•  15
    Often institutions or individuals are faced with decisions where not all claims can be satisfied. Sometimes, these claims will be of differing strength. In such cases, it must be decided whether or not weaker claims can be aggregated in order to collectively defeat stronger claims. Many are attracted to a view, which this chapter calls Limited Aggregation, where this is sometimes acceptable and sometimes not. A new version of this view, Local Relevance, has recently emerged. This chapter seeks t…Read more
  •  13
    Proportionality in War: Revising Revisionism
    Ethics 131 (1): 34-61. 2020.
    In this article I argue that revisionists in just war theory must further revise their proportionality principles. I show that on the revisionist view it is possible for a war to be proportionate,...
  •  4
    Moral Uncertainty and the Criminal Law
    In Larry Alexander & Kimberly Kessler Ferzan (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Applied Ethics and the Criminal Law, Springer Verlag. pp. 445-467. 2019.
    In this chapter we introduce the nascent literature on Moral Uncertainty Theory and explore its application to the criminal law. Moral Uncertainty Theory seeks to address the question of what we ought to do when we are uncertain about what to do because we are torn between rival moral theories. For instance, we may have some credence in one theory that tells us to do A but also in another that tells us to do B. We examine how we might decide whether or not to criminalize some conduct when we are…Read more
  •  16
    Distributive Justice for Aggressors
    Law and Philosophy 39 (4): 351-379. 2020.
    The individualist nature of much contemporary just war theory means that we often discuss cases with single attackers. But even if war is best understood in this individualist way, in war combatants often have to make decisions about how to distribute harms among a plurality of aggressors: they must decide whom and how many to harm, and how much to harm them. In this paper, I look at simultaneous multiple aggressor cases in which more than one distribution of harm among aggressors is available. …Read more
  •  6
    Duffing Up the Criminal Law?
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 14 (3): 319-333. 2020.
    R.A. Duff’s The Realm of the Criminal Law advances the literature on criminalization by providing the most thorough exploration and defence yet provided of the intuitively attractive idea that criminalization is properly limited to public wrongs only. I outline here six concerns I have with the view, as presented in this book, and suggest where the account needs further elaboration, defence, or rethinking.
  •  283
    Moral Uncertainty and the Criminal Law
    In Kimberly Ferzan & Larry Alexander (eds.), Handbook of Applied Ethics and the Criminal Law, Palgrave. 2019.
    In this paper we introduce the nascent literature on Moral Uncertainty Theory and explore its application to the criminal law. Moral Uncertainty Theory seeks to address the question of what we ought to do when we are uncertain about what to do because we are torn between rival moral theories. For instance, we may have some credence in one theory that tells us to do A but also in another that tells us to do B. We examine how we might decide whether or not to criminalize some conduct when we are u…Read more
  •  38
    Subjective Proportionality
    Ethics 129 (2): 254-283. 2018.
    Philosophers writing about proportionality in self-defense and war will often assume that defensive agents have full knowledge about the threat that they face and the defensive options available to them. But no actual defensive agents possess this kind of knowledge. How, then, should we make proportionality decisions under uncertainty? The natural answer is that we should move from comparing the harm we will do with the good we will achieve to comparing expected harm with expected good. I argue …Read more
  •  31
    What is the point of egalitarian social relationships?
    In Alexander Kaufman (ed.), Distributive Justice and Access to Advantage, Cambridge University Press. pp. 151-179. 2014.
    The subject matter of this essay is a certain understanding of the value of equality which I will call ‘relational egalitarianism’ – a view which locates the value of equality not in distributions but in social and political relationships. This is a suitable topic for a contribution to a volume based on themes from the work of G.A. Cohen for two, somewhat contradictory, reasons.
  •  45
    On Limited Aggregation
    Philosophy and Public Affairs 45 (3): 232-260. 2017.
  •  75
    Saplings or Caterpillars? Trying to Understand Children's Wellbeing
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 35 (S1): 29-46. 2018.
    Is childhood valuable? And is childhood as, less, or more, valuable than adulthood? In this article I first delineate several different questions that we might be asking when we think about the ‘value of childhood’, and I explore some difficulties of doing so. I then focus on the question of whether childhood is good for the person who experiences it. I argue for two key claims. First, if childhood wellbeing is measured by the same standards as adulthood, then children are worse off than adults.…Read more
  •  217
    Choices Chance and Change: Luck Egalitarianism Over Time
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2): 393-407. 2013.
    The family of theories dubbed ‘luck egalitarianism’ represent an attempt to infuse egalitarian thinking with a concern for personal responsibility, arguing that inequalities are just when they result from, or the extent to which they result from, choice, but are unjust when they result from, or the extent to which they result from, luck. In this essay I argue that luck egalitarians should sometimes seek to limit inequalities, even when they have a fully choice-based pedigree (i.e., result only f…Read more
  •  39
    Can I be a Luck Egaliatarian and a Rawlsian?
    Ethical Perspectives 19 (3): 371-397. 2012.
    Rawls’s difference principle and the position dubbed ‘luck egalitarianism’ are often viewed as competing theories of distributive justice. However, recent work has emphasised that Rawlsians and luck egalitarians are working with different understandings of the concept of justice, and thus not only propose different theories, but different theories of different things. Once they are no longer seen in direct competition, there are some questions to be asked about whether these two theories can be …Read more
  •  26
    The Geometry of Desert
    Philosophical Review 124 (3): 419-422. 2015.
  •  21
    Innocence Lost: A Problem for Punishment as Duty
    Law and Philosophy 36 (3): 225-254. 2017.
    Constrained instrumentalist theories of punishment – those that seek to justify punishment by its good effects, but limit its scope – are an attractive alternative to pure retributivism or utilitarianism. One way in which we may be able to limit the scope of instrumental punishment is by justifying punishment through the concept of duty. This strategy is most clearly pursued in Victor Tadros’ influential ‘Duty View’ of punishment. In this paper, I show that the Duty View as it stands cannot find…Read more
  •  615
    Moral uncertainty and permissibility: Evaluating Option Sets
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (6): 1-26. 2016.
    In this essay, we explore an issue of moral uncertainty: what we are permitted to do when we are unsure about which moral principles are correct. We develop a novel approach to this issue that incorporates important insights from previous work on moral uncertainty, while avoiding some of the difficulties that beset existing alternative approaches. Our approach is based on evaluating and choosing between option sets rather than particular conduct options. We show how our approach is particularly …Read more
  •  6
    Survey Article: Internal Doubts about Cohen's Rescue of Justice
    Journal of Political Philosophy 18 (2): 228-247. 2010.
  •  58
    Could the Presumption of Innocence Protect the Guilty?
    Criminal Law and Philosophy 8 (2): 431-447. 2014.
    At criminal trial, we demand that those accused of criminal wrongdoing be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. What are the moral and/or political grounds of this demand? One popular and natural answer to this question focuses on the moral badness or wrongness of convicting and punishing innocent persons, which I call the direct moral grounding. In this essay, I suggest that this direct moral grounding, if accepted, may well have important ramifications for other ar…Read more
  •  24
    Should Kids Pay Their Own Way?
    Political Studies. 2015.
    Children are expensive to raise. Ensuring that they are raised in such a way that they are able to lead a minimally decent life costs time and money, and lots of both. Who is responsible for bearing the costs of the things that children are undoubtedly owed? This is a question that has received comparatively little scrutiny from political philosophers,despite children being such a drain on public and private finances alike. To the extent that there is a debate, two main views can be identified. …Read more
  •  84
    On Fairness and Claims
    Utilitas 24 (2): 200-213. 2012.
    Perhaps the best-known theory of fairness is John Broome’s: that fairness is the proportional satisfaction of claims. In this article, I question whether claims are the appropriate focus for a theory of fairness, at least as Broome understands them in his current theory. If fairness is the proportionate satisfaction of claims, I argue, then the following would be true: fairness could not help determine the correct distribution of claims; fairness could not be used to evaluate the distribution of…Read more
  •  54
    And Nozick begat Reagan?
    The Philosophers' Magazine 33 (33): 38-41. 2006.
  •  14
    Should Retributivists Prefer Prepunishment?
    Social Theory and Practice 41 (2): 275-285. 2015.
    Some philosophers believe that we can, in theory, justifiably prepunish people—that is, punish them for a crime before they have committed that crime. In particular, it has been claimed that retributivists ought to accept prepunishment. The question of whether prepunishment can be justified has sparked an interesting and growing philosophical debate. In this paper I look at a slightly different question: whether retributivists who accept that prepunishment can be justified should prefer postpuni…Read more
  •  183
    A common anti-egalitarian argument is that equality is motivated by envy, or the desire to placate envy. In order to avoid this charge, John Rawls explicitly banishes envy from his original position. This article argues that this is an inconsistent and untenable position for Rawls, as he treats envy as if it were a fact of human psychology and believes that principles of justice should be based on such facts. Therefore envy should be known about in the original position. The consequences for Raw…Read more
  •  42
    Should We Be Utopophobes About Democracy in Particular?
    Political Studies Review 10 (1): 36-47. 2012.
    In his book Democratic Authority, David Estlund puts forward a case for democracy, which he labels epistemic proceduralism, that relies on democracy's ability to produce good – that is, substantively just – results. Alongside this case for democracy Estlund attacks what he labels ‘utopophobia’, an aversion to idealistic political theory. In this article I make two points. The first is a general point about what the correct level of ‘idealisation’ is in political theory. Various debates are emerg…Read more
  •  69
    Retributivists! The Harm Principle Is Not for You!
    Ethics 124 (2): 272-298. 2014.
    Retributivism is often explicitly or implicitly assumed to be compatible with the harm principle, since the harm principle (in some guises) concerns the content of the criminal law, while retributivism concerns the punishment of those that break the law. In this essay I show that retributivism should not be endorsed alongside any version of the harm principle. In fact, retributivists should reject all attempts to see the criminal law only through (other) person-affecting concepts or “grievance” …Read more
  •  5
    And Nozick begat Reagan?
    The Philosophers' Magazine 33 38-41. 2006.
  •  32
    Time and Retribution
    Law and Philosophy 33 (5): 655-682. 2014.
    Retributivists believe that punishment can be deserved, and that deserved punishment is intrinsically good or important. They also believe that certain crimes deserve certain quantities of punishment. On the plausible assumption that the overall amount of any given punishment is a function of its severity and duration, we might think that retributivists would be indifferent as to whether a punishment were long and light or short and sharp, provided the offender gets the overall amount of punishm…Read more
  •  78
  •  32
    Prevention and the Limits of the Criminal Law (edited book)
    with Andrew Ashworth and Lucia Zedner
    Oxford University Press. 2013.
    Are preventive justice measures justified? Do they needlessly blur the boundaries between criminal and civil law, signalling a change in the architecture of security? The contributors in this volume re-assess the foundations for the range of coercive measures that states now take in the name of prevention and public protection