•  228
    Transparency, Corruption, and Democratic Institutions
    Les ateliers de l'éthique/The Ethics Forum 9 (1): 65-83. 2014.
    This essay examines some of the institutional arrangements that underlie corruption in democracy. It begins with a discussion of institutions as such, elaborating and extending some of John Searle’s remarks on the topic. It then turns to an examination of specifically democratic institutions; it draws here on Joshua Cohen’s recent Rousseau: A Free Community of Equals. One of the central concerns of Cohen’s Rousseau is how to arrange civic institutions so that they are able to perform their publi…Read more
  •  223
    Answerability without Answers
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 7 (3): 1-15. 2013.
    The classical ethical questions of whether and to what extent moral criticism is a sort of rational criticism have received renewed interest in recent years. According to the approach that I refer to as rationalist, accounts of moral responsibility are grounded by explanations of the conditions under which an agent is rationally answerable for her actions and attitudes. In the sense that is relevant here, to answer for an attitude or action is to give reasons that at least purport to justify it.…Read more
  •  58
    Alief and Explanation
    Metaphilosophy 44 (5): 604-620. 2013.
    This article critiques the much-discussed notion of alief recently introduced by Tamar Gendler. The narrow goal is to show that the notion is explanatorily unnecessary; the broader goal is to demonstrate the importance of making explicit one's explanatory framework when offering a philosophical account of the mind. After introducing the concept of alief and the examples Gendler characterizes in terms of it, the article examines the explanatory framework within which appeal to such a concept can …Read more
  •  43
    Pragmatism, Law, and Language (edited book)
    with Douglas Lind
    Routledge. 2013.
    This volume puts leading pragmatists in the philosophy of language, including Robert Brandom, in contact with scholars concerned with what pragmatism has come to mean for the law. Each contribution uses the resources of pragmatism to tackle fundamental problems in the philosophy of language, the philosophy of law, and social and political philosophy. In many chapters, the version of pragmatism deployed proves a fruitful approach to its subject matter; in others, shortcomings of the specific bran…Read more
  •  42
    How Reasons Bear on Intentions
    Ethics 124 (1): 84-100. 2013.
    This paper is a critical response to Mark Schroeder’s recent “The Ubiquity of State-Given Reasons.” In this essay, Schroeder claims that it is possible for a right-kind reason to bear on an intention without that reason bearing on the object of the intention. I examine Schroeder’s central argument for this claim and conclude that it does not deliver the result Schroeder desires. My critique turns on explicating and extending some of G. E. M. Anscombe’s remarks in Intention on the structure of pr…Read more
  •  39
    Anscombe on Intentions and Commands
    Klesis 35 90-107. 2016.
    The title of this essay describes its topic. I open by discussing the two-knowledges/one-object worry that Anscombe introduces through her famous example of the water-pumper. This sets the context for my main topic, viz., Anscombe’s remarks in _Intention_ on the similarities and differences between intentions and commands. These remarks play a key role in her argument’s shift from practical knowledge to the form of practical reasoning and in its subsequent shift back to practical knowledge. The …Read more
  •  34
    There is no consensus on the legitimacy of Chelsea Manning’s and Edward Snowden’s secret-revealing activities. Some see them as courageous acts of whistleblowing; to others they seem wanton acts of self-aggrandizement; still others find them traitorous acts of defiance. We can gain some clarity on these cases, I believe, if we consider them against the backdrop of Leslie Macfarlane’s “Justifying Political Disobedience.” After characterizing political disobedience, Macfarlane analyzes the possibl…Read more
  •  29
    On Humean Explanation and Practical Normativity
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (1): 78-95. 2015.
    If Hume is correct that the descriptive and the normative are “entirely different” matters, then it would seem to follow that endorsing a given account of action-explanation does not restrict the account of practical normativity one may simultaneously endorse. In this essay, I challenge the antecedent of this conditional by targeting its consequent. Specifically, I argue that if one endorses a Humean account of action-explanation, which many find attractive, one is thereby committed to a Humean …Read more
  •  27
    Teaching Philosophy by Designing a Wikipedia Page
    In Julinna Oxley and Ramona Ilea (ed.), Experiential Learning in Philosophy, Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy. pp. 222-227. 2016.
    Many technological advancements do not readily lend themselves to incorporation into a philosophy curriculum, but Wikipedia is an exception. Courses can be designed around implementing or improving Wikipedia pages, which will help students both learn technological skills and engage with the world beyond the classroom. In the fall of 2012 I led such a class, in which we created the Wikipedia page for (appropriately) Collective Intentionality. This essay recounts my experience leading this class, …Read more
  •  23
    Anscombe on How St. Peter Intentionally Did What He Intended Not to Do
    American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 93 (1): 129-45. 2019.
    G. E. M. Anscombe’s Intention, meticulous in its detail and its structure, ends on a puzzling note. At its conclusion, Anscombe claims that when he denied Jesus, St. Peter intentionally did what he intended not to do. This essay will examine why Anscombe construes the case as she does and what it might teach us about the nature of practical rationality.
  •  19
    In the past few years, the United States has seen violent street protests in response to police killing unarmed people of color, angry protests by university students concerned about the racist legacy of their institutions, and verbally disruptive protests inside rallies of the (then) Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump. Some of these acts of protest have been clearly legal, protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution; others, by contrast, have not, but may neve…Read more
  •  6
    The Rational Unity of the Self
    Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. 2008.
    The topic of my dissertation is selfhood. I aim to explain what a self is such that it can sometimes succeed and other times fail at thinking and acting autonomously. I open by considering a failure of autonomy to which I return throughout the dissertation. The failure is that of self-deception. I show that in common cases of self-deception the self-deceived individual fails, due to a motive on his part, to be able to explain the cause of some belief or action of his. There are several philosoph…Read more
  •  6
    Some Varieties of Pragmatism
    In Graham Hubbs Douglas Lind (ed.), Pragmatism, Law, and Language, Routledge. pp. 1-13. 2014.
    This essay introduces the volume in which it is found. It explains how the essays of the volume belong to a single vista, one that ranges from metaethics to political philosophy, from a discussion of Hegelian recognition to an analysis of the Rwandan genocide. It articulates this explanation in terms of a variety of pragmatisms. The taxonomy it develops draws on Robert Brandom's recent discussions of pragmatism.
  •  5
    It is common to think of the unauthorized copying of networked digital music as theft. This seems to presuppose that such music is a sort of private property. In this paper, I argue that networked digital music does not have the hallmark features of private property; instead, I argue, it is non-rivalrous and non-excludable and so is better understood as a public good. Coming to terms with this is important if we are to compensate musicians for their work.
  •  5
    Self-deceptive resistance to self-knowledge
    Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 13 (2): 25-47. 2018.
    Graham Hubbs | : Philosophical accounts of self-deception have tended to focus on what is necessary for one to be in a state of self-deception or how one might arrive at such a state. Less attention has been paid to explaining why, so often, self-deceived individuals resist the proper explanation of their condition. This resistance may not be necessary for self-deception, but it is common enough to be a proper explanandum of any adequate account of the phenomenon. The goals of this essay are to …Read more
  • Self-deceptive Resistance to Self-knowledge
    Les ateliers de l'éthique/The Ethics Forum. forthcoming.
    Philosophical accounts of self-deception have tended to focus on what is necessary for one to be in a state of self-deception or how one might arrive at such a state. Less attention has been paid to explaining why, so often, the self-deceived individual resists the proper explanation of his condition. This resistance may not be necessary for self-deception, but it is common enough to be a proper explanandum of any adequate account of the phenomenon. The goals of this essay are to analyze this re…Read more