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Profile: Campbell Brown (Glasgow University)
  1. Campbell Brown, Better Than Nothing.
    A good life, or a life worth living, is a one that is "better than nothing". At least that is a common thought. But it is puzzling. What does "nothing" mean here? It cannot be a quantifier in the familiar sense, yet nor, it seems, can it be a referring term. To what could it refer? This paper aims to resolve the puzzle by examining a number of analyses of the concept of a life worth living. Temporal analyses, which exploit (...)
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  2. Campbell Brown (2014). Minding the Is-Ought Gap. Journal of Philosophical Logic 43 (1):53-69.
    The ‘No Ought From Is’ principle (or ‘NOFI’) states that a valid argument cannot have both an ethical conclusion and non-ethical premises. Arthur Prior proposed several well-known counterexamples, including the following: Tea-drinking is common in England; therefore, either tea-drinking is common in England or all New Zealanders ought to be shot. My aim in this paper is to defend NOFI against Prior’s counterexamples. I propose two novel interpretations of NOFI and prove that both are true.
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  3. Campbell Brown (2013). Reply to Benatar. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
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  4. Campbell Brown (2013). The Composition of Reasons. Synthese:1-22.
    How do reasons combine? How is it that several reasons taken together can have a combined weight which exceeds the weight of any one alone? I propose an answer in mereological terms: reasons combine by composing a further, complex reason of which they are parts. Their combined weight is the weight of their combination. I develop a mereological framework, and use this to investigate some structural views about reasons. Two of these views I call “Atomism” and “Wholism”. Atomism is the (...)
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  5. Campbell Brown (2012). Still No Redundant Properties: Reply to Wielenberg. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
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  6. Campbell Brown (2012). The Utility of Knowledge. Erkenntnis 77 (2):155-65.
    Recent epistemology has introduced a new criterion of adequacy for analyses of knowledge: such an analysis, to be adequate, must be compatible with the common view that knowledge is better than true belief. One account which is widely thought to fail this test is reliabilism, according to which, roughly, knowledge is true belief formed by reliable process. Reliabilism fails, so the argument goes, because of the "swamping problem". In brief, provided a belief is true, we do not care whether or (...)
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  7. Campbell Brown (2011). A New and Improved Supervenience Argument for Ethical Descriptivism. In Russ Shafer-Landau (ed.), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Vol. 6. Oup Oxford. 205-18.
    Ethical descriptivism is the view that all ethical properties are descriptive properties. Frank Jackson has proposed an argument for this view which begins with the premise that the ethical supervenes on the descriptive, any worlds that differ ethically must differ also descriptively. This paper observes that Jackson's argument has a curious structure, taking a linguistic detour between metaphysical starting and ending points, and raises some worries stemming from this. It then proposes an improved version of the argument, which avoids these (...)
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  8. Campbell Brown (2011). Better Never to Have Been Believed: Benatar on the Harm of Existence. Economics and Philosophy 27 (1):45-52.
    In Better Never to Have Been, David Benatar argues that existence is always a harm (Benatar 2006, pp. 18--59). His argument, in brief, is that this follows from a theory of personal good which we ought to accept because it best explains several 'asymmetries'. I shall argue here (a) that Benatar's theory suffers from a defect which was already widely known to afflict similar theories, and (b) that the main asymmetry he discusses is better explained in a way which allows (...)
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  9. Campbell Brown (2011). Consequentialize This. Ethics 121 (4):749-771.
    To 'consequentialise' is to take a putatively non-consequentialist moral theory and show that it is actually just another form of consequentialism. Some have speculated that every moral theory can be consequentialised. If this were so, then consequentialism would be empty; it would have no substantive content. As I argue here, however, this is not so. Beginning with the core consequentialist commitment to 'maximising the good', I formulate a precise definition of consequentialism and demonstrate that, given this definition, several sorts of (...)
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  10. Philip Pettit, Tim Henning & Campbell Brown (2011). 10. Jeremy Waldron, Torture, Terror, and Trade-Offs: Philosophy for the White House Jeremy Waldron, Torture, Terror, and Trade-Offs: Philosophy for the White House (Pp. 832-836). [REVIEW] Ethics 121 (4).
     
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  11. Lucy Allais, David Archard, Neera Badhwar, Christian Barry, Paul Bloomfield, Campbell Brown, Vittorio Bufacchi, Erik Carlson, Paula Casal & Richard Chappell (2009). Referees for Volume 6. Journal of Moral Philosophy 6:549-550.
     
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  12. Campbell Brown (2007). Prioritarianism for Variable Populations. Philosophical Studies 134 (3):325 - 361.
    Philosophical discussions of prioritarianism, the view that we ought to give priority to those who are worse off, have hitherto been almost exclusively focused on cases involving a fixed population. The aim of this paper is to extend the discussion of prioritarianism to encompass also variable populations. I argue that prioritarianism, in its simplest formulation, is not tenable in this area. However, I also propose several revised formulations that, so I argue, show more promise.
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  13. Campbell Brown (2007). Two Kinds of Holism About Values. Philosophical Quarterly 57 (228):456–463.
    I compare two kinds of holism about values: G.E. Moore's 'organic unities', and Jonathan Dancy's 'value holism'. I propose a simple formal model for representing evaluations of parts and wholes. I then define two conditions, additivism and invariabilism, which together imply a third, atomism. Since atomism is absurd, we must reject one of the former two conditions. This is where Moore and Dancy part company: whereas Moore rejects additivism, Dancy rejects invariabilism. I argue that Moore's view is more plausible. Invariabilism (...)
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  14. Campbell Brown (2005). Blameless Wrongdoing and Agglomeration: A Response to Streumer. Utilitas 17 (2):222-225.
    Bart Streumer argues that a certain variety of consequentialism – he calls it ‘semi-global consequentialism’ – is false on account of its falsely implying the possibility of ‘blameless wrongdoing’. This article shows (i) that Streumer's argument is nothing new; (ii) that his presentation of the argument is misleading, since it suppresses a crucial premiss, commonly called ‘agglomeration’; and (iii) that, for all Streumer says, the proponent of semi-global consequentialism may easily resist his argument by rejecting agglomeration.
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  15. Campbell Brown (2005). Matters of Priority. Dissertation, Australian National University
  16. Campbell Brown (2005). Priority or Sufficiency …or Both? Economics and Philosophy 21 (2):199-220.
    Prioritarianism is the view that we ought to give priority to benefiting those who are worse off. Sufficientism, on the other hand, is the view that we ought to give priority to benefiting those who are not sufficiently well off. This paper concerns the relative merits of these two views; in particular, it examines an argument advanced by Roger Crisp to the effect that sufficientism is the superior of the two. My aim is to show that Crisp's argument is unsound. (...)
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  17. Campbell Brown & Yujin Nagasawa (2005). Anything You Can Do, God Can Do Better. American Philosophical Quarterly 42 (3):221 - 227.
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  18. Campbell Brown & Yujin Nagasawa (2005). I Can't Make You Worship Me. Ratio 18 (2):138–144.
    This paper argues that Divine Command Theory is inconsistent with the veiw, held by many theists, that we have a moral obligation to worship God.
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  19. Campbell Brown & Yujin Nagasawa (2005). The Best of All Possible Worlds. Synthese 143 (3):309 - 320.
    The Argument from Inferiority holds that our world cannot be the creation of an omnipotent and omnibenevolent being; for if it were, it would be the best of all possible worlds, which evidently it is not. We argue that this argument rests on an implausible principle concerning which worlds it is permissible for an omnipotent being to create: roughly, the principle that such a being ought not to create a non-best world. More specifically, we argue that this principle is plausible (...)
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  20. Campbell Brown (2003). Giving Up Levelling Down. Economics and Philosophy 19 (1):111-134.