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Nathan Robert Howard
Texas A&M University
  1. One Desire Too Many.Nathan Robert Howard - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (2):302-317.
    I defend the widely-held view that morally worthy action need not be motivated by a desire to promote rightness as such. Some have recently come to reject this view, arguing that desires for rightness as such are necessary for avoiding a certain kind of luck thought incompatible with morally worthy action. I show that those who defend desires for rightness as such on the basis of this argument misunderstand the relationship between moral worth and the kind of luck that their (...)
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  2. The World is Not Enough.Nathan Robert Howard & N. G. Laskowski - 2021 - Noûs 55 (1):86-101.
    Throughout his career, Derek Parfit made the bold suggestion, at various times under the heading of the "Normativity Objection," that anyone in possession of normative concepts is in a position to know, on the basis of their competence with such concepts alone, that reductive realism in ethics is not even possible. Despite the prominent role that the Normativity Objection plays in Parfit's non-reductive account of the nature of normativity, when the objection hasn't been ignored, it's been criticized and even derided. (...)
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  3. The Goals of Moral Worth.Nathan Robert Howard - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Metaethics.
    While it is tempting to suppose that an act has moral worth just when and because it is motivated by sufficient moral reasons, philosophers have, largely, come to doubt this analysis. Doubt is rooted in two claims. The first is that some facts can motivate a given act in multiple ways, not all of which are consistent with moral worth. The second is the orthodox view that normative reasons are facts. I defend the tempting analysis by proposing and defending a (...)
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  4. Ambidextrous Reasons (or Why Reasons First's Reasons Aren't Facts).Nathan Robert Howard - 2021 - Philosophers' Imprint 21 (30):1-16.
    The wrong kind of reason (WKR) problem is a problem for attempts to analyze normative properties using only facts about the balance of normative reasons, a style of analysis on which the ‘Reasons First’ programme depends. I argue that this problem cannot be solved if the orthodox view of reasons is true --- that is, if each normative reason is numerically identical with some fact, proposition, or state-of-affairs. That’s because solving the WKR problem requires completely distinguishing between the right- and (...)
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  5. Consequentialism and the Agent’s Point of View.Nathan Robert Howard - 2022 - Ethics 132 (4):787-816.
    I propose and defend a novel view called “de se consequentialism,” which is noteworthy for two reasons. First, it demonstrates—contra Doug Portmore, Mark Schroeder, Campbell Brown, and Michael Smith, among others—that agent-neutral consequentialism is consistent with agent-centered constraints. Second, it clarifies the nature of agent-centered constraints, thereby meriting attention from even dedicated nonconsequentialists. Scrutiny reveals that moral theories in general, whether consequentialist or not, incorporate constraints by assessing states in a first-personal guise. Consequently, de se consequentialism enacts constraints through the (...)
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  6. Maternal Autonomy and Prenatal Harm.Nathan Robert Howard - forthcoming - Bioethics.
    Inflicting harm is generally preferable to inflicting death. If you must choose between the two, you should choose to harm. But prenatal harm seems different. If a mother must choose between harming her fetus or aborting it, she may choose either, at least in many cases. So it seems that prenatal harm is particularly objectionable, sometimes on a par with death. This paper offers an explanation of why prenatal harm seems particularly objectionable by drawing an analogy to the all-or-nothing problem. (...)
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  7. Beyond Bad Beliefs.Nathan Robert Howard - 2021 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 18 (5):500-521.
    Philosophers have recently come to focus on explaining the phenomenon of ​bad beliefs,​ beliefs that are apparently true and well-evidenced but nevertheless objectionable. Despite this recent focus, a consensus is already forming around a particular explanation of these beliefs’ badness called ​moral encroachment​, according to which, roughly, the moral stakes engendered by bad beliefs make them particularly difficult to justify. This paper advances an alternative account not just of bad beliefs but of bad attitudes more generally according to which bad (...)
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  8. Phenomenal Concepts as Complex Demonstratives.Nathan Robert Howard & N. G. Laskowski - forthcoming - Res Philosophica.
    There’s a long but relatively neglected tradition of attempting to explain why many researchers working on the nature of phenomenal consciousness think that it’s hard to explain. David Chalmers argues that this “meta-problem of consciousness” merits more attention than it has received. He also argues against several existing explanations of why we find consciousness hard to explain. Like Chalmers, we agree that the meta-problem is worthy of more attention. Contra Chalmers, however, we argue that there’s an existing explanation that is (...)
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