•  897
    May I Treat A Collective As A Mere Means
    American Philosophical Quarterly 51 (3): 273-284. 2014.
    According to Kant, it is impermissible to treat humanity as a mere means. If we accept Kant's equation of humanity with rational agency, and are literalists about ascriptions of agency to collectives it appears to follow that we may not treat collectives as mere means. On most standard accounts of what it is to treat something as a means this conclusion seems highly implausible. I conclude that we are faced with a range of options. One would be to rethink the equation of humanity with rationalit…Read more
  •  887
    Epicurean Wills, Empty Hopes, and the Problem of Post Mortem Concern
    Philosophical Papers 45 (1-2): 289-315. 2016.
    Many Epicurean arguments for the claim that death is nothing to us depend on the ‘Experience Constraint’: the claim that something can only be good or bad for us if we experience it. However, Epicurus’ commitment to the Experience Constraint makes his attitude to will-writing puzzling. How can someone who accepts the Experience Constraint be motivated to bring about post mortem outcomes?We might think that an Epicurean will-writer could be pleased by the thought of his/her loved ones being provi…Read more
  •  879
    In this paper I discuss a number of different relationships between two kinds of obligation: those which have individuals as their subject, and those which have groups of individuals as their subject. I use the name collective obligations to refer to obligations of the second sort. I argue that there are collective obligations, in this sense; that such obligations can give rise to and explain obligations which fall on individuals; that because of these facts collective obligations are not simply…Read more
  •  844
    Several philosophers think there are important analogies between emotions and perceptual states. Furthermore, considerations about the rational assessibility of emotions have led philosophers—in some cases, the very same philosophers—to think that the content of emotions must be propositional content. If one finds it plausible that perceptual states have propositional contents, then there is no obvious tension between these views. However, this view of perception has recently been attacked by ph…Read more
  •  812
    Global obligations and the agency objection
    Ratio 23 (2): 217-231. 2010.
    Many authors hold that collectives, as well as individuals can be the subjects of obligations. Typically these authors have focussed on the obligations of highly structured groups, and of small, informal groups. One might wonder, however, whether there could also be collective obligations which fall on everyone – what I shall call ' global collective obligations '. One reason for thinking that this is not possible has to do with considerations about agency : it seems as though an entity can only…Read more
  •  713
    Ambivalence for Cognitivists: A Lesson from Chrysippus?
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 6 (1): 147-156. 2017.
    Ambivalence—where we experience two conflicting emotional responses to the same object, person or state of affairs—is sometimes thought to pose a problem for cognitive theories of emotion. Drawing on the ideas of the Stoic Chrysippus, I argue that a cognitivist can account for ambivalence without retreating from the view that emotions involve fully-fledged evaluative judgments. It is central to the account I offer that emotions involve two kinds of judgment: one about the object of emotion, and …Read more
  •  707
    From Global Collective Obligations to Institutional Obligations
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 38 (1): 171-186. 2014.
    According to Wringe 2006 we have good reasons for accepting the existence of Global Collective Obligations - in other words, collective obligations which fall on the world’s population as a whole. One such reason is that the existence of such obligations provides a plausible solution a problem which is sometimes thought to arise if we think that individuals have a right to have their basic needs satisfied. However, obligations of this sort would be of little interest – either theoretical or pr…Read more
  •  706
    Many philosophers hold that punishment has an expressive dimension. Advocates of expressive theories have different views about what makes punishment expressive, what kinds of mental states and what kinds of claims are, or legitimately can be expressed in punishment, and to what kind of audience or recipients, if any, punishment might express whatever it expresses. I shall argue that in order to assess the plausibility of an expressivist approach to justifying punishment we need to pay careful a…Read more
  •  682
    Thomas Pogge has argued, famously, that ‘we’ are violating the rights of the global poor insofar as we uphold an unjust international order which provides a legal and economic framework within which individuals and groups can and do deprive such individuals of their lives, liberty and property. I argue here that Pogge’s claim that we are violating a negative duty can only be made good on the basis of a substantive theory of collective action; and that it can only provide substantive ethical gui…Read more
  •  625
    Punishment, Forgiveness and Reconciliation
    Philosophia 44 (4): 1099-1124. 2016.
    It is sometimes thought that the normative justification for responding to large-scale violations of human rights via the judicial appararatus of trial and punishment is undermined by the desirability of reconciliation between conflicting parties as part of the process of conflict resolution. I take there to be philosophical, as well as practical and psychological issues involved here: on some conceptions of punishment and reconciliation, the attitudes that they involve conflict with one anothe…Read more
  •  607
    Perp Walks as Punishment
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (3): 615-629. 2015.
    When Dominique Strauss-Kahn, then head of the IMF, was arrested on charges of sexual assault arising from events that were alleged to have occurred during his stay in an up-market hotel in New York, a sizeable portion of French public opinion was outraged - not by the possibility that a well-connected and widely-admired politician had assaulted an immigrant hotel worker, but by the way in which the accused had been treated by the American authorities. I shall argue that in one relatively minor r…Read more
  •  591
    Global obligations, collective capacities, and ‘ought implies can’
    Philosophical Studies 177 (6): 1523-1538. 2020.
    It is sometimes argued that non-agent collectives, including what one might call the ‘global collective’ consisting of the world’s population taken as a whole, cannot be the bearers of non-distributive moral obligations on pain of violating the principle that ‘ought implies can’. I argue that one prominent line of argument for this conclusion fails because it illicitly relies on a formulation of the ‘ought implies can’ principle which is inapt for contexts which allow for the possibility of non-…Read more
  •  477
    Non‐paradigmatic punishments
    Philosophy Compass 17 (5). 2022.
    Philosophy Compass, Volume 17, Issue 5, May 2022.
  •  355
    It is natural to think of political philosophy as being concerned with reflection on some of the ways in which groups of human beings come together to confront together the problems that they face together: in other words, as the domain, par excellence, of collective action. From this point of view it might seem surprising that the notion of collective obligation rarely assumes centre-stage within the subject. If there are, or can be, collective obligations, then these must surely constrain the…Read more
  •  345
    Global Obligations and the Human Right to Health
    In Isaacs Tracy, Hess Kendy & Igneski Violetta (eds.), Collective Obligation: Ethics, Ontology and Applications, . forthcoming.
    In this paper I attempt to show how an appeal to a particular kind of collective obligation - a collective obligation falling on an unstructured collective consisting of the world’s population as a whole – can be used to undermine recently influential objections to the idea that there is a human right to health which have been put forward by Gopal Sreenivasan and Onora O’Neill. I take this result to be significant both for its own sake and because it helps to answer a challenge often put to T…Read more
  •  258
    I shall argue that advocates of denunciatory forms of expressivism can make a good case for restricting the range of measures that can be an appropriate form of punishment. They can do so by focusing not on the conditions of uptake of the message conveyed by punishment, but by the content of that message. For it is plausible that part of that message should be that the offender is a responsible agent and a member of the political community. Forms of punishment which do not treat the offender as …Read more
  •  253
    Punishing Noncitizens
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 38 (3): 384-400. 2020.
    In this paper, I discuss a distinctively non-paradigmatic instance of punishment: the punishment of non-citizens. I shall argue that the punishment of non-citizens presents considerable difficulties for one currently popular account of criminal punishment: Antony Duff’s communicative expressive theory of punishment. Duff presents his theory explicitly as an account of the punishment of citizens - and as I shall argue, this is not merely an incidental feature of his account. However, it is plau…Read more
  •  241
    Punishment, Judges and Jesters: A Reply to Nathan Hanna
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. forthcoming.
    Nathan Hanna has recently addressed a claim central to my 2013 article ‘Must Punishment Be Intended to Cause Suffering’ and to the second chapter of my 2016 book An Expressive Theory of Punishment: namely, that punishment need not involve an intention to cause suffering. Hanna defends what he calls the ‘Aim To Harm Requirement’ (AHR), which he formulates as follows. AHR: ‘an agent punishes a subject only if the agent intends to harm the subject’ (Hanna 2017 p969). I’ll try to show in this note …Read more
  •  177
    Must Punishment Be Intended to Cause Suffering?
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (4): 863-877. 2013.
    It has recently been suggested that the fact that punishment involves an intention to cause suffering undermines expressive justifications of punishment. I argue that while punishment must involve harsh treatment, harsh treatment need not involve an intention to cause suffering. Expressivists should adopt this conception of harsh treatment
  •  146
    Is folk psychology a Lakatosian research program?
    Philosophical Psychology 15 (3): 343-358. 2002.
    It has often been argued, by philosophers and more recently by developmental psychologists, that our common-sense conception of the mind should be regarded as a scientific theory. However, those who advance this view rarely say much about what they take a scientific theory to be. In this paper, I look at one specific proposal as to how we should interpret the theory view of folk psychology--namely, by seeing it as having a structure analogous to that of a Lakatosian research program. I argue tha…Read more
  •  130
    In a paper published in 2006, I argued that the best way of defending something like our current practices of punishing war criminals would be to base the justification of this practice on an expressive theory of punishment. I considered two forms that such a justification could take—a ‘denunciatory’ account, on which the purpose of punishment is supposed to communicate a commitment to certain kinds of standard to individuals other than the criminal and a ‘communicative’ account, on which the pu…Read more
  •  122
    This chapter applies insights from the expressive theory of punishment to the case of the punishment of war criminals by international tribunals. Wringe argues that although such cases are not paradigmatic cases of punishment, the denunciatory account can still cast light on them. He argues that war criminals can be seen as members of an international community for which international tribunals can act as a spokesperson. He also argues that in justifying the punishment lof war criminals we shoul…Read more
  •  115
    Cognitive individualism and the child as scientist program
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (4): 518-529. 2011.
    n this paper, I examine the charge that Gopnik and Meltzoff’s ‘Child as Scientist’ program, outlined and defended in their 1997 book Words, Thoughts and Theories is vitiated by a form of ‘cognitive individualism’ about science. Although this charge has often been leveled at Gopnik and Meltzoff’s work, it has rarely been developed in any detail. I suggest that we should distinguish between two forms of cognitive individualism which I refer to as ‘ontic’ and ‘epistemic’ cognitive individualism (OC…Read more
  •  93
    Collective Agents and Communicative Theories of Punishment
    Journal of Social Philosophy 43 (4): 436-456. 2012.
    This paper considers the applicability of expressive theories of punishment to the punishment of corporate entities. The author argues that although arguments which suggest that the denunciatory account is superior to a communicative account in paradigmatic cases of punishment cannot be transferred straightforwardly to cover this kind of case, there are other reasons, connected with the different attitudes we have to regret and remorse in individual and collective cases, for preferring a communi…Read more
  •  87
    Collective action and the peculiar evil of genocide
    Metaphilosophy 37 (3-4). 2006.
    There is a common intuition that genocide is qualitatively distinct from, and much worse than, mass murder. If we concentrate on the most obvious differences between genocidal killing and other cases of mass murder it is difficult to see why this should be the case. I argue that many cases of genocide involve not merely individual evil but a form of collective action manifesting a collective evil will. It is this that explains the moral distinctiveness of genocide. My view contrasts with one put…Read more
  •  84
    Pre-punishment, communicative theories of punishment, and compatibilism
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (2): 125-136. 2012.
    Saul Smilansky holds that there is a widespread intuition to the effect that pre-punishment – the practice of punishing individuals for crimes which they have not committed, but which we are in a position to know that they are going to commit – is morally objectionable. Smilanksy has argued that this intuition can be explained by our recognition of the importance of respecting the autonomy of potential criminals. (Smilansky, 1994) More recently he has suggested that this account of the intuition…Read more
  •  83
    Posidonius on Emotions and Non-Conceptual Content
    Prolegomena 10 (2): 185-213. 2011.
    In this paper I argue that the work of the unorthodox Stoic Posidonius - as reported to us by Galen - can be seen as making an interesting contribution to contemporary debates about the nature of emotion. Richard Sorabji has already argued that Posidonius' contribution highlights the weaknesses in some well-known contemporary forms of cognitivism. Here I argue that Posidonius might be seen as advocating a theory of the emotions which sees them as being, in at least some cases, two-level intentio…Read more
  •  75
    Simulation, co-cognition, and the attribution of emotional states
    European Journal of Philosophy 11 (3): 353-374. 2003.
    In this paper I argue that there is a viable simulationist account of emotion attribution. However, I also try to say something specific about the form that this account ought to take. I argue that someone who wants to give by a simulationist account of emotion attribution should focus on similarities between emotions and perceptual judgments.
  •  75
    Needs, Rights, and Collective Obligations
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 57 187-208. 2005.
    In this paper, I argue that a well-known objection to subsistence rights developed by Onora O'Neill - namely, that such rights would generate obligations without an obligation-bearer, can be answered if we take such rights to impose an obligation on the world's population, taken collectively.