•  29
    What evolves when morality evolves?
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37 (3): 612-620. 2006.
  •  162
    Addiction is not a brain disease (and it matters)
    Frontiers in Psychiatry 4 (24): 1--7. 2013.
    The claim that addiction is a brain disease is almost universally accepted among scientists who work on addiction. The claim’s attraction rests on two grounds: the fact that addiction seems to be characterized by dysfunction in specific neural pathways and the fact that the claim seems to the compassionate response to people who are suffering. I argue that neural dysfunction is not sufficient for disease: something is a brain disease only when neural dysfunction is sufficient for impairment. I c…Read more
  •  124
    Contrastive explanations: A dilemma for libertarians
    Dialectica 59 (1): 51-61. 2005.
    To the extent that indeterminacy intervenes between our reasons for action and our decisions, intentions and actions, our freedom seems to be reduced, not enhanced. Free will becomes nothing more than the power to choose irrationally. In recognition of this problem, some recent libertarians have suggested that free will is paradigmatically manifested only in actions for which we have reasons for both or all the alternatives. In these circumstances, however we choose, we choose rationally. Agains…Read more
  •  8
    Terry Eagleton, The Idea of Culture Reviewed by
    Philosophy in Review 22 (1): 28-30. 2002.
  •  190
    Frankfurt-style cases are widely taken to show that agents do not need alternative possibilities to be morally responsible for their actions. Many philosophers take these cases to constitute a powerful argument for compatibilism: if we do not need alternative possibilities for moral responsibility, it is hard to see what the attraction of indeterminism might be. I defend the claim that even though Frankfurt-style cases establish that agents can be responsible for their actions despite lacking al…Read more
  •  59
    In a recent paper, Ishtiyaque Haji and Michael McKenna argue that my attack on Frankfurt-style cases fails. I had argued that we cannot be confident that agents in these cases retain their responsibility-underwriting capacities, because what capacities an agent has can depend on features of the world external to her, including merely counterfactual interveners. Haji and McKenna argue that only when an intervention is actual does the agent gain or lose a capacity. Here I demonstrate that this cla…Read more
  •  16
  •  25
    Defending the Consciousness Thesis: A response to Robichaud, Sripada and Caruso
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 22 (7-8): 61-76. 2015.
    16 page
  •  2
    Most accounts of recent French intellectual history are organized around a fundamental rupture, which divides thought and thinkers into two eras: ‘modern’ and ‘postmodern’. But the attempts to identify the features which characterise these eras seem, at best, inconclusive. In this paper, I examine this rupture, by way of a comparison of two thinkers representative of the divide. Sartre seems as uncontroversially modern as any twentieth-century can be, while Foucault’s work is often taken to be d…Read more
  •  26
    Review of moral psychology, volume 1, the evolution of morality (review)
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 87 (3). 2009.
    No abstract
  •  113
    Is Neurolaw Conceptually Confused?
    The Journal of Ethics 18 (2): 171-185. 2014.
    In Minds, Brains, and Law, Michael Pardo and Dennis Patterson argue that current attempts to use neuroscience to inform the theory and practice of law founder because they are built on confused conceptual foundations. Proponents of neurolaw attribute to the brain or to its parts psychological properties that belong only to people; this mistake vitiates many of the claims they make. Once neurolaw is placed on a sounder conceptual footing, Pardo and Patterson claim, we will see that its more drama…Read more
  •  96
    A Role for Consciousness After All
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 9 (2): 255-264. 2012.
    In a recent paper in this journal, Matt King and Peter Carruthers argue that the common assumption that agents are only (or especially) morally responsible for actions caused by attitudes of which they are conscious needs to be rethought. They claim that there is persuasive evidence that we are never conscious of our propositional attitudes; we ought therefore to design our theories of moral responsibility to accommodate this fact. In this reply, I argue that the evidence they adduce need not wo…Read more
  • On determinism and freedom (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 56 (223): 310-312. 2006.
  •  225
    Self-deception and moral responsibility
    Ratio 17 (3): 294-311. 2004.
    The self-deceived are usually held to be moral responsible for their state. I argue that this attribution of responsibility makes sense only against the background of the traditional conception of self-deception, a conception that is now widely rejected. In its place, a new conception of self-deception has been articulated, which requires neither intentional action by self-deceived agents, nor that they possess contradictory beliefs. This new conception has neither need nor place for attribution…Read more
  •  71
    Cases in which we find ourselves irrationally worried about whether we have done something we habitually do are familiar to most people, but they have received surprisingly little attention in the philosophical literature. In this paper, I argue that available accounts designed to explain superficially similar mismatches between agents’ behavior and their beliefs fail to explain these cases. In the kinds of cases which have served as paradigms for extant accounts, contents are poised to drive be…Read more
  •  432
    Analytic and continental philosophy: Explaining the differences
    Metaphilosophy 34 (3): 284-304. 2003.
    A number of writers have tackled the task of characterizing the differences between analytic and Continental philosophy.I suggest that these attempts have indeed captured the most important divergences between the two styles but have left the explanation of the differences mysterious.I argue that analytic philosophy is usefully seen as philosophy conducted within a paradigm, in Kuhn’s sense of the word, whereas Continental philosophy assumes much less in the way of shared presuppositions, proble…Read more
  •  71
    Neuroethics and the extended mind
    In Judy Illes & Barbara J. Sahakian (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics, Oxford University Press. pp. 285. 2011.
    Neuroethics offers unprecedented opportunities as well as challenges. The challenges stem from the range of difficult ethical issues, which are confronted by neuroethicists. Issues concerning the nature of consciousness, of personal identity, free will, and so on, are all grist for the neuroethical mill. This article argues that this debate bears centrally on neuroethics and is significant for neuroethics. Whether the best interpretation of the facts to which proponents of the extended mind appe…Read more
  •  54
    Charles Taylor on overcoming incommensurability
    Philosophy and Social Criticism 26 (5): 47-61. 2000.
    As he recognizes, Taylor's view of practical reasoning commits him to the existence of incommensurable world-views. However, he holds that it is in principle possible to overcome these incommensurabilities. He has two major arguments for this conclusion, which I label the argument from the human condition, and the transition argument. I show that the first argument, though perhaps successful in the case Taylor takes as an example, cannot be generalized. The second argument is even less successfu…Read more
  •  123
    The Prospects for Evolutionary Ethics Today
    EurAmerica 40 (3): 529-571. 2010.
    One reason for the widespread resistance to evolutionary accounts of the origins of humanity is the fear that they undermine morality: if morality is based on nothing more than evolved dispositions, it would be shown to be illusory, many people suspect. This view is shared by some philosophers who take their work on the evolutionary origins of morality to undermine moral realism. If they are right, we are faced with an unpalatable choice: to reject morality on scientific grounds, or to reject ou…Read more
  •  5
    Richard Polt, Heidegger: An Introduction Reviewed by
    Philosophy in Review 19 (5): 369-371. 1999.
  •  213
    Forced to be free? Increasing patient autonomy by constraining it
    Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (5): 293-300. 2014.
    It is universally accepted in bioethics that doctors and other medical professionals have an obligation to procure the informed consent of their patients. Informed consent is required because patients have the moral right to autonomy in furthering the pursuit of their most important goals. In the present work, it is argued that evidence from psychology shows that human beings are subject to a number of biases and limitations as reasoners, which can be expected to lower the quality of their decis…Read more
  •  193
    The case for physician assisted suicide: how can it possibly be proven?
    with Edgar Dahl
    Journal of Medical Ethics 32 (6): 335-338. 2006.
    In her paper, The case for physician assisted suicide: not proven, Bonnie Steinbock argues that the experience with Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act fails to demonstrate that the benefits of legalising physician assisted suicide outweigh its risks. Given that her verdict is based on a small number of highly controversial cases that will most likely occur under any regime of legally implemented safeguards, she renders it virtually impossible to prove the case for physician assisted suicide. In thi…Read more
  •  131
    Moore on Twin Earth
    Erkenntnis 75 (1): 137-146. 2011.
    In a series of articles, Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons have argued that Richard Boyd’s defence of moral realism, utilizing a causal theory of reference, fails. Horgan and Timmons construct a twin Earth-style thought experiment which, they claim, generates intuitions inconsistent with the realist account. In their thought experiment, the use of (allegedly) moral terms at a world is causally regulated by some property distinct from that regulating their use here on Earth; nevertheless, Horgan and …Read more
  •  175
    The Importance of Awareness
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (2): 221-229. 2013.
    A number of philosophers have recently argued that agents need not be conscious of the reasons for which they act or the moral significance of their actions in order to be morally responsible for them. In this paper, I identify a kind of awareness that, I claim, agents must have in order to be responsible for their actions. I argue that conscious information processing differs from unconscious in a manner that makes the following two claims true: (1) an agent’s values ought to be identified with…Read more
  •  37
    Excusing responsibility for the inevitable
    Philosophical Studies 111 (1). 2002.
    It is by now well established that the fact that an action or aconsequence was inevitable does not excuse the agent from responsibilityfor it, so long as the counterfactual intervention which ensures thatthe act will take place is not actualized. However, in this paper I demonstrate that there is one exception to this principle: when theagent is aware of the counterfactual intervener and the role she wouldplay in some alternative scenario, she might be excused, despite the fact that in the actua…Read more