•  91
    The Rationality of Suicide and the Meaningfulness of Life
    In Iddo Landau (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Meaning in Life, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    A wide body of psychological research corroborates the claim that whether one’s life is (or will be) meaningful appears relevant to whether it is rational to continue living. This article advances conceptions of life’s meaningfulness and of suicidal choice with an eye to ascertaining how the former might provide justificatory reasons relevant to the latter. Drawing upon the recent theory of meaningfulness defended by Cheshire Calhoun, the decision to engage in suicide can be understood as a choi…Read more
  • Suicide: The Philosophical Dimensions
    Broadview Press. 2011.
    Suicide was selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2012! Suicide: The Philosophical Dimensions is a provocative and comprehensive investigation of the main philosophical issues surrounding suicide. Readers will encounter seminal arguments concerning the nature of suicide and its moral permissibility, the duty to die, the rationality of suicide, and the ethics of suicide intervention. Intended both for students and for seasoned scholars, this book sheds much-needed philosophical ligh…Read more
  •  59
    Grieving Our Way Back to Meaningfulness
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement. forthcoming.
    The deaths of those on whom our practical identities rely generate a sense of disorientation or alienation from the world seemingly at odds with life being meaningful. In the terms put forth in Cheshire Calhoun’s recent account of meaningfulness in life, because their existence serves as a metaphysical presupposition of our practical identities, their deaths threaten to upend a background frame of agency against which much of our choice and deliberation takes place. Here I argue for a dual role …Read more
  •  4
    Grief: A Philosophical Guide
    Princeton University Press. 2021.
    An engaging and illuminating exploration of grief—and why, despite its intense pain, it can also help us grow Experiencing grief at the death of a person we love or who matters to us—as universal as it is painful—is central to the human condition. Surprisingly, however, philosophers have rarely examined grief in any depth. In Grief, Michael Cholbi presents a groundbreaking philosophical exploration of this complex emotional event, offering valuable new insights about what grief is, whom we griev…Read more
  •  81
    What’s wrong with esoteric morality
    Les Ateliers de l'Éthique / the Ethics Forum 15 (1-2): 163-185. 2020.
    A moral theory T is esoteric if and only if T is true but there are some individuals who, by the lights of T itself, ought not to embrace T, where to embrace T is to believe T and rely upon it in practical deliberation. Some philosophers hold that esotericism is a strong, perhaps even decisive, reason to reject a moral theory. However, proponents of this objection have often supposed its force is obvious and have said little to articulate it. I defend a version of this objection—namely, that, in…Read more
  •  91
    Individuals are owed equal respect. But on the basis of what property of individuals are they owed such respect? A popular Kantian answer —rational agency — appears less plausible in light of the growing psychological evidence that human choice is subject to a wide array of biases (framing, laziness, etc.); human beings are neither equal in rational agency nor especially robust rational agents. Defenders of this Kantian answer thus need a non-ideal theory of equal respect for rational agency, on…Read more
  •  1
    Philosophical Approaches to Work and Labor
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. forthcoming.
    Introduction Conceptual Distinctions: Work, Labor, Employment, Leisure The Value of Work and the ‘Anti-Work’ Critique Work, Meaning, and Dignity Work and Distributive Justice Work and Contributive Justice Work and Productive Justice Work and its Future BIBLIOGRAPHY
  •  396
    The Ethics of Choosing Careers and Jobs
    In Bob Fischer (ed.), College Ethics, Oxford University Press. pp. 878-889. 2020.
    Choices of jobs and careers are among the ethically significant choices individuals make. This article argues against the 'maximalist' view that we are ethically required to choose those jobs and careers (among those that are not intrinsically wrong) that are best overall in terms of benfitting others or addressing injustice. Because such choices are often identity-based, the maximalist view is overly demanding, in the way that requiring individuals to marry on the basis of a maximalist demand i…Read more
  •  53
    Must I Benefit Myself?
    In Douglas W. Portmore (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism, . pp. 253-268. 2020.
    Morality seems to require us to attend to the good of others, but does not require that we assign any importance to our own good. Standard forms of consequentialism thus appear vulnerable to the compulsory self-benefit objection: they require agents to benefit themselves when doing so is entailed by the requirement of maximizing overall impersonal good. Attempts to address this objection by appealing to ideally motivated consequentialist agents; by rejecting maximization; by leveraging consequen…Read more
  •  376
    Opponents of medically assisted dying have long appealed to ‘slippery slope’ arguments. One such slippery slope concerns palliative care: that the introduction of medically assisted dying will lead to a diminution in the quality or availability or palliative care for patients near the end of their lives. Empirical evidence from jurisdictions where assisted dying has been practiced for decades, such as Oregon and the Netherlands, indicate that such worries are largely unfounded. The failure of th…Read more
  •  8
    Equality, Self-Government, and Disenfranchising Kids: A Reply to Yaffe
    Moral Philosophy and Politics 2020 (2): 281-297. 2020.
    Gideon Yaffe has recently argued that children should be subject to lower standards of criminal liability because, unlike adults, they ought to be disenfranchised. Because of their disenfranchisement, they lack the legal reasons enfranchised adults have to comply with the law. Here I critically consider Yaffe’s argument for such disenfranchisement, which holds that disenfranchisement balances children’s interest in self-government with adults’ interest in having an equal say over lawmaking. I ar…Read more
  •  2
    Argues that an anti-paternalist case for unconditional basic income (UBI) is more difficult to make than it appears. Those who support UBI on anti-paternalist grounds wrongly understand paternalism in terms of how having options affects liberty rather than, in terms of how others intercede in their rational agency in ways that reflect judgments of the recipients’ inferiority. Moreover, a basket of essential goods appears better equipped than UBI to prevent unequal social relations that paternali…Read more
  •  82
    Paternalism and Duties to Self
    In Kalle Grill & Jason Hanna (eds.), Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Paternalism. pp. 108-118. 2018.
    Here I pursue two main aims: (1) to articulate and defend a Kantian conception of duties to self, and (2) to explore the ramifications of such duties for the moral justification of paternalism. I conclude that there is a distinctive reason to resent paternalistic intercessions aimed at assisting others in fulfilling their duties to self (or the self-regarding virtues necessary thereunto), based on the fact that the goods realized via their fulfillment are historical, i.e., their value depends on…Read more
  •  170
    That Kant’s moral thought is invoked by both advocates and opponents of a right to assisted dying attests to both the allure and and the elusiveness of Kant’s moral thought. In particular, the theses that individuals have a right to a ‘death with dignity’ and that assisting someone to die contravenes her dignity appear to gesture at one of Kant’s signature moral notions, dignity. The purposes of this article are to outline Kant’s understanding of dignity and its implications for the ethics of as…Read more
  •  14
    Volume 19, Issue 12, December 2019, Page 42-43.
  •  3
    The Movement for Black Lives: Philosophical Perspectives (edited book)
    Oxford University Press, Usa. 2021.
    The Movement for Black Lives has gained worldwide visibility as a grassroots social justice movement distinguished by a decentralized, non-hierarchal mode of organization. MBL rose to prominence in part thanks to its protests against police brutality and misconduct directed at black Americans. However, its animating concerns are far broader, calling for a wide range of economic, political, legal, and cultural measures to address what it terms a “war against Black people,” as well as the “shared …Read more
  •  299
    Can Capital Punishment Survive if Black Lives Matter?
    with Alex Madva
    In Michael Cholbi, Brandon Hogan, Alex Madva & Benjamin Yost (eds.), The Movement for Black Lives: Philosophical Perspectives. forthcoming.
    Drawing upon empirical studies of racial discrimination dating back to the 1940’s, the Movement for Black Lives platform calls for the abolition of capital punishment. Our purpose here is to defend the Movement’s call for death penalty abolition in terms congruent with its claim that the death penalty in the U.S. is a “racist practice” that “devalues Black lives.” We first sketch the jurisprudential history of race and capital punishment in the U.S., wherein courts have occasionally expressed wo…Read more
  •  21
    Technological advances in computerization and robotics threaten to eliminate countless jobs from the labor market in the near future. These advances have reignited the debate about universal basic income. The essays in this collection offer unique and compelling perspectives on the ever-changing nature of work and the plausibility of a universal basic income to address the elimination of jobs from the workforce. The essays address a number of topics related to these issues, including the prospec…Read more
  •  9
    Identity Threat
    The Forum. 2017.
    Michael Cholbi on the ways in which paternalism shows disrespect.
  •  31
    Kantian Ethics: Value, Agency, and Obligation
    Philosophical Quarterly 69 (274): 189-192. 2019.
    Kantian Ethics: Value, Agency, and Obligation. By Robert Stern.
  •  536
    Regret, Resilience, and the Nature of Grief
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (4): 486-508. 2019.
    Should we regret the fact that we are often more emotionally resilient in response to the deaths of our loved ones than we might expect -- that the suffering associated with grief often dissipates more quickly and more fully than we anticipate? Dan Moller ("Love and Death") argues that we should, because this resilience epistemically severs us from our loved ones and thereby "deprives us of insight into our own condition." I argue that Moller's conclusion is correct despite resting on a mistaken…Read more
  •  97
    The Duty to Work
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (5): 1119-1133. 2018.
    Most advanced industrial societies are ‘work-centered,’ according high value and prestige to work. Indeed, belief in an interpersonal moral duty to work is encoded in both popular attitudes toward work and in policies such as ‘workfare’. Here I argue that despite the intuitive appeal of reciprocity or fair play as the moral basis for a duty to work, the vast majority of individuals in advanced industrialized societies have no such duty to work. For current economic conditions, labor markets, and…Read more
  •  458
    Many economists and social theorists hypothesize that most societies could soon face a ‘post-work’ future, one in which employment and productive labor have a dramatically reduced place in human affairs. Given the centrality of employment to individual identity and its pivotal role as the primary provider of economic and other goods, transitioning to a ‘post-work’ future could prove traumatic and disorienting to many. Policymakers are thus likely to face the difficult choice of the extent to whi…Read more
  •  158
    Why Moral Expertise Needs Moral Theory
    In Jamie Carlin Watson & Laura K. Guidry-Grimes (eds.), Moral Expertise: New Essays from Theoretical and Clinical Bioethics, Springer International Publishing. pp. 71-86. 2018.
    Discussions of the nature or possibility of moral expertise have largely proceeded in atheoretical terms, with little attention paid to whether moral expertise depends on theoretical knowledge of morality. Here I argue that moral expertise is more theory-dependent than is commonly recognized: Moral expertise consists, at least in part, in knowledge of the correct or best moral theory, and second, that knowledge of moral theory is essential to moral experts dispensing expert counsel to non-expert…Read more
  •  47
    Public cartels, private conscience
    Politics, Philosophy and Economics 17 (4): 356-377. 2018.
    Many contributors to debates about professional conscience assume a basic, pre-professional right of conscientious refusal and proceed to address how to ‘balance’ this right against other goods. Here I argue that opponents of a right of conscientious refusal concede too much in assuming such a right, overlooking that the professions in which conscientious refusal is invoked nearly always operate as public cartels, enjoying various economic benefits, including protection from competition, made po…Read more
  •  1
    This two-volume set addresses key historical, scientific, legal, and philosophical issues surrounding euthanasia and assisted suicide in the United States as well as in other countries and cultures. * Addresses the extended history of debates regarding the ethical justifiability of assisted suicide and euthanasia * Analyzes assisted suicide and euthanasia in many cultural, philosophical, and religious traditions * Provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the subject, including coverage of to…Read more