•  10
    A Kantian Response to the Problem of Reception
    Social Theory and Practice 45 (4): 525-547. 2019.
    This paper addresses the problem of explaining the relationship between social recognition and justification of moral action, or “the problem of reception.” It is an especially acute and distinctive problem for agents who resist oppression by challenging established norms because action may be necessary even when good reception cannot be expected. I draw on recent work in Kantian ethics that acknowledges the conditions of socially embedded rational agency to argue that moral resisters’ misread a…Read more
  •  23
    Friendship, Trust and Moral Self-Perfection
    Philosophers' Imprint 19. 2019.
    This paper develops an account of moral friendship that both draws on and revises Kant’s conception of moral friendship for the purpose of explaining how trusting and being trusted in the way that Kant describes supports moral self-perfection beyond increased self-knowledge and refinement of judgment. I will argue that cultivation of the virtues of friendship is important to the pursuit of moral self-perfection, specifically with respect to combatting the unsociable side of our unsociable sociab…Read more
  •  28
    Positive morality and the realization of freedom in Kant's moral philosophy
    European Journal of Philosophy 27 (3): 610-624. 2019.
    This paper argues that recent accounts of Kantian virtue as “strengthened” inner freedom apply much more clearly to the avoidance of violations of perfect duties than to the fulfillment of imperfect duties, leaving us with the question of how inadequate commitment to morally required ends impacts the exercise of inner freedom. The question is answered through the development of a model of inner freedom that emphasizes the relationship between moral self‐governance and participation in an ethical…Read more
  •  190
    Aristotle on Friendship and Self-Knowledge: The Friend Beyond the Mirror
    History of Philosophy Quarterly 28 (2): 125. 2011.
    Aristotle's emphasis on sameness of character in his description of the virtuous friend as "another self" figures centrally in all his arguments for the necessity of friendship to self-knowledge. Although the attribution of the Magna Moralia to Aristotle is disputed, the comparison of the friend to a mirror in this work has encouraged many commentators to view the friend as a mirror that provides the clearest and most immediate image of one's own virtue. I will offer my own reading of Aristotle'…Read more
  •  40
    In “Imagination and Judgment” W.P. Ker argues, contrary to the “ordinary teaching” of the moralists of his day, that we have good reason to consider imagination as “the highest form of practical wisdom or prudence” (475). Modes of imaginative thought that direct human passion towards morally valuable ends are best understood as a form of reason or an intellectual virtue, as opposed to a dangerous distraction from reality and threat to good judgment. Ker’s piece remains of interest partly because…Read more
  •  25
    Radical Moral Imagination and Moral Luck
    Metaphilosophy 47 (4-5): 558-570. 2016.
    To a greater extent than other theorists, Claudia Card in her analysis of moral luck considers the impact of attempts to transform moral meanings on the development of the agent's character and her responsibilities, over time and in relation to other agents. This essay argues that this wider frame of reference captures more of what is at stake in the efforts of those who resist oppression by attempting to implement radically revised meanings.
  •  85
    This paper develops the basis for a new account of radical moral imagination, understood as the transformation of moral understandings through creative response to the sensed inadequacy of one's moral concepts or morally significant appraisals of lived experience. Against Miranda Fricker, I argue that this kind of transition from moral perplexity to increased moral insight is not primarily a matter of the “top-down” use of concepts. Against Susan Babbitt, I argue that it is not primarily a matte…Read more
  •  88
    Kantian Moral Striving
    Kantian Review 20 (1): 1-23. 2015.
    This paper focuses on a single question that highlights some of the most puzzling aspects of Kants disposition to duty, or strength of will? I argue that a dominant strand of Kant’s approach to moral striving does not fit familiar models of striving. I seek to address this problem in a way that avoids the flaws of synchronic and atomistic approaches to moral self-discipline by developing an account of Kantian moral striving as an ongoing contemplative activity complexly engaged with multiple for…Read more
  •  57
    Moral Imagination, Perception, and Judgment
    Southern Journal of Philosophy 52 (1): 1-21. 2014.
    This paper develops an account of moral imagination that identifies the ways in which imaginative capacities contribute to our ability to make reason practical in the world, beyond their roles in moral perception and moral judgment. In section 1, I explain my understanding of what it means to qualify imagination as ‘moral,’ and go on in section 2 to identify four main conceptions of moral imagination as an aspect of practical reason in philosophical ethics. I briefly situate these alternative id…Read more
  •  48
    Empathy and Interrogation
    International Journal of Applied Philosophy 28 (2): 277-288. 2014.
    Against the background of not-so-distant debate regarding “enhanced” interrogation techniques used by the United States during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which many understand to be torture, this essay explores the moral complexities of “ordinary” interrogation practices, those that are clearly not forms of torture. Based on analysis of the written reflections of two United States interrogators on the work they did during the Iraq war, I categorize the roles played by multiple modes of em…Read more
  •  44
    Arendt and the Theological Significance of Natality
    Philosophy Compass 7 (11): 762-771. 2012.
    In her 1958 book The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt points to the potential of human action to initiate new beginnings, a capacity she calls natality, as the source of political renewal that could save the modern age from ruin. The question of the relationship between natality and theological concepts is one of the most perplexing points of dispute in the Arendt scholarship of the last two decades. The overall function of the concept of natality in Arendt’s thought has been variously categorized…Read more
  •  32
    Avoiding Vice and Pursuing Virtue: Kant on Perfect Duties and ‘Prudential latitude’
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (4): 618-635. 2017.
    To fulfill a perfect duty an agent must avoid vice, yet when an agent refrains from acting on a prohibited maxim she still must do something. I argue that the setting of morally required ends ought to consistently inform an agent's judgment regarding what is to be done beyond compliance with perfect, negative duties. Kant's assertion of a puzzling version of latitude of choice within his discussion of perfect duties motivates and complicates the case I make for a more expansive interpretation of…Read more