University of California, Riverside
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2012
Houston, Texas, United States of America
  •  750
    The Contours of Blame
    In D. Justin Coates & Neal A. Tognazzini (eds.), Blame: Its Nature and Norms, Oxford University Press. pp. 3-26. 2013.
    This is the first chapter to our edited collection of essays on the nature and ethics of blame. In this chapter we introduce the reader to contemporary discussions about blame and its relationship to other issues (e.g. free will and moral responsibility), and we situate the essays in this volume with respect to those discussions.
  •  278
    Free will, moral responsibility, and mechanism: Experiments on folk intuitions
    with Eddy Nahmias and Trevor Kvaran
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 31 (1). 2007.
    In this paper we discuss studies that show that most people do not find determinism to be incompatible with free will and moral responsibility if determinism is described in a way that does not suggest mechanistic reductionism. However, if determinism is described in a way that suggests reductionism, that leads people to interpret it as threatening to free will and responsibility. We discuss the implications of these results for the philosophical debates about free will, moral responsibility, …Read more
  •  217
    Reasons-responsiveness and degrees of responsibility
    Philosophical Studies 165 (2): 629-645. 2013.
    Ordinarily, we take moral responsibility to come in degrees. Despite this commonplace, theories of moral responsibility have focused on the minimum threshold conditions under which agents are morally responsible. But this cannot account for our practices of holding agents to be more or less responsible. In this paper we remedy this omission. More specifically, we extend an account of reasons-responsiveness due to John Martin Fischer and Mark Ravizza according to which an agent is morally respons…Read more
  •  189
    The Nature and Ethics of Blame
    Philosophy Compass 7 (3): 197-207. 2012.
    Blame is usually discussed in the context of the free will problem, but recently moral philosophers have begun to examine it on its own terms. If, as many suppose, free will is to be understood as the control relevant to moral responsibility, and moral responsibility is to be understood in terms of whether blame is appropriate, then an independent inquiry into the nature and ethics of blame will be essential to solving (and, perhaps, even fully understanding) the free will problem. In this artic…Read more
  •  144
    Ethicists' courtesy at philosophy conferences
    with Eric Schwitzgebel, Joshua Rust, Linus Ta-Lun Huang, and Alan T. Moore
    Philosophical Psychology 25 (3). 2012.
    If philosophical moral reflection tends to promote moral behavior, one might think that professional ethicists would behave morally better than do socially comparable non-ethicists. We examined three types of courteous and discourteous behavior at American Philosophical Association conferences: talking audibly while the speaker is talking (versus remaining silent), allowing the door to slam shut while entering or exiting mid-session (versus attempting to close the door quietly), and leaving behi…Read more
  •  142
    Blame
    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2014.
    In this entry we provide a critical review of recent work on the nature and ethics of blame, including issues of moral standing.
  •  139
    No (New) Troubles with Ockhamism
    Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion 5 185-208. 2014.
    The Ockhamist claims that our ability to do otherwise is not endangered by God’s foreknowledge because facts about God’s past beliefs regarding future contingents are soft facts about the past—i.e., temporally relational facts that depend in some sense on what happens in the future. But if our freedom, given God’s foreknowledge, requires altering some fact about the past that is clearly a hard fact, then Ockhamism fails even if facts about God’s past beliefs are soft. Recent opponents of Ockhami…Read more
  •  136
    The Epistemic Norm of Blame
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2): 457-473. 2016.
    In this paper I argue that it is inappropriate for us to blame others if it is not reasonable for us to believe that they are morally responsible for their actions. The argument for this claim relies on two controversial claims: first, that assertion is governed by the epistemic norm of reasonable belief, and second, that the epistemic norm of implicatures is relevantly similar to the norm of assertion. I defend these claims, and I conclude by briefly suggesting how this putative norm of blame c…Read more
  •  100
    In Defense of Love Internalism
    The Journal of Ethics 17 (3): 233-255. 2013.
    In recent defenses of moral responsibility skepticism, which is the view that no human agents are morally responsible for their actions or character, a number of theorists have argued against Peter Strawson’s (and others’) claim that “the sort of love which two adults can sometimes be said to feel reciprocally, for each other” would be undermined if we were not morally responsible agents. Among them, Derk Pereboom (2001, 2009) and Tamler Sommers (2007, 2012) most forcefully argue against this co…Read more
  •  85
    Blame: Its Nature and Norms
    Oxford University Press USA. 2013.
    One mark of interpersonal relationships is a tendency to blame. But what precise evaluations and responses constitute blame? Is it most centrally a judgment, or is it an emotion, or something else? Does blame express a demand, or embody a protest, or does it simply mark an impaired relationship? What accounts for its force or sting, and how similar is it to punishment?The essays in this volume explore answers to these questions about the nature of blame, but they also explore the various norms t…Read more
  •  62
    Being More Blameworthy
    American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (3): 233-246. 2019.
    In this paper I explore graded attributions of blameworthiness—that is, judgments of the general sort, "A is more blameworthy for x-ing than B is," or "A is less blameworthy for her character than B is." In so doing, I aim to provide a philosophical basis for the widespread, if not completely articulate, practice of altering the degree to which we hold others responsible on the basis of facts about them or facts about their environments. To vindicate this practice, I disambiguate several related…Read more
  •  57
    The Basic Argument and Modest Moral Responsibility
    Analytic Philosophy 58 (2): 156-170. 2017.
  •  54
    Hard incompatibilism and the participant attitude
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (2): 208-229. 2019.
    Following P. F. Strawson, a number of philosophers have argued that if hard incompatibilism is true, then its truth would undermine the justification or value of our relationships with other persons. In this paper, I offer a novel defense of this claim. In particular, I argue that if hard incompatibilism is true, we cannot make sense of: the possibility of promissory obligation, the significance of consent, or the pro tanto wrongness of paternalistic intervention. Because these practices and nor…Read more
  •  54
    Strawson’s modest transcendental argument
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (4): 799-822. 2017.
    Although Peter Strawson’s ‘Freedom and Resentment’ was published over fifty years ago and has been widely discussed, its main argument is still notoriously difficult to pin down. The most common – but in my view, mistaken – interpretation of Strawson’s argument takes him to be providing a ‘relentlessly’ naturalistic framework for our responsibility practices. To rectify this mistake, I offer an alternative interpretation of Strawson’s argument. As I see it, rather than offering a relentlessly na…Read more
  •  36
    A Wholehearted Defense of Ambivalence
    The Journal of Ethics 21 (4): 419-444. 2017.
    Despite widespread agreement that ambivalence precludes agency “at its best,” in this paper I argue that ambivalence as such is no threat to one’s agency. In particular, against “unificationists” like Harry Frankfurt I argue that failing to be fully integrated as an agent, lacking purity of heart, or being less than wholehearted in one’s choices, tells us nothing about whether an agent’s will is properly functioning. Moreover, it will turn out that in many common circumstances, wholeheartedness …Read more
  •  16
    An Actual-Sequence Theory of Promotion
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 7 (3): 1-8. 2013.
    No abstract.
  •  4
    Extending the Limits of Blame
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 15 (2): 207-215. 2020.
    Erin Kelly’s The Limits of Blame offers a series of powerful arguments against retributivist accounts of punishment. Among these, I first focus on Kelly’s Inscrutability Argument, which casts doubt on our epistemic justification for making judgments of moral desert. I then discuss Kelly’s defense of the Just Harm Reduction account of punishment. I consider how retributivists might respond to and learn from these arguments.
  •  3
    The Ethics of Blame: A Primer
    In Gerhard Ernst & Sebastian Schmidt (eds.), The Ethics of Belief and Beyond. Understanding Mental Normativity, Routledge. pp. 192-214. 2020.
    It is widely held that if an agent is not morally responsible for her action – i.e., if she is not deserving of blame – then we have a (decisive) reason to refrain from blaming her. But though this is true, the fact that someone is deserving of blame isn’t clearly sufficient for there to be most allthings- considered reason for blaming that person. Other considerations bear on this question as well. Coates offers an account of some of these considerations – particularly those that can ser…Read more
  •  3
    No one has written more insightfully on the promises and perils of human agency than Gary Watson, who has spent a career thinking about issues such as moral responsibility, blame, free will, addiction, and psychopathy. This special edition of OSAR pays tribute to Watson's work by taking up and extending themes from his pioneering essays