Expressivism and normative realism

Most of my research so far has been devoted to reconciling a naturalistic approach to normative thought and language with strong commitments to truth and objectivity in the normative domain. In my PhD dissertation, I argued that expressivism about normative discourse is compatible with realism, 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. evolutionary debunking arguments, and thinking about how we can make progress in the dispute between minimal and robust realism.

The ethics of imperfection

I'm interested in making sense of our attachments 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? What is it to love people for who they are, and how can it be justified? 

 

Publications

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. [pre-print]

 

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 Thomas Reid's metaethical views
  • A paper defending minimal normative realism