•  6
    Testimony, epistemic egoism, and epistemic credit
    European Journal of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    European Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
  •  11
    Equitable Local Climate Action Planning: Sustainable & Affordable Housing
    with Andrew Pattison
    Ethics, Policy and Environment 21 (1): 17-20. 2018.
    Despite projected devastating impacts on human communities, the US still lacks comprehensive national policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This vacuum has provided the space for a surge of promising sustainability and climate action planning efforts at the state and local level. Meanwhile, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (2015) Out of Reach Report, ‘there is no state in the US where a minimum wage worker working full time can afford a one-bedroom apartmen…Read more
  • Virtues, Ideal Observers, and the Foundations of Normativity
    Dissertation, Brown University. 2001.
    The central claim of this dissertation is that the most plausible form of virtue theory will incorporate a number of features from an ideal observer theory, and vice versa. Virtue theorists in ethics and epistemology often characterize the virtues as those traits required for a good human life, and right action in terms of the behaviour of virtuous persons. I argue that while such positions are mistaken , a related form of ideal observer theory can capture the virtue theorists' insights. The cor…Read more
  •  377
    Grounded knowledge, place and epistemic virtue
    Ethics, Place and Environment 8 (3). 2005.
    A response to Christopher Preston's book "Grounding Knowledge" (2003). I first argue that Preston’s work strongly suggests that epistemologists would do well to re-examine and pay greater attention to ‘knowledge how’. Second, I briefly consider several of Preston’s proposals (concerning the importance of place to our cognitive lives) through the lens of contemporary virtue epistemology and suggest how Preston’s work might inform and shape theorizing in this area. Finally, I turn to a set of pot…Read more
  •  137
    Rethinking Greed
    In Allen Thompson Jeremy Bendik-Keymer (ed.), Human Adaptation to Climate Change: Human Virtues of the Future, The Mit Press. pp. 223-39. 2012.
    In this paper I attempt to clarify the nature of the vice of greed, focusing on what can be called “modest greed”. Agents who are modestly greedy do not long for material goods or wealth with intense desires. Rather, they have quite modest desires, but ones whose satisfaction they pursue excessively relative to other goods. Greed - including modest greed - emerges as a particularly troubling and problematic vice.
  •  934
    Virtue theory, ideal observers, and the supererogatory
    Philosophical Studies 146 (2): 179-96. 2009.
    I argue that recent virtue theories (including those of Hursthouse, Slote, and Swanton) face important initial difficulties in accommodating the supererogatory. In particular, I consider several potential characterizations of the supererogatory modeled upon these familiar virtue theories (and their accounts of rightness) and argue that they fail to provide an adequate account of supererogation. In the second half of the paper I sketch an alternative virtue-based characterization of supererogatio…Read more
  •  1024
    Reverence for life as a viable environmental virtue
    Environmental Ethics 25 (4): 339-358. 2003.
    There have been several recent defenses of biocentric individualism, the position that all living beings have at least some moral standing, simply insofar as they are alive. I develop a virtue-based version of biocentric individualism, focusing on a virtue of reverence for life. In so doing, I attempt to show that such a virtuebased approach allows us to avoid common objections to biocentric individualism, based on its supposed impracticability (or, on the other hand, its emptiness).
  •  289
    On Complacency
    American Philosophical Quarterly 43 (4): 343-55. 2006.
    This paper begins by drawing attention to inadequacies in common characterizations of the vice of complacency. An alternative account is presented that avoids these flaws. The distinctive nature of complacency is then clarified by contrasting it with related vices, including apathy, resignation, akrasia, excessive pride, and hypocrisy.
  •  71
    Is (merely) stalking sentient animals morally wrong?
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 17 (2). 2000.
    Such activities as tracking, watching, and photographing animals are frequently presented as morally superior alternatives to hunting, but could they themselves be morally problematic? In this paper I argue that, despite certain differences from the stalking of humans, a strong case can be made for the prima facie wrongness of stalking sentient animals. The chief harm of stalking is the fear and altered patterns of behavior which it forces upon its victims.
  •  20
    Dale Jamieson, Ethics and the Environment (review)
    Environmental Ethics 31 (3): 333-336. 2009.
    A short book review of Dale Jamieson's "Ethics and the Environment"
  •  1102
    The experience machine and mental state theories of well-being
    Journal of Value Inquiry 33 (3): 381-387. 1999.
    It is argued that Nozick's experience machine thought experiment does not pose a particular difficulty for mental state theories of well-being. While the example shows that we value many things beyond our mental states, this simply reflects the fact that we value more than our own well-being. Nor is a mental state theorist forced to make the dubious claim that we maintain these other values simply as a means to desirable mental states. Valuing more than our mental states is compatible with maint…Read more
  •  438
    Promising and supererogation
    Philosophia 32 (1-4): 389-398. 2005.
    A paradox involving promises to perform supererogatory actions is developed. Several attempts to resolve the problem, focusing in particular on changing our understanding of supererogatory actions, are explored. It is concluded that none of the proposed solutions are viable; the problem lies in promises with certain contents, not in our understanding of supererogation.
  •  602
    Moral Realism and Arbitrariness
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 43 (1): 109-129. 2005.
    In this paper I argue (i) that choosing to abide by realist moral norms would be as arbitrary as choosing to abide by the mere preferences of a God (a difficulty akin to the Euthyphro dilemma raised for divine command theorists); in both cases we would lack reason to prefer these standards to alternative codes of conduct. I further develop this general line of thought by arguing in particular (ii) that we would lack any noncircular justification to concern ourselves with any such realist normati…Read more
  •  21
    Harry G. Frankfurt, The Reasons of Love (review)
    Philosophy in Review 24 (5): 322-324. 2004.
  •  977
    Autonomy, agency, and the value of enduring beliefs
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (1). 2010.
    My central thesis is that philosophers considering questions of epistemic value ought to devote greater attention to the enduring nature of beliefs. I begin by arguing that a commonly drawn analogy between beliefs and actions is flawed in important respects, and that a better, more fruitful analogue for belief would be desire, or a similarly enduring state of an agent. With this in hand, I argue that treating beliefs as enduring, constitutive states of agents allows us to capture the importance …Read more
  •  50
    Ronald Sandler and Philip Cafaro, Environmental Virtue Ethics (review)
    Environmental Ethics 28 (4): 429-32. 2006.
    A short review of "Environmental Virtue Ethics" (2005), a collection edited by Ronald Sandler and Philip Cafaro.
  •  23
    Alan Thomas, Value and Context: The Nature of Moral and Political Knowledge (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (9). 2007.
    This is, surprisingly enough, a review of Alan Thomas' "Value and Context: The Nature of Moral and Political Knowledge". A very nice book. More details in the review itself.
  •  443
    Other–regarding epistemic virtues
    Ratio 15 (3). 2002.
    Epistemologists often assume that an agent’s epistemic goal is simply to acquire as much knowledge as possible for herself. Drawing on an analogy with ethics and other practices, I argue that being situated in an epistemic community introduces a range of epistemic virtues (and goals) which fall outside of those typically recognized by both individualistic and social epistemologists. Candidate virtues include such traits as honesty, integrity (including an unwillingness to misuse one’s status as …Read more
  •  8
    John Cottingham, On the Meaning of Life (review)
    Philosophy in Review 24 (1): 22-24. 2004.
  •  404
    Friendship and epistemic norms
    Philosophical Studies 165 (2): 349-370. 2013.
    Simon Keller and Sarah Stroud have both argued that the demands of being a good friend can conflict with the demands of standard epistemic norms. Intuitively, good friends will tend to seek favorable interpretations of their friends’ behaviors, interpretations that they would not apply to strangers; as such they seem prone to form unjustified beliefs. I argue that there is no such clash of norms. In particular, I argue that friendship does not require us to form beliefs about our friends in the …Read more
  •  17
    Thomas L. Carson, Value and the Good Life (review)
    Philosophy in Review 22 (4): 260-262. 2002.
  •  9
    Peter Heinegg, ed., Mortalism: Readings on the Meaning of Life (review)
    Philosophy in Review 24 (1): 22. 2004.
  •  486
    Moral response-dependent metaethical theories characterize moral properties in terms of the reactions of certain classes of individuals. Nick Zangwill has argued that such theories are flawed: they are unable to accommodate the motive of duty. That is, they are unable to provide a suitable reason for anyone to perform morally right actions simply because they are morally right. I argue that Zangwill ignores significant differences between various approvals, and various individuals, and that mora…Read more
  •  57
    Inner Diversity: An Alternative Ecological Virtue Ethics
    Philosophy in the Contemporary World 8 (2): 27-35. 2001.
    I propose a modified virtue ethics, grounded in an analogy between ecosystems and human personalities. I suggest that we understand ourselves as possessing changing systems of inter-related sub personalities with different virtues, and view our characters as flexible and evolving
  •  52
    The Handbook of Virtue Ethics (edited book)
    with S. van Hooft, N. Athanassoulis, J. Oakley, and L. van Zyl
    Acumen Publishing. 2013.
    Virtue ethics has emerged as a distinct field within moral theory - whether as an alternative account of right action or as a conception of normativity which departs entirely from the obligatoriness of morality - and has proved itself invaluable to many aspects of contemporary applied ethics. Virtue ethics now flourishes in philosophy, sociology and theology and its applications extend to law, politics and bioethics. "The Handbook of Virtue Ethics" brings together leading international scholars …Read more
  •  96
    Self-regarding supererogatory actions
    Journal of Social Philosophy 34 (3). 2003.
    Many philosophers, in discussing supererogation, maintain that supererogatory actions must be done for the benefit of others. In this paper I argue that there can be instances of self-regarding supererogatory actions. That is, there are cases in which the primary (or sole) intended beneficiary of a supererogatory action is the agent herself, and she need not be acting out of a concern for morality or moral rules. In such cases the agent still acts suitably 'beyond the call of duty', and in a mor…Read more
  •  374
    On promising to supererogate: A response to Heyd
    Philosophia 34 (2): 153-156. 2006.
    In my “Promising and Supererogation” I argue that one cannot fulfill promises to perform supererogatory actions (such as “I hereby promise to perform one supererogatory action every month”). In a response to my paper, David Heyd argues that there is an alternative solution to the problem I raise. While I agree with much that Heyd says about the examples he discusses, his proposed solution involves a crucial alteration of the problem; his proposed solution does not solve the problem I present.
  •  51
    Meaningful Lives, Ideal Observers, and Views from Nowhere
    Journal of Philosophical Research 37 73-97. 2012.
    In recent discussions of whether our lives are or can be meaningful, appeals are often made to such things as “a view from nowhere,” or “the viewpoint of the universe.” In this paper I attempt to make sense of what it might mean for a being to possess such a perspective, and argue that common appeals to such perspectives are inadequately developed; crucially, they do not adequately account for the character of the beings taken to possess these viewpoints. In the second half of the paper I turn t…Read more