•  234
    Moral Facts and Best Explanations
    Social Philosophy and Policy 18 (2): 79. 2001.
    Do moral properties figure in the best explanatory account of the world? According to a popular realist argument, if they do, then they earn their ontological rights, for only properties that figure in the best explanation of experience are real properties. Although this realist strategy has been widely influential—not just in metaethics, but also in philosophy of mind and philosophy of science—no one has actually made the case that moral realism requires: namely, that moral facts really will fi…Read more
  •  219
    Moral Skepticism and Moral Disagreement in Nietzsche
    Oxford Studies in Metaethics 9. 2014.
    This chapter offers a new interpretation of Nietzsche’s argument for moral skepticism, an argument that should be of independent philosophical interest as well. On this account, Nietzsche offers a version of the argument from moral disagreement, but, unlike familiar varieties, it does not purport to exploit anthropological reports about the moral views of exotic cultures, or even garden-variety conflicting moral intuitions about concrete cases. Nietzsche, instead, calls attention to the single m…Read more
  •  195
    Morality in the pejorative sense: On the logic of Nietzsche's critique of morality
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 3 (1). 1995.
    (1995). Morality in the pejorative sense: On the logic of Nietzsche's critique of morality. British Journal for the History of Philosophy: Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 113-145
  •  179
    Nietzsche's theory of the will
    Philosophers' Imprint 7 1-15. 2007.
    The essay offers a philosophical reconstruction of Nietzsche’s theory of the will, focusing on (1) Nietzsche’s account of the phenomenology of “willing” an action, the experience we have which leads us (causally) to conceive of ourselves as exercising our will; (2) Nietzsche’s arguments that the experiences picked out by the phenomenology are not causally connected to the resulting action (at least not in a way sufficient to underwrite ascriptions of moral responsibility); and (3) Nietzsche’s ac…Read more
  •  160
    Evolutionary biology – or, more precisely, two (purported) applications of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, namely, evolutionary psychology and what has been called human behavioral biology – is on the cusp of becoming the new rage among legal scholars looking for interdisciplinary insights into the law. We argue that as the actual science stands today, evolutionary biology offers nothing to help with questions about legal regulation of behavior. Only systematic misrepresentati…Read more
  •  154
    The Future for Philosophy (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2004.
    Where does philosophy, the oldest academic subject, stand at the beginning of the new millennium? This remarkable volume brings together leading figures from most major branches of the discipline to offer answers. What remains of the "linguistic turn" in twentieth-century philosophy? How should moral philosophy respond to and incorporate developments in empirical psychology? Where might Continental and Anglophone feminist theory profitably interact? How has our understanding of ancient philosoph…Read more
  •  130
    Nietzsche’s Naturalism Reconsidered
    In Ken Gemes & John Richardson (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Nietzsche, Oxford University Press. 2013.
    This article revisits the author’s influential account of Nietzche as a philosophical naturalist. It identifies the sources of Nietzsche’s position in the German naturalism of the mid-nineteenth century, in particular the work of Friedrich Lange. His naturalism is, however, “speculative” in that he postulates causal mechanisms not confirmed by science. Nietzsche’s ambition to explain morality naturalistically coexists with a “therapeutic” ambition to induce some readers to escape from morality. …Read more
  •  120
    The case for Nietzschean moral psychology
    In Brian Leiter & Neil Sinhababu (eds.), Nietzsche and Morality, Oxford University Press. 2006.
    Contemporary moral psychology has been dominated by two broad traditions, one usually associated with Aristotle, the other with Kant. The broadly Aristotelian approach emphasizes the role of childhood upbringing in the development of good moral character, and the role of such character in ethical behavior. The broadly Kantian approach emphasizes the role of freely chosen conscious moral principles in ethical behavior. We review a growing body of experimental evidence that suggests that both of t…Read more
  •  116
    Nietzsche holds that people lack freedom of the will in any sense that would be sufficient for ascriptions of moral responsibility; that the conscious experience we have of willing is actually epiphenomenal with respect to the actions that follow that experience; and that our actions largely arise through non-conscious processes (psychological and physiological) of which we are only dimly aware, and over which we exercise little or no conscious control. At the same time, Nietzsche, always a mast…Read more
  •  112
  •  106
    This is a review essay (forthcoming in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews) discussing Christopher Janaway's book "Beyond Seflessness: Reading Nietzsche's 'Genealogy' (OUP, 2007). Particular attention is given to the question of Nietzsche's style, and the relationship between his philosophical positions and his therapeutic objectives; to Janaway's critique of my account of Nietzsche's naturalism; and to Nietzsche's conception of agency and the meaning of the image (from GM II:2) of "the sovereign i…Read more
  •  105
    Any reader of Foucault's corpus recognizes fairly quickly that it is animated by an ethical impulse, namely, to liberate individuals from a kind of oppression from which they suffer. This oppression, however, does not involve the familiar tyranny of the Leviathan or the totalitarian state; it exploits instead values that the victim of oppression herself accepts, and which then leads the oppressed agent to be complicit in her subjugation. It also depends, crucially, on a skeptical thesis about th…Read more
  •  104
    Normativity For Naturalists
    Philosophical Issues 25 (1): 64-79. 2015.
  •  91
    Nietzsche and aestheticism
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 30 (2): 275-290. 1992.
  •  91
    Naturalizing jurisprudence
    In John R. Shook & Paul Kurtz (eds.), The Future of Naturalism, Humanity Books. 2009.
    General jurisprudence-that branch of legal philosophy concerned with the nature of law and adjudication-has been relatively unaffected by the "naturalistic" strains so evident, for example, in the epistemology, philosophy of mind and moral philosophy of the past forty years. This paper sketches three ways in which naturalism might affect jurisprudential inquiry. The paper serves as a kind of precis of the main themes in my book NATURALIZING JURISPRUDENCE: ESSAYS ON AMERICAN LEGAL REALISM AND NAT…Read more
  •  85
    Objectivity in Law and Morals (edited book)
    Cambridge University Press. 2000.
    The seven original essays included in this volume from 2000, written by some of the world's most distinguished moral and legal philosophers, offer a sophisticated perspective on issues about the objectivity of legal interpretation and judicial decision-making. They examine objectivity from both metaphysical and epistemological perspectives and develop a variety of approaches, constructive and critical, to the fundamental problems of objectivity in morality. One of the key issues explored is that…Read more
  •  81
    In teaching jurisprudence, I typically distinguish between two different families of theories of adjudication—theories of how judges do or should decide cases. “Formalist” theories claim that the law is “rationally” determinate, that is, the class of legitimate legal reasons available for a judge to offer in support of his or her decision justifies one and only one outcome either in all cases or in some significant and contested range of cases ; and adjudication is thus “autonomous” from other k…Read more
  •  80
  •  80
    The Truth Is Terrible
    Journal of Nietzsche Studies 49 (2): 151. 2018.
    Nietzsche famously says, in his unusual autobiography EH and elsewhere in his corpus,1 that “the truth is terrible,” and I would like to begin by canvassing the various considerations in support of that conclusion, both ones that Nietzsche explicitly acknowledged, and also others, offered in a Nietzschean spirit, that support his verdict.First, for Nietzsche, as for Schopenhauer before him, there are the terrible existential truths about the human situation. The fact that all of us are destined …Read more
  •  74
    Legal Indeterminacy
    Legal Theory 1 (4): 481-492. 1995.
    To say that the law is indeterminate is to say that the class of legal reasons is indeterminate. The Class, in turn, consists of four components: 1. Legitimate sources of law ; 2. Legitimate interpretive operations that can be performed on the sources in order to generate rules of law ; 3. Legitimate interpretive operations that can be performed on the facts of record in order to generate facts of legal significance ; and 4. Legitimate rational operations that can be performed on facts and rules…Read more
  •  74
    The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2007.
    This Handbook will be an essential reference point for graduate students and professional academics working on continental philosophy, as well as those with an ...
  •  73
  •  72
    Against the two dominant strands in the secondary literature on Nietzsche's political philosophy - one attributing to Nietzsche a kind of flat-footed commitment to aristocratic forms of social ordering, the other denying that Nietzsche has any political philosophy at all-Tamsin Shaw stakes out a new and surprising position: namely, that Nietzsche was very much concerned with the familiar question of the moral or normative legitimacy of state power, but was skeptical that with the demise of relig…Read more