•  400
    Pessimism and procreation
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 108 (3): 751-771. 2023.
    The pessimistic hypothesis is the hypothesis that life is bad for us, in the sense that we are worse off for having come into existence. Suppose this hypothesis turns out to be correct — existence turns out to be more of a burden than a gift. A natural next thought is that we should stop having children. But I contend that this is a mistake; procreation would often be permissible even if the pessimistic hypothesis turned out to be correct. Roughly, this is because we are often in a position to k…Read more
  •  262
    In virtue of what do we enjoy episodes of pleasure? According to the phenomenological theory of pleasure, we enjoy pleasures in virtue of having certain kinds of phenomenal experiences. According to the attitude theory of pleasure, we enjoy pleasures in virtue of having a certain kind of pro-attitude. In this chapter, we show that the attitude theory faces a dilemma. The attitude that is relevant to pleasure—the desire, liking, or favoring—is either necessarily co-instantiated with certain pheno…Read more
  •  917
    Attraction, Aversion, and Asymmetrical Desires
    Ethics 132 (3): 598-620. 2022.
    I argue that, insofar as we endorse the general idea that desires play an important role in well-being, we ought to believe that their significance for well-being is derived from a pair of more fundamental attitudes: attraction and aversion. Attraction has wholly positive significance for well-being, and aversion has wholly negative significance for well-being. Desire satisfaction and frustration have significance for well-being insofar as the relevant desires involve some combination of attract…Read more
  •  529
    The Pleasure Problem and the Spriggean Solution
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association 8 (4): 665-684. 2022.
    Some experiences—like the experience of eating cheesecake—are good experiences to have. But when we try to explain why they are good, we encounter a clash of intuitions. First, we have an objectivist intuition: plausibly, the experiences are good because they feel the way that they do. Second, we have a subjectivist intuition: if a person were indifferent to that kind of experience, then it might fail to be good for that person. Third, we have a possibility intuition: for any kind of experience,…Read more
  •  660
    How Do We Differ When We Differ In Taste?
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 8 (n/a). 2021.
    My partner loves the experiences she gets from eating olives. I, on the other hand, hate the experiences I get from eating olives. We differ in tastes. But how exactly do we differ? In particular: do our taste experiences differ phenomenologically—that is, do my olive-experiences feel different than my partner’s olive-experiences? Some philosophers have assumed that the answer is “no,” and have advanced important arguments which turn on this assumption. I argue that, contrary to what these philo…Read more
  •  975
    An Honest Look at Hybrid Theories of Pleasure
    Philosophical Studies 178 (3): 887-907. 2020.
    What makes it the case that a given experience is pleasurable? According to the felt-quality theory, each pleasurable experience is pleasurable because of the way that it feels—its “qualitative character” or “felt-quality”. According to the attitudinal theory, each pleasurable experience is pleasurable because the experiencer takes certain attitudes towards it. These two theories of pleasure are typically framed as rivals, but it could be that they are both partly right. It could be that pleasur…Read more
  •  398
    Why Humean Causation Is Extrinsic
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (2): 139-148. 2019.
    According to a view that goes by “Humeanism,” causal facts supervene on patterns of worldly entities. The simplest form of Humeanism is the constant conjunction theory: a particular type-F thing causes a particular type-G thing iff (i) that type-Fis conjoined with that type-G thing and (ii) all F’s are conjoined with G’s. The constant conjunction theory implies that all causation is extrinsic, in the following sense: for all positive causal facts pertaining to each possible region,it’s extrinsic…Read more