•  121
    [May 11 version] This is part of a book project, The Pragmatic Foundations of Theoretical Reason, in which I explore the claim that both alethic and pragmatic reasons for belief are basic, but that they share a pragmatic foundation in a pluralist theory of wellbeing in which being in a positive epistemic state is a non-derivative component of wellbeing. This chapter argues that all three of fittingness first, reasons first, and value first views are false. It does so by showing that fittingness…Read more
  •  35
    The Projectability Challenge to Moral Naturalism
    with John Bengson and Terence Cuneo
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (5): 471-498. 2020.
    The Projectability Challenge states that a metaethical view must explain how ordinary agents can, on the basis of moral experience and reflection, accurately and justifiably apply moral concepts to novel situations. In this paper, we argue for two primary claims. First, paradigm nonnaturalism can satisfactorily answer the projectability challenge. Second, it is unclear whether there is a version of moral naturalism that can satisfactorily answer the challenge. The conclusion we draw is that ther…Read more
  •  190
    Trust, Testimony, and Reasons for Belief
    In Kevin McCain & Scott Stapleford (eds.), Epistemic Duties: New Arguments, New Angles, Routledge. 2020.
    This chapter explores two kinds of testimonial trust, what we call ‘evidential trust’ and ‘non-evidential trust’ with the aim of asking how testimonial trust could provide epistemic reasons for belief. We argue that neither evidential nor non-evidential trust can play a distinctive role in providing evidential reasons for belief, but we tentatively propose that non-evidential trust can in some circumstances provide a novel kind of epistemic reason for belief, a reason of epistemic facilitation. …Read more
  •  199
    We argue that contrary to received wisdom, non-naturalist moral realism has an advantage over its naturalist rivals with respect to at least one thorny problem in moral epistemology. We call this problem 'the projectability challenge'. It is the challenge of explaining how it is possible for individuals to apply their moral knowledge to a variety of kinds of new (to them) cases and also how it is possible for individuals to learn from moral experience. By developing an account of and carefully e…Read more
  •  116
    Normativity: A Unit of
    In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Blackwells. forthcoming.
    This entry discusses the notion of a unit of normativity. This notion may be understood in two distinct ways. One way to understand a unit of normativity is as some particular type of assignment of normative status, e.g., a requirement, an ought, a reason, or a permission. A second way to understand a unit of normativity is as a measure of a quantity of normativity, perhaps associated with the numerical assignment given to the strength of reasons. This entry outlines some basic differences among…Read more
  •  6
    Does friendship give us non-derivative partial reasons?
    Les Ateliers de L’Ethique 3 (1): 70-79. 2008.
    One way to approach the question of whether there are non-derivative partial reasons of any kind is to give an account of what partial reasons are, and then to consider whether there are such reasons. If there are, then it is at least possible that there are partial reasons of friendship. It is this approach that will be taken here, and it produces several interesting results. The first is a point about the structure of partial reasons. It is at least a necessary condition of a reason’s being pa…Read more
  •  197
    Conflicts of Normativity
    Dissertation, University of Oxford. 2004.
    The thesis contains my early work arguing against evidentialism for reasons for belief (chapter 1), my early argument that rationality is not normative (chapter 2), an argument that rationality is not responding reasons, at least understood in one way (chapter 2), a general discussion of how normative conflicts might (appear to) arise in many different ways (chapter 3), a discussion of how to weigh pragmatic and evidential reasons for belief (chapter 4), and a discussion of the general structur…Read more
  •  193
    This book develops a view, welfare pluralism, which comprises two theses. One is that there are both irreducibly alethic or epistemic reasons for belief and irreducibly pragmatic (and non-alethic) reasons for belief. The other is that despite this, the source of all normativity is pragmatic in a particular way, i.e. that all reasons are reasons in virtue of their being conducive to wellbeing. The pluralist theory of reasons emerges from the irreducibly plural nature of the components of wellbein…Read more
  •  562
    Fittingness, Value and trans-World Attitudes
    Philosophical Quarterly (260): 1-22. 2015.
    Philosophers interested in the fitting attitude analysis of final value have devoted a great deal of attention to the wrong kind of reasons problem. This paper offers an example of the reverse difficulty, the wrong kind of value problem. This problem creates deeper challenges for the fitting attitude analysis and provides independent grounds for rejecting it, or at least for doubting seriously its correctness.
  •  410
    In this paper I argue against the stronger of the two views concerning the right and wrong kind of reasons for belief, i.e. the view that the only genuine normative reasons for belief are evidential. The project in this paper is primarily negative, but with an ultimately positive aim. That aim is to leave room for the possibility that there are genuine pragmatic reasons for belief. Work is required to make room for this view, because evidentialism of a strict variety remains the default view in …Read more
  •  578
    Abandoning the buck passing analysis of final value
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (4). 2009.
    In this paper it is argued that the buck-passing analysis (BPA) of final value is not a plausible analysis of value and should be abandoned. While considering the influential wrong kind of reason problem and other more recent technical objections, this paper contends that there are broader reasons for giving up on buck-passing. It is argued that the BPA, even if it can respond to the various technical objections, is not an attractive analysis of final value. It is not attractive for two reasons:…Read more
  •  640
    Normative Conflicts and the Structure of Normativity
    In Iwao Hirose & Andrew Reisner (eds.), Weighing and Reasoning: Themes from the Work of John Broome, Oxford University Press. 2015.
    This paper considers the relation between the sources of normativity, reasons, and normative conflicts. It argues that common views about how normative reasons relate to their sources have important consequences for how we can understand putative normative conflicts.
  •  1074
    Ethics for Fish
    In Anne Barnhill, Mark Budolfson & Tyler Doggett (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Food Ethics, Oxford University Press. pp. 189-208. 2018.
    In this chapter we discuss some of the central ethical issues specific to eating and harvesting fish. We survey recent research on fish intelligence and cognition and discuss possible considerations that are distinctive to questions about the ethics of eating fish as opposed to terrestrial and avian mammals. We conclude that those features that are distinctive to the harvesting and consumption of fish, including means of capture and the central role that fishing plays in many communities, do not…Read more
  •  555
    Leaps of Knowledge
    In Timothy Chan (ed.), The Aim of Belief, Oxford University Press. pp. 167-183. 2013.
    This paper argues that both a limited doxastic voluntarism and anti-evidentialism are consistent with the views that the aim of belief is truth or knowledge and that this aim plays an important role in norm-setting for beliefs. More cautiously, it argues that limited doxastic voluntarism is (or would be) a useful capacity for agents concerned with truth tracking to possess, and that having it would confer some straightforward benefits of both an epistemic and non-epistemic variety to an agent c…Read more
  •  345
    Two Thesis about the Distinctness of Practical and Theoretical Normativity
    In C. McHugh, J. Way & D. Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical, Oxford University Press. pp. 221-240. 2018.
    In tradition linked to Aristotle and Kant, many contemporary philosophers treat practical and theoretical normativity as two genuinely distinct domains of normativity. In this paper I consider the question of what it is for normative domains to be distinct. I suggest that there are two different ways that the distinctness thesis might be understood and consider the different implications of the two different distinctness theses.
  •  860
    Is the Enkratic Principle a Requirement of Rationality?
    Organon F: Medzinárodný Časopis Pre Analytickú Filozofiu 20 (4): 436-462. 2013.
    In this paper I argue that the enkratic principle in its classic formulation may not be a requirement of rationality. The investigation of whether it is leads to some important methodological insights into the study of rationality. I also consider the possibility that we should consider rational requirements as a subset of a broader category of agential requirements.
  •  243
    Unifying the requirements of rationality
    Philosophical Explorations 12 (3): 243-260. 2009.
    This paper looks at the question of what form the requirements of practical rationality take. One common view is that the requirements of rationality are wide-scope, and another is that they are narrow-scope. I argue that the resolution to the question of wide-scope versus narrow-scope depends to a significant degree on what one expects a theory of rationality to do. In examining these expectations, I consider whether there might be a way to unify requirements of both forms into a single theory …Read more
  •  218
    Does Friendship Give Us non-Derivative Partial Reasons
    Les ateliers de l'éthique/The Ethics Forum 3 (1): 70-78. 2008.
    One way to approach the question of whether there are non-derivative partial reasons of any kind is to give an account of what partial reasons are, and then to consider whether there are such reasons. If there are, then it is at least possible that there are partial reasons of friendship. It is this approach that will be taken here, and it produces several interesting results. The first is a point about the structure of partial reasons. It is at least a necessary condition of a reason’s being pa…Read more
  •  401
    This chapter addresses an ambiguity in some of the literature on rational peer disagreement about the use of the term 'rational'. In the literature 'rational' is used to describe a variety of normative statuses related to reasons, justification, and reasoning. This chapter focuses most closely on the upshot of peer disagreement for what is rationally required of parties to a peer disagreement. This follows recent work in theoretical reason which treats rationality as a system of requirements amo…Read more
  •  797
    A Short Refutation of Strict Normative Evidentialism
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (5): 1-9. 2014.
    This paper shows that strict evidentialism about normative reasons for belief is inconsistent with taking truth to be the source of normative reasons for belief. It does so by showing that there are circumstances in which one can know what truth requires one to believe, yet still lack evidence for the contents of that belief.
  •  558
    Metaethics for Everyone
    Problema 4 39-64. 2010.
    As Dworkin puts it: moral scepticism is a moral view. This is in contrast to the more popular idea that the real challenge for moral realism is external scepticism, scepticism which arises because of non-moral considerations about the metaphysics of morality. I, too, do not concur with Dworkin’s strongest conclusions about the viability of external scepticism. But, I think his criticism of error scepticism offers a much needed corrective to more traditional metaethical projects. My aim in th…Read more
  •  36
    Weighing and Reasoning: Themes From the Philosophy of John Broome (edited book)
    Oxford University Press UK. 2015.
    John Broome has made major contributions to, and radical innovations in, contemporary moral philosophy. His research combines the formal method of economics with the philosophical analysis. Broome's works stretch over formal axiology, decision theory, philosophy of economics, population axiology, the value of life, the ethics of climate change, the nature of rationality, and practical and theoretical reasoning. Weighing and Reasoning brings together fifteen original essays from leading philosoph…Read more
  •  226
    John Broome
    In Robert Audi (ed.), The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Cambridge University Press. 2015.
    A short encyclopaedia entry on John Broome
  •  272
    Weighing pragmatic and evidential reasons for belief
    Philosophical Studies 138 (1). 2008.
    In this paper I argue that we can give a plausible account of how to compare pragmatic and evidential normative reasons for belief. The account I offer is given in the form of a ‘defeasing function’. This function allows for a sophisticated comparison of the two types of reasons without assigning complex features to the logical structures of either type of reason.
  •  772
    Evidentialism and the Numbers Game
    Theoria 73 (4): 304-316. 2007.
    In this paper I introduce an objection to normative evidentialism about reasons for belief. The objection arises from difficulties that evidentialism has with explaining our reasons for belief in unstable belief contexts with a single fixed point. I consider what other kinds of reasons for belief are relevant in such cases.
  •  198
    Prima Facie and Pro Tanto Oughts
    In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Blackwells. 2013.
    There are many uses in English of the word “ought” (see Ought). This essay concerns the normative uses and the concepts or properties denoted thereby. In particular, it concerns two nonfinal oughts commonly used in the philosophical literature: prima facie oughts and pro tanto oughts.
  •  205
    Reasons for Belief (edited book)
    Cambridge University Press. 2011.
    Philosophers have long been concerned about what we know and how we know it. Increasingly, however, a related question has gained prominence in philosophical discussion: what should we believe and why? This volume brings together twelve new essays that address different aspects of this question. The essays examine foundational questions about reasons for belief, and use new research on reasons for belief to address traditional epistemological concerns such as knowledge, justification and percept…Read more
  •  263
    [Please note, this paper has been for the most part superseded by 'Unifying the Requirements of Rationality'] In the last decade, it has become commonplace among people who work on reasons (although not uncontroversially so) to distinguish between normativity and rationality. Work by John Broome, Niko Kolodny, Derek Parfit, and Nicholas Shackel has helped to establish the view that rationality is conceptually distinct from reasons. The distinction allows us to make sense of the questions recentl…Read more
  •  629
    According to moral testimony pessimists, the testimony of moral experts does not provide non-experts with normative reasons for belief. Moral testimony optimists hold that it does. We first aim to show that moral testimony optimism is, to the extent such things may be shown, the more natural view about moral testimony. Speaking roughly, the supposed discontinuity between the norms of moral beliefs and the norms of non-moral beliefs, on careful reflection, lacks the intuitive advantage that it is…Read more