King's College London
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2010
  •  8
    On mental illness and broken brains
    Think 20 (58): 103-112. 2021.
    We often hear that certain mental disorders are disorders of the brain, but it is not clear what this claim amounts to. Does it mean that they are like classic brain diseases such as brain cancer? I argue that this is not the case for most mental disorders. Neither does the claim that all mental disorders are brain disorders follow from a materialist world-view. The only plausible way of understanding mental disorders as brain disorders is a fairly modest one, where we label brain differences we…Read more
  • Brain Pathology and Moral Responsibility
    In Matt King & Joshua May (eds.), Agency in Mental Disorder: Philosophical Dimensions, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    Does a diagnosis of brain dysfunction matter for ascriptions of moral responsibility? This chapter argues that, while knowledge of brain pathology can inform judgments of moral responsibility, its evidential value is currently limited for a number of practical and theoretical reasons. These include the problem of establishing causation from correlational data, drawing inferences about individuals from group data, and the reliance of the interpretation of brain findings on well-established psycho…Read more
  •  12
    Social Dimensions of Moral Responsibility
    Philosophical Quarterly 70 (281): 868-870. 2020.
    Social Dimensions of Moral Responsibility. Edited By Hutchison Katrina, Mackenzie Catriona, Oshana Marina.
  •  125
    Why Free Will Is Real (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 70 (279): 432-435. 2020.
    Why Free Will Is Real. By List Christian.
  •  17
    Autobiographical stories do not merely offer insights into someone’s experience but can constitute evidence or even serve as self-standing arguments for a given viewpoint in the context of public debates. Such stories are likely to exercise considerable influence on debate participants’ views and behaviour due to their being more vivid, engaging, and accessible than other forms of evidence or argument. In this paper we are interested in whether there are epistemic and moral duties associated wit…Read more
  •  45
    Instrumentalism about Moral Responsibility Revisited
    Philosophical Quarterly 69 (276): 555-573. 2019.
    I defend an instrumentalist account of moral responsibility and adopt Manuel Vargas’ idea that our responsibility practices are justified by their effects. However, whereas Vargas gives an independent account of morally responsible agency, on my account, responsible agency is defined as the susceptibility to developing and maintaining moral agency through being held responsible. I show that the instrumentalism I propose can avoid some problems more crude forms of instrumentalism encounter by ado…Read more
  •  25
    Confabulation, Rationalisation and Morality
    Topoi 39 (1): 219-227. 2020.
    In everyday confabulation and rationalisation of behaviour, agents provide sincerely believed explanations of behaviour which are ill-grounded and normally inaccurate. In this paper, I look at the commonalities and differences between confabulations and rationalisations and investigate their moral costs and benefits. Following Summers and Velleman, I argue that both can be beneficial because they constrain future behaviour through self-consistency motivations. However, I then show that the same …Read more
  •  68
    Are Psychopaths Legally Insane?
    European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 14 (1): 79-96. 2018.
    The question of whether psychopaths are criminally and morally responsible has generated significant controversy in the literature. In this paper, we discuss what relevance a psychopathy diagnosis has for criminal responsibility. It has been argued that figuring out whether psychopathy is a mental illness is of fundamental importance, because it is a precondition for psychopaths’ eligibility to be excused via the legal insanity defense. But even if psychopathy counts as a mental illness, this al…Read more
  •  57
    What does it take to be a brain disorder?
    Synthese 197 (1): 249-262. 2020.
    In this paper, I address the question whether mental disorders should be understood to be brain disorders and what conditions need to be met for a disorder to be rightly described as a brain disorder. I defend the view that mental disorders are autonomous and that a condition can be a mental disorder without at the same time being a brain disorder. I then show the consequences of this view. The most important of these is that brain differences underlying mental disorders derive their status as d…Read more
  •  28
    Born to be biased? Unrealistic optimism and error management theory
    Philosophical Psychology 30 (8): 1159-1175. 2017.
    When individuals display cognitive biases, they are prone to developing systematically false beliefs. Evolutionary psychologists have argued that rather than being a flaw in human cognition, biases may actually be design features. In my paper, I assess the claim that unrealistic optimism is such a design feature because it is a form of error management. Proponents of this theory say that when individuals make decisions under uncertainty, it can be advantageous to err on the side of overconfidenc…Read more
  •  1628
    Slippery Slope Arguments
    Philosophy Compass 9 (10): 672-680. 2014.
    Slippery slope arguments are frequently dismissed as fallacious or weak arguments but are nevertheless commonly used in political and bioethical debates. This paper gives an overview of different variants of the argument commonly found in the literature and addresses their argumentative strength and the interrelations between them. The most common variant, the empirical slippery slope argument, predicts that if we do A, at some point the highly undesirable B will follow. I discuss both the quest…Read more
  •  28
    What is unrealistic optimism?
    with Lisa Bortolotti and Bojana Kuzmanovic
    Consciousness and Cognition 50 3-11. 2017.
  •  119
    On Blaming and Punishing Psychopaths
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 11 (1): 127-142. 2017.
    Current legal practice holds that a diagnosis of psychopathy does not remove criminal responsibility. In contrast, many philosophers and legal experts are increasingly persuaded by evidence from experimental psychology and neuroscience indicating moral and cognitive deficits in psychopaths and have argued that they should be excused from moral responsibility. However, having opposite views concerning psychopaths’ moral responsibility, on the one hand, and criminal responsibility, on the other, s…Read more
  •  19
    Affective and motivational influences in person perception
    with Bojana Kuzmanovic, Gary Bente, and Kai Vogeley
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7. 2013.