•  19
    Demographic statistics in defensive decisions
    Synthese 1-18. forthcoming.
    A popular informal argument suggests that statistics about the preponderance of criminal involvement among particular demographic groups partially justify others in making defensive mistakes against members of the group. One could worry that evidence-relative accounts of moral rights vindicate this argument. After constructing the strongest form of this objection, I offer several replies: most demographic statistics face an unmet challenge from reference class problems, even those that meet it f…Read more
  •  110
    Moral Risk and Communicating Consent
    Philosophy and Public Affairs 47 (2): 179-207. 2019.
    In addition to protecting agents’ autonomy, consent plays a crucial social role: it enables agents to secure partners in valuable interactions that would be prohibitively morally risk otherwise. To do this, consent must be observable: agents must be able to track the facts about whether they have received a consent-based permission. I argue that this morally justifies a consent-practice on which communicating that one consents is sufficient for consent, but also generates robust constraints on w…Read more
  •  273
    Strictly speaking
    Analysis 80 (1): 3-11. 2020.
    A type of argument occasionally made in metaethics, epistemology and philosophy of science notes that most ordinary uses of some expression fail to satisfy the strictest interpretation of the expression, and concludes that the ordinary assertions are false. This requires there to be a presumption in favour of a strict interpretation of expressions that admit of interpretations at different levels of strictness. We argue that this presumption is unmotivated, and thus the arguments fail.
  •  174
    I argue that inferences from highly probabilifying racial generalizations are not solely objectionable because acting on such inferences would be problematic, or they violate a moral norm, but because they violate a distinctively epistemic norm. They involve accepting a proposition when, given the costs of a mistake, one is not adequately justified in doing so. First I sketch an account of the nature of adequate justification—practical adequacy with respect to eliminating the ~p possibilities fr…Read more
  •  67
    Reasonable Mistakes and Regulative Norms: Racial Bias in Defensive Harm
    Journal of Political Philosophy 25 (1): 196-217. 2017.
    A regulative norm for permissible defense distinguishes the conditions under which we will hold defenders to be innocent of any wrongdoing from those in which we hold them responsible for assault or manslaughter. The norm must strike a fair balance between defenders' security, on the one hand, and other agents’ legitimate claim to live without fear of suffering mistaken defensive harm, on the other. Since agents must make defensive decisions under high pressure and on only partial information, t…Read more
  •  91
    Revisiting the Right to Do Wrong
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 95 (1): 43-57. 2017.
    Rights to do wrong are not necessary even within the framework of interest-based rights aimed at preserving autonomy. Agents can make morally significant choices and develop their moral character without a right to do wrong, so long as we allow that there can be moral variation within the set of actions that an agent is permitted to perform. Agents can also engage in non-trivial self-constitution in choosing between morally indifferent options, so long as there is adequate non-moral variation am…Read more
  •  1103
    The Pragmatics of Slurs
    Noûs 51 (3): 439-462. 2017.
    I argue that the offense generation pattern of slurring terms parallels that of impoliteness behaviors, and is best explained by appeal to similar purely pragmatic mechanisms. In choosing to use a slurring term rather than its neutral counterpart, the speaker signals that she endorses the term. Such an endorsement warrants offense, and consequently slurs generate offense whenever a speaker's use demonstrates a contrastive preference for the slurring term. Since this explanation comes at low theo…Read more