•  13
    Antinatalism and Moral Particularism
    Essays in Philosophy 20 (1). 2019.
  •  7
    Modest Libertarianism and Clandestine Control
    Dialectica 62 (4): 495-507. 2008.
    Cases involving clandestine manipulation pose a significant challenge to compatibilist conceptions of free will. But compatibilists often argue that they are not alone and that modest libertarian conceptions of free will are also susceptible to the problem. I take issue with this claim. I argue that agent‐causal libertarian views are not susceptible to the problem. I then argue that the compatibilist cannot cite a relevant difference between agent‐causal libertarian views and modest libertarian …Read more
  •  28
    Morality, Inescapable Rational Authority, and a God's Wishes
    Journal of Religious Ethics 43 (3): 454-474. 2015.
    It is a supposed conceptual truth about moral norms that we have reason to comply with them even if we desire not to. This combination of rational authority and inescapability is thought to be incompatible with instrumentalism about practical reason. This essay argues that there are ways in which norms with inescapable rational authority can exist alongside instrumentalism about practical reason. One way involves positing an afterlife and a powerful supernatural agency—so, a kind of god—who has …Read more
  •  1
    Moral responsibility and the principle of avoidable blame
    Ethic@ - An International Journal for Moral Philosophy 3 (1): 37-46. 2004.
    Many now accept that Frankfurt-style cases refute the principle of alternative possibilities . But, in this paper I argue that even if Frankfurt-style cases refute PAP they do not refute a related principle: the principle of avoidable blame . My argument develops from the observation that an agent in a Frankfurt-style case can be aware of the nature of their situation without this undermining their moral responsibility. I then argue that PAB captures all that is important about PAP such that the…Read more
  •  63
    What Are Epistemic Reasons?
    Philosophia Christi 19 (1): 23-36. 2017.
    Epistemic reasons exist indubitably, yet confusion surrounds just what exactly they are, in and of themselves. In this paper I argue that there is only one thing they could credibly be: the favoring attitudes a god is adopting toward us believing what is true and following methods of belief formation likely to result in true beliefs. As the existence of epistemic reasons is indubitable then if this analysis is correct, it will provide us with an apparent proof of a god’s existence.
  •  20
    Frankfurt-Style Cases and the Significance of the First Impression
    American Philosophical Quarterly 46 (3): 213-223. 2009.
    The claim that moral responsibility requires relevant alternative possibilities is encapsulated by the following principle: PAP: A person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have done otherwise. In 1969 Harry Frankfurt devised what purported to be a counterexample to PAP: Suppose someone, Black, let us say, wants Jones to perform a certain action. Black is prepared to go to considerable lengths to get his way, but he prefers to avoid showing his hand unnecessarily. So he…Read more
  •  871
    Antinatalism, Asymmetry, and an Ethic of Prima Facie Duties
    South African Journal of Philosophy 31 (1): 94-103. 2012.
    Benatar’s central argument for antinatalism develops an asymmetry between the pain and pleasure in a potential life. I am going to present an alternative route to the antinatalist conclusion. I argue that duties require victims and that as a result there is no duty to create the pleasures contained within a prospective life but a duty not to create any of its sufferings. My argument can supplement Benatar’s, but it also enjoys some advantages: it achieves a better fit with our intuitions; it doe…Read more
  •  42
    Modest libertarianism and clandestine control
    Dialectica 62 (4): 495-507. 2008.
    Cases involving clandestine manipulation pose a significant challenge to compatibilist conceptions of free will. But compatibilists often argue that they are not alone and that modest libertarian conceptions of free will are also susceptible to the problem. I take issue with this claim. I argue that agent-causal libertarian views are not susceptible to the problem. I then argue that the compatibilist cannot cite a relevant difference between agent-causal libertarian views and modest libertarian …Read more
  •  35
    A God exists
    Think 15 (43): 51-63. 2016.
    I argue that normative reasons are powerful evidence that a god exists. Normative reasons are presupposed by all intellectual inquiry, yet it appears there is only one thing they could credibly be: the favourings a god is having of us doing and believing things. I anticipate some possible objections and show them to be confused or dogmatic.
  •  200
  •  492
    A Moral Argument for Substance Dualism
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association (1): 21--35. 2016.
    This paper presents a moral argument in support of the view that the mind is a nonphysical object. It is intuitively obvious that we, the bearers of conscious experiences, have an inherent value that is not reducible to the value of our conscious experiences. It remains intuitively obvious that we have inherent value even when we represent ourselves to have no physical bodies whatsoever. Given certain assumptions about morality and moral intuitions, this implies that the bearers of conscious exp…Read more
  •  32
    How Many Children Should We Have?: None
    The Philosophers' Magazine 75 72-77. 2016.
    Harrison and Tanner argue that having children is morally wrong.
  •  32
    A Radical Solution to the Problem of Evil
    Sophia 56 (2): 279-287. 2017.
    The problem of evil is widely recognised to be the most serious challenge to the reasonableness of believing this world to be God’s creation. In this paper, I offer a novel way of responding. I argue that given a certain sort of divine command metaethics our moral intuitions and beliefs about what moral goodness substantially involves cannot reasonably be expected to provide reliable insight into what God’s moral goodness substantially involves. As such, even if it is unreasonable to believe thi…Read more
  •  31
    The case for hyper-libertarianism
    Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 20 (1): 1-6. 2006.
    The hyper libertarian is compatibilist about control, but incompatibilist about free will. This paper argues that such a position has more to recommend it than either compatibilism or traditional libertarianism. It combines what is strongest about both positions, without encountering their principle weaknesses. Furthermore it has the resources to help render intelligible the reality of moral luck.
  • Hyper Libertarianism and Moral Luck
    Sorites 16 93-102. 2005.
    This paper argues that if the principle of alternate possibilities is false, as many now believe, then there is a non-question begging reason to favour a hyper libertarian position over compatibilism. It will be argued that only a hyper libertarian position has the resources to provide a principled explanation of the reality of moral luck, something a compatibilist position cannot do
  •  247
    Virtually everyone takes the moral supervenience thesis to be a basic conceptual truth about morality. As a result, if a metaethical theory has difficulties respecting or adequately explaining the supervenience relationship it is deemed to be in big trouble. However, the moral supervenience thesis is a not a conceptual truth (though it may be true) and as such it is not a problem if a metaethical theory cannot respect or explain it.
  •  549
    Better Not to Have Children
    Think, 10(27), 113-121 (27): 113-121. 2011.
    Most people take it for granted that it's morally permissible to have children. They may raise questions about the number of children it's responsible to have or whether it's permissible to reproduce when there's a strong risk of serious disability. But in general, having children is considered a good thing to do, something that's morally permissible in most cases (perhaps even obligatory).
  •  23
    The principle of avoidable blame
    Ethic@ - An International Journal for Moral Philosophy 3 (1): 37-46. 2004.
    Many now accept that Frankfurt-style cases refute the principle of alternative possibilities (PAP). But, in this paper I argue that even if Frankfurt-style cases refute PAP they do not refute a related principle: the principle of avoidable blame (PAB). My argument develops from the observation that an agent in a Frankfurt-style case can be aware of the nature of their situation without this undermining their moral responsibility. I then argue that PAB captures all that is important about PAP suc…Read more
  •  24
    Libertarian Free Will and the Erosion Argument
    Polish Journal of Philosophy 1 (2): 61-75. 2007.
    Libertarians make indeterminism a requirement of free will. But many argue that indeterminism is destructive of free will because it reduces an agent’s control. This paper argues that such concerns are misguided. Indeterminism, at least as it is located by plausible Libertarian views, poses no threat to an agent’s control, nor does it pose any other kind of threat
  •  82
    A Challenge for Soft Line Replies to Manipulation Cases
    Philosophia 38 (3): 555-568. 2010.
    Cases involving certain kinds of manipulation seem to challenge compatibilism about responsibility-grounding free will. To deal with such cases many compatibilists give what has become known as a ‘soft line’ reply. In this paper I present a challenge to the soft line reply. I argue that any relevant case involving manipulation—and to which a compatibilist might wish to give a soft line reply—can be transformed into one supporting a degree of moral responsibility through the addition of l…Read more
  •  53
    Frankfurt-Style Cases and Improbable Alternative Possibilities
    Philosophical Studies 130 (2): 399-406. 2006.
    It has been argued that a successful counterexample to the principle of alternative possibilities must rule out any possibility of the agent making an alternative decision right up to the moment of choice. This paper challenges that assumption. Distinguishing between an ability and an opportunity, this paper presents a Frankfurt-style case in which there is an alternative possibility, but one it is highly improbable that the agent will access. In such a case the agent has only the opportunity, n…Read more