•  76
    Morality and the good life
    The Philosophers' Magazine 53 (53): 91-95. 2011.
    Being moral sometimes handicaps decent people in their pursuit of worthwhile goals. This is especially likely to happen when those with power in society have badly mistaken ideas about what morality requires. A good person might not last long in a bad society
  •  75
    The Golden Rule
    Think 4 (10): 25-29. 2005.
    Should you always do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Brad Hooker investigates a seemingly plausible-looking moral principle: the Golden Rule
  •  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.
  •  73
    Egoism, partiality, and impartiality
    In Roger Crisp (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Ethics, Oxford University Press. pp. 710-728. 2013.
    This chapter discusses psychological egoism, ethical egoism, rational egoism, partiality, and impartiality. Partiality involves assigning more importance to the welfare or will of some individuals or groups than to the welfare or will of others. Egoism is an extreme form of partiality in that it gives overriding importance to the welfare of just one individual. While there are different kinds of impartiality, the kind that juxtaposes with egoism and partiality is impartiality towards the welfare…Read more
  •  71
    This essay explores the reasons for thinking that Scanlon's contractualist principle serves merely as a ?spare wheel?, an element that spins along nicely but bears no real weight, because it presupposes too much of what it should be explaning. The ambitions and scope of Scanlon's contractualism are discussed, as is Scanlon's thesis that contracualism will assess candidate moral principles individually rather than as sets. The final third of the paper critizes Scanlon's account of fairness and hi…Read more
  •  70
    Review: Welfare and Rational Care (review)
    Mind 114 (454): 409-413. 2005.
  •  69
    Promises and rule consequentialism
    In Hanoch Sheinman (ed.), Promises and Agreements, Oxford University Press. pp. 235-252. 2011.
    The duty to keep promises has many aspects associated with deontological moral theories. The duty to keep promises is non-welfarist, in that the obligation to keep a promise need not be conditional on there being a net benefit from keeping the promise—indeed need not be conditional on there being at least someone who would benefit from its being kept. The duty to keep promises is more closely connected to autonomy than directly to welfare: agents have moral powers to give themselves certain obli…Read more
  •  65
    Rule-consequentialism and obligations toward the needy
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 79 (1). 1998.
    Most of us believe morality requires us to help the desperately needy. But most of us also believe morality doesn't require us to make enormous sacrifices in order to help people who have no special connection with us. Such self-sacrifice is of course praiseworthy, but it isn't morally mandatory. Rule-consequentialism might seem to offer a plausible grounding for such beliefs. Tim Mulgan has recently argued in _Analysis and _Pacific Philosophical Quarterly that rule-consequentialism cannot do so…Read more
  •  61
    Wrongness, evolutionary debunking, public rules
    Etica and Politica / Ethics and Politics 18 133-148. 2016.
    Katarzyna de Lazari-Radek and Peter Singer’s wonderful book, The Point of View of the Universe: Sidgwick and Contemporary Ethics, contains a wealth of intriguing arguments and compelling ideas. The present paper focuses on areas of continuing dispute. The paper first attacks LazariRadek’s and Singer’s evolutionary debunking arguments against both egoism and parts of common-sense morality. The paper then addresses their discussion of the role of rules in utilitarianism. De Lazari-Radek and Singer…Read more
  •  57
    Reply to Stratton-lake
    Mind 106 (424): 759-760. 1997.
  •  56
  •  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
  •  54
    Parfit's final arguments in normative ethics
    In J. McMahan, T. Campbell, J. Goodrich & K. Ramakrishnan (eds.), Essays in honour of Derek Parfit: normative ethics and personal identity, Oxford University Press. pp. 207-226. 2021.
    This paper starts by juxtaposing the normative ethics in the final part of Parfit's final book, On What Matters, vol. 3, with the normative ethics in his earlier books, Reasons and Persons and On What Matters, vol. 1. The paper then addresses three questions. The first is, where does the reflective-equilibrium methodology that Parfit endorsed in the first volume of On What Matters lead? The second is, is the Act-involving Act Consequentialism that Parfit considers in the final volume of On What …Read more
  •  51
    Rule-Consequentialism, Incoherence, Fairness
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95. 1995.
  •  50
    Reply to Arneson and McIntyre
    Philosophical Issues 15 (1). 2005.
    Richard Arneson and Alison McIntyre have done me a great honor by reading my book Ideal Code, Real World so carefully.1 In addition, they have done me a great kindness by reading it sympathetically. Nevertheless, they each find the book ultimately unconvincing, though in very different ways. But the cause of their dissatisfaction with the book is not mistaken interpretation. They have interpreted the book accurately, and they have advanced penetrating criticisms of it. One group of their critici…Read more
  •  46
    What makes a judgement a moral judgement
    Journal of Political Theory and Philosophy 1 (1): 97-112. 2017.
    What distinguishes moral judgements from judgements of other kinds? In addressing this question, this paper tries to remain as neutral as possible about which moral judgments are correct. The paper addresses objections to thinking that the defining feature of moral judgements is their other-regarding grounds, or their social function, or their motivational force, or their connection to reactive attitudes such as guilt, indignation, and resentment. The proposal this paper makes is that a judgment…Read more
  •  46
    Scanlon versus Moore on goodness
    with Philip Stratton-Lake
    In Terry Horgan & Mark Timmons (eds.), Metaethics After Moore, Oxford University Press. pp. 149. 2006.
  •  44
    Richard B. Brandt
    Utilitas 10 (3): 374. 1998.
  •  42
    Sacrificing for the Good of Strangers—Repeatedly (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (1): 177. 1999.
  •  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
  •  37
    Just deserts?
    The Philosophers' Magazine 39 20-25. 2007.
  •  36
    Epistemic Virtues Versus Ethical Values in the Financial Services Sector
    with Emma Borg
    Journal of Business Ethics 155 (1): 17-27. 2019.
    In his important recent book, Ethics and the Global Financial Crisis: Why Incompetence is Worse than Greed, Boudewijn de Bruin argues that a key element of the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 was a failure of epistemic virtue. To improve matters, then, de Bruin argues we need to focus on the acquisition and exercise of epistemic virtues, rather than to focus on a more ethical culture for banking per se. Whilst this is an interesting suggestion and it is indeed very plausible that an increas…Read more
  •  36
    Comments: Dancy on How Reasons Are Related to Oughts
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 41 (Supplement): 114-120. 2003.
  •  34
    After preliminaries concerning different accounts of the good and the distinction between actual-consequence consequentialism and expected-value consequentialism, this paper explains why consequentialists should prescribe a moral decision procedure dominated by rules. But act-consequentialists deny rules have a role in the criterion of moral rightness. Prescribing a decision procedure dominated by rules and then denying rules a role in the criterion of rightness can be problematic. Rule-conseque…Read more
  •  34
    The chapter juxtaposes the fairly quick and automatic thinking and decision making that constitutes everyday moral thought and action with the slower, more complicated, and more reflective thinking that steps beyond everyday moral thought. Various difficulties that can slow down everyday moral thought are catalogued in this paper. The paper explains how dealing with many of these difficulties leads to thinking about moral principles. And, even where there are not such difficulties, everyday mora…Read more
  •  34
    Contractualism, spare wheel, aggregation
    In Matt Matravers (ed.), Scanlon and Contractualism, Frank Cass Publishers. pp. 53-76. 2003.