• Constructivism about Reasons
    In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics: Volume Iii, Oxford University Press. 2008.
  •  95
    Objectivity and Truth: You’d Better Rethink It
    Oxford Studies in Metaethics 11. 2016.
    This chapter accepts for the sake of argument Ronald Dworkin’s point that the only viable form of normative skepticism is internal, and develops an internal skeptical argument directed specifically at normative realism. There is a striking and puzzling coincidence between normative judgments that are true, and normative judgments that causal forces led us to believe—a practical/theoretical puzzle to which the constructivist view has a solution. Normative realists have no solution, but are driven…Read more
  •  261
    I- Constructivism in Ethics and the Problem of Attachment and Loss
    Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 90 (1): 161-189. 2016.
    This paper explores two questions in moral philosophy that might at first seem unrelated. The first question is practical. While it’s not a truth we like to contemplate, each of us faces the eventual loss of everyone and everything we love. Is there a way to live in full awareness of that fact without falling into anxiety or depression, or resorting to one form or another of forgetfulness, denial or numbing out? The second question is metaethical. Is it possible to vindicate a strong form of eth…Read more
  •  4
    Evolution and the Nature of Reasons
    Dissertation, Harvard University. 2003.
    The driving question behind the dissertation is how we are to understand the nature of normativity, and in particular how we are to understand it in a way that is consistent with all of the various causal explanations---Darwinian and otherwise---of why we make the normative judgments we do. I explore this larger question by way of the pursuit of two more limited aims. ;The first aim is negative: it is to raise some questions, from a philosophical perspective informed by evolutionary biology, abo…Read more
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    Constructivism about reasons
    Oxford Studies in Metaethics 3 207-45. 2008.
  •  1201
    What is constructivism in ethics and metaethics?
    Philosophy Compass 5 (5): 363-384. 2010.
    Most agree that when it comes to so-called 'first-order' normative ethics and political philosophy, constructivist views are a powerful family of positions. When it comes to metaethics, however, there is serious disagreement about what, if anything, constructivism has to contribute. In this paper I argue that constructivist views in ethics include not just a family of substantive normative positions, but also a distinct and highly attractive metaethical view. I argue that the widely accepted 'pr…Read more
  •  658
    Evolution and the normativity of epistemic reasons
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 39 (S1): 213-248. 2009.
    Creatures inveterately wrong in their inductions have a pathetic but praiseworthy tendency to die before reproducing their kind.— Quine
  •  2390
    A Darwinian dilemma for realist theories of value
    Philosophical Studies 127 (1): 109-166. 2006.
    Contemporary realist theories of value claim to be compatible with natural science. In this paper, I call this claim into question by arguing that Darwinian considerations pose a dilemma for these theories. The main thrust of my argument is this. Evolutionary forces have played a tremendous role in shaping the content of human evaluative attitudes. The challenge for realist theories of value is to explain the relation between these evolutionary influences on our evaluative attitudes, on the one …Read more