•  4
    It is truism that accuracy is valued. Some deem accuracy to be among the most fundamental values, perhaps the preeminent value, of inquiry. Because of this, accuracy has been the focus of two different, important programs in epistemology. The truthlikeness program pursued the notion of propositional accuracy—an ordering of propositions by closeness to the objective truth of some matter. The epistemic utility program pursued the notion of credal state accuracy—an ordering of credal states by clos…Read more
  •  7
    Fitting Attitudes, Finkish Goods, and Value Appearances
    Oxford Studies in Metaethics 11. 2016.
    According to Fitting Attitude theorists, for something to possess a certain value it is necessary and sufficient that it be fitting to take a certain attitude to the bearer of that value. This seems obvious for thick evaluative attributes, but less obvious for thin evaluative attributes. This chapter argues that the fitting response to the thin evaluative attributes of states is desire. The good is what it is fitting to desire, the bad what it is fitting to be averse to, and the better what it i…Read more
  •  477
    What Accuracy Could Not Be
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (2): 551-580. 2019.
    Two different programmes are in the business of explicating accuracy—the truthlikeness programme and the epistemic utility programme. Both assume that truth is the goal of inquiry, and that among inquiries that fall short of realizing the goal some get closer to it than others. Truthlikeness theorists have been searching for an account of the accuracy of propositions. Epistemic utility theorists have been searching for an account of the accuracy of credal states. Both assume we can make cognitiv…Read more
  • Truthlikeness
    In Martin P. Curd (ed.), The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science, . pp. 478--488. 2008.
  •  338
    The Fictionalist’s Attitude Problem
    with Daniel Demetriou
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (5): 485-498. 2007.
    According to John Mackie, moral talk is representational but its metaphysical presuppositions are wildly implausible. This is the basis of Mackie's now famous error theory: that moral judgments are cognitively meaningful but systematically false. Of course, Mackie went on to recommend various substantive moral judgments, and, in the light of his error theory, that has seemed odd to a lot of folk. Richard Joyce has argued that Mackie's approach can be vindicated by a fictionalist account of moral…Read more
  •  46
    Changing numbers
    with Gregory Currie
    Theoria 46 (2-3): 148-164. 1980.
  •  183
    Act and value: Expectation and the representability of moral theories
    with Peter Milne
    Theoria 57 (1-2): 42-76. 1991.
    According to the axiologist the value concepts are basic and the deontic concepts are derivative. This paper addresses two fundamental problems that arise for the axiologist. Firstly, what ought the axiologist o understand by the value of an act? Second, what are the prospects in principle for an axiological representation of moral theories. Can the deontic concepts of any coherent moral theory be represented by an agent-netural axiology: (1) whatever structure those concepts have and (2) whatev…Read more
  •  176
    Moral Fictionalism (review)
    with Daniel Demetriou
    Mind 116 (462): 439-446. 2007.
  •  63
    The logic of freedom and responsibility
    Studia Logica 41 (n/a): 227. 1982.
    The aim of this paper is to offer a rigorous explication of statements ascribing ability to agents and to develop the logic of such statements. A world is said to be feasible iff it is compatible with the actual past-and-present. W is a P-world iff W is feasible and P is true in W (where P is a proposition). P is a sufficient condition for Q iff every P world is a Q world. P is a necessary condition for Q iff Q is a sufficient condition forP. Each individual property S is shown to generate a rul…Read more
  •  13
    Likeness to Truth
    Journal of Symbolic Logic 54 (1): 296-297. 1989.
  •  9
    Alan Goldman. Reasons from Within: Desires and Values (review)
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 9 (3): 473-476. 2012.
  •  31
    Scrumptious Functions
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 62 (1): 137-156. 2001.
    The taste of this particular chunk of fresh pineapple, the one which I am just now eating, is scrumptious. That taste is something the chunk has in common with other such chunks, like the one I had a few seconds ago and the one I will have in a few seconds time. The taste of this pineapple chunk is thus a feature,a property,which this and various otherchunks of pineapple share. Now, intuitively at least, no purely mathematical entity, like a function, is scrumptious. Hence a property, like the t…Read more
  •  50
    Recombinant values
    Philosophical Studies 106 (3). 2001.
    An attractive admirer of George Bernard Shaw once wrote to him with a not-so modest proposal: ``You have the greatest brain in the world, and I have the most beautiful body; so we ought to produce the most perfect child.'' Shaw replied: ``What if the child inherits my body and your brains?''What if, indeed? Shaw's retort is interesting not because it revealsa grasp of elementary genetics, but rather because it suggests his grasp of an interesting and important principle of axiology. Since the br…Read more
  •  12
    Justice, Ethics, and New Zealand Society (edited book)
    with Roy W. Perrett
    Oxford University Press. 1992.
    What is sovereignty? Was it ceded to the Crown in the Treaty of Waitangi? If land was unjustly confiscated over a century ago, should it be returned? Is an ecosystem valuable in itself, or only because of its value to people? Does a property right entail a right to destroy? Can collectives (such as tribes) bear moral responsibility? Do they have moral rights? If so, what are the implications for the justice system? These questions are essentially philosophical, yet all thoughtful New Zealanders …Read more
  •  47
    Desire and the Good: in search of the right fit
    In Deonna J. & Lauria F. (eds.), The Nature of Desire, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    I argue for an evaluative theory of desire—specifically, that to desire something is for it to appear, in some way or other, good. If a desire is a non-doxastic appearance of value then it is no mystery how it can rationalize as well as cause action. The theory is metaphysically neutral—it is compatible with value idealism (that value reduces to desire), with value realism (that it is not so reducible), and with value nihilism (all appearances of value are illusory). Despite this metaphysical ne…Read more
  •  2
    Is the Treaty of Waitangi a Social Contract
    with Jindra Tichý
    In Oddie Graham & Perrett Roy W. (eds.), Justice, Ethics and New Zealand Society, Oxford University Press. pp. 73-90. 1992.
  •  23
    Creative value
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 33 (3). 1990.
    Free agents can create and destroy value, for how much value is realized may well depend on what such agents choose to do. Not only may such agents create and destroy value, but such creation and destruction seem to involve a dimension of value: I call it creative value. An explication of the twin concepts of creating value and creative value is given, motivated by two desiderata. It is then shown that creative value turns out to be equivalent to what Nozick has dubbed originative value, when hi…Read more
  •  73
    Addiction and the value of freedom
    Bioethics 7 (5): 373-401. 1993.
  •  93
    Value, Reality, and Desire
    Clarendon Press. 2005.
    Value, Reality, and Desire is an extended argument for a robust realism about value. The robust realist affirms the following distinctive theses. There are genuine claims about value which are true or false--there are facts about value. These value-facts are mind-independent - they are not reducible to desires or other mental states, or indeed to any non-mental facts of a non-evaluative kind. And these genuine, mind-independent, irreducible value-facts are causally efficacious. Values, quite lit…Read more
  • What agents can do
    with Pavel Tichý
    In N. Foo (ed.), Record of the Workshop on Logic and Action, University of Sydney. pp. 144-61. 1994.
  •  276
    The poverty of the Popperian program for truthlikeness
    Philosophy of Science 53 (2): 163-178. 1986.
    The importance for realism of the concept of truthlikeness was first stressed by Popper. Popper himself not only mapped out a program for defining truthlikeness (in terms of falsity content and truth content) but produced the first definitions within this program. These were shown to be inadequate. But the program lingered on, and the most recent attempt to revive it is that of Newton-Smith. His attempt is a failure, not because of some minor defect or technical flaw in his particular account bu…Read more
  •  311
    Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: Partiality, Preferences and Perspective
    Les ateliers de l'éthique/The Ethics Forum 9 (2): 57-81. 2014.
    A rather promising value theory for environmental philosophers combines the well-known fitting attitude (FA) account of value with the rather less well-known account of value as richness. If the value of an entity is proportional to its degree of richness (which has been cashed out in terms of unified complexity and organic unity), then since natural entities, such as species or ecosystems, exhibit varying degrees of richness quite independently of what we happen to feel about them, they also po…Read more
  •  43
    Resplicing properties in the supervenience base
    with Pavel Tichý
    Philosophical Studies 58 (3): 259-69. 1990.
  • Partial Interpretation, Meaning Variance, and Incommensurability
    In Kostas Gavroglu, Yourgos Goudaroulis & P. Nicolacopolous (eds.), Imre Lakatos and Theories of Scientific Change, Reidel. pp. 305-22. 1989.
  •  135
  • Control
    In R. Durrant (ed.), Essays in Honour of Gwen Taylor, University of Otago Press. pp. 190-210. 1981.
  •  127
    Can a present or future event bring about a past event? An answer to this question is demanded by many other interesting questions. Can anybody, even a god, do anything about what has already occurred? Should we plan for the past, as well as for the future? Can anybody precognise the future in a way quite different from normal prediction? Do the causal laws and the past jointly preclude free action? Does current physical theory entail a consistent version of backwards causation? Recent articles …Read more
  •  76
    Axiological atomism
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (3). 2001.
    Value is either additive or else it is subject to organic unity. In general we have organic unity where a complex whole is not simply the sum of its parts. Value exhibits organic unity if the value of a complex, whether a complex state or complex quality, is greater or less than the sum of the values of its components or parts. Whether or not value is additive might be thought to be of purely metaphysical interest, but it is also connected with important aspects of evaluative reasoning. Additivi…Read more
  • Values education
    In Harvey Siegel (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Education, Oxford University Press. 2009.