•  33
    According to one formulation of Scanlon ’s contractualist principle, certain acts are wrong if they are permitted by principles that are reasonably rejectable because they permit such acts. According to the redundancy objection, if a principle is reasonably rejectable because it permits actions which have feature F, such actions are wrong simply in virtue of having F and not because their having F makes principles permitting them reasonably rejectable. Consequently Scanlon ’s contractualist prin…Read more
  •  56
    Back in the bad old days, it was easy enough to spot non-cognitivists. They pressed radical doctrines with considerable bravado. Intoxicated by the apparent implications of logical positivism, early noncognitivsts would say things like, "in saying that a certain type of action is right or wrong, I am not making any factual statement..." (Ayer 1936: 107) Like most rebellious youths, non-cognitivism eventually grew up. Later non-cognitivists developed the position into a more subtle doctrine, no l…Read more
  •  74
    Introducing Variable-Rate Rule-Utilitarianism
    Philosophical Quarterly 56 (223). 2006.
    The basic idea of rule-utilitarianism is that right action should be defined in terms of what would be required by rules which would maximize either actual or expected utility if those rules gained general acceptance, or perhaps general compliance. Rule-utilitarians face a dilemma. They must characterize 'general acceptance' either as 100% acceptance, or as something less. On the first horn of the dilemma, rule-utilitarianism in vulnerable to the charge of utopianism; on the second, it is open t…Read more
  •  109
    Principled Ethics: Generalism as a Regulative Ideal
    with Sean McKeever
    Oxford University Press. 2006.
    Moral philosophy has long been dominated by the aim of understanding morality and the virtues in terms of principles. However, the underlying assumption that this is the best approach has received almost no defence, and has been attacked by particularists, who argue that the traditional link between morality and principles is little more than an unwarranted prejudice. In Principled Ethics, Michael Ridge and Sean McKeever meet the particularist challenge head-on, and defend a distinctive view the…Read more
  •  132
    Epistemology moralized: David Hume's practical epistemology
    Hume Studies 29 (2): 165-204. 2003.
    - Peter Railton1 Railton's remark is accurate; contemporary philosophers almost invariably suppose that morality is more vulnerable than empirical science to scepticism. Yet David Hume apparently embraces an inversion of this twentieth century orthodoxy.2 In book I of the Treatise, he claims that the understanding, when it reflects upon itself, "entirely subverts itself" (T 1. 4.7.7; SBN 267) while, in contrast, in book III he claims that our moral faculty, when reflecting upon itself, acquires …Read more
  •  220
    Why must we treat humanity with respect? Evaluating the regress argument
    European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 1 (1): 57-73. 2005.
    -- Immanuel Kant (Kant 1990, p. 46/429) The idea that our most basic duty is to treat each other with respect is one of the Enlightenment’s greatest legacies and Kant is often thought to be one of its most powerful defenders. If Kant’s project were successful then the lofty notion that humanity is always worthy of respect would be vindicated by pure practical reason. Further, this way of defending the ideal is supposed to reflect our autonomy, insofar as it is always one’s own reason that demand…Read more
  •  66
    Moral realism: A defence (review)
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 82 (3). 2004.
    Book Information Moral Realism: A Defence. Moral Realism: A Defence Russ Shafer-Landau , Oxford : Clarendon Press , 2003 , x + 322 , £35 ( cloth ) By Russ Shafer-Landau. Clarendon Press. Oxford. Pp. x + 322. £35 (cloth:).
  •  337
  •  210
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86 (1): 41-63. 2013.
    Disagreement holds the key: the possibility of agreeing or disagreeing with a state of mind makes that state of mind act logically like accepting a claim. Charles Stevenson was quite right to begin his presentation of emotivism with disagreement.—Allan Gibbard
  •  75
    Moral assertion for expressivists
    Philosophical Issues 19 (1): 182-204. 2009.
    No Abstract
  •  52
    Ethics without Principles
    Philosophical Review 116 (1): 124-128. 2007.
  •  146
    Consequentialists are sometimes accused of being unable to accommodate all the ways in which an agent should care about her own integrity. Here it is helpful to follow Stephen Darwall in distinguishing two approaches to moral theory. First, we might begin with the value of states of affairs and then work our way ‘inward’ to our integrity, explaining the value of the latter in terms of their contribution to the value of the former. This is the ‘outside-in’ approach, and Darwall argues that it is …Read more
  •  22
    Organic Unities
    In David Bakhurst, Margaret Olivia Little & Brad Hooker (eds.), Thinking About Reasons: Themes From the Philosophy of Jonathan Dancy, Oxford University Press. pp. 265. 2013.
  •  7
    JP argue that expressivists must admit that becoming competent with ethical utterances involves learning to make them only when one believes one has the relevant attitude. For expressivists hold that communicating our attitudes is the function of ethical utterances, in which case sincerity demands that we not utter an ethical sentence unless we believe we have the relevant attitude. So (b) is false, as long as we suppose that this commitment, as reflected in well-entrenched and clear-cut (hencef…Read more
  •  46
    Modesty as a Virtue
    American Philosophical Quarterly 37 (3). 2000.
  •  104
    Climb every mountain?
    Ratio 22 (1): 59-77. 2009.
    The central thesis of Derek Parfit's On What Matters is that three of the most important secular moral traditions – Kantianism, contractualism, and consequentialism – all actually converge in a way onto the same view. It is in this sense that he suggests that we may all be 'climbing the same mountain, but from different sides'. In this paper, I argue that Parfit's argument that we are all metaphorically climbing the same mountain is unsound. One reason his argument does not work is that he has m…Read more
  •  233
    Moral particularists are united in their opposition to the codification of morality, and their work poses an important challenge to traditional ways of thinking about moral philosophy. Defenders of moral particularism have, with near unanimity, sought support from a doctrine they call “holism in the theory of reasons.” We argue that this is all a mistake. There are two ways in which holism in the theory of reasons can be understood, but neither provides any support for moral particularism. Moral…Read more
  •  131
    The heroism paradox: another paradox of supererogation
    Philosophical Studies 172 (6): 1575-1592. 2015.
    Philosophers are by now familiar with “the” paradox of supererogation. This paradox arises out of the idea that it can never be permissible to do something morally inferior to another available option, yet acts of supererogation seem to presuppose this. This paradox is not our topic in this paper. We mention it only to set it to one side and explain our subtitle. In this paper we introduce and explore another paradox of supererogation, one which also deserves serious philosophical attention. Peo…Read more
  •  30
    Much contemporary first-order moral theory revolves around the debate between consequentialists and deontologists. Depressingly, this debate often seems to come down to irresolvable first-order intuition mongering about runaway trolleys, drowning children in shallow ponds, lying to murderers at doors, and the like. Prima facie, common sense morality contains both consequentialist and deontological elements, so it may be no surprise that direct appeal to first-order intuitions tend towards stalem…Read more
  •  36
    Impassioned Belief
    Oxford University Press. 2014.
    Michael Ridge presents an original expressivist theory of normative judgments--Ecumenical Expressivism--which offers distinctive treatments of key problems in metaethics, semantics, and practical reasoning. He argues that normative judgments are hybrid states partly constituted by ordinary beliefs and partly constituted by desire-like states.
  •  135
    E xpressivism and E pistemology: E pistemology for E cumenical E xpressivists
    Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 81 (1): 83-108. 2007.
  • Agent-Neutral Vs. Agent-Relative Reasons
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. forthcoming.
  •  101
    Particularism and the contingent a priori
    Acta Analytica 21 (2): 3-11. 2006.
    Particularism renders the options for a sound moral epistemology few and the prospects dim. One leading approach treats basic knowledge of particular cases as derivable from an a priori moral principle and a posteriori knowledge of the contingent non-moral facts to which the principle applies. Particularists must forgo this approach because it requires principles. Yet a purely a posteriori moral epistemology is also implausible, especially when combined with particularism. Particularists such as…Read more
  •  104
    Sincerity and Expressivism
    Philosophical Studies 131 (2): 487-510. 2006.
    What is it for a speech-act to be sincere? A very tempting answer, defended by John Searle and others, is that a speech-act is sincere just in case the speaker has the state of mind it expresses. I argue that we should instead hold that a speech-act is sincere just in case the speaker believes that she has the state of mind she believes it expresses (Sections 1 and 2). Scenarios in which speakers are deluded about their own states of mind play an important role in arguing for this account. In th…Read more