•  49
    Reply to Walter Block on Ethical Vegetarianism
    Studia Humana 10 (1): 41-50. 2021.
    I address Walter Block’s recent criticisms of my book, Dialogues on Ethical Vegetarianism. Methodologically, Block relies too much on appeals to contentious and extreme assumptions. Substantively, most of his objections are irrelevant to the central issue of the book. Those that are relevant turn on false assumptions or lead to absurd consequences. In the end, Block’s claim to oppose suffering cannot be reconciled with his indifference to a practice that probably causes, every few years, more su…Read more
  •  2
    A Defense of Jury Nullification
    In David Boonin, Katrina L. Sifferd, Tyler K. Fagan, Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Michael Huemer, Daniel Wodak, Derk Pereboom, Stephen J. Morse, Sarah Tyson, Mark Zelcer, Garrett VanPelt, Devin Casey, Philip E. Devine, David K. Chan, Maarten Boudry, Christopher Freiman, Hrishikesh Joshi, Shelley Wilcox, Jason Brennan, Eric Wiland, Ryan Muldoon, Mark Alfano, Philip Robichaud, Kevin Timpe, David Livingstone Smith, Francis J. Beckwith, Dan Hooley, Russell Blackford, John Corvino, Corey McCall, Dan Demetriou, Ajume Wingo, Michael Shermer, Ole Martin Moen, Aksel Braanen Sterri, Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Jeppe von Platz, John Thrasher, Mary Hawkesworth, William MacAskill, Daniel Halliday, Janine O’Flynn, Yoaav Isaacs, Jason Iuliano, Claire Pickard, Arvin M. Gouw, Tina Rulli, Justin Caouette, Allen Habib, Brian D. Earp, Andrew Vierra, Subrena E. Smith, Danielle M. Wenner, Lisa Diependaele, Sigrid Sterckx, G. Owen Schaefer, Markus K. Labude, Harisan Unais Nasir, Udo Schuklenk, Benjamin Zolf & Woolwine (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Public Policy, Springer Verlag. pp. 39-50. 2018.
    In the practice of “jury nullification,” a jury votes to acquit a defendant despite sufficient evidence of lawbreaking, on the grounds that a conviction would be unjust, usually because the law itself is unjust or because the expected punishment would be unduly harsh. This practice is widely condemned by judges. Nevertheless, in the case of an unjust law or unduly harsh punishment, there are no good arguments against jury nullification, and there is one powerful argument in its favor: it is prim…Read more
  •  60
    Gun Rights as Deontic Constraints
    Social Theory and Practice 45 (4): 601-612. 2019.
    In earlier work, I argued that gun prohibition is unjustified because it violates an individual right to self-defense. Here, I defend that argument against objections posed by Nicholas Dixon and Jeff McMahan to the effect that the right of citizens to be free from gun violence counterbalances the right of self-defense, and that gun prohibition does not violate the right of self-defense because it renders everyone overall safer.
  •  44
    When All Else Fails: The Ethics of Resistance to State Injustice (review)
    The Philosophers' Magazine 85 114-116. 2019.
  •  227
    Existence Is Evidence of Immortality
    Noûs 55 (1): 128-151. 2021.
    Time may be infinite in both directions. If it is, then, if persons could live at most once in all of time, the probability that you would be alive now would be zero. But if persons can live more than once, the probability that you would be alive now would be nonzero. Since you are alive now, with certainty, either the past is finite, or persons can live more than once.
  •  1
    Finite Minds
    In Cherie Braden, Rodrigo Borges & Branden Fitelson (eds.), Themes From Klein, Springer Verlag. 2019.
  •  285
    Debunking leftward progress
    Ratio 32 (4): 312-324. 2019.
    Ratio, EarlyView.
  •  31
    The Problem of Memory Knowledge
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 80 (4): 346-357. 1999.
  •  3578
    Time may be infinite in both directions. If it is, then, if persons could live at most once in all of time, the probability that you would be alive now would be zero. But if persons can live more than once, the probability that you would be alive now would be nonzero. Since you are alive now, with certainty, either the past is finite, or persons can live more than once.
  •  1127
    Abstract: In earlier work, I argued that individuals have a right to own firearms for personal defense, and that as a result, gun prohibition would be unjustified unless it at least produced benefits many times greater than its costs. Here, I defend that argument against objections posed by Nicholas Dixon and Jeff McMahan to the effect that the right of citizens to be free from gun violence counterbalances the right of self-defense, and that gun prohibition does not violate the right of self-def…Read more
  •  48
    Self-Locating Beliefs
    In Paradox Lost, Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 219-243. 2018.
    Beauty is put to sleep and woken up either once or twice, depending on the flip of a coin; after each waking, she will fall asleep and forget having woken. Upon waking, what should be her credence that the coin came up heads? Some say 1/2; others say 1/3. I propose that evidence supports a theory for you when your having that qualitative evidence would be more likely if the theory were true than if it were false. This view supports the “1/3” answer to the Sleeping Beauty problem. It also has app…Read more
  •  117
    Lob der Untätigkeit
    In Thomas Leske (ed.), Wider die Anmaßung der Politik, Thomas Leske. 2015.
    Den Beteiligten des Politikbetriebs einschließlich Wählern, Aktivisten und Spitzenpolitikern fehlt häufig der grundlegende Sachverstand für die jeweiligen politischen Entscheidungen. Selbst Experten verstehen gesellschaftliche Mechanismen kaum und können deren Auswirkung kaum vorhersagen. Nur auf einfachste und unstrittige politische Behauptungen ist Verlass. Teilweise rührt das daher, dass politisches Wissen schwer zu erlangen ist, und teilweise daher, dass der Einzelne keinen ausreichenden Ans…Read more
  •  144
    Soll der Freizeitkonsum von Drogen wie Marihuana, Kokain, Heroin und LSD einem gesetzlichen Verbot unterliegen? Drogengegner sagen ja. Sie behaupten für gewöhnlich, Drogenkonsum sei sowohl für den Nutzer als auch für die Gesellschaft allgemein äußerst schädlich – vielleicht sogar unmoralisch, und sie glauben, diese Tatsachen seien als Verbotsgrund ausreichend. Freigabebefürworter sagen nein und berufen sich dabei für gewöhnlich auf eines oder mehrere von drei Argumenten: Erstens behaupten einige…Read more
  •  9
    Menschen haben ein Anscheinsrecht (engl. prima facie right), Schusswaffen zu besitzen. Dieses Recht ist bedeutsam sowohl in Hinblick auf die Rolle, die Waffenbesitz im Leben von Waffenbegeisterten spielt, als auch auf den Selbstverteidigungsnutzen von Schusswaffen. Dieses Recht wird auch nicht durch den gesellschaftlichen Schaden privaten Waffenbesitzes verdrängt. Dieser Schaden wurde stark aufgebauscht und ist vermutlich erheblich kleiner als der Nutzen privaten Waffenbesitzes. Und ich lege dar…Read more
  •  11
    Gibt es ein Recht auf Einwanderung?
    In Thomas Leske (ed.), Wider Die Anmaßung der Politik, Thomas Leske. 2015.
    Einwanderungsbeschränkungen verletzen das Anscheinsrecht (engl. prima facie right) Einwanderungswilliger, keinem schädlichem Zwang ausgesetzt zu werden. Dieses Anscheinsrecht wird nicht durch die wirtschaftlichen, fiskalischen und kulturellen Folgen der Einwanderung entkräftet oder verdrängt – und auch nicht durch die besondere Pflicht, welche der Staat gegenüber seinen eigenen Bürgern und speziell den Ärmsten unter ihnen hat. Er hat gleichfalls kein Recht, Bedingungen für die Staatsbürgerschaft…Read more
  •  6175
    A four-part series of dialogues between two philosophy students, M and V. The question: is it wrong to eat meat? M and V review the standard arguments plus a few new ones. Part 4 discusses what products one should renounce, the value of abstract theory, why people who accept the arguments often fail to change their behavior, and how vegans should react to non-vegans.
  •  4490
    A four-part series of dialogues between two philosophy students, M and V. The question: is it wrong to eat meat? M and V review the standard arguments plus a few new ones. Part 3 discusses the idea that creatures have different degrees of consciousness, the sense that certain animal welfare positions "sound crazy", and the role of empathy in moral judgment.
  •  6259
    A four-part series of dialogues between two philosophy students, M and V. The question: is it wrong to eat meat? M and V review the standard arguments plus a few new ones. Part 2 discusses miscellaneous defenses of meat-eating. These include the claim that the consumer is not responsible for wrongs committed by farm workers, that a single individual cannot have any effect on the meat industry, that farm animals are better off living on factory farms than never existing at all, that we can’t be s…Read more
  •  14725
    A four-part series of dialogues between two philosophy students, M and V. The question: is it wrong to eat meat? M and V review the standard arguments plus a few new ones. Part 1 discusses the suffering caused by factory farming, and how one's intelligence affects the badness of suffering.
  •  2753
    There Is No Pure Empirical Reasoning
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3): 592-613. 2017.
    The justificatory force of empirical reasoning always depends upon the existence of some synthetic, a priori justification. The reasoner must begin with justified, substantive constraints on both the prior probability of the conclusion and certain conditional probabilities; otherwise, all possible degrees of belief in the conclusion are left open given the premises. Such constraints cannot in general be empirically justified, on pain of infinite regress. Nor does subjective Bayesianism offer a w…Read more
  •  302
    Jury nullification is justified by the principle that individuals are prima facie ethically obligated to avoid causing unjust harms. Safeguarding justice against unjust laws and punishments of the government is the central function of the jury.
  •  7062
    I argue that taxation for redistributive purposes is a property rights violation, responding to arguments (due to Nagel, Murphy, Sunstein, and Holmes) claiming that individuals lack ownership of their pretax incomes.
  •  105
    Weak Bayesian coherentism
    Synthese 157 (3): 337-346. 2007.
    Recent results in probability theory have cast doubt on coherentism, purportedly showing (a) that coherence among a set of beliefs cannot raise their probability unless individual beliefs have some independent credibility, and (b) that no possible measure of coherence makes coherence generally probability-enhancing. I argue that coherentists can reject assumptions on which these theorems depend, and I derive a general condition under which the concurrence of two information sources lacking indiv…Read more
  •  5909
    A liberal realist answer to debunking skeptics: the empirical case for realism
    Philosophical Studies 173 (7): 1983-2010. 2016.
    Debunking skeptics claim that our moral beliefs are formed by processes unsuited to identifying objective facts, such as emotions inculcated by our genes and culture; therefore, they say, even if there are objective moral facts, we probably don’t know them. I argue that the debunking skeptics cannot explain the pervasive trend toward liberalization of values over human history, and that the best explanation is the realist’s: humanity is becoming increasingly liberal because liberalism is the obj…Read more