•  1349
    Love and Attachment
    American Philosophical Quarterly 54 (3): 232-250. 2017.
    It is not uncommon for philosophers to name disinterestedness, or some like feature, as an essential characteristic of love. Such theorists claim that in genuine love, one’s concern for her beloved must be non-instrumental, non-egocentric, or even selfless. These views prompt the question, “What, if any, positive role might self-interestedness play in genuine love?” In this paper, I argue that attachment, an attitude marked primarily by self-focused emotions and emotional predispositions, helps …Read more
  •  810
    Video Games and Ethics
    In Joseph C. Pitt & Ashley Shew (eds.), Spaces for the Future: A Companion to Philosophy of Technology, Routledge. pp. 29-41. 2018.
    Historically, video games featuring content perceived as excessively violent have drawn moral criticism from an indignant (and sometimes, morally outraged) public. Defenders of violent video games have insisted that such criticisms are unwarranted, as committing acts of virtual violence against computer-controlled characters – no matter how heinous or cruel those actions would be if performed in real life – harm no actual people. In this paper, I present and critically analyze key aspects of thi…Read more
  •  441
    Psychologists often characterize the infant’s attachment to her primary caregiver as love. Philosophical accounts of love, however, tend to speak against this possibility. Love is typically thought to require sophisticated cognitive capacities that infants do not possess. Nevertheless, there are important similarities between the infant-primary caregiver bond and mature love, and the former is commonly thought to play an important role in one’s capacity for the latter. In this work, I examine th…Read more
  •  365
    Psychopathy, Agency, and Practical Reason
    In Ruth Chang & Kurt Sylvan (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason, Routledge. pp. 262-275. 2021.
    Philosophers have urged that considerations about the psychopath’s capacity for practical rationality can help to advance metaethical debates. These debates include the role of rational faculties in moral judgment and action, the relationship between moral judgment and moral motivation, and the capacities required for morally responsible agency. I discuss how the psychopath’s capacity for practical reason features in these debates, and I identify several takeaway lessons from the relevant litera…Read more
  •  345
    On being attached
    Philosophical Studies 173 (1): 223-242. 2016.
    We often use the term “attachment” to describe our emotional connectedness to objects in the world. We become attached to our careers, to our homes, to certain ideas, and perhaps most importantly, to other people. Interestingly, despite its import and ubiquity in our everyday lives, the topic of attachment per se has been largely ignored in the philosophy literature. I address this lacuna by identifying attachment as a rich “mode of mattering” that can help to inform certain aspects of agency an…Read more
  •  263
    Treating Psychopaths Fairly
    American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 7 (3): 158-160. 2016.
    Dietmar Hübner and Lucie White question the ethical justification of employing risky neurosurgical interventions to treat imprisoned psychopaths. They argue that (1) such interventions would confer no medical benefit on the psychopath as there is no “subjective suffering” involved in psychopathy and (2) psychopaths could not voluntarily consent to such procedures because they could have no “internal motivation” for doing so. In the course of their discussion, the authors insightfully show that c…Read more
  •  186
    Love and Caring
    In Christopher Grau & Aaron Smuts (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Love, Oxford University Press. 2020.
    It is largely uncontroversial that to love some person or object is (among other things) to care about that person or object. Love and caring, however, are importantly different attitudes. We do not love every person or object about which we care. In this work, we critically analyze extant accounts of how love differs from mere caring, and we propose an alternate view in order to better capture this distinction.
  •  170
    A Humean approach to assessing the moral significance of ultra-violent video games
    Ethics and Information Technology 10 (1): 1-10. 2008.
    Although the word empathy only recently came into existence, eighteenth century philosopher, David Hume, significantly contributed to our current understanding of the term. Hume was among the first to suggest that an empathic mechanism is the central means by which we make ethical judgments and glean moral knowledge. In this paper, I explore Hume's moral sentimentalism, and I argue that his conception of empathy provides a surprisingly apposite framework for interpreting and addressing a current…Read more
  •  59
    Children's film as an instrument of moral education
    Journal of Moral Education 38 (1): 1-15. 2009.
    This paper explores two philosophical treasures that we often neglect: the moral faculties of children and the pedagogic virtues of film. My thesis consists of three primary claims: (1) when properly educated, children are capable of thinking critically about ethical issues; (2) moral edification ought to have the dual aims of developing this capacity and educating the emotions; and (3) given these aims, the children's film genre is a surprisingly apposite tool for aiding the moral instruction o…Read more
  •  53
    The Good of Community
    with Maudemarie Clark
    In Nietzsche on Ethics and Politics, Oxford University Press. pp. 184-202. 2015.
    This chapter argues against a new and perhaps more benign way of classifying Nietzsche as a political conservative. It also adds to the argument that even though Nietzsche is seen as more leftist than he appears, he is not an egalitarian. It does so by making an extended and detailed case against Julian Young’s claim that the flourishing of the community is Nietzsche’s highest value. The final section suggests that Nietzsche’s view might nevertheless be able to accommodate richer notions of comm…Read more
  •  50
    Addiction and certain varieties of interpersonal attachment share strikingly similar psycho-behavioral structures. Neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers have often adduced such similarities between addiction and attachment to argue that many typical cases of romantic love represent addictions to one’s partner and thus might be appropriate candidates for medical treatment. In this paper, I argue for the relatively neglected thesis that some paradigmatic cases of addiction are aptly cha…Read more
  •  45
    Forgiving, Committing, and Un‐forgiving
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. forthcoming.
    Theorists often conceive of forgiveness as “wiping the slate clean” or something of the sort with respect to the offender’s moral infraction. This raises a puzzle concerning how (or whether) the relevant wrongdoing can continue to play a role in the forgiver’s deliberations, attitudes, and practical orientation toward the offender once forgiveness has taken place. For example, consider an agent who forgives her offender for an act of wrongdoing only to later blame her again for that very same ac…Read more
  •  33
    Love and the Anatomy of Needing Another
    In John Doris & Manuel Vargas (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology. forthcoming.
    The idea that we need our beloveds has a rich and longstanding history in classic literature, pop culture, social sciences, and of course, philosophical treatments of love. Yet on little reflection, the idea that one needs one’s beloved is as puzzling as it is familiar. In what, if any sense, do we really need our beloveds? And insofar as we do need them, is this feature of love something to be celebrated or lamented? In the relevant philosophical literature, there are various ways of understand…Read more
  •  27
    On the Affect of Security
    Philosophical Topics 47 (2): 165-181. 2019.
    In the contemporary philosophical literature, the topic of security has been largely neglected, and this is especially true of the affect of security. In what follows, I aim to nudge the affect of security toward the philosophical foreground by offering a basic analysis of this attitude. Specifically, I sketch an account on which the affect of security is helpfully construed as a feeling of confidence in one’s ability to competently and effectively exercise one’s agency. Security, so construed, …Read more
  •  19
    Can We Un-forgive?
    Philosophers' Imprint 21 (6). 2021.
    Despite the recent explosion of philosophical literature on forgiveness, relatively few theorists have addressed the possibility of un-forgiving someone for a moral violation. And among those who have addressed the question, “Can we un-forgive?” we find little consensus. In this paper, I consider whether and in what sense forgiveness is rescindable, retractable, or otherwise reversible. In other words, I consider what it might mean to say that a victim who forgave her offender for a particular a…Read more
  •  10
    Agency and Varieties of Felt Necessity
    Ethics 132 (1): 155-179. 2021.
    Felt necessity, or the phenomenon of experiencing some person or object as a felt need, plays important roles in structuring human agency. Philosophical treatments of the relationship between agency and felt necessity have tended to focus on appetitive needs and necessities arising from a particular type of care. I argue that we have much to gain by considering a third underexplored variety of felt necessity that I call “attachment necessity.” Attachment necessity has its own distinct parts to p…Read more
  • Forgiving, Committing, and Un‐forgiving
    Wiley: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. forthcoming.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.