•  5
    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
  •  472
    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.
  •  325
    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
  •  44
    Changing numbers
    with Gregory Currie
    Theoria 46 (2-3): 148-164. 1980.
  •  174
    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
  •  175
    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.
  •  7
    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
  •  2
    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
  •  41
    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
  •  105
    Harmony, purity, truth
    Mind 103 (412): 451-472. 1994.
    David Lewis has argued against the thesis he calls "Desire as Belief", claiming it is incompatible with the fundamentals of evidential decision theory. I show that the argument is unsound, and demonstrate that a version of desire as belief is compatible with a version of causal decision theory.
  •  114
    An objectivist's guide to subjective value
    Ethics 102 (3): 512-533. 1992.
  •  41
    Ability and Freedom
    with Pavel Tichy
    American Philosophical Quarterly 20 (2). 1983.
  • A decision theoretic argument against human embryo experimentation
    In M. Fricke (ed.), Essays in honor of Bob Durrant, University of Otago Press. pp. 111-27. 1986.
  •  17
    Rescuing Reason
    Philosophy 71 (277). 1996.
  • The Unity of Theories
    Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 117 343-368. 1989.
  •  22
    Simultaneity and God's timelessness
    with Roy W. Perrett
    Sophia 31 (1-2): 123-127. 1992.
  • The possibility and value of possibilities for value
    From the Logical Point of View 3 46-62. 1992.
  •  243
    Moral uncertainty and human embryo experimentation
    In K. W. M. Fulford, Grant Gillett & Janet Martin Soskice (eds.), Medicine and Moral Reasoning, Cambridge University Press. pp. 3--144. 1994.
    Moral dilemmas can arise from uncertainty, including uncertainty of the real values involved. One interesting example of this is that of experimentation on human embryos and foetuses, If these have a moral stauts similar to that of human persons then there will be server constraitns on what may be done to them. If embryous have a moral status similar to that of other small clusters of cells, then constraints will be motivated largely by consideration for the persons into whom the embryos may dev…Read more
  • Truthtelling and fatal illness
    with Perrett Roy W.
    New Zealand Medical Journal 759-61. 1986.
  •  188
    Fitting attitudes, finkish goods, and value appearances
    In Russ Shafer Landau & Russ Shafer-Landau (eds.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics (Volume 11), Oxford University Press. pp. 74-101. 2016.
    According to Fitting Attitude theorists, for something to possess a certain value it is necessary and sufficient that it be fitting (appropriate, or good, or obligatory, or something) to take a certain attitude to the bearer of that value. The idea seems obvious for thick evaluative attributes, but less obvious for the thin evaluative attributes—like goodness, betterness, and degrees of value. This paper is an extended argument for the thesis that the fitting response to the thin evaluative at…Read more
  •  42
    Act and Maxim: Value-Discrepancy and Two Theories of Power
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (1): 71-92. 1993.
    Suppose that the value of each act of compliance with some maxim is lower than the value of each act of non-compliance, even though maxim-compliance overall would be best for the agent. In such a case we have what I will call value-discrepancy between act and maxim. While the value of overall maxim-compliance is high, no particular act of compliance with the maxim seems to be worth it. Consequentialism is the thesis that the rightness of an option is determined by the comparative value of that o…Read more