•  328
    The Hard Problem for Soft Moral Realism
    Journal of Philosophy 116 (10): 555-576. 2019.
    Several leading moral philosophers have recently proposed a soft version of moral realism, according to which moral facts—though it is reasonable to postulate them—cannot metaphysically explain other facts (Dworkin 2011; Parfit 2011; Scanlon 2014). However, soft moral realism is faced with what I call the “Hard Problem”, namely, the problem of how this soft version of moral metaphysics could accommodate moral knowledge. This paper reconstructs three approaches to solving the Hard Problem on beha…Read more
  •  308
    Can Counterfactuals Solve the Exclusion Problem?
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 83 (1): 129-147. 2011.
    A quite popular approach to solving the Causal Exclusion Problem is to adopt a counterfactual theory of causation. In this paper, I distinguish three versions of the Causal Exclusion Argument. I argue that the counterfactualist approach can block the first two exclusion arguments, because the Causal Inheritance Principle and the Upward Causation Principle upon which the two arguments are based respectively are problematic from the perspective of the counterfactual account of causation. However, …Read more
  •  298
    Sophisticated Exclusion and Sophisticated Causation
    Journal of Philosophy 111 (7): 341-360. 2014.
    The Exclusion Argument, which aims to deny the causal efficacy of irreducible mental properties, is probably the most serious challenge to non-reductive physicalism. Many proposed solutions to the exclusion problem can only reject simplified exclusion arguments, but fail to block a sophisticated version I introduce. In this paper, I attempt to show that we can refute the sophisticated exclusion argument by appeal to a sophisticated understanding of causation, what I call the 'Dual-condition Conc…Read more
  •  224
    Physicalism, Psychism, and Phenomenalism
    Journal of Philosophy 113 (11): 572-590. 2016.
    The dominant way to define physical entities is by appeal to ideal physics (as opposed to current physics). However, it has been worried that physicalism understood in terms of ideal physics would be too liberal to rule out “psychism”, the view that mentality exists at the fundamental metaphysical level. In this article, I argue that whereas physicalism is incompatible with some psychist cases, such as the case of “phenomenalism” in which ideal physics adopts mental concepts to denote fundamenta…Read more
  •  219
    Many philosophers insist that the most plausible solution to the exclusion problem is to adopt the so-called ‘autonomy approach’, which denies either upward or downward causation between mental and physical properties. But the question of whether the autonomy approach is compatible with respectable theories of causation has seldom been discussed in the literature. This paper considers two influential theories of causation, the counterfactual account and the regularity account. I argue that neith…Read more
  •  151
    Intervention, Fixation, and Supervenient Causation
    Journal of Philosophy 117 (6): 293-314. 2020.
    A growing number of philosophers are bringing interventionism into the field of supervenient causation. Many argue that interventionist supervenient causation is exempted from the fixability condition. However, this approach looks ad hoc, inconsistent with the general interventionist requirement on fixation. Moreover, it leads to false judgments about the causal efficacy of supervenient/subvenient properties. This article aims to develop a novel interventionist account of supervenient causation …Read more
  •  147
    Taking Emergentism Seriously
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (1): 31-46. 2020.
    The Exclusion Argument has afflicted non-reductionists for decades. In this article, I attempt to show that emergentism—the view that mental entities can downwardly cause physical entities in a non-overdetermining way—is the most plausible approach to solving the exclusion problem. The emergentist approach is largely absent in contemporary philosophy of mind, because emergentism rejects the Causal Closure of Physics, a doctrine embraced by almost all physicalists. This article, however, challenges…Read more
  •  147
    Semantic Normativity and Semantic Causality
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (3): 626-645. 2017.
    Semantic normativism, which is the view that semantic properties/concepts are some kind of normative properties/concepts, has become increasingly influential in contemporary meta-semantics. In this paper, I aim to argue that semantic normativism has difficulty accommodating the causal efficacy of semantic properties. In specific, I raise an exclusion problem for semantic normativism, inspired by the exclusion problem in the philosophy of mind. Moreover, I attempt to show that the exclusion probl…Read more
  •  141
    In Zhong (Philos Phenomenol Res 83:129–147, 2011; Analysis 72:75–85, 2012), I argued that, contrary to what many people might expect, the counterfactual theory of causation will generate (rather than solve) the exclusion problem. Recently some philosophers raise an incisive objection to this argument. They contend that my argument fails as it equivocates between different notions of a physical realizer (see Christensen and Kallestrup in Analysis 72:513–517, 2012). However, I find that their crit…Read more
  •  134
    A Confucian Virtue Theory of Supererogation
    Philosophy East and West 66 (1): 328-341. 2016.
    Contemporary virtue ethicists have attempted to offer a virtue-based account of right action. However, such an account is faced by a daunting challenge, the ‘supererogation problem’ as it may be called. Since what a virtuous person would characteristically do is often beyond the scope of moral duty, virtue ethics seems to have difficulty in accommodating the distinction between obligation and supererogation. This essay aims to meet this challenge by recommending a Confucian virtue theory of supe…Read more
  •  116
    An Explanatory Challenge to Moral Reductionism
    Theoria 78 (4): 309-325. 2012.
    It is generally believed that moral reductionism is immune from notorious problems in moral metaphysics and epistemology, such as the problem of moral explanation – it is at least on this dimension that moral reductionism scores better than moral anti- reductionism. However, in this article I reject this popular view. First, I argue that moral reductionism fails to help vindicate the explanatory efficacy of moral properties because the reductionist solution is either circular or otiose. Second, …Read more
  •  100
    Toward a Demystification of Egalitarianism
    Philosophical Forum 44 (2): 149-163. 2013.
    The opponents of egalitarianism insist that distributional equality can never have intrinsic value, because it is hard to find how equal distribution could benefit people intrinsically. In this paper, we attempt to demystify the intrinsic value of distributional equality and suggest a possible direction of vindicating egalitarianism. First, we propose the principle that it is (epistemically) reasonable to regard x as an intrinsic value for a person S if S rationally desires x for its own sake. S…Read more
  •  95
    Physicalism without supervenience
    Philosophical Studies 178 (5): 1529-1544. 2021.
    It is widely accepted that supervenience is a minimal commitment of physicalism. In this article, however, I aim to argue that physicalism should be exempted from the supervenience requirement. My arguments rely on a parallel between ontological dependence and causal dependence. Since causal dependence does not require causal determination, ontological dependence should not require ontological determination either. Moreover, my approach has a significant theoretical advantage: if physicalism is …Read more
  •  87
    Internalism, Emotionism, and the Psychopathy Challenge
    Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 20 (4): 329-337. 2013.
    The phenomenon of psychopathy has been regarded as a putative challenge to motivational internalism, which asserts a necessary connection between moral judgment and motivation. An increasingly popular internalist response to the psychopathy challenge is to argue that psychopaths do not make genuine moral judgments because they lack moral emotions (e.g., sympathy and guilt), which are alleged to be causally constitutive of moral judgments. In this paper, I attempt to reject the emotion-based inte…Read more
  •  79
    A Unificationist Vindication of Moral Explanation
    Philosophical Forum 42 (2): 131-146. 2011.
    There are two putative disanalogies between moral explanations and other sorts of higher-order explanations. First, moral properties epistemically depend on their non-normative base properties. Some might thus argue that the explanatory role of moral properties entirely derive from the role of non-normative base properties. Second, moral explanations seem to be characteristically mediated by our moral beliefs, attitudes, and sensibilities, etc., in a way in which most higher-order explanations a…Read more
  •  67
    Psychopathy, Emotion, and Moral Judgment
    Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 20 (4): 349-352. 2013.
    A response to two commentaries by Gwen Adshead and Shaun Gallagher on my feature article "Internalism, Emotionism, and the Psychopathy Challenge".
  •  54
    Exclusion in Morality
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 93 (2): 275-290. 2016.
    Recently some philosophers suggested an exclusion problem for moral non-naturalism, which is similar to the exclusion problem in philosophy of mind. In this article, the author aims to advance the discussion of exclusion in morality by investigating two influential solutions to the exclusion problem: the autonomy solution and the overdetermination solution. The author attempts to show that the moral non-naturalist can solve the exclusion problem in a way that is different from the approach to so…Read more
  •  23
    Prioritarianism without Consequentialism
    Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 59 (141): 943-956. 2018.
    According to prioritarianism, an influential theory of distributive justice, we have a stronger reason to benefit people the worse off these people are. Many authors have adopted a consequentialist version of prioritarianism. On this account, we have a consequentialist reason to benefit the worse off because the state of affairs where the worse off gains a given amount of utility is more valuable than the state of affairs where the better off gains roughly the same amount of utility. In this pap…Read more
  •  20
    Three Versions of Physical Closure
    Grazer Philosophische Studien 97 (4): 640-658. 2020.
    The Exclusion Argument has been regarded as the most powerful challenge to non-reductive physicalism. This argument presupposes a crucial thesis, Causal Closure of the Physical, which asserts that every physical effect has a sufficient physical cause. Although this thesis is widely accepted in contemporary philosophy of mind, philosophers say surprisingly little about what notion of physical entities should be adopted in the context. In this article, the author distinguishes between three versio…Read more
  •  3
    A Non-reductive Naturalist Approach to Moral Explanation
    Dissertation, University of Michigan. 2010.
    Many philosophers insist that moral facts or properties play no role in explaining natural phenomena. The problem of moral explanation has raised metaphysical, semantic and epistemic challenges to contemporary moral realism. In my dissertation, I attempt to vindicate the explanatory efficacy of moral properties, while at the same time respecting the autonomy and normativity of morality. In doing so, I will advocate a sort of non-reductive ethical naturalism, according to which moral properties a…Read more