Grantham University
  •  4
    In defence of spanking
    Think 19 (54): 49-54. 2020.
    Opponents of spanking rest their arguments on the implicit assumption that punishment can only be justified by its corrective or deterrent effects. But this is a questionable assumption. Punishment is fundamentally about retribution: it seeks to give a wrongdoer what he deserves. It is for this reason that corporal punishment is morally permissible, irrespective of whether it corrects or deters future misbehaviour.
  •  28
    How to think about the gun control debate
    Think 18 (52): 21-29. 2019.
    Many on both sides of the gun control debate are under the impression that the best way to settle it is by weighing outcomes in the context of a utilitarian cost-benefit analysis. This article suggests that this way of thinking about the gun control debate is fundamentally mistaken. What matters is not the risk that guns pose to society, but simply whether guns are a reasonable means of self-defence when used to resist crimes. What this means is that even if we were to grant the claim that gun o…Read more
  •  19
    The Perverted Faculty Argument
    Philosophia Christi 19 (1): 207-216. 2017.
  •  33
    A Moral Defense of Trophy Hunting
    Sport, Ethics and Philosophy 14 (1): 26-34. 2020.
    ABSTRACTThis paper defends the morality of hunting for sport, also known as recreational or trophy hunting. Using an argument from analogy, I argue that there is no morally relevant difference betw...
  •  90
    The Moral Case for Gun Ownership
    In Bob Fischer (ed.), Ethics, Left and Right: The Moral Issues that Divide Us, Oxford University Press. forthcoming.
    I’ll argue in this essay that individuals should be allowed to own firearms. In making the case for this position, I’ll defend the following two claims: 1. The best research does not show that gun ownership results in more harms than benefits. This fact, in addition to the substantial self-defense benefits that guns offer and the value of personal liberty, supports a presumption in favor of gun ownership. 2. Even if the overall harms of gun ownership were to outweigh its overall benefits, …Read more
  •  58
    Why Recreational Drug Use Is Immoral
    The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 17 (4): 605-614. 2017.
    This paper argues for two claims. First, recreational drug use is immoral because it undermines cognitive functioning. Second, for similar reasons, the state has a prima facie public policy interest in enacting legal restrictions on recreational drug use. In this context, “recreational drug use” refers to activities in which a person uses some intoxicating substance to impair, destroy, or otherwise frustrate the functioning of his cognitive faculties for the sake of pleasure or enjoyment.
  •  61
    A Carnivorous Rejoinder to Bruers and Erdös
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (6): 1127-1138. 2015.
    In an earlier paper, I defended the moral permissibility of eating meat against sentience-based arguments for moral vegetarianism. The crux of my argument was that sentience is not an intrinsically morally salient property, and that animals lack moral status because they lack a root capacity for rational agency. Accordingly, it is morally permissible to consume meat even if doing so is not strictly necessary for our nutrition. This paper responds to critiques of my argument by Bruers :705–717, 2…Read more
  •  25
    Firmin DeBrabander, Do Guns Make Us Free?
    Journal of Value Inquiry 50 (3): 659-665. 2016.
  •  916
    Against Moderate Gun Control
    with C'Zar Bernstein
    Libertarian Papers 8 293-310. 2016.
    Arguments for handgun ownership typically appeal to handguns’ value as an effective means of self-protection. Against this, critics argue that private ownership of handguns leads to more social harm than it prevents. Both sides make powerful arguments, and in the absence of a reasonable consensus regarding the merits of gun ownership, David DeGrazia proposes two gun control policies that ‘reasonable disputants on both sides of the issue have principled reasons to accept.’ These policies hinge on…Read more
  •  159
    Industrial Farming is Not Cruel to Animals
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 30 (1): 37-54. 2017.
    Critics of industrial animal agriculture have argued that its practices are cruel, inhumane, or otherwise degrading to animals. These arguments sometimes form the basis of a larger case for the complete abolition of animal agriculture, while others argue for more modest welfare-based reforms that allow for certain types of industrial farming. This paper defends industrial farming against the charge of cruelty. As upsetting as certain practices may seem, I argue that they need not be construed as…Read more
  •  56
    The Ethics of ‘Gun-Free Zones’
    Philosophia 45 (2): 659-676. 2017.
    I argue that location-specific gun bans are typically unjust. If there is a right to carry firearms outside of one’s home, then the state cannot prohibit gun owners from carrying their firearms into certain areas without assuming a special duty of protecting those whom it coercively disarms. This task is practically impossible in most of the areas where guns are commonly banned. Gun owners should therefore be allowed to carry their guns in most public places, including college campuses.
  •  298
    The Moral Right to Keep and Bear Firearms
    with C'Zar Bernstein and Matthew Palumbo
    Public Affairs Quarterly 29 (4). 2015.
    The moral right to keep and bear arms is entailed by the moral right of self-defense. We argue that the ownership and use of firearms is a reasonable means of exercising these rights. Given their defensive value, there is a strong presumption in favor of enacting civil rights to keep and bear arms ranging from handguns to ‘assault rifles.’ Thus, states are morally obliged as a matter of justice to recognize basic liberties for firearm ownership and usage. Throughout this paper we build upon the …Read more
  •  638
    In Defense of Eating Meat
    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 28 (2): 277-291. 2015.
    Some arguments for moral vegetarianism proceed by appealing to widely held beliefs about the immorality of causing unjustified pain. Combined with the claim that meat is not needed for our nourishment and that killing animals for this reason causes them unjustified pain, they yield the conclusion that eating meat is immoral. However, what counts as a good enough reason for causing pain will depend largely on what we think about the moral status of animals. Implicit in these arguments is the clai…Read more
  •  200
    A Defense of the Perverted Faculty Argument against Homosexual Sex
    Heythrop Journal 56 (5): 751-758. 2015.
    Critics of homosexual activity often appeal to some form of natural law theory as a basis for their arguments. According to one version of natural law theory, actions that “pervert” or misuse a bodily faculty are immoral. In this paper, I argue that this “perverted faculty argument” provides a successful account of good and evil action. Several objections are assessed and found inadequate.
  •  80
    Against Gun Bans and Restrictive Licensing
    Essays in Philosophy 16 (2): 180-203. 2015.
    Arguments in favor of an individual moral right to keep and bear firearms typically appeal to the value of guns as a reasonable means of self-defense. This is, for the most part, an empirical claim. If it were shown that allowing private gun ownership would lead to an overall net increase in crime or other social harms, then the strength of a putative right to own a gun would be diminished. But would it be defeated completely? I do not think so, and indeed I want to suggest in this paper that ev…Read more
  •  102
    Consenting Adults, Sex, and Natural Law Theory
    Philosophia 44 (2): 1-21. 2016.
    This paper argues for the superiority of natural law theory over consent -based approaches to sexual morality. I begin by criticizing the “consenting adults” sexual ethic that is dominant in contemporary Western culture. I then argue that natural law theory provides a better account of sexual morality. In particular, I will defend the “perverted faculty argument”, according to which it is immoral to use one’s bodily faculties contrary to their proper end.