•  16
    Right, wrong, and rule-consequentialism
    In Henry West, Julia Henry Henry & Devin Henry (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to Mill's Utilitarianism, Blackwell. pp. 233-248. 2006.
  •  99
    Brink, Kagan, Utilitarianism and Self-Sacrifice
    Utilitas 3 (2): 263. 1991.
    Act-utilitarianism claims that one is required to do nothing less than what makes the largest contribution to overall utility. Critics of this moral theory commonly charge that it is unreasonably demanding. Shelly Kagan and David Brink, however, have recently defended act-utilitarianism against this charge. Kagan argues that act-utilitarianism is right, and its critics wrong, about how demanding morality is. In contrast, Brink argues that, once we have the correct objective account of welfare an…Read more
  •  101
    When is Impartiality Morally Appropriate?
    In Brian Feltham & John Cottingham (eds.), Partiality and Impartiality: Morality, Special Relationships, and the Wider World, Oxford University Press. pp. 26-41. 2010.
    With respect to morality, the term ‘impartiality’ is used to refer to quite different things. My paper will focus on three: 1. Impartial application of good (first-order) moral rules 2. Impartial benevolence as the direct guide to decisions about what to do 3. Impartial assessment of (first-order) moral rules What are the relations among these three? Suppose there was just one good (first-order) moral rule, namely, that one should choose whatever one thinks will maximize aggregate good. If there…Read more
  •  112
    What are appropriate criteria for assessing a theory of morality? In Ideal Code, Real World, Brad Hooker begins by answering this question, and then argues for a rule-consequentialist theory. According to rule-consequentialism, acts should be assessed morally in terms of impartially justified rules, and rules are impartially justified if and only if the expected overall value of their general internalization is at least as great as for any alternative rules. In the course of developing his rule-…Read more
  •  12
    Review of Nicholas Rescher, Fairness: Theory and Practice of Distributive Justice (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2003 (8). 2003.
  •  23
    US and them
    The Philosophers' Magazine 18 50-51. 2002.
  •  150
    Rule-consequentialism has been accused of either collapsing into act-consequentialism or being internally inconsistent. I have tried to develop a form of rule-consequentialism without these flaws. In this June's issue of Utilitas, Robert Card argued that I have failed. Here I assess his arguments
  •  19
    Compromising with Convention
    American Philosophical Quarterly 31 (4). 1994.
  •  74
    Procedural and substantive practical rationality
    with Bart Steumer
    In Piers Rawling & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Rationality, Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 57--74. 2003.
    This chapter surveys the debate between philosophers who claim that all practical rationality is procedural and philosophers who claim that some practical rationality is substantive.
  •  84
    Moral particularism and the real world
    In Mark Norris Lance, Matjaž Potrč & Vojko Strahovnik (eds.), Challenging Moral Particularism, Routledge. pp. 12--30. 2007.
    The term ‘moral particularism’ has been used to refer to different doctrines. The main body of this paper begins by identifying the most important doctrines associated with the term, at least as the term is used by Jonathan Dancy, on whose work I will focus. I then discuss whether holism in the theory of reasons supports moral particularism, and I call into question the thesis that particular judgements have epistemological priority over general principles. Dancy’s recent book Ethics without Pri…Read more
  •  95
    Sidgwick and Common–Sense Morality
    Utilitas 12 (3): 347. 2000.
    This paper begins by celebrating Sidgwick's Methods of Ethics. It then discusses Sidgwick's moral epistemology and in particular the coherentist element introduced by his argument from common-sense morality to utilitarianism. The paper moves on to a discussion of how common-sense morality seems more appealing if its principles are formulated as picking out pro tanto considerations rather than all-things-considered demands. Thefinal section of the paper considers the question of which version of …Read more
  •  37
    Just deserts?
    The Philosophers' Magazine 39 20-25. 2007.
  •  250
    The demandingness objection
    In T. Chappell (ed.), The Problem of Moral Demandingness, Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 148-162. 2009.
    This paper’s first section invokes a relevant meta-ethical principle about what a moral theory needs in order to be plausible and superior to its rivals. In subsequent sections, I try to pinpoint exactly what the demandingness objection has been taken to be. I try to explain how the demandingness objection developed in reaction to impartial act-consequentialism’s requirement of beneficence toward strangers. In zeroing in on the demandingness objection, I distinguish it from other, more or less c…Read more
  •  205
    A critical account arguing that Williams did not succeed in undermining the possibility of external reasons. Hooker takes Williams’s conception of reason to be instrumentalistic in a problematic way.
  •  30
    Griffin on Human Rights
    Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 30 (1): 193-205. 2010.
    This review article considers James Griffin's book On Human Rights, which is an immensely important contribution to moral and political thought. The review article starts by explaining why Griffin thinks that the term ‘human right’ suffers from an unacceptable indeterminateness of sense, and then summarizes Griffin's objections to various prominent accounts of human rights. An outline of Griffin's own account of human rights follows. His theory grounds human rights in ‘personhood’ and practicali…Read more
  •  51
    Rule-Consequentialism, Incoherence, Fairness
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95. 1995.
  •  871
    Mind 99 (393): 67-77. 1990.
    The theory of morality we can call full rule - consequentialism selects rules solely in terms of the goodness of their consequences and then claims that these rules determine which kinds of acts are morally wrong. George Berkeley was arguably the first rule -consequentialist. He wrote, “In framing the general laws of nature, it is granted we must be entirely guided by the public good of mankind, but not in the ordinary moral actions of our lives. … The rule is framed with respect to the good of …Read more
  •  2
    The good and the godless (review)
    The Philosophers' Magazine 26 57-57. 2004.
  •  36
    Comments: Dancy on How Reasons Are Related to Oughts
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 41 (Supplement): 114-120. 2003.
  •  41
    Parfit's arguments for the present-aim theory
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 70 (1). 1992.
    This paper has been about the question of what there is most reason to doin situations in which either there are no moral considerations to be takeninto account or the moral considerations to be taken into account are equally balanced. I have assessed all Parfit's arguments for concluding that the Present-aim Theory is right and the Self-interest Theory wrong aboutthis question. In § III, I showed how Parfit's argument from personal identity leads not to the abandonment of the Self-interest Theo…Read more
  •  54
    Mark Overvold’s Contribution to Philosophy
    Journal of Philosophical Research 16 333-344. 1991.
    The prevailing theory of self-interest (personal utility or individual welfare) holds that one’s Iife goes well to the extent that one’s desires are fulfilled. In a couple of seminal papers, Overvold raised a devastating objection to this theory---namely that the theory (added to commonsensical beliefs about the nature of action) makes self-sacrifice logically impossible. He then proposed an appealing revision of the prevailing theory, one which provided adequate logical space for self-sacrifice…Read more