Overview

Most of my research to date has been in ethics, but I also have strong research interests in social philosophy and the philosophy of mind.

The unifying thread of my research is an interest in how metaphysical debates about the nature of ethical, social, and phenomenal properties can be obscured or illuminated by our views, often unstated, about the concepts we use to think about such properties. I also have an enduring interest with respect to philosophical anarchism in political philosophy. Issues involving contextualism in the philosophy of language also creep up across much of my work.


Papers, forthcoming

The World is Not Enough (Joint work with Nathan Robert Howard) Noûs

Very Short Abstract We offer a new, epistemic reading of Derek Parfit's much derided "Normativity Objection". Post-Kripkean synthetic reductivists in ethics need to say more to explain how various normative truths are a priori knowable.


Resisting Reductive Realism Oxford Studies in Metaethics (pending final review, draft available upon request)

Very Short Abstract Ethicists struggle to take reductive views seriously. They also have trouble conceiving of some supervenience failures. Understanding why provides further evidence for a kind of hybrid view of normative concept use.


Moral Constraints on Gender Concepts Ethical Theory and Moral Practice (pending presentation at 2019 BSET, draft available upon request)

Very Short Abstract I argue that a recently influential version of contextualism about terms like 'woman' and 'man' doesn't exhibit the right kind of flexibility to capture the way in which such words are used to communicate. I then float an alternative view that not only looks better suited in this regard, but also makes better sense of the significance of some forms of criticisms of mainstream gender ideology.


Papers, published

The Sense of Incredibility in Ethics Philosophical Studies (2019)

Very Short Abstract I develop a new Hybrid account of the nature of normative concepts and use it to explain why we are able to make certain natural-to-normative inferences and vice versa. I also use it to begin explaining away the Reductivist-unfriendly "just too different" intuition.


Moral Realism, Speech Act Diversity, and Expressivism The Philosophical Quarterly (2019)

Extends the discussion found in my review of Cuneo's book in Journal of Moral Philosophy (2017)

Very Short Abstract I explore Cuneo's transcendental argument for moral realism from the fact that we perform speech acts, arguing along the way, among other things, that his argument isn't neutral between reductive and non-reductive realism and that the book contains resources for offering a new challenge to expressivists.


Reductivism, Nonreductivism, and Incredulity about Streumer's Error Theory Analysis Reviews (2018)

Very Short Abstract I argue that reductivists and nonreductivists have compelling responses to Streumer's objections. I then argue that this offers a more compelling explanation of why we tend to resist believing the error theory than Streumer's explanation that we cannot believe it.


Epistemic Modesty in Ethics Philosophical Studies (2018)

Very Short Abstract After explaining why we cannot know the true "first-order" ethical theory, I show, among other things, how Reductive Realists can appeal to this fact to defend their view from an influential objection.


“Double Review” of On What Matters Volume Three by Derek Parfit and Does Anything Really Matter? Essays on Parfit on Objectivity edited by Peter Singer Ethics (2018)

Very Short Abstract Over the course of summarizing Volume Three and Does Anything Really Matter?, I argue that Parfit does not give us strong reason to think that Naturalists, Expressivists, and Non-Realist Cognitivists agree.


Conceptual Analysis in Metaethics (Joint work with Stephen Finlay) Routledge Handbook of Metaethics (2017)

Very Short Abstract We critically survey, for a general philosophical audience, various positions on the nature, use, possession, and analysis of normative concepts, while highlighting some underappreciated problems for such positions along the way.


Non-Analytical Naturalism and the Nature of Normative Thought: A Reply to Parfit Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (2015)

Very Short Abstract I show that Derek Parfit's (2011) argument for the claim that Synthetic Reductive Realism is either false or incoherent fails.


How to Pull a Metaphysical Rabbit out of an End-Relational Semantic Hat Res Philosophica (2014)

Very Short Abstract I argue that there are several unacknowledged premises that Stephen Finlay (2014) needs to derive Reductivism about the metaphysics of goodness from his semantics for 'good'.