•  73
    Can moral ignorance excuse? This chapter argues that philosophical debate of this question has been based on a mistaken assumption: namely that excuses are all-or-nothing affairs; to have an excuse is to be blameless. The chapter argues that we should reject this assumption. Excuses are not binary but gradable: they can be weaker or stronger, mitigating blame to greater or lesser extent. This chapter explores the notions of strength of excuses, blame miti- gation and the relationship between exc…Read more
  •  73
    Reverse‐engineering blame 1
    Philosophical Perspectives 33 (1): 200-219. 2019.
    Philosophical Perspectives, EarlyView.
  •  321
    Respecting all the evidence
    Philosophical Studies 172 (11): 2835-2858. 2015.
    Plausibly, you should believe what your total evidence supports. But cases of misleading higher-order evidence—evidence about what your evidence supports—present a challenge to this thought. In such cases, taking both first-order and higher-order evidence at face value leads to a seemingly irrational incoherence between one’s first-order and higher-order attitudes: you will believe P, but also believe that your evidence doesn’t support P. To avoid sanctioning tension between epistemic levels, so…Read more
  •  293
    The Power of Excuses
    Philosophy and Public Affairs 47 (1): 37-71. 2019.
    Excuses are commonplace. Making and accepting excuses is part of our practice of holding each other morally responsible. But excuses are also curious. They have normative force. Whether someone has an excuse for something they have done matters for how we should respond to their action. An excuse can make it appropriate to forgo blame, to revise judgments of blameworthiness, to feel compassion and pity instead of anger and resentment. The considerations we appeal to when making excuses are a mo…Read more
  •  362
    Expecting the Unexpected
    Res Philosophica 92 (2): 301-321. 2015.
    In an influential paper, L. A. Paul argues that one cannot rationally decide whether to have children. In particular, she argues that such a decision is intractable for standard decision theory. Paul's central argument in this paper rests on the claim that becoming a parent is ``epistemically transformative''---prior to becoming a parent, it is impossible to know what being a parent is like. Paul argues that because parenting is epistemically transformative, one cannot estimate the values of the…Read more
  •  1136
    Know How and Acts of Faith
    In Matthew A. Benton, John Hawthorne & Dani Rabinowitz (eds.), Knowledge, Belief, and God: New Insights in Religious Epistemology, Oxford University Press. pp. 246-263. 2018.
    My topic in this paper is the nature of faith. Much of the discussion concerning the nature of faith proceeds by focussing on the relationship between faith and belief. In this paper, I explore a different approach. I suggest that we approach the question of what faith involves by focussing on the relationship between faith and action. When we have faith, we generally manifest it in how we act; we perform acts of faith: we share our secrets, rely on other’s judgment, refrain from going through o…Read more
  •  561
    In defense of moral testimony
    Philosophical Studies 158 (2): 175-195. 2012.
    In defense of moral testimony Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-21 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9887-6 Authors Paulina Sliwa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116
  •  147
    Moral Understanding as Knowing Right from Wrong
    Ethics 127 (3): 521-552. 2017.
    Moral understanding is a valuable epistemic and moral good. I argue that moral understanding is the ability to know right from wrong. I defend the account against challenges from nonreductionists, such as Alison Hills, who argue that moral understanding is distinct from moral knowledge. Moral understanding, she suggests, is constituted by a set of abilities: to give and follow moral explanations and to draw moral conclusions. I argue that Hills’s account rests on too narrow a conception of moral…Read more
  •  75
    Praise without Perfection: A Dilemma for Right-Making Reasons
    American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (2). 2015.
    When you don’t know what to do, you’d better find out. Sometimes the best way to find out is to ask for advice. And when you don’t know what the right thing to do is, it’s sometimes good to rely on moral advice. This straightforward thought spells serious trouble for a popular and widespread approach to moral worth: on this approach, agents deserve moral praise for a right action only if they are acting on right-making reasons. The first part of this paper argues that cases of moral advice prese…Read more
  •  266
    Moral Worth and Moral Knowledge
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2): 393-418. 2016.
    To have moral worth an action not only needs to conform to the correct normative theory ; it also needs to be motivated in the right way. I argue that morally worthy actions are motivated by the rightness of the action; they are motivated by an agent's concern for doing what's right and her knowledge that her action is morally right. Call this the Rightness Condition. On the Rightness Condition moral motivation involves both a conative and a cognitive element—in particular, it involves moral kno…Read more
  •  363
    IV—Understanding and Knowing
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 115 (1pt1): 57-74. 2015.
    What is the relationship between understanding and knowing? This paper offers a defence of reductionism about understanding: the view that instances of understanding reduce to instances of knowing. I argue that knowing is both necessary and sufficient for understanding. I then outline some advantages of reductionism