Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Lisa Warenski




knowledge, application, philosophy, reason


I explore three different philosophical issues in three separate papers, which taken together, constitute my portfolio. The first paper, “Examining fallibilism and holism with regard to a priori justification,” focuses on how a priori justification is to be understood, and how a priori claims coexist with a posteriori claims in our complete body of knowledge. After considering multiple accounts of a priori knowledge, I argue for a weakly holistic account of confirmation that allows for a priori knowledge as tempered by fallibilist apriorism. The second paper, “Reflections on a reflective agent: a response to David Velleman,” looks at intentional action and the reasons for which people act. I focus my discussion on David Velleman’s account of acting for a reason because it uniquely yet appropriately recognizes an active role for the acting agent. While Velleman is right to acknowledge an active role for the agent, I argue that his depiction of the agent is overly reflective. This weakness is illuminated when his account is applied to unreflective actions, as Velleman’s requirements for reflection preclude a successful application. My third paper, “Unreflective action: exploring the potential of operative mindedness,” focuses on John McDowell’s account of unreflective action, and considers how it stands up against Hubert Dreyfus’ objections: namely, Dreyfus’ objection to McDowell’s “mindedness.” I argue that while McDowell's account requires further clarification regarding how mindedness should be understood, the concept of operative mindedness has the potential for allowing the intentionality of unreflective action to be understood as acting for a reason.