Richard Fumerton

F. Wendell Miller Professor

Professor Fumerton is the author of Metaphysical and Epistemological Problems of Perception (1985), Reason and Morality: A Defense of the Egocentric Perspective (1990), Metaepistemology and Skepticism (1995), Realism and the Correspondence Theory of Truth (2002), Epistemology (2006), Mill (with Wendy Donner, 2009), Knowledge, Thought and the Case for Dualism (2013), and A Consequentialist Defense of Libertarianism (at press). He is the co-editor (with Diane Jeske) of Philosophy Through Film (2009) and Readings in Political Philosophy (2012). His present teaching and research interests include epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and value theory.

Office hours

Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon

Honors and awards

  • F. Wendell Miller Professorship, 2003
  • Regents Award for Faculty Excellence, 1997
  • Collegiate Teaching Award, University of Iowa, 1996
  • M. L. Huitt Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1994, University of Iowa
  • Canada Council Fellow, 1973-74
  • Woodrow Wilson Fellow, 1971-72


  •  Knowledge, Thought and the Case for Dualism. Camridge University Press, 2013
  • An Introduction to Political Philosophy: Theory and Applications, co-edited with Diane Jeske. Under contract with Broadview Press.
  • Philosophy Through Film, co-edited with Diane Jeske. Blackwell Publishing, 2009.
  • The Philosophy of John Stuart Mill, with Wendy Donner (Mill’s Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology), Blackwell Publishing, 2009, 212 pages.
  • Epistemology. Oxford and Cambridge: Blackwell, 2006 (A Chinese translation 1909), 145 pages.
  • Realism and The Correspondence Theory of Truth. Boston: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002
  • Metaepistemology and Skepticism. Boston: Rowman and Littlefield, 1996, 234 pages.
  • Reason and Morality: A Defense of the Egocentric Perspective. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press, 1990, 247 pages.
  • Metaphysical and Epistemological Problems of Perception. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1985, 211 pages.


  • "Moore and the Metaphysics of Causation." Essays in Honor of Michael Moore. Oxford University Press. Forthcoming.
  • Posiivism and the Limits of Thought." Discipline Filosopfiche. 2014.
  • "Mill's Epistemology." In Blackwell Companion to Mill, ed. Christopher Macleod. Blackwell, forthcoming.
  • "Infiniism." In Ad Infinium: New Essays on Epistemological Infinitism, eds. Turri and Klein, Oxford University Press, 75-86, at press.
  • "The New Atheism and its Critics." In Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Volume 37, September, 2013, 97-108.
  • "How Does Perception Justify Belief." in Epistemology: Current Controversies, ed. Ram Neta. Routledge. 2013, at press
  •  “Siegel on the Epistemic Impact of ‘Checkered’ Experience,” Philosophical Studies, Vol 162, Feb. 2013, 733-39. “Properties over Substance,” for Millikan and her Critics, eds. Williford, Ryer and Kingsley, Blackwell, 2013, 123-34.
  • "Partnership in Truthmaking," Topoi, October, 2010, Vol. 29, No.2, 91-98..
  • "Egoism" for International Encyclopedia of Ethics, ed. LaFollette, February, 2013.
  • “The Right and the Wrong Ways to Think about Right and Wrong.” With Diane Jeske. In Readings in Political Philosohy: Theory and Applications, Broadview Press, 2012, 311-21.
  • "Skepticism and Justification," Chapter 8, Continuum Companion to Epistemology, Continuum Press, 2012, 141-
  • "Alethic Pluralism and the Correspondence Theory of Truth." In Truth and Pluralism: The Current Debate, eds. Wright and Pedersen. Oxford University Press, 2013, 197-2013.
  • “An Ontologically Liberating Skepticism,” Logos and Episteme, March, 2011.
  • “Fencing out Pragmatic Encroachment,” Philosophical Perspectives 24, 2010, 243-53.“Reflective Knowledge and Intellectual Assurance,” International Journal for the Study of Skepticism, Vol. 1, Issue 2, 2011, 113-123.
  • “Evidentialism and Truth,” for Evidentialism and its Discontents, ed. Trent Dougherty, Oxford University Press, 2010
  • “Skepticism and Epistemic Externalism,” Routledge Companion to Epistemology,eds. Prichard and Benecker, December, 2010.
  • “You Can’t Trust a Philosopher.” In The Epistemology of Disagreement. Eds. Ted Warfield and Richard Feldman. Oxford University Press, 2010, 91-111
  • “Self-Profile” for Blackwell’s Companion to Epistemology, 2nd Edition, ed. Matthias Steup, 2010.
  • “Mackie, Speckles, and Classical Foundationalism,”Philosophy and Phenomneological Research, LXXIX, No. 1, July. 2009, 207-11.
  • “Poston on Similarity and Acquaintance,” Philosophical Studies, 2010.
  • “Luminous Enough for a Cognitive Home,” Philosophical Studies, Vol. 142, January, 2009, 67-76.
  • “Skepticism.” In Routledge Companion to Philosophy and Film. Eds. Paisley Livingston and Carl Plantinga. Routledge, 2008.
  •  “Epistemology: Five Questions (Fumerton), eds. Vincent Hendricks and Duncan Pritchard, 2008, 105-16.
  • “The Problem of the Criterion” for Oxford Handbook on Skepticism, ed. John Grecco, Oxford University Press, 2008, 34-52.
  • “Price on Hume on Our Idea of the External World,” Soochow Journal of Philosophy, 2007, 1-16.
  • “Precis of Epistemology,” Soochow Journal of Philosophy, 2007
  • “Render Unto Philosophy that which is Philosophy’s.” Midwest Studies in Philosophy, XXXI, 2007, 56-67.
  • “Open Questions and the Nature of Philosophical Analysis.” In Themes from G. E. Moore. Eds. Susana Nuccetelli and Gary Seay. Oxford University Press, 2007, 227-43.
  •  “What and About What is Internalism?” Internalism and Externalism in Semantics and Epistemology. Ed. Sandford Goldberg. Oxford University Press, 2007, 35-50.
  • “Practicing Magic,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 74, 3, May, 2007.
  • “Epistemic Conservatism: Theft or Honest Toil?,” Oxford Studies in Epistemology, Vol. 2, 2007, 64-87.
  • “Direct Realism, Introspection, and Cognitive Science,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. LXXIII, No. 3, November, 2006, 680-95.
  • “The Epistemic Role of Testimony: Internalist and Externalist Perspectives” for Testimony. Eds. Jennifer Lackey and Ernest Sosa. Oxford University Press: 2006, 77-92.
  • “Epistemic Internalism, Philosophical Assurance, and the Skeptical Predicament.” In Knowledge and Reality: Essays in Honor of Alvin Plantinga, eds. Thomas M. Crisp, Matthew Davidson, and David Vander Laan. Kluwer, 2006.
  • “Solipsism” in Encyclopedia of Philosophy, MacMillan Press, 2005
  • “Speckled Hens and Objects of Acquaintance,” Philosophical Perspectives 19, 2005, 121-39.
  • “Butchvarov on Knowledge,” in The Thought of Panayot Butchvarov, Mellen Press, 2005, 137-52.
  • “The Challenge of Refuting Skepticism.” In Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, eds. Matthias Steup and Ernest Sosa, 85-97. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005.
  • “Epistemic Probability,” Philosophical Issues, Vol. 14, 2004, 149-64.
  • “Knowledge by Acquaintance vs. Knowledge by Description.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (electronic version), 2004 entry (
  • “Inferential Internalism and the Presuppositions of Skeptical Argument,”
  • The Externalist Challenge, ed. RichardSchantz. De Gruyter: 2004.
  • “Achieving Epistemic Ascent,” in Sosa and his Critics, Blackwell, 2004, 72-85.
  • “Moore, Causation, Counterfactuals, and Responsibility.” San Diego Law Review, 1181, 2003, 1273-81
  • “Audi on Rationality: Background Beliefs, Arational Enjoyment, and the Rationality of Altruism.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, July, 2003, 188-93.
  • “Introspection and Internalism” New Essays on Semantic Externalism, and Self-Knowledge, ed. Susana Nuccetelli. MIT Press, 2003, 257-76.
  • “Empiricism,” an entry in the Encylopaedia Britannica, 2003.
  • “Classical Foundationalism,” Revised and Expanded, Encyclopedia of Philosophy. McMillan, 2003.
  • "Theories of Justification" in The Oxford Handbook of Epistemology. Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • “Exemplarizing and Self-Presenting States,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, March, 2002, 431-36.
  • "A History of Early Analytic Epistemology" in Analytic Philosophy: Classical Readings, ed. by Steven Hales. Wadsworth, 2002. 157-66.
  • “A Case Study: The Monsanto Decision,” with Diane Jeske, Teaching Ethics, Vol. 2, No. 1, Fall, 2001, 107-110.               
  • “Causation and the Law: Preemption, Lawful Sufficiency, and Causal Sufficiency,” with Ken Kress, Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 64, No. 4, 101-22, 2001.
  • "Brewer, Direct Realism, and Acquaintance with Acquaintance”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, September, 2001, 417-22.
  • “Plantinga, Warrant, and Christian Belief,” Philosophia Christi, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2001, 341-352.
  • "Mill's Epistemology and Metaphysics" in The Modern Philosophers: From Descartes to Nietzche. Blackwell, 2001, 355-369.
  • "Epistemic Justification and Normativity," in Knowledge, Truth, and Duty: Essays on Epistemic Justification, Responsibility and Virtue, ed. Matthias Steup. Oxford University Press, 2001, 49-61, reprinted in Arguing About Knowledge, eds. Pritchard and Neta (forthrcoming). 
  • "Classical Foundationalism" and "Response," in Resurrecting Old-Fashioned Foundationalism, ed. Michael DePaul, Rowman and Littlefield , 2001, 3 - 20 and 69 - 78.
  • “Externalism and Skepticism,” in Epistemology, eds. Sosa and Kim. Blackwell, 2000, 401-12 (excerpted from Metaepistemology and Skepticism).
  • "Williamson on Knowing One's Evidence," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Volume LX, No.3, May, 2000, 629-35.
  • "Foundationalist Theories of Epistemic Justification," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (electronic version), 1999 entry (revised and updated, 2005) (
  • "Wittgenstein, L'intensionalita e la Filosophia delle Scienze Sociali" ("Wittgenstein, Intentionality and Philosophy of the Social Sciences"), Studi Perugini, Volume 7, 1999, 37-52.
  • "A Priori Philosophy after an A Posteriori Turn," in Midwest Studies in Philosophy, XXIII, 1999, 21-33.
  • "Relational, Nonrelational, and Mixed Theories of Experience." Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy. Philosophy Documentation Centre, 1999.
  • "A Reply to my Critics," A precis and response to three papers discussing my book Metaepistemology and Skepticism, in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, December, 1998, 905-7 and 927-38.
  • "Externalism and Epistemological Direct Realism," The Monist, Vol. 81, No. 3, 1998, 393-406.
  • "Phenomenalism," in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1998.
  • "Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description," in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1998.
  • "Relatives and Relativism," with Diane Jeske, Philosophical Studies 87, 1997, 143-57; reprinted in Pojman's third edition of Ethical Theory (Wadsworth: 1998).
  • "Classical Foundationalism," in Encyclopedia of Philosophy--Supplement. McMillan, 1996.
  • "Plato's Utopia and the Tyranny of Reason," in Utopian Visions of Work and Community, ed. by Semel and Wilcox. Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, Univ. of Iowa, 1996, 3-10.
  • "Phenomenalism," in Blackwell Companion to Metaphysics, ed. by Sosa and Kim. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995, 385-90.
  • "A. J. Ayer," in Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, ed. by Audi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 58.
  • "Phenomenalism," in Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, ed. by Audi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 576-78.
  • "Protocol Statements," in Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, ed. by Audi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 661.
  • "Logical Positivism," in Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, ed. by Audi (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995) 445-47.
  • "Sosa's Epistemology" in Truth and Rationality, ed. by Villaneueva. Atascadero, Ca: Ridgeview, 1994, 15-27.
  • "Skepticism and Naturalistic Epistemologoy," Midwest Studies, Volume, XIX, 1994, 321-40.
  • "The Incoherence of Coherence Theories," in Journal of Philosophical Research, Volume XIX, 1994, 89-102.
  • "Skepticism and Reasoning to the Best Explanation" in Philosophical Topics, ed. by Enrique Villanueva, 1992.
  • "A Critique of Coherentism," in The Theory of Knowledge: Classical and Contemporary Readings, First and Second editions, ed. Louis P. Pojman, 1992 and 1999.                                                                            
  • "Argument to the Best Explanation," in Blackwell Companion to Epistemology, ed. by Dancy and Sosa (Blackwell, 1992), 207-209.
  • "The Argument from Illusion," in Blackwell Companion to Epistemology, ed. by Dancy and Sosa (Blackwell, 1992) 23-27.
  • "Phenomenalism," in Blackwell Companion to Epistemology,
  • ed. by Dancy and Sosa (Oxford and Cambridge, Ma:
  • Blackwell, 1992), 338-42.
  • "Humeanizing Kant's Aesthetics," in The Iowa Review, Vol. 21, 2, 1991, 60-65.
  • "Metaepistemology and Skepticism," in Doubting: Contemporary Perspectives on Skepticism (Franklin and Marshall: 1990), eds. Glenn Ross and Michael Roth, 57-69.
  • "Rationality, Act Consequentialism, and Group Action," Midwest Studies in Philosophy, XV, 1990, 296-311.
  • "Russelling Causal Theories of Reference," in Rereading Russell, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989, 108-18.
  • "Foundationalism, Conceptual Regress, and Reliabilism," Analysis, October, 1988, 178-84.
  • "The Internalism/Externalism Controversy," in Philosophical Perspectives, Vol 2, 1988, 443-59, reprinted in The International Research Library of Philosophy and in Readings in Epistemology, ed. by Jack S. Crumley II (Mayfield Publishing Co.: 1999) 404-12, and in Knowledge and Inquiry, ed. K. Brad Wray (Broadview Pres: 2002) 152-67.
  • "Nozick's Epistemology" in The Possibility of Knowledge: Nozick and His Critics, ed. by Steven Luper-Foy. Totawa: Rowman & Allanheld, 1986, 163-81.
  • "Essential Properties and De Re Necessity," Midwest Studies in Philosophy, XI, 1986, 281-94.
  • "Davidson's Theism?" with R. Foley, Philosophical Studies, No. 48, 1985, 83-89.
  • "A Reply to Schmitt," with R. Foley, Mind, 93, 1984, 108-110.
  • "Old Analyses of the Physical World and New Philosophies of Language," Midwest Studies in Philosophy, VIII, 1983, 507-523.
  • "The Paradox of Analysis," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 43, 1983, 477-497.
  • "Epistemic Indolence," with R. Foley, Mind, 91, 1982, 38-56.
  • "Induction and Reasoning to the Best Explanation," Philosophy of Science, December, 1980, 589-600.
  • "Reasons and Value Judgments," The Journal of Value Inquiry, January, 1980, 1976,259-273.
  • "Inferential Justification and Empiricism," The Journal of Philosophy, October, 1976, 557-569, reprinted in Epistemology (Routledge, 2002), ed. Michael Huemer..
  • "Chandler on the Contingently Possible," Analysis, October, 1976, 39-46.
  • "Subjunctive Conditionals," Philosophy of Science, December, 1976, 523-538.

Work in progress 

  • An Introduction to Political Philosophy: Theory and Applications, co-edited with Diane Jeske. Under contract with Broadview Press.
  • “Properties over Substance.” For Millikan and Her Critics. Eds. Willliford, Ryer, and Kinsgley.
  • “Pluralism and the Correspondence Theory of Truth” and "Can one Make Sense of Relative Truth” For Pluralist Theories of Truth, ed. Cory Wright. Oxford University Press.
  • “Truthmakers” and “Egoism” for Ethics Encyclopedia
  • Chapter on Skepticism, for Continuum Press, Companion to Epistemology
  • Mind and Matter (tentative title), book manuscript.

Dissertations directed

  • Brett Coppenger. Untitled. In progress.
  • Ian MacMillan. Epistemic Circularity. In progress.
  • Travis Dickinson. Direct Awareness of Fit as the Solution to all Sellarsian Dilemmas. In progress.
  • Patrick Monaghan. Property Possession as Identity. 2010 Co-directed with Evan Fales.
  • John DePoe. The Knowledge Argument for Dualism. 2010.
  • Tom Javoroski. Space Time Gaps and the Persistence of Objects Through Time. 2009.
  • Anthony Bryson. Epistemology and the Role of Intuition. 2009.
  • George Wrisley. Conceptual Relativity and Realism. 200.7
  • Ken Hobson, Direct Realism. 2007.
  • Eli Trautwein. Neuroscience and New Skepticisms. 2006.
  • Jennifer Wilson. In progress. A Naturalistic Rethinking of the A Priori/A Posteriori Distinction. 2006.
  • Mike Mulnix. Mill’s Liberty Principle and the Conditions of Happiness.2005.
  • Annemarie Peil. Hume's Account of Causation and its Applications. Co-directed with Phillip Cummins. 2005.
  • Ernani Magalhaes. When are Universals? The Relationship Between Universals and Time. 2004.
  • Thomas Sandberg. Thomas Reid’s Providentialist Epistemology. Co-directed with Phillip Cummins. 2004
  • Bernard Jackson. An Empirical and Theoretical Investigation Concerning the Moral Improvement of the Legal System. 2003.
  • Shari Prior. The Concept of Knowledge. 1996.
  • Brian Hutchinson. Moore's Ethics. 1995.
  • Michelle Rotert. Thought Experiments and Philosophical Analysis. 1992.
  • Grant Sterling. Objectivism and Rational Action. 1990.
  • Tim Shiell. The Concept of Distributive Justice. 1988 (co-director).
  • Mark Koehn. The Linguistic Limitation. 1987.
  • William Heald. The Concept of Pleasure and the Thesis of Hedonism. 1985.
  • Gary Weaver. Reasons, Actions, and Explanations. 1980 (co-director)
  • John Ahrens. The Concept of Harm and The Libertarian State. 1978.

Committees and service

  • Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service, University of Iowa (2016)
  • UI Presidential Address (2016)
  • Undergraduate Studies Committee, UI Philosophy
  • Advisory Board, UI Ethics and Public Policy major
  • co-chair, UI CLAS Decanal Review Committee
  • Committee on the Selection of Central Academic Officials (2015-present) 
  • Member Committee on Rules and Bylaws, Chair (2014-present)
  • T.I.E.R. Sounding Board, Member (2014-present)
  • APA Central Division, Officer, Vice President (2014 & 2015)
  • Presidential Advisory Committee, Member (2013-15)
  • Past President of Faculty Senate (2013-2014 and 2014-15)
  • President of Faculty Senate (2012-13)
  • Vice President of Faculty Senate (2011-12)

Richard Fumerton Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Research areas
  • Epistemology
  • Ethics and social/political
  • 20th century analytic history of philosophy
  • Metaphysics
  • Philosophy of law
  • Philosophy of mind
Portrait of Richard Fumerton
PhD, Brown University
Contact Information

University of Iowa
262 English-Philosophy Building (EPB)
251 W. Iowa Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States