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  1. The Nature and Explanatory Ambitions of Metaethics.Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett - 2017 - In Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics. Routledge. pp. 1-28.
    This volume introduces a wide range of important views, questions, and controversies in and about contemporary metaethics. It is natural to ask: What, if anything, connects this extraordinary range of discussions? This introductory chapter aims to answer this question by giving an account of metaethics that shows it to be a unified theoretical activ- ity. According to this account, metaethics is a theoretical activity characterized by an explanatory goal. This goal is to explain how actual ethical thought and talk—and what (...)
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  • Explaining Practical Normativity.Tristram McPherson - 2016 - Topoi:1-10.
    Ethical non-naturalists often charge that their naturalist competitors cannot adequately explain the distinctive normativity of moral or more broadly practical concepts. I argue that the force of the charge is mitigated, because non-naturalism is ultimately committed to a kind of mysterianism about the metaphysics of practical norms that possesses limited explanatory power. I then show that focusing on comparative judgments about the explanatory power of various metaethical theories raises additional problems for the non-naturalist, and suggest grounds for optimism that a (...)
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  • A Case for Ethical Veganism.Tristram McPherson - 2014 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (6):677-703.
    This paper argues for ethical veganism: the thesis that it is typically wrong to consume animal products. The paper first sets out an intuitive case for this thesis that begins with the intuitive claim that it is wrong to set fire to a cat. I then raise a methodological challenge: this is an intuitive argument for a revisionary conclusion. Even if we grant that we cannot both believe that it is permissible to drink milk, and that it is wrong to (...)
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  • Naturalistic Moral Realism, Moral Rationalism, and Non-Fundamental Epistemology.Tristram McPherson - 2018 - In Karen Jones & Francois Schroeter (eds.), The Many Moral Rationalisms. Oxford University Press. pp. 187-209.
    This paper takes up an important epistemological challenge to the naturalistic moral realist: that her metaphysical commitments are difficult to square with a plausible rationalist view about the epistemology of morality. The paper begins by clarifying and generalizing this challenge. It then illustrates how the generalized challenge can be answered by a form of naturalistic moral realism that I dub joint-carving moral realism. Both my framing of this challenge and my answer advertise the methodological significance of non-fundamental epistemological theorizing, which (...)
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  • Explaining Practical Normativity.Tristram McPherson - 2018 - Topoi 37 (4):621-630.
    Ethical non-naturalists often charge that their naturalist competitors cannot adequately explain the distinctive normativity of moral or more broadly practical concepts. I argue that the force of the charge is mitigated, because non-naturalism is ultimately committed to a kind of mysterianism about the metaphysics of practical norms that possesses limited explanatory power. I then show that focusing on comparative judgments about the explanatory power of various metaethical theories raises additional problems for the non-naturalist, and suggest grounds for optimism that a (...)
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  • The Methodological Irrelevance of Reflective Equilibrium.Tristram McPherson - 2015 - In Chris Daly (ed.), The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 652-674.
    John Rawls’ method of reflective equilibrium is the most influential methodology in contemporary ethics.This paper argues that this influence is undeserved, for two reasons. First, reflective equilibrium fails to accomplish two tasks that give us reason to care about methodology. On the one hand, it fails to explain how (or whether) moral knowledge is possible.This is because the method is explicitly oriented towards the distinct (and less interesting) task of characterizing our moral sensibilities. On the other hand, the method fails (...)
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  • Jurisprudential Theories and First‐Order Legal Judgments.Kevin Toh - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (5):457-471.
    The nature of the relation between jurisprudential theories and first-order legal judgments is a strangely uncontroversial matter in contemporary legal philosophy. There is one dominant conception of the relation according to which jurisprudential theories are second-order or meta-legal theories that specify the ultimate grounds of first-order legal judgments. According to this conception, difficult first-order legal disputes are to be resolved by jurisprudential theorizing. According to an alternative conception that Ronald Dworkin has influentially advocated, jurisprudential theories are not second-order theories about (...)
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