•  90
    A Defense of Temporal Well-Being
    Res Philosophica 98 (1): 117-123. 2021.
  •  114
    Letter from the Editors
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 7 (1). 2020.
  •  165
    How Should We Feel About Death?
    Philosophical Papers 44 (1): 1-14. 2015.
    This paper examines the implications of the context-sensitivity of counterfactuals for the correctness of emotions and attitudes towards death. I argue that the correctness of an attitude such as fear must be explained by appeal to its causal relations to certain preferences
  •  71
    Doing Away with Harm1
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2): 390-412. 2012.
  •  40
    The Nature of Intrinsic Value
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (2): 492-494. 2004.
    The concept of intrinsic value is central to ethical theory, yet in recent years high-quality book-length treatments of the subject have been scarce. This makes the arrival of Zimmerman’s book quite welcome. Zimmerman takes up several of the themes Moore was concerned with in Principia Ethica, but often reaches different conclusions; for example, Zimmerman argues that intrinsic goodness can be analyzed, and rejects Moore’s principle of organic unities. The book is rich with arguments, and I can …Read more
  •  8
    Suppose that at the moment of death, a person goes out of existence.1 This has been thought to pose a problem for the idea that death is bad for its victim. But what exactly is the problem? Harry Silverstein says the problem stems from the truth of the “Values Connect with Feelings” thesis (VCF), according to which it must be possible for someone to have feelings about a thing in order for that thing to be bad for that person (2000, 122). But in order for a person to have feelings about a thing,…Read more
  •  20
    Well-Being
    Polity. 2015.
    The concept of well-being plays a central role in moral and political theory. Policies and actions are justified or criticized on the grounds that they make people better or worse off. But is there really such a thing as well-being, and if so, what is it? Is it pleasure, desire-satisfaction, knowledge, virtue, achievement, some combination of these, or something else entirely? How can we measure well-being, amongst individuals and society? And how can we use it to make moral judgements about peo…Read more
  •  40
    Goodness and Justice (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1): 233-243. 2012.
    In Goodness and Justice, Joseph Mendola defends three related views in normative ethics: a novel form of consequentialism, a Bentham-style hedonism about “basic” value, and a maximin principle about the value of a world. In defending these views he draws on his views in metaethics, action theory, and the philosophy of mind. It is an ambitious and wide-ranging book. I begin with a quick explanation of Mendola’s views, and then raise some problems
  •  192
    “Doing and Allowing” and Doing and Allowing
    with Michael Stocker
    Ethics 115 (4): 799-808. 2005.
    We reply to Scheffler's "Doing and Allowing."
  •  424
    Against satisficing consequentialism
    Utilitas 18 (2): 97-108. 2006.
    The move to satisficing has been thought to help consequentialists avoid the problem of demandingness. But this is a mistake. In this article I formulate several versions of satisficing consequentialism. I show that every version is unacceptable, because every version permits agents to bring about a submaximal outcome in order to prevent a better outcome from obtaining. Some satisficers try to avoid this problem by incorporating a notion of personal sacrifice into the view. I show that these att…Read more
  •  38
    Saving People and Flipping Coins
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 3 (1): 1-13. 2008.
    Suppose you find yourself in a situation in which you can either save both A and B or save only C. A, B and C are relevantly similar – all are strangers to you, none is more deserving of life than any other, none is responsible for being in a life-threatening situation, and so on. John Taurek argued that when deciding what to do in such a situation, you should flip a coin, thereby giving each of A, B and C a 50% chance of survival . Only by doing this can we treat each person with the appropriat…Read more
  •  214
    Asymmetries in Benefiting, Harming and Creating
    The Journal of Ethics 17 (1-2): 37-49. 2013.
    It is often said that while we have a strong reason not to create someone who will be badly off, we have no strong reason for creating someone who will be well off. In this paper I argue that this asymmetry is incompatible with a plausible principle of independence of irrelevant alternatives, and that a more general asymmetry between harming and benefiting is difficult to defend. I then argue that, contrary to what many have claimed, it is possible to harm or benefit someone by bringing her into…Read more
  •  320
    Virtue consequentialism
    Utilitas 17 (3): 282-298. 2005.
    Virtue consequentialism has been held by many prominent philosophers, but has never been properly formulated. I criticize Julia Driver's formulation of virtue consequentialism and offer an alternative. I maintain that according to the best version of virtue consequentialism, attributions of virtue are really disguised comparisons between two character traits, and the consequences of a trait in non-actual circumstances may affect its actual status as a virtue or vice. Such a view best enables the…Read more
  •  287
    Benatar and the Logic of Betterness
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 4 (2): 1-6. 2010.
    David Benatar argues that creating someone always harms them. I argue that his master argument rests on a conceptual incoherence.
  •  164
    A paradox for some theories of welfare
    Philosophical Studies 133 (1). 2007.
    Sometimes people desire that their lives go badly, take pleasure in their lives going badly, or believe that their lives are going badly. As a result, some popular theories of welfare are paradoxical. I show that no attempt to defend those theories from the paradox fully succeeds.
  •  306
    The Worst Time to Die
    Ethics 118 (2): 291-314. 2008.
    At what stage of life is death worst for its victim? I hold that, typically, death is worse the earlier it occurs. Others, including Jeff McMahan and Christopher Belshaw, have argued that it is worst to die in early adulthood. In this paper I show that McMahan and Belshaw are wrong; I show that views that entail that Student’s death is worse face fatal objections. I focus in particular on McMahan’s time-relative interest account (TRIA) of the badness of death. Manuscript in progress.
  •  153
    Existential Terror
    The Journal of Ethics 19 (3-4): 409-418. 2015.
    Many of us feel existential terror when contemplating our future nonexistence. I examine several attempts to rationally justify existential terror. The most promising of these appeals to the effects of future nonexistence on the meaningfulness of our lives. I argue that even this justification fails, and therefore existential terror is irrational.
  •  244
    Doing Away with Harm
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 85 (2): 390-412. 2012.
    I argue that extant accounts of harm all fail to account for important desiderata, and that we should therefore jettison the concept when doing moral philosophy.
  •  83
    Narrativity, Freedom, and Redeeming the Past
    Social Theory and Practice 37 (1): 47-62. 2011.
    Many philosophers endorse the view that global or “narrative” features of a life at least partly determine its value. For instance, a life in which the subject redeems her past failures and sacrifices with later successes is thought to be better, ceteris paribus, than one in which her later successes are unrelated to her previous failures. In this paper I distinguish some views about narrative value, including Fischer’s views about the importance of free will for narrative value, and raise a num…Read more
  •  149
    The value of endangered species
    Journal of Value Inquiry 35 (1): 43-58. 2001.
    I argue against several extant views (Rolston, etc) about the value of endangered species. I argue that the best way to defend a non-anthropocentric view about the value of endangered species is to appeal to the intrinsic value of biological diversity.
  •  29
    Review of Robert merrihew Adams, A Theory of Virtue: Excellence in Being for the Good (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (5). 2007.
  •  107
    Extrinsic value
    Philosophical Studies 91 (2): 109-126. 1998.
  •  106
    The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Death (edited book)
    with Fred Feldman and Jens Johansson
    Oxford University Press USA. 2012.
    Death has long been a pre-occupation of philosophers, and this is especially so today. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Death collects 21 newly commissioned essays that cover current philosophical thinking of death-related topics across the entire range of the discipline. These include metaphysical topics--such as the nature of death, the possibility of an afterlife, the nature of persons, and how our thinking about time affects what we think about death--as well as axiological topics, such …Read more
  •  245
    Desires
    Mind 117 (466): 267-302. 2008.
    We argue that desire is an attitude that relates a person not to one proposition but rather to two, the first of which we call the object of the desire and the second of which we call the condition of the desire. This view of desire is initially motivated by puzzles about conditional desires. It is not at all obvious how best to draw the distinction between conditional and unconditional desires. In this paper we examine extant attempts to analyse conditional desire. From the failures of those …Read more
  •  39
    Intrinsic Value
    In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The International Encyclopedia of Ethics, Wiley-blackwell. 2013.
  •  221
    Is intrinsic value conditional?
    Philosophical Studies 107 (1). 2002.
    Accoding to G.E. Moore, something''s intrinsic valuedepends solely on its intrinsic nature. Recently Thomas Hurka andShelly Kagan have argued, contra Moore, that something''s intrinsic valuemay depend on its extrinsic properties. Call this view the ConditionalView of intrinsic value. In this paper I demonstrate how a Mooreancan account for purported counterexamples given by Hurka and Kagan. I thenargue that certain organic unities pose difficulties for the ConditionalView.