Research

Research Interests

My research is focused on the structure of the practical reasons relation, what makes it the case that something stands in that relation as a reason, how reasons are related to reasoning, and lately on ethical issues concerning artificial intelligences. For a complete list of my publications and presentations, please see my full curriculum vitae.

Publications


Work in Progress

I am currently revising a paper concerned with putative connections between the contents of practical reasoning, on the one hand, and the contents of our practical reasons, on the other. I argue that a connection can be established with significantly less costly theoretical resources than has so far been noticed.

In a paper co-authored with John Basl, we consider to what extent "trolleyology" is relevant for answering ethical questions about how to program autonomous vehicles (AVs) to behave. We argue that the reasons given for thinking that the connection is immediate are mistaken - either because they depend on a misunderstanding of the relationship between trolley cases and the decisions facing engineers in the actual world, or because they rely on implausible moral principles. We show that the use of machine learning in engineering AVs introduces a significant variable that distinguishes cases involving them from traditional trolley cases, and further argue that this better explains why trolley cases are not immediately relevant than do attempts to explain the same already present in the literature. 

Defunct Papers

"The Dual Grounds of Practical Normativity: Toward a Hybrid Theory of Practical Reasons"
  • This paper has been cited a couple of times (including once by me). It no longer exists as a single paper, but all of the ideas that it contained can be found either in "Problems and Solutions for a Hybrid Approach to Grounding Practical Normativity," or "Normative Source and Extensional Adequacy."

Selected Presentations

  • "Of Trolleys and Tesla: Could Trolley Cases Help Us Understand How to Program Autonomous Vehicles?" (with John Basl and Mark Lee)
    • 15th International Conference on Technology, Knowledge, and Society (2018)
    • Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress (2018)
  • "Deciding on the Basis of Normative Reasons"
    • Boston University Ethics Seminar (2018)
  • "Practical Reasons and Practical Reasoning"
    • Minnesota State University (2017)
    • Philosophy Desert Workshop (2017)
  • "Educating for Gender Justice: A Case for Mandatory Gender-Differentiated Home Economics Classes" (with Gina Schouten)
    • Society for Applied Philosophy Conference (2016)
  • "Reason to Promotion Inferences" (with Joshua DiPaolo)
    • Central States Philosophical Association (2015)
    • Mountain-Plains Philosophy Conference (2015)
  • "Probabilistic Promotion Revisited" (with Joshua DiPaolo)
    • Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress (2015)
  • "Practical Deliberation and Acting for a Reason: Two Arguments against Source Externalism"
    • Midsouth Philosophy Conference (2015)
    • American Philosophical Association (Central Division) (2015)
    • Wisconsin Philosophical Association (2014)
  • "Problems and Solutions for a Hybrid Account of Normative Grounding"
    • St. Louis Annual Conference on Reasons and Rationality (2014)
    • Inaugural Normativity Conference (2014)
  • "Moral Realism, Evolution, and Our Reasons to Survive"
    • Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress (2012)
    • Northwestern University Society for the Theory of Ethics and Politics (2012)
    • Indiana Philosophical Association (2012)
    • Wisconsin Philosophical Association (2012)
  • "Parfit's All or None Argument and the Development of Meta-normative Hybridism"
    • American Philosophical Association (Eastern Division) (2012)
    • Central States Philosophical Association (2012)
    • Midsouth Philosophy Conference (2012)
  • "When do the Means Promote the Ends?" (with Joshua DiPaolo)                         
    • Naturalisms in Ethics Conference (2011)