All entries by this author

The Idea of a Duty to Love

Can there be a duty to love someone? Many people do not think so. One common objection, what I call the commandability objection, says that duty requires that the action required by the duty to be commandable, but love is an emotion and emotions are not commandable. Another objection, what I call the motivation objection, says that really to love a person, one must be motivated to love the person for the person’s sake. However, to have a duty to love means that one would not be motivated to love the person for the person’s sake, but for the sake of the duty. In this paper, I examine both objections and I argue that neither undermines the idea of a duty to love. [Journal of Value Inquiry 40(1) 2006: 1-22] [pdf | html]

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The Organism View Defended

What are you and I essentially? When do you and I come into and go out of existence? A common response is that we are essentially organisms, that is, we come into existence as organisms and go out of existence when we cease to be organisms. Jeff McMahan has put forward two arguments against the Organism View: the case of dicephalus and a special case of hemispheric commissurotomy. In this paper, I defend the Organism View against these two cases. Because it is possible to devise more McMahanian-type cases, I also provide a more general solution to these kinds of cases. [The Monist, 89 (3) 2006] [pdf | html]

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The Embryo Rescue Case

In the debate regarding the moral status of human embryos, the Embryo Rescue Case has been used to suggest that embryos are not rightholders. This case is premised on the idea that in a situation where one has a choice between saving some number of embryos or a child, it seems wrong to save the embryos and not the child. If so, it seems that embryos cannot be rightholders. In this paper, I argue that the Embryo Rescue Case does not independently show that embryos are not rightholders. [Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 27(2) 2006: 141-147] [pdf | html]

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A Defense of Intuitions

Radical experimentalists argue that we should give up using intuitions as evidence in philosophy. In this paper, I first argue that the studies presented by the radical experimentalists in fact suggest that some intuitions are reliable. I next consider and reject a different way of handling the radical experimentalists’ challenge, what I call the Argument from Robust Intuitions. I then propose a way of understanding why some intuitions can be unreliable and how intuitions can conflict, and I argue that on this understanding, both moderate experimentalism and the standard philosophical practice of using intuitions as evidence can help resolve these conflicts. [Philosophical Studies 140(2) 2008: 247-262] [pdf | html]

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