University of Arizona
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2014
Bowling Green, OH, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Value Theory
Normative Ethics
PhilPapers Editorships
  •  89
    Moralising to Impress
    The Philosophers' Magazine 91 46-52. 2020.
  •  347
    Moral grandstanding and political polarization: A multi-study consideration
    with Joshua B. Grubbs, Justin Tosi, and A. Shanti James
    Journal of Research in Personality 88. 2020.
    The present work posits that social motives, particularly status seeking in the form of moral grandstanding, are likely at least partially to blame for elevated levels of affective polarization and ideological extremism in the U.S. In Study 1, results from both undergraduates (N = 981; Mean age = 19.4; SD = 2.1; 69.7% women) and a cross-section of U.S. adults matched to 2010 census norms (N = 1,063; Mean age = 48.20, SD = 16.38; 49.8% women) indicated that prestige-motived grandstanding was cons…Read more
  •  30
    Grandstanding: The Use and Abuse of Moral Talk
    Oxford University Press. 2020.
    We are all guilty of it. We call people terrible names in conversation or online. We vilify those with whom we disagree, and make bolder claims than we could defend. We want to be seen as taking the moral high ground not just to make a point, or move a debate forward, but to look a certain way--incensed, or compassionate, or committed to a cause. We exaggerate. In other words, we grandstand. Nowhere is this more evident than in public discourse today, and especially as it plays out across the i…Read more
  •  496
    Moral grandstanding as a threat to free expression
    Social Philosophy and Policy 37 (2): 170-189. 2020.
    Moral grandstanding, or the use of moral talk for self-promotion, is a threat to free expression. When grandstanding is introduced in a public forum, several ideals of free expression are less likely to be realized. Popular views are less likely to be challenged, people are less free to entertain heterodox ideas, and the cost of changing one’s mind goes up.
  •  268
    Moral Grandstanding in Public Discourse: Status-Seeking Motives as a Potential Explanatory Mechanism in Predicting Conflict
    with Joshua B. Grubbs, Justin Tosi, A. Shanti James, and W. Keith Campbell
    PLoS ONE 14 (10). 2019.
    Public discourse is often caustic and conflict-filled. This trend seems to be particularly evident when the content of such discourse is around moral issues (broadly defined) and when the discourse occurs on social media. Several explanatory mechanisms for such conflict have been explored in recent psychological and social-science literatures. The present work sought to examine a potentially novel explanatory mechanism defined in philosophical literature: Moral Grandstanding. According to philos…Read more
  •  300
    Stump's Forgiveness
    European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 11 (1): 145-163. 2019.
    To love someone, Eleonore Stump tells us, is to have two desires: a desire her objective good and a desire for union with her. In Atonement, Stump claims that loving someone—understood as having these desires—is necessary and sufficient for morally appropriate forgiveness. I offer several arguments against this claim.
  •  58
    God’s Standing to Forgive
    Faith and Philosophy 34 (4): 381-402. 2017.
    It is generally thought that we cannot forgive people for things they do to others. I cannot forgive you for lying to your mother, for instance. I lack standing to do so. But many people believe that God can forgive us for things we do to others. How is this possible? This is the question I wish to explore. Call it the problem of divine standing. I begin by cataloging the various ways one can have standing to forgive a wrongdoer. I then provide two solutions to the problem of divine standing.
  •  34
    Many people believe that God has forgiven them for the wrong things they have done. What is the nature of God's forgiveness? In this essay, the second in a two-part series, I explore two further approaches to this question. I conclude by noting a few issues that, in my estimation, should be addressed in future philosophical discussions of the nature of divine forgiveness.
  •  39
    In this, the first essay in a two-part series, I begin by distinguishing between three kinds of inquiries about divine forgiveness. I then canvass two approaches to theorizing the nature of divine forgiveness, developing them in various ways, and noting where, in my estimation, there are problems.
  •  5704
    Moral Grandstanding
    Philosophy and Public Affairs 44 (3): 197-217. 2016.
    Moral grandstanding is a pervasive feature of public discourse. Many of us can likely recognize that we have engaged in grandstanding at one time or another. While there is nothing new about the phenomenon of grandstanding, we think that it has not received the philosophical attention it deserves. In this essay, we provide an account of moral grandstanding as the use of public discourse for moral self-promotion. We then show that our account, with support from some standard theses of social psyc…Read more
  •  161
    The Normative Significance of Forgiveness
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4): 687-703. 2016.
    ABSTRACTP.F. Strawson claimed that forgiveness is such an essential part of our moral practices that we could not extricate it from our form of life even if we so desired. But what is it about forgiveness that would make it such a central feature of our moral experience? In this paper, I suggest that the answer has to do with what I will call the normative significance of forgiveness. Forgiveness is normatively significant in the sense that, in its paradigmatic instances, forgiving alters the op…Read more
  •  643
    The Economic Model of Forgiveness
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (4): 570-589. 2016.
    It is sometimes claimed that forgiveness involves the cancellation of a moral debt. This way of speaking about forgiveness exploits an analogy between moral forgiveness and economic debt-cancellation. Call the view that moral forgiveness is like economic debt-cancellation the Economic Model of Forgiveness. In this article I articulate and motivate the model, defend it against some recent objections, and pose a new puzzle for this way of thinking about forgiveness
  •  91
    Does Situationism Threaten Free Will and Moral Responsibility?
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (6): 698-733. 2017.
    The situationist movement in social psychology has caused a considerable stir in philosophy. Much of this was prompted by the work of Gilbert Harman and John Doris. Both contended that familiar philosophical assumptions about the role of character in the explanation of action were not supported by experimental results. Most of the ensuing philosophical controversy has focused upon issues related to moral psychology and ethical theory. More recently, the influence of situationism has also given r…Read more
  •  750
    Is Forgiveness the Deliberate Refusal to Punish?
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (4): 613-620. 2011.
    In his paper, “The Paradox of Forgiveness“ (this Journal 6 (2009), p. 365-393), Leo Zaibert defends the novel and interesting claim that to forgive is deliberately to refuse to punish. I argue that this is mistaken
  •  141
    Artifact and Essence
    Philosophia 38 (3): 595-614. 2010.
    An essential property is a property that an object possesses in every possible world in which that object exists. An individual essence is a property (or set of properties) that an object possesses in every world in which that object exists, and that no other object possesses in any possible world. Call the claim that some artifacts possess an individual essence ‘artifactual essentialism’. I will argue that artifactual essentialism is true.
  •  98
    Situationism versus Situationism
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (1): 9-26. 2015.
    Most discussions of John Doris’s situationism center on what can be called descriptive situationism, the claim that our folk usage of global personality and character traits in describing and predicting human behavior is empirically unsupported. Philosophers have not yet paid much attention to another central claim of situationism, which says that given that local traits are empirically supported, we can more successfully act in line with our moral values if, in our deliberation about what to do…Read more
  •  723
    Articulate forgiveness and normative constraints
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (4): 1-25. 2015.
    Philosophers writing on forgiveness typically defend the Resentment Theory of Forgiveness, the view that forgiveness is the overcoming of resentment. Rarely is much more said about the nature of resentment or how it is overcome when one forgives. Pamela Hieronymi, however, has advanced detailed accounts both of the nature of resentment and how one overcomes resentment when one forgives. In this paper, I argue that Hieronymi’s account of the nature of forgiveness is committed to two implausible c…Read more
  •  112
    Moral Responsibility Invariantism
    Philosophia 39 (1): 179-200. 2011.
    Moral responsibility invariantism is the view that there is a single set of conditions for being morally responsible for an action (or omission or consequence of an act or omission) that applies in all cases. I defend this view against some recent arguments by Joshua Knobe and John Doris
  •  1543
    Punishment and Forgiveness
    In Jonathan Jacobs & Jonathan Jackson (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Criminal Justice Ethics, Routledge. pp. 203-216. 2017.
    In this paper we explore the relationship between forgiving and punishment. We set out a number of arguments for the claim that if one forgives a wrongdoer, one should not punish her. We then argue that none of these arguments is persuasive. We conclude by reflecting on the possibility of institutional forgiveness in the criminal justice setting and on the differences between forgiveness and acts of mercy.
  •  525
    Moral Responsibility, Forgiveness, and Conversation
    In Ishtiyaque Haji Justin Caouette (ed.), Free Will and Moral Responsibility, Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 189-2-11. 2013.
    In this paper, we explore how a conversational theory of moral responsibility can provide illuminating resources for building a theory about the nature and norms of moral forgiveness.
  •  95
    Two arguments against the punishment-forbearance account of forgiveness
    Philosophical Studies 165 (3): 915-920. 2013.
    One account of forgiveness claims that to forgive is to forbear punishment. Call this the Punishment-Forbearance Account of forgiveness. In this paper I argue that forbearing punishment is neither necessary nor sufficient for forgiveness