•  4
    This book offers a comprehensive study of the nature and significance of offense and offensiveness. It incorporates insights from moral philosophy and moral psychology to rationally reconstruct our ordinary ideas and assumptions about these notions. When someone claims that something is offensive, others are supposed to listen. Why? What is it for something to be offensive? Likewise, it’s supposed to matter if someone claims to have been offended. Is this correct? In this book, Andrew Sneddon ar…Read more
  •  3
    Polysemy in the Public Square. Racist Monuments in Diverse Societies
    Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche 10 (2). 2020.
    Monuments commemorating racists are theoretically and practically controversial. Just what these monuments represent is interpreted, in part, on grounds of identity. Since the public nature of such monuments renders them polysemous, ways of reasonably thinking about the relevant identity-based claims are needed. A distinction between an individualistic, psychological notion of identity and an interpersonal, way-of-living notion of identity is drawn. The former notion is illegitimate as a basis o…Read more
  •  8
    Self vs Other? Social Cognition, Extended Minds, and Self-Rule
    In Tadeusz Ciecierski & Paweł Grabarczyk (eds.), Context Dependence in Language, Action, and Cognition, De Gruyter. pp. 99-118. 2021.
    Humans are individuals qua objects, organisms and, putatively, minds. We are also social animals. We tend to value self-rule—i.e., the possession and exercise of the capacity or capacities that allow individuals to govern their lives. However, our sociality can call the possibility and value of such autonomy into question. The more we seem to be social animals, the less we seem to be capable of running our own lives. Empirical psychology has revealed surprising details about the extent to which …Read more
  •  9
    Fiona Woollard claims that negative facts are parts of sequences leading to upshots when they are contrary to the presuppositions of the local community. There are three problems with Woollard’s use of presuppositions. The first is that it fails to capture an important part of our everyday understanding of doing and allowing. The second is that negative facts can be suitable to be parts of sequences even when they accord with presuppositions. The third is that even when negative facts are contra…Read more
  •  25
    Alternative motivation and lies
    Analysis 81 (1): 46-52. 2021.
    An array of new cases of lies is presented in support of the idea that lying does not require an intention to be deceptive. The crucial feature of these cases is that the agents who lie have some sort of motivation to lie alternative to an intention to be deceptive. Such alternative motivation comes in multiple varieties, such that we should think that the possibility of lying without an intention to be deceptive is common.
  •  12
    Indeterminacy of identity and advance directives for death after dementia
    Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (4): 705-715. 2020.
    A persistent question in discussions of the ethics of advance directives for euthanasia is whether patients who go through deep psychological changes retain their identity. Rather than seek an account of identity that answers this question, I argue that responsible policy should directly address indeterminacy about identity directly. Three sorts of indeterminacy are distinguished. Two of these—epistemic indeterminacy and metaphysical indeterminacy—should be addressed in laws/policies regarding a…Read more
  •  16
    Why do ethicists eat their greens?
    Philosophical Psychology 33 (7): 902-923. 2020.
    Eric Schwitzgebel, Fiery Cushman, and Joshua Rust have conducted a series of studies of the thought and behavior of professional ethicists. They have found no evidence that ethical reflection yields distinctive improvements in behavior. This work has been done on English-speaking ethicists. Philipp Schönegger and Johannes Wagner replicated one study with German-speaking professors. Their results are almost the same, except for finding that German-speaking ethicists were more likely to be vegetar…Read more
  •  9
    American Philosophy of Technology: The Empirical Turn (review)
    Review of Metaphysics 56 (2): 409-410. 2002.
    American Philosophy of Technology: The Empirical Turn is an introduction to the thought about technology by Albert Borgmann, Hubert Dreyfuss, Andrew Feenberg, Donna Haraway, Don Ihde, and Langdon Winner. Each position is presented in a medium-length essay, along with a little biographical information and some criticism. Each essay is written by a different Dutch philosopher. The book is largely a translation of a 1997 Dutch publication. However, the essays on Borgmann, Feenberg, and Ihde have be…Read more
  •  25
    Well‐Being Blindness
    Metaphilosophy 50 (1-2): 130-155. 2019.
    Why are we still studying well-being? After more than two thousand years of Western philosophy, why do we lack a settled account of the good life for humans? Philosophical problems in general are perennial, and the nature of human well-being is one such problem. However, we seem to stand in an epistemic relationship to this topic that is not shared by other ones. We have a vested interest in understanding the good life, and the relevant data seem to be accessible to us all. The challenge is to e…Read more
  •  18
    No Hands, No Paradox
    Journal of Value Inquiry 53 (1): 125-144. 2019.
    The “dirty hands paradox” is found where it seems that we must do something wrong in order to act rightly. This paradox is generated by particular descriptions of states of affairs, particularly ones involving political power, in which hard choices have to be made. Other descriptions of these situations are available, and these do not generate the paradox. I argue that the descriptions that generate the dirty hands paradox are indefensible, and hence the paradox should be seen as a sign of a mi…Read more
  •  28
    Questions open and closed: lessons from metaethics for identity arguments for the existence of god
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 1-18. 2017.
    Identity arguments for the existence of god offer an intriguing blend of conceptual and existential claims. As it happens, this sort of blend has been probed for more than a century in metaethics, ever since G.E. Moore formulated the Open Question Argument against metaethical naturalism. Moore envisaged naturalism as offering identity claims between good and natural properties. His central worry was that such identity claims should render certain questions closed and hence meaningless. However, …Read more
  •  26
    Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism, written by Sarah Conly (review)
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 13 (5): 619-622. 2016.
  •  227
    abstract Debate about physician‐assisted suicide has typically focused on the values of autonomy and patient wellbeing. This is understandable, even reasonable, given the import‐ance of these values in bioethics. However, these are not the only moral values there are. The purpose of this paper is to examine physician‐assisted suicide on the basis of the values of equality and justice. In particular, I will evaluate two arguments that invoke equality, one in favour of physician‐assisted suicide, …Read more
  • Agents and Actions: Causation and Responsibility
    Dissertation, Queen's University at Kingston (Canada). 1999.
    I address the questions "What is an agent?" and "What is an action?" from the standpoint of reconciliatory naturalism: I am committed to the commensurability of the moral and natural scientific perspectives on the world. I treat humans as natural beings, subject to naturalistic inquiry. Yet I examine "action" and "agent" as primarily moral concepts, linked by the concept of responsibility : we attribute responsibility to agents for their actions. Taking our moral practice of attributing responsi…Read more
  •  15
    Action and Responsibility
    Springer. 2006.
    What makes an event count as an action? Typical answers appeal to the way in which the event was produced: e.g., perhaps an arm movement is an action when caused by mental states (in particular ways), but not when caused in other ways. I argue that this type of answer, which I call "productionism", is methodologically and substantially mistaken. In particular, productionist answers to this question tend to be either individualistic or foundationalist, or both, without explicit defence. Instead, …Read more
  •  50
    Communitarian and Liberal Themes in Moral Agency and Education
    with Mark Young
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (1): 105-120. 2011.
    Philosophers and psychologists have been vigorously examining the psychological capacities that realize our moral agency. Our purpose is to take some of this work and present its implications for moral education. To connect recent work with more long-standing debates in moral education, we frame this discussion with Helen Haste’s 1996 examination of liberal and communitarian positions on moral agency and education. We argue that contemporary research does not confirm the descriptive theory of mo…Read more
  •  75
    Symbolic Value
    Journal of Value Inquiry 50 (2): 395-413. 2016.
    We are familiar with the idea of symbolic value in everyday contexts, and philosophers sometimes help themselves to it when discussing other topics. However, symbolic value itself has not been sufficiently studied. What is it for something to have symbolic value? How important is symbolic value? The present purpose is to shed some light on the nature and significance of symbolic value. Two kinds of symbolic value are distinguished, called the ‘symbolic mode of valuing’ and ‘symbolism as a ground…Read more
  •  34
    Locating Happiness
    Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 49 77-81. 2008.
    Philosophers have long studied the nature of happiness and, as a consequence, have made recommendations about how to achieve it. The present paper argues that perhaps this has been a mistake. Empirical studies of happiness have been yielding important results in recent years, the implication of which is that happiness is more complex than philosophers have suspected. The crucial point is this: although very abstract and very individual-specific things can be said about happiness, there is nothin…Read more
  •  42
    Action: On Cause and Constitution
    Dialogue 43 (1): 157-. 2004.
    This is a response to Andrei Buckareff and Jing Zhu, who in "Causalisms Reconsidered" criticize my argument in, primarily, "Considering Causalisms" and, secondarily, in "Does Philosophy of Action Rest on a Mistake?".
  •  93
    Feeling Utilitarian
    Utilitas 15 (3): 330. 2003.
    Michael Stocker and Bernard Williams are recent proponents of the influential objection against utilitarianism that it leads to important forms of alienation. The famous response is that such objections are mistaken. The objections picture agents being motivated by the principle of utility, but, e.g., Peter Railton argues we should see this principle as purely normative – agents can be motivated any way they like and still be ‘objective’ consequentialists. I argue that this type of position is i…Read more
  •  207
    Towards externalist psychopathology
    Philosophical Psychology 15 (3): 297-316. 2002.
    The "width" of the mind is an important topic in contemporary philosophical psychology. Support for active externalism derives from theoretical, engineering, and observational perspectives. Given the history of psychology, psychopathology is notable in its absence from the list of avenues of support for the idea that some cognitive processes extend beyond the physical bounds of the organism in question. The current project is to defend the possibility, plausibility, and desirability of externali…Read more
  •  18
    Prioritizing Non-Human Bioengineering
    Ethics, Policy and Environment 15 (2). 2012.
    Ethics, Policy & Environment, Volume 15, Issue 2, Page 234-236, June 2012
  •  56
    The two most commonly discussed and implemented rationales for acquiring organs for transplantation give consent a central role. I argue that such centrality is a mistake. The reason is that practices of consent serve only to respect patients as autonomous beings. The primary issue in acquiring organs for transplantation, however, is how it is appropriate to treat a newly non-autonomous being. Once autonomy and consent are dislodged from their central position, considerations of utility and fair…Read more
  •  49
    Recipes for Moral Paradox
    American Philosophical Quarterly 49 (1): 43-54. 2012.
    Saul Smilansky notes that, despite the famous role of paradoxes in philosophy, very few moral paradoxes have been developed and assessed. The present paper offers recipes for generating moral paradoxes as a tool to aid in filling this gap. The concluding section presents reflections on how to assess the depth of the paradoxes generated with these recipes. Special attention is paid to links between putative moral paradoxes and debate about ethical particularism and generalism.
  •  43
    Semanticity: Which way to turn?
    Philosophia 29 (1-4): 211-239. 2002.
    In "What Minds Can Do" (1997), Pierre Jacob argues for the cognitive turn in the philosophy of mind. He formulates this in contrast with the linguistic turn, which privileges linguistic semanticity over mental semanticity. Jacob argues that the order of privilege should be the other way around. I argue for a third option, which I call the ecological turn, which dissolves the bifurcation explored by Jacob.
  •  211
    Moral responsibility: The difference of Strawson, and the difference it should make
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (3): 239-264. 2005.
    P.F. Strawson’s work on moral responsibility is well-known. However, an important implication of the landmark “Freedom and Resentment” has gone unnoticed. Specifically, a natural development of Strawson’s position is that we should understand being morally responsible as having externalistically construed pragmatic criteria, not individualistically construed psychological ones. This runs counter to the contemporary ways of studying moral responsibility. I show the deficiencies of such contempora…Read more
  •  13
    Action: On Cause and Constitution
    Dialogue 43 (1): 157-164. 2004.
    As Andrei Buckareff and Jing Zhu say in “Causalisms Reconsidered,” I, in my “Considering Causalisms”, considered two sorts of causalism, and I argued that we should only hold one of these varieties. I argued that Donald Davidson’s arguments in “Actions, Reasons, and Causes” provided reason for us to accept what I called causalismR, i.e., a causal understanding of reasons explanations. Insofar as we think reasons can be causes, we are causalists of this restricted sort. I argued, however, that Da…Read more
  •  65
    Rawlsian Decisionmaking and Genetic Engineering
    Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 15 (1): 35-41. 2006.
    This paper evaluates Sara Goering’s recent attempt to use the Rawlsian notion of the veil of ignorance as a tool for distinguishing permissible from impermissible forms of genetic engineering. I argue that her article fails due to a failure to include vital contextual information in the right way
  •  37
    Two views of emotional perception
    In Luc Faucher & Christine Tappolet (eds.), The Modularity of Emotions, University of Calgary Press. 2008.
    One stream in contemporary philosophical and psychological study of the emotions argues that they are perceptual capacities. The present project is to compare and contrast two possible models of emotional perception. The central difference between these models is the notion of modularity, and the corresponding overall view of the nature of the mind, that they use. One model uses classic, Fodorian modules, which S.L. Hurley characterizes as “vertical”. The other model uses “horizontal” modules. I…Read more