Work in Progress

Please feel free to email me to request drafts of any of the below.

 

Promises as Proposals in Joint Practical Deliberation

I argue that to promise to φ is to propose in a particular way to make a joint decision to the effect that one will φ. I defend this deliberative theory by showing how it enables us to explain promises' various features by appeal to the structure of joint practical deliberation.

 

What Is Obligation?

There are some things I ought to do, but am not obligated to do - say, floss regularly. But other things I ought to do - keeping my promises, not punching people - are obligatory. What accounts for this distinction? I defend a theory on which the distinctive feature of obligations is that they are based in the reasons that apply in our joint deliberation with other people.

 

Ethics and the Limits of Armchair Sociology

I raise an epistemic worry about theories that explain the truth of moral principles by appeal to claims about what would happen if those principles were widely adopted.


Published Articles

Moral Psychology as Accountability (with Stephen Darwall)

[author's draft]  [published version]

In Moral Psychology and Human Agency: Philosophical Essays on the Science of Ethics, edited by Justin D'Arms and Daniel Jacobson, 40-83. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 2014.

We argue that experimental work on moral motivation both lends support to and is illuminated by certain philosophical theses about the conceptual connections between moral obligation, blame and guilt, and interpersonal accountability.

 

The Addict in Us All (with Richard Holton)

[published version]

Frontiers in Psychiatry, 5(149): 1-20. 2014.

We propose a unified model of self-control conflict that aims to capture the psychological mechanisms underlying both addiction and ordinary temptation. The upshot of our model is that the self-control challenge faced by addicted persons is not different in kind from that faced by non-addicted persons, though of course the former is far more difficult.


Public Philosophy

People are dying because we misunderstand how those with addiction think

Vox.com, March 2018

Argues that many harmful-but-persistent ways of thinking about addiction may be implicitly based in the Socratic assumption that people always do what they think is best. Suggests that attending to the divided nature of the mind might help us adopt a more sympathetic and productive approach to addiction.

 

Can I make the world a better place?

Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics Blog, December 2017

Tries to explain why James Lenman's paper "Consequentialism and Cluelessness" has me completely stumped.


Book Reviews

Review of Anthony Simon Laden, Reasoning: A Social Picture

[author's draft]  [published version]

Philosophical Review, 125(3): pp. 435-439. 2016.