•  958
    The Importance of Being Rational
    Dissertation, Princeton University. 2013.
    My dissertation is a systematic defense of the claim that what it is to be rational is to correctly respond to the reasons you possess. The dissertation is split into two parts, each consisting of three chapters. In Part I--Coherence, Possession, and Correctly Responding--I argue that my view has important advantages over popular views in metaethics that tie rationality to coherence (ch. 2), defend a novel view of what it is to possess a reason (ch. 3), and defend a novel view about what it is t…Read more
  •  850
    From Independence to Conciliationism: An Obituary
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy (2): 1-13. 2013.
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Volume 92, Issue 2, Page 365-377, June 2014
  •  490
    Epistemic Reasons, Evidence, and Defeaters
    In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    The post-Gettier literature contained many views that tried to solve the Gettier problem by appealing to the notion of defeat. Unfortunately, all of these views are false. The failure of these views greatly contributed to a general distrust of reasons in epistemology. However, reasons are making a comeback in epistemology, both in general and in the context of the Gettier problem. There are two main aims of this paper. First, I will argue against a natural defeat based resolution of the Gettier …Read more
  •  449
    Acting for the Right Reasons, Abilities, and Obligation
    In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Volume 10, Oxford University Press. 2015.
    Objectivists about obligation hold that obligations are determined by all of the normatively relevant facts. Perspectivalists, on the other hand, hold that only facts within one's perspective can determine what we are obligated to do. In this paper I argue for a perspectivalist view. On my view, what you are obligated to do is determined by the normative reasons you possess. My argument for my view is anchored in the thought that our obligations have to be action-guiding in a certain sense--we h…Read more
  •  376
    It is a truism that we ought to be rational. Despite this, it has become popular to think that it is not the case that we ought to be rational. In this paper I argue for a view about rationality—the view that what one is rationally required to do is determined by the normative reasons one possesses—by showing that it can vindicate that one ought to be rational. I do this by showing that it is independently very plausible that what one ought to do is determined by the normative reasons one posses…Read more
  •  330
    You are irrational when you are akratic. On this point most agree. Despite this agreement, there is a tremendous amount of disagreement about what the correct explanation of this data is. Narrow-scopers think that the correct explanation is that you are violating a narrow-scope conditional requirement. You lack an intention to x that you are required to have given the fact that you believe you ought to x. Wide-scopers disagree. They think that a conditional you are required to make true is false…Read more
  •  298
    Reasons: Wrong, Right, Normative, Fundamental
    with Kurt Sylvan
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 15 (1). 2019.
    Reasons fundamentalists maintain that we can analyze all derivative normative properties in terms of normative reasons. These theorists famously encounter the Wrong Kind of Reasons problem, since not all reasons for reactions seem relevant for reasons-based analyses. Some have argued that this problem is a general one for many theorists, and claim that this lightens the burden for reasons fundamentalists. We argue in this paper that the reverse is true: the generality of the problem makes life h…Read more
  •  274
    Dancy on Acting for the Right Reason
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (3): 1-7. 2007.
    It is a truism that agents can do the right action for the right reason. To put the point in terms more familiar to ethicists, it is a truism that one’s motivating reason can be one’s normative reason. In this short note, I will argue that Jonathan Dancy’s preferred view about how this is possible faces a dilemma. Dancy has the choice between accounting for two plausible constraints while at the same time holding an outlandish philosophy of mind by his own lights or giving up his view's central …Read more
  •  239
    Justifying Partiality
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (3): 569-590. 2016.
    It’s an undeniable fact about our moral lives that we are partial towards certain people and projects. Despite this, it has traditionally been very hard to justify partiality. In this paper I defend a novel partialist theory. The context of the paper is the debate between three different views of how partiality is justified. According to the first view, partiality is justified by facts about our ground projects. According to the second view, partiality is justified by facts about our relationshi…Read more
  •  234
    Having reasons and the factoring account
    Philosophical Studies 149 (3). 2010.
    It’s natural to say that when it’s rational for me to φ, I have reasons to φ. That is, there are reasons for φ-ing, and moreover, I have some of them. Mark Schroeder calls this view The Factoring Account of the having reasons relation. He thinks The Factoring Account is false. In this paper, I defend The Factoring Account. Not only do I provide intuitive support for the view, but I also defend it against Schroeder’s criticisms. Moreover, I show that it helps us understand the requirements of sub…Read more
  •  208
    On the Rational Power of Aesthetic Testimony
    British Journal of Aesthetics 56 (1): 1-13. 2016.
    Can one know aesthetic facts on the basis of testimony? Optimists say that we can. Pessimists say that we cannot. Daniel Whiting has recently put forth a new argument for pessimism about the epistemic power of aesthetic testimony. He seeks to establish pessimism by arguing that testimonial beliefs cannot justify the downstream reactions that would otherwise be justified if one had aesthetic knowledge. In this paper, I will show that there is a plausible alternative explanation of the data that W…Read more
  •  186
    Prime Time (for the Basing Relation)
    with Kurt Sylvan
    In J. Adam Carter & Patrick Bondy (eds.), Well Founded Belief: New Essays on the Epistemic Basing Relation. forthcoming.
    It is often assumed that believing that p for a normative reason consists in nothing more than (i) believing that p for a reason and (ii) that reason’s corresponding to a normative reason to believe that p, where (i) and (ii) are independent factors. This is the Composite View. In this paper, we argue against the Composite View on extensional and theoretical grounds. We advocate an alternative that we call the Prime View. On this view, believing for a normative reason is a distinctive achieveme…Read more
  •  161
    Errol Lord explores the boundaries of epistemic normativity. He argues that we can understand these better by thinking about which mental states are competitors in rationality’s competition. He argues that belief, disbelief, and two kinds of suspension of judgment are competitors. Lord shows that there are non-evidential reasons for suspension of judgment. One upshot is an independent motivation for a certain sort of pragmatist view of epistemic rationality.
  •  147
    Violating requirements, exiting from requirements, and the scope of rationality
    Philosophical Quarterly 61 (243): 392-399. 2011.
    It is generally agreed that many types of attitudinal incoherence are irrational, but there is controversy about why they are. Some think incoherence is irrational because it violates certain wide-scope conditional requirements, others (‘narrow-scopers’) that it violates narrow-scope conditional requirements. In his paper ‘The Scope of Rational Requirements’, John Brunero has offered a putative counter-example to narrow-scope views. But a narrow-scoper should reject a crucial assumption which Br…Read more
  •  145
    In this paper I'm interested in the prospects for the Right Reasons theory of creditworthiness. The Right Reasons theory says that what it is for an agent to be creditworthy for X-ing is for that agent to X for the right reasons. The paper has a negative goal and a positive goal. The negative goal is to show that a class of Right Reasons theories are doomed. These theories all have a Conceptualization Condition on acting for the right reasons. Conceptualization Conditions demand that agents who …Read more
  •  76
    Weighing Reasons (edited book)
    Oxford University Press USA. 2016.
    Normative reasons have become a popular theoretical tool in recent decades. One helpful feature of normative reasons is their weight. The fourteen new essays in this book theorize about many different aspects of weight. Topics range from foundational issues to applications of weight in debates across philosophy
  •  76
    The Explanatory Problem for Cognitivism about Practical Reason
    In Conor McHugh Jonathan Way & Daniel Whiting (eds.), Normativity: Epistemic and Practical, . forthcoming.
    Cognitivists about practical reason hold that we can explain why certain wide-scope requirements of practical rationality are true by appealing to certain epistemic requirements. Extant discussions of cognitivism focus solely on two claims. The first is the claim that intentions involve beliefs. The second is that whenever your intentions are incoherent in certain ways, you will be epistemically irrational. Even if the cognitivist successfully defends these claims, she still needs to show that t…Read more
  •  74
    Humean Nature: How Desire Explains Action, Thought, and Feeling
    Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274): 202-206. 2019.
    Humean Nature: How Desire Explains Action, Thought, and Feeling. By Sinhababu Neil.
  •  70
    The Vices of Perception
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (3): 727-734. 2020.
  •  58
    Partiality, by Simon Keller
    Mind 124 (496): 1306-1309. 2015.
  •  49
    Reasons for Belief
    Philosophical Quarterly 64 (257): 664-667. 2014.
  •  40
    Defending The Importance of Being Rational: Replies to Bedke and Guindon, Hazlett, and Way By LordErrol
  •  33
    The Importance of Being Rational
    Oxford University Press. 2018.
    Errol Lord offers a new account of the nature of rationality: what it is for one to be rational is to correctly respond to the normative reasons one possesses. Lord defends novel views about what it is to possess reasons and what it is to correctly respond to reasons, and dispels doubts about whether we ought to be rational.