•  14
    Review of Sumner, Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics (review)
    International Journal of Philosophical Studies 7 (2): 270-272. 1999.
    A review of L. W. Sumner, _Welfare, Happiness, and Ethics_ (Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. xii + 239.
  • Review of Sterba, Ethics: The Big Questions (review)
    APA Newsletter on Teaching Philosophy 99 273-274. 2000.
  • Review of R. M. Hare, Sorting Out Ethics (review)
    Mind 109 930-933. 2000.
  •  129
    A review of Alan H. Goldman, _Practical Rules: When We Need Them and When We Don’t_ (Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. xi + 210.
  •  9
    Review of Henry West, An Introduction to Mill's Utilitarian Ethics (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2004. 2004.
    A review of Henry R. West, _An Introduction to Mill’s Utilitarian Ethics_ (Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. xii + 216.
  •  116
    Review of Tim Mulgan, The Demands of Consequentialism (review)
    Utilitas 21 (1): 123-125. 2009.
    A review of Tim Mulgan, _The Demands of Consequentialism_ (Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. vi + 313.
  •  25
    Review of Martin Peterson, An Introduction to Decision Theory (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010. 2010.
    A review of Martin Peterson, _An Introduction to Decision Theory_ (Cambridge University Press, 2009), pp. x + 317.
  •  10
    Review of Garrett Cullity, Concern, Respect, and Cooperation (review)
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 1-4. forthcoming.
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  •  30
    Should Consequentialists Make Parfit's Second Mistake? A Refutation of Jackson
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78 (1). 2000.
    Frank Jackson claims that consequentialists should hold the view that Derek Parfit labels the second ‘mistake in moral mathematics’, which is the view that “If some act is right or wrong because of . . . effects, the only relevant effects are the effects of this particular act.” But each of the three arguments that Jackson offers is unsound. The root of the problem is that in order to argue for the conclusion Jackson aims to establish (that consequentialists should not regard the second “mistake…Read more
  •  59
    This paper discusses David Gauthier’s attempt to refine the theory underlying constrained maximization so that it ceases to have a certain implication that he regards as objectionable. It argues that the refinement Gauthier introduces may be initially appealing, but actually does his theory more harm than good.
  •  90
    Consequentialists typically think that the moral quality of one's conduct depends on the difference one makes. But consequentialists may also think that even if one is not making a difference, the moral quality of one's conduct can still be affected by whether one is participating in an endeavour that does make a difference. Derek Parfit discusses this issue – the moral significance of what I call ‘participation’ – in the chapter of Reasons and Persons that he devotes to what he calls ‘moral mat…Read more
  •  47
    Everything is what it is, and not another thing: Comments on Austin
    Southwest Philosophy Review 19 (2): 101-105. 2003.
    To specify the aspects of Austin’s position that I want to focus on, let me start by reviewing some of the things that Austin says in order to characterize ethical intuitionism. He writes, “I take an ethical intuition to be a type of synthetic a priori insight into the necessary character of reality specifically concerning that which is right and/or good” (p. 205), and he adds that he regards “ethical intuition as a source of foundationally justified belief” (p. 205). He goes on to write that On…Read more
  •  39
    According to G. E. Moore, moral expertise requires abilities of several kinds: the ability to factor judgments of right and wrong into (a) judgments of good and bad and (b) judgments of cause and effect, (2) the ability to use intuition to make the requisite judgments of good and bad, and (3) the ability to use empirical investigation to make the requisite judgments of cause and effect. Moore’s conception of moral expertise is thus extremely demanding, but he supplements it with some very simple…Read more
  •  37
    Procedural Justice in Young's Inclusive Deliberative Democracy
    Journal of Social Philosophy 35 (4). 2004.
    In her book _Inclusion and Democracy_, Iris Marion Young offers a defense of a certain model of deliberative democracy and argues that political institutions that conform to this model are just. I argue that Young gives two contradictory accounts of why such institutions are just, and I weigh the relative merits of two ways in which this contradiction can be resolved.
  •  31
    Reformulating Consequentialism: Railton’s Normative Ethics
    Philosophical Studies 126 (3). 2005.
    A critical examination of the chapters on normative ethics in Peter Railton’s Facts, Values, and Norms: Essays Toward a Morality of Consequence. It is argued that Railton’s theory of sophisticated consequentialism effectively handles issues of pollution and moral dilemma that Railton discusses, and that Railton’s more recent proposal of “valoric consequentialism,” if coupled with a non-act-utilitarian standard of rightness of the kind Railton discusses, is vulnerable to objections to which sophi…Read more
  • Current research on the human genome holds enormous long-term promise for improvements in health care, but it poses an immediate ethical challenge in the area of health insurance, by raising the question of whether insurers should be allowed to take genetic information about customers into account in the setting of premiums. It is widely held that such discrimination is immoral and ought to be illegal, and the prevalence of this view is understandable, given the widespread belief, which I endors…Read more
  •  28
    The Problem of Rational Compliance with Rules
    Journal of Value Inquiry 43 (1): 19-32. 2009.
    The problem of rational compliance with rules is the problem of how it can be rational for an agent to follow a rule with a purely consequentialist justification in a case in which she knows that she can do more good by breaking it. This paper discusses two ways in which responses to this problem can fail to address it, using Alan Goldman’s article “The Rationality of Complying with Rules: Paradox Resolved” as a case study.
  •  174
    Practical equilibrium, like reflective equilibrium, is a way of deciding what to think about morality. It shares with reflective equilibrium the general thesis that there is some way in which a moral theory must, in order to be acceptable, answer to one’s moral intuitions, but it differs from reflective equilibrium in its specification of exactly how a moral theory must answer to one’s intuitions. Whereas reflective equilibrium focuses on a theory’s consistency with those intuitions, practical e…Read more
  • Introduction
    In Ben Eggleston, Dale E. Miller & David Weinstein (eds.), John Stuart Mill and the Art of Life. pp. 3-18. 2011.
  •  17
    Decision Theory
    In Sacha Golub & Jens Timmermann (eds.), The Cambridge History of Moral Philosophy, . pp. 706-717. 2017.
    A book chapter (about 4,000 words, plus references) on decision theory in moral philosophy, with particular attention to uses of decision theory in specifying the contents of moral principles (e.g., expected-value forms of act and rule utilitarianism), uses of decision theory in arguing in support of moral principles (e.g., the hypothetical-choice arguments of Harsanyi and Rawls), and attempts to derive morality from rationality (e.g., the views of Gauthier and McClennen).
  •  19
    Most arguments in support of act utilitarianism are elaborations of one of two basic strategies. One is the consequentialist strategy. This strategy relies on the consequentialist premise that an act is right if and only if it produces the best possible consequences and the welfarist premise that the value of a state of affairs is entirely determined by its overall amount of well-being. The other strategy is based on the idea of treating individuals respectfully and resolving conflicts among ind…Read more
  •  71
    The Cambridge Companion to Utilitarianism (edited book)
    Cambridge University Press. 2014.
    Utilitarianism, the approach to ethics based on the maximization of overall well-being, continues to have great traction in moral philosophy and political thought. This Companion offers a systematic exploration of its history, themes, and applications. First, it traces the origins and development of utilitarianism via the work of Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, Henry Sidgwick, and others. The volume then explores issues in the formulation of utilitarianism, including act versus rule utilitaria…Read more
  •  23
    John Stuart Mill and the Art of Life (edited book)
    with Dale E. Miller and David Weinstein
    Oxford University Press. 2010.
    The 'Art of Life' is John Stuart Mill's name for his account of practical reason. In this volume, eleven leading scholars elucidate this fundamental, but widely neglected, element of Mill's thought. Mill divides the Art of Life into three 'departments': 'Morality, Prudence or Policy, and Æsthetics'. In the volume's first section, Rex Martin, David Weinstein, Ben Eggleston, and Dale E. Miller investigate the relation between the departments of morality and prudence. Their papers ask whether Mill …Read more
  •  31
    Accounting for the Data: Intuitions in Moral Theory Selection
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4): 761-774. 2014.
    Reflective equilibrium is often credited with extending the idea of accounting for the data from its familiar home in the sciences to the realm of moral philosophy. But careful consideration of the main concepts of this idea—the data to be accounted for and the kind of accounting it is appropriate to expect of a moral theory—leads to a revised understanding of the “accounting for the data” perspective as it applies to the discipline of moral theory selection. This revised understanding is in ten…Read more
  •  79
    Rejecting The Publicity Condition: The Inevitability of Esoteric Morality
    Philosophical Quarterly 63 (250): 29-57. 2013.
    It is often thought that some version of what is generally called the publicity condition is a reasonable requirement to impose on moral theories. In this article, after formulating and distinguishing three versions of the publicity condition, I argue that the arguments typically used to defend them are unsuccessful and, moreover, that even in its most plausible version, the publicity condition ought to be rejected as both question-begging and unreasonably demanding
  •  516
    Mill’s Moral Standard
    In Christopher Macleod & Dale E. Miller (eds.), A Companion to Mill, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. pp. 358-373. 2017.
    A book chapter (about 7,000 words, plus references) on the interpretation of Mill’s criterion of right and wrong, with particular attention to act utilitarianism, rule utilitarianism, and sanction utilitarianism. Along the way, major topics include Mill’s thoughts on liberalism, supererogation, the connection between wrongness and punishment, and breaking rules when doing so will produce more happiness than complying with them will.
  •  2
    India House Utilitarianism: A First Look
    Southwest Philosophy Review 23 (1): 39-47. 2007.