•  60
    Doubts about Duty as a Secondary Motive
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. forthcoming.
    Many follow Kant in thinking that morally worthy actions must be carried out solely from the motive of duty. This outlook faces two challenges: (1) The One Feeling Too Few problem (actions that issue from, say, compassion also seem to have moral worth), and (2) The One Thought Too Many problem (some actions have moral worth precisely because they’re not motivated by duty). These challenges haven’t led Kantians to dispense with the motive of duty. Instead, they have proposed to push it into the b…Read more
  •  110
    If beliefs are a map by which we steer, then, ceteris paribus, we should want a more accurate map. However, the world could be structured so as to punish learning with respect to certain topics—by learning new information, one’s situation could be worse than it otherwise would have been. We investigate whether the world is structured so as to punish learning specifically about moral nihilism. We ask, if an ordinary person had the option to learn the truth about moral nihilism, ought she to take …Read more
  •  82
    Moral Hypocrisy
    Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2020.
    The term ‘hypocrisy’ is said to derive from the Greek words ‘hupokrasis’ and ‘hupokrinesthai’, the former meaning ‘acting a part’, and the latter meaning ‘to act on a stage’. The element of play-acting reflects how the phenomenon of moral hypocrisy is commonly understood within philosophy. According to one long-standing tradition, hypocrites are those who advocate moral principles that do not reflect their underlying commitments, and who do so in order to mislead or manipulate others. A second t…Read more
  •  118
    Moral Worth: Having It Both Ways
    Journal of Philosophy 117 (10): 529-556. 2020.
    It is commonly recognized that one can act rightly without being praiseworthy for doing so. Those who act rightly from ignoble motives, for instance, do not strike us as fitting targets of moral praise; their actions seem to lack moral worth. Though there is broad agreement that only certain kinds of motives confer moral worth on our actions, there is disagreement as to which ones are up to the task. Many theorists confine themselves to two possibilities: praiseworthy agents are thought to be mo…Read more
  •  115
    Evolutionary Hypotheses and Moral Skepticism
    Erkenntnis 84 (5): 1025-1045. 2019.
    Proponents of evolutionary debunking arguments aim to show that certain genealogical explanations of our moral faculties, if true, undermine our claim to moral knowledge. Criticisms of these arguments generally take the debunker’s genealogical explanation for granted. The task of the anti-debunker is thought to be that of reconciling the truth of this hypothesis with moral knowledge. In this paper, I shift the critical focus instead to the debunker’s empirical hypothesis and argue that the skept…Read more
  •  136
    Moral Worth and Doing the Right Thing by Accident
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2): 251-264. 2019.
    ABSTRACTKantian conceptions of moral worth are thought to enjoy an advantage over their rivals in virtue of accommodating two plausible intuitions—that the praiseworthiness of an action is never ac...
  •  116
    Hypocrisy and Moral Authority
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 12 (2): 191-222. 2017.
    Hypocrites invite moral opprobrium, and charges of hypocrisy are a significant and widespread feature of our moral lives. Yet it remains unclear what hypocrites have in common, or what is distinctively bad about them. We propose that hypocrites are persons who have undermined their claim to moral authority. Since this self-undermining can occur in a number of ways, our account construes hypocrisy as multiply realizable. As we explain, a person’s moral authority refers to a kind of standing that …Read more
  •  83
    Empathy and morality (review)
    Biology and Philosophy 30 (4): 597-608. 2015.
    Many of us will find it intuitive that there exists an important link between the ability to feel for others on the one hand and the ability to care for them and attend to their needs on the other—that is, between a capacity for empathy and a capacity for morality. But spelling out the details is hard to do. Not only must we say something about what having these distinct capacities amounts to; there is also the problem of specifying how precisely empathy enables morality. Does empathy provide co…Read more
  •  166
    On having bad persons as friends
    Philosophical Studies 175 (12): 3099-3116. 2018.
    Intuitively, one who counts a morally bad person as a friend has gone wrong somewhere. But it is far from obvious where exactly they have gone astray. Perhaps in cultivating a friendship with a bad person, one extends to them certain goods that they do not deserve. Or perhaps the failure lies elsewhere; one may be an abettor to moral transgressions. Yet another option is to identify the mistake as a species of imprudence—one may take on great personal risk in counting a bad person as a friend. I…Read more