Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States of America
  •  19
    Real world theory, complacency, and aspiration
    Philosophical Studies 1-20. forthcoming.
    Just how realistic about human nature and real possibilities must a theory of justice, or a moral theory, more generally, be? Lines have been drawn, with some holding that idealizing away from reality is indispensable and others maintaining that utopian thinking is not just useless but irrelevant. In Utopophobia David Estlund defends the value of utopian theory. At his most modest, Estlund claims that it is a legitimate approach, not ruled out of court by anti-idealists on entirely inadequate gr…Read more
  • Hume on Practical Morality and Inert Reason
    Oxford Studies in Metaethics 3 299-320. 2008.
  •  13
    Do normative facts matter... To what is feasible?
    Social Philosophy and Policy 33 (1-2): 434-456. 2016.
  •  26
    On ‘Cooperation’
    Analyse & Kritik 40 (1): 107-130. 2018.
    The term ‘cooperation’ is widely used in social and political and biological and economic theory. Perhaps for this reason, the term takes on a variety of meanings and it is not always clear in many settings what aspect of an interaction is being described. This paper has the modest aim of sorting through some of this variety of meanings; and exploring, against that background, when and why cooperation might be of value, or be required, or constitute a virtue.
  •  1
    Realism and Moral Epistemology
    Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. 1986.
    From Plato to G. E. Moore, moral theorists commonly and confidently embraced moral realism: they simply assumed that at least some moral claims were true. Until this century, their shared assumption was relatively unproblematic. Recently, however, moral realism has come under severe attack, and along the way moral theory itself has become suspect. Against moral realism anti-realists have maintained that all moral claims are cognitively empty , or that all moral claims are false . These positions…Read more
  •  34
    Metaethics
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
  •  2
    Moral skepticism
    In Sven Bernecker & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Routledge Companion to Epistemology, Routledge. pp. 464. 2010.
  •  73
    Hume and the Bauhaus Theory of Ethics
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 20 (1): 280-298. 1995.
    Appeals to utility permeate Hume's account of morality. He maintains, for which have this tendency to the public advantage and loss" (T. 578-79).
  •  178
    Different kinds of kind terms: A reply to Sosa and Kim
    Philosophical Issues 8 313-323. 1997.
  •  2
    Coherence and Models for Moral Theorizing
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 66 (1/2): 170. 1985.
  •  144
    On Why Hume's “General Point of View” Isn't Ideal–and Shouldn't Be
    Social Philosophy and Policy 11 (1): 202-228. 1994.
    It is tempting and not at all uncommon to find the striking—even noble—visage of an Ideal Observer staring out from the center of Hume's moral theory. When Hume claims, for instance, that virtue is “ whatever mental action or quality gives to a spectator the pleasing sentiment of approbation ,” it is only natural to think that he must have in mind not just any spectator but a spectator who is fully informed and unsullied by prejudice. And when Hume writes that “the true standard of taste and bea…Read more
  • Leibniz, Materialism, and the Relational Account of Space and Time
    Studia Leibnitiana 16 (n/a): 204. 1984.
    Leibniz' Verteidigung einer relationalen Auffassung von Raum und Zeit im Briefwechsel mit Clarke nimmt in keiner Weise Bezug auf Monaden. Infolgedessen haben einige Leibniz-Interpreten angenommen, Leibniz' relationale Auffassung von Raum und Zeit könne -wenn man sie hinreichend abstrakt versteht -von seiner außerordentlich mentalistischen Ontologie losgelöst werde. In der Tat hat der Gedanke einer Trennung der beiden Lehren etwas Bestechendes, da die relationale Auffassung plausibler erscheint a…Read more
  •  69
    Functional explanations and reasons as causes
    Philosophical Perspectives 3 137-164. 1989.
    If we assume that a conceptual connection does hold between reasons and action, the arguments for both theses are strikingly simple. In defense of the first thesis, all that need be added is Hume's Principle: between cause and effect only a (logically) contingent relation holds. For given Hume's Principle, and the conceptual connection (which after all is not a contingent one), it follows that no causal connection holds. In defense of the second thesis, all that need be added is one assumption a…Read more
  •  59
    Moral Theory and Explanatory Impotence
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 12 (1): 433-457. 1988.
  •  3
    Hume: Moral Philosophy (edited book)
    Hackett Publishing Company. 2006.
    A genuine understanding of Hume's extraordinarily rich, important, and influential moral philosophy requires familiarity with all of his writings on vice and virtue, the passions, the will, and even judgments of beauty--and that means familiarity not only with large portions of _A Treatise of Human Nature, but also with An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals_ and many of his essays as well. This volume is the one truly comprehensive collection of Hume's work on all of these topics. Geoff…Read more
  •  70
    Contractarianism, as a general approach to moral and political thought, has perspective I offer, however, is not scrupulously historical. I smooth over a good deal of the twists and turns that due care to the historical record would had a long and distinguished history -- its roots are easily traced as far back as..
  •  115
    The many moral realisms
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 24 (S1): 1-22. 1986.
  •  177
    How many serious mistakes can a brilliant philosopher make in a single paragraph? Many think that Mill answers this question by example—in the third paragraph of Chapter IV of Utilitarianism. Here is the notorious paragraph: The only proof capable of being given that an object is visible, is that people actually see it. The only proof that a sound is audible, is that people hear it: and so of the other sources of our experience. In like manner, I apprehend, the sole evidence it is possible to pr…Read more
  •  73
    'Good' on twin earth
    Philosophical Issues 8 267-292. 1997.
  •  310
    Being a realist about relativism (in ethics)
    Philosophical Studies 61 (1-2): 155-176. 1991.
    How should a moral realist respond to the (seemingly) abundant evidence diversity provides for relativism? Many think there is only one reasonable response: abandon moral realism. Against them, I argue that moral realists can stand their ground in the face of moral diversity without relying on excessively optimistic arguments or unrealistic assumptions. In the process, I defend two theses: (i) that, far from being incompatible with moral realism, many plausible versions of relativism are _versio…Read more
  •  57
    Normative explanations
    Philosophical Perspectives 6 55-71. 1992.
  •  8
    David M. Estlund
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 66 (4). 1988.