Matt DeStefano / Philosopher


I am a graduate student in philosophy at the University of Arizona. I graduated from Sacramento State University with a BA in Philosophy, specializing in Logic and Philosophy of Science, and got an MA in Philosophy from the University of Missouri, St. Louis. My research interests include: philosophy of mind (especially perception, consciousness, belief, and memory) , epistemology (especially social), philosophy of religion, well-being, and ethical issues surrounding life and death.

A small subset of the questions I’m interested in: Are perceptual experiences cognitively penetrated by higher-order concepts? What can psychology tell us about peer disagreement? What are the responsibilities of the speaker and hearer of testimony? What is the role of attention in modulating perception? How are psychologists and psychiatrists measuring well-being, and how does this compare with philosophical theories? Are philosophical intuitions reliable sources of evidence for philosophical theories? Is the existence of reasonable non-belief in God an argument against God’s existence?

I currently live in Tucson, Arizona with my wife Jaclyn, my daughter Scarlett Rose and our two cats Aslan and Arya. When not thinking about philosophy, I enjoy drinking good craft beer, exercising, good company and playing way too many video games.

Curriculum Vitae


PhD in Philosophy

University of Arizona
Philosophy Coursework

  • Cognitive Phenomnology/Visual Content - Terry Horgan
  • Philosophy of Mind (Phenomenal Intentionality) - Terry Horgan
  • Bayesian Epistemology - Juan Comesaña
  • Meta-ethics - Connie Rosati
  • Epistemology - Stew Cohen
  • Philosophy of Cognitive Science - Shaun Nichols
  • Leibniz & Kant - Houston Smit
  • Philosophy of Mind - Jonathan Weinberg
  • Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence - Terry Horgan
  • Antiquity and Moral Responsibility - Rachana Kamtekar
  • Cog Sci Minor Coursework
  • Ind. Study on Predictive Coding - Mary Peterson
  • Adult Language Disorders - Pélagie Beeson
  • Introduction to Cognitive Science - Mary Peterson
  • 3 Semester Colloquium Requirement

    Master of Arts in Philosophy

    University of Missouri, Saint Louis

    • Thesis: The Nature and Reliability of Philosophical Intuitions: Berit Brogaard (Miami), Chair, Eric Wiland (UMSL), Elizabeth Schechter (WUSTL)
    • Philosophy of Mind - Berit Brogaard
    • Metaphysics - Gualtiero Piccinini
    • Proseminar – Testimony and Peer Disagreement - Eric Wiland
    • Metaethics - John Brunero
    • Philosophy of Cognitive Science - Gualtiero Piccinini
    • Epistemology - Berit Brogaard
    • Epicurus (independent study) – Jill Delston
    • Reasons and Rationality – John Brunero & Eric Wiland
    • Philosophy of Law - Jill Delston
    • Decision Theory (independent study) - Waldemar Rohloff
    • Social Epistemology (independent study) - Eric Wiland*
    • Aristotle - Jon McGinnis*

  • In Progress

    May 2014

    Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy Logic & Philosophy of Science

    Sacramento State University

    May 2012


    At University of Arizona

    Philosophy and Psychiatry Philosophy and Society

    Graduate Teaching Assistant

    Philosophy and the Individual (w/ Jonathan Weinberg)
    Mind, Matter, God (w/ Terry Horgan)

    Graduate Teaching Assistant

    University of Missouri, Saint Louis
    Assisting John Brunero's "Approaches to Ethics"

    Undergraduate Teaching Assistant

    Sacramento State University
    Assisting Christina Bellon's "The Good Life"

    Spring 2012

    Undergraduate Teaching Assistant

    Sacramento State University
    Assisting Matt McCormick's "Critical Thinking"

    Fall 2011

    Undergraduate Teaching Assistant

    Sacramento State University
    Philosophy Tutor for Sacramento State University Student Life Services Department


    Awards & Affiliations

    2013-2014 Overall Outstanding Graduate Student Award

    University of Missouri, St. Louis

    2011 Weddle Student Essay Contest Winner

    Sacramento State University

    Graduate Student Researcher

    Brogaard Lab for Multisensory Research


    UMSL Philosopher’s Forum


    Center for Neurodynamics

    Graduate Student Advisory Council Representative

    University of Missouri, Saint Louis Philosophy Department

    2011 Weddle Student Essay Contest Winner

    Sacramento State University

    Vice President

    Sacramento State University Philosophy Club

      Popular Work
    • "God Started in 1983", in Louis CK and Philosophy ed. Mark Ralkowski.
    • The Making of An Atheist: Book Review. Philosophy Now, Issue 115. Read Online
    • DeStefano, Matt (2012) “Plantinga’s Innocent Assumption: Self-Defeating Naturalism, and Churchland’s Response,” Res Cogitans: Vol. 3: Iss. 1, Article 5.
    • Read Now


    • “Alteration in the color experience of grapheme-color synesthetes in response to grapheme contrast and brightness variance”, with Rice K, Marlow K, and Brogaard B, in progress.
    • “Unconscious sound-symbolism in grapheme-color synesthesia”, with Rice K, Marlow K, and Brogaard B, in progress.


    • Comments on Chad Marxen’s “Empiricism and the Argument from Queerness” Coastal Ethics Conference online. (Video available here, Spring 2013)
    • Comments on Ryan Ausperk’s “The Primacy of the Good: The Absence of Evil in Platonic Ontology” Gateway Graduate Conference, UMSL. (Spring 2013)
    • “Why is God Hiding? In Search of Evidence for a Perfect God.” UMSL Big Question Series, hosted by the Philosophers Forum. (Poster available here, Fall 2012)
    • “Peer Disagreement: The Philosopher Problem” California State University, Sacramento. (Nov. 2012)
    • “Plantinga’s Innocent Assumption: Self-Defeating Naturalism, and Churchland’s Response”, Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference (Spring 2012)



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