•  366
    Should Environmental Ethicists Fear Moral Anti-Realism?
    Environmental Values 28 (4): 405-427. 2019.
    Environmental ethicists have been arguing for decades that swift action to protect our natural environment is morally paramount, and that our concern for the environment should go beyond its importance for human welfare. It might be thought that the widespread acceptance of moral anti-realism would undermine the aims of environmental ethicists. One reason is that recent empirical studies purport to show that moral realists are more likely to act on the basis of their ethical convictions than ant…Read more
  •  253
    Sound intuitions on Moral Twin Earth
    Philosophical Studies 139 (3): 307-327. 2008.
    A number of philosophers defend naturalistic moral realism by appeal to an externalist semantics for moral predicates. The application of semantic externalism to moral predicates has been attacked by Terence Horgan and Mark Timmons in a series of papers that make use of their “ Moral Twin Earth ” thought experiment. In response, several defenders of naturalistic moral realism have claimed that the Moral Twin Earth thought experiment is misleading and yields distorted and inaccurate semantic intu…Read more
  •  221
    Non-naturalistic moral explanation
    with Samuel Baron, Mark Colyvan, and Kristie Miller
    Synthese 198 (5): 4273-4294. 2019.
    It has seemed, to many, that there is an important connection between the ways in which some theoretical posits explain our observations, and our reasons for being ontologically committed to those posits. One way to spell out this connection is in terms of what has become known as the explanatory criterion of ontological commitment. This is, roughly, the view that we ought to posit only those entities that are indispensable to our best explanations. Our primary aim is to argue that the moral non…Read more
  •  154
    On Two Responses to Moral Twin Earth
    Theoria 80 (1): 26-43. 2014.
    Terence Horgan and Mark Timmons's Moral Twin Earth thought experiment poses a serious challenge for an influential kind of moral realism. It presents us with a case in which it is intuitive that two speakers are expressing a substantive disagreement with one another. However, the meta-semantics associated with this relevant form of moral realism entails that the speakers' moral predicates express different semantic contents, and thus, the moral sentences they utter do not express conflicting pro…Read more
  •  76
    This dissertation is a critique of synthetic ethical naturalism. SEN is a view in metaethics that comprises three key theses: first, there are moral properties and facts that are independent of the beliefs and attitudes of moral appraisers ; second, moral properties and facts are identical to natural properties and facts ; and third, sentences used to assert identity or constitution relations between moral and natural properties are expressions of synthetic, a posteriori necessities. The last of…Read more
  •  68
    In recent years, several philosophers have recommended to moral realists that they adopt a hybrid cognitivist–expressivist moral semantics. Adopting a hybrid semantics enables the realist to account for the action-guiding character of moral discourse, and to account for the possibility of moral (dis)agreement between speakers whose moral sentences express different cognitive contents. I argue that realists should resist the temptation to embrace a hybrid moral semantics. In granting that moral j…Read more
  •  67
    Normatively Enriched Moral Meta‐Semantics
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 91 (2): 386-410. 2015.
    In order to defend the Cornell variety of naturalistic moral realism from Horgan and Timmons’ Moral Twin Earth objection, several philosophers have proposed what I call Normatively Enriched Moral Meta-Semantics. According to NEMMS, the natural properties that serve as the contents of moral predicates are fixed by non- moral normative facts. In this paper, I elucidate two versions of NEMMS: one proposed by David Brink, and the other proposed by Mark van Roojen. I show what these meta-semantics ha…Read more
  •  48
    Biting the Bullet on Moral Twin Earth
    Philosophical Papers 43 (2): 285-309. 2014.
    Terence Horgan and Mark Timmons? Moral Twin Earth thought experiment shows that realist ethical naturalism entails a kind of conceptual relativism about moral predicates. This conceptual relativism implies, further, that Earthlings and Twin Earthlings do not express substantive disagreement with one another. Because this latter implication clashes with considered linguistic intuitions, Horgan and Timmons conclude that we should reject realist ethical naturalism. Against this, several critics rec…Read more
  •  29
    Are Chemical Kind Terms Rigid Appliers?
    Erkenntnis 78 (6): 1303-1316. 2013.
    According to Michael Devitt, the primary work of a rigidity distinction for kind terms is to distinguish non-descriptional predicates from descriptional predicates. The standard conception of rigidity fails to do this work when it is extended to kind terms. Against the standard conception, Devitt defends rigid application: a predicate is a rigid applier iff, if it applies to an object in one world, it applies to that object in every world in which it exists. Devitt maintains that rigid applicati…Read more
  • Determination of Death by Neurologic Criteria in the United States: The Case for Revising the Uniform Determination of Death Act
    with Ariane Lewis, Richard J. Bonnie, Thaddeus Pope, Leon G. Epstein, David M. Greer, Matthew P. Kirschen, and James A. Russell
    Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 47 (S4): 9-24. 2019.
    Although death by neurologic criteria is legally recognized throughout the United States, state laws and clinical practice vary concerning three key issues: the medical standards used to determine death by neurologic criteria, management of family objections before determination of death by neurologic criteria, and management of religious objections to declaration of death by neurologic criteria. The American Academy of Neurology and other medical stakeholder organizations involved in the determ…Read more