MIT philosophy: postdoctoral fellow:
Damien Rochford
Damien Rochford photo

Hi! I'm Damien. I'm a postdoctoral fellow here at MIT Philosophy, funded by MIT's Office of Digital Learning. I help the philosophy department build edX courses.

I also do philosophy (I got my PhD from MIT at the end of 2013). My main shtick is at the intersection of epistemology and philosophy of mind. But I'm interested in lots of things.

I welcome --- nay, crave --- feedback on my work. Don't be a stranger.

Here is my CV, for interested parties.

  • Published Papers

    "Is Direct Reference Theory Incompatible With Physicalism?" (co-written with Mahrad Almotahari). Short answer: no, despite what Thomas Hofweber says.
  • Works In Progress

    "How to be Both a Quinean and a Bayesian" Many of us contemporary philosophers would like to be both Quineans and Bayesians. But that is a difficult thing to do. In this paper I explain why, and also provide a solution. It involves interpreting the Bayesian framework in a new, Quine-friendly way. A lot of distinctions that are typically understood as absolute, like the distinction between a priori and a posteriori knowledge, rational and irrational belief-update, and between irrationality and ignorance, are relative to a context, on my way of understanding the Bayesian framework. I provide some formal details concerning how this should work.

    "An Account of Apparent Possibility" Here's an important fact about agents: at a given time, certain things will seem possible to a given agent, and certain things will not. That is: for a given agent, at a given time, certain possibilities will be apparent to that agent. We'd all like an account of how that works. Such an account would be relatively easy to give, if agent were always right about what's possible. But agents are wrong about what's possible all the time. The tough cases are the merely apparent possibilities. In this paper I criticise existing account of apparent possibility, mere and otherwise, and give my own, not-bad-in-the-same-ways view.

    "The Tyranny of Truth" Here are three things that cannot all be true: 1) you can't choose what to believe 2) you can choose what kind of person to be 3) being a certain kind of person involves believing certain things. This is a philosophical puzzle, as the arguments for all three claims are quite good. It is also a philosophical problem, in the deep sense that analytic philosophers often deride: it is a pressing and fundamental problem for those of us trying to live a tolerable, decent, human life. In this paper I do what I can to ease the puzzle, and express some general despair about the problem.

  • Wi-phi

    I was co-founder, with Gaurav Vazirani, of a project we call Wi-Phi. The goal is to make philosophy widely available through the internet in a form interesting and accessible to people with no background in the subject. We have a website.

    Wi-phi is inspired by the Khan Academy .

    If you have any interest in contributing, contact me. Stay tuned for updates.

  • office phone email
    32-D835 617-258-8084

    MIT philosophy