• Moral Fetishism and a Third Desire for What’s Right
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy. forthcoming.
    A major point of debate about morally good motives concerns an ambiguity in the truism that good and strong-willed people desire to do what‘s right. This debate is shaped by the assumption that ‘what‘s right‘ combines in only two ways with ‘desire‘, leading to distinct de dicto and de re readings of the truism. However, a third reading of such expressions is possible, first identified by Janet Fodor (1979/2014), which has gone wholly unacknowledged by philosophers in this debate. I identify Fodo…Read more
  • Partial aggregation in ethics
    Philosophy Compass 16 (3): 1-12. 2021.
    Is there any number of people you should save from paralysis rather than saving one person from death? Is there any number of people you should save from a migraine rather than saving one person from death? Many people answer ‘yes’ and ‘no’, respectively. The aim of partially aggregative moral views is to capture and justify combinations of intuitions like these. These views contrast with fully aggregative moral views, which imply that the answer to both questions is ‘yes’, and with non-aggregat…Read more
  • What Normativity Cannot Be
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 18 (2). 2020.
    Here, I consider Derek Parfit’s Normativity Objection to naturalist realism, according to which normative-natural property or fact reductions are “conceptually excluded”. While a lot of philosophers inclined toward non-naturalism share this view or something close to it, plenty of philosophers remain unconvinced, and the literature offers little guidance to the perplexed. I suggest a way to improve the argument – indeed, I think it is the best and perhaps only plausible way to make good on the c…Read more
  • The Goals of Moral Worth
    Oxford Studies in Metaethics. forthcoming.
    While it is tempting to suppose that an act has moral worth just when and because it is motivated by sufficient moral reasons, philosophers have, largely, come to doubt this analysis. Doubt is rooted in two claims. The first is that some facts can motivate a given act in multiple ways, not all of which are consistent with moral worth. The second is the orthodox view that normative reasons are facts. I defend the tempting analysis by proposing and defending a heterodox account of both normative a…Read more
  • Explaining Practical Normativity
    Topoi 37 (4): 621-630. 2018.
    Ethical non-naturalists often charge that their naturalist competitors cannot adequately explain the distinctive normativity of moral or more broadly practical concepts. I argue that the force of the charge is mitigated, because non-naturalism is ultimately committed to a kind of mysterianism about the metaphysics of practical norms that possesses limited explanatory power. I then show that focusing on comparative judgments about the explanatory power of various metaethical theories raises addit…Read more
  • Consider normative properties and facts, such as facts consisting in something's being what you ought to do, or the property of being morally wrong. Normative naturalism is the view that normative properties and facts such as these exist, and that they are natural properties and facts. Some suspect, however, that normativity is incompatible with a wholly naturalistic worldview: that the normative couldn't be natural because it's somehow “just too different” from the natural. I critically examine…Read more
  • Habitual Weakness
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (4): 270-277. 2019.
    The standard case of weakness of will involves a strong temptation leading us to reconsider or act against our judgments. Here, however, I consider cases of what I call ‘habitual weakness', where we resolve to do one thing yet do another not to satisfy any grand desire, but out of habit. After giving several examples, I suggest that habitual weakness has been under-discussed in the literature and explore why. These cases are worth highlighting for their ubiquity, and I show three further advanta…Read more
  • One Desire Too Many
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (2): 302-317. 2021.
    I defend the widely-held view that morally worthy action need not be motivated by a desire to promote rightness as such. Some have recently come to reject this view, arguing that desires for rightness as such are necessary for avoiding a certain kind of luck thought incompatible with morally worthy action. I show that those who defend desires for rightness as such on the basis of this argument misunderstand the relationship between moral worth and the kind of luck that their argument employs. Co…Read more