•  481
    Marriage and the Norm of Monogamy
    with Bryan R. Weaver
    The Monist 91 (3-4): 506-522. 2008.
    It appears that spouses have less reason to hold each other to a norm of monogamy than to reject the norm. The norm of monogamy involves a restriction of spouses' aeeess to two things of value: sex and erotic love. This restriction initially appears unwarranted but can be justified. There is reason for spouses to aeeept the norm of monogamy if their marriage satisfies three conditions. Otherwise, there is reason to permit non-monogamy. Some spouses have reason to accept the norm of monogamy beca…Read more
  •  445
    Doing and allowing, threats and sequences
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 89 (2). 2008.
    The distinction between doing and allowing appears to have moral significance, but the very nature of the distinction is as yet unclear. Philippa Foot's ‘pre-existing threats’ account of the doing/allowing distinction is highly influential. According to the best version of Foot's account an agent brings about an outcome if and only if his behaviour is part of the sequence leading to that outcome. When understood in this way, Foot's account escapes objections by Warren Quinn and Jonathan Bennett.…Read more
  •  376
    The distinction between action and omission is of interest in both theoretical and practical philosophy. We use this distinction daily in our descriptions of behaviour and appeal to it in moral judgements. However, the very nature of the act/omission distinction is as yet unclear. Jonathan Bennett’s account of the distinction in terms of positive and negative facts is one of the most promising attempts to give an analysis of the ontological distinction between action and omission. According to B…Read more
  •  250
    Have We Solved the Non-Identity Problem?
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 15 (5): 677-690. 2012.
    Our pollution of the environment seems set to lead to widespread problems in the future, including disease, scarcity of resources, and bloody conflicts. It is natural to think that we are required to stop polluting because polluting harms the future individuals who will be faced with these problems. This natural thought faces Derek Parfit’s famous Non-Identity Problem ( 1984 , pp. 361–364). The people who live on the polluted earth would not have existed if we had not polluted. Our polluting beh…Read more
  •  193
    According to the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, the distinction between doing and allowing harm is morally significant. Doing harm is harder to justify than merely allowing harm. This paper is the first of a two paper critical overview of the literature on the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing. In this paper, I consider the analysis of the distinction between doing and allowing harm. I explore some of the most prominent attempts to analyse this distinction:. Philippa Foot’s sequence account, Warre…Read more
  •  156
    According to the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, the distinction between doing and allowing harm is morally significant. Doing harm is harder to justify than merely allowing harm. This paper is the second of a two paper critical overview of the literature on the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing. In this paper, I consider the moral status of the distinction between doing and allowing harm. I look at objections to the doctrine such as James’ Rachels’ Wicked Uncle Case and Jonathan Bennett’s argument…Read more
  •  149
    If This Is My Body … : A Defence of the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (3): 315-341. 2013.
    I defend the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing: the claim that doing harm is harder to justify than merely allowing harm. A thing does not genuinely belong to a person unless he has special authority over it. The Doctrine of Doing and Allowing protects us against harmful imposition – against the actions or needs of another intruding on what is ours. This protection is necessary for something to genuinely belong to a person. The opponent of the Doctrine must claim that nothing genuinely belongs to a…Read more
  •  109
    Cheating with Jenna: monogamy, pornography and erotica
    In Porn: Philosophy for Everyone- How to Think With Kink, Wiley-blackwell. pp. 93-104. 2010.
    How would you feel about your husband, wife, or partner masturbating using pornography or erotica? For many, this would be a betrayal – a kind of cheating. I explore whether monogamous relationships should forbid solo masturbation using erotica and pornography, considering two possible objections: (1) the objection that such activity is a kind of infidelity; (2) the objection that such activity involves attitudes, usually attitudes towards women that are incompatible with an equal, loving rela…Read more
  •  104
    V—Dimensions of Demandingness
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (1): 89-106. 2016.
    The Demandingness Objection is the objection that a moral theory or principle is unacceptable because it asks more than we can reasonably expect. David Sobel, Shelley Kagan and Liam Murphy have each argued that the Demandingness Objection implicitly – and without justification – appeals to moral distinctions between different types of cost. I discuss three sets of cases each of which suggest that we implicitly assume some distinction between costs when applying the Demandingness Objection. We ca…Read more
  •  95
    Is It Okay to Let My Child Be Stung by a Wasp?
    The Philosophers' Magazine 86 51-57. 2019.
    I recently told my uncle that I thought I had come up with a way of showing that a mother who saw her child about to be stung by a wasp should try to intervene. I’d been working on this for several months. My uncle did not look very impressed. To be fair, it doesn’t sound like a very impressive result. Surely it is just utterly obviously that mothers should protect their children from wasps? So why had this taken me months of work? I am trying to come up with a moderate account of materna…Read more
  •  81
    The New Problem of Numbers in Morality
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4): 631-641. 2014.
    Discussion of the “problem of numbers” in morality has focused almost exclusively on the moral significance of numbers in whom-to-rescue cases: when you can save either of two groups of people, but not both, does the number of people in each group matter morally? I suggest that insufficient attention has been paid to the moral significance of numbers in other types of case. According to common-sense morality, numbers make a difference in cases, like the famous Trolley Case, where we must choose …Read more
  •  78
    Frances Kamm’s Intricate Ethics1 lives up to its title. It presents the methods and contents of Kamm’s nonconsequentialist ethical theory with discussion of some alternatives, both substantive and methodological. The main focus is on the distinctions that non- consequentialist ethical theory draws between different ways of bringing about states of affairs. This is presented in Kamm’s char- acteristic style. Readers should expect highly complex, subtle arguments as Kamm draws out fine-grained dis…Read more
  •  76
    I, Me, Mine: Body-Ownership and the Generation Problem
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (98): 87-108. 2017.
    The Body Ownership Thesis states that each person owns her body. I address a prominent objection, the Generation Problem: the Body Ownership Thesis apparently implies that parents own their children: as we own the fruit of our property, if a parent owns her own body, she must own her child and her child's body. I argue that a person does not own the fruit of her property when that fruit is a person or the body of a person. Persons have conclusive title to their bodies, but only defeasible title …Read more
  •  65
    This paper uses a dilemma presented by David Benatar to explore the challenges that ‘Sexual Liberals’ face in giving a satisfactory account of sexual ethics. A satisfactory Sexual Liberal account of sexual ethics must be able to fully explain the wrongness of sexual assault without implying that sexual activity should be restricted to those in love. The assumption that this is impossible may be due to mistakes in our thinking about sexual assault. However, even when such mistakes are resolved,…Read more
  •  65
    Why Should Ethicists Think About Pregnancy Sickness?
    The Philosophers' Magazine 77 41-46. 2017.
    I became a philosopher because I was fascinated by the ethics of abortion. Not only is abortion a crucial practical issue – a matter of life or death – but it forces us to grapple with some of the hardest and yet most significant philosophical questions: If we agree that all human beings have a right to life, what entities do we count as human beings? What characteristics, if any, are necessary? What happens when one entity’s life clashes with another’s bodily integrity? What are the roles of re…Read more
  •  64
    Doing/allowing and the deliberative requirement
    Ratio 23 (2): 199-216. 2010.
    Attempts to defend the moral significance of the distinction between doing and allowing harm directly have left many unconvinced. I give an indirect defence of the moral significance of the distinction between doing and allowing, focusing on the agent's duty to reason in a way that is responsive to possible harmful effects of their behaviour. Due to our cognitive limitations, we cannot be expected to take all harmful consequences of our behaviour into account. We are required to be responsive to…Read more
  •  52
    When a mother deliberately harms her child, it is tempting to assume that she must be either insane or lacking the "natural" love of a mother for her children. We want to believe that such mothers have almost nothing in common with "good" mothers. Drawing extensively on empirical research, Sarah LaChance Adams' Mad Mothers, Bad Mothers, and What A "Good" Mother Would Do shows that maternal ambivalence, simultaneous desires to nurture and violently reject one's children, is both common and reason…Read more
  •  51
    I, me, mine: body-ownership and the generation problem
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (98): 87-108. 2017.
    The Body Ownership Thesis states that each person owns her body. I address a prominent objection, the Generation Problem: the Body Ownership Thesis apparently implies that parents own their children: as we own the fruit of our property, if a parent owns her own body, she must own her child and her child’s body. I argue that a person does not own the fruit of her property when that fruit is a person or the body of a person. Persons have conclusive title to their bodies, but only defeasible title …Read more
  •  50
    Requirements to Justify Breastfeeding in Public: A philosophical analysis
    International Breastfeeding Journal 14 (14): 14-26. 2019.
    It may be tempting for breastfeeding advocates to respond to challenges to breastfeeding older children or breastfeeding in public by pointing out the nutritional or developmental benefits of breastfeeding or by noting that breastfeeding is often extremely discreet. Such responses may concede more than they should: by focusing on rebutting the empirical claim, breastfeeding supporters may end up implicitly accepting two presuppositions about breastfeeding: first, the presupposition that breastf…Read more
  •  50
    © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Analysis Trust. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.comDavid Boonin’s The Non-Identity Problem and the Ethics of Future People and Rivka Weinberg’s The Risk of a Lifetime: How, When and Why Procreation May Be Permissible are both important books for those interested in procreative ethics. Each argues for surprising and controversial conclusions: Boonin argues that we should solve the…Read more
  •  48
    Barry and Øverland on doing, allowing, and enabling harm
    Ethics and Global Politics 12 (1): 43-51. 2019.
    In Responding to Global Poverty: Harm, Responsibility, and Agency, Christian Barry and Gerhard Øverland address the two types of argument that have dominated discussion of the responsibilities of the affluent to respond to global poverty. The second type of argument appeals to ‘contribution-based responsibilities’: the affluent have a duty to do something about the plight of the global poor because they have contributed to that plight. Barry and Øverland rightly recognize that to assess contribu…Read more
  •  41
    Doing and Allowing Harm
    Oxford University Press. 2015.
    Fiona Woollard presents an original defence of the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing, according to which doing harm seems much harder to justify than merely allowing harm. She argues that the Doctrine is best understood as a principle that protects us from harmful imposition, and offers a moderate account of our obligations to offer aid to others.
  •  41
    As its title indicates, Philip Pettit’s “Three Mistakes about Doing Good (and Bad)” identifies and rejects three common claims restricting what can count as a good (or bad ) effect of action. The key question here is how do we work out how much good you have brought about by your action? The first common claim is that only causal effects or consequences of action can count as goods that are brought about by an action. The second, that we can only count behavioural effects of action. The thir…Read more
  •  34
    The Reflective Life: Living Wisely with our Limits – Valerie Tiberius
    Philosophical Quarterly 59 (236): 570-573. 2009.
    No Abstract
  •  31
    L.A. Paul argues that interesting issues for rational choice theory are raised by epistemically transformative experiences: experiences which provide access to knowledge that could not be known without the experience. Consideration of the epistemic effects of pregnancy has important implications for our understanding of epistemically transformative experiences and for debate about the ethics of abortion and applied ethics more generally. Pregnancy is epistemically transformative both in Paul’s…Read more
  •  31
    Double effect, doing and allowing, and the relaxed nonconsequentialist
    Philosophical Explorations 20 (sup2): 142-158. 2017.
    Many philosophers display relaxed scepticism about the Doctrine of Doing and Allowing and the Doctrine of Double Effect, suspecting, without great alarm, that one or both of these Doctrines is indefensible. This relaxed scepticism is misplaced. Anyone who aims to endorse a theory of right action with Nonconsequentialist implications should accept both the DDA and the DDE. First, even to state a Nonconsequentialist theory requires drawing a distinction between respecting and promoting values. Thi…Read more
  •  30
    Peter Singer is one of the most widely known and most controversial contemporary philosophers. He is a true practical philosopher, combining significant academic achievement with efforts to bring about real change in the world. He has made substantial contributions to the animal liberation movement and to the battle against global poverty. "The Singer Solution to World Poverty", published in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, led to more than $600,000 of donation to Oxfam and UNICEF. Singer arg…Read more
  •  30
    Motherhood and Mistakes about Defeasible Duties to Benefit
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 97 (1): 126-149. 2018.
    Discussion of the behaviour of pregnant women and mothers, in academic literature, medical advice given to mothers, mainstream media and social media, assumes that a mother who fails to do something to benefit her child is liable for moral criticism unless she can provide sufficient countervailing considerations to justify her decision. I reconstruct the normally implicit reasoning that leads to this assumption and show that it is mistaken. First, I show that the discussion assumes that if any a…Read more
  •  29
    Breastfeeding and defeasible duties to benefit
    Journal of Medical Ethics 43 (8): 515-518. 2017.
    For many women experiencing motherhood for the first time, the message they receive is clear: mothers who do not breastfeed ought to have good reasons not to; bottle feeding by choice is a failure of maternal duty. We argue that this pressure to breastfeed arises in part from two misconceptions about maternal duty: confusion about the scope of the duty to benefit and conflation between moral reasons and duties. While mothers have a general duty to benefit, we argue that this does not imply a dut…Read more