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Research interests

I'm interested in the relationship between kinds of normativity, especially practical, moral, and aesthetic normativity.

I'm currently working on 'ought implies can' and developing an account of practical reasoning, thinking especially about the relationship between it and our abilities.

In addition, I'm interested in certain topics in aesthetics, including meta-aesthetics, aesthetic properties like subtlety, as well as high and low art (see my post on this topic at Aesthetics for Birds).

Publications

Books

Human Ability and the Limits of Morality (under contract with Routledge)

This book provides an introduction to the current debate surrounding 'ought implies can', ultimately siding against it. I will describe how to recover much of what makes the principle attractive, and close with a chapter on how the principle gets used (and abused) in popular debates. It will appear as part of Routledge's Focus on Philosophy Series.

Art and Philosophy, co-edited with Christy Mag Uidhir (under contract with Oxford University Press)

A volume of invited essays looking at the ways in which art informs philosophers' own views and work.

Papers

"The Amoralist and the Anaesthetic", Pacific Philosophical Quarterly (forthcoming)

This paper puts pressure on moral motivational internalism and rejects normative motivational internalism by examining and rejecting a parallel aesthetic principle. I address possibly relevant disanalogies between the moral and the aesthetic, arguing that either they don't hold, or they do, but aren't strong enough to underwrite a motivational difference between the two domains. (Please contact me if interested in reading a pre-print.)

"'Ought Implies Can': Not So Pragmatic After All", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (forthcoming)

(pre-print, official version)

The view that 'ought implies can' should be understood as a pragmatic principle - one involving either conversational implicature or presupposition - has become very popular. I argue that this strategy fails because 'ought implies can' fails to satisfy tests for conversational implicature and presupposition, and furthermore that it cannot account for the 'ought implies can' phenomena that arise in deliberation.

"The Virtue of Subtlety and the Vice of a Heavy Hand", The British Journal of Aesthetics, 2017

(pre-print, official version)

I examine subtlety in aesthetics. I discuss its hallmarks and offer an account of its value. It is valuable because it promotes active engagement with the artwork. I connect this to the role of agency and autonomy in art experience.

"Actions That We Ought, But Can't", Ratio, 2014

(pre-print, official version)

I offer a class of counterexamples to the 'ought implies can' principle by highlighting complex actions involving both behavioral and robust mental components. We often think that individuals have obligations to perform such actions, even while they cannot bring about the relevant mental states.

Encyclopedia Articles

"The Aesthetic Attitude" in The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

This is a peer-reviewed article I wrote for the IEP. It's an introduction to different conceptions of and theories about the aesthetic attitude.