•  230
    Many moral philosophers accept the Debunking Thesis, according to which facts about natural selection provide debunking explanations for certain of our moral beliefs. I argue that philosophers who accept the Debunking Thesis beg important questions in the philosophy of biology. They assume that past selection can explain why you or I hold certain of the moral beliefs we do. A position advanced by many prominent philosophers of biology implies that this assumption is false. According to the Negat…Read more
  •  149
    Moral Testimony Pessimism and the Uncertain Value of Authenticity
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2): 261-284. 2017.
    Many philosophers believe that there exist distinctive obstacles to relying on moral testimony. In this paper, I criticize previous attempts to identify these obstacles and offer a new theory. I argue that the problems associated with moral deference can't be explained in terms of the value of moral understanding, nor in terms of aretaic considerations related to subjective integration. Instead, our uneasiness with moral testimony is best explained by our attachment to an ideal of authenticity t…Read more
  •  129
    Many philosophers believe that natural selection explanations debunk our moral beliefs or would do so if moral realism were true, relying on the assumption that explanations of this kind show that moral facts play no role in explaining human moral beliefs. Here I argue that this assumption rests on a confusion of proximate and ultimate explanatory factors. Insofar as evolutionary debunking arguments hinge on the assumption that moral facts play no role in explaining human moral beliefs, these ar…Read more
  •  108
    Contingency Anxiety and the Epistemology of Disagreement
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1). 2017.
    Upon discovering that certain beliefs we hold are contingent on arbitrary features of our background, we often feel uneasy. I defend the proposal that if such cases of contingency anxiety involve defeaters, this is because of the epistemic significance of disagreement. I note two hurdles to our accepting this Disagreement Hypothesis. Firstly, some cases of contingency anxiety apparently involve no disagreement. Secondly, the proposal may seem to make our awareness of the influence of arbitrary b…Read more
  •  108
    Evolutionary Debunking Arguments in Ethics
    Dissertation, University of Oxford. 2014.
    I consider whether evolutionary explanations can debunk our moral beliefs. Most contemporary discussion in this area is centred on the question of whether debunking implications follow from our ability to explain elements of human morality in terms of natural selection, given that there has been no selection for true moral beliefs. By considering the most prominent arguments in the literature today, I offer reasons to think that debunking arguments of this kind fail. However, I argue that a succ…Read more
  •  94
    Racial Profiling And Cumulative Injustice
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (2): 452-477. 2019.
    This paper tries to explain why racial profiling involves a serious injustice and to do so in a way that avoids the problems of existing philosophical accounts. An initially plausible view maintains that racial profiling is pro tanto wrong in and of itself by violating a constraint on fair treatment that is generally violated by acts of statistical discrimination based on ascribed characteristics. However, consideration of other cases involving statistical discrimination suggests that violating …Read more
  •  57
    Is identity illusory?
    European Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    European Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
  •  53
    I argue that there are cases in which ecumenical expressivism cannot distinguish between endorsement of certain trivial and substantive normative judgments. I consider the extent to which this problem generalizes across different formulations of the ecumenical view. I suggest that we may not be able to escape the problem if we hope to retain the ability to solve the Frege-Geach problem in the way promised by ecumenical expressivism.
  •  44
    Should We Prevent Optimific Wrongs?
    Utilitas 28 (2): 215-226. 2016.
    Most people believe that some optimific acts are wrong. Since we are not permitted to perform wrong acts, we are not permitted to carry out optimific wrongs. Does the moral relevance of the distinction between action and omission nonetheless permit us to allow others to carry them out? I show that there exists a plausible argument supporting the conclusion that it does. To resist my argument, we would have to endorse a principle according to which, for any wrong action, there is some reason to p…Read more
  •  34
    The Brave Officer Rides Again
    Erkenntnis 83 (2): 315-329. 2018.
    According to the Psychological Account of personal identity, personal identity across time is maintained by some form of psychological overlap or continuance. I show that the Psychological Account has trouble accommodating cases of transient retrograde amnesia. In such cases, the transitivity of psychological continuity may break down. I consider various means of responding to this problem, arguing that the best available response will undercut our ability to rely on intuitions about brain trans…Read more
  •  31
    Disagreements in Moral Intution as Defeaters
    Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267): 282-302. 2017.
    People may disagree about moral issues because they have fundamentally different intuitions. I argue that we ought to suspend judgement in such cases. Since we trust our own moral intuitions without positive evidence of their reliability, we must necessarily extend this trust to the moral intuitions of others: a fundamental self-other asymmetry in moral epistemology is untenable. This ensures that disagreements in moral intuition are defeating. In addition, I argue that brute conflicts in moral …Read more
  •  31
    Moral demands and the far future
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. forthcoming.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
  •  10
    Meaning, Medicine, and Merit
    Utilitas 1-18. forthcoming.
    Given the inevitability of scarcity, should public institutions ration healthcare resources so as to prioritize those who contribute more to society? Intuitively, we may feel that this would be somehow inegalitarian. I argue that the egalitarian objection to prioritizing treatment on the basis of patients’ usefulness to others is best thought of as semiotic: i.e. as having to do with what this practice would mean, convey, or express about a person's standing. I explore the implications of this c…Read more