Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Moore, Brentano, and Scanlon: A Defense of Indefinability. Philosophical Studies (forthcoming)
Mooreans claim that intrinsic goodness is a conceptual primitive. Fitting-attitude theorists object: they say that goodness should be defined in terms of what it is fitting for us to value. The Moorean view is often considered a relic; the fitting-attitude view is increasingly popular. I think this unfortunate. I dedicate myself to the influential arguments marshaled against Moore’s program, including those advanced by Scanlon, Stratton-Lake and Hooker, and Jacobson; I argue that they do not succeed.
From an Axiological Standpoint. Ratio (2019)
I maintain that intrinsic value is the fundamental concept of axiology. Many disagree; they say the proper object of value theory is final value. I examine extant accounts of the nature of final value. In each case, I argue that the concept of final value described is either identical with the classical notion of intrinsic value or is not a plausible candidate for the primary concept of axiology.
Simply Good: A Defense of the Principia. Utilitas (2018)
Moore's moral program is increasingly unpopular. Judith Jarvis Thomson's attack has been influential; she says the Moorean project fails because ‘there is no such thing as goodness’. I argue that her objection fails: while Thomson is correct that the kind of generic goodness she targets is incoherent, it is not, I believe, the kind of goodness central to the Principia.
The Pen, the Dress and the Coat: A Confusion in Goodness. Philosophical Studies (2016)
Conditionalists say that the value something has as an end—its final value—may be conditional on its extrinsic features. I attend to the three most popular examples given to support the conditional position; I argue that they do not succeed.
Two Kinds of Value Pluralism. Utilitas (2016)
I claim that there are two distinct views called ‘value pluralism’ in contemporary axiology, but that these positions have not been properly stated or distinguished. I separate and elucidate these views, and show how the distinction between them affects the contemporary debate about value pluralism.
Do works of art have some particular function or purpose? Must they be beautiful, expressive, or engender a certain kind of experience? Or is something a work of art simply because it is deemed so by artists and critics? This course will provide an introduction to aesthetics by way of fundamental puzzles in the philosophy of art. Our primary focus will be the nature of art: we will examine and evaluate views about what makes something an artwork. Our secondary focus will be the value of art: we will attempt to explain why art is important and to understand how we should respond to works of art.
How should we live our lives? What do we owe to each other? And how might we answer such questions? This course will provide an introduction to moral reasoning. We will first learn about basic logic and the nature of arguments. After, we will try to determine whether there might be some overriding principle that we can rely on to specify our obligations and resolve our moral disputes. Finally, if time permits, we will turn to topics in applied ethics, and employ the skills we have acquired over the semester to extract and evaluate arguments from popular philosophical papers. Our investigations will be rigorous: in each case, we will attempt to provide careful formulations of the relevant doctrines, methods, and arguments.
Ph.D. Philosophy (2017)
Dissertation: "The Concept of Intrinsic Goodness: Essays in Moorean Moral Philosophy"
Director: Fred Feldman.
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Starke House, #304
915 W. Franklin St.
Richmond, VA 23284