•  26
    This essay is prompted by the recent publication of a volume of critical essays on Derek Parfit’s On What Matters, along with a third volume of On What Matters responding to those essays. Parfit and his interlocutors often end up either barely engaging with one another, or engaging on terms that are often questionable. As others have done, I question Parfit’s radical bifurcation of a merely ‘psychological’ sense of caring, of what it is for a thing or creature to matter, and a ‘purely normative …Read more
  •  28
  •  19
    Guilt, Remorse and God: Response to Lynch and Dahanayake
    Philosophical Investigations 41 (1): 94-103. 2018.
  •  40
    Three contemporary perspectives on moral philosophy
    Philosophical Investigations 30 (1). 2007.
  •  11
    No need to go! Workplace studies and the resources of the revised National Statement
    with Colin Thomson
    Monash Bioethics Review 26 (3): 37. 2007.
    In their article ‘Unintended consequences of human research ethics committees: au revoir workplace studies?’, Greg Bamber and Jennifer Sappey set out some real obstacles in the practices and attitudes of some Human Research Ethics Committees, to research in the social sciences and particularly in industrial sociology. They sheet home these attitudes and practices to the way in which various statements in the NHMRC’s National Statement [1999] are implemented, which they say is often ‘in conflict …Read more
  •  44
    Guilt, remorse and victims
    Philosophical Investigations 30 (4). 2007.
  •  45
    Differences Between Sport and Art
    Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 15 (1): 31-47. 1988.
    No abstract
  •  40
    Review of Megan Laverty, Iris Murdoch's Ethics: A Consideration of Her Romantic Vision (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (6). 2008.
  •  116
    Life and death matters: Losing a sense of the value of human beings
    Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 26 (3): 207-226. 2005.
    The essay combines a specific and a more general theme. In attacking ‘the doctrine of the sanctity of human life’ Singer takes himself thereby to be opposing the conviction that human life has special value. I argue that this conviction goes deep in our lives in many ways that do not depend on what Singer identifies as central to that ‘doctrine’, and that his attack therefore misses its main target. I argue more generally that Singer’s own moral philosophy affords only an impoverished and distor…Read more
  •  51
    Foucault and ethical universality
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 47 (6). 2004.
    Foucault's resistance to a universalist ethics, especially in his later writings, is well-known. Foucault thinks that ethical universalism presupposes a shared human essence, and that this presupposition makes it a straitjacket, an attempt to force people to conform to an externally imposed 'pattern'. Foucault's hostility may be warranted for one - perhaps the usual - conception of ethical universality. But there are other conceptions of ethical universality that are not vulnerable to Foucault's…Read more
  •  21
    The Meaning of Graceful Movement
    Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 30 (2): 132-143. 2003.
    No abstract
  •  58
    Iris Murdoch, Philosopher: A Collection of Essays
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 51 (1): 142-143. 2013.
    This is a welcome volume. The many footnotes of praise for Iris Murdoch’s philosophical work were for many years not matched by actual discussion of it. This collection, long incubated and containing essays by many well-known figures with a continuing interest in Murdoch’s work, is one of several recent signs of this imbalance’s being righted. Anyone interested in Murdoch’s philosophical thinking—spilling over into ways it informs her novels—will find plenty to engage him here. A ninety-two page…Read more
  •  1
    This book shows how our moral concepts are nourished by awe, reverence, and various forms of love. These ways of encountering the world and other human beings inform our sense of good and evil, of justice and injustice, of obligation, of fidelity and betrayal, and of many virtues and vices. In ways moral philosophy commonly misses, this book shows moral understanding is broadened and deepened by what is disclosed only in these forms of encounter
  •  29
    Honour, Community, and Ethical Inwardness
    Philosophy 72 (281). 1997.
    Daniel Putman thinks I am right to hold that for Aristotle a concern to appear before one's peers in a certain way is internal to virtue. He takes me to suppose that things are otherwise under a ‘modern concept of virtue’, and says that I am wrong about this. Putman rightly distinguishes between a desire to look good before one's peers which is a substitute for virtue, and a desire to look good to them because, acting virtuously, ‘we genuinely deserve to be viewed that way’. Once this distinctio…Read more
  •  25
    The Aristotelian Character of Schiller’s Ethical Ideal
    International Studies in Philosophy 22 (1): 21-36. 1990.
  •  101
    Foucault, ethical self-concern and the other
    Philosophia 36 (4): 593-609. 2008.
    In his later writings on ethics Foucault argues that rapport à soi – the relationship to oneself – is what gives meaning to our commitment to ‘moral behaviour’. In the absence of rapport à soi, Foucault believes, ethical adherence collapses into obedience to rules (‘an authoritarian structure’). I make a case, in broadly Levinasian terms, for saying that the call of ‘the other’ is fundamental to ethics. This prompts the question whether rapport à soi fashions an ethical subject who is unduly sel…Read more
  •  40
    Cora Diamond and the Moral Imagination
    with Andrew Gleeson
    Nordic Wittgenstein Review 5 (1): 55-77. 2016.
    Over several decades, Cora Diamond has articulated a distinctive way of thinking about ethics. Prompted by a recent critique of Diamond, we elucidate some of the main themes of her work, and reveal their power to reconfigure and deepen moral philosophy. In concluding, we suggest that Diamond’s moral philosophical practice can be seen as one plausible way of fleshing out what Wittgenstein might have meant by his dictum that “ethics is transcendental”.
  •  41
    The work of Raimond Gaita, in books such as _Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception_, _A Common Humanity_ and _The Philosopher’s Dog_, has made an outstanding and controversial contribution to philosophy and to the wider culture. In this superb collection an international team of contributors explore issues across the wide range of Gaita’s thought, including the nature of good and evil, philosophy and biography, the unthinkable, Plato and ancient philosophy, Wittgenstein, the religious dimensions…Read more
  • Ethical Encounter: The Depth of Moral Meaning
    Philosophical Quarterly 53 (213): 624-626. 2003.
  •  100
    Two Conceptions of Love in Philosophical Thought
    Sophia 50 (3): 315-329. 2011.
    I distinguish, describe and explore two different conceptions of love that inform our lives. One conception found its classic philosophical articulation in Plato, the other its richest expressions in Christian thought. The latter has not had the same secure place in our philosophical traditon as the former. By trying to bring out what is distinctive in this second conception of love, centrally including its significance in revealing the fundamental value of human beings, I aim to show the import…Read more
  •  41
    Lessons of Murdochian Attention
    Sophia 55 (2): 197-213. 2016.
    The idea of attention was brought back into mainstream philosophical thinking about ethics by Iris Murdoch, drawing on Simone Weil. While Murdoch’s use of the idea has been reflected on by a number of recent commentators, I think its deepest lessons have largely been missed. Beginning from a recurrent and revealing misreading of Murdoch on attention, a misreading often articulated through reflection on Murdoch’s example of M and D, I want to bring out some of those lessons. It is well-known that…Read more
  •  16
    Dialectical Activity, Ritual, and Value: A Critique of Talbot Brewer
    Philosophical Investigations 39 (2): 178-191. 2016.
    Talbot Brewer has argued that contemporary philosophy of action and ethics are hampered by a picture of human agency as essentially consisting in bringing about states of affairs – a “production-oriented” conception of action. From classical sources, centrally including Aristotle, Brewer retrieves a different picture – of human activity as fundamentally “dialectical”. Ritual activity, including a ritual dimension of many dialectical activities, affirms and deepens our human presence in and to th…Read more
  • Remorse and Moral Identity
    In Catriona Mackenzie & Kim Atkins (eds.), Practical Identity and Narrative Agency, Routledge. 2008.