Expressivism and realism about normativity

In my Ph.D. dissertation, Erasing the Differences: Expressivism and Normative Realism, I argued that expressivism about normative discourse is compatible with realism about normativity, and that this brings important benefits for realism, in particular a new way of addressing the reliability challenge to our normative beliefs. I was advised by Hartry Field (committee chair), Sharon Street, and Tom Nagel.

I'm currently exploring whether expressivism might help address some other challenges to realism, e.g. the supervenience problem, the normativity problem, and evolutionary debunking arguments.

The ethics of imperfection

I'm interested in making sense of our attachment to various forms of imperfection in our lives. For instance, how we can reasonably affirm our actual lives when comparing them to better lives we could have had? How can we make peace with our past moral failings while committing to avoid similar mistakes in the future? Why do we love people, places, etc. partially in virtue of their imperfections? Or what explains our retrospective attachment to certain relationships or projects, even when we have moved on to new and better objects of attachment? I suspect that the answer to many such questions involves a commitment to our own identity, or the identity of what we care about.



Personal value, biographical identity, and retrospective attitudes, forthcoming in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy [pre-print]

Expressivism and realist explanationsPhilosophical Studies, 2017 [pre-print]

Expressivism and the reliability challengeEthical Theory and Moral Practice, 2017 [pre-print]


Book review

Robert N. Johnson and Michael Smith (eds.), Passions and Projections. Themes from the Philosophy of Simon Blackburn, Oxford University Press. Forthcoming in the Journal of Moral Philosophy.


Work in progress (titles missing to assist with anonymous review)

  • A paper on moral imperfection
  • A paper on expressivism and evolutionary debunking arguments
  • A paper on the reliability challenge to normative realism
  • A paper on narrative identity and surrogate decision-making
  • A paper on Thomas Reid's metaethical views
  • A paper on the normativity problem for normative realism
  • A paper on expressivism and the supervenience problem