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Faculty

E.J. CoffmanE.J. Coffman

Professor
806 McClung Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996-0480

Phone: 865-974-3255
Fax: 865-974-3509

Email: ecoffma1@utk.edu
Personal Website


My Ph.D. is from the University of Notre Dame and I joined the department in 2007

My research and teaching revolve around main issues in contemporary epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of action, and philosophy of religion.  Most of my work so far has been concerned with one or another of four interrelated topics:

  • The nature of luck, and its bearing—for better or worse (or both)—on the nature and scope of human knowledge and free, morally responsible action.
  • The epistemic requirements on free, morally responsible action ("What must you know—or at least believe, justifiedly or otherwise—to freely do things for which you deserve moral credit or criticism?").
  • Two important connected questions about the nature of knowledge: (1) Can whatever it is that "fills the gap" between mere true belief and knowledge (typically labeled warrant) be had by false beliefs as well as true ones (the warrant fallibilism/infallibilism debate)?  (2) Are the conditions for your knowing something in any way sensitive to how important it is to you that the thing in question turn out to be true (the pragmatic encroachment debate)?
  • The nature of, and relations between, epistemically permissible (proper, justified) belief and assertion; the bearing this issue has on a central debate about the semantics of knowledge-ascribing and -denying sentences (the contextualism/invariantism debate); and the bearing of that semantic issue on the nature of knowledge itself (in particular, the aforementioned pragmatic encroachment debate).

I'm also interested in the relations among knowledge, justification, and evidence (both in general, and regarding philosophical, moral, and religious beliefs in particular); the epistemological significance of disagreement; and key problems concerning what God's knowledge and action are (would be) like, and how they (would) relate to human knowledge and action.

Recent, representative publications

  • "Can Virtue Epistemology Capitalize on JTB's Appeal?" Philosophical Issues 23 (2013): 199-222
  • "Problems for Foley's Accounts of Rational Belief and Responsible Belief" (with Matt Deaton), Res Philosophica 90 (2013): 147-160
  • "Conciliationism and Uniqueness" (with Nathan Ballantyne), Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2012): 657-670
  • "Contextualism and Interest-Relative Invariantism," Continuum Companion to Epistemology, ed. Andrew Cullison (London: Continuum [2012]), 199-226
  • "Stump on the Nature of Atonement," in Science, Religion, and Metaphysics: New Essays on the Philosophy of Alvin Plantinga, eds. Kelly James Clark and Michael Rea (Oxford: Oxford University Press [2012]), 144-151
  • "Uniqueness, Evidence, and Rationality" (with Nathan Ballantyne), Philosophers' Imprint 11/18 (December 2011): 1-13
  • "Does Knowledge Secure Warrant to Assert?" Philosophical Studies 154 (2011): 285-300
  • "Two Claims about Epistemic Propriety," Synthese 181 (2011): 471-488
  • "Omniprescience and Tough Choices," Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 3 (2011): 41-54
  • "Clarke's Defense of the Contrast Argument," dialectica 65 (2011): 267-275
  • "The Fall of the Mind Argument and Some Lessons about Freedom" (with Donald Smith), in Action, Ethics and Responsibility, eds. Joseph Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, and David Shier (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press [2010]), 127-147
  • "Is Justified Belief Knowledge?: Critical Notice of Jonathan Sutton, Without Justification" Philosophical Books 51 (2010): 1-21
  • "Misleading Dispositions and the Value of Knowledge," Journal of Philosophical Research 35 (2010): 241-258
  • "How (Not) to Attack the Luck Argument," Philosophical Explorations 13 (2010): 157-166
  • "Does Luck Exclude Control?" Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (2009): 499-504
  • "Warrant without Truth?" Synthese 162 (2008): 173-194
  • "Thinking about Luck," Synthese 158 (2007): 385-398
  • "Alfred Mele's Metaphysical Freedom?" (with Ted Warfield), Philosophical Explorations 10 (2007): 185-194
  • "Three Arguments against Foundationalism: Arbitrariness, Epistemic Regress, and Existential Support" (with Daniel Howard-Snyder), Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (2006): 535-564
  • "Defending Klein on Closure and Skepticism," Synthese 151 (2006): 257-272
  • "Deliberation and Metaphysical Freedom" (with Ted Warfield), Midwest Studies in Philosophy XXIX: Free Will and Moral Responsibility (2005): 25-44
  • "On Making an Effort," Philosophical Papers 33 (2004): 11-21

Recent Representative Presentations

  • Luck: Its Nature and Significance for Human Knowledge and Agency (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan [2015]), pp. xii + 202
  •  "Strokes of Luck," Metaphilosophy 45 (2014): 477-508
    - Reprinted in The Philosophy of Luck, eds. D. Pritchard and L. Whittington (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell [2015]), 27-58
  • "Lenient Accounts of Warranted Assertability," in Epistemic Norms: New Essays on Action, Belief and Assertion, eds. Clayton Littlejohn and John Turri (Oxford: Oxford University Press [2014]), 33-58
  • "Can Virtue Epistemology Capitalize on JTB's Appeal?" Philosophical Issues 23 (2013): 199-222
  • "Problems for Foley's Accounts of Rational Belief and Responsible Belief" (with Matt Deaton), Res Philosophica 90 (2013): 147-160
  • "Conciliationism and Uniqueness" (with Nathan Ballantyne), Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (2012): 657-670
  • "Contextualism and Interest-Relative Invariantism," Continuum Companion to Epistemology, ed. Andrew Cullison (London: Continuum [2012]), 199-226
  • "Stump on the Nature of Atonement," in Science, Religion, and Metaphysics: New Essays on the Philosophy of Alvin Plantinga, eds. Kelly James Clark and Michael Rea (Oxford: Oxford University Press [2012]), 144-151
  • "Uniqueness, Evidence, and Rationality" (with Nathan Ballantyne), Philosophers' Imprint 11/18 (December 2011): 1-13
  • "Does Knowledge Secure Warrant to Assert?" Philosophical Studies 154 (2011): 285-300
  • "Two Claims about Epistemic Propriety," Synthese 181 (2011): 471-488
  • "Omniprescience and Tough Choices," Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 3 (2011): 41-54
  • "Clarke's Defense of the Contrast Argument," dialectica 65 (2011): 267-275
  • "The Fall of the Mind Argument and Some Lessons about Freedom" (with Donald Smith), in Action, Ethics and Responsibility, eds. Joseph Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, and David Shier (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press [2010]), 127-147
  • "Is Justified Belief Knowledge?: Critical Notice of Jonathan Sutton, Without Justification" Philosophical Books 51 (2010): 1-21
  • "Misleading Dispositions and the Value of Knowledge," Journal of Philosophical Research 35 (2010): 241-258
  • "How (Not) to Attack the Luck Argument," Philosophical Explorations 13 (2010): 157-166
  • "Does Luck Exclude Control?" Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (2009): 499-504
  • "Warrant without Truth?" Synthese 162 (2008): 173-194
  • "Thinking about Luck," Synthese 158 (2007): 385-398
  • "Alfred Mele's Metaphysical Freedom?" (with Ted Warfield), Philosophical Explorations 10 (2007): 185-194
  • "Three Arguments against Foundationalism: Arbitrariness, Epistemic Regress, and Existential Support" (with Daniel Howard-Snyder), Canadian Journal of Philosophy 36 (2006): 535-564
  • "Defending Klein on Closure and Skepticism," Synthese 151 (2006): 257-272
  • "Deliberation and Metaphysical Freedom" (with Ted Warfield), Midwest Studies in Philosophy XXIX: Free Will and Moral Responsibility (2005): 25-44
  • "On Making an Effort," Philosophical Papers 33 (2004): 11-21

Epistemology (both general and "applied"—e.g., moral and religious epistemology), metaphysics, philosophy of action, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, philosophy of language


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