• University of Leeds
    School of Philosophy, Religion, and History of Science
    Associate Professor
Oxford University
Faculty of Philosophy
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
  •  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.
  • Review of Michael Slote, Morals From Motives (review)
    Times Literary Supplement. 2002.
  • Introduction
    In Helen Frowe & Gerald Lang (eds.), How We Fight: Ethics in War, Oxford University Press. 2014.
  •  98
    Legitimating Torture?
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 11 (2): 331-349. 2017.
    Steinhoff defends the moral and legal permissibility of torture in a limited range of circumstances. This article criticizes Steinhoff’s arguments. The analogy between ordinary defensive violence and defensive torture which Steinhoff argues for is partly spoiled by the presence, within defensive torture, of opportunistic harm, in addition to eliminative harm. Steinhoff’s arguments that the mere legalization of defensive torture would not metastasize into a more full-fledged institutionalization …Read more
  •  35
    How Interesting is the “Boring Problem” for Luck Egalitarianism?
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (3): 698-722. 2015.
    Imagine a two-person distributive case in which Ernest's choices yield X and Bertie's choices yield X + Y, producing an income gap between them of Y. Neither Ernest nor Bertie is responsible for this gap of Y, since neither of them has any control over what the other agent chooses. This is what Susan Hurley calls the “Boring Problem” for luck egalitarianism. Contrary to Hurley's relatively dismissive treatment of it, it is contended that the Boring Problem poses a deep problem for standard luck …Read more
  •  1
    Review of Jeff McMahan, The Ethics of Killing (review)
    Ratio 18 (3): 365-369. 2005.
  •  82
    What Does Ivan Ilyich Need To Be Rescued From?
    Philosophy 89 (2): 1-23. 2014.
    Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich describes how a man's exposure to imminent death allows him to secure redemption from a flawed life. Through close textual attention to Tolstoy's novella and extensive engagement with Frances Kamm's treatment of it, this article quarrels with this of Ivan's case, offering a sourer, more pessimistic view. It is argued that Ivan's reconciliation to death is facilitated by a series of mistakes he makes en route to his dying moments. Two more general lessons are dr…Read more
  •  62
    Luck Egalitarianism and the See-Saw Objection
    American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (1). 2006.
  •  23
    Why Not Forfeiture?
    In Helen Frowe and Gerald Lang (ed.), How We Fight: Ethics in War, Oxford University Press. pp. 38-61. 2014.
  •  237
    Just Cause, Liability, and the Moral Inequality of Combatants
    Theoretical and Applied Ethics 1 (4): 54-60. 2012.
  •  176
    Should Utilitarianism Be Scalar?
    Utilitas 25 (1): 80-95. 2013.
    Scalar utilitarianism, a form of utilitarianism advocated by Alastair Norcross, retains utilitarianism's evaluative commitments while dispensing with utilitarianism's deontic commitments, or its commitment to the existence or significance of moral duties, obligations and requirements. This article disputes the effectiveness of the arguments that have been used to defend scalar utilitarianism. It is contended that Norcross's central ‘Persuasion Argument’ does not succeed, and it is suggested, mor…Read more
  •  22
    Moral Relativism & Cultural Chauvanism
    Philosophy Now 36 24-27. 2002.
  •  111
    Invigilating Republican Liberty
    Philosophical Quarterly 62 (247): 273-293. 2012.
    Republican liberty, as recently defended by Philip Pettit and Quentin Skinner, characterises liberty in terms of the absence of domination, instead of, or in addition to, the absence of interference, as favoured by Berlin-style negative liberty. This article considers several claims made on behalf of republican liberty, particularly in Pettit's and Skinner's recent writings, and finds them wanting. No relevant moral or political concern expressed by republicans, it will be contended here, fails …Read more