•  1610
    Reappraising the Manual Tradition
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 89 (4): 557-584. 2015.
    Following the Second Vatican Council, the predominant trend in Catholic moral theology has been decidedly antagonistic toward the tradition that dominated moral theology before the Council, namely the use and formulation of ecclesiastically-approved “manuals” or “handbooks” of moral theology, the contents of which chiefly involved general precepts of morally good and bad behavior as well as the extension of those precepts to particular cases. In this paper, I will oppose the dominant anti-manual…Read more
  •  830
    Moral intuitionism and disagreement
    Synthese 191 (12): 2767-2789. 2014.
    According to moral intuitionism, at least some moral seeming states are justification-conferring. The primary defense of this view currently comes from advocates of the standard account, who take the justification-conferring power of a moral seeming to be determined by its phenomenological credentials alone. However, the standard account is vulnerable to a problem. In brief, the standard account implies that moral knowledge is seriously undermined by those commonplace moral disagreements in whic…Read more
  •  663
    Being Appropriately Disgusted
    Journal of Value Inquiry 48 (1): 131-150. 2014.
    Empirical research indicates that feelings of disgust actually affect our moral beliefs and moral motivations. The question is, should they? Daniel Kelly argues that they should not. More particularly, he argues for what we may call the irrelevancy thesis and the anti-moralization thesis. According to the irrelevancy thesis, feelings of disgust should be given no weight when judging the moral character of an action (or norm, practice, outcome, or ideal). According to the anti-moralization thesi…Read more
  •  562
    The Prudent Conscience View
    International Philosophical Quarterly 54 (2): 127-141. 2014.
    Moral intuitionism, which claims that some moral seemings are justification-conferring, has become an increasingly popular account in moral epistemology. Defenses of the position have largely focused on the standard account, according to which the justification-conferring power of a moral seeming is determined by its phenomenal credentials alone. Unfortunately, the standard account is a less plausible version of moral intuitionism because it does not take etiology seriously. In this paper, I pro…Read more
  •  407
    Teaching the Debate
    Teaching Philosophy 39 (4): 401-412. 2016.
    One very common style of teaching philosophy involves remaining publicly neutral regarding the views being debated—a technique commonly styled ‘teaching the debate.’ This paper seeks to survey evidence from the literature in social psychology that suggests teaching the debate naturally lends itself to student skepticism toward the philosophical views presented. In contrast, research suggests that presenting one’s own views alongside teaching the debate in question—or ‘engaging the debate’—can ef…Read more
  •  153
    Virtue and Asceticism
    Philosophy 94 (1): 115-138. 2019.
    Although one can find a robust philosophical tradition supporting asceticism in the West, from ancient Greece to at least early modernity, very little attention has been paid to what motivated this broad support. Instead, following criticism from figures such as Hume, Voltaire, Bentham, and Nietzsche, asceticism has been largely disregarded as either eccentric or uniquely religious. In this paper, I provide what I take to be the core moral argument that motivated many philosophical ascetics. In …Read more
  •  104
    Disagreeing with Confidence
    Theoria 83 (4): 419-439. 2017.
    Does having an initially high level of justified confidence in a belief vindicate remaining steadfast in the face of disagreement? According to one prominent view in the literature, namely Jennifer Lackey's justificationist position, the answer is yes so long as one also has personal information that provides a symmetry-breaker. In this article, I raise a problem for the justificationist view. On the most straightforward reading of the justificationist position, personal information always provi…Read more
  •  20
    It is natural for us to wonder what should I do, and why? And although a combination of common sense and upbringing aids us in answering our questions, it is also natural for us to seek answers that are grounded in something deeper and more enduring than our personal dispositions and those of our parents. We seek a genuinely good life and the practical wisdom necessary to arrive at happiness. In this Introduction to Ethics, Brian Besong presents a comprehensive and contemporary introduction to t…Read more