• New York University
    Department of Philosophy
    Animal Studies Initiative, Environmental Studies Program
    Other faculty (Postdoc, Visiting, etc)
  •  391
    Climate Change, Responsibility, and Justice
    Science and Engineering Ethics 16 (3): 431-445. 2010.
    In this paper I make the following claims. In order to see anthropogenic climate change as clearly involving moral wrongs and global injustices, we will have to revise some central concepts in these domains. Moreover, climate change threatens another value that cannot easily be taken up by concerns of global justice or moral responsibility
  •  336
    Consequentialism, Climate Change, and the Road Ahead
    Chicago Journal of International Law 13 (2): 439-468. 2013.
    In this paper I tell the story of the evolution of the climate change regime, locating its origins in "the dream of Rio," which supposed that the nations of the world would join in addressing the interlocking crises of environment and development. I describe the failure at Copenhagen and then go on to discuss the "reboot" of the climate negotiations advocated by Eric A. Posner and David Weisbach. I bring out some ambiguities in their notion of International Paretianism, which is supposed to effe…Read more
  •  333
    When Utilitarians Should Be Virtue Theorists
    Utilitas 19 (2): 160. 2007.
    The contrast typically made between utilitarianism and virtue theory is overdrawn. Utilitarianism is a universal emulator: it implies that we should lie, cheat, steal, even appropriate Aristotle, when that is what brings about the best outcomes. In some cases and in some worlds it is best for us to focus as precisely as possible on individual acts. In other cases and worlds it is best for us to be concerned with character traits. Global environmental change leads to concerns about character beca…Read more
  •  289
    In his classic article, Famine, Affluence, and Morality, pp. 229–243), Peter Singer claimed that affluent people in the developed world are morally obligated to transfer large amounts of resources to poor people in the developing world. For present purposes I will not call Singers argument into question. While people can reasonably disagree about exactly how demanding morality is with respect to duties to the desperate, there is little question in my mind that it is much more demanding than comm…Read more
  •  199
    Progressive consequentialism
    with Robert Elliot
    Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1): 241-251. 2009.
    Consequentialism is the family of theories that holds that acts are morally right, wrong, or indifferent in virtue of their consequences. Less formally and more intuitively, right acts are those that produce good consequences. A consequentialist theory includes at least the following three elements: an account of the properties or states in virtue of which consequences make actions right, wrong, or indifferent; a deontic principle which specifies how or to what extent the properties or states mu…Read more
  •  198
    Singer and His Critics (edited book)
    Wiley-Blackwell. 1999.
    This is the first book devoted to the work of Peter Singer, one of the leaders of the practical ethics movement, and one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century
  •  164
    Animal Liberation is an Environmental Ethic
    Environmental Values 7 (1): 41-57. 1998.
    I begin by briefly tracing the history of the split between environmental ethics and animal liberation, go on to sketch a theory of value that I think is implicit in animal liberation, and explain how this theory is consistent with strong environmental commitments. I conclude with some observations about problems that remain
  •  134
    Ethics and intentional climate change
    Climatic Change 33 (3): 323--336. 1996.
    In recent years the idea of geoengineering climate has begun to attract increasing attention. Although there was some discussion of manipulating regional climates throughout the l970s and l980s. the discussion was largely dormant. What has reawakened the conversation is the possibility that Earth may be undergoing a greenhouse-induced global wamring, and the paucity of serious measures that have been taken to Prevent it. ln this paper Iassess the ethical acceptability of ICC, based on my impress…Read more
  •  98
    Science, knowledge, and animal minds
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (1). 1998.
    In recent years both philosophers and scientists have been sceptical about the existence of animal minds. This is in distinction to Hume who claimed that '...no truth appears to me more evident, than that beasts are endow'd with thought and reason as well as men'. I argue that Hume is correct about the epistemological salience of our ordinary practices of ascribing mental states to animals. The reluctance of contemporary philosophers and scientists to embrace the view that animals have minds is …Read more
  •  94
    Is There Progress in Morality?
    Utilitas 14 (3): 318. 2002.
    My question, which is central to the business of moral philosophy, is implicitly addressed by many philosophers, yet explicitly addressed by only a few. In this paper I address the question head-on, and propose a qualified affirmative answer
  •  91
    Sober and Wilson on psychological altruism (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (3). 2002.
    In their marvelous book, Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior, Sober and Wilson identify two distinct problems of altruism.’ The problem of Evolutionary Altruism (EA) “is to show how behaviors that benefit others at the expense of self can evolve;” (17) group selection is the key to the solution of this problem. The problem of Psychological Altruism (PA) is to determine whether people “have altruistic desires that are psychologically ultimate.” (201) After carefully c…Read more
  •  66
    Richard Eric Sharvy 1942-1988
    Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 62 (2). 1988.
  •  65
    The future of environmental philosophy
    with Robert Frodeman
    Ethics and the Environment 12 (2): 120-122. 2007.
  •  63
  •  61
    Utilitarianism and the morality of killing
    Philosophical Studies 45 (2). 1984.
  •  58
    The twenty-two papers here are invigoratingly diverse, but together tell a unified story about various aspects of the morality of our relationships to animals and to nature.
  •  56
    Slavery, Carbon, and Moral Progress
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (1): 169-183. 2017.
    My goal in this paper is to shed light on how moral progress actually occurs. I begin by restating a conception of moral progress that I set out in previous work, the “Naïve Conception,” and explain how it comports with various normative and metaethical views. I go on to develop an index of moral progress and show how judgments about moral progress can be made. I then discuss an example of moral progress from the past—the British abolition of the Atlantic slave trade—with a view to what can be l…Read more
  •  55
    Readings in Animal Cognition (edited book)
    with Marc Bekoff
    MIT Press. 1996.
    This collection of 24 readings is the first comprehensive treatment of important topics by leading figures in the rapidly growing interdisciplinary field of...
  •  54
    David Lewis on Convention
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 5 (1). 1975.
    In this paper I show that the definition of convention offered by david lewis in his book "convention: a philosophical study" fails to shed much light on "our common, Established concept of convention." first I set out lewis' definition of convention. I then show, Via counterexample, That satisfaction of lewis' definition is not a necessary condition for something to be a convention. I also show via counterexample that it is doubtful that satisfaction of lewis' definition is a sufficient conditi…Read more
  •  52
    Commentary on the Future of Environmental Philosophy
    with Robert Frodeman, J. Baird Callicott, Stephen M. Gardiner, and Lori Gruen
    Ethics and the Environment 12 (2): 117-150. 2007.
  •  45
    Reflections (1 of 4)
    Science and Engineering Ethics 6 (2): 265-273. 2000.
  •  44
    Sport hunting as an instinct
    with Marc Bekoff
    Environmental Ethics 13 (4): 375-378. 1991.
  •  41
    Environmental Ethics - Beyond the Rhetoric
    The Philosophers' Magazine 3 (3): 25-26. 1998.
  •  40
    Animal Agency
    The Harvard Review of Philosophy 25 111-126. 2018.
    The rise of physicalism and naturalism, the development of cognitive science, and the explosion and popularization of knowledge about animal behavior has brought us to see that most of the properties that were once thought to distinguish humans from other animals are shared with other animals. Many people now see properties that are morally relevant to how it is permissible to treat animals, such as sentience, as widely distributed. Agency, however, is one area in which the retreat from human un…Read more
  •  39
    Rational egoism and animal rights
    Environmental Ethics 3 (2): 167-171. 1981.
    Jan Narveson has suggested that rational egoism might provide a defensible moral perspective that would put animals out of the reach of morality without denying that they are capable of suffering. I argue that rational egoism provides a principled indifference to the fate of animals at high cost: the possibility of principled indifference to the fate of “marginal humans.”
  •  37
    On aims and methods of cognitive ethology
    with Marc Bekoff
    Philosophy of Science Association 1992 110-124. 1992.
    In 1963 Niko Tinbergen published a paper, "On Aims and Methods of Ethology," dedicated to his friend Konrad Lorenz. Here Tinbergen defines ethology as "the biological study of behavior," and seeks to demonstrate "the close affinity between Ethology and the rest of Biology." Tinbergen identifies four major areas of ethology: causation, survival value, evolution, and ontogeny. Our goal is to attempt for cognitive ethology what Tinbergen succeeded in doing for ethology: to clarify its aims and meth…Read more