Parkville, Victoria, Australia
Areas of Interest
Meta-Ethics
  •  1533
    A third way in metaethics
    Noûs 43 (1): 1-30. 2009.
    What does it take to count as competent with the meaning of a thin evaluative predicate like 'is the right thing to do'? According to minimalists like Allan Gibbard and Ralph Wedgwood, competent speakers must simply use the predicate to express their own motivational states. According to analytic descriptivists like Frank Jackson, Philip Pettit and Christopher Peacocke, competent speakers must grasp a particular criterion for identifying the property picked out by the term. Both approaches face …Read more
  •  197
    The limits of sentimentalism
    Ethics 116 (2): 337-361. 2006.
    Unlike traditional sentimentalists, sophisticated sentimentalists don’t think that the main linguistic function of evaluative terms is simply to express emotional responses. Instead, they contend that to predicate an evaluative term to an object is to judge that a particular emotion is justified toward that object. I will raise a fundamental difficulty for the sophisticated sentimentalists’ attempt to provide a credible account of the meaning of our most important evaluative terms. A more carefu…Read more
  •  116
    The paper clarifies what is at stake in the theory/antitheory debate in ethics and articulates the distinctive core of the method of reflective equilibrium which distinguishes it from a generic coherence constraint. I call this distinctive core 'maieutic reflection'. The paper then argues that if she accepts constructivist views in metaethics, a proponent of the method of reflective equilibrium will be committed to the existence of a moral theory.
  •  113
    Do Emotions Represent Values?
    Dialectica 69 (3): 357-380. 2015.
    This paper articulates what it would take to defend representationalism in the case of emotions – i.e. the claim that emotions attribute evaluative properties to target objects or events. We argue that representationalism faces a significant explanatory challenge that has not yet been adequately recognized. Proponents must establish that a representation relation linking emotions and value is explanatorily necessary. We use the case of perception to bring out the difficulties in meeting this exp…Read more
  •  97
    Reasons as right-makers
    Philosophical Explorations 12 (3): 279-296. 2009.
    This paper sketches a right-maker account of normative practical reasons along functionalist lines. The approach is contrasted with other similar accounts, in particular John Broome's analysis of reasons as explanations of oughts
  •  87
    Semantic Deference versus Semantic Coordination
    American Philosophical Quarterly 53 (2): 193-210. 2016.
    It's widely accepted that social facts about an individual's linguistic community can affect both the reference of her words and the concepts those words express. Theorists sympathetic to the internalist tradition have sought to accommodate these social dependence phenomena without altering their core theoretical commitments by positing deferential reference-fixing criteria. In this paper, we sketch a different explanation of social dependence phenomena, according to which all concepts are indiv…Read more
  •  84
    Jazz Redux: a reply to Möller
    Philosophical Studies 170 (2): 303-316. 2014.
    This paper is a response to Niklas Möller’s (Philosophical Studies, 2013) recent criticism of our relational (Jazz) model of meaning of thin evaluative terms. Möller’s criticism rests on a confusion about the role of coordinating intentions in Jazz. This paper clarifies what’s distinctive and controversial about the Jazz proposal and explains why Jazz, unlike traditional accounts of meaning, is not committed to analycities
  •  82
    A slim semantics for thin moral terms?
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2). 2003.
    This paper is a critique of Ralph Wedgwood's recent attempt to use the framework of conceptual role semantics in metaethics. Wedgwood's central idea is that the action-guiding role of moral terms suffices to determine genuine properties as their semantic values. We argue that Wedgwood cannot get so much for so little. We explore two interpretations of Wedgwood's account of what it takes to be competent with a thin moral term. On the first interpretation, the account does not warrant the assignme…Read more
  •  78
    Moral Expertise
    Analyse & Kritik 34 (2): 217-230. 2012.
    This paper surveys recent work on moral expertise. Much of that work defends an asymmetry thesis according to which the cognitive deference to expertise that characterizes other areas of inquiry is out of place in morality. There are two reasons why you might think asymmetry holds. The problem might lie in the existence of expertise or in deferring to it. We argue that both types of arguments for asymmetry fail. They appear to be stronger than they are because of their focus on moral expertise r…Read more
  •  78
    Endorsement and Autonomous Agency
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 69 (3). 2004.
    We take self-governance or autonomy to be a central feature of human agency: we believe that our actions normally occur under our guidance and at our command. A common criticism of the standard theory of action is that it leaves the agent out of his actions and thus mischaracterizes our autonomy. According to proponents of the endorsement model of autonomy, such as Harry Frankfurt and David Velleman, the standard theory simply needs to be supplemented with the agent's actual endorsement of his a…Read more
  •  78
    Le relativisme moral et le projet de coopération épistémique
    Les ateliers de l'éthique/The Ethics Forum 4 (1): 4-19. 2009.
    Cet article examine de façon critique certaines des récentes tentatives de défendre une position relativiste en métaéthique. Les adeptes du relativisme ont tenté avec beaucoup d’ingéniosité de montrer comment leur position peut soit accepter soit invalider l’intuition selon laquelle nous parlons tous de la même chose quand nous utilisons le vocabulaire moral. Mon argument cherche à établir qu’ils ont ce faisant négligé l’une des fonctions centrales de notre discours moral : créer u…Read more
  •  76
    The Generalized Integration Challenge is the task of providing, for a given domain of discourse, a simultaneously acceptable metaphysics, epistemology and metasemantics and showing them to be so. In this paper, we focus on a metaethical position for which seems particularly acute: the brand of normative realism which takes normative properties to be mind-independent and causally inert. The problem is that these metaphysical commitments seem to make normative knowledge impossible. We suggest that…Read more
  •  66
    Normative concepts and motivation
    Philosophers' Imprint 5 1-23. 2005.
    Philip Pettit, Michael Smith, and Tyler Burge have suggested that the similarities between theoretical and practical reasoning can bolster the case for judgment internalism – i.e. the claim that normative judgments are necessarily connected to motivation. In this paper, I first flesh out the rationale for this new approach to internalism. I then argue that even if there are reasons for thinking that internalism holds in the theoretical domain, these reasons don’t generalize to the practical doma…Read more
  •  57
    Experimental philosophers, conceptual analysts, and the rest of us
    Philosophical Explorations 11 (2): 143-149. 2008.
    In an interesting recent exchange, Antti Kauppinen (2007) disagrees with Thomas Nadelhoffer and Eddy Nahmias (2007) over the prospects of experimental methods in philosophy. Kauppinen's critique of experimental philosophy is premised on an endorsement of a priori conceptual analysis. This premise has shaped the trajectory of their debate. In this note, I consider what foes of conceptual analysis will have to say about their exchange.
  •  56
    Keeping track of what’s right
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (3-4): 489-509. 2018.
    In this paper, we argue that ordinary judgments about core normative topics purport to attribute stable, objective properties and relations. Our strategy is first to analyze the structures and practices characteristic of paradigmatically representational concepts such as concepts of objects and natural kinds. We identify three broad features that ground the representational purport of these concepts. We then argue that core normative concepts exhibit these same features.
  •  50
    Co-deliberation, Joint Decision, and Testimony about Reasons
    Analyse & Kritik 36 (1): 209-216. 2014.
    We defend the claim that there can be testimonial transfer of reasons against Steinig’s recent objections. In addition, we argue that the literature on testimony about moral reasons misunderstands what is at stake in the possibility of second-hand orientation towards moral reasons. A moral community faces two different but related tasks: one theoretical and one practical. In between, simultaneously theoretical and practical, lies the activity of co-deliberation. Virtuous participation in co-deli…Read more
  •  36
    Metasemantics and Metaethics
    In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics, Routledge. pp. 519-535. 2017.
  •  35
    A new interpretivist metasemantics for fundamental legal disagreements
    with Laura Schroeter and Kevin Toh
    Legal Theory 26 (1): 62-99. 2020.
    ABSTRACTWhat does it take for lawyers and others to think or talk about the same legal topic—e.g., defamation, culpability? We argue that people are able to think or talk about the same topic not when they possess a matching substantive understanding of the topic, as traditional metasemantics says, but instead when their thoughts or utterances are related to each other in certain ways. And what determines the content of thoughts and utterances is what would best serve the core purposes of the re…Read more
  •  30
    Inscrutability and Its Discontents
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (5): 566-579. 2020.
    Our main focus in this paper is Herman Cappelen’s claim, defended in Fixing Language, that reference is radically inscrutable. We argue that Cappelen’s inscrutability thesis should be rejected. We also highlight how rejecting inscrutability undermines Cappelen’s most radical conclusions about conceptual engineering. In addition, we raise a worry about his positive account of topic continuity through inquiry and debate.
  •  28
    Experimentelle Philosophie. Ein kritischer Überblick
    Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 62 (3): 433-445. 2008.
  •  20
    Kants Theorie der formalen Bestimmung des Willens
    Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 47 (3). 1993.
  •  18
    Review: Die psychologische Basis von Freiheit und Verantwortung. Neuere Literatur (review)
    Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 59 (4). 2005.
  •  16
    Mind-making, Affective Regulation, and Resistance
    Tandf: Australasian Philosophical Review 3 (1): 86-89. 2020.
    Volume 3, Issue 1, March 2019, Page 86-89.
  •  15
    Tugend und Moraltheorie
    Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 49 (1). 1995.
  •  5
    The Many Moral Rationalisms (edited book)
    with K. Jones
    Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
  •  3
    Wieviele moralische Wahrheiten gibt es?
    Conceptus: Zeitschrift Fur Philosophie 37 (92): 83-104. 2008.
  •  2
    Moral Expertise
    In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics, Routledge. pp. 459-471. 2017.
  •  1
    The Many Moral Rationalisms (edited book)
    Oxford Univerisity Press. 2018.