•  33
    What the Humean Theory of Motivation Gets Wrong
    Journal of Philosophical Research 44 157-178. 2019.
    I show that defenses of the Humean theory of motivation often rely on a mistaken assumption. They assume that desires are necessary conditions for being motivated to act because desires themselves have a special, essential, necessary feature, such as their world-to-mind direction of fit, that enables them to motivate. Call this the Desire-Necessity Claim. Beliefs cannot have this feature, so they cannot motivate. Or so the story goes. I show that: when pressed, a proponent of HTM encounters a se…Read more
  •  45
    Limitations on the Political
    Radical Philosophy Review 9 (2): 201-206. 2006.
  •  47
    Why Moral Status Matters for Metaethics
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (4): 471-490. 2018.
  •  55
    Two ways of relating to (and acting for) reasons
    with Daniel J. Povinelli
    Mind and Language 33 (5): 441-459. 2018.
  •  92
    In recent years, collective agency and responsibility have received a great deal of attention. One exciting development concerns whether collective, non-distributive responsibility can be assigned to collective non-agents, such as crowds and nation-states. I focus on an underappreciated aspect of these arguments—namely, that they sometimes derive substantive ontological conclusions about the nature of collective agents from these responsibility attributions. I argue that this order of inference,…Read more
  •  131
    Chimps as secret agents
    with Daniel J. Povinelli
    Synthese 193 (7): 2129-2158. 2016.
    We provide an account of chimpanzee-specific agency within the context of philosophy of action. We do so by showing that chimpanzees are capable of what we call reason-directed action, even though they may be incapable of more full-blown action, which we call reason-considered action. Although chimpanzee agency does not possess all the features of typical adult human agency, chimpanzee agency is evolutionarily responsive to their environment and overlaps considerably with our own. As such, it is…Read more
  •  160
    Among the available metaethical views, it would seem that moral realism—in particular moral naturalism—must explain the possibility of moral progress. We see this in the oft-used argument from disagreement against various moral realist views. My suggestion in this paper is that, surprisingly, metaethical constructivism has at least as pressing a need to explain moral progress. I take moral progress to be, minimally, the opportunity to access and to act in light of moral facts of the matter, whet…Read more
  •  80
    Constitutivism and the Self-Reflection Requirement
    Philosophia 44 (4): 1165-1183. 2016.
    Constitutivists explicitly emphasize the importance of self-reflection for rational agency. Interestingly enough, there is no clear account of how and why self-reflection plays such an important role for these views. My aim in this paper is to address this underappreciated problem for constitutivist views and to determine whether constitutivist self-reflection is normatively oriented. Understanding its normative features will allow us to evaluate a potential way that constitutivism may meet its …Read more
  •  134
    Why Care about Being an Agent
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (3): 488-504. 2017.
    The question ‘Why care about being an agent?’ asks for reasons to be something that appears to be non-optional. But perhaps it is closer to the question ‘Why be moral?’; or so I shall argue. Here the constitutivist answer—that we cannot help but have this aim—seems to be the best answer available. I suggest that, regardless of whether constitutivism is true, it is an incomplete answer. I argue that we should instead answer the question by looking at our evaluative commitments to the exercise of …Read more
  •  180
    I consider an underappreciated problem for proponents of the Humean theory of motivation. Namely, it is unclear whether is it to be understood as a largely psychological or largely metaphysical theory. I show that the psychological interpretation of HTM will need to be modified in order to be a tenable view and, as it will turn out, the modifications required render it virtually philosophically empty. I then argue that the largely metaphysical interpretation is the only a plausible interpretatio…Read more
  •  76
    I summarize and evaluate the aims of the collection From Individual to Collective Intentionality: New Essays edited by Sara Rachel Chant, Frank Hindriks and Gerhard Preyer in the context of the on-going debate about collective intentionality and group agency. I then consider the individual essays contained therein, both from the perspective of how they advance the collection’s goals and the coherence of their individual arguments.
  •  84
    What We Can Intend: Recognition and Collective Intentionality
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 54 (1): 5-26. 2016.
    The concept of recognition has played a role in two debates. In political philosophy, it is part of a communitarian response to liberal theories of distributive justice. It describes what it means to respect others’ right to self-determination. In ethics, Stephen Darwall argues that it comprises our judgment that we owe others moral consideration. I present a competing account of recognition on the grounds that most accounts answer the question of why others deserve recognition without answering…Read more
  •  76
    Shared Intention and Reasons for Action
    Philosophy of the Social Sciences 45 (6): 596-623. 2015.
    Most theories of intentional action agree that if acting for a reason is a necessary condition for the action in question to be an intentional action, the reason need not genuinely justify it. The same should hold for shared intentional action, toward which philosophers of action have recently turned their attention. I argue that some of the necessary conditions proposed for shared intention turn out to require that we deny this claim. They entail that shared intention is possible only if the pa…Read more