemic warrant. By contrast, the latter aims to show that a class of beliefs is unintelligible, incomprehensible, or contentless. My dissertation, Ideas and Intelligibility: Hume's Conceptual Skepticism, is a study of Hume's conceptual skepticism in the Treatise. It is orthodoxy among commentators that conceptual skepticism is of peripheral concern to Hume, its importance dwarfed by that of his naturalistic ambitions and epistemological skepticism. I show that this underestimates the scope, force, and sophistication of Hume's conceptual skepticism. Attention to conceptual skepticism allows us to resolve longstanding interpretive problems and sheds new light on the epistemology of the Treatise

Early Modern Philosophy of Mind

My dissertation research on Hume’s philosophy is an instance of my broader interest in early modern theories of perception and cognition. My published papers in this area are "Locke, Simplicity, and Extension" (in which I argue for an interpretation of Locke's distinction between simple and complex ideas) and "Leibniz and the Molyneux Problem" (in which I give a new account of Leibniz's response to a prominent thought experiment about perception). I have in progress and planned projects on Leibniz's views on the metaphysics and epistemology of sensory experience, Locke's theory of mental content and representation, and Berkeley's philosophical psychology of spatial perception.