about me




I'm a graduate student at University of Southern California, earning my PhD in Philosophy under the supervision of Mark Schroeder and Robin Jeshion.


My dissertation explores the concepts of doxastic courage and cowardice – that is, how forming (or omitting to form) beliefs can be a kind of moral virtue or vice – and their relationship to doxastic anxiety and political conflict. It is a project in epistemology, social and political philosophy, virtue theory, and the ethics of belief. But whereas most recent work on the ethics of belief focuses on the wrongs of positive belief, my virtue-theoretic approach highlights how lack of belief can wrong. Contrary to many moral and political exhortations to practice epistemic humility, there is such a thing as being too open-minded. 

Aside from my dissertation, I have projects in philosophy language, metaethics, and aesthetics. I am particularly interested in how social and evaluative language, especially figurative language works – semantically, pragmatically politically.  In this vein, I also work on the semantics of slurs and their relationship to other derogatory and nonderogatory evaluative expressions, as well as aesthetic terms.

jennifnh at usc dot edu

 upcoming  talks



Comments on Bianca Takaoka's "The Social Value of Insults"

2021 Eastern Meeting, American Philosophical Association



Comments on Gözde Yildirim's "Rough Heroes Revisited"

2021 Central Meeting, American Philosophical Association



Comments on Teresa Bruno-Niño's "The Limits of the Pragmatic Account of Moral Categoricity"

2021 Pacific Meeting, American Philosophical Association

(rescheduled due to COVID19)



Are Women "Free and Equal" in Rawls's Well-Ordered Society?

2020 Vancouver Summer Philosophy Conference (VSPC), postponed by COVID-19 until TBA 2021

recent talks

Comments on Tarasenko-Struc's "Objectification and Domination"

2019 Bay Area Feminism & Philosophy Workshop (BayFAP), University of San Francisco, CA

Not-At-Issue: The Normative “Flavor” of Instrumental Necessities 
Apr. 2019. The American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division, Vancouver, BC

Comments on Dan Zeman’s “Self-Identificatory Uses of Slurs & Their Semantics"

Feb. 2019. The American Philosophical Association, Central Division, Denver, CO

The Good, the Sad, and the Ugly: A Challenge for Aesthetic Expressivism? 

Nov. 2018. Southern California Student Conference in Aesthetics (SCSCA), U. of San Diego

Not-At-Issue: The Normative “Flavor” of Instrumental Necessities 
Nov. 2018. Austin Graduate Ethics and Normativity Talks (AGENT) U. of Texas, Austin.

Are Women ‘Free and Equal’ in Rawls’s Well-Ordered Society?
Sept. 2018. MANCEPT Workshop, Theories of Public Reason, U. of Manchester, UK

Busting the Ghost of Neutral Counterparts

Sept. 2018. The German Society for Analytic Philosophy (GAP.10), U. of Cologne, Germany.

Sept. 2018. Cognitive Structures 2018, Heinrich Heine University, Dusseldorf, Germany.

with my partner and colleague, Daniel Pallies, at SCSCA 2018

Jennifer Foster
Last Updated: January 2021