Berkeley, CA, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Value Theory
Areas of Interest
Value Theory
  •  1051
    Virtue, Reason, and Principle
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 21 (4): 469-495. 1991.
    A common strategy unites much that philosophers have written about the virtues. The strategy can be traced back at least to Aristotle, who suggested that human beings have a characteristic function or activity, and that the virtues are traits of character which enable humans to perform this kind of activity excellently or well. The defining feature of this approach is that it treats the virtues as functional concepts, to be both identified and justified by reference to some independent goal or e…Read more
  •  310
    Ressentiment, value, and self-vindication : making sense of Nietzsche's slave revolt
    In Brian Leiter & Neil Sinhababu (eds.), Nietzsche and Morality, Oxford University Press. pp. 110--137. 2007.
  •  303
    Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments
    Harvard University Press. 1994.
    R. Jay Wallace argues in this book that moral accountability hinges on questions of fairness: When is it fair to hold people morally responsible for what they do? Would it be fair to do so even in a deterministic world? To answer these questions, we need to understand what we are doing when we hold people morally responsible, a stance that Wallace connects with a central class of moral sentiments, those of resentment, indignation, and guilt. To hold someone responsible, he argues, is to be subje…Read more
  •  299
    Scanlon’s Contractualism
    Ethics 112 (3): 429-470. 2002.
    T. M. Scanlon's magisterial book What We Owe to Each Other is surely one of the most sophisticated and important works of moral philosophy to have appeared for many years. It raises fundamental questions about all the main aspects of the subject, and I hope and expect that it will have a decisive influence on the shape and direction of moral philosophy in the years to come. In this essay I shall focus on four sets of issues raised by Scanlon's systematic argument, with the aim of clarifying some…Read more
  •  295
    Hypocrisy, Moral Address, and the Equal Standing of Persons
    Philosophy and Public Affairs 38 (4): 307-341. 2010.
  •  291
    How to Argue about Practical Reason
    Mind 99 (395): 355-385. 1990.
    How to Argue about . Bibliographic Info. Citation. How to Argue about ; Author(s): R. Jay Wallace; Source: Mind , New Series, Vol.
  •  287
    Addiction as defect of the will: Some philosophical reflections (review)
    Law and Philosophy 18 (6). 1999.
    It is both common and natural to think of addiction as a kind of defect of the will. Addicts, we tend to suppose, are subject to impulses or cravings that are peculiarly unresponsive to their evaluative reflection about what there is reason for them to do. As a result of this unresponsiveness, we further suppose, addicts are typically impaired in their ability to act in accordance with their own deliberative conclusions. My question in this paper is whether we can make adequate sense of this con…Read more
  •  267
    Moral Motivation
    Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 1998.
    Questions about the possibility and nature of moral motivation occupy a central place in the history of ethics. Philosophers disagree, however, about the role that motivational investigations should play within the larger subject of ethical theory. These disagreements surface in the dispute about whether moral thought is necessarily motivating – ‘internalists’ affirming that it is,‘externalists’ denying this. [...] There are also important questions about the content of moral motivations. A mora…Read more
  •  248
    Three conceptions of rational agency
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 2 (3): 217-242. 1999.
    Rational agency may be thought of as intentional activity that is guided by the agent's conception of what they have reason to do. The paper identifies and assesses three approaches to this phenomenon, which I call internalism, meta-internalism, and volitionalism. Internalism accounts for rational motivation by appeal to substantive desires of the agent's that are conceived as merely given; I argue that it fails to do full justice to the phenomenon of guidance by one's conception of one's reason…Read more
  •  198
    Comment on Raz
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 1 (1): 1-5. 2005.
    No abstract
  •  195
    Normativity, commitment and instrumental reason
    Philosophers' Imprint 1 1-26. 2001.
    This paper addresses some connections between conceptions of the will and the theory of practical reason. The first two sections argue against the idea that volitional commitments should be understood along the lines of endorsement of normative principles. A normative account of volition cannot make sense of akrasia, and it obscures an important difference between belief and intention. Sections three and four draw on the non-normative conception of the will in an account of instrumental rational…Read more
  •  179
    An Anti-Philosophy of the Emotions?
    Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 60 (2): 469-477. 2000.
    Philosophical work on the emotions can take a variety of forms, among which the following three are perhaps most common. There are, first, studies that attempt to analyse the nature of emotions in general, identifying the features that distinguish them from psychological states of other kinds, and their connections with such phenomena as rationality, perception, experience, memory, action, and the like. Second, there are works that focus on particular emotions or classes of emotion, such as guil…Read more
  •  167
    Practical reason
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008.
    Practical reason is the general human capacity for resolving, through reflection, the question of what one is to do. Deliberation of this kind is practical in at least two senses. First, it is practical in its subject matter, insofar as it is concerned with action. But it is also practical in its consequences or its issue, insofar as reflection about action itself directly moves people to act. Our capacity for deliberative self-determination raises two sets of philosophical problems. First, ther…Read more
  •  163
    Duties of Love
    Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 86 (1): 175-198. 2012.
    A defence of the idea that there are sui generis duties of love: duties, that is, that we owe to people in virtue of standing in loving relationships with them. I contrast this non-reductionist position with the widespread reductionist view that our duties to those we love all derive from more generic moral principles. The paper mounts a cumulative argument in favour of the non-reductionist position, adducing a variety of considerations that together speak strongly in favour of adopting it. The …Read more
  •  161
    Promises and Practices Revisited
    Philosophy and Public Affairs 31 (2): 119-154. 2003.
    Promising is clearly a social practice or convention. By uttering the formula, “I hereby promise to do X,” we can raise in others the expectation that we will in fact do X. But this succeeds only because there is a social practice that consists (inter alia) in a disposition on the part of promisers to do what they promise, and an expectation on the part of promisees that promisers will so behave. It is equally clear that, barring special circumstances of some kind, it is morally wrong for promis…Read more
  •  128
    Reasons, Values and Agent‐Relativity
    Dialectica 64 (4): 503-528. 2010.
    According to T. M. Scanlon's buck‐passing account, the normative realm of reasons is in some sense prior to the domain of value. Intrinsic value is not itself a property that provides us with reasons; rather, to be good is to have some other reason‐giving property, so that facts about intrinsic value amount to facts about how we have reason to act and to respond. The paper offers an interpretation and defense of this approach to the relation between reasons and values. I start by acknowledging t…Read more
  •  124
    Normativity and the Will collects fourteen important papers on moral psychology and practical reason by R. Jay Wallace, one of the leading philosophers currently working in these areas. The papers explore the interpenetration of normative and psychological issues in a series of debates that lie at the heart of moral philosophy. Themes that are addressed include reason, desire, and the will; responsibility, identification, and emotion; and the relation between morality and other normative domains…Read more
  •  118
    The publicity of reasons
    Philosophical Perspectives 23 (1): 471-497. 2009.
  •  117
    Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (3): 680-681. 2002.
    Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments offers an account of moral responsibility. It addresses the question: what are the forms of capacity or ability that render us morally accountable for the things we do? A traditional answer has it that the conditions of moral responsibility include freedom of the will, where this in turn involves the availability of robust alternative possibilities. I reject this answer, arguing that the conditions of moral responsibility do not include any condition of al…Read more
  •  98
    Constructing Normativity
    Philosophical Topics 32 (1/2): 451-476. 2004.
  •  92
    Explanation, deliberation, and reasons (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2). 2003.
    Jonathan Dancy’s Practical Reality defends a strikingly nonpsychologistic account of motivating reasons for action. I agree wholeheartedly with Dancy that normative reasons do not in general consist in psychological states. I also agree with Dancy that motivating reasons should be understood in a way that preserves their connection to the kinds of normative consideration that recommend or speak in favor of actions. Despite these significant points of agreement, however, I find myself resisting D…Read more
  •  87
    Reason and Value: Themes From the Moral Philosophy of Joseph Raz (edited book)
    Oxford University Press. 2004.
    Reason and Value collects 15 new papers by leading contemporary philosophers on themes from the work of Joseph Raz. Raz has made major contributions in a wide range of areas, including jurisprudence, political philosophy, and the theory of practical reason; but all of his work displays a deep engagement with central themes in moral philosophy. The subtlety and power of Raz's reflections on ethical topics make his writings a fertile source for anyone working in this area. Especially significant a…Read more
  •  76
    The Argument from Resentment
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 107 (1pt3): 295-318. 2007.
  •  70
    Review of Richard Joyce, The Myth of Morality (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2003 (11). 2003.
    This book is an impressive and stimulating treatment of central issues in metaethics. It is extremely well-written, combining clarity and precision with an individual style that is engaging and very often witty. It presents a general commentary on the contemporary metaethical debate, on the way to defending a position in that debate—moral fictionalism—that is distinctive and worthy of reaching a wider audience. The book is full of arguments, presenting a wealth of stimulating ideas, objections, …Read more
  •  58
    Replies
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (3). 2002.
    My commentators have given me much to think about, and I am grateful to them for their serious engagement with my work. Their many objections coalesce primarily around the following issues, which I shall address in turn: the normative approach; praiseworthiness; practical reason and moral reasons; physical possibility; the exercise of general powers; nomic necessity and revisionism about blame; ultimate responsibility and control.
  •  53
    The View from Here is a study of our must fundamental attitudes toward the past. The book explores the dynamics of affirmation and regret, tracing the connections of each to our ongoing attachments. The focus is on situations in which our attachments commit us to affirming events or decisions that we know to have been unfortunate or regrettable
  •  50
    Trust, anger, resentment, forgiveness: On blame and its reasons
    European Journal of Philosophy 27 (3): 537-551. 2019.
    European Journal of Philosophy, EarlyView.
  •  48
    Normativity and the Will: R. Jay Wallace
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 55 195-216. 2004.
    If there is room for a substantial conception of the will in contemporary theorizing about human agency, it is most likely to be found in the vicinity of the phenomenon of normativity. Rational agency is distinctively responsive to the agent's acknowledgment of reasons, in the basic sense of considerations that speak for and against the alternatives for action that are available. Furthermore, it is natural to suppose that this kind of responsiveness to reasons is possible only for creatures who …Read more