•  120
    A Humean particularist virtue ethic
    Philosophical Studies 172 (8): 2171-2191. 2015.
    Virtue ethical theories typically follow a neo-Aristotelian or quasi-Aristotelian model, making use of various combinations of key features of the Aristotelian model including eudaimonism, perfectionism, an account of practical wisdom, and the thesis of the unity of the virtues. In this paper I motivate what I call a Humean virtue ethic, which is a deeply particularist account of virtue that rejects all of these central tenets, at least in their traditional forms. Focusing on three factors by wh…Read more
  •  59
    Associative Virtues and Hume's Narrow Circle
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (1): 612-637. 2017.
    This article offers a straightforward reading of Hume's ‘narrow circle’ – the boundary employed to define those with whom we sympathize in assessing an agent's moral character – that follows from a more careful look at his account of virtue. Hume employs a principle that can be understood as a virtue ethical equivalent of associative obligation, which thereby delimits the boundaries of this circle. This reading avoids concerns about unjustified partiality, moral blind spots, and demandingness, a…Read more
  •  35
    The ontology of character traits in Hume
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 42 (S1): 82-97. 2012.
    This paper argues that Hume can account for character traits as lasting mental qualities without violating his reductionist account of the mind as a changing bundle of ideas and impressions. It argues that a trait is a disposition to act according to certain passions or motivations, explained entirely with reference to the ideas and impressions constituting one's current self. This account is consistent with Hume's view of the mind, and relies solely on his accounts of the association of impress…Read more
  •  32
    Narrative and History in Hume's Moral Epistemology
    Journal of Scottish Philosophy 14 (1): 21-50. 2016.
    Hume's moral epistemology, focusing on the elevation of character tratis, requires what in contemporary terms is a narrative structure. The moral significance of an action can only be understood when considered in relation to an agent's past actions, beliefs, intentions, social environment and situation. Three features of Hume's writings support this claim: his accounts of moral evidence, of the object of moral evaluation, and of the value of history. Without recognizing the role of narrative, t…Read more
  •  25
    Hedonism and virtue
    In Peter R. Anstey (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century, Oxford University Press. pp. 415. 2013.
    This chapter examines the views of seventeenth-century British philosophers on the relation between virtue and hedonism, explaining that many philosophers believed that a defense of virtue required rejection of hedonism. It discusses the reformulation of moral philosophy proposed by Thomas Hobbes, and analyzes the reactions of Richard Cumberland and Cambridge Platonists Ralph Cudworth and Henry More. The chapter also considers the revival of Epicureanism and early modern natural law theory.
  •  23
    Hume, Mandeville, Butler, and “that Vulgar Dispute”
    Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 101 (2): 280-309. 2019.
    The debate over whether human motivations are fundamentally selfinterested or benevolent consumed Shaftesbury, Mandeville, and Hutcheson, but Hume – though explicitly indebted to all three – almost entirely ignores this issue. I argue that his relative silence reveals an overlooked intellectual debt to Bishop Butler that informs two distinguishing features of Hume’s view: first, it allows him to appropriate compelling empirical observations that Mandeville makes about virtue and moral approval; …Read more
  •  2
    Associative Virtues and Hume's Narrow Circle
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (4): 612-637. 2016.