Published Work:

"How to Explain How-Possibly," Philosophers' Imprint 20 (13):1-23 (2020)

Explaining how something is possible is a familiar and epistemically important achievement in both science and ordinary life. But a satisfactory general account of how-possibly explanation has not yet been given. A crucial desideratum for a successful account is that it must differentiate a demonstration that something is possible from an explanation of how it is possible. In this paper, I offer an account of how-possibly explanation that fully captures this distinction. I motivate my account using two cases, one from ordinary life and one from ornithology. On my account, a how-possibly explanation is a greater achievement than a mere description of how a state of affairs might possibly obtain. In addition to being a potential explanation of why some state of affairs actually obtains, a how-possibly explanation must involve the relief of an imaginative frustration on the part of its recipient. When a recipient’s imaginative frustration is relieved, she does not just know that the state of affairs in question is possible, but is also able to imagine how it could possibly obtain.

"The Curious Case of Uncurious Creation." Inquiry  (2023)

This paper seeks to answer the question: Can contemporary forms of artificial intelligence be creative? To answer this question, I consider three conditions that are commonly taken to be necessary for creativity. These are novelty, value, and agency. I argue that while contemporary AI models may have a claim to novelty and value, they cannot satisfy the kind of agency condition required for creativity. From this discussion, a new condition for creativity emerges. Creativity requires curiosity, a motivation to pursue epistemic goods. I argue that contemporary AI models do not satisfy this new condition. Because they lack both agency and curiosity, it is a mistake to attribute the same sort of creativity to AI that we prize in humans. Finally, I consider the question of whether these AI models stand to make human creativity in the arts and sciences obsolete, despite not being creative themselves. I argue, optimistically, that this is unlikely. 

"What is Creativity?", The Philosophical Quarterly (forthcoming) 

I argue for an account of creativity that unifies creative achievements in the arts, sciences, and other domains and identifies its characteristic value. This account draws upon case studies of creative work in both the arts and sciences to identify creativity as a kind of successful exploration. I argue that if creativity is properly understood in this way, then it is fundamentally a property of processes, something only agents can achieve, something that comes in degrees, subjectively novel, and non-formulaic. As I develop the account, I show how it avoids challenges faced by other accounts of creativity, especially concerning creativity’s value. Hills and Bird (2018, 2019) have together argued that creativity is not necessarily valuable. My account challenges this view. If I am right that creativity is a kind of successful exploration, then creativity does have a characteristic value, specifically epistemic value.

I currently have several papers under review, so I have removed their abstracts from this website. You can see their titles listed on my CV. Please feel free to e-mail me for drafts.