My profile

San Diego, California, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Social and Political Philosophy
  • What's Wrong with Factory Farming?
    Public Health Ethics 8 (3): 246-254. 2015.
  • Among race theorists, the view that race is a social construction is widespread. While the term ‘ social construction’ is sometimes intended to mean merely that race does not constitute a robust, biological natural kind, it often labels the stronger position that race is real, but not a biological kind. For example, Charles Mills writes that, ‘‘the task of those working on race is to put race in quotes, ‘race’, while still insisting that nevertheless, it exists ’’. It is to ‘‘make a plausible so…Read more
  • This paper concerns a prima facie tension between the claims that (a) agents have normative reasons obtaining in virtue of the nature of the options that confront them, and (b) there is a non-trivial connection between the grounds of normative reasons and the upshots of sound practical reasoning. Joint commitment to these claims is shown to give rise to a dilemma. I argue that the dilemma is avoidable on a response dependent account of normative reasons accommodating both (a) and (b) by yielding…Read more
  • Autonomy-Based Accounts of the Right to Secede
    Social Theory and Practice 39 (4): 625-642. 2013.
    Voluntarist accounts of secession are those that attempt to ground a moral right to secede in autonomy. This paper argues that no such account is likely to succeed. After describing the serious problems that plague the most straightforward Voluntarist approach, I examine two recent accounts that employ novel approaches designed to avoid those difficulties. I argue that both accounts fail, shedding considerable doubt on the possibility of a plausible autonomy-based account of the moral right to s…Read more
  • A third way in the race debate
    Journal of Political Philosophy 14 (2). 2006.
  • This article raises a problem for Cornell varieties of moral realism. According to Cornell moral realists, we can know about moral facts just as we do the empirical facts of the natural sciences. If this is so, it would remove any special mystery that is supposed to attach to our knowledge of objective moral facts. After clarifying the ways in which moral knowledge is to be similar to scientific knowledge, I claim that the analogy fails, but for little-noticed reasons. A preliminary conclusion o…Read more
  • Among contemporary philosophers, there is widespread consensus that begging the question is a grave argumentative flaw. However, there is presently no satisfactory analysis of what this flaw consists of. Here, I defend a notion of question-begging in terms of analyticity. In particular, I argue that an argument begs the question just in case its conclusion is an analytic part of the conjunction of its premises.
  • Directed Duties and Inalienable Rights
    Ethics 123 (2): 230-244. 2013.
    This essay advances and defends two claims: (a) that rights cannot be inalienable and (b) that even if they could be, this would not be morally justifiable
  • A skeptical challenge to moral non-naturalism and a defense of constructivist naturalism (review)
    David Copp
    Philosophical Studies 126 (2). 2005.
  • Secession as a remedial right
    Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50 (4). 2007.
    Allen Buchanan holds that nations do not have a general primary unilateral right to secede. However, nations could legitimately secede if there were a special right to do so, if it were the result of negotiations and, more importantly, if some previous injustice had to be repaired. According to Buchanan, the three kinds of injustice that allow for unilateral secession are: violation of human rights, unjust annexation of territories, and systematic violations of previous agreements on self-govern…Read more
  • Persons and the extended-mind thesis
    Zygon 44 (3): 642-658. 2009.
    The extended-mind thesis (EM) is the claim that mentality need not be situated just in the brain, or even within the boundaries of the skin. Some versions take "extended selves" be to relatively transitory couplings of biological organisms and external resources. First, I show how EM can be seen as an extension of traditional views of mind. Then, after voicing a couple of qualms about EM, I reject EM in favor of a more modest hypothesis that recognizes enduring subjects of experience and agents …Read more
  • In recent years, there has been a flurry of work on the metaphysics of race. While it is now widely accepted that races do not share robust, bio-behavioral essences, opinions differ over what, if anything, race is. Recent work has been divided between three apparently quite different answers. A variety of theorists argue for racial skepticism, the view that races do not exist at all.[iv] A second group defends racial constructionism, holding that races are in some way socially constructed.[v],[v…Read more
  • Relativity of value and the consequentialist umbrella
    Jennie Louise
    Philosophical Quarterly 54 (217). 2004.
    Does the real difference between non-consequentialist and consequentialist theories lie in their approach to value? Non-consequentialist theories are thought either to allow a different kind of value (namely, agent-relative value) or to advocate a different response to value ('honouring' rather than 'promoting'). One objection to this idea implies that all normative theories are describable as consequentialist. But then the distinction between honouring and promoting collapses into the distincti…Read more
  • Analyzing racial concepts has become an important task in the philosophy of race. Aside from any inherent interest that might be found in the meanings of racial terms, these meanings also can spell the doom or deliverance of competing ontological and normative theories about race. One of the most pressing questions about race at present is the normative question of whether race should be eliminated from, or conserved in, public discourse and practice. This normative question is often answered in…Read more
  • Human Rights: Moral or Political? (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
  • No Abstract
  • Social unity and the identity of persons
    Journal of Political Philosophy 10 (4). 2002.
  • Ethnicity and group rights: nomos xxxix (edited book)
    Ian Shapiro and Will Kymlicka
    new york university press. 1997.
  • Political Self-Determination and Global Egalitarianism
    Ayelet Banai
    Social Theory and Practice 39 (1): 45-69. 2013.
    Proponents of global egalitarian justice often argue that their positions are compatible with the principle of self-determination. At the same time, prominent arguments in favor of global egalitarianism object to one central component of the principle: namely, that the borders of states (or other political units) are normatively significant for the allocation of rights and duties; that duties of justice and democratic rights should stop or change at borders. In this article, I propose an argumen…Read more
  • This paper is interested in place-related attachments. It discusses the way in which territory or land is treated in theories of global distributive justice, and argues that this fails to capture the normatively significant relationship between peoples and places. This paper argues that any adequate theory of justice in territory has to begin by recognizing that territory is a claimant-relative good, and that this should be an important point of departure for theorizing about land and justice. N…Read more
  • Hysteria, Race, Phlogiston. A Model of Ontological Elimination in the Human Sciences.
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (1): 68-77. 2013.
    Elimination controversies are ubiquitous in philosophy and the human sciences. For example, it has been suggested that human races, hysteria, intelligence, mental disorder, propositional attitudes such as beliefs and desires, the self, and the super-ego should be eliminated from the list of respectable entities in the human sciences. I argue that eliminativist proposals are often presented in the framework of an oversimplified “phlogiston model” and suggest an alternative account that describes …Read more
  • No right to unilaterally claim your territory: on the consistency of Kantian statism
    Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 20 (6): 677-696. 2017.
  • A separatist conflict has been ongoing in India-administered Kashmir since 1989. Focusing on this region, this book critiques the existing normative theories of secession, and offers a comprehensive examination of the right of sub-groups to secede. The book looks at the different accounts of the moral right to secede, and assesses both the theories themselves as well as the claims of those who want to separate Kashmir from India. Included within this analysis are the three main types of normativ…Read more
  • A Case of Non-Ideal Guidance: Tackling Tax Competition
    Moral Philosophy and Politics (1): 2016-10-04. 2016.
    In the global justice literature, growing attention has been given to problems particular to a globalised economy such as tax competition. Political philosophers have started to reflect on how these problems intersect with theories of global justice. This paper explores the idea according to which action-guiding principles of justice can only be formulated at such intersections. This is the starting point from which I develop a ‘non-ideal theory’ of global justice. The methodology of this theory…Read more
  • Secession as a human right
    Nicolaus Tideman
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (1): 9-19. 2004.
    If people are to have rights to themselves, then they must have the right to affiliate in sovereign entities composed of people who mutually agree to affiliate with one another. This requires that any individual or group has a right to secede from any sovereign entity. The article develops the idea that a right of secession is natural when rights to territory and other gifts of nature are regarded as belonging equally to all persons, and all persons have rights to themselves. The article also ar…Read more
  • Pragmatism, Democracy, and the Plural Self
    Wesley Dempster
    Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 52 (4): 633-651. 2016.
    This article offers a pragmatist conception of multiplicitous subjectivity that captures the best features of Richard Rorty’s private ironist and John Dewey’s social self while rejecting anti-democratic implications I identify in each. On the one hand, Rorty rightly sees that having a plural self is crucial for self-creation but fails to see the connection between self-creation and social justice. On the other hand, Dewey rightly sees the interrelationship between personal and social growth but …Read more
  • What 'biological racial realism' should mean
    Philosophical Studies 159 (2): 181-204. 2012.
    A curious ambiguity has arisen in the race debate in recent years. That ambiguity is what is actually meant by ‘biological racial realism’. Some philosophers mean that ‘race is a natural kind in biology’, while others mean that ‘race is a real biological kind’. However, there is no agreement about what a natural kind or a real biological kind should be in the race debate. In this article, I will argue that the best interpretation of ‘biological racial realism’ is one that interprets ‘biological …Read more
  • Is an Indian Ethics of Virtue Possible?
    Journal of Human Values 12 (1): 91-98. 2006.
    The recent revival of interest in the importance of virtues marks a shift of substance and method in thinking about it. The shift is away from discussion of rules and principles and focused on a discussion of traits, character and conditions of their excellence. This article attempts at unfolding the exact nature of an Indian ethics of virtue, which is yet to be explored in a systematic way. This enquiry into the exciting terrain of Indian philosophy inevitably leads to the interesting debate re…Read more
  • Realism and reduction: The Quest for robustness
    Philosophers' Imprint 5 1-18. 2005.
    It doesn’t seem possible to be a realist about the traditional Christian God while claiming to be able to reduce God talk in naturalistically acceptable terms. Reduction, in this case, seems obviously eliminativist. Many philosophers seem to think that the same is true of the normative—that reductive “realists” about the normative are not really realists about the normative at all, or at least, only in some attenuated sense. This paper takes on the challenge of articulating what it is that makes…Read more