• 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
  •  575
    Consequentialism, cluelessness, and indifference
    Journal of Value Inquiry 42 (4): 477-485. 2008.
  •  390
    In Defense of Batman: Reply to Bradley
    with Rob Lawlor
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (3): 1-7. 2013.
    No abstract.
  •  246
    Rawlsian Incentives and the Freedom Objection
    Journal of Social Philosophy 47 (2): 231-249. 2016.
    One Rawlsian response to G. A. Cohen’s criticisms of justice as fairness which Cohen canvasses, and then dismisses, is the 'Freedom Objection'. It comes in two versions. The 'First Version' asserts that there is an unresolved trilemma among the three principles of equality, Pareto-optimality, and freedom of occupational choice, while the 'Second Version' imputes to Rawls’s theory a concern to protect occupational freedom over equality of condition. This article is mainly concerned with advancing…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
  •  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
  •  157
    Punishment and the Rebalancing of Status
    Philosophy and Public Issues - Filosofia E Questioni Pubbliche 4 (3): 53-67. 2014.
  •  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
  •  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
  •  117
    Luck Egalitarianism, Permissible Inequalities, and Moral Hazard
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 6 (3): 317-338. 2009.
    In this article, I appeal to the phenomenon of moral hazard in order to explain how at least some of the inequalities permitted by Luck Egalitarianism can be given an alternative, more plausible grounding than that which is supplied by Luck Egalitarianism. This alternative grounding robs Luck Egalitarianism of a potentially significant source of intuitive support whilst enabling conditional welfare policies to survive the attacks on them made by Elizabeth Anderson, Jonathan Wolff, and others
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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
  •  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).
  •  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
  •  67
  •  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
  •  62
    Luck Egalitarianism and the See-Saw Objection
    American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (1). 2006.
  •  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.
  •  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
  •  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