•  246
    Money and mental contents
    with Sarah Vooys
    Synthese 198 (4): 3443-3458. 2019.
    It can be hard to see where money fits in the world. Money seems both real and imaginary, since it has obvious causal powers, but is also, just as obviously, something humans have just made up. Recent philosophical accounts of money have declared it to be real, but for very different reasons. John Searle and Francesco Guala disagree over whether money is just whatever acts like money, or just whatever people believe to be money. In developing their accounts of institutions as a part of social re…Read more
  •  152
    Hunger, Need, and the Boundaries of Lockean Property
    Dialogue 58 (3): 527-552. 2019.
    Locke’s property rights are now usually understood to be both fundamental and strictly negative. Fundamental because they are thought to be basic constraints on what we may do, unconstrained by anything deeper. Negative because they are thought to only protect a property holder against the claims of others. Here, I argue that this widespread interpretation is mistaken. For Locke, property rights are constrained by the deeper ‘fundamental law of nature,’ which involves positive obligations to tho…Read more
  •  144
    Transformable Goods and the Limits of What Money Can Buy
    Moral Philosophy and Politics 4 (1): 121-140. 2017.
    There are some things money literally cannot buy. Invariably transformable goods are such things because when they are exchanged for money, they become something else. These goods are destroyed rather than transferred in monetary exchanges. They mark out an impassable limit beyond which money and the market cannot reach. They cannot be for sale, in the strongest and most literal sense. Variably transformable goods are similar. They can be destroyed when offered or exchanged for money, but they d…Read more
  •  108
    Impure Semiotic Objections to Markets
    Public Affairs Quarterly 32 (3): 227-246. 2018.
    Semiotic objections to markets urge us not to place a good on the market because of the message that doing so would send. Brennan and Jaworski reject them on the grounds that either the contingent semiotics of a market can be changed or the weakness of semiotic reasons allows them to be ignored. The scope of their argument neglects the impure semiotic objections that claim that the message a market sends causes, constitutes, or involves a nonsemiotic wrong. These are the most compelling class of…Read more
  •  66
    Constitutivism, Error, and Moral Responsibility in Bishop Butler's Ethics
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 55 (4): 415-438. 2017.
    In his writings on moral philosophy, Bishop Joseph Butler adopts an identifiably “constitutivist” strategy because he seeks to ground normativity in features of agency. Butler's constitutivist strategy deserves our attention both because he is an influential precursor to much modern moral philosophy and because it sheds light on current debates about constitutivism. For example, Butler's approach can easily satisfy the “error constraint” that is often thought to derail modern constitutivist appr…Read more
  •  60
    Entire moral philosophies have been rejected for ruling out the possibility of failure. This “fallibility constraint” (also sometimes called the “error constraint”) cannot be justified by appealing either to Wittgensteinian considerations about rules or to the moral importance of alternate possibilities. I propose instead that support for such a constraint in ethics can be found in the Strawsonian reactive attitudes. I then use the constraint to reveal hidden weaknesses in contemporary contstitu…Read more
  •  35
    What Money Is and Ought To Be
    Journal of Social Ontology 6 (2): 293-313. 2021.
    Teleological thinking about money reasons from what money is for to both how it ought to be used and what forms it should take. One type, found in Aristotle’s argument against usury, takes teleological considerations alone to decisively settle normative questions. Another type, found in Locke’s argument about monetary durability, takes teleological considerations to contribute to the settling of normative questions, but sees them as one consideration among many. This paper endorses the type made…Read more
  •  29
    Review of New Waves in Ethics (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2012 (08): 34. 2012.