Oxford University
Faculty of Philosophy
DPhil, 1989
Princeton, New Jersey, United States of America
Areas of Specialization
Value Theory
  •  53
    The Structure of Orthonomy
    Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 55 165-193. 2004.
    According to the standard story of action, a story that can be traced back at least to David Hume , actions are those bodily movements that are caused and rationalized by a pair of mental states: a desire for some end, where ends can be thought of as ways the world could be, and a belief that something the agent can just do, namely, move her body in the way to be explained, has some suitable chance of making the world the relevant way. Bodily movements that occur otherwise aren't actions, they a…Read more
  •  20
  •  42
    Humean rationality
    In Piers Rawling & Alfred R. Mele (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Rationality, Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 75--92. 2004.
    Smith begins by noting the isomorphism between the rational transition to a psychological state from others and the derivation of a concluding proposition from premises in the deductive theoretical realm, and he argues that this isomorphism led Hume to think that the rationality of the psychological transition is to be explained by the deductive validity of the derivation. Generalizing, Smith argues, Hume concluded that the concept of a reason—that is, the concept of a consideration that justifi…Read more
  •  254
    In On What Matters Derek Parfit argues that facts about reasons for action are grounded in facts about values and against the view that they are grounded in facts about the desires that subjects would have after fully informed and rational deliberation. I describe and evaluate Parfit's arguments for this value-based conception of reasons for action and find them wanting. I also assess his response to Sidgwick's suggestion that there is a Dualism of Practical Reason. Parfit seems not to notice th…Read more
  •  49
    Imagine that Bloggs is faced with a choice between giving a benefit to his child, or a slightly greater benefit to a complete stranger. The benefit is whatever the child or the stranger can buy for $100 — Bloggs has $100 to give away — and it just so happens that the stranger would buy something from which he would gain a slightly greater benefit than would Bloggs's child. Let's stipulate that Bloggs believes this to be, and let's stipulate, as well, that he believes that the consequences of his…Read more
  •  26
    Towards Interoperability of Biomedical Ontologies
    with Musen Mark, A. Schroeder, and Barry
    Schloss Dagstuhl: Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik. 2008.
    Report on Dagstuhl Seminar 07132, Schloss Dagstuhl, March 27-30 , 2007.
  •  136
    Kinds of consequentialism
    In Ernest Sosa & Enrique Villanueva (eds.), Metaethics, Wiley Periodicals. pp. 257-272. 2009.
    No Abstract
  •  159
    Moral obligation, accountability, and second-personal reasons (review)
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 81 (1): 237-245. 2010.
  •  92
    Immodest Consequentialism and Character
    Utilitas 13 (2): 173. 2001.
    The fact that we place the value that we do on the traits of character constitutive of being a good friend, and the acts that good friends are disposed to perform, creates a considerable problem for what I call. The problem is, in essence, that the very best that the immodest global consequentialists can do by way of vindicating our most deeply held convictions about the value of these traits of character and actions isn't good enough, because, while vindicating our possession of those convictio…Read more
  •  126
    The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy (edited book)
    with Frank Jackson
    Oxford University Press UK. 2005.
    Oxford Handbooks offer authoritative and up-to-date surveys of original research in a particular subject area. Specially commissioned essays from leading figures in the discipline give critical examinations of the progress and direction of debates. Oxford Handbooks provide scholars and graduate students with compelling new perspectives upon a wide range of subjects in the humanities and social sciences. The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy is the definitive guide to what's going on in …Read more
  •  473
    Minimalism and truth aptness
    with Frank Jackson and Graham Oppy
    Mind 103 (411). 1994.
    This paper, while neutral on questions about the minimality of truth, argues for the non-minimality of truth-aptness.
  •  60
    Frank Jackson, Philip Pettit, and Michael Smith have been at the forefront of philosophy in Australia for much of the last two decades, and their collaborative work has had widespread influence throughout the world. Mind, Morality, and Explanation collects the best of that work in a single volume, showcasing their seminal contributions to philosophical psychology, the theory of psychological and social explanation, moral theory, and moral psychology.
  •  150
    Ethical particularism and patterns
    with Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit
    In Brad Hooker & Margaret Olivia Little (eds.), Moral Particularism, Oxford University Press. pp. 79--99. 2000.
  •  357
    Absolutist Moral Theories and Uncertainty
    with Frank Jackson
    Journal of Philosophy 103 (6): 267-283. 2006.
  •  19
    BLOM Hans, John Christian Laursen and Luisa Simonutti (eds)
    with Brennan Geoffrey, Robert Goodwin, and Frank Jackson
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy 15 (4): 833-837. 2007.
  •  74
    How not to be muddled by a meddlesome muggletonian
    with John Bigelow
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 75 (4). 1997.
    Holton, we acknowledge, has given a good counter-example to a theory, and that theory is interesting and worth refuting. The theory we have in mind is like Smith's, but is more reductionist in spirit. It is a theory that ties value to Reason and to processes of reasoning, or inference - not to the recognition of reasons and acting on reasons. Such a theory overestimates the importance of logic, truth, inference, and thinking things through for yourself independently of any ideas about where you …Read more
  •  28
    Environmental Anamnesis: Walter Benjamin and the Ethics of Extinction
    Environmental Ethics 23 (4): 359-376. 2001.
    Environmentalists often recount tales of recent extinctions in the form of an allegory of human moral failings. But such allegories install an instrumental relation to the past’s inhabitants, using them to carry moralistic messages. Taking the passenger pigeon as a case in point, I argue for a different, ethical relation to the past’s inhabitants that conserves something of the wonder and “strangeness of the Other.” What Walter Benjamin refers to as the “redemptive moment” sparks a recognition o…Read more
  •  2
    The power and the promise of deep ecology is seen, by its supporters and detractors alike, to lie in its claims to speak on behalf of a natural world threatened by human excesses. Yet, to speak of trees as trees or nature as something worthy of respect in itself has appeared increasingly difficult in the light of social constructivist accounts of “nature.” Deep ecology has been loath to take constructivism’s insightsseriously, retreating into forms of biological objectivism and reductionism. Yet…Read more
  •  12
    Avalanches and Snowballs A Reply to Arne Naess
    Environmental Ethics 23 (2): 223-224. 2001.
  •  78
    Moral realism
    In Hugh LaFollette - (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory, Blackwell. pp. 15--37. 2000.
  •  3
    Valuing: Desiring or Believing?
    In K. Lennon & D. Charles (eds.), Reduction, Explanation, and Realism, Oxford University Press. pp. 323--60. 1992.
  •  84
    Drawing Wittgenstein's and Irigaray's philosophies into conversation might help resolve certain misunderstandings that have so far hampered both the reception of Irigaray's work and the development of feminist praxis in general. A Wittgensteinian reading of Irigaray can furnish an anti-essentialist conception of "woman" that retains the theoretical and political specificity feminism requires while dispelling charges that Irigaray's attempt to delineate a "feminine" language is either groundlessl…Read more
  •  29
    Inspired by recent anti-roads protests in Britain, I attempt to articulate a radical environmental ethos and, at the same time, to produce a cogent moral analysis of the dialectic between environmental destruction and protection. In this analysis, voiced in terms of a spatial metaphoric, an “ethics of place,” I seek to subvert the hegemony of modernity’s formal systematization and codification of values whilestill conserving something of modernity’s critical heritage: to reconstitute ethics in o…Read more