Expressivism and normative realism

My primary research project is 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, defended at New York University in 2017, I argued that expressivism about normative discourse is compatible with normative 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 this be justified? 

Publications

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

Review of Robert N. Johnson and Michael Smith (eds.), Passions and Projections. Themes from the Philosophy of Simon Blackburn. Journal of Moral Philosophy, 2018 [pre-print]

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

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

 

Papers under review or in progress

  • A paper on Thomas Reid's metaethical views (title missing to assist with anonymous review)

  • "Making peace with moral imperfection: the problem of temporal asymmetry"

  • "A defense of minimal normative realism"

  • "Quasi-realism and evolutionary debunking arguments"

  • "The reliability challenge to normative realism"