Eric Funkhouser


Contact Information

Title: Professor

Phone: (479) 575-7441

308 MAIN
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR  72701

Office Hours, Fall 2017:

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The Logical Structure of Kinds

  Philosophical Quarterly
  Australasian Journal of Phil

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PhilPapers Page

UofA Philosophy Department

About Me

I am a Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Arkansas. My main areas of research are in the philosophy of psychology/mind and metaphysics. I also serve as the Director of Graduate Studies for the Philosophy Department.

I have published a book—The Logical Structure of Kinds (Oxford, 2014)—in which I develop and defend a theory of properties and kinds, with special applications to debates over multiple realizability and reduction in the philosophy of mind. I like the theory that I advanced in that book, but I was pretty brief when it came to drawing out all the consequences and applying it to particular cases. Somewhat relatedly, I have recently written a paper criticizing the Lewisian conception of naturalness.

Most of my current research is more in philosophy of psychology and mind. I am currently working on two new and interrelated books. The first is tentatively entitled The Signaling Mind: Belief as Social Manipulation. In this book I argue that many beliefs serve a signaling functionmuch like animal signals used to manipulate other animalsthat explains various cognitive biases and pro-social beliefs. My paper "Beliefs as Signals" introduces this view. This book builds off of the other, in particular the claim that belief need not be rationally sensitive to evidence and reality. I also apply the theory to self-deception. The signaling function I advance generalizes to other mental states and attitudes (e.g., desire and emotions).

The second new book is tentatively entitled Nonrational Belief: A Theory of Belief as Robust Dispositions. This book is about the fundamental nature of belief. I argue, against a common philosophical view, that belief is not, by its very essence, rationally sensitive to evidence and reality. Instead, belief consists simply in possessing a set of robust dispositions. This set includes dispositions to reason in certain ways, but it also includes dispositions toward behavior, emotions, physiological responses, and perception. Because it downplays the role of rationality and takes belief to be continuous with the imagination and similar psychological states, I describe my view as neo-Humean. Related to both of these book projects, I am also working on papers on self-deception and imagination.

In all of my work, but especially in my book projects, I tend to favor the development of positive views and theories as opposed to sustained critical engagement with the nuances of a large literature. I am willing to sacrifice a bit of scholarship for the sake of creativity, breadth, and advancement.

I also am the Co-PI on a Templeton funded project on the philosophy and psychology of self-control.
Further Information


Recent Publications

"Reply to Doody" (with David Barrett)
Philosophical Psychology (2017)

"Beliefs as Signals: A New Function for Belief," Philosophical Psychology (2017)

"Is Self-Deception an Effective Non-Cooperative Strategy?"
Biology and Philosophy (2016)

"Robust, Unconscious Self-Deception: Strategic and Flexible"
(with David Barrett)
Philosophical Psychology
2016, Vol. 29:5