I work primarily in metaethics, metaphysics, and epistemology, and I dabble in normative ethics, moral psychology, and philosophy of language.
Grounding and Normativity forthcoming in The Routledge Handbook of Metaphysical Grounding
Choosing Normative Properties: a reply to Eklund's Choosing Normative Concepts forthcoming in Inquiry [Penultimate Draft]
Non-naturalism and Normative Necessities Oxford Studies in Metaethics 12 (2017) [Penultimate Draft]
Works In Progress
"What is Moorean Non-naturalism?" Most metaethicists take the sort of non-naturalist view endorsed by Moore and his followers to amount to either a claim about identity or a claim about grounding. In this paper, however, I argue that specifying non-naturalism just in terms of identity is at best not illuminating, and specifying the view in terms of grounding either makes the naturalism vs. non-naturalism debate settled by general metaphysical considerations or fails to make room for Moore himself to count as a genuine non-naturalist. So, instead, I propose that we understand the view in terms of essence: specifically, as the claim that the essences of at least some normative properties cannot be ultimately specified in entirely non-normative terms and do not specify non-normative sufficient conditions for their instantiation. Characterizing the view in these terms most clearly captures the non-naturalist's core pre-theoretical claims in a way that makes it a substantive, local view about normative properties and makes room for Moore. (Draft)
"Why be a Non-naturalist?" Naturalists, I argue, are committed to taking what I call a "language first" approach to answering to the question of which properties are normative properties: they must claim that the normative properties are simply whatever natural properties stand in the right metasemantic relation to our normative terms. Non-naturalists, on the other hand, may instead offer a "metaphysics first" approach to answering this question: according to the non-naturalist, whether a property is a normative one does not depend on whether it stands in the right metasemantic relation to our normative terms, but instead on whether it has a sui generis normative essence. I argue that this difference between the two views is a crucial one, which shows that only non-naturalism secures the sort of ardent realist view according to which reality itself objectively backs certain ways of acting and valuing.
“Weighing Practical and Epistemic Reasons” Pluralists claim that there are both practical and epistemic reasons for belief. I argue that this view leads to the result that there are both practical and epistemic reasons for action as well and that this presents a puzzle for the pluralist who aims to provide an account of how practical and epistemic reasons weigh against one another to determine what one all-things-considered-ought to believe. If there are epistemic reasons for action, a good weighing account must be equally applicable to action and belief. But if we look at structurally similar cases involving competing practical and epistemic reasons for action and belief, it looks like our intuitions about what one all-things-considered-ought to do diverge between action and belief cases. So, it seems like no unified weighing account can be given. After motivating this puzzle, I then propose a solution to it.