• University of Leeds
    School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
    Associate Professor
Oxford University
Faculty of Philosophy
DPhil
Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Areas of Specialization
Value Theory
  • Strokes of Luck provides a detailed and wide-ranging examination of the role of luck in moral and political philosophy. The first part tackles debates in moral luck, which are concerned with the assignment of blameworthiness to individuals who are separated only by lucky differences. ‘Anti-luckists’ think that an agent who, for example, attempts and succeeds in an assassination and an agent who attempts and fails are equally blameworthy. This book defends an ‘anti-anti-luckist’ argument, accordi…Read more
  • Targeted Killing
    In Hugh LaFollette (ed.), International Encyclopedia of Ethics. 2020.
    Targeted killing is a subspecies of assassination, deployed against irregular combatants such as terrorists. The justification for targeted killing bypasses the usual ‘war paradigm’ and ‘criminal enforcement paradigm’, and is thus unusual. There are various ways of securing such a justification, but also a number of dangers attending these arguments.
  •  17
    Forfeiture and the Right to a Fair Trial
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 14 (2): 203-213. 2020.
    In his Rights Forfeiture and Punishment, Christopher Heath Wellman argues that his preferred ‘strong’ version of rights forfeiture theory makes the moral rights of due process and a fair trial null and void for guilty offenders. They may still possess legal rights to due process, but these are not strong pre-institutional moral rights. I explain here why I disagree with Wellman. I also suggest that he is not entitled, by his own lights, to affirm strong forfeiture theory, at least in our social …Read more
  •  5
    This essay offers a liberal, neo-Millian account of free speech, which attempts to fix some familiar bugs in Mill's account of free speech by focusing primarily on the right of free association, together with the permissibility of imposing restrictions to deal with, as Mill put it, ‘violations of good manners’ and ‘offences against decency’. It also uncovers a number of more conceptual puzzles with free speech. These can be resolved, it is contended, by regarding free speech as a practice.
  • Williams’s attack on the ‘morality system’ in Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy was preceded by his famous but misunderstood essay ‘Moral Luck’. This essay pursues two principal aims. First and foremost, I take a fresh look at Williams’s argument in ‘Moral Luck’, to assess its defensibility. Second, I investigate how Williams’s treatment of moral luck shapes and informs the wider assault on the ‘morality system’ which reached its fullest expression in the later work. We can learn something abo…Read more
  •  23
    One Another’s Equals, by Jeremy Waldron
    Mind 128 (509): 249-260. 2019.
    _ One Another’s Equals _, by WaldronJeremy. Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Press, 2017. Pp. x + 264.
  •  4
    The Rule‐Following Considerations and Metaethics: Some False Moves
    European Journal of Philosophy 9 (2): 190-209. 2001.
    In a series of influential papers, John McDowell has argued that the rule‐following considerations explored in Wittgenstein’s later work provide support for a particularist form of moral objectivity. The article distinguishes three such arguments in McDowell’s writings, labelled the Anthropocentricism Argument, the Shapelessness Argument, and the Anti‐Humean Argument, respectively, and the author disputes the effectiveness of each of them. As far as these metaethical debates are concerned, the a…Read more
  •  390
    In Defense of Batman: Reply to Bradley
    with Rob Lawlor
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (3): 1-7. 2013.
    No abstract.
  •  95
    What Follows from Defensive Non-Liaibility?
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 117 (3): 231-252. 2017.
    Theories of self-defence tend to invest heavily in ‘liability justifications’: if the Attacker is liable to have defensive violence deployed against him by the Defender, then he will not be wronged by such violence, and selfdefence becomes, as a result, morally unproblematic. This paper contends that liability justifications are overrated. The deeper contribution to an explanation of why defensive permissions exist is made by the Defender’s non-liability. Drawing on both canonical cases of self-…Read more
  •  67
  •  73
    Luck, Value, and Commitment: Themes from the Ethics of Bernard Williams (edited book)
    Oxford University Press USA. 2012.
    Luck, Value, and Commitment comprises eleven new essays which engage with, or take their point of departure from, the influential work in moral and political philosophy of Bernard Williams (1929-2003).
  •  64
    The rule-following considerations and metaethics: Some false moves
    European Journal of Philosophy 9 (2). 2001.
    In a series of influential papers, John McDowell has argued that the rule‐following considerations explored in Wittgenstein’s later work provide support for a particularist form of moral objectivity. The article distinguishes three such arguments in McDowell’s writings, labelled the Anthropocentricism Argument, the Shapelessness Argument, and the Anti‐Humean Argument, respectively, and the author disputes the effectiveness of each of them. As far as these metaethical debates are concerned, the a…Read more
  •  68
    Numbers scepticism, equal chances and pluralism: Taurek revisited
    with Rob Lawlor
    Politics, Philosophy and Economics 15 (3): 298-315. 2016.
    The ‘standard interpretation’ of John Taurek’s argument in ‘Should the Numbers Count?’ imputes two theses to him: first, ‘numbers scepticism’, or scepticism about the moral force of an appeal to the mere number of individuals saved in conflict cases; and second, the ‘equal greatest chances’ principle of rescue, which requires that every individual has an equal chance of being rescued. The standard interpretation is criticized here on a number of grounds. First, whilst Taurek clearly believes tha…Read more
  •  53
    Is There Potential in Potentiality?
    Philosophical Papers 41 (1): 129-147. 2012.
    Philosophical Papers, Volume 41, Issue 1, Page 129-147, March 2012
  •  51
    Doubly good
    The Philosophers' Magazine 15 (15): 57-57. 2001.
    A short review essay of Philippa Foot's Natural Goodness and Simon Blackburn's Being Good.
  • Review of Geoffrey Scarre, Death (review)
    Times Literary Supplement. 2008.
  •  21
    Review of David Rodin, War and Self-Defense (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (5). 2005.
  • Introduction
    In Ulrike Heuer & Gerald Lang (eds.), Luck, Value, and Commitment: Themes From the Ethics of Bernard Williams, Oxford University Press. pp. 1-16. 2012.
  •  40
    How Far Can You Go With Quietism?
    Problema 4 3-37. 2010.
    Ronald Dworkin’s Justice for Hedgehogs renews and amplifies his earlier attacks on metaethics. This article reviews the main lineaments of Dworkin’s anti-metaethical arguments and discusses, in detail, a number of issues which arise from them. First, it is suggested that Dworkin’s appraisal of what is doing most of the explanatory work in his account is largely askew. Second, it is claimed that Dworkin’s allegation that expressivism is self-defeating is wide of the mark, but that another charge …Read more
  •  120
    A dilemma for objective act-utilitarianism
    Politics, Philosophy and Economics 3 (2): 221-239. 2004.
    Act-utilitarianism comes in two standard varieties: ‘subjective’ act-utilitarianism, which tells agents to attempt to maximize utility directly, and ‘objective’ act-utilitarianism, which permits agents to use non-utilitarian decision-making procedures. This article argues that objective actutilitarianism is exposed to a dilemma. On one horn of it is the contention that objective act-utilitarianism makes inconsistent claims about the rightness of acts. On the other horn of it is the contention th…Read more
  •  240
    Recent discussion of Scanlon's account of value, which analyses the value of X in terms of agents' reasons for having certain pro-attitudes or contra-attitudes towards X, has generated the problem (WKR problem): this is the problem, for the buck-passing view, of being able to acknowledge that there may be good reasons for attributing final value to X that have nothing to do with the final value that X actually possesses. I briefly review some of the existing solutions offered to the WKR problem,…Read more
  •  157
    Punishment and the Rebalancing of Status
    Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche 4 (3): 53-67. 2014.
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  •  109
    Nudging the responsibility objection
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 25 (1). 2008.
    The ‘Responsibility Objection’ to Judith Thomson's famous argument for the permissibility of abortion challenges the relevance of her ‘Violinist Analogy’ to certain types of voluntary unwanted pregnancy, on the grounds that those pregnancies, even though they may be unwanted, are pregnancies for which the woman can be plausibly held responsible. This article considers the force of a number of recent objections to the Responsibility Objection, advanced by Harry Silverstein, David Boonin, and Jeff…Read more
  •  128
    Jobs, Institutions, and Beneficial Retirement
    Ratio 27 (2): 205-221. 2014.
    According to Saul Smilansky's ‘Paradox of Beneficial Retirement’, many serving members of professions may have decisive integrity-based reasons for retiring immediately. The Paradox of Beneficial Retirement holds that a below-par performance in one's job does not require any outright incompetence, but may take a purely relational form, in which a good performance is not good enough if it would be improved upon by someone else who would be appointed instead. It is argued, in response, that jobs i…Read more
  •  4
    Doubly good (review)
    The Philosophers' Magazine 15 57-57. 2001.