Stanford University
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 1998
Los Angeles, California, United States of America
  •  238
    Reid on Favors, Injuries, and the Natural Virtue of Justice
    In Todd Buras & Rebecca Copenhaver (eds.), Thomas Reid on Mind, Knowledge and Value, Oxford University Press. pp. 249-266. 2015.
    Reid argues that Hume’s claim that justice is an artificial virtue is inconsistent with the fact that gratitude is a natural sentiment. This chapter shows that Reid’s argument succeeds only given a philosophy of mind and action that Hume rejects. Among other things, Reid assumes that one can conceive of one of a pair of contradictories only if one can conceive of the other—a claim that Hume denies. So, in the case of justice, the disagreement between Hume and Reid is, at bottom, a disagreement o…Read more
  •  151
    Excusing mistakes of law
    Philosophers' Imprint 9 1-22. 2009.
    Whether we understand it descriptively or normatively, the slogan that ignorance of the law is no excuse is false. Our legal system sometimes excuses those who are ignorant of the law on those grounds and should. Still, the slogan contains a grain of truth; mistakes of law excuse less readily than mistakes of fact, and ought to. This paper explains the asymmetry by identifying a principle of excuse of the form “If defendant D has a false belief that p and _____, then D is excused”, which has the…Read more
  •  132
    Indoctrination, coercion and freedom of will
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2). 2003.
    Manipulation by another person often undermines freedom. To explain this, a distinction is drawn between two forms of manipulation: indoctrination is defined as causing another person to respond to reasons in a pattern that serves the manipulator’s ends; coercion as supplying another person with reasons that, given the pattern in which he responds to reasons, lead him to act in ways that serve the manipulator’s ends. It is argued that both forms of manipulation undermine freedom because manipula…Read more
  •  111
    Thomas Reid on consciousness and attention
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (2). 2009.
    It was common enough in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to find philosophers holding the position that for something to be ‘in the mind’ and for that mind to be conscious of it are one and the same thing. The thought is that consciousness is a relation between a mind and a mental entity playing the same role as the relation of inherence found between a substance and qualities belonging to it. What it is, on this view, for something to ‘inhere’ in the mind is for that mind to be consciou…Read more
  •  90
    Comment on Stephen Darwall's The Second Person Standpoint
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1): 246-252. 2010.
  •  86
  •  79
    Free will and agency at its best
    Philosopical Perspectives 14 (s14): 203-230. 2000.
  •  77
    The Point of Mens Rea: The Case of Willful Ignorance
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 12 (1): 19-44. 2018.
    Under the “Willful Ignorance Principle,” a defendant is guilty of a crime requiring knowledge he lacks provided he is ignorant thanks to having earlier omitted inquiry. In this paper, I offer a novel justification of this principle through application of the theory that knowledge matters to culpability because of how the knowing action manifests the agent’s failure to grant sufficient weight to other people’s interests. I show that, under a simple formal model that supports this theory, omitting…Read more
  •  61
    Peach trees, gravity and God: Mechanism in Locke
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 12 (3). 2004.
    Locke claimed that God superadded various powers to matter, including motion, the perfections of peach trees and elephants, gravity, and that he could superadd thought. Various interpreters have discussed the question whether Locke's claims about superaddition are in tension with his commitment to mechanistic explanation. This literature assumes that for Locke mechanistic explanation involves deducibility. We argue that this is an inaccurate interpretation and that mechanistic explanation involv…Read more
  •  61
    Promises, social acts, and Reid's first argument for moral liberty
    Journal of the History of Philosophy 45 (2): 267-289. 2007.
    This paper is concerned to bring out the philosophical contribution that Thomas Reid makes in his discussions of promising. Reid discusses promising in two contexts: he argues that the practice of promising presupposes the belief that the promisor is endowed with what he calls 'active power' , and he argues against Hume's claim that the very act of promising—and the obligation to do as one promised—are "artificial," or the products of human convention . In addition to explaining what Reid says i…Read more
  •  60
    Reconsidering Reid's geometry of visibles
    Philosophical Quarterly 52 (209): 602-620. 2002.
    In his 'Inquiry', Reid claims, against Berkeley, that there is a science of the perspectival shapes of objects ('visible figures'): they are geometrically equivalent to shapes projected onto the surfaces of spheres. This claim should be understood as asserting that for every theorem regarding visible figures there is a corresponding theorem regarding spherical projections; the proof of the theorem regarding spherical projections can be used to construct a proof of the theorem regarding visible f…Read more
  •  54
    Intending to Aid
    Law and Philosophy 33 (1): 1-40. 2014.
    Courts and commentators are notoriously puzzled about the mens rea standards for complicity. Accomplices intend to aid, but what attitude need they have towards the crimes that they aid? This paper both criticizes extant accounts of the mens rea of complicity and offers a new account. The paper argues that an intention can commit one to an event’s occurrence without committing one to promoting the event, or making it more likely to take place. Under the proposed account of the mens rea of compli…Read more
  •  47
    Waldron's Locke and Locke's Waldron: A review of Jeremy Waldron's God, Locke, and equality (review)
    with Nomi M. Stolzenberg
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 49 (2). 2006.
    This Article does not have an abstract
  •  45
    Trying, Intending, and Attempted Crimes
    Philosophical Topics 32 (1-2): 505-531. 2004.
  •  44
    Manifest activity: Thomas Reid's theory of action
    Oxford University Press. 2004.
    Manifest Activity presents and critically examines the model of human power, the will, our capacities for purposeful conduct, and the place of our agency in the natural world of one of the most important and traditionally under-appreciated philosophers of the 18th century: Thomas Reid. For Reid, contrary to the view of many of his predecessors, it is simply manifest that we are active with respect to our behaviours; it is manifest, he thinks, that our actions are not merely remote products of fo…Read more
  •  44
    Desert for Wrongdoing
    The Journal of Ethics 20 (1-3): 149-171. 2016.
    Much government and personal conduct is premised on the idea that a person made thereby to suffer deserves that suffering thanks to prior wrongdoing by him. Further, it often appears that one kind of suffering is more deserved than another and, in light of that, conduct inflicting the first is superior, or closer to being justified than conduct inflicting the second. Yet desert is mysterious. It is far from obvious what, exactly, it is. This paper offers and argues for a theory of comparative de…Read more
  •  40
    Comments on John Fischer's My Way
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 80 (1): 251-258. 2010.
  •  39
    Liberty Worth the Name: Locke on Free Agency
    Princeton University Press. 2000.
    This is the first comprehensive interpretation of John Locke's solution to one of philosophy's most enduring problems: free will and the nature of human agency. Many assume that Locke defines freedom as merely the dependency of conduct on our wills. And much contemporary philosophical literature on free agency regards freedom as a form of self-expression in action. Here, Gideon Yaffe shows us that Locke conceived free agency not just as the freedom to express oneself, but as including also the f…Read more
  •  37
    Time in the movies
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 27 (1). 2003.
  •  36
    More Attempts: A Reply to Duff, Husak, Mele and Walen (review)
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 6 (3): 429-444. 2012.
    In this paper, I reply to the very thoughtful comments on my book by Antony Duff, Doug Husak, Al Mele and Alec Walen
  •  34
    Moore on causing, acting, and complicity
    Legal Theory 18 (4): 437-458. 2012.
    In Michael Moore's important book Causation and Responsibility, he holds that causal contribution matters to responsibility independently of its relevance to action. We are responsible for our actions, according to Moore, because where there is action, we typically also find the kind of causal contribution that is crucial for responsibility. But it is causation, and not action, that bears the normative weight. This paper assesses this claim and argues that Moore's reasons for it are unconvincing…Read more