•  464
    Love, Poetry, and the Good Life: Mill's Autobiography and Perfectionist Ethics
    Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 53 (6): 565-578. 2010.
    I argue for a perfectionist reading of Mill’s account of the good life, by using the failures of development recorded in his Autobiography as a way to understand his official account of happiness in Utilitarianism. This work offers both a new perspective on Mill’s thought, and a distinctive account of the role of aesthetic and emotional capacities in the most choiceworthy human life. I consider the philosophical purposes of autobiography, Mill’s disagreements with Bentham, and the nature of comp…Read more
  •  311
    Pleasure as Self-Discovery
    Ratio 25 (3): 260-276. 2012.
    This paper uses readings of two classic autobiographies, Edmund Gosse's Father & Son and John Stuart Mill's Autobiography, to develop a distinctive answer to an old and central question in value theory: What role is played by pleasure in the most successful human life? A first section defends my method. The main body of the paper then defines and rejects voluntarist, stoic, and developmental hedonist lessons to be taken from central crises in my two subjects' autobiographies, and argues for a fo…Read more
  •  300
    No abiding city: Hume, naturalism, and toleration
    Philosophy 84 (1): 75-94. 2009.
    This paper rereads David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion as dramatising a distinctive, naturalistic account of toleration. I have two purposes in mind: first, to complete and ground Hume's fragmentary explicit discussion of toleration; second, to unearth a potentially attractive alternative to more recent, Rawlsian approaches to toleration. To make my case, I connect Dialogues and the problem of toleration to the wider themes of naturalism, scepticism and their relation in Hume's th…Read more
  •  92
    Moral Realism as a Moral Doctrine – Matthew H. Kramer
    Philosophical Quarterly 61 (243): 425-427. 2011.
  •  83
    Review: Religious commitment and secular reason (review)
    Mind 111 (443): 639-643. 2002.
  •  68
    This paper addresses questions of friendship and political community by investigating a particular complex case, comradeship in the life of the soldier. Close attention to soldiers’ accounts of their own lives, successes and failures shows that the relationship of friendship to comradeship, and of both to the success of the soldier’s individual and communal life, is complex and tense. I focus on autobiographical accounts of basic training in order to describe, and to explore the tensions between…Read more
  •  47
    Hume's Uses of Dialogue
    Hume Studies 39 (1): 61-76. 2013.
    What does David Hume do with the dialogue form in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion? I pursue this question in the context of a partial taxonomy of uses for the dialogue form in philosophy in general—although I want to emphasize the word “partial.” My driving concern here is Hume’s use of dialogue, not to list all possible uses of dialogue or to draw conclusions about the uses of dialogue in philosophy in general. My question sits between two other related questions: a biographical and histo…Read more
  •  42
    Narrative, Self-Realization, and the Shape of a Life
    Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (2): 371-385. 2018.
    Velleman, MacIntyre, and others have argued for the compositional view that lives can be other than equally good for the person who lives them even though they contain all and only the same moments, and that this is explained by their narrative structure. I argue instead for explanation by self-realization, partly by interpreting Siegfried Sassoon’s exemplary life-narrative. I decide between the two explanations by distinguishing the various features of the radial concept of narrative, and showi…Read more
  •  40
    The book is distinctive in bringing the rigour of analytic political philosophy to anarchism, which is all too often dismissed out of hand or skated over in ...
  •  38
    Good Work
    Journal of Applied Philosophy 34 (1): 61-73. 2015.
    Work is on one side a central arena of self-making, self-understanding, and self-development, and on the other a deep threat to our flourishing. My question is: what kind of work is good for human beings, and what kind bad? I first characterise work as necessary productive activity. My answer to my question then develops a perfectionist account of the human good: the good is the full development and expression of human potentials and capacities; this development and expression happens over a lif…Read more
  •  29
    This paper argues against particularism about social criticism of the form presented by Walzer. I contend that while limitation of the scope of criticism depends on the existence of our shared meanings, which are not shared by them, shared meaning itself depends on society. So, an account of society showing that societies are not discrete and mutually inaccessible refutes particularism. I argue for such an account. I deal with the objection that the focus of particularism is culture, not society…Read more
  •  23
    This paper rereads David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion as dramatising a distinctive, naturalistic account of toleration. I have two purposes in mind: first, to complete and ground Hume's fragmentary explicit discussion of toleration; second, to unearth a potentially attractive alternative to more recent, Rawlsian approaches to toleration. To make my case, I connect Dialogues and the problem of toleration to the wider themes of naturalism, scepticism and their relation in Hume's th…Read more
  •  7
    Pleasure as self‐discovery
    Ratio 25 (3): 260-276. 2012.
    This paper uses readings of two classic autobiographies, Edmund Gosse's Father & Son and John Stuart Mill's Autobiography, to develop a distinctive answer to an old and central question in value theory: What role is played by pleasure in the most successful human life? A first section defends my method. The main body of the paper then defines and rejects voluntarist, stoic, and developmental hedonist lessons to be taken from central crises in my two subjects' autobiographies, and argues for a fo…Read more
  •  5
    Religious Commitment and Secular Reason (review)
    Mind 111 (443): 639-643. 2002.
  •  4
    Religious Commitment and Secular Reason
    Mind 111 (443): 639-643. 2002.
  • Good work
    Forum for European Philosophy Blog. 2015.
    Sam Clark explores what it takes for work to contribute to human flourishing.