•  104
    What justifies practices of “standing”? Numerous everyday practices exhibit the normativity of standing: forbidding certain interventions and permitting ignoring them. The normativity of standing is grounded in facts about the person intervening and not on the validity of her intervention. When valid, directives are reasons to do as directed. When interventions take the form of directives, standing practices may permit excluding those directives from one’s practical deliberations, regardless of …Read more
  •  251
    Nobody’s Perfect: Moral Responsibility in Negligence
    Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 31 (1): 109-125. 2019.
    Given the unwittingness of negligence, personal responsibility for negligent conduct is puzzling. After all, how is it that one is responsible for what one did not intend to do or was unaware that one was doing? How, therefore, is one’s agency involved with one’s negligence so as to ground one’s responsibility for it? Negligence is an unwitting failure in agency to meet a standard requiring conduct that falls within one’s competency. Accordingly, negligent conduct involves agency in that neglige…Read more
  •  202
    Explaining the notion of legal luck and exploring its justification. Focusing on how legal luck relates to moral luck, legal causation and negligence, and to civil and criminal liability.
  •  83
    The identity and (legal) rights of future generations
    The George Washington Law Review 77 1173. 2009.
    Exploring the peculiar nature of future generations and concluding that types of future people is the most promising object on which to project our concern for future generations the article poses two main questions: “Can future people have rights?” and, if so, “Do they in fact have any rights?” The article first explains why the non-existence of future people raises doubts whether future generations can have rights. Within the philosophical literature, the leading approach explaining how future…Read more
  •  31
    This essay explains, expands, develops, and reflects on the Razian theory of responsibility and identity, focusing primarily on responsibility for negligent actions. I begin with setting the stage for understanding the importance of Joseph Raz’s theory and what motivates it. Next, the essay lays out the theory itself, and offers some elaboration on some of the less developed features of the theory. The essay closes with two critical reflections.
  •  45
    Justifying subversion: Why Nussbaum got (the better interpretation of) Butler wrong
    Buffalo Journal of Gender, Law and Social Policy 18 43-73. 2010.
    Deconstructive and poststructuralist theories are commonly accused of rejecting all principles of justice and therefore “collaborating with evil.” A canonical example is Martha Nussbaum’s “The Professor of Parody” on the work of Judith Butler. The merits of Nussbaum’s argument and of the “common critique” turn on choosing between two alternative interpretations of Butler’s corpus and of poststructuralism in general. First, assumed in Nussbaum’s critique, is “universal poststructuralism.” Second …Read more
  •  226
    Understanding standing: permission to deflect reasons
    Philosophical Studies 174 (12): 3109-3132. 2017.
    Standing is a peculiar norm, allowing for deflecting that is rejecting offhand and without deliberation interventions such as directives. Directives are speech acts that aim to give directive-reasons, which are reason to do as the directive directs because of the directive. Standing norms, therefore, provide for deflecting directives regardless of validity or the normative weight of the rejected directive. The logic of the normativity of standing is, therefore, not the logic of invalidating dire…Read more
  •  209
    Defending the Right To Do Wrong
    Law and Philosophy 31 (3): 343-365. 2012.
    Are there moral rights to do moral wrong? A right to do wrong is a right that others not interfere with the right-holder’s wrongdoing. It is a right against enforcement of duty, that is a right that others not interfere with one’s violation of one’s own obligations. The strongest reason for moral rights to do moral wrong is grounded in the value of personal autonomy. Having a measure of protected choice (that is a right) to do wrong is a condition for an autonomous life and for autonomous moral …Read more
  •  62
    A Legal Right to Do Legal Wrong
    Oxford Journal of Legal Studies (1). 2013.
    The literature, as are the intuitions of many, is sceptical as to the coherence of ‘legal rights to do legal wrong’. A right to do wrong is a right against interference with wrongdoing. A legal right to do legal wrong is, therefore, a right against legal enforcement of legal duty. It is, in other words, a right that shields the right holder’s legal wrongdoing. The sceptics notwithstanding, the category of ‘legal right to do legal wrong’ coheres with the concepts of ‘right’ and ‘legality’. In fac…Read more
  •  94
    Why 'Nonexistent People' Do Not Have Zero Wellbeing but No Wellbeing at All
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 30 (2): 136-145. 2013.
    Some believe that the harm or benefit of existence is assessed by comparing a person's actual state of wellbeing with the level of wellbeing they would have had had they never existed. This approach relies on ascribing a state or level of wellbeing to ‘nonexistent people’, which seems a peculiar practice: how can we attribute wellbeing to a ‘nonexistent person'? To explain away this oddity, some have argued that because no properties of wellbeing can be attributed to ‘nonexistent people’ such pe…Read more
  •  91
    Some claim slavery did not harm the descendants of slaves since, without slavery, its descendants would never have been born and a life worth living, even one including the subsequent harms of past slavery, is preferable to never having been born at all. This creates a classic puzzle known as the non-identity argument, applied to reject the validity of claims for historic justice based on harms to descendants of victims of historic wrongs: since descendants are never harmed by historic wrongs, t…Read more
  •  500
    Responsibility in Negligence: Why the Duty of Care is Not a Duty “To Try”
    Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence 23 (2): 403-428. 2010.
    Even though it offers a compelling account of the responsibility-component in the negligence standard—arguably the Holy Grail of negligence theory—Professor John Gardner is mistaken in conceptualizing the duty of care in negligence as a duty to try to avert harm. My goal here is to explain why and to point to an alternative account of the responsibility component in negligence. The flaws in conceiving of the duty of care as a duty to try are: failing to comport with the legal doctrine of neglige…Read more
  •  101
    A Normative Theory of the Clean Hands Defense
    Legal Theory 17 (3): 171-208. 2011.
    What is the clean hands defense (CHD) normatively about? Courts designate court integrity as the CHD's primary norm. Yet, while the CHD may at times further court integrity, it is not fully aligned with court integrity. In addition to occasionally instrumentally furthering certain goods (e.g., court legitimacy, judge integrity, deterrence), the CHD embodies two judicially undetected norms: retribution and tu quoque (“you too!”). Tu quoque captures the moral intuition that wrongdoers are in no po…Read more
  •  92
    The "non-identity argument" has been applied to reject the validity of claims for historic justice, often generating highly unintuitive conclusions. George Sher has suggested a solution to this problem, explaining the harm to descendants of historically wronged peoples as deriving not from the historic wrongs but from the failure to provide rectification to the previous generation for harm they suffered. That generation was likewise owed rectification for harm they suffered from failure to provi…Read more