• Equality for Infidels: The Moral Foundations of Modern Liberalism
    Dissertation, University of Michigan. 2000.
    At the heart of modern liberalism is an ideal of religious equality, according to which religious minorities should be granted the same civil and political rights as the religious majority. So basic is this ideal to modern liberalism that liberals often take it for granted. This is a mistake: in fact the case in favor of religious equality is far from obvious. ;In order to stir liberals from their complacency, I define a stark challenge to religious equality, one I call "the challenge of salvifi…Read more
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    Recent Texts in the Philosophy of Religion
    Teaching Philosophy 33 (2): 187-200. 2010.
    The philosophy of religion has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. This is fortunate, for it is a rewarding area in which to research and teach. The complexity of the metaphysical and epistemological ideas relevant to the philosophy of religion, however, can pose a challenge for instructors. Fortunately, the resurgence of activity in the field has brought with it an increase in the number of texts that aim to render these complex ideas accessible to students. In order to assist instructors in …Read more
  •  2
    Libertarianism: For and Against
    with Tibor R. Machan and Martha Nussbaum
    Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 2005.
    Libertarianism: For and Against offers dueling perspectives on the scope of legitimate government. Tibor R. Machan, a well-known libertarian philosopher, argues for a minimal government devoted solely to protecting individual rights to life, liberty, and property. Against this view, philosopher Craig Duncan defends democratic liberalism, which aims to ensure that all citizens have fair access to a life of dignity. In a dynamic exchange of arguments, the two philosophers cut to the heart of this …Read more
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    Review of Jan Narveson, This is Ethical Theory (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2010 (6). 2010.
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    Do Vague Probabilities Really Scotch Pascal’s Wager?
    Philosophical Studies 112 (3). 2003.
    Alan Hájek has recently argued that certain assignments of vague probability defeat Pascals Wager. In particular, he argues that skeptical agnostics – those whose probability for God''s existence is vague over an interval containing zero – have nothing to fear from Pascal. In this paper, I make two arguments against Hájek: (1) that skeptical agnosticism is a form of dogmatism, and as such should be rejected; (2) that in any case, choice situations with vague probability assignments ought to be t…Read more
  •  95
    This article explores “pragmatic arguments” for theistic belief – that is, arguments for believing in God that appeal, not to evidence in favor of God’s existence, but rather to alleged practical benefits that come from belief in God. Central to this exploration is a consideration of Jeff Jordan’s recent defense of “the Jamesian wager,” which portrays itself as building on the case for belief presented in William James’s essay “The Will to Believe.” According to Jordan, religious belief creates …Read more
  •  99
    In all likelihood, the Bush Administration’s aim is to continue abusive interrogation methods that on any reasonable definition amount to torture (methods such as waterboarding,” for example, in which a detainee is laid on his back and choked with water until he believes he is drowning). This new law, however, is both foolish and immoral: foolish, because torture won’t make Americans safer; and immoral, because torture is the grossest of affronts to human dignity.
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    In the fall of 1998 Trent Lott used his power as Senate Majority Leader to prevent the confirmation of James C. Hormel, an openly gay San Francisco philanthropist who was then President Clinton’s nominee for Ambassador to Luxembourg.[2] Mr. Lott made it clear that his opposition to Hormel was based on his opposition to homosexuality in general. Asked by a television interviewer during the controversy whether homosexuality is a sin, Mr. Lott answered "Yes, it is"; he went on to compare gay people…Read more
  •  8
    In a recent article Martha Nussbaum identified three problems with the Stoic doctrine of respect for dignity: its exclusive focus on specifically human dignity, its indifference to the need for external goods, and its ineffectiveness as a moral motive. This article formulates a non-Stoic doctrine of respect for dignity that avoids these problems. I argue that this doctrine helps us to understand such moral phenomena as the dignity of nonhuman animals as well as the core human values of life, fre…Read more
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    The persecutor's Wager
    Philosophical Review 116 (1): 1-50. 2007.
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    In the pages of philosophy journals debate rages these days between "political" and "comprehensive liberals," a debate inaugurated by John Rawls’s seminal 1985 paper entitled "Justice as Fairness: Political not Metaphysical," from which the above quotation is drawn. As the quotation suggests, a political liberal is someone who believes that liberal justice should be defined and defended in terms that are independent of "comprehensive" philosophical and religious doctrines, that is, independent o…Read more