•  46
    Moral responsibility for concepts, continued: Concepts as abstract objects
    European Journal of Philosophy 28 (4): 1029-1043. 2020.
    In Fredericks (2018b), I argued that we can be morally responsible for our concepts if they are mental representations. Here, I make a complementary argument for the claim that even if concepts are abstract objects, we can be morally responsible for coming to grasp and for thinking (or not thinking) in terms of them. As before, I take for granted Angela Smith's (2005) rational relations account of moral responsibility, though I think the same conclusion follows from various other accounts. My st…Read more
  •  275
    The Creeps as a Moral Emotion
    Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 7 (6): 191-217. 2020.
    Creepiness and the emotion of the creeps have been overlooked in the moral philosophy and moral psychology literatures. We argue that the creeps is a morally significant emotion in its own right, and not simply a type of fear, disgust, or anger (though it shares features with those emotions). Reflecting on cases, we defend a novel account of the creeps as felt in response to creepy people. According to our moral insensitivity account, the creeps is fitting just when its object is agential activi…Read more
  •  516
    Moral Responsibility for Concepts
    European Journal of Philosophy 26 (4): 1381-1397. 2018.
    I argue that we are sometimes morally responsible for having and using (or not using) our concepts, despite the fact that we generally do not choose to have them or have full or direct voluntary control over how we use them. I do so by extending an argument of Angela Smith's; the same features that she says make us morally responsible for some of our attitudes also make us morally responsible for some of our concepts. Specifically, like attitudes, concepts can be (a) conceptually and rationally …Read more
  •  140
    When Wanting the Best Is Bad
    Social Theory and Practice 44 (1): 95-119. 2018.
    Here I call attention to a class of desires that I call exclusionary desires. To have an exclusionary desire is to desire something under a description such that, were the desire satisfied, it would be logically impossible for people other than the desiring subject to possess the desired object. Assuming that we are morally responsible for our desires insofar as and because they reflect our evaluative judgments and are in principle subject to rational revision, I argue that we should, morally sp…Read more
  •  106
    Jealousy is an emotion that arises in diverse circumstances and is experienced in phenomenologically diverse ways. In part because of this diversity, evaluations of jealous subjects tend to be conflicting and ambiguous. Thus philosophers who are interested in the moral status of jealousy face a challenge: to explain how, despite the diversity of jealous subjects and experiences of jealousy, our moral evaluations of those subjects in light of those experiences might be unified. In this project, I…Read more
  •  68
    Sagoff on Ecosystems as Self-Organizing Systems
    Ethics, Policy and Environment 16 (3): 258-261. 2013.
    In “What Does Environmental Protection Protect?” Mark Sagoff argues that there is no ecological way to test the claim that natural ecosystems are complex adaptive systems. In this critical commentary, I recreate that argument, object to it, and attempt to clarify its normative upshot. I show that Sagoff relies on substantive assumptions about (1) the tools and methods of ecological science, (2) what can be done with those tools and methods, and (3) ecology’s being separable from other discipline…Read more
  •  237
    Can Emotions Have Abstract Objects? The Example of Awe
    Philosophia 46 (3): 733-746. 2018.
    Can we feel emotions about abstract objects, assuming that abstract objects exist? I argue that at least some emotions can have abstract objects as their intentional objects and discuss why this conclusion is not just trivially true. Through critical engagement with the work of Dacher Keltner and Jonathan Haidt, I devote special attention to awe, an emotion that is particularly well suited to show that some emotions can be about either concrete or abstract objects. In responding to a possible ob…Read more
  •  244
    Courage as an Environmental Virtue
    Environmental Ethics 36 (3): 339-355. 2014.
    We should give courage a more significant place in our understanding of how familiar virtues can and should be reshaped to capture what it is to be virtuous relative to the environment. Matthew Pianalto’s account of moral courage helps explain what a specifically environmental form of moral courage would look like. There are three benefits to be gained by recognizing courage as an environmental virtue: it helps us to recognize the high stakes nature of much environmental activism and to act acco…Read more
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