•  247
    Knowing How
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 112 (3pt3): 285-307. 2012.
    Argues from the possibility of basic intentional action to a non-propositional theory of knowing how. The argument supports a broadly Anscombean conception of the will as a capacity for practical knowledge.
  •  38
    Parfit on direct self-defeat
    Philosophical Quarterly 49 (195): 239-242. 1999.
    In the first part of Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit argues that common‐sense morality, or M, is self‐defeating, so that it must be rejected or revised. I defend M. We can rebut Parfit’s argument if we make an assumption about the moral importance of doing what is morally right. We need to assume that this end has sufficient weight in M
  •  56
    Review of Justin Broackes, ed., 'Iris Murdoch, Philosopher' (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249): 878-881. 2012.
  •  85
    Broome on Reasons to Act
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (1): 204-210. 2015.
  •  141
    Selfish Reasons
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 2. 2015.
    Argues against the rationality of self-concern. Non-instrumental interest in my own well-being is not justified by the fact that it is mine. This follows from the metaphysics of first-person thought, as thought about the object of immediate knowledge. The argument leaves room for rational self-interest as a form of self-love that is justified, like love for others, by the fact of our shared humanity.
  •  167
    Murdoch on the Sovereignty of Good
    Philosophers' Imprint 13. 2013.
    Argues for an interpretation of Iris Murdoch on which her account of moral reasons has Platonic roots, and on which she gives an ontological proof of the reality of the Good. This reading explains the structure of Sovereignty, how Murdoch's claims differ from a focus on "thick moral concepts," and how to find coherent arguments in her book.
  •  99
    Reply to Bratman and Smith
    Analysis 69 (3): 531-540. 2009.
    To begin with, I am deeply grateful to Michael Bratman and Michael Smith for their generosity in responding to my book, for the care with which they have read it, and for the challenge of meeting their objections. I am also grateful for their support and encouragement over the years. It is a pleasure to engage with them here.Because their comments raise many related difficulties, this reply will treat them together, beginning with brief consideration of issues in action theory before turning to …Read more
  •  273
    Cognitivism about Instrumental Reason
    Ethics 117 (4): 649-673. 2007.
    Argues for a "cognitivist" account of the instrumental principle, on which it is the application of theoretical reason to the beliefs that figure in our intentions. This doctrine is put to work in solving a puzzle about instrumental reason that plagues alternative views.
  •  176
    Review of Derek Parfit, 'On What Matters' (review)
    Mind 120 (480): 1281-1288. 2011.
  •  132
    Hume on practical reason
    Philosophical Perspectives 18 (1). 2004.
    Argues that Hume was a sceptic about practical reason only on a rationalist account of what it would have to be. (This version differs substantially from the published paper.).
  •  57
    Wrong-Making Reasons
    In Simon Kirchin (ed.), Reading Parfit: On What Matters, Routledge. pp. 123-134. 2017.
    Argues that there is a problem of redundancy for Kantian Contractualism in light of plausible claims about the reason-giving force of wrong-making facts.
  •  281
    Reasons and Causes
    European Journal of Philosophy 19 (1): 129-157. 2011.
    Argues for a causal-psychological account of acting for reasons. This view is distinguished from a more ambitious causal theory of action, clarified as far as possible, and motivated—against non-reductive, teleological, and behaviourist alternatives—on broadly metaphysical grounds
  •  39
    Review of Thomas L. Carson, 'Value and the Good Life' (review)
    Mind 110 (440): 1062-1065. 2001.
  •  361
    Knowledge of intention
    In Anton Ford, Jennifer Hornsby & Frederick Stoutland (eds.), Essays on Anscombe's Intention, Harvard University Press. pp. 170--197. 2011.
    Argues that it is not by inference from intention that I know what I am doing intentionally. Instead, the reverse is true: groundless knowledge of intention rests on the will as a capacity for non-perceptual, non-inferential knowledge of action. The argument adapts and clarifies considerations of "transparency" more familiar in connection with belief.
  •  137
    Intention, Plans, and Ethical Rationalism
    In Manuel Vargas & Gideon Yaffe (eds.), Rational and Social Agency: The Philosophy of Michael Bratman, Oxford University Press. pp. 56-82. 2014.
    Argues from the planning theory of intention – as an account of means-end coherence – to a comprehensive form of ethical rationalism. Having raised objections to this result, the paper ends by sketching a way out.
  •  274
    Causality in Action
    Analysis 73 (3): 501-512. 2013.
  •  98
    The Ethics of Existence
    Philosophical Perspectives 28 (1): 291-301. 2014.
    Argues that inadvisable procreative acts should often be affirmed in retrospect. This shift is not explained by attachment or love but by the moral impact of existence.
  •  135
    Other People
    In Sarah Buss & Nandi Theunissen (eds.), Rethinking the Value of Humanity, . forthcoming.
    Argues for the role of personal acquaintance in both love and concern for individuals, as such. The challenge is to say what personal acquaintance is and why it matters in the way it does. These questions are addressed through the work of Emmanuel Levinas. Topics include: the ethics of aggregation, the basis of moral standing, and the value of human life.
  •  169
    Reasons without Rationalism
    Analysis 69 (3): 509-510. 2009.
    Reasons without Rationalism has two related parts, devoted to action theory and ethics, respectively. In the second part, I argue for a close connection between reasons for action and virtues of character. This connection is mediated by the idea of good practical thought and the disposition to engage in it. The argument relies on the following principle, which is intended as common ground: " Reasons: The fact that p is a reason for A to ϕ just in case A has a collection of psychological states, …Read more
  •  280
    Epistemic agency: Some doubts
    Philosophical Issues 23 (1): 179-198. 2013.
    Argues for a deflationary account of epistemic agency. We believe things for reasons and our beliefs change over time, but there is no further sense in which we are active in judgement, inference, or belief.
  •  393
    Practical knowledge
    Ethics 118 (3): 388-409. 2008.
    Argues that we know without observation or inference at least some of what we are doing intentionally and that this possibility must be explained in terms of knowledge-how. It is a consequence of the argument that knowing how to do something cannot be identified with knowledge of a proposition.
  •  198
    Intention
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2009.
    Philosophical perplexity about intention begins with its appearance in three guises: intention for the future, as when I intend to complete this entry by the end of the month; the intention with which someone acts, as I am typing with the further intention of writing an introductory sentence; and intentional action, as in the fact that I am typing these words intentionally. As Elizabeth Anscombe wrote in a similar context, ‘it is implausible to say that the word is equivocal as it occurs in thes…Read more
  •  189
    Against internalism
    Noûs 38 (2). 2004.
    Argues that practical irrationality is akin to moral culpability: it is defective practical thought which one could legitimately have been expected to avoid. It is thus a mistake to draw too tight a connection between failure to be moved by reasons and practical irrationality (as in a certain kind of "internalism"): one's failure may be genuine, but not culpable, and therefore not irrational.
  •  87
  •  196
    Knowing Right From Wrong
    Oxford University Press. 2012.
    Can we have objective knowledge of right and wrong, of how we should live and what there is reason to do? Can it be anything but luck when our moral beliefs are true? Kieran Setiya confronts these questions in their most compelling and articulate forms, and argues that if there is objective ethical knowledge, human nature is its source.
  •  46
    Review of Sergio Tenenbaum, 'Appearances of the Good' (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (5). 2007.
  •  142
    Argues that we do not act intentionally ‘under the guise of the good.’ This makes it hard to explain why akrasia is distinctively irrational; but this is no objection, since it is just as hard to explain on the opposing view. Ends with a problem of akrasia for ethical rationalists.
  •  1
    Imagining reality (review)
    The Philosophers' Magazine 36 89-89. 2006.
  •  278
    Does Moral Theory Corrupt Youth?
    Philosophical Topics 38 (1): 205-222. 2010.
    Argues that the answer is yes. The epistemic assumptions of moral theory deprive us of resources needed to resist the challenge of moral disagreement, which its practice at the same time makes vivid. The paper ends by sketching a kind of epistemology that can respond to disagreement without skepticism: one in which the fundamental standards of justification for moral belief are biased toward the truth