Florida State University
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2016
CV
Morgantown, West Virginia, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Philosophy of Action
Normative Ethics
  •  43
    Two Problems of Moral Luck for Brain-Computer Interfaces
    Journal of Applied Philosophy. forthcoming.
    Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are devices primarily intended to allow agents to use prosthetic body parts, wheelchairs, and other mechanisms by forming intentions or performing certain mental actions. In this paper I illustrate how the use of BCIs leads to two unique and unrecognized problems of moral luck. In short, it seems that agents who depend upon BCIs for bodily movement or the use of other mechanisms (henceforth “BCI-agents”) may end up deserving of blame and legal punishment more so …Read more
  •  5
    Justifying Positive Appeals to Conscience: The Debate We Can’t Avoid
    American Journal of Bioethics 21 (8): 79-81. 2021.
    Protecting claims of conscience can function to fairly balance burdens among relevant parties without first having to resolve an underlying and intractable moral disagreement. Recently, a number of theorists have argued that the relevant criteria for protecting negative appeals to conscience in health care can (suitably modified) be equally well-satisfied in cases of positive appeals. I argue that, when it comes to certain practices, the justification of positive appeals to conscience does in fa…Read more
  •  76
    Traditionally, those writing on blame have been concerned with blaming others, including when one has the standing to blame others. Yet some alleged problems for such accounts of standing arise when we focus on self-blame. First, if hypocrites lack the standing to blame others, it might seem that they also lack the standing to blame themselves. But this would lead to a bootstrapping problem, wherein hypocrites can only regain standing by doing that which they lack the standing to do. Second, in …Read more
  •  179
    Can morally ignorant agents care enough?
    Philosophical Explorations 24 (2): 155-173. 2021.
    Theorists attending to the epistemic condition on responsibility are divided over whether moral ignorance is ever exculpatory. While those who argue that reasonable expectation is required for blameworthiness often maintain that moral ignorance can excuse, theorists who embrace a quality of will approach to blameworthiness are not sanguine about the prospect of excuses among morally ignorant wrongdoers. Indeed, it is sometimes argued that moral ignorance always reflects insufficient care for wha…Read more
  •  150
    BCI-Mediated Behavior, Moral Luck, and Punishment
    American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 11 (1): 72-74. 2020.
    An ongoing debate in the philosophy of action concerns the prevalence of moral luck: instances in which an agent’s moral responsibility is due, at least in part, to factors beyond his control. I point to a unique problem of moral luck for agents who depend upon Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) for bodily movement. BCIs may misrecognize a voluntarily formed distal intention (e.g., a plan to commit some illicit act in the future) as a control command to perform some overt behavior now. If so, then…Read more
  •  172
    The Unique Badness of Hypocritical Blame
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 6. 2019.
    It is widely agreed that hypocrisy can undermine one’s moral standing to blame. According to the Nonhypocrisy Condition on standing, R has the standing to blame some other agent S for a violation of some norm N only if R is not hypocritical with respect to blame for violations of N. Yet this condition is seldom argued for. Macalester Bell points out that the fact that hypocrisy is a moral fault does not yet explain why hypocritical blame is standingless blame. She raises a challenge: one must ex…Read more
  •  112
    Ignorance and Blame
    1000-Word Philosophy. 2019.
    Sometimes ignorance is a legitimate excuse for morally wrong behavior, and sometimes it isn’t. If someone has secretly replaced my sugar with arsenic, then I’m blameless for putting arsenic in your tea. But if I put arsenic in your tea because I keep arsenic and sugar jars on the same shelf and don’t label them, then I’m plausibly blameworthy for poisoning you. Why is my ignorance in the first case a legitimate excuse, but my ignorance in the second case isn’t? This essay explores the relationsh…Read more
  •  57
    When Hypocrisy Undermines the Standing to Blame: a Response to Rossi
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (2): 379-384. 2019.
    In our 2018 paper, “Hypocrisy and the Standing to Blame,” we offer an argument justifying the Nonhypocrisy Condition on the standing to blame. Benjamin Rossi (2018) has recently offered several criticisms of this view. We defend our account from Rossi’s criticisms and emphasize our account’s unique advantage: explaining why hypocritical blamers lack the standing to blame.
  •  89
    Circumstantial ignorance and mitigated blameworthiness
    Philosophical Explorations 22 (1): 33-43. 2018.
    It is intuitive that circumstantial ignorance, even when culpable, can mitigate blameworthiness for morally wrong behavior. In this paper I suggest an explanation of why this is so. The explanation offered is that an agent’s degree of blameworthiness for some action depends at least in part upon the quality of will expressed in that action, and that an agent’s level of awareness when performing a morally wrong action can make a difference to the quality of will that is expressed in it. This expl…Read more
  •  435
    Hypocrisy and the Standing to Blame
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 99 (1): 118-139. 2018.
    Hypocrites are often thought to lack the standing to blame others for faults similar to their own. Although this claim is widely accepted, it is seldom argued for. We offer an argument for the claim that nonhypocrisy is a necessary condition on the standing to blame. We first offer a novel, dispositional account of hypocrisy. Our account captures the commonsense view that hypocrisy involves making an unjustified exception of oneself. This exception-making involves a rejection of the impartiality…Read more
  •  70
    Reasonable foreseeability and blameless ignorance
    Philosophical Studies 174 (6): 1561-1581. 2017.
    This paper draws attention to a fundamental problem for a version of the tracing strategy defended by a number of theorists in the current literature (Rosen 2004, Fischer and Tognazzini 2009). I argue that versions of the tracing strategy that require reasonable foreseeability are in tension with the view that blameless ignorance excuses. A stronger version of the tracing strategy is consistent with the view that blameless ignorance excuses and is therefore preferable for those tracing theorists…Read more
  •  87
    Answerability, Blameworthiness, and History
    Philosophia 42 (2): 469-486. 2014.
    This paper focuses on a non-volitional account that has received a good deal of attention recently, Angela Smith's rational relations view. I argue that without historical conditions on blameworthiness for the non-voluntary non-volitionist accounts like Smith’s are (i) vulnerable to manipulation cases and (ii) fail to make sufficient room for the distinction between badness and blameworthiness. Towards the end of the paper I propose conditions aimed to supplement these deficiencies. The conditio…Read more