• Oxford Handbook of Moral Responsibility (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
  •  11
    Undivided Forward-Looking Moral Responsibility
    The Monist 104 (4): 484-497. 2021.
    This article sets out a forward-looking account of moral responsibility on which the ground-level practice is directly sensitive to aims such as moral formation and reconciliation, and is not subject to a barrier between tiers. On the contrasting two-tier accounts defended by Daniel Dennett and Manuel Vargas, the ground-level practice features backward-looking, desert-invoking justifications that are in turn justified by forward-looking considerations at the higher tier. The concern raised for t…Read more
  •  29
    It is often claimed that Russellian monism carries a commitment to a structuralist conception of physics, on which physics describes the world only in terms of its spatiotemporal structure and dynamics. We argue that this claim is mistaken. On Russellian monism, there is more to consciousness, and to the rest of concrete reality, than spatiotemporal structure and dynamics. But the latter claim supports only a conditional claim about physics: if structuralism about physics is true, then there is …Read more
  •  155
    A Non-Punitive Alternative to Punishment
    In Farah Focquaert, Bruce Waller & Elizabeth Shaw (eds.), Routledge Handbook on the Philosophy and Science of Punishment, Routledge. 2020.
  •  99
    Free Will Skepticism in Law and Society: An Overview
    In Elizabeth Shaw, Derk Pereboom & Gregg D. Caruso (eds.), Free Will Skepticism in Law and Society: Challenging Retributive Justice, Cambridge University Press. pp. 1-26. 2019.
  •  52
    Within the United States, the most prominent justification for criminal punishment is retributivism. This retributivist justification for punishment maintains that punishment of a wrongdoer is justified for the reason that she deserves something bad to happen to her just because she has knowingly done wrong—this could include pain, deprivation, or death. For the retributivist, it is the basic desert attached to the criminal’s immoral action alone that provides the justification for punishment. T…Read more
  •  4
    Criminal Punishment and Free Will
    In David Boonin, Katrina L. Sifferd, Tyler K. Fagan, Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Michael Huemer, Daniel Wodak, Derk Pereboom, Stephen J. Morse, Sarah Tyson, Mark Zelcer, Garrett VanPelt, Devin Casey, Philip E. Devine, David K. Chan, Maarten Boudry, Christopher Freiman, Hrishikesh Joshi, Shelley Wilcox, Jason Brennan, Eric Wiland, Ryan Muldoon, Mark Alfano, Philip Robichaud, Kevin Timpe, David Livingstone Smith, Francis J. Beckwith, Dan Hooley, Russell Blackford, John Corvino, Corey McCall, Dan Demetriou, Ajume Wingo, Michael Shermer, Ole Martin Moen, Aksel Braanen Sterri, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Jeppe von Platz, John Thrasher, Mary Hawkesworth, William MacAskill, Daniel Halliday, Janine O’Flynn, Yoaav Isaacs, Jason Iuliano, Claire Pickard, Arvin M. Gouw, Tina Rulli, Justin Caouette, Allen Habib, Brian D. Earp, Andrew Vierra, Subrena E. Smith, Danielle M. Wenner, Lisa Diependaele, Sigrid Sterckx, G. Owen Schaefer, Markus K. Labude, Harisan Unais Nasir, Udo Schuklenk, Benjamin Zolf & Woolwine (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy, Springer Verlag. pp. 63-76. 2018.
    This chapter examines the restrictions on justification of punishment that result from the claim that human beings lack freedom of the will. The variety of free will at issue is the control in action required for the agent to basically deserve to be blamed or punished. If we lack such free will, the classical retributive justification is undermined. Furthermore, if we lack such free will, one justification for using criminals as means for the purpose of general deterrence is also threatened. Sin…Read more
  •  5
    Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (3): 615-622. 2002.
  •  9
    Belief and Meaning
    Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 58 (3): 621-626. 1998.
  •  52
    Russellian Monism, Introspective Inaccuracy, and the Illusion Meta- Problem of Consciousness
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (9-10): 182-193. 2019.
    Proposed is a two-factor explanation for our resistance to illusionism about phenomenal consciousness. The first is that we lack, and can't easily imagine, ways of checking the accuracy of introspective phenomenal representation. The second is that illusions of phenomenal consciousness would themselves appear to be phenomenally conscious. The illusionist's defence is to apply illusionism to illusions of consciousness, but the result, even if formally coherent, resists imaginative conception.
  •  35
    Illusionism and Anti-Functionalism about Phenomenal Consciousness
    Journal of Consciousness Studies 23 (11-12): 172-185. 2016.
    The role of a functionalist account of phenomenal properties in Keith Frankish's illusionist position results in two issues for his view. The first concerns the ontological status of illusions of phenomenality. Illusionists are committed to their existence, and these illusions would appear to have phenomenal features. Frankish argues that functionalism about phenomenal properties yields a response, but I contend that it doesn't, and that instead the illusionist's basic account of phenomenal prop…Read more
  •  35
    What Makes the Free Will Debate Substantive?
    The Journal of Ethics 23 (3): 257-264. 2019.
    Contrary to what I have contended, Michael McKenna argues that basic desert does not have an essential role in the free will debate. On his alternative construal, what is central is whether our practice of holding morally responsible, and blaming in particular, can be justified, and what notion of free will is required for that justification. Notions distinct from basic desert can ground our practice, and so the free will debate is independent of basic desert. Here I argue that the one best cand…Read more
  •  1
    Oxford Handbook of Responsibility (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
  •  8
    'Free will skepticism' refers to a family of views that all take seriously the possibility that human beings lack the control in action - i.e. the free will - required for an agent to be truly deserving of blame and praise, punishment and reward. Critics fear that adopting this view would have harmful consequences for our interpersonal relationships, society, morality, meaning, and laws. Optimistic free will skeptics, on the other hand, respond by arguing that life without free will and so-calle…Read more
  •  23
    In Wrongs and Crimes, Victor Tadros argues that wrongdoers acquire special duties to those they’ve wronged, and from there he generates wrongdoers’ duties to contribute to general deterrence by being punished. In support, he contends that my manipulation argument against compatibilism fails to show that causal determination is incompatible with the proposed duties wrongdoers owe to those they’ve wronged. I respond that I did not intend my manipulation argument to rule out a sense of moral respon…Read more
  •  41
    The aim of this article is to set out a theory for treatment of criminals that rejects retributive justification for punishment; does not fall afoul of a plausible prohibition on using people merely as means; and actually works in the real world. The theory can be motivated by free will skepticism. But it can also be supported without reference to the free will issue, since retributivism faces ethical challenges in its own right. In past versions of the account I’ve emphasized the quarantine ana…Read more
  •  16
  •  4
    Basic Desert, Reactive Attitudes and Free Will (edited book)
    with Maureen Sie
    Routledge. 2015.
    Basic Desert, Reactive Attitudes and Free Will addresses the issue of whether we can make sense of the widespread conviction that we are morally responsible beings. It focuses on the claim that we deserve to be blamed and punished for our immoral actions, and how this claim can be justified given the philosophical and scientific reasons to believe that we lack the sort of free will required for this sort of desert. Contributions to the book distinguish between, and explore, two clusters of quest…Read more
  •  99
    Why a scientific realist cannot be a functionalist
    Synthese 88 (September): 341-58. 1991.
    According to functionalism, mental state types consist solely in relations to inputs, outputs, and other mental states. I argue that two central claims of a prominent and plausible type of scientific realism conflict with the functionalist position. These claims are that natural kinds in a mature science are not reducible to natural kinds in any other, and that all dispositional features of natural kinds can be explained at the type-level. These claims, when applied to psychology, have the conse…Read more
  •  103
    I argue that §§15–20 of the B-Deduction contain two independent arguments for the applicability of a priori concepts, the first an argument from above, the second an argument from below. The core of the first argument is §16's explanation of our consciousness of subject-identity across self-attributions, while the focus of the second is §18's account of universality and necessity in our experience. I conclude that the B-Deduction comprises powerful strategies for establishing its intended conclu…Read more
  •  13
    Structuralism, Anti-Structuralism and Objectivity
    Philosophic Exchange 40 (1). 2010.
    Structuralist theories describe the entities in their domains solely in terms of relations, while also claiming to be complete theories of the entities in question. Leibniz and Kant insist that no structuralist theory can be a complete theory. Kant believes that the knowledge afforded by structuralist theories is sufficient. However, Jacques Derrida is skeptical of the sufficiency of structuralist theories for stable knowledge of any kind.
  •  136
    Stoic Psychotherapy in Descartes and Spinoza
    Faith and Philosophy 11 (4): 592-625. 1994.
    The psychotherapeutic theories of Descartes and Spinoza are heavily influenced by Stoicism. Stoic psychotherapy has two central features. First, we have a remarkable degree of voluntary control over our passions, and we can and should exercise this control to keep ourselves from having any irrational passions at all. Second, the universe is determined by the providential divine will, and in any situation we can and should align ourselves with this divine will in order to achieve equanimity. Wher…Read more
  •  162
    The metaphysics of irreducibility
    Philosophical Studies 63 (August): 125-45. 1991.
    During the 'sixties and 'seventies, Hilary Putnam, Jerry Fodor, and Richard Boyd, among others, developed a type of materialism that eschews reductionist claims.1 In this view, explana- tions, natural kinds, and properties in psychology do not reduce to counterparts in more basic sciences, such as neurophysiology or physics. Nevertheless, all token psychological entities-- states, processes, and faculties--are wholly constituted of physical entities, ultimately out of entities over which microph…Read more
  •  171
    The claim that moral responsibility for an action requires that the agent could have done otherwise is surely attractive. Moreover, it seems reasonable to contend that a requirement of this sort is not merely a necessary condition of little consequence, but that it plays a decisive role in explaining an agent's moral responsibility for an action. For if an agent is to be blameworthy for an action, it seems crucial that she could have done something to avoid this blameworthiness. If she is to be …Read more