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  1. Why Not Effective Altruism?Richard Yetter Chappell - 2024 - Public Affairs Quarterly 38 (1):3-21.
    Effective altruism sounds so innocuous—who could possibly be opposed to doing good more effectively? Yet it has inspired significant backlash in recent years. This paper addresses some common misconceptions and argues that the core “beneficentric” ideas of effective altruism are both excellent and widely neglected. Reasonable people may disagree on details of implementation, but all should share the basic goals or values underlying effective altruism.
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  2. Fittingness: The sole normative primitive.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2012 - Philosophical Quarterly 62 (249):684 - 704.
    This paper draws on the 'Fitting Attitudes' analysis of value to argue that we should take the concept of fittingness (rather than value) as our normative primitive. I will argue that the fittingness framework enhances the clarity and expressive power of our normative theorising. Along the way, we will see how the fittingness framework illuminates our understanding of various moral theories, and why it casts doubt on the Global Consequentialist idea that acts and (say) eye colours are normatively on a (...)
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  3. Pandemic ethics: the case for risky research.Richard Yetter Chappell & Peter Singer - 2020 - Research Ethics 16 (3-4):1-8.
    There is too much that we do not know about COVID-19. The longer we take to find it out, the more lives will be lost. In this paper, we will defend a principle of risk parity: if it is permissible to expose some members of society (e.g. health workers or the economically vulnerable) to a certain level of ex ante risk in order to minimize overall harm from the virus, then it is permissible to expose fully informed volunteers to a (...)
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  4. Willpower Satisficing.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2019 - Noûs 53 (2):251-265.
    Satisficing Consequentialism is often rejected as hopeless. Perhaps its greatest problem is that it risks condoning the gratuitous prevention of goodness above the baseline of what qualifies as "good enough". I propose a radical new willpower-based version of the view that avoids this problem, and that better fits with the motivation of avoiding an excessively demanding conception of morality. I further demonstrate how, by drawing on the resources of an independent theory of blameworthiness, we may obtain a principled specification of (...)
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  5. Value Receptacles.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):322-332.
    Utilitarianism is often rejected on the grounds that it fails to respect the separateness of persons, instead treating people as mere “receptacles of value”. I develop several different versions of this objection, and argue that, despite their prima facie plausibility, they are all mistaken. Although there are crude forms of utilitarianism that run afoul of these objections, I advance a new form of the view—‘token-pluralistic utilitarianism’—that does not.
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  6. Why Care About Non-Natural Reasons?Richard Yetter Chappell - 2019 - American Philosophical Quarterly 56 (2):125-134.
    Are non-natural properties worth caring about? I consider two objections to metaethical non-naturalism. According to the intelligibility objection, it would be positively unintelligible to care about non-natural properties that float free from the causal fabric of the cosmos. According to the ethical idlers objection, there is no compelling motivation to posit non-natural normative properties because the natural properties suffice to provide us with reasons. In both cases, I argue, the objection stems from misunderstanding the role that non-natural properties play in (...)
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  7. Pandemic Ethics and Status Quo Risk.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2022 - Public Health Ethics 15 (1):64-73.
    Conservative assumptions in medical ethics risk immense harms during a pandemic. Public health institutions and public discourse alike have repeatedly privileged inaction over aggressive medical interventions to address the pandemic, perversely increasing population-wide risks while claiming to be guided by ‘caution’. This puzzling disconnect between rhetoric and reality is suggestive of an underlying philosophical confusion. In this paper, I argue that we have been misled by status quo bias—exaggerating the moral significance of the risks inherent in medical interventions, while systematically (...)
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  8. Mind-Body Meets Metaethics: A Moral Concept Strategy.Helen Yetter-Chappell & Richard Yetter Chappell - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):865-878.
    The aim of this paper is to assess the relationship between anti-physicalist arguments in the philosophy of mind and anti-naturalist arguments in metaethics, and to show how the literature on the mind-body problem can inform metaethics. Among the questions we will consider are: (1) whether a moral parallel of the knowledge argument can be constructed to create trouble for naturalists, (2) the relationship between such a "Moral Knowledge Argument" and the familiar Open Question Argument, and (3) how naturalists can respond (...)
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  9. Rethinking the Asymmetry.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2017 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 47 (2):167-177.
    According to the Asymmetry, we’ve strong moral reason to prevent miserable lives from coming into existence, but no moral reason to bring happy lives into existence. This procreative asymmetry is often thought to be part of commonsense morality, however theoretically puzzling it might prove to be. I argue that this is a mistake. The Asymmetry is merely prima facie intuitive, and loses its appeal on further reflection. Mature commonsense morality recognizes no fundamental procreative asymmetry. It may recognize some superficially similar (...)
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  10. The Right Wrong‐Makers.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 103 (2):426-440.
    Right- and wrong-making features ("moral grounds") are widely believed to play important normative roles, e.g. in morally apt or virtuous motivation. This paper argues that moral grounds have been systematically misidentified. Canonical statements of our moral theories tend to summarize, rather than directly state, the full range of moral grounds posited by the theory. Further work is required to "unpack" a theory's criterion of rightness and identify the features that are of ground-level moral significance. As a result, it is not (...)
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  11. Knowing What Matters.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2017 - In Peter Singer (ed.), Does Anything Really Matter? Responses to Parfit. pp. 149-167.
    Parfit's On What Matters offers a rousing defence of non-naturalist normative realism against pressing metaphysical and epistemological objections. He addresses skeptical arguments based on (i) the causal origins of our normative beliefs, and (ii) the appearance of pervasive moral disagreement. In both cases, he concedes the first step to the skeptic, but draws a subsequent distinction with which he hopes to stem the skeptic's advance. I argue, however, that these distinctions cannot bear the weight that Parfit places on them. A (...)
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  12. Against ‘Saving Lives’: Equal Concern and Differential Impact.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2016 - Bioethics 30 (3):159-164.
    Bioethicists often present ‘saving lives’ as a goal distinct from, and competing with, that of extending lives by as much as possible. I argue that this usage of the term is misleading, and provides unwarranted rhetorical support for neglecting the magnitudes of the harms and benefits at stake in medical allocation decisions, often to the detriment of the young. Equal concern for all persons requires weighting equal interests equally, but not all individuals have an equal interest in ‘life-saving’ treatment.
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  13. Negative Utility Monsters.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2021 - Utilitas 33 (4):417 - 421.
    Many consider Nozick’s “utility monster”—a being more efficient than ordinary people at converting resources into wellbeing, with no upper limit—to constitute a damning counterexample to utilitarianism. But our intuitions may be reversed by considering a variation in which the utility monster starts from a baseline status of massive suffering. This suggests a rethinking of the force of the original objection.
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  14. Value Holism.Richard Yetter Chappell - manuscript
    This paper considers the relation between the value of a whole (person, society) and its parts (timeslices, individuals), arguing that the contributory value of a part cannot be determined in isolation. For example, the value of an additional life may depend on what other lives there are. This has important implications for population ethics, and especially Parfit's 'repugnant conclusion'.
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  15. Parfit's Ethics.Richard Yetter Chappell - 2021 - Cambridge University Press.
    Derek Parfit was one of the most important and influential moral philosophers of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This Element offers a critical introduction to his wide-ranging ethical thought, focusing especially on his two most significant works, Reasons and Persons and On What Matters, and their contribution to the consequentialist moral tradition. Topics covered include: rationality and objectivity, distributive justice, self-defeating moral theories, Parfit's Triple Theory, personal identity, and population ethics.
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  16. Norcross, Alastair. Morality by Degrees: Reasons without Demands. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020. Pp. 176. $50.00 (cloth). [REVIEW]Richard Yetter Chappell - 2021 - Ethics 131 (3):620-624.
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