•  66
    Religion, Supernaturalism and Superstition
    Analysis 71 (4): 755-765. 2011.
  •  16
    A Précis to Ethics for a Broken World
    Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche. 2014.
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  •  10
    Imagine living in the future in a world already damaged by humankind, a world where resources are insufficient to meet everyone's basic needs and where a chaotic climate makes life precarious. Then imagine looking back into the past, back to our own time and assessing the ethics of the early twenty-first century. "Ethics for a Broken World" imagines how the future might judge us and how living in a time of global environmental degradation might utterly reshape the politics and ethics of the futu…Read more
  • Éthique et mort(s) - La démocratie post mortem
    Revue Philosophique De Louvain 101 (1): 123-137. 2003.
  •  12
  •  10
    Review: Weighing Lives (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 58 (231). 2008.
  •  121
    The Reverse Repugnant Conclusion
    Utilitas 14 (3): 360. 2002.
    Total utilitarianism implies Parfit's repugnant conclusion. For any world containing ten billion very happy people, there is a better world where a vast number of people have lives barely worth living. One common response is to claim that life in Parfit's Z is better than he suggests, and thus that his conclusion is not repugnant. This paper shows that this strategy cannot succeeed. Total utilitarianism also implies a reverse repugnant conclusion. For any world where ten billion people have live…Read more
  •  38
    How should utilitarians think about the future?
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (2-3): 290-312. 2017.
    Utilitarians must think collectively about the future because many contemporary moral issues require collective responses to avoid possible future harms. But current rule utilitarianism does not accommodate the distant future. Drawing on my recent books Future People and Ethics for a Broken World, I defend a new utilitarianism whose central ethical question is: What moral code should we teach the next generation? This new theory honours utilitarianism’s past and provides the flexibility to adapt…Read more
  •  6
    Understanding Utilitarianism
    Routledge. 2007.
    Utilitarianism - a philosophy based on the principle of the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people - has been hugely influential over the past two centuries. Beyond ethics or morality, utilitarian assumptions and arguments abound in modern economic and political life, especially in public policy. An understanding of utilitarianism is indeed essential to any understanding of contemporary society. "Understanding Utilitarianism" presents utilitarianism very much as a living tradition.…Read more
  •  14
    Critical Notice
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (3): 443-459. 2004.
  •  35
    The Future of Philosophy
    Metaphilosophy 44 (3): 241-253. 2013.
    In this article the editor of the Philosophical Quarterly briefly outlines the editorial process at that journal; explains why it is foolhardy to attempt to predict the future of philosophy; and, finally, attempts such a prediction. Drawing on his recent book Ethics for a Broken World, he argues that climate change, or some other disaster, may lead to a broken world where the optimistic assumptions underlying contemporary philosophy no longer apply. He argues that the possibility of a broken wor…Read more
  •  45
    Two Conceptions of Benevolence
    Philosophy and Public Affairs 26 (1): 62-79. 1997.
  •  9
    Reproducing the contractarian state
    Journal of Political Philosophy 10 (4). 2002.
  •  26
    One False Virtue of Rule Consequentialism, and One New Vice
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 77 (4): 362-373. 1996.
    A common objection to _act consequentialism (AC) is that it makes unreasonable demands on moral agents. _Rule consequentialism (RC) is often presented as a less demanding alternative. It is argued that this alleged virtue of RC is false, as RC will not be any less demanding in practice than AC. It is then demonstrated that RC has an additional (hitherto unnoticed) vice, as it relies upon the undefended simplifying assumption that the best possible consequences would arise in a society in which e…Read more
  •  63
    A Non-proportional Hybrid Moral Theory
    Utilitas 9 (3): 291. 1997.
    A common objection to consequentialism is that it makes unreasonable demands upon moral agents, by failing to allow agents to give special weight to their own personal projects and interests. A prominent recent response to this objection is that of Samuel Scheffler, who seeks to make room for moral agents by building agent-centred prerogatives into a consequentialist moral theory. In this paper, I present a new objection to Scheffler's account. I then sketch an improved prerogative, which avoids…Read more
  •  67
    Transcending the infinite utility debate
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 80 (2). 2002.
    An infinite future thus threatens to paralyze utilitarianism. Utilitarians need principled ways to determine which possible infinite futures are better or worse. In this article, I discuss a recent suggestion of Peter Vallentyne and Shelly Kagan. I conclude that the best way forward for utilitarians is, in fact, to by-pass the infinite utility debate altogether. (edited)
  •  3
    The ethics of killing: Problems at the margins of life
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (3): 443-459. 2004.
    In this exceptional new book, Jeff McMahan sets out to provide such an account. Along the way, he offers nuanced and illuminating accounts of personal identity, human nature, the badness of death, the wrongness of killing, the rights of animals, abortion, and euthanasia. This book is a major contribution to both moral theory and applied ethics, and makes a strong case for the relevance of the former to the latter. It is also beautifully written and a joy to read.
  •  27
    A minimal test for political theories
    Philosophia 28 (1-4): 283-296. 2001.
    Any adequate political theory must provide a plausible account of our obligations to future generations. It must also derive those obligations from morally significant features of our relationship to those who will live in the future, not from contingent accidents of human biology. The Minimal Test outlined in this paper offers a simple way to assess whether political theories are able to meet this challenge. It appears that several popular contemporary political theories will have difficulty pa…Read more
  • Sidgwick, Origen, and the Reconciliation of Egoism and Morality
    Etica E Politica 10 (2): 42-71. 2008.
    Many themes of late twentieth century ethics are prefigured in Sidgwick’s Method of Ethics. In particular, Sidgwick’s ‘Dualism of Practical Reason’ sets the scene for current debates over the demands of morality. Many philosophers agree that Sidgwick uncovers a deep and troubling conflict at the heart of utilitarian ethics. But Sidgwick’s own response to that conflict is treated, not as a live philosophical option, but as a historical oddity. In the twenty-first century, few philosophers see the…Read more
  •  29
    Rule consequentialism and non-identity
    In David Wasserman & Melinda Roberts (eds.), Harming Future Persons, Springer. pp. 115--134. 2009.
  •  8
    La démocratie post mortem
    Revue Philosophique De Louvain 101 (1): 123-137. 2003.
  •  41
    Weighing lives (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 58 (231). 2008.
  •  42
    Critical Notice of Jeff McMahan, The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (3): 443-459. 2004.
    In this exceptional new book, Jeff McMahan sets out to provide such an account. Along the way, he offers nuanced and illuminating accounts of personal identity, human nature, the badness of death, the wrongness of killing, the rights of animals, abortion, and euthanasia. This book is a major contribution to both moral theory and applied ethics, and makes a strong case for the relevance of the former to the latter. It is also beautifully written and a joy to read.
  •  275
    The Demands of Consequentialism
    Oxford University Press. 2001.
    Tim Mulgan presents a penetrating examination of consequentialism: the theory that human behavior must be judged in terms of the goodness or badness of its consequences. The problem with consequentialism is that it seems unreasonably demanding, leaving us no room for our own aims and interests. In response, Mulgan offers his own, more practical version of consequentialism--one that will surely appeal to philosophers and laypersons alike.
  •  13
    Replies to Critics
    Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche. 2014.
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