•  111
    Concomitant Ignorance Excuses from Moral Responsibility
    Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (1): 58-65. 2021.
    Some philosophers contend that concomitant ignorance preserves moral responsibility for wrongdoing. An agent is concomitantly ignorant with respect to wrongdoing if and only if her ignorance is non-culpable, but she would freely have performed the same action if she were not ignorant. I, however, argue that concomitant ignorance excuses. I show that leading accounts of moral responsibility imply that concomitant ignorance excuses, and I debunk the view that concomitant ignorance preserves moral …Read more
  • Free Will and Moral Luck
    In Joseph Campbell, Kristin M. Mickelson & V. Alan White (eds.), A Companion to Free Will, . forthcoming.
    Philosophers often consider problems of free will and moral luck in isolation from one another, but both are about control and moral responsibility. One problem of free will concerns the difficult task of specifying the kind of control over our actions that is necessary and sufficient to act freely. One problem of moral luck refers to the puzzling task of explaining whether and how people can be morally responsible for actions permeated by factors beyond their control. This chapter explicates an…Read more
  •  48
    Heavenly Freedom and Two Models of Character Perfection
    Faith and Philosophy 38 (1): 45-64. 2021.
    Human persons can act with libertarian freedom in heaven according to one prominent view, because they have freely acquired perfect virtue in their pre-heavenly lives such that acting rightly in heaven is volitionally necessary. But since the character of human persons is not perfect at death, how is their character perfected? On the unilateral model, God alone completes the perfection of their character, and, on the cooperative model, God continues to work with them in purgatory to perfect thei…Read more
  •  438
    Consequentialism and Virtue
    In Christoph Halbig & Felix Timmermann (eds.), The Handbook of Virtue and Virtue Ethics, . forthcoming.
    We examine the following consequentialist view of virtue: a trait is a virtue if and only if it has good consequences in some relevant way. We highlight some motivations for this basic account, and offer twelve choice points for filling it out. Next, we explicate Julia Driver’s consequentialist view of virtue in reference to these choice points, and we canvass its merits and demerits. Subsequently, we consider three suggestions that aim to increase the plausibility of her position, and criticall…Read more
  •  211
    Alfred Mele, Manipulated Agents: A Window into Moral Responsibility (review)
    Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (5): 563-566. 2020.
    Review of Manipulated Agents: A Window into Moral Responsibility. By Alfred R. Mele NOTE: I will self-archive the review after the embargo period ends in October 2021. If you want a copy, email me.
  •  1346
    Moral Luck and The Unfairness of Morality
    Philosophical Studies 176 (12): 3179-3197. 2019.
    Moral luck occurs when factors beyond an agent’s control positively affect how much praise or blame she deserves. Kinds of moral luck are differentiated by the source of lack of control such as the results of her actions, the circumstances in which she finds herself, and the way in which she is constituted. Many philosophers accept the existence of some of these kinds of moral luck but not others, because, in their view, the existence of only some of them would make morality unfair. I, however, …Read more
  •  818
    Kant Does Not Deny Resultant Moral Luck
    Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1): 136-150. 2019.
    It is almost unanimously accepted that Kant denies resultant moral luck—that is, he denies that the lucky consequence of a person’s action can affect how much praise or blame she deserves. Philosophers often point to the famous good will passage at the beginning of the Groundwork to justify this claim. I argue, however, that this passage does not support Kant’s denial of resultant moral luck. Subsequently, I argue that Kant allows agents to be morally responsible for certain kinds of lucky conse…Read more
  •  796
    Aspiration: The Agency of Becoming (review)
    Philosophical Quarterly 69 (275): 427-429. 2019.
    Aspiration: The Agency of Becoming. By Callard Agnes.
  •  627
    Against the Character Solution to the Problem of Moral Luck
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 98 (1): 105-118. 2020.
    One way to frame the problem of moral luck is as a contradiction in our ordinary ideas about moral responsibility. In the case of two identical reckless drivers where one kills a pedestrian and the other does not, we tend to intuit that they are and are not equally blameworthy. The Character Response sorts these intuitions in part by providing an account of moral responsibility: the drivers must be equally blameworthy, because they have identical character traits and people are originally praise…Read more
  •  3
    There is a contradiction in our ideas about moral responsibility. In one strand of our thinking, we believe that a person can become more blameworthy by luck. Consider some examples in order to make that idea concrete. Two reckless drivers manage their vehicles in the same way, and one but not the other kills a pedestrian. Two corrupt judges would each freely take a bribe if one were offered. By luck of the courthouse draw, only one judge is offered a bribe, and so only one takes a bribe. Luck i…Read more
  •  541
    Martin Luther affirms his theological position by saying “Here I stand. I can do no other.” Supposing that Luther’s claim is true, he lacks alternative possibilities at the moment of choice. Even so, many libertarians have the intuition that he is morally responsible for his action. One way to make sense of this intuition is to assert that Luther’s action is indirectly free, because his action inherits its freedom and moral responsibility from earlier actions when he had alternative possibilitie…Read more
  •  1596
    Constitutive Moral Luck and Strawson's Argument for the Impossibility of Moral Responsibility
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (2): 165-183. 2018.
    Galen Strawson’s Basic Argument is that because self-creation is required to be truly morally responsible and self-creation is impossible, it is impossible to be truly morally responsible for anything. I contend that the Basic Argument is unpersuasive and unsound. First, I argue that the moral luck debate shows that the self-creation requirement appears to be contradicted and supported by various parts of our commonsense ideas about moral responsibility, and that this ambivalence undermines the …Read more
  •  8
    Luck permeates our lives, and this raises a number of pressing questions: What is luck? When we attribute luck to people, circumstances, or events, what are we attributing? Do we have any obligations to mitigate the harms done to people who are less fortunate? And to what extent is deserving praise or blame a ected by good or bad luck? Although acquiring a true belief by an uneducated guess involves a kind of luck that precludes knowledge, does all luck undermine knowledge? And how accurate are …Read more
  •  973
    How to Apply Molinism to the Theological Problem of Moral Luck
    Faith and Philosophy 31 (1): 68-90. 2014.
    The problem of moral luck is that a general fact about luck and an intuitive moral principle jointly imply the following skeptical conclusion: human beings are morally responsible for at most a tiny fraction of each action. This skeptical conclusion threatens to undermine the claim that human beings deserve their respective eternal reward and punishment. But even if this restriction on moral responsibility is compatible with the doctrine of the final judgment, the quality of one’s afterlife with…Read more
  •  2053
    Utilitarian Moral Virtue, Admiration, and Luck
    Philosophia 43 (1): 77-95. 2015.
    Every tenable ethical theory must have an account of moral virtue and vice. Julia Driver has performed a great service for utilitarians by developing a utilitarian account of moral virtue that complements a broader act-based utilitarian ethical theory. In her view, a moral virtue is a psychological disposition that systematically produces good states of affairs in a particular possible world. My goal is to construct a more plausible version of Driver’s account that nevertheless maintains its bas…Read more
  •  1960
    Against Luck-Free Moral Responsibility
    Philosophical Studies 173 (10): 2845-2865. 2016.
    Every account of moral responsibility has conditions that distinguish between the consequences, actions, or traits that warrant praise or blame and those that do not. One intuitive condition is that praiseworthiness and blameworthiness cannot be affected by luck, that is, by factors beyond the agent’s control. Several philosophers build their accounts of moral responsibility on this luck-free condition, and we may call their views Luck-Free Moral Responsibility (LFMR). I offer moral and metaphys…Read more
  •  1012
    Accepting Moral Luck
    In Ian M. Church & Robert J. Hartman (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy and Psychology of Luck, Routledge. 2019.
    I argue that certain kinds of luck can partially determine an agent’s praiseworthiness and blameworthiness. To make this view clearer, consider some examples. Two identical agents drive recklessly around a curb, and one but not the other kills a pedestrian. Two identical corrupt judges would freely take a bribe if one were offered. Only one judge is offered a bribe, and so only one judge takes a bribe. Put in terms of these examples, I argue that the killer driver and bribe taker are more blamew…Read more
  •  529
    Armstrong on Probabilistic Laws of Nature
    with Jonathan D. Jacobs
    Philosophical Papers 46 (3): 373-387. 2017.
    D. M. Armstrong famously claims that deterministic laws of nature are contingent relations between universals and that his account can also be straightforwardly extended to irreducibly probabilistic laws of nature. For the most part, philosophers have neglected to scrutinize Armstrong’s account of probabilistic laws. This is surprising precisely because his own claims about probabilistic laws make it unclear just what he takes them to be. We offer three interpretations of what Armstrong-style pr…Read more
  •  905
    Counterfactuals of Freedom and the Luck Objection to Libertarianism
    Journal of Philosophical Research 42 (1): 301-312. 2017.
    Peter van Inwagen famously offers a version of the luck objection to libertarianism called the ‘Rollback Argument.’ It involves a thought experiment in which God repeatedly rolls time backward to provide an agent with many opportunities to act in the same circumstance. Because the agent has the kind of freedom that affords her alternative possibilities at the moment of choice, she performs different actions in some of these opportunities. The upshot is that whichever action she performs in the a…Read more
  •  130
    Involuntary belief and the command to have faith
    International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 69 (3): 181-192. 2011.
    Richard Swinburne argues that belief is a necessary but not sufficient condition for faith, and he also argues that, while faith is voluntary, belief is involuntary. This essay is concerned with the tension arising from the involuntary aspect of faith, the Christian doctrine that human beings have an obligation to exercise faith, and the moral claim that people are only responsible for actions where they have the ability to do otherwise. Put more concisely, the problem concerns the coherence of …Read more