• This paper aims to produce a defense of the ethical significance of Confucian ritual. An adequate defense must explain how these conventions are based in a culturally-neutral, objective ground. After a brief account of how Confucians view the relationship between rituals and moral goodness, I consider three sorts of justification. Mencian naturalism appeals to a conception of flourishing that is grounded in human nature. Xunzian consequentialism looks to how ritual brings about social order. I a…Read more
  •  43
    The Limits of Aristotelian Naturalism
    Journal of Value Inquiry 52 (3): 269-286. 2018.
    This paper seeks to assess the claim of Aristotelian naturalism to successfully vindicate the virtues. To this end, I consider two ways to understand the claims of Aristotelian naturalism and, thus, the normative authority of nature. The first is represented by an interpretation of Aristotelian naturalism as defending the claim that practical rationality is species-relative. I argue that the view fails because it cannot accommodate certain forms of moral disagreement. As an alternative, I propos…Read more
  •  54
    Ethical pluralism and the appeal to human nature
    European Journal of Philosophy 26 (3): 1103-1119. 2018.
    Ethical pluralists hold that moral values and systems are irreducibly diverse and incommensurable according to a common scale. One criticism of the view is that accepting such incommensurability renders them unable to criticize values, practices, institutions, and so forth that are genuinely bad. This paper considers two ways that pluralists have appealed to human nature to answer this criticism. One way appeals to nature to ground a positive conception of human flourishing, whereas the other ap…Read more
  •  22
    Elevating Human Being: Towards a New Sort of Naturalism
    Philosophy 92 (4): 597-622. 2017.
    Defended by scholars such as John McDowell and Julia Annas, the naturalism of second nature (NSN) claims that the virtues are part of a rational second nature in- stilled through moral education. While NSN emphasizes that rationality, fully devel- oped, results in autonomy from nature, it is considered a sort of naturalism because the development of rational second nature unfolds through entirely natural processes. Critics object that NSN does not utilize human nature as a standard of evaluation…Read more
  •  151
    Love Life: Aristotle on Living Together with Friends
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (6): 579-601. 2010.
    According to Aristotle, the most characteristic activity of friendship is “living together” [to suzên]. This paper seeks to understand living together in the light of his famous, foundational claim that humans are social by nature. Based on an interpretation of Nicomachean Ethics 9.9, I explain our need for friends in terms of a more fundamental human need to appreciate one's life as a whole. I then argue that friendship is built into the very structure of human life itself such that human livin…Read more