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PhD, Philosophy

I am an assistant professor in the Philosophy Department at UC Merced.
I was Mellon assistant professor of philosophy for the AY2018-2019 at Vanderbilt University.

My primary research areas are applied ethics (technology, new media, & broadly the internet) and social epistemology (normative epistemology, public discourse, epistemic agency, health of epistemic communities).

My primary teaching areas currently include ethics and technology, feminist philosophy, and epistemology.

Some recent publications include: "Can Retributivism and Risk Assessment Be Reconciled?" (2024) with T. Napoletano, "Listening for Epistemic Community" (2023), "Is There A Duty To Disclose Epistemic Risk?" (2022).

A slightly older but still relevant paper on the ethics of applied AI with Cathy O'Neil is in S. Matthew Liao's book, "The Ethics of AI". This paper proposes adopting a tool for holistic ethical evaluation to the case of AI models in particular. Preview our piece here

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Drafts and papers are available on request, please email me.

"Can Retributivism and Risk Assessment Be Reconciled?". (2024). Criminal Justice Ethics, DOI: 10.1080/0731129X.2024.2324541. Co-authored with Toby Napoletano.

"Listening for Epistemic Community". (2023). The Epistemology of Democracy. Routledge. Eds., Cassim Cassam & Hana Samaržija.

"Is There a Duty to Disclose Epistemic Risk?". (2022). Online Manipulation. Routledge, Eds. Michael Klenk & Fleur Jongepier.

“Exclusion and Epistemic Community". (2021). Revue Internationale de Philosophie; Invited Contribution for Special Issue: Post-truth.

“Filter Bubbles, Echo Chambers, and Online Communities". (2021). The Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology, Routledge; Eds. Michael Hannon and Jeroen De Ridder.

“The Internet and Epistemic Agency" (2021). Applied Epistemology, Oxford University Press; Ed. Jennifer Lackey. Co-authored with Michael P. Lynch.

How Should We Build Epistemic Community?". (2020). Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 34(4):561–581; Invited Contribution for Special Issue: Truth.

Has Googling Made Us Worse Listeners?". (2019; Online 2020). Contemporary French & Francophone Studies; Invited Contribution for Special Issue: The Google Era?/L’ére Google?

“Near-Term Artificial Intelligence and the Ethical Matrix". (2020). In Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, Oxford University Press; Ed. S. Matthew Liao. pp.235-269. Co-authored with Cathy O’Neil. Preview here.

An Intellectually Humbling Experience: Changes in interpersonal perception & cultural reasoning". (2019). Journal of Psychology and Theology; Special Issue: Cultural Humility; Co-Authors: Benjamin R. Meagher, Nathan Seff, Daryl Van Tongeren.

“Googling". (2019). In Routledge Handbook of Applied Epistemology; Ed. David Coady. Co-authored with Michael P. Lynch.

Intellectual Humility". (2017). Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy; Ed. Duncan Pritchard. NY: OUP.; Co-authors: Casey Johnson, Michael P. Lynch, Nathan Sheff.

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Some Works In Progress

Abstracts available on request, please email me.

  • A paper on why there can be no politically neutral social-epistemology of the internet.

  • A paper on epistemic intemperance and the health of epistemic community.

  • A paper developing a position on anarchist social-epistemic norms.

  • And a series of pieces developing my thoughts on the idea of cognitive authority and expertise.

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In Fall of 2023, the UC Merced Philosophy Department was born.

Until this point, I have been a faculty member of the graduate group in Cognitive and Information Sciences. This is an interdisciplinary department that includes a wide range of experts, methods, and approaches from a variety of cognitive science related disciplines, e.g., philosophy, computer science, neuroscience, linguistics, psychology. Please visit this page for further details on the interdisciplinary nature of the PhD and MA programs:

Students who are interested in possibly working with me should know that Philosophy does not presently have a PhD program. However, this does not mean I cannot work with you. Please email me to discuss options.

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Courses at University of California, Merced



Fall 2024; Spring 2024, PHIL008

Discusses the ways that attitudes about love, sex, and gender shape our lives. We
begin with covering basic tools related to argumentation, and introducing key
concepts and ideas to guide our critiques. We will then discuss a wide range of familiar and unfamiliar topics about love, sex, and gender. Topics may include monogamy and marriage, unconditional love and true love, prostitution, deception & consent, and gender stereotypes & personal identity.

Previous semesters: S23, S22, S21.



Spring 2024, PHIL123

Undergraduate Course

This class provides an introduction to the applied ethics of technology. We begin with a primer on core concepts in ethics that provides us with a toolkit for evaluating specific technologies for the rest of the course.
We will largely focus on new digital
technologies, including surveillance and big data. We will consider how new technologies intersect with our rights to privacy and autonomy. We will discuss whether or not the polarisation effects of new media warrant paternalistic interventions. We will also consider how to evaluate technologies that impact future generations genetically.

Previous Semesters: F19, F20



Fall 2022, PHIL102

What is knowledge? When do we have it? How do we know? Is knowledge valuable? In addition to answering these questions, we’ll look at whether science, religion, and morality are sources of knowledge. We will consider whether it can be immoral to have certain beliefs. We’ll hear out skeptical arguments against the very idea that we can know anything at all. While many of these topics can be abstract, this class will always have an eye towards believing in everyday life: we’ll consider conspiracy theories, cold-reading, fake news, and trying to know in the age of social media.

Previous semesters: F19, F21



Fall 2024, PHIL122

This course provides an introduction to several areas of bioethical research. Bioethics is the study of moral problems in biotechnology, environmental ethics, healthcare, and medical research. We consider a broad range of issues, including: research on humans and non-human animals; reproductive  technologies, such as surrogacy and transhumanism; life and death decision making, including euthanasia and cross cultural perspectives on euthanasia; climate change, including topics concerning global justice.

Previous Semesters: F21



Previous Semesters: F 2020

Graduate Course
The overarching aim of the course is to learn ethical theory and apply it to real world issues in technology. We will spend time over the semester learning about normative moral theories, these are theories that aim to explain how one ought to live and act. The kinds of ethical applied issues will be focusing on prejudice, marginalisation, and injustices caused by a failure to take seriously our moral responsibilities to one another. We won't spend too much time on metaethics - the study of what makes ethical claims true or justified - unless students are interested in exploring these deeper, and difficult, philosophical problems.

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A group of trained philosophers explore the philosophical dimensions of contemporary politics, and make the case for progressive politics. The Badlands is on a hiatus but please visit the backcatalog.

The Badlands is a podcast and website devoted to examining the philosophical dimensions of contemporary political issues, and exploring the philosophical foundations of modern progressivism–and doing so in a way that is useful for non-experts. We aim to contribute to the political discussion by bringing out into the open the philosophical issues that underlie our political debates–and which have been mostly ignored in popular discourse.

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H Gunn at UCMerced dot edu

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