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Travis Timmerman
Seton Hall University
  1. A Case for Removing Confederate Monuments.Travis Timmerman - 2020 - In Bob Fischer (ed.), Ethics, Left and Right: The Moral Issues that Divide Us. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 513-522.
    A particularly important, pressing, philosophical question concerns whether Confederate monuments ought to be removed. More precisely, one may wonder whether a certain group, viz. the relevant government officials and members of the public who together can remove the Confederate monuments, are morally obligated to (of their own volition) remove them. Unfortunately, academic philosophers have largely ignored this question. This paper aims to help rectify this oversight by moral philosophers. In it, I argue that people have a moral obligation to remove (...)
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  2. Sometimes There is Nothing Wrong with Letting a Child Drown.Travis Timmerman - 2015 - Analysis 75 (2):204-212.
    Peter Singer argues that we’re obligated to donate our entire expendable income to aid organizations. One premiss of his argument is "If it is in your power to prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything nearly as important, it is wrong not to do so." Singer defends this by noting that commonsense morality requires us to save a child we find drowning in a shallow pond. I argue that Singer’s Drowning Child thought experiment doesn’t justify this premiss. I offer (...)
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  3. A Dilemma for Epicureanism.Travis Timmerman - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):241-257.
    Perhaps death’s badness is an illusion. Epicureans think so and argue that agents cannot be harmed by death when they’re alive nor when they’re dead. I argue that each version of Epicureanism faces a fatal dilemma: it is either committed to a demonstrably false view about the relationship between self-regarding reasons and well-being or it is involved in a merely verbal dispute with deprivationism. I first provide principled reason to think that any viable view about the badness of death must (...)
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  4. Moral Obligations: Actualist, Possibilist, or Hybridist?Travis Timmerman & Yishai Cohen - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (4):672-686.
    Do facts about what an agent would freely do in certain circumstances at least partly determine any of her moral obligations? Actualists answer ‘yes’, while possibilists answer ‘no’. We defend two novel hybrid accounts that are alternatives to actualism and possibilism: Dual Obligations Hybridism and Single Obligation Hybridism. By positing two moral ‘oughts’, each account retains the benefits of actualism and possibilism, yet is immune from the prima facie problems that face actualism and possibilism. We conclude by highlighting one substantive (...)
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  5. Actualism, Possibilism, and the Nature of Consequentialism.Yishai Cohen & Travis Timmerman - 2020 - In Douglas W. Portmore (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Consequentialism. New York, USA: Oxford University Press.
    The actualism/possibilism debate in ethics is about whether counterfactuals of freedom concerning what an agent would freely do if they were in certain circumstances even partly determines that agent’s obligations. This debate arose from an argument against the coherence of utilitarianism in the deontic logic literature. In this chapter, we first trace the historical origins of this debate and then examine actualism, possibilism, and securitism through the lens of consequentialism. After examining their respective benefits and drawbacks, we argue that, contrary (...)
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  6. How to Be an Actualist and Blame People.Travis Timmerman & Philip Swenson - 2019 - Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility 6.
    The actualism/possibilism debate in ethics concerns the relationship between an agent’s free actions and her moral obligations. The actualist affirms, while the possibilist denies, that facts about what agents would freely do in certain circumstances partly determines that agent’s moral obligations. This paper assesses the plausibility of actualism and possibilism in light of desiderata about accounts of blameworthiness. This paper first argues that actualism cannot straightforwardly accommodate certain very plausible desiderata before offering a few independent solutions on behalf of the (...)
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  7. Reconsidering Categorical Desire Views.Travis Timmerman - 2016 - In Michael Cholbi (ed.), Immortality and the Philosophy of Death. Rowman & Littlefield.
    Deprivation views of the badness of death are almost universally accepted among those who hold that death can be bad for the person who dies. In their most common form, deprivation views hold that death is bad because (and to the extent that) it deprives people of goods they would have gained had they not died at the time they did. Contrast this with categorical desire views, which hold that death is bad because (and to the extent that) it thwarts (...)
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  8. Racist Monuments and the Tribal Right: A Reply to Dan Demetriou.Travis Timmerman - 2020 - In Bob Fischer (ed.), Ethics Left and Right: The Moral Issues that Divide Us. New York: Oxford University Press.
    This is a short reply to Dan Demetriou's "Ashes of Our Fathers: Racist Monuments and the Tribal Right." Both are included in Oxford University Press's Ethics, Left and Right: The Moral Issues That Divide Us.
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  9. Doomsday Needn’T Be So Bad.Travis Timmerman - 2018 - Dialectica 72 (2):275-296.
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  10. Effective Altruism’s Underspecification Problem.Travis Timmerman - 2019 - In Hilary Greaves & Theron Pummer (eds.), Effective Altruism: Philosophical Issues. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 166-183.
    Effective altruists either believe they ought to be, or strive to be, doing the most good they can. Since they’re human, however, effective altruists are invariably fallible. In numerous situations, even the most committed EAs would fail to live up to the ideal they set for themselves. This fact raises a central question about how to understand effective altruism. How should one’s future prospective failures at doing the most good possible affect the current choices one makes as an effective altruist? (...)
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  11. The Problem with Person‐Rearing Accounts of Moral Status.Travis Timmerman & Bob Fischer - 2019 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 8 (2):119-128.
    Agnieszka Jaworska and Julie Tannenbaum recently developed the ingenious and novel person‐rearing account of moral status, which preserves the commonsense judgment that humans have a higher moral status than nonhuman animals. It aims to vindicate speciesist judgments while avoiding the problems typically associated with speciesist views. We argue, however, that there is good reason to reject person‐rearing views. Person‐rearing views have to be coupled with an account of flourishing, which will (according to Jaworska and Tannenbaum) be either a species norm (...)
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  12. Actualism and Possibilism.Travis Timmerman & Yishai Cohen - 2016 - The Philosophers' Magazine 72:107-108.
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  13. The (Un)Desirability of Immortality.Felipe Pereira & Travis Timmerman - 2020 - Philosophy Compass 15 (2).
    While most people believe the best possible life they could lead would be an immortal one, so‐called “immortality curmudgeons” disagree. Following Bernard Williams, they argue that, at best, we have no prudential reason to live an immortal life, and at worst, an immortal life would necessarily be bad for creatures like us. In this article, we examine Bernard Williams' seminal argument against the desirability of immortality and the subsequent literature it spawned. We first reconstruct and motivate Williams' somewhat cryptic argument (...)
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  14.  86
    Annihilation Isn't Bad For You.Travis Timmerman - manuscript
    In The Human Predicament, David Benatar develops and defends the annihilation view, according to which “death is bad in large part because it annihilates the being who dies.” In this paper, I make both a positive and negative argument against the annihilation view. My positive argument consists in showing that the annihilation view generates implausible consequences in cases where one can incur some other (intrinsic) bad to avoid the supposed (intrinsic) bad of annihilation. More precisely, Benatar’s view entails that would (...)
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  15. Book Review of Levy, N., "Consciousness and Moral Responsibility". [REVIEW]Travis Timmerman & Sean Clancy - 2015 - The Philosophers' Magazine 68 (1):109-111.
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  16. Meghan Sullivan, Time Biases: A Theory of Rational Planning and Personal Persistence.Travis Timmerman - 2020 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 17 (6):690-694.
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  17. Sweatshops and Free Action: The Stakes of the Actualism/Possibilism Debate for Business Ethics.Travis Timmerman & Abe Zakhem - 2021 - Journal of Business Ethics 171 (4):683-694.
    Whether an action is morally right depends upon the alternative acts available to the agent. Actualists hold that what an agent would actually do determines her moral obligations. Possibilists hold that what an agent could possibly do determines her moral obligations. Both views face compelling criticisms. Despite the fact that actualist and possibilist assumptions are at the heart of seminal arguments in business ethics, there has been no explicit discussion of actualism and possibilism in the business ethics literature. This paper (...)
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  18. The Limits of Virtue Ethics.Travis Timmerman & Yishai Cohen - 2020 - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 10:255-282.
    Virtue ethics is often understood as a rival to existing consequentialist, deontological, and contractualist views. But some have disputed the position that virtue ethics is a genuine normative ethical rival. This chapter aims to crystallize the nature of this dispute by providing criteria that determine the degree to which a normative ethical theory is complete, and then investigating virtue ethics through the lens of these criteria. In doing so, it’s argued that no existing account of virtue ethics is a complete (...)
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