•  18
    This paper discusses Bernard Williams's famous case of Jim and the Indians. It contrasts two ways of diagnosing the alleged errors of Act Utilitarianism in considering this case. One approach suggests that Act Utilitarianism fails to appreciate the importance of what Jim does; it fails to understand the significance of Jim's agency. This paper favours an alternative diagnosis, according to which Act Utilitarianism fails to appreciate the importance of what Pedro could do; it fails to understand …Read more
  •  109
  •  61
    Taking Utilitarianism Seriously
    Oxford University Press. 2019.
    Christopher Woodard presents a new and rich version of utilitarianism, the idea that ethics is ultimately about what makes people's lives go better. He launches a state-of-the-art defence of the theory, often seen as excessively simple, and shows that it can account for much of the complexity and nuance of everyday ethical thought.
  •  11
    … They don’t really listen to people
    with Helen Creswick, Liz Dowthwaite, Ansgar Koene, Elvira Perez Vallejos, Virginia Portillo, and Monica Cano
    Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society 17 (2): 167-182. 2019.
    Purpose The voices of children and young people have been largely neglected in discussions of the extent to which the internet takes into account their needs and concerns. This paper aims to highlight young people’s lived experiences of being online. Design/methodology/approach Results are drawn from the UnBias project’s youth led discussions, “Youth Juries” with young people predominantly aged between 13 and 17 years. Findings Whilst the young people are able to use their agency online in some …Read more
  •  25
    This paper discusses Bernard Williams's famous case of Jim and the Indians. It contrasts two ways of diagnosing the alleged errors of Act Utilitarianism in considering this case. One approach suggests that Act Utilitarianism fails to appreciate the importance of what Jim does; it fails to understand the significance of Jim's agency. This paper favours an alternative diagnosis, according to which Act Utilitarianism fails to appreciate the importance of what Pedro could do; it fails to understand …Read more
  •  16
    Accessing Online Data for Youth Mental Health Research: Meeting the Ethical Challenges
    with Elvira Perez Vallejos, Ansgar Koene, Christopher James Carter, Daniel Hunt, Lachlan Urquhart, Aislinn Bergin, and Ramona Statache
    Philosophy and Technology 32 (1): 87-110. 2019.
    This article addresses the general ethical issues of accessing online personal data for research purposes. The authors discuss the practical aspects of online research with a specific case study that illustrates the ethical challenges encountered when accessing data from Kooth, an online youth web-counselling service. This paper firstly highlights the relevance of a process-based approach to ethics when accessing highly sensitive data and then discusses the ethical considerations and potential c…Read more
  •  18
    Accessing Online Data for Youth Mental Health Research: Meeting the Ethical Challenges
    with Elvira Perez Vallejos, Ansgar Koene, Christopher James Carter, Daniel Hunt, Lachlan Urquhart, Aislinn Bergin, and Ramona Statache
    This article addresses the general ethical issues of accessing online personal data for research purposes. The authors discuss the practical aspects of online research with a specific case study that illustrates the ethical challenges encountered when accessing data from Kooth, an online youth web-counselling service. This paper firstly highlights the relevance of a process-based approach to ethics when accessing highly sensitive data and then discusses the ethical considerations and potential c…Read more
  •  187
    What good is meaning in life?
    De Ethica 4 (3): 67-79. 2017.
    Most philosophers writing on meaning in life agree that it is a distinct kind of final value. This consensus view has two components: the ‘final value claim’ that meaning in life is a kind of final value, and the ‘distinctness claim’ that it is distinct from all other kinds of final value. This paper discusses some difficulties in vindicating both claims at once. One way to underscore the distinctness of meaning, for example, is to retain a feature of our pretheoretical concept of meaning in lif…Read more
  •  307
    This article proposes a way of understanding Kantianism, act-utilitarianism and some other important ethical theories according to which they are all versions of the same kind of theory, sharing a common structure. I argue that this is a profitable way to understand the theories discussed. It is charitable to the theories concerned; it emphasizes the common ground between them; it gives us insights into the differences between them; and it provides a method for generating new ethical theories wo…Read more
  •  16
    Pedro’s Significance
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (3): 301-319. 2009.
    Williams’s famous story of Jim exemplifies a general class of dilemmas caused by recalcitrant agents. Like Williams himself, most commentators have focused on Jim and the idea that he has special responsibility for his actions. This paper shifts attention to Pedro, exploring his significance in the story and arguing that Jim has a reason not to shoot that depends on Pedro’s best possible response. In so doing, it sketches a new approach to the general class of dilemmas posed by recalcitrant agen…Read more
  •  240
    Egalitarianism
    Philosophical Books 46 (2): 97-112. 2005.
    A survey of recent work on egalitarianism.
  •  7
    The concept of acquiescence
    Journal of Political Philosophy 8 (4). 2000.
    Suppose a police car gives chase to some violent criminals, putting innocent bystanders at risk. The criminals have not threatened the police in any way; so we would not normally say that the police have been coerced into chasing. Nor are the police merely responding to natural circumstances, so they are not acting under necessity, in the usual sense. The case is different from one in which an ambulance speeds to hospital, putting innocent bystanders at risk, because the reason for the police sp…Read more
  •  69
    Group-based reasons for action
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 6 (2): 215-229. 2003.
    This article endorses a familiar, albeit controversial, argument for the existence of group-based reasons for action, but then rejects two doctrines which other advocates of such reasons usually accept. One such doctrine is the willingness requirement, which says that a group-based reason exists only if (sufficient) other members of the group in question are willing to cooperate. Thus the paper argues that there is sometimes a reason, which derives from the rationality of some group action, to p…Read more
  •  100
    A New Argument Against Rule Consequentialism
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (3): 247-261. 2008.
    We best understand Rule Consequentialism as a theory of pattern-based reasons, since it claims that we have reasons to perform some action because of the goodness of the pattern consisting of widespread performance of the same type of action in the same type of circumstances. Plausible forms of Rule Consequentialism are also pluralist, in the sense that, alongside pattern-based reasons, they recognise ordinary act-based reasons, based on the goodness of individual actions. However, Rule Conseque…Read more
  •  36
    Three conceptions of group-based reasons
    Journal of Social Ontology 3 (1): 102-127. 2017.
    Group-based reasons are reasons to play one’s part in some pattern of action that the members of some group could perform, because of the good features of the pattern. This paper discusses three broad conceptions of such reasons. According to the agency-first conception, there are no group-based reasons in cases where the relevant group is not or would not be itself an agent. According to the behaviour-first conception, what matters is that the other members of the group would play their parts i…Read more
  •  137
    This paper connects two ideas. The first is that some common responses to ethical views are responses to their degrees of pragmatism, where a view’s degree of pragmatism is its sensitivity to ethically relevant changes in the actor’s circumstances. I claim that we feel the pull of opposing pro-pragmatic and antipragmatic intuitions in certain cases. This suggests a project, of searching for an ethical view capable of doing justice to these opposing intuitions in some way. The second central idea…Read more
  •  338
    What's wrong with possibilism
    Analysis 69 (2): 219-226. 2009.
    Argues (1) that the debate between actualists and possibilists in deontic logic distorts what is really at issue, and (2) that reframing the debate as being about reasons strongly suggests that those with possibilist sympathies should adopt more moderate claims (which may nevertheless be distinct from actualism).
  •  407
    Rationality and the Unit of Action
    Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2): 261-277. 2011.
    This paper examines the idea of an extended unit of action, which is the idea that the reasons for or against an individual action can depend on the qualities of a larger pattern of action of which it is a part. One concept of joint action is that the unit of action can be extended in this sense. But the idea of an extended unit of action is surprisingly minimal in its commitments. The paper argues for this conclusion by examining uses of the idea of an extended unit of action in four theoretica…Read more
  •  252
    Classifying theories of welfare
    Philosophical Studies 165 (3): 787-803. 2013.
    This paper argues that we should replace the common classification of theories of welfare into the categories of hedonism, desire theories, and objective list theories. The tripartite classification is objectionable because it is unduly narrow and it is confusing: it excludes theories of welfare that are worthy of discussion, and it obscures important distinctions. In its place, the paper proposes two independent classifications corresponding to a distinction emphasised by Roger Crisp: a four-ca…Read more
  •  5
    The Concept of Acquiescence
    Journal of Political Philosophy 8 (4): 409-432. 2000.
    Suppose a police car gives chase to some violent criminals, putting innocent bystanders at risk. The criminals have not threatened the police in any way; so we would not normally say that the police have been coerced into chasing. Nor are the police merely responding to natural circumstances, so they are not acting under necessity, in the usual sense. The case is different from one in which an ambulance speeds to hospital, putting innocent bystanders at risk, because the reason for the police sp…Read more
  •  297
    Pedro’s Significance
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (3): 301-319. 2009.
    Williams’s famous story of Jim exemplifies a general class of dilemmas caused by recalcitrant agents. Like Williams himself, most commentators have focused on Jim and the idea that he has special responsibility for his actions. This paper shifts attention to Pedro, exploring his significance in the story and arguing that Jim has a reason not to shoot that depends on Pedro’s best possible response. In so doing, it sketches a new approach to the general class of dilemmas posed by recalcitrant agen…Read more
  •  417
    Hybrid Theories
    In Guy Fletcher (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Well-Being, Routledge. pp. 161-174. 2015.
    This chapter surveys hybrid theories of well-being. It also discusses some criticisms, and suggests some new directions that philosophical discussion of hybrid theories might take.
  •  24
    This book is about fundamental questions in normative ethics. It begins with the idea that we often respond to ethical theories according to how principled or pragmatic they are. It clarifies this contrast and then uses it to shed light on old debates in ethics, such as debates about the rival merits of consequentialist and deontological views. Using the idea that principled views seem most appealing in dilemmas of acquiescence, it goes on to develop a novel theory of pattern-based reasons. Thes…Read more
  •  129
    Prioritarianism itself is not committed to any particular claim about how moral importance decreases. It could decrease quickly or slowly, for example, and at a uniform or a variable rate. The defining feature of the view is just the claim that, somehow, moral importance decreases with the increasing advantage of the recipient.