Princeton University
Department of Philosophy
Ithaca, New York, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Philosophy of Law
  •  28
    Reasonable Moral Doubt
    New York University Law Review 97 1373-1425. 2022.
    Sentencing outcomes turn on moral and evaluative determinations. For example, a finding of “irreparable corruption” is generally a precondition for juvenile life without parole. A finding that the “aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors” determines whether a defendant receives the death penalty. Should such moral determinations that expose defendants to extraordinary penalties be subject to a standard of proof? A broad range of federal and state courts have purported to decide this …Read more
  •  66
    I Feel Your Pain: Acquaintance & the Limits of Empathy
    Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind. forthcoming.
    The kind of empathy that is communicated through expressions like “I feel your pain” or “I share your sadness” is important, but peculiar. For it seems to require something perplexing and elusive: sharing another’s experience. It’s not clear how this is possible. We each experience the world from our own point of view, which no one else occupies. It’s also unclear exactly why it is so important that we share others' pains. If you are in pain, then why should it matter, and be a good thing, that …Read more
  •  564
    Acquaintance, knowledge, and value
    Synthese 199 (5-6): 14035-14062. 2021.
    Taking perceptual experience to consist in a relation of acquaintance with the sensible qualities, I argue that the state of being acquainted with a sensible quality is intrinsically a form of knowledge, and not merely a means to more familiar kinds of knowledge, such as propositional or dispositional knowledge. We should accept the epistemic claim for its explanatory power and theoretical usefulness. That acquaintance is knowledge best explains the intuitive epistemic appeal of ‘Edenic’ counter…Read more
  •  18
    Philosophy of Contract Law
    with Daniel Markovits
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2021.
    The law of contracts, at least in its orthodox expression, concerns voluntary, or chosen, legal obligations. When Brody accepts Susan’s offer to sell him a canoe for a set price, the parties’ choices alter their legal rights and duties. Their success at changing the legal landscape depends on a background system of rules that specify when and how contractual acts have legal effects, rules that give the offer and acceptance of a bargain-exchange a central role in generating obligations. Contract …Read more
  •  340
    Legal Positivism and the Moral Origins of Legal Systems
    Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 36 (1): 37-64. 2023.
    Legal positivists maintain that the legality of a rule is fundamentally determined by social facts. Yet for much of legal history, ordinary officials used legal terminology in ways that seem inconsistent with positivism. Judges regularly cited, analyzed, and predicated their decisions on the ‘laws of justice’ which they claimed had universal legal import. This practice, though well-documented by historians, has received surprisingly little philosophical attention; I argue that it invites explana…Read more
  •  117
    Review of "Natural Law & the Nature of Law" by Jonathan Crowe (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2020. 2020.
    Commentary on Crowe's metaethics and his theory of law as a goodness-fixing kind.
  •  470
    There are No Easy Counterexamples to Legal Anti-positivism
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 17 (1). 2020.
    Legal anti-positivism is widely believed to be a general theory of law that generates far too many false negatives. If anti-positivism is true, certain rules bearing all the hallmarks of legality are not in fact legal. This impression, fostered by both positivists and anti-positivists, stems from an overly narrow conception of the kinds of moral facts that ground legal facts: roughly, facts about what is morally optimific—morally best or morally justified or morally obligatory given our social p…Read more
  •  391
    Supervenience, Repeatability, & Expressivism
    Noûs 54 (3): 578-599. 2020.
    Expressivists traditionally explain normative supervenience by saying it is a conceptual truth. I argue against this tradition in two steps. First, I show the modal claim that stands in need of explanation has been stated imprecisely. Classic arguments in metaethics for normative supervenience and those that rely on it as a premise presuppose a constraint on the supervenience base that is rarely (if ever) made explicit: the repeatability of the non-normative properties on which the normative sup…Read more
  •  25
    Legal Obligation & Its Limits
    Law and Philosophy 38 (2): 109-147. 2019.
    Judges decide cases by appeal to rules of general application they deem to be law. If a candidate rule resolves the case and is, ex ante and independently of the judge’s judgment, the law, then the judge has a legal obligation to declare it as such and follow it. That, at any rate, is conventional wisdom. Yet the principle is false – a rule’s being law or the judge’s believing it to be law is neither necessary nor even sufficient for a judge being legally obliged to follow it. The principle’s fa…Read more
  •  84
    On Ground as a Guide to Realism
    Ratio 31 (2): 165-178. 2018.
    According to Fine (among others), a nonbasic factual proposition must be grounded in facts involving those of its constituents that are both real and fundamental. But the principle is vulnerable to several dialectically significant counterexamples. It entails, for example, that a logical Platonist cannot accept that true disjunctions are grounded in the truth of their disjuncts; that a Platonist about mathematical objects cannot accept that sets are grounded in their members; and that a color pr…Read more
  •  106
    How to be impartial as a subjectivist
    Philosophical Studies 173 (3): 757-779. 2016.
    The metaethical subjectivist claims that there is nothing more to a moral disagreement than a conflict in the desires of the parties involved. Recently, David Enoch has argued that metaethical subjectivism has unacceptable ethical implications. If the subjectivist is right about moral disagreement, then it follows, according to Enoch, that we cannot stand our ground in moral disagreements without violating the demands of impartiality. For being impartial, we’re told, involves being willing to co…Read more