My work advances a humanistic understanding of values and normativity: “Norms are made for humankind, not humankind for norms.” Norms – including those of ethics, epistemology, and rationality – are created by us, have a legitimate claim to govern us only insofar as they are practically useful to us, and remain always open to revision.
Here are some things that I think (and argue for): it is immoral to be a moral realist; there’s nothing sad about the fact that morality isn’t objective; there are no binding norms of practical rationality; akrasia is (sometimes) a virtue; there is no plausible epistemology for robust moral realism; pleasures and pains are reflexive imperatives; there are no universal standards of right or wrong, only contextually valuable norms; the best argument for utilitarianism is incompatible with consequentialism; all epistemic norms are grounded in ethical values; epistemic irrationality can be valuable, especially in politics; economic inequality is bad in part because it warps our sympathetic relationships and moral codes.
[Invited contributions, currently in progress]
Book review of “Sympathy: A History” ed. Eric Schliesser, for The Philosophical Quarterly
“Loopy regulations: The motivational profile of affective phenomenology” (with Luca Barlassina) [further arguments for reflexive imperativism] – for Philosophical Topics
[Email me for drafts]
“Terrestrial Ethics” [why we shouldn’t be sad if ethics isn’t objective]
“Beyond Right and Wrong” [the real lesson of utilitarianism is that there’s no such thing as rightness or wrongness]
“How to be an Ethical Anti-Objectivist” [a strategy for turning metaethical questions into normative ethical ones]
“Structural Rationality, Agency and Sociality” [norms of rationality are grounded in interpersonal facts]
“In Praise of Akrasia” [why akrasia can be a virtue]
I care a lot about food, and when I’m not writing philosophy or teaching, I am engaged in epic pursuit of the most delicious mapo tofu. I’ve come close on a couple of occasions (see below), but have yet to attain the ideal.