Published & Forthcoming Papers
You can find more details on these paper using the links below.
Attraction, Aversion, and Asymmetrical Desire — in Ethics
I argue that desire's significance for well-being is derived from a pair of more fundamental attitudes—attraction and aversion—with differing significance for well-being.
The Pleasure Problem and the Spriggean Solution — in Journal of the American Philosophical Association
I defend Sprigge's claim that there are necessary connections between our phenomenology and our attitudes, and I argue that this dissolves an important debate between subjectivists and objectivists.
How Do We Differ When We Differ in Tastes? — in Ergo
When we differ in tastes, do our experiences differ phenomenologically? I argue “yes”, and show why the answer matters for debates in the philosophy of mind and value.
An Honest Look at Hybrid Theories of Pleasure — in Philosophical Studies
According to the leading theories of pleasure in ethics, the pleasantness of our experiences is determined by either their phenomenology or our attitudes towards them. I critically examine a hybrid approach.
Why Humean Causation is Extrinsic — in Thought
Humeans are committed to the thesis that for any causal facts pertaining to a region, those facts pertain to that region extrinsically. I show why Humeans cannot escape this (problematic) commitment.
Papers in Progress
Listed in order from most to least complete. Please feel free to email me if you're interested in reading a draft!
The Dilemma for the Attitudinal Theory of Pleasure (with Alex Dietz) — accepted at Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Mind
We argue that attitudinal theorists must either accept that pleasantness can come radically apart from phenomenology, or else give up their main objection to their main rival: the phenomenological theory.
Bad Lives Worth Living
I argue that, even if it turns out that most people's lives are not good for them, it would still be permissible to create new people, roughly because we are often in a position to predict that new people will be glad to have been created.
An Expanded Role for Pleasure in Well-Being
I argue that the desires relevant to well-being are reducible to episodes of pleasure and displeasure, but that they can be satisfied and frustrated like other desires. The result is a hybrid view between hedonism and desire satisfactionism.
An All-Natural Recipe for Objective Value
I argue for a reduction of objective value in causal and epistemic terms — roughly, objectively valuable states of affairs are those that we are necessarily and intelligibly motivated to promote insofar as we are properly aware of them.
Listed in order from most to least worked out.
Natural Magnetism and Motivation
I argue that, on a pre-theoretically plausible view about the metaphysics of causation, there can be states of affairs which are "objectively motivating" in pretty much exactly the way that Mackie thought "queer".
Why Aggregation is Aggravating
I argue that population ethics is hard for the same reason that animal ethics is hard: we are ignorant of some normatively-crucial facts. Just as we don't know what it's like to be certain animals, we also don't know what it is like to be populations.
The Creepiness of AI Decisions: Beyond Bias and Opacity
I argue that existing AI systems are incapable of genuinely caring about those who are affected by the AI's decisions, and that this lack of care conflicts with what ordinary folk morality tells us about important decision making.
The Limits of Affect
I explore whether there are any limits on the intensity of an experience's pleasantness or unpleasantness, and I motivate the view that the answer has serious normative significance (for, e.g., animal ethics).
Metaphysics and Absurdity
I explore three kinds of eliminitivism — about free will, phenomenal consciousness, and personal identity — and explore whether there are any general grounds for doubting arguments from these views to a kind of absurdism.
Mill's Desirability Argument Revisited (with Jennifer Foster)
We provide a new, abductive interpretation of Mill’s argument for utilitarianism. We show that Mill’s argument, thus interpreted, is both independently compelling and immune to Moore’s criticisms.