•  2
    On the Ranking of Teams
    Philosophia 1-13. forthcoming.
    In this paper, we argue that in a possible world there is a determinate ranking of teams. Our argument rests on the premise: In theory, nothing prevents a determinate better than ranking. This premise in turn rests on assumptions with regard to stipulations regarding ‘better than’ and nature of a competition as well as a right answer theory of interpretation. We then speculate that in some actual leagues in some years, there were determinate rankings. We consider objections that focus on ties, n…Read more
  •  43
    The Right-Based Criticism of the Doctrine of Double Effect
    International Journal of Applied Philosophy 34 (2): 215-233. 2020.
    If people have stringent moral rights, then the doctrine of double effect is false or unimportant, at least when it comes to making acts permissible or wrong. There are strong and weak versions of the doctrine of double effect. The strong version asserts that an act is morally right if and only if the agent does not intentionally infringe a moral norm and the act brings about a desirable result (perhaps the best state of affairs available to the agent or a promotion of the common good). The weak…Read more
  •  21
    Love is Independent of Moral Responsibility
    International Journal of Applied Philosophy 34 (1): 137-155. 2020.
    A concern that accompanies the recognition that people are not morally responsible is how this affects our relationships. In particular, there is concern as to whether the absence of these things eliminates or lessens love. Love is relevant on some of the most plausible theories of well-being. In particular, it might be thought to cause pleasure and fulfill desires and thus bring about well-being on hedonist and desire-fulfillment theories of well-being. It might also be included on the objectiv…Read more
  •  12
    John Martin Fischer’s book, Death, Immortality, and Meaning in Life is outstanding. It is very readable (often funny) and has a clear organization that makes it easy to follow. It is tightly argued and fascinating. It discusses ideas with enjoyable references to and discussions of the Buddha, Ram Dass, Gilgamesh, Stephen Jay Gould, Hinduism, Aldous Huxley, the Koran, C. S. Lewis, LSD, Christopher Marlowe, Somerset Maugham, reincarnation, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Star Trek, Jonathan…Read more
  •  268
    For discrimination against women
    Law and Philosophy 26 (6). 2007.
    In this paper, I argue that it is morally permissible and should be legally permissible for state and private professional schools to discriminate against women. By professional schools, I mean law, medical, and business schools. More specifically, I argue that such schools may discount womens applications to the degree that they are likely to produce less than male counterparts. The argument differs with regard to state and private institutions because of the greater moral elbowroom that privat…Read more
  •  32
    Extremely Harsh Treatment
    Reason Papers 33 60-81. 2011.
    Extremely harsh treatment (for example, unanesthetized tooth, branding with a hot iron, violent shaking, repeated beatings, and car-battery shocks to the genitalia) is often considered unjust. On different accounts, extremely harsh treatment fails to respect persons because it infringes on an absolute right, fails to respect a person’s dignity, constitutes cruel or inhumane treatment, violates rules that rational persons would choose under fair and equal choosing conditions, or results in a pers…Read more
  •  50
    Moral Responsibility and Foundationalism
    Philosophia 43 (2): 381-402. 2015.
    If an individual is morally responsible, then there is a responsibility-foundation that makes him morally responsible, but there is no responsibility-foundation that makes him responsible. This rested on the notion that if there were a responsibility-foundation, it would be either an ungrounded choice or an ungrounded character state and that neither can serve as the foundation. The paper then considered three types of objections. First, moral responsibility does not require a responsibility-fou…Read more
  •  89
    The Forfeiture Theory of Punishment: Surviving Boonin’s Objections
    Public Affairs Quarterly 24 (4): 319-334. 2010.
    In this paper, I set out a version of the Forfeiture Theory of Punishment. Forfeiture Theory: Legal punishment is just or permissible because offenders forfeit their rights.On this account, offenders forfeit their rights because they infringed on someone’s rights. My strategy is to provide a version of the Forfeiture Theory and then to argue that it survives a number of initially intuitive seeming objections, most having their origins in the recent work of David Boonin.
  •  43
    For Ownership Theory: A Response to Nicholas Dixon
    Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 12 (2): 226-235. 2018.
    In an earlier paper, Stephen Kershnar argued for the following thesis: An instance of trash-talking is permissible if and only if the relevant sports organization’s system of rules permits the expression. One person trash-talks a second if and only if the first intentionally insults the second during competition. The above theory sounds implausible. Surely, the conditions under which a player may insult another do not depend on what the owners arbitrarily decide. Such an approach doesn’t appear …Read more
  •  69
    Explaining the Geometry of Desert
    with Neil Feit
    Public Affairs Quarterly 18 273. 2004.
    In the past decade, three philosophers in particular have recently explored the relation between desert and intrinsic value. Fred Feldman argues that consequentialism need not give much weight – or indeed any weight at all – to the happiness of persons who undeservedly experience pleasure. He defends the claim that the intrinsic value of a state of affairs is determined by the “fit” between the amount of well-being that a person receives and the amount of well-being that the person deserves. She…Read more
  •  49
    The Paradox of Consent
    International Journal of Applied Philosophy 33 (2): 305-318. 2019.
    If consent is valid, then in every case it is either valid or invalid. This is because of the notion that consent eliminates a right and a person either has or lacks a right against another. A parallel problem to the paradox of symmetrical attackers applies to consent. That is, there is a case in which two people neither consent nor do not consent to one another. As a practical matter, attorneys, judges, legislators, physicians, and sex partners should not treat consent as morally significant, e…Read more
  •  43
    Moral responsibility and morality lie at the heart of how we view the world. In our daily life, we feel responsibility-related emotions: gratitude, pride, love, forgiveness, resentment, indignation, and shame. We love those who freely and reciprocally love us. Also, we feel that people act rightly or wrongly, make the world better or worse, and are virtuous or vicious. These policies are central to our justifying how we see the world and treat others. In this book, I argue that our views on thes…Read more
  •  7
    Responsibility-Foundation: Still Needed and Still Missing
    Science, Religion and Culture. forthcoming.
    Responsibility is impossible because there is no responsibility-maker and there needs to be one if people are morally responsible. The two most plausible candidates, psychology and decision, fail. A person is not responsible for an unchosen psychology or a psychology that was chosen when the person is not responsible for the choice. This can be seen in intuitions about instantly-created and manipulated people. This result is further supported by the notion that, in general, the right, the good, …Read more
  •  28
    Consequentialism and the Case of Symmetrical Attackers
    Utilitas 31 (4): 395-413. 2019.
    There are puzzle cases that forfeiture theory has trouble handling, such as the issue of what happens to the rights of two qualitatively identical people who simultaneously launch unprovoked attacks against the other. Each person either has or lacks the right to defend against the other. If one attacker has the right, then the other does not and vice versa. Yet the two are qualitatively identical so it is impossible for one to have the right if the other does not. The Problem of Symmetrical Atta…Read more
  •  47
    Rights and consent in mixed martial arts
    Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 47 (1): 105-120. 2019.
    MMA fighting in a competition is not necessarily wrong and is often, as far as we can tell, permissible. Our argument has two premises. First, if an act does not infringe on anyone’s moral right or violate another side-constraint, then it is morally permissible. Second, MMA-violence does not infringe on anyone’s moral right or violate another side-constraint. The first premise rested on two assumptions. First, if a person does a wrong act, then he wrongs someone. Second, if one person wrongs a s…Read more
  •  1030
    In Defense of Asian Romantic Preference
    International Journal of Applied Philosophy 32 (2): 243-256. 2018.
    Asian romantic preference is not wrong because it does not infringe on someone’s moral right. Nor is it unjust in some other way. It is not intrinsically bad because it is neither false nor does it consist of the love of evil or hatred of the good. It is not clear if it is instrumentally bad because it is not clear whether it is good for Asian women and, if it is, whether the good for them is outweighed by the bad for others. People have many preferences when it comes to marriage, dating, and se…Read more
  •  310
    Discounting Women’s Applications when Hiring
    Philosophia 48 (1): 227-260. 2020.
    In this paper, I argue that philosophy departments at state universities may discount women’s applications. My argument rests on two premises: if the balance of merit-based reasons supports discounting one group relative to a second, then a state institution may discount the first group’s application and the balance of merit-based reasons supports philosophy departments at state universities discounting women’s applications relative to men’s applications.The latter premise was supported by three…Read more
  •  24
    Forfeiture Theory and Symmetrical Attackers
    Criminal Justice Ethics 36 (2): 224-245. 2017.
    In this paper, I defend the following thesis: The Problem of Symmetrical Attackers does not falsify forfeiture theory. The theory asserts that except in the case where violence is necessary to avoid a catastrophe, only those who forfeit their rights are liable for defensive violence. The problem focuses on the following sort of case. Symmetrical Attacker Case Al and Bob are doppelgangers. They both mistakenly but justifiably think that the other is about to attack him. They both respond wit…Read more
  •  18
    Shareholder Theory in Academia
    Business and Professional Ethics Journal 36 (3): 359-382. 2017.
    The managers of colleges and universities have to make decisions on a wide range of issues with regard to goals and how they may be pursued. “Managers” refers to such positions as the president, provost, vice president dean, and director of a university. This paper lays out the theoretical basis for the right answer for these decisions. It does so by setting out the fundamental function of an academic institution, linking this function to a duty, and explaining how to satisfy this duty in hard c…Read more
  •  26
    Does the Emolument Rule Exist for the President?
    International Journal of Applied Philosophy 31 (1): 31-43. 2017.
    In this article, I argue that with regard to the President, the Emoluments Clause is not law. I argue for this on the basis of two premises. First, if something is a law, then it has a legal remedy. Second, EC does not have a legal remedy. This premise rests on one or more of the following assumptions: EC does not apply to the President; if EC were to apply to the President, it does not provide a remedy; or, if EC were to apply to the President and have a remedy, it is not law because it is vagu…Read more
  •  46
    Is Violation Pornography Bad for Your Soul?
    Journal of Social Philosophy 35 (3): 349-366. 2004.
    In this paper, I argue that many violent sexual fantasies are not vicious. In the first part of this article, I sketch out the nature of violent sexual fantasies and note that many people regularly have them. I then argue many violent sexual fantasies are not vicious. My argument strategy is to explore what makes an attitude vicious and then to note that the vice-making feature need not be present in such fantasies and is in fact probably not present in many of them. I then explore some of the i…Read more
  •  128
    A Liberal Argument for Slavery
    Journal of Social Philosophy 34 (4): 510-536. 2003.
    The slavery contract is not a rights violation since the right not to be enslaved and the right not to give out a benefit are waivable and the conjunction of their voluntary waiver is not itself a rights violation. The case for the contract being pejoratively exploitative is not clear. Hence given the general presumption in favor of liberty of contract, such a transaction ought to be permitted. The contract is also not invalid on the grounds that the wrongdoer’s consent to it necessarily reflect…Read more
  •  91
    The Principle of Universality asserts that a part retains its intrinsic value regardless of the whole in which it is a part or even whether it is part of a whole. The idea underlying this principle is that the intrinsic value of a thing supervenes on its intrinsic properties. Since the intrinsic properties remain unchanged so does the thing’s intrinsic value. In this article, I argue that, properly understood, the Principle of Universality can handle seemingly troublesome intuitions about the re…Read more
  •  128
    For Interrogational Torture
    International Journal of Applied Philosophy 19 (2): 223-241. 2005.
    Interrogational torture is torture that is done in order to gain information. It is wrong if it either wrongs the person being interrogated or is a free-floating wrong. In the relevant cases, interrogational torture need not wrong the person being interrogated. This is because in many cases it doesn’t, and is known not to, infringe on the tortured person’s moral rights. It is not clear whether interrogational torture is a free-floating wrong since we lack confidence in judging whether it violate…Read more
  •  41
    Review of Alan Wertheimer, Consent to Sexual Relations (review)
    Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2004 (2). 2004.
    Alan Wertheimer’s book, Consent to Sexual Relations, is an important investigation of consent to sex. The book contains many interesting and insightful arguments and does a nice job of distinguishing the considerations that are relevant to moral and legal consent. The book is both broad and narrow. It is broad in that it discusses a broad array of interesting issues, including the psychology of rapists, the types of psychological harm that rape victims suffer, the moral status and nature of cons…Read more
  •  13
    A Unified Theory Of Intrinsic Value
    Reason Papers 29 19-40. 2007.
    There is a series of candidates for the ground of intrinsic value. Different theories posit that the ground consists of some or all of the following: types of experiences, desire-satisfaction, virtue, meaningful relationships, true beliefs, desert-satisfaction, etc. The ground can be local or global depending on whether it grounds value of a spatial, temporal, or fact-specific part of the universe (e.g., Jones enjoying this ice cream) or all facts considered (e.g., the universe over time). In th…Read more
  •  22
    The Trilemma of Desert
    Public Affairs Quarterly 20 (3): 219-233. 2006.
    There are three attractive principles that are held by many desert theorists. (1) Character-Desert Principle: A person’s character is a ground of moral desert. (2) Limited Responsibility for Character Principle: Persons are not fully morally responsible for their character. (3) Moral Responsibility Principle: If something grounds moral desert in a person, then she is fully morally responsible for it. Each of these principles is backed by some strong intuitions or arguments. In this paper, …Read more
  •  64
    Assassination and the immunity theory
    Philosophia 33 (1-4): 129-147. 2005.
    This paper argues for a policy of assassination. Foreign leaders causing unjust wars forfeit their rights against being killed. Killing them also satisfies the conditions on defensive violence that accompany forfeiture (consider, for example, imminence, necessity, and proportionality). Assassination sometimes maximizes the good. In some cases, then, assassination is right and good. A separate issue is whether it is good policy. To the extent that traditional just war theory disallows assassinati…Read more
  •  27
    Objections to the Systematic Imposition of Punitive Torture
    International Journal of Applied Philosophy 13 (1): 47-56. 1999.
    A particular amount of punishment is justified if and only if that amount of punishment is deserved and the desert claim is not overridden. In the case of some multiple murderers or people who perform serious violent acts in addition to murder, the deserved punishment must involve torture. I argue that this legitimate desert claim is not overridden by objections based on notions of brutality and inhumanity, the Kantian concern that persons be treated as ends, the intuitive distaste that many per…Read more
  •  126
    The Morality of Faking Orgasms: Deception in a Dishonest World
    International Journal of Applied Philosophy 26 (1): 85-104. 2012.
    In this essay, I argue that orgasm-faking is permissible. My essay consists of three parts. First, I provide a background sketch of the psychology of orgasm-faking. Second, I argue that it is permissible. Third, I consider other arguments that might be made for the permissibility of faking it