•  10
    Is Hume's Ideal Moral Judge a Woman?
    Hume Studies 43 (2): 79-102. 2017.
    Hume refers to women as imaginative, compassionate, conversable, and delicate. While his appraisals of women seem disparate, I argue that they reflect a position about the distinctive role that Hume takes women to have in shaping and enforcing moral norms. On his view, I maintain, women provide us with the ideal model of a moral judge. I claim that Hume sees a tight connection between moral competency and those traits he identifies as feminine. Making this case requires clarifying a few concepts…Read more
  •  61
    A Minimalist Account of Love
    In Rachel Fedock, Michael Kühler & T. Raja Rosenhagen (eds.), Love, Justice, and Autonomy: Philosophical Perspectives, . pp. 61-78. 2021.
    There is a prima facie conflict between the values of love and autonomy. How can we bind ourselves to a person and still enjoy the fruits of self-determination? This chapter argues that the solution to this conflict lies in recognizing that love is the basis of autonomy: one must love a person in order to truly appreciate their autonomy. To make this case, this chapter defends a minimalist account of love, according to which love is an agreeable sensation that is experienced when considering the…Read more
  •  35
    Adam Smith and the Stoic principle of suicide
    European Journal of Philosophy 28 (2): 350-363. 2020.
    A substantial portion of Adam Smith's discussion of Stoicism in TMS VII is dedicated to the Stoic “principle of suicide,” according to which suicide is sometimes morally required. While scholars agree that Stoicism exercised considerable influence over Smith, no recent work has explored his views on suicide, despite the central role it plays in his treatment of Stoicism. I argue that Smith opposes the principle of suicide on both epistemic and moral grounds, providing an important critique of St…Read more
  •  27
    Catharine Trotter Cockburn’s Democratization of Moral Virtue
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 50 (1): 83-97. 2020.
    This paper examines Catharine Trotter Cockburn’s moral philosophy, focusing on her accounts of virtuous conduct, conscience, obligation, and moral character. I argue that Cockburn’s account of virtue has two interlocking parts: a view of what virtue requires of us, and a view of how we come to see this requirement as authoritative. I then argue that while the two parts are ultimately in tension with one another, the tension is instructive. I use Cockburn’s encounter with Shaftesbury’s writings t…Read more
  •  44
    John Gay and the Birth of Utilitarianism
    Utilitas 30 (1): 86-106. 2018.
    This article concerns John Gay’s 1731 essay ‘Preliminary Dissertation Concerning the Fundamental Principle of Virtue or Morality’. Gay undertakes two tasks here, the first of which is to supply a criterion of virtue. I argue that he is the first modern philosopher to claim that universal happiness is the aim of moral action. In other words: Gay is the first utilitarian. His second task is to explain the source of moral motivation. He draws upon the principles of association to argue (a) that we …Read more
  •  45
    A Model Sophist: Nietzsche on Protagoras and Thucydides
    with Joel E. Mann
    Journal of Nietzsche Studies 42 (1): 51-72. 2011.
    Abstract: While many commentators have remarked on Nietzsche’s admiration for the Greek historian Thucydides, most reduce the affinity between the two thinkers to their common commitments to “political realism” or “scientific naturalism.” At the same time, some of these same commentators have sought to minimize or dismiss Nietzsche’s enthusiasm for the Greek sophists. We do not deny the importance of realism or naturalism, but we suggest that, for Nietzsche, realism and naturalism are rooted in …Read more
  •  28
    Adam Smith: His Life, Thought, and Legacy (review)
    Review of Metaphysics 70 (1): 131-132. 2016.