• According to hedonistic act utilitarianism, an act is morally right if and only if, and because, it produces at least as much pleasure minus pain as any alternative act available to the agent. This dissertation gives a partial defense of utilitarianism against two types of objections: action guidance objections and intuitive objections. In Chapter 1, the main themes of the dissertation are introduced. The chapter also examines questions of how to understand utilitarianism, including (a) how to …Read more
  • Effective Altruism’s Underspecification Problem
    In Hilary Greaves & Theron Pummer (eds.), Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues, Oxford University Press. pp. 166-183. 2019.
    Effective altruists either believe they ought to be, or strive to be, doing the most good they can. Since they’re human, however, effective altruists are invariably fallible. In numerous situations, even the most committed EAs would fail to live up to the ideal they set for themselves. This fact raises a central question about how to understand effective altruism. How should one’s future prospective failures at doing the most good possible affect the current choices one makes as an effective alt…Read more
  • Three Dualisms: Sidgwick, Green, and Bradley
    Collingwood and British Idealism Studies 25 (1): 161-187. 2019.
  • I offer a fresh interpretation of the dialectical strategy of Physics 2.8’s arguments that things in nature happen for the sake of something. Whereas many recent interpreters have concluded that these arguments inevitably beg the question against Aristotle’s opponents, I argue that they constitute a careful attempt to build common ground with an opponent who rejects Aristotle’s basic worldview. This common ground, first articulated in the famous Winter Rain Argument, takes the form of an intrigu…Read more
  • Welfarism is a theory of value (or the good) simpliciter. Theories of value are fundamentally concerned with explaining what makes some possible worlds better than others. Welfarism is the view according to which the relative value of possible worlds is fully determined by how individuals are faring—or, in other words, by the facts about well-being that obtain—in these worlds. This entry begins by distinguishing between various forms of welfarism (pure vs. impure welfarism, and then narrow vs. w…Read more
  • What’s Wrong with “You Say You’re Happy, but…” Reasoning?
    In David Wasserman & Adam Cureton (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Disability, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    Disability-positive philosophers often note a troubling tendency to dismiss what disabled people say about their well-being. This chapter seeks to get clearer on why this tendency might be troubling. It argues that recent appeals to lived experience, testimonial injustice, and certain challenges to adaptive-preference reasoning do not fully explain what is wrong with questioning the happiness of disabled people. It then argues that common attempts to debunk the claim that disabled people are hap…Read more