Mark Schroeder

Associate Editors:

James Dreier

Julia Driver

David Estlund

Andrei Marmor

Douglas Portmore

Susan Wampler, Managing Editor

Discussion Note Editor:

Douglas Portmore


Volume I

Issue 1

The Myth of Instrumental Rationality

by Joseph Raz

The paper distinguishes between instrumental reasons and instrumental rationality. It argues that instrumental reasons are not reasons to take the...

April, 2005

"The Government Beguiled Me": The Entrapment Defense and the Problem of Private Entrapment

by Gideon Yaffe

Defendants who are being tried for accepting a temptation issued by the government sometimes employ the entrapment defense. Acquittal of some of...

April, 2005

Two Approaches to Instrumental Rationality and Belief Consistency

by John Brunero

R. Jay Wallace argues that the normativity of instrumental rationality can be traced to the independent rational requirement to hold consistent...

April, 2005

Volume I

Issue 2

The Good, the Bad, and the Blameworthy

by Neil Levy

Accounts of moral responsibility can be divided into those that claim that attributability of an act, omission, or attitude to an agent is sufficient...

June, 2005

Essentially Comparative Concepts

by Jonathan Dancy

This paper examines Larry Temkin’s notion of an ‘essentially comparative’ concept and the uses to which he puts it. It is suggested that this notion...

June, 2005

Is Gibbard a Realist?

by Francois Schroeter

In Thinking How to Live, Allan Gibbard claims that expressivists can vindicate realism about moral discourse. This paper argues that Gibbard’s...

August, 2005

Volume I

Issue 3

Cudworth and Normative Explanations

by Mark Schroeder

Moral theories usually aspire to be explanatory – to tell us why something is wrong, why it is good, or why you ought to do it. So it is worth...

October, 2005

First Force

by William A. Edmundson

The state’s very existence seems morally problematic: there may be a justification, but there had better be. A vivid way of putting this is to say...

November, 2005

Explaining Reasons: Where Does the Buck Stop?

by Ulrike Heuer

The buck-passing account of values offers an explanation of the close relation of values and reasons for action: of why it is that the question...

March, 2006

Volume II

Issue 1

Strict Liability and the Mitigation of Moral Luck

by Greg Keating

The general problem of moral luck—that responsibility is profoundly affected by factors beyond the control of the person held responsible—is often...

August, 2006

Egalitarian Justice and Innocent Choice

by Nir Eyal

In its standard formulation, luck-egalitarianism is false. Disadvantages that result from free choice to take a risk can constitute egalitarian...

January, 2007

A Unified Moral Terrain?

by Stephen Everson

In his book What We Owe to Each Other, Thomas Scanlon proposes what he calls a ‘contractualist’ explanation of what he describes as ‘a central part...

July, 2007

Volume II

Issue 2

Well-Being and Virtue

by Dan Haybron

Perfectionist views of well-being maintain that well-being ultimately consists, at least partly, in excellence or virtue. This paper argues that such...

August, 2007

Welfare, Achievement, and Self-Sacrifice

by Douglas W. Portmore

Many philosophers hold that the achievement of one's goals can contribute to one's welfare apart from whatever independent contributions that the...

September, 2007

'Simply in Virtue of Being Human': the Whos and Whys of Human Rights

by John Gardner

In this paper I raise some questions about the familiar claim, recently reiterated by James Griffin, that human rights are rights that humans have...

February, 2008

Volume II

Issue 3

Contractualism, Reciprocity, Compensation

by David Alm

I argue that it is not possible to give an adequate account, within a Scanlon-style contractualist moral theory of the moral duties to reciprocate...

March, 2008

Hume's Internalism Reconsidered

by Dale Dorsey

A standard reading of Hume on the nature of practical reasons holds that he is a normative internalist; that, for Hume, legitimate practical reasons...

August, 2008

Moral Principles Are Not Moral Laws

by Luke Robinson

What are moral principles? The assumption underlying much of the generalism–particularism debate in ethics is that they are (or would be) moral laws:...

November, 2008

Volume III

Issue 1

Caring and the Boundary-Driven Structure of Practical Deliberation

by Jeffrey Seidman

When a reasonable agent deliberates about what to do, she entertains only a limited range of possible courses of action. A theory of practical...

November, 2008

Saving People and Flipping Coins

by Ben Bradley

Suppose you find yourself in a situation in which you can either save both A and B or save only C. A, B and C are relevantly similar – all are...

March, 2009

Three Millian Ways to Resolve Open Questions

by Andrew Cullison

Millianism is a thesis in philosophy of language that the meaning of a proper name is simply its referent. Millianism faces certain puzzles called...

April, 2009

Volume III

Issue 2

Moorean Arguments and Moral Revisionism

by Tristram McPherson

G. E. Moore famously argued against skepticism and idealism by appealing to their inconsistency with alleged certainties, like the existence of his...

June, 2009

In Defense of the Primacy of Virtues

by Jason Kawall

In this paper I respond to a set of basic objections often raised against those virtue theories in ethics which maintain that moral properties such...

August, 2009

Implanted Desires, Self-Formation, and Blame

by Matthew Talbert

Some theories of moral responsibility assert that whether a person is accountable for her behavior depends partly on facts about her personal...

August, 2009

Volume III

Issue 3

Preferentism and the Paradox of Desire

by Bradford Skow

The basic idea behind actualist preferentism is that getting what one wants makes one's life go better. A recent objection to preferentism is the...

September, 2009

A danger of definition: Polar predicates in moral theory

by Mark Alfano

In this paper, I use an example from the history of philosophy to show how independently defining each side of a pair of contrary predicates is apt...

September, 2009

What Is Wrong with Kamm's and Scanlon's Arguments Against Taurek

by Tyler Doggett

Abstract: In forced choices between lives, where one group is larger than the other, Taurek claims you can save the few. Kamm and Scanlon argue that...

October, 2009

Volume IV

Issue 1

Beyond History: The Ongoing Aspects of Autonomy

by Steven Weimer

Historical accounts of autonomy hold that the autonomy of pro-attitudes depends, at least in part, on the way in which they came about. ...

November, 2009

Rossian Minimalism

by Ned Markosian

The main question addressed in this paper is: What is the most promising ethical theory (specifying necessary and sufficient conditions for any...

December, 2009

Moral Intuitions, Reliability, and Disagreement

by David Killoren

There is an ancient, yet still lively, debate in moral epistemology about the epistemic significance of disagreement. One of the important questions...

January, 2010

Volume IV

Issue 2

What Knowledge is Necessary for Virtue?

by Olivia Bailey

Critics contend that Aristotelianism demands too much of the virtuous person in the way of knowledge to be credible. This general charge is usually...

February, 2010

When Will Your Consequentialist Friend Abandon You for the Greater Good?

by Scott Woodcock

According to a well-known objection to consequentialism, the answer to the preceding question is alarmingly straightforward: your consequentialist...

February, 2010

Desire Satisfactionism and the Problem of Irrelevant Desires

by Mark Lukas

Desire-satisfaction theories about welfare come in two main varieties: unrestricted and restricted. Both varieties hold that a person's welfare is...

June, 2010

Volume IV

Issue 3

Four Solutions the the Alleged Incompleteness of Virtue Ethics

by Sean McAleer

In “Virtue and Right,” Robert Johnson argues that virtue ethics that accept standards such as Virtuous Agent (A’s x-ing is right in circumstances c...

August, 2010

Should Desert Replace Equality? Replies to Kagan

by Michael Weber

Many people are moved by the thought that if A is worse off than B, then if we can improve the condition of one or the other but not both that it is...

August, 2010

Agent-Relative Value and Agent-Relative Restrictions

by Stephen Emet

In this article I pose a challenge for attempts to ground all reasons in considerations of value. Some believe that all reasons for action are...

October, 2010

Volume V

Issue 1

The Enforcement Approach to Coercion

by Scott Anderson

This essay differentiates two approaches to understanding the concept of coercion, and argues for the relative merits of the one currently out of...

October, 2010

Is a Feminist Political Liberalism Possible?

by Christie Hartley, Lori Watson

Is a feminist political liberalism possible? Political liberalism’s regard for a wide range of comprehensive doctrines as reasonable makes some...

October, 2010

Character Traits, Social Psychology, and Impediments to Helping Behavior

by Christian Miller

In a number of recent papers, I have begun to develop a new theory of character which is conceptually distinct both from traditional Aristotelian...

November, 2010

Volume V

Issue 2

Saving Lives and Respecting Persons

by Greg Bognar, Samuel J. Kerstein

In the distribution of resources, persons must be respected, or so many philosophers contend. Unfortunately, they often leave it unclear why a...

November, 2010

Meriting Concern and Meriting Respect

by Jon Garthoff

Recently there has been a somewhat surprising interest among Kantian theorists in the moral standing of animals, coupled with a no less surprising...

February, 2011

In Defense of the Wide-Scope Instrumental Principle

by Simon Rippon

I make the observation that English sentences such as “You have reason to take the bus or to take the train” do not have the logical form that they...

February, 2011

Volume V

Issue 3

Deviant Formal Causation

by Sarah Paul

What is the role of practical thought in determining the intentional action that is performed? Donald Davidson’s influential answer to this question...

April, 2011

Self-Evidence and Disagreement in Ethics

by Ryan Fanselow

Moral epistemology, like general epistemology, faces a regress problem. Suppose someone demands to know why I am justified in holding a moral belief....

August, 2011

'Ought' and the Perspective of the Agent

by Benjamin Kiesewetter

Objectivists and perspectivists disagree about the question of whether what an agent ought to do depends on the totality of facts or on the agent’s...

October, 2011

Volume VI

Issue 1

The Humean Theory of Practical Irrationality

by Neil Sinhababu

Christine Korsgaard has argued that Humean views about action and practical rationality jointly imply the impossibility of irrational action....

November, 2011

The Locative Analysis of Good For Formulated and Defended

by Guy Fletcher

THE STRUCTURE OF THIS PAPER IS AS FOLLOWS. I begin §1 by dealing with preliminary issues such as the different relations expressed by the “good...

January, 2012

Gender Justice

by Anca Gheaus

I propose, defend and illustrate a principle of gender justice meant to capture the nature of a variety of injustices based on gender: A society is...

January, 2012

Volume VI

Issue 2

Could Morality Have a Source?

by Chris Heathwood

It is a common idea that morality, or moral truths, if there are any, must have some sort of source, or grounding. It has also been claimed that...

April, 2012

Against the Being For Account of Normative Certitude

by Jonas Olson, Krister Bykvist

Just as we can be more or less certain about empirical matters, we can be more or less certain about normative matters. Recently, it has been argued...

July, 2012

Moral Responsibility and Merit

by Matt King

In the contemporary moral responsibility debate, most theorists seem to be giving accounts of responsibility in the "desert-entailing sense." Despite...

August, 2012

Volume VI

Issue 3

Objective Morality, Subjective Morality, and the Explanatory Question

by Dale Dorsey

A common presupposition in metaethical theory is that moral assessment comes in (at least) two flavors, one of which is sensitive to our epistemic...

August, 2012

The Normative Significance of Conscience

by Kyle Swan, Kevin Vallier

Despite the increasing amount of literature on the legal and political questions triggered by a commitment to liberty of conscience, an explanation...

September, 2012

Inescapability and Normativity

by Matthew Silverstein

When we make ethical claims, we invoke a kind of objective authority. A familiar worry about our ethical practices is that this invocation of...

December, 2012

Volume VII

Issue 1

Evolutionary Debunking, Moral Realism and Moral Knowledge

by Russ Shafer-Landau

This paper reconstructs what I take to be the central evolutionary debunking argument that underlies recent critiques of moral realism. The argument...

December, 2012

Moral Error Theory and the Argument from Epistemic Reasons

by Richard Rowland

In this paper I defend what I call the argument from epistemic reasons against the moral error theory. I argue that the moral error theory entails...

January, 2013

Volume VII

Issue 2

The Human Right to Political Participation

by Fabienne Peter

In recent developments in political and legal philosophy, there is a tendency to endorse minimalist lists of human rights that do not include a right...

February, 2013

Objectivism and Prospectivism about Rightness

by Elinor Mason

In this paper I present a new argument for prospectivism: the view that, for a consequentialist, rightness depends on what is prospectively best...

March, 2013

Aggregation, Beneficence and Chance

by Tom Dougherty

It is plausible to think that it is wrong to cure many people’s headaches rather than save someone else’s life. On the other hand, it is plausible to...

May, 2013

Volume VII

Issue 3

Answerability without Answers

by Graham Hubbs

The classical ethical questions of whether and to what extent moral criticism is a sort of rational criticism have received renewed interest in...

August, 2013

The Significance of a Duty’s Direction: Claiming Priority Rather than Prioritizing Claims

by Marcus Hedahl

Agents do not merely have duties – they often have directed duties to others. This paper first reveals problems with traditional attempts to equate...

September, 2013

Anchoring a Revisionist Account of Moral Responsibility

by Kelly McCormick

Revisionism about moral responsibility is the view that we would do well to distinguish between what we think about moral responsibility and what we...

December, 2013

Volume VIII

Issue 1

Keep Things in Perspective: Reasons, Rationality, and the A Priori

by Daniel Whiting

Objective reasons are given by the facts. Subjective reasons are given by one’s perspective on the facts. Subjective reasons, not objective reasons,...

March, 2014

Against Institutional Luck Egalitarianism

by Rekha Nath

Kok-Chor Tan has recently defended a novel theory of egalitarian distributive justice, institutional luck egalitarianism (ILE). On this theory, it is...

August, 2014

Volume VIII

Issue 2

"Freedom and Resentment" and Consequentialism: Why 'Strawson's Point' Is Not Strawson's Point

by Dale E. Miller

In The Second-Person Standpoint, Stephen Darwall offers an interpretation of P. F. Strawson’s “Freedom and Resentment” according to which the...

September, 2014

The State's Duty to Ensure Children Are Loved

by Luara Ferracioli

Do children have a right to be loved? An affirmative answer faces two immediate challenges: (i) A child’s basic needs can be met without love,...

September, 2014

The Abductive Case for Humeanism over Quasi-Perceptual Theories of Desire

by Derek Baker

A number of philosophers have offered quasi-perceptual theories of desire, according to which to desire something is roughly to “see” it as having...

October, 2014

Volume VIII

Issue 3

Moral Disagreement and Epistemic Advantages: A Challenge to McGrath

by Ben Sherman

Sarah McGrath (2008; 2011) argues that, when it comes to our controversial moral views, we have no reason to think that we are less likely to be in...

November, 2014

On the Nature, Existence and Significance of Organic Unities

by Michael J. Zimmerman

Many philosophers have endorsed G. E. Moore’s principle of organic unities – according to which the value of a whole must not be assumed to be the...

January, 2015


by Michael Rabenberg

In recent years, philosophers have proposed a variety of accounts of the nature of harm. In this paper, I consider several of these accounts and...

January, 2015

Volume IX

Issue 1

Unfinished Adults and Defective Children: On the Nature and Value of Childhood

by Anca Gheaus

Traditionally, most philosophers saw childhood as a state of deficiency and thought that its value was entirely dependent on how successfully it...

February, 2015

How to Solve Prichard's Dilemma: A Complex Contractualist Account of Moral Motivation

by Travis Rieder

T. M. Scanlon’s contractualist account of morality is articulated alongside and built upon groundbreaking work on moral motivation. According to...

April, 2015

Manipulation Arguments and the Standing to Blame

by Matt King

The majority of recent work on the moral standing to blame (the idea that A may be unable to legitimately blame B despite B being blameworthy) has...

June, 2015

Volume IX

Issue 2

Humean Externalism and the Argument from Depression

by Steven Swartzer

Several prominent philosophers have argued that the fact that depressed agents sometimes make moral judgments without being appropriately motivated...

June, 2015

Moral Explanations, Thick and Thin

by Brendan Cline

Cornell realists maintain that irreducible moral properties have earned a place in our ontology in virtue of the indispensable role they play in a...

September, 2015

Side Effects and the Structure of Deliberation

by Grant Rozeboom

There is a puzzle about the very possibility of foreseen but unintended side effects, and solving this puzzle requires us to revise our basic picture...

September, 2015

Volume IX

Issue 3

Distributing Collective Obligation

by Sean Aas

In this paper I develop an account of member obligation: the obligations that fall on the members of an obligated collective in virtue of that...

October, 2015

I Might Be Fundamentally Mistaken

by Michael Ridge

Quasi-realism aspires to preserve the intelligibility of the realist-sounding moral judgments of ordinary people. These judgments include ones of the...

October, 2015

Is It Bad to Be Disabled? Adjudicating Between the Mere-Difference and the Bad-Difference Views of Disability

by Joachim Wündisch, Vuko Andric

This paper examines the impact of disability on wellbeing and presents arguments against the mere-difference view of disability. According to the...

December, 2015

Volume X

Issue 1

Resisting Tracing's Siren Song

by Craig Agule

Drunk drivers and other culpably incapacitated wrongdoers are often taken to pose a problem for reasons-responsiveness accounts of moral...

January, 2016

Reducing Reasons

by Matthew Silverstein

Reasons are considerations that figure in sound reasoning. This is considered by many philosophers to be little more than a platitude. I argue that...

February, 2016

The Normative Significance of Self

by Dale Dorsey

A number of recent (and not so recent) works in the metaethics of practical rationality have suggested that features of a person’s character,...

April, 2016

Volume X

Issue 2

Reconsidering Resolutions

by Alida Liberman

In Willing, Wanting, Waiting, Richard Holton lays out a detailed account of resolutions, arguing that they enable agents to resist temptation. Holton...

May, 2016

Liberalism or Immigration Restrictions, But Not Both

by Christopher Freiman, Javier Hidalgo

This paper argues for a dilemma: you can accept liberalism or immigration restrictions, but not both. More specifically, the standard arguments for...

May, 2016

Quirky Desires and Well-Being

by Donald Bruckner

According to a desire-satisfaction theory of well-being, the satisfaction of one’s desires is what promotes one’s well-being. Against this, it is...

June, 2016

Volume X

Issue 3

The Guise of the Bad

by Joseph Raz

My topic is the possibility of acting in the belief that the action is bad and for the reason that it is, as the agent believes, bad. On route, I...

July, 2016

Normative Source and Extensional Adequacy

by Jeff Behrends

Internalists about practical reasons maintain that all of an agent’s reasons for action derive their normative force via some relation in which they...

August, 2016

Actualism Has Control Issues

by Travis Timmerman, Yishai Cohen

According to actualism, an agent ought to φ just in case what would happen if she were to φ is better than what would happen if she were to...

October, 2016

ISSN 1559-3061
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