Department of Philosophy

432 Jorgenson Hall
Ryerson University
350 Victoria Street
Toronto, Ontario

416·979·5000 x 2697
416·979·5362 (fax)
Skype: hunterda0209


I am the Editorial Board Coordinator of the
Canadian Journal of Philosophy






Cover for my Second Edition Critical Thinking




















































David A. Hunter
(PhD, MIT 1994)


My most recent CV




Fall 2016:    SSH105 Critical Thinking 
PH8106 Philosophy of Mind (Graduate Seminar)


Work in Progress

"Practical reasoning and the first person"

I argue that while practical reasoning is essentially first personal it does not require having essentially first personal thoughts. I start with an example of good practical reasoning. Because there is debate about what practical reasoning is, I discuss how different sides in those debates can accommodate my example. I then consider whether my example involves essentially first personal thoughts. It is not always clear what philosophers who claim that it must have in mind. I identify two features of essentially personal thoughts that they share with their impersonal counterparts: they have the same truth conditions and can have the same evidential base. I next argue that my example of good practical reasoning does not involve any thoughts other than the impersonal ones of the kind I identified.

"Virtuous inferences and virtuous thinkers"

Microsoft Word - Virtuous inferences and virtuous thinkers.docx

Virtue and vice terms apply to both people and their acts. We might, for instance, say of Jones that he is a generous, cruel, or kind person, but we might also say of one of his actions that it was generous, cruel or kind. This same double-usage is present in the theoretical sphere, where we might say of Smith that she is a rational, biased or hasty thinker, or instead of one of her inferences that it was rational, biased or hasty. Aristotle held that the application of these terms to people is more fundamental than their application to actions. In this paper I challenge this view, with special focus on the theoretical sphere. To illustrate and motivate my challenge I examine recent work by John Broome on the nature of active inference.

            (Please email me if you'd like to see a draft of these.)


Select Publications



A Practical Guide to Critical Thinking: Deciding What to Do and Believe, 2nd. Ed., (2014).
                        Hoboken: Wiley and Sons. Here it is at Amazon.

                    For a copy of the Instructor Manual and some PowerPoint slides, please email me.


                                                          Edited Collections

Essays on the Nature of Propositions.
Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 43.
        (2014) Co-edited with Gurpreet Rattan. Contributors: Gary Ostertag; Berit Brogaard; Peter Hanks; Ben Caplan, Chris Tillman, Brian McLean and Adam Murray; Logan Fletcher; Thomas Hodgson; Jeff Speaks; Lorraine Keller; Frederike Moltmann, Mark Richard; Ray Buchanan; Kirk Ludwig; Joshua Spencer; and Michael Nelson. 
Here it is on the CJP website.

Belief and AgencyCanadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume 35.
        Contributors : Robert Stalnaker, Pamela Hieronymi, Nishi Shah, Sergio Tenenbaum,
        David Checkland, David Hunter, Matt Boyle, Sharon Street, Jesse Steinberg and Matthias
        Haase. Here it is on Amazon. Here it is on the CJP website.


"Directives for Belief",  forthcoming in Normativity: Epistemic and Practical,

            Daniel Whiting, et. al. (eds.) Oxford: Oxford University Press,

            There are things a person ought to believe. I argue that what a person ought to believe is                 not determined by the evidence she has, but by whether she ought to act and react as if that             proposition were true. I argue that this pragmatic account of belief also provides a neat                     explanation of why a person ought to know--and so believe--what she ought to do.

"Davidson on Practical Knowledge", (2015) Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 3(9).

Davidson held that belief figures twice in action. First, he held that a person's reason for action must include a belief to the effect that acting in that way is a means to satisfying the associated desire. This belief concerns action types. Second, he held that there must be some description that the person believes is true of the action. This belief concerns the action token itself. Davidson did not always clearly distinguish these two roles for belief in a theory of action. This paper explores this interpretive puzzle.   

"Belief Ascription and Context-Dependence”, (2011). Philosophy Compass 6/12: 902–911


Guidance and Belief”, (2011) In Agency and Belief, Supplementary Volume 35, Canadian Journal of Philosophy.

This paper develops the idea that in performing an action an agent guides what he or she is doing. I argue that this idea provides the basis of a non-causal theory of action, and promises a simple explanation of the fact that agents typically know without observation what they are doing in performing an action. I claim that the dispositions needed to guide an action are the very ones involved in believing in it.


 Alienated Belief,” (2011). dialectica, 65(2), 221-240.

This paper argues that it is possible to be alienated from one’s own beliefs, just as one can be alienated from one’s desires. It concludes by suggesting that an endorsed belief is a kind of intention: to endorse a belief that P is to plan to treat the world as if it were the case that P. 


Demonstrative Belief and Dispositions,” (2009). Journal of Philosophical Research, 34, 243-262. This paper argues against David Armstrong’s view that singular beliefs are not dispositions. It also begins to develop the view that self-conscious belief is a matter of belief revision.

Belief and Self-Consciousness”. (2008). International Journal for Philosophical Studies, 16(5), 673-693.

This paper argues that the cases of radical uncertainty about who one is that John Perry and David Lewis discuss do not show the need for a special first person kind of belief. I argue that the kind of uncertainty imagined is in fact incoherent.

Contextualism, Skepticism and Objectivity”. (2009). In R. Stainton and C. Viger (Eds.)

            Compositionality, Context and Semantic Values (pp. 105-128). Springer.

Common Ground and Modal Disagreement”. (2007). In H.V. Hansen, et. al. (Eds.), Dissensus and the Search for Common Ground, CD-ROM (pp. 1-7). Windsor, ON: OSSA.

              Reprinted: (2010). Linguistic and Philosophical Investigations, 9, 134-144.

Soames and Widescopism'. (2005). Philosophical Studies, 123, 231-241.

Is Thinking an Action?” (2003). Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 2(2), , 133-148.

On Representing Content”. (2002). Protosociology: An International Journal of Interdisciplinary Research, 17, 101-118.

Knowledge and Understanding”. (2001). Mind and Language, 16(5), 542-546.

Mind-Brain Identity and the Nature of States”. (2001). Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 79(3), 366-376.

Understanding and Belief”. (1998). Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 63(3), 559-579.

Understanding, Justification and the A Priori”. (1997). Philosophical Studies, 87(2), 119-141.

Definition in Frege’s Foundations of Arithmetic”. (1996). Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 77(2),
            88-107. (This is a very old Word file that I cannot convert. PPQ seems not to have
it. Sorry.)

Critical Notices

Gabriel Segal’s A Slim Book about Narrow Content”. (2003). Nous, 37(4), 724-725.

Consciousness and Conceivability”. (2003). Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 33(2), 285-304.

          (This is a critical notice of John Perry’s Knowledge, Possibility and Consciousness, Cambridge,
    MA: MIT Press, 2001)

Book Reviews

Self-Consciousness, by Sebastian Rödl, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2007).
        (2008). Philosophical Books, 49(3), 272-274.

Rule-Following and Realism, by Gary Ebbs, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997)
           In The Philosophical Review, Vol. 108, No. 3 (Jul., 1999), pp. 425-427

© 2016 Ryerson University, by David A. Hunter 

UPDATED May 2016