•  545
    Evolutionary Debunking Arguments Meet Evolutionary Science
    with Arnon Levy
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 100 (3): 491-509. 2020.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments appeal to selective etiologies of human morality in an attempt to undermine moral realism. But is morality actually the product of evolution by natural selection? Although debunking arguments have attracted considerable attention in recent years, little of it has been devoted to whether the underlying evolutionary assumptions are credible. In this paper, we take a closer look at the evolutionary hypotheses put forward by two leading debunkers, namely Sharon Stree…Read more
  •  462
    Intentional action first
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (4): 705-718. 2013.
    The paper motivates a novel research programme in the philosophy of action parallel to the ‘Knowledge First’ programme in epistemology. It is argued that much of the grounds for abandoning the quest for a reductive analysis of knowledge in favour of the Knowledge First alternative is mirrored in the case of intentional action, inviting the hypothesis that intentional action is also, like knowledge, metaphysically basic. The paper goes on to demonstrate the sort of explanatory contribution that i…Read more
  •  419
    Rationality requires that our mental attitudes exhibit specific patterns of coherence. Do we have reason to comply? 'Prichardian Quietists' regard this question as fundamentally confused: the only reasons to comply with rational requirements are the ones given by the requirements themselves. In this paper, I argue that PQ fails. I proceed by granting that Prichard's own position, from which PQ draws inspiration, is defensible, while identifying three serious problems with the parallel position a…Read more
  •  331
    Constructivism and the Problem of Normative Indeterminacy
    Journal of Value Inquiry 53 (2): 243-253. 2019.
    I describe a new problem for metaethical constructivism. The problem arises when agents make conflicting judgments, so that the constructivist is implausibly committed to denying they have any reason for any of the available options. The problem is illustrated primarily with reference to Sharon Street’s version of constructivism. Several possible solutions to the problem are explained and rejected.
  •  324
    Why cognitivism?
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy 48 (2): 223-244. 2018.
    Intention Cognitivism – the doctrine that intending to V entails, or even consists in, believing that one will V – is an important position with potentially wide-ranging implications, such as a revisionary understanding of practical reason, and a vindicating explanation of 'Practical Knowledge'. In this paper, I critically examine the standard arguments adduced in support of IC, including arguments from the parity of expression of intention and belief; from the ability to plan around one's inten…Read more
  •  321
    Is attending a mental process?
    Mind and Language 34 (3): 283-298. 2019.
    The nature of attention has been the topic of a lively research programme in psychology for over a century. But there is widespread agreement that none of the theories on offer manage to fully capture the nature of attention. Recently, philosophers have become interested in the debate again after a prolonged period of neglect. This paper contributes to the project of explaining the nature of attention. It starts off by critically examining Christopher Mole’s prominent “adverbial” account of atte…Read more
  •  307
    The Debunking Challenge to Realism: How Evolution (Ultimately) Matters
    with Levy Arnon
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (1): 1-8. 2016.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments (EDAs) have attracted extensive attention in meta-ethics, as they pose an important challenge to moral realism. Mogensen (2015) suggests that EDAs contain a fallacy, by confusing two distinct forms of biological explanation – ultimate and proximate. If correct, the point is of considerable importance: evolutionary genealogies of human morality are simply irrelevant for debunking. But we argue that the actual situation is subtler: while ultimate claims do not stri…Read more
  •  301
    What is ‘mental action’?
    Philosophical Psychology 32 (6): 971-993. 2019.
    There has been a resurgence of interest lately within philosophy of mind and action in the category of mental action. Against this background, the present paper aims to question the very possibility, or at least the theoretical significance, of teasing apart mental and bodily acts. After raising some doubts over the viability of various possible ways of drawing the mental act/bodily act distinction, the paper draws some lessons from debates over embodied cognition, which arguably further underm…Read more
  •  171
    Action Unified
    Philosophical Quarterly. forthcoming.
    Mental acts are conspicuously absent from philosophical debates over the nature of action. A typical protagonist of a typical scenario is far more likely to raise her arm or open the window than she is to perform a calculation in her head or talk to herself silently. One possible explanation for this omission is that the standard ‘causalist’ account of action, on which acts are analyzed in terms of mental states causing bodily movements, faces difficulties in accommodating some paradigmatic case…Read more
  •  149
    Disjunctivism about Intending
    American Philosophical Quarterly. forthcoming.
    The overwhelmingly predominant view in philosophy sees intending as a mental state, specifically a plan-like state. This paper rejects the predominant view in favour of a starkly opposed novel alternative. After criticizing both the predominant Bratman-esque view of intention, and an alternative view inspired by Michael Thompson, the paper proceeds to set out and defend the idea that acting with an intention to V should be understood disjunctively, as (roughy) either one’s V-ing intentionally or…Read more
  •  142
    Normativity and self-relations
    Philosophical Studies 172 (2): 359-374. 2015.
    The paper criticizes two prominent accounts which purport to explain normativity by appealing to some relation that one bears to oneself. Michael Bratman argues that one has reason to be formally coherent because otherwise one would fail to govern oneself. And David Velleman argues that one has reason to be formally coherent because otherwise one would be less intelligible to oneself. Both Bratman and Velleman argue in quite different ways that rational coherence is normative because it is neces…Read more
  •  142
    Events, processes, and the time of a killing
    Ratio 33 (3): 138-144. 2020.
    The paper proposes a novel solution to the problem of the time of a killing (ToK), which persistently besets theories of act-individuation. The solution proposed claims to expose a crucial wrong-headed assumption in the debate, according to which ToK is essentially a problem of locating some event that corresponds to the killing. The alternative proposal put forward here turns on recognizing a separate category of dynamic occurents, viz. processes. The paper does not aim to mount a comprehensive…Read more
  •  88
    Money Pumps, Diachronic and Synchronic
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy. 2014.
    The Money Pump argument is designed to demonstrate the irrational flaw of having cyclic preferences, by showing how the irrational agent is vulnerable to exploitation. The argument faces some longstanding objections, which point out how one may avoid the threat of exploitation without resolving the associated irrationality. Recently a new, synchronic version of Money Pump has been put forward which promises to undercut those standard objections. However, I argue that the synchronic Money Pump ca…Read more
  •  87
    Money Pumps, Diachronic and Synchronic
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy. forthcoming.
  •  5
    Money Pumps, Synchronic and Diachronic
    Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 8 (2): 1-7. 2014.
    No abstract.