•  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.
  •  51
    Rule-Consequentialism, Incoherence, Fairness
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 95. 1995.
  •  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
  •  871
    Rule-consequentialism
    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
  •  344
    What are the appropriate criteria for assessing a theory of morality? In this enlightening work, Brad Hooker begins by answering this question. He then argues for a rule-consequentialist theory which, in part, asserts that acts should be assessed morally in terms of impartially justified rules. In the end, he considers the implications of rule-consequentialism for several current controversies in practical ethics, making this clearly written, engaging book the best overall statement of this appr…Read more
  •  2
    US and them
    The Philosophers' Magazine 18 50-51. 2002.
  •  17
    Publicity in morality
    Ratio 23 111-117. 2010.
    Consider the idea that moral rules must be suitable for public acknowledgement and acceptance, i.e., that moral rules must be suitable for being ‘widely known and explicitly recognized’, suitable for teaching as part of moral education, suitable for guiding behaviour and reactions to behaviour, and thus suitable for justifying one’s behaviour to others. This idea is now most often associated with John Rawls, who traces it back through Kurt Baier to Kant.[1] My book developing ruleconsequentialis…Read more