•  242
    Moral responsibility and omissions
    Philosophical Quarterly 57 (226). 2007.
    Frankfurt-type examples seem to show that agents can be morally responsible for their actions and omissions even if they could not have done otherwise. Fischer and Ravizza's influential account of moral responsibility is largely based on such examples. I examine a problem with their account of responsibility in cases where we fail to act. The solution to this problem has a surprising and far reaching implication concerning the construction of successful Frankfurt-type examples. I argue that the …Read more
  •  160
    Agnosticism about moral responsibility
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 40 (3): 411-432. 2010.
    Traditionally, incompatibilism has rested on two theses. First, the familiar Principle of Alternative Possibilities says that we cannot be morally responsible for what we do unless we could have done otherwise. Accepting this principle, incompatibilists have then argued that there is no room for such alternative possibilities in a deterministic world. Recently, however, a number of philosophers have argued that incompatibilism about moral responsibility can be defended independently of these tra…Read more
  •  149
    The necessity of tomorrow's sea battle
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 48 (2): 160-176. 2010.
    In chapter 9 of De Interpretatione, Aristotle offers a defense of free will against the threat of fatalism. According to the traditional interpretation, Aristotle concedes the validity of the fatalist's arguments and then proceeds to reject the Principle of Bivalence in order to avoid the fatalist's conclusion. Assuming that the traditional interpretation is right on this point, it remains to be seen why Aristotle felt compelled to reject such an intuitive semantic principle rather than challeng…Read more
  •  106
    The perfect murder: A philosophical whodunit
    Synthese 157 (1): 47-58. 2007.
    In his Reasons and Persons, Derek Parfit argues from the possibility of cases of fission and/or fusion of persons that one must reject identity as what matters for personal survival. Instead Parfit concludes that what matters is “psychological connectedness and/or continuity with the right kind of cause,” or what he calls an R-relation. In this paper, I argue that, if one accepts Parfit’s conclusion, one must accept that R-relations are what matter for moral responsibility as well. Unfortunately…Read more
  •  69
    1. Introduction It is generally assumed that, during his early pre-critical phase, Kant accepted a Leibnizian account of freedom according to which we are free to do otherwise than we do even though our actions are determined. This assumption is false. Far from endorsing such an account, Kant explicitly argues in the New Elucidation of the First Principle of Metaphysical Cognition that there is no relevant sense in which we can do otherwise than we do. Nevertheless, he is equally convinced that …Read more
  •  64
    A remark on Kant's argument from incongruent counterparts
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 16 (4). 2008.
    I argue that, by the time of his essay "Concerning the Ultimate Ground of the Differentiation of Directions in Space" (1768), Kant had come to question the status of the Principle of Sufficient Reason as a result, at least in part, of his recognition of the existence of incongruent counterparts. Though Kant's argument against absolute space based on the existence of incongruent counterparts has been much discussed in recent years, its importance as a useful benchmark by which to judge the dir…Read more
  •  54
    The Dialectical Advantage of the Direct Argument
    Erkenntnis 79 (2): 431-444. 2014.
    Traditionally, incompatibilists about moral responsibility and determinism claim that we cannot be morally responsible unless we could have done otherwise and that we cannot do otherwise if we are determined. The Direct Argument for incompatibilism supposedly offers its defenders a dialectical advantage over this traditional approach insofar as it does not appear to rely on either of these controversial claims. Recently, though, David Widerker has argued against this supposition and urged that i…Read more
  •  50
    What Should we Believe About Free Will?
    Erkenntnis 1-18. forthcoming.
    Given the available evidence, I argue that we face considerable uncertainty about free will. In particular, I argue that the available philosophical evidence does not support being highly confident in our theories about the nature of free will, though this does not necessarily mean that we should suspend judgment about either incompatibilism or compatibilism. For those who accept incompatibilism, however, I argue that there is enough uncertainty about libertarian free will that they should suspe…Read more
  •  4
    Standing in the Vestibule
    Ancient Philosophy 39 (2): 451-467. 2019.
    Proclus, an early figure in the tradition ascribing mathematical intermediates to Plato, has been neglected by more recent proponents of this interpretation. We argue that Proclus’ position should be reconsidered, for he anticipated significant problems arising from what has come to be the typical view of intermediates. To address these concerns, Proclus distinguishes between the intermediates studied in mathematics and the objects described by mathematical theorems.
  •  1
    The Socratic Method
    In Jeff Herr & Twyla Miranda (eds.), The Value of Academic Discourse, Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 3-22. 2017.
    The Socratic method has long been venerated for its ability to produce insightful and engaging academic discourse in the classroom. It has also been criticized, however, for encouraging an overly aggressive and, perhaps, combative teaching style, as well as for its potential stultifying and manipulative effect on students. Assessing its merits, though, is a difficult task, as there is little consensus as to what constitutes a successful application of the Socratic method. Addressing this issue r…Read more