Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts
I came to Nottingham from Warwick in 2002. I have been Head of the Department of Philosophy, and Director of Teaching for the School of Humanities. I am currently the Director of the British Society for Ethical Theory.
My research interests are in utilitarian approaches to normative ethics and political philosophy.
In normative ethics I have a distinctive theory of 'pattern-based' reasons. These are reasons to contribute to patterns of action that are good or right; such patterns might be extended plans, or collective actions. Most philosophers believe either that such reasons do not exist, or that they exist only in cooperative contexts. I claim that they exist even in uncooperative contexts, when there is no prospect of the rest of the pattern being realized. The result is an ethical theory that is similar to, but more general than, Rule Consequentialism. I defend this theory in my book, Reasons, Patterns, and Cooperation. I am also working on wellbeing, and I am especially interested in hybrid views of it.
I am currently writing a book with the working title Taking Utilitarianism Seriously.
My teaching interests are in moral and political philosophy. I am especially interested in normative ethics (general views about right and wrong), theories of welfare or wellbeing, theories of… read more
I'm currently writing a book defending a novel form of utilitarianism. It is intended to present a rich and rounded version of utilitarianism, incorporating novel views about well-being, reasons,… read more
My teaching interests are in moral and political philosophy. I am especially interested in normative ethics (general views about right and wrong), theories of welfare or wellbeing, theories of distributive justice, theories of virtue, and theories of state legitimacy.
My approach to teaching is always to try to communicate two main things: why the issue under discussion matters, and how one might try to make progress in thinking about it. This motivates students to think for themselves and gives them the tools to do so.
In July 2016 I was honoured to receive a Lord Dearing Award for my teaching.
In Autumn Semester 2017 my drop in hours will be Mondays 13.30-14.30 and Thursdays 11.30-12.30.
I'm currently writing a book defending a novel form of utilitarianism. It is intended to present a rich and rounded version of utilitarianism, incorporating novel views about well-being, reasons, rightness, moral rights, justice, democracy, decision-making, virtue, and praise and blame. I am very interested in collaborating with others, including research students, on any of these topics.
I have worked on theories of distributive justice, pattern-based reasons, actualism and possibilism in deontic logic, and well-being. I continue to be interested in these areas.
I plan to develop further my outline utilitarian account of virtue. I am especially interested in working on civic or political virtue.