Research

White Cat sitting on an open book: "Four Views on Free Will"My general philosophical interests are in emotion, moral responsibility, ethics, social and political theory, and agency theory. I have current projects on forgiveness, punishment, contempt, and manipulation among other topics.

I come to these topics via an interest in what it is to hold each other morally responsible, that is, our practices of praising, blaming, punishing, and rewarding each other for actions that we perform or traits that we exhibit. The methodological assumption behind much of my work is the idea that increased understanding of what is involved in these practices will help us understand what constitutes reasons for engaging in them. I therefore spend significant time studying empirical work on blame, praise, moral judgment, and the like. My hope is that understanding just what praising and blaming are and do will not only shed light on which instances of praise, blame, punishment, etc. are justified, but will also shed light on a variety of philosophical problems, including the nature of desert, whether free will is compatible with determinism, and when punishment is justified.

Click here for a copy of my CV.

Publications
“Contempt’s Evaluative Presentation and Connection to Accountability.” 2018. In The Moral Psychology of Contempt. Michelle Mason, ed. Lanham, MD, Rowman and Littlefield.

“Fortifying the Self-Defense Justification of Punishment.” 2017. Public Affairs Quarterly. Volume 31, Issue 4. [preprint draft]

“Rolling Back the Luck Problem for Libertarianism” 2015. Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics. Volume 3, Issue 1.

“A Study of Virtuous and Vicious Anger” 2014. Virtues and Their Vices. Kevin Timpe and Craig Boyd, Eds. Oxford University Press.

“The Three-Fold Significance of the Blaming Emotions” 2013. Oxford Studies in
Agency and Responsibility
. David Shoemaker, Ed. Oxford University Press.

Basic Desert of Reactive Emotions” Philosophical Explorations, 2013. [preprint draft]

“Trust and the Trickster Problem” Analytic Philosophy, 2012. [preprint draft]

Book Reviews
Manuel Vargas’s Building Better Beings: A Theory of Moral Responsibility. Social Theory and Practice, 2016. [preprint draft]

Michael McKenna’s Conversation and ResponsibilityPhilosophy in Review, 2013.

Tamler Sommers’s Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2012.

Presentations
“Forgiveness and the Multiple Functions of Anger” (with Antony Aumann)
Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress, 2015

“Rolling Back the Luck Problem for Libertarianism”
Free Will Conference, Center for Cognition and Neuroethics, 2014

“Fortifying the Self-Defense Justification of Punishment”
Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress, 2014

“A New Challenge to Retributivism” (with Matt Taylor)
Pacific American Philosophical Association Meeting, 2014

“Blaming the Victim”
Society for Analytic Feminism, Central American Philosophical Association Meeting, 2014
Workshop on the Duty to Resist Oppression, University of Connecticut, 2013
Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress (refereed poster), 2013

“A Different Kind of Selective Hard Compatibilism: Response to Paul Russell”
Central European University Workshop on the Manipulation Argument, 2012

“The Three-Fold Significance of the Blaming Emotions”
New Orleans Workshop on Agency and Responsibility, 2011

“Virtuous and Vicious Anger”
UAB Conference on the Normative Implications of Moral Psycholgy, 2011
Northern Michigan University, 2011
Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress (refereed poster), 2011

“Modifying the Reactive Attitudes: Reply to David Goldman”
Central States Philosophical Association, 2010

“Moral Responsibility, Manipulation, and Two Concepts of Desert”
Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress, 2010

“Trust and the Trickster Problem”
Eastern American Philosophical Association Meeting, 2009
Feminist Ethics and Social Theory Conference, 2009
Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress (refereed poster), 2009

“Does Morality Demand Our Very Best? On Moral Prescriptions and the Line of Duty: Reply to Ferry”
Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress, 2009

“Free Will and Reasonable Doubt: Reply to Vilhauer”
Pacific Division APA Meeting, 2008

“Plum-Confused about Blame and Responsibility”
Southern California Philosophy Conference, 2007

“Strawson on What to Feel, and Why” (with Daniel Farrell)
Contemporary Analytic Philosophy Conference on Regulating Attitudes with Reasons, 2006

“Protecting Intentions from Mental Birth Control: Reply to Buckareff”
Inland Northwest Philosophy Conference on Action, Ethics, and Responsibility, 2006

“Mitigation and Responsibility”
32nd Conference on Value Inquiry, 2005

“Responsibility and Integrity”
North American Society for Social Philosophy, 2004

“Kantian Dirty Hands”
North American Society for Social Philosophy, 2003

“Whose Evaluative Practice, Which Self-Understanding?”
Ohio Philosophical Association Meeting, 2002

“Feyerabend’s Incommensurability Thesis in Against Method”
Ohio Philosophical Association Meeting, 2000

“Why Scientists Don’t Misunderstand Each Other–Feyerabend on Incommensurability”
Kentucky State Annual Conference on Science and Culture, 2000