About My Research
Moral Worth, Credit, and Non-Accidentality (abstract)
Moral worth is a status that some, but not all, morally right actions have. Unlike with merely right actions, when an agent performs a morally worthy action, she necessarily deserves moral credit. I argue that two dominant views of moral worth have been unable to fully capture this necessary connection. On one view, an action is morally worthy if and only if its agent is motivated by the features of the action that make it right. On the other, an action is morally worthy if and only if its agent is motivated by the action’s rightness itself. I argue that neither of these views captures the connection between moral worth and creditworthiness because each leaves room for cases of accidentally doing the right thing. I then sketch a hybrid account, on which morally worthy actions are those that are motivated by their right-making features as such. This guarantees that although morally worthy actions are motivated by right-making features, it's nevertheless the case that they are done because they are right.
The Right 'Right Reasons' Theory of Rationality (abstract)
According to an influential way of thinking about the rationality of actions, beliefs, and other rationally evaluable responses, rationality is a matter of correctly responding to one’s reasons. Relevant theories of rationality hold that when one acts or believes (etc.) for reasons that are in some sense the ‘right reasons,’ one is thereby rational. In this paper, I argue that several recent versions of this ‘right reasons’ approach fail because they are committed to too thin a conception of what it is to correctly respond to reasons. Whether they hold that rationality consists in responding to objective normative reasons, or merely apparent reasons, such theories all take responding to reasons to consist in having a range of reasons-sensitive dispositions. I argue that because such dispositions can’t ground creditworthiness, they can’t explain why responding rationally is a way of being creditworthy for one’s responses. I then develop a new version of the ‘right reasons’ theory that embraces a more robust conception of responding to reasons. On my account, responding to reasons involves an exercise of the agent’s ability to respond to considerations under the guise of reasons.