•  48
  •  73
    Ecological Engineering: Reshaping Our Environments to Achieve Our Goals
    Philosophy and Technology 25 (4): 589-604. 2012.
    Human beings are subject to a range of cognitive and affective limitations which interfere with our ability to pursue our individual and social goals. I argue that shaping our environment to avoid triggering these limitations or to constrain the harms they cause is likely to be more effective than genetic or pharmaceutical modifications of our capacities because our limitations are often the flip side of beneficial dispositions and because available enhancements seem to impose significant costs.…Read more
  •  123
    Imaginative resistance and the moral/conventional distinction
    Philosophical Psychology 18 (2). 2005.
    Children, even very young children, distinguish moral from conventional transgressions, inasmuch as they hold that the former, but not the latter, would still be wrong if there was no rule prohibiting them. Many people have taken this finding as evidence that morality is objective, and therefore universal. I argue that reflection on the phenomenon of imaginative resistance will lead us to question these claims. If a concept applies in virtue of the obtaining of a set of more basic facts, then it…Read more
  •  203
    Virtual child pornography: The eroticization of inequality
    Ethics and Information Technology 4 (4): 319-323. 2002.
    The United States Supreme Court hasrecently ruled that virtual child pornographyis protected free speech, partly on the groundsthat virtual pornography does not harm actualchildren. I review the evidence for thecontention that virtual pornography might harmchildren, and find that it is, at best,inconclusive. Saying that virtual childpornography does not harm actual children isnot to say that it is completely harmless,however. Child pornography, actual or virtual,necessarily eroticizes inequality…Read more
  •  96
    A will of one's own: Consciousness, control, and character
    with Tim Bayne
    International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 27 (5): 459-470. 2004.
  •  148
    Psychopaths and blame: The argument from content
    Philosophical Psychology 27 (3). 2014.
    The recent debate over the moral responsibility of psychopaths has centered on whether, or in what sense, they understand moral requirements. In this paper, I argue that even if they do understand what morality requires, the content of their actions is not of the right kind to justify full-blown blame. I advance two independent justifications of this claim. First, I argue that if the psychopath comes to know what morality requires via a route that does not involve a proper appreciation of what i…Read more
  •  70
    Dissolving the Puzzle of Resultant Moral Luck
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (1): 127-139. 2016.
    The puzzle of resultant moral luck arises when we are disposed to think that an agent who caused a harm deserves to be blamed more than an otherwise identical agent who did not. One popular perspective on resultant moral luck explains our dispositions to produce different judgments with regard to the agents who feature in these cases as a product not of what they genuinely deserve but of our epistemic situation. On this account, there is no genuine resultant moral luck; there is only luck in wha…Read more
  •  97
    Searle’s wager
    AI and Society 26 (4): 363-369. 2011.
    Nicholas Agar has recently argued that it would be irrational for future human beings to choose to radically enhance themselves by uploading their minds onto computers. Utilizing Searle’s argument that machines cannot think, he claims that uploading might entail death. He grants that Searle’s argument is controversial, but he claims, so long as there is a non-zero probability that uploading entails death, uploading is irrational. I argue that Agar’s argument, like Pascal’s wager on which it is m…Read more
  •  1
  •  250
    Downshifting and meaning in life
    Ratio 18 (2). 2005.
    So-called downshifters seek more meaningful lives by decreasing the amount of time they devote to work, leaving more time for the valuable goods of friendship, family and personal development. But though these are indeed meaning-conferring activities, they do not have the right structure to count as superlatively meaningful. Only in work – of a certain kind – can superlative meaning be found. It is by active engagements in projects, which are activities of the right structure, dedicated to the a…Read more
  •  175
    The concept of luck has played an important role in debates concerning free will and moral responsibility, yet participants in these debates have relied upon an intuitive notion of what luck is. Neil Levy develops an account of luck, which is then applied to the free will debate. He argues that the standard luck objection succeeds against common accounts of libertarian free will, but that it is possible to amend libertarian accounts so that they are no more vulnerable to luck than is compatibili…Read more
  •  951
    The responsibility of the psychopath revisited
    Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 14 (2). 2007.
    The question of the psychopath's responsibility for his or her wrongdoing has received considerable attention. Much of this attention has been directed toward whether psychopaths are a counterexample to motivational internalism (MI): Do they possess normal moral beliefs, which fail to motivate them? In this paper, I argue that this is a question that remains conceptually and empirically intractable, and that we ought to settle the psychopath's responsibility in some other way. I argue that recen…Read more
  •  7
    Book Reviews (review)
    with Peter Forrest, Robert Dunn, Jane Mummery, F. C. White, Megan Laverty, Jenny Teichman, Philippe Chuard, and John McKie
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (1): 125-141. 2001.
  •  70
    Morality on the brain
    The Philosophers' Magazine 54 (54): 108-109. 2011.
  •  84
    Culpable Ignorance
    Journal of Philosophical Research 41 263-271. 2016.
  •  2
    Richard Polt, Heidegger: An Introduction (review)
    Philosophy in Review 19 369-371. 1999.
  •  49
    Going beyond the evidence
    American Journal of Bioethics 8 (9). 2008.
    No abstract
  •  39
    The Intrinsic Value of Cultures
    Philosophy in the Contemporary World 9 (2): 49-57. 2002.
    Our intuitions concerning cultures show that we are committed to thinking that they are intrinsically valuable. I set out the conditions under which we attribute such value to cultures, and show that coming to possess intrinsic value is a matter of having the right kind of causal history
  • Law or Order: Reconsidering the Aims of Policing
    Australian Journal of Professional and Applied Ethics 2 (2). 2000.
  •  64
    Zimmerman’s The Immorality of Punishment: A Critical Essay (review)
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 9 (1): 103-112. 2015.
    In “The Immorality of Punishment”, Michael Zimmerman attempts to show that punishment is morally unjustified and therefore wrong. In this response, I focus on two main questions. First, I examine whether Zimmerman’s empirical claims—concerning our inability to identify wrongdoers who satisfy conditions on blameworthiness and who might be reformed through punishment, and the comparative efficacy of punitive and non-punitive responses to crime—stand up to scrutiny. Second, I argue that his crucial…Read more
  •  9
    Countering Cova: Frankfurt-Style Cases are Still Broken
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (3): 523-527. 2014.
    5 page
  •  95
    Restrictivism is a Covert compatibilism
    In N. Trakakis (ed.), Essays on Free Will and Moral Responsibility, Cambridge Scholars Press. forthcoming.
    _Libertarian restrictivists hold that agents are rarely directly free. However, they seek to reconcile their views_ _with common intuitions by arguing that moral responsibility, or indirect freedom (depending on the version of_ _restrictivism) is much more common than direct freedom. I argue that restrictivists must give up either the_ _claim that agents are rarely free, or the claim that indirect freedom or responsibility is much more common_ _than direct freedom. Focusing on Kane’s version of …Read more
  •  109
    I argue that the intellectualist account of knowledge-how, according to which agents have the knowledge-how to \ in virtue of standing in an appropriate relation to a proposition, is only half right. On the composition view defended here, knowledge-how at least typically requires both propositional knowledge and motor representations. Motor representations are not mere dispositions to behavior because they have representational content, and they play a central role in realizing the intelligence …Read more
  •  17
    What difference does consciousness make?
    Monash Bioethics Review 28 (2): 13. 2009.
    The question whether and when it is morally appropriate to withdraw life-support from patients diagnosed as being in the persistent vegetative state is one of the most controversial in bioethics. Recent work on the neuroscience of consciousness seems to promise fundamentally to alter the debate, by demonstrating that some entirely unresponsive patients are in fact conscious. In this paper, I argue that though this work is extremely important scientifically, it ought to alter the debate over the …Read more