•  9
    Semiotic Limits to Markets Defended
    Philosophia 1-16. forthcoming.
    Jason Brennan and Peter Jaworski argue in recent work that “semiotic” or “symbolic” objections to markets are unsuccessful. I counter-argue that there are indeed some semiotic limits on markets and that anti-commodification theorists are not merely expressing disgust when they disapprove of markets in certain goods on those grounds. One central argument is that, contrary to what Brennan and Jaworski claim, semiotic arguments against markets do not depend fundamentally on meanings that prevail ab…Read more
  •  12
    William James and the Metaphilosophy of Individualism
    Metaphilosophy 52 (2): 220-233. 2021.
    Metaphilosophy, EarlyView.
  • The Cambridge Companion to Rorty (edited book)
    Cambridge University Press. 2021.
    This Companion provides a systematic introductory overview of Richard Rorty's philosophy. With chapters from an interdisciplinary group of leading scholars, the volume addresses virtually every aspect of Rorty's thought, from his philosophical views on truth and representation and his youthful obsession with wild orchids to his ruminations on the contemporary American Left and his prescient warning about the election of Donald Trump. Other topics covered include his various assessments of classi…Read more
  • Pragmatism and Justice (edited book)
    with Susan Dieleman and Christopher Voparil
    Oxford University Press. 2017.
    Pragmatism and Justice is an interdisciplinary volume of new and seminal essays by political philosophers, social theorists, and scholars of pragmatism which provides a comprehensive introduction and lasting resource for scholars of pragmatist thought and questions of justice.
  •  12
    Pragmatist Egalitarianism Revisited: Some Replies to my Critics
    Contemporary Pragmatism 16 (4): 337-347. 2019.
    In this article, I reply to some criticisms of my book, Pragmatist Egalitarianism, offered by professors Robert Talisse, Susan Dieleman, and Alexander Livingston. Some of the major themes and questions I address include the following: How are conflicts between different egalitarian ideals best understood and addressed? Does the quest for equality have a fundamental locus, or are the different egalitarian variables I identify in the book, conceptually speaking, on an equal footing? What is the re…Read more
  •  47
    Richard Rorty on the American Left in the Era of Trump
    Contemporary Pragmatism 15 (2): 194-210. 2018.
    This paper revisits some of the arguments in Richard Rorty’s Achieving Our Country, twenty years after the book first appeared. Not only are many of Rorty’s diagnoses and predictions eerily prescient in the wake of the rise of Donald Trump to the US presidency, but there is also perceptive political advice in Rorty’s book that I argue the contemporary American Left would do well to heed. While many post-election commentators have tended to read Achieving Our Country as an admonishment of so-call…Read more
  • Pragmatist Egalitarianism
    Oxford University Press. 2018.
    Pragmatist Egalitarianism argues that a deep impasse plagues philosophical egalitarianism. It sets forth a conception of equality rooted in American pragmatist thought--specifically William James, John Dewey, and Richard Rorty--that successfully mediates that impasse.
  •  21
    The Continuing Relevance of John Dewey (review)
    Education and Culture 30 (2): 103-105. 2014.
    The Continuing Relevance of John Dewey: Reflections on Aesthetics, Morality, Science, and Society gathers selected and revised essays from a conference at the University of Opole in Poland. The conference, held in June 2009, marked the anniversary of John Dewey’s 150th birthday, and pursued as its stated theme: “John Dewey in the context of American and European Values.” The volume begins with an introduction by Larry Hickman, one of John Dewey’s most committed and energetic champions. The rest …Read more
  •  17
    Nothing in mortal life is worthy of great concernThe word “justice” is habitually used in at least two different ways. Sometimes it stands for a Grenzbegriff, an Idea of Pure Reason, a focus imaginarius. Justice in this uniquely philosophical sense refers to a moral horizon against which we evaluate institutions, laws, policies, and practices. Like Plato’s Forms, however, the pure concept of justice—the fundamental and essential nature of “the just”—is notoriously elusive. Justice in this sense …Read more
  •  19
    Rawls and the Metaphysical Tradition
    South African Journal of Philosophy 23 (2): 134-47. 2004.
  •  79
    Appraising Justice as Larger Loyalty
    Contemporary Pragmatism 12 (2): 302-316. 2015.
    This paper critically examines Richard Rorty’s “justice as larger loyalty” proposal. While Rorty is right, I argue, to reject the Kantian idea of a strict bifurcation between justice and loyalty, the former corresponding to reason the latter corresponding to sentiment, my argument is that it is nevertheless a mistake to follow Rorty in conceiving of justice as he recommends we should. This is not an endorsement of the rationalistic Kantian view Rorty rejects. Rather, I argue that there are compe…Read more
  •  44
    Raz on Authority and Democracy
    Dialogue 51 (2): 211-230. 2012.
    ABSTRACT: I argue that Joseph Raz’s service conception of authority cannot convincingly account for the nature and source of democratic authority. It cannot explain why decisions made democratically are more likely to be sound than decisions made non-democratically, and therefore, why democratic decisions might be understood as constituting moral reasons for action and compliance independently of their instrumental dimensions. My argument is that democratic authority cannot be explained complete…Read more
  • James on Morality
    In David H. Evans (ed.), Understanding James, Understanding Modernism, Bloomsbury. pp. 281-282. 2017.
  •  31
    Equality, luck, and pragmatism
    Journal of Speculative Philosophy 21 (2). 2007.
    In this paper I describe how Kant’s idea about the impossibility of moral luck has come to influence, via Rawls, recent writings in egalitarian theory. I argue that this influence has been detrimental for the study of equality. Further, I claim that the major deficiencies of this post-Rawlsian egalitarianism (nicely described by Elizabeth Anderson’s title “luck egalitarianism) are both effectively critiqued and corrected by the understanding of equality and its value located in John Dewey’s wri…Read more
  •  24
    Kai Nielsen is one of Canada’s most distinguished political philosophers. In a career spanning over 40 years, he has published more than 400 papers in political philosophy, ethics, meta-philosophy, and philosophy of religion. He has engaged much of the best work in Anglophone political philosophy, shedding light on many of the central debates and controversies of our time but throughout has remained a unique voice on the political left. _ Pessimism of the Intellect _presents a thoughtful collect…Read more
  •  97
    An overview of Kai Nielsen's philosophy focusing on his contributions to metaphilosophy and a critical theory based on wide reflective equilibrium, global justice, and egalitarianism.
  •  30
    Deweyan Democracy Defended
    Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1): 197-207. 2012.
    This paper defends Deweyan democracy against the attack levelled against it by Robert Talisse. The problem with Talisse’s critique, I argue, is that Rawlsian concerns about reasonable pluralism are a propos only for political theories of justice ⎯ for theories, that is, that make definitive pronouncements about, or offer principled limits to, the coercive power of the state ⎯ and Deweyan democracy is not (or is not centrally) a theory of justice in this respect. My argument, in short, is that o…Read more