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Profile: Christian Miller (Wake Forest University)
  1. Christian Miller (2003). Social Psychology and Virtue Ethics. Journal of Ethics 7 (4):365-392.
    Several philosophers have recently claimed to have discovered a new and rather significant problem with virtue ethics. According to them, virtue ethics generates certain expectations about the behavior of human beings which are subject to empirical testing. But when the relevant experimental work is done in social psychology, the results fall remarkably short of meeting those expectations. So, these philosophers think, despite its recent success, virtue ethics has far less to offer to contemporary ethical theory than might have been initially (...)
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  2.  35
    Christian Miller (2013). Moral Character: An Empirical Theory. Oxford University Press.
    The goal of this book is to develop a new framework for thinking about what moral character looks like today. My central claim will be that most people have moral character traits, but at the same time they do not have either the traditional  ...
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  3.  37
    Christian Miller (2014). Character and Moral Psychology. Oxford University Press.
    This book first reviews Miller's theory of Mixed Traits, as developed in his 2013 book Moral Character: An Empirical Theory. It then engages extensively with situations, the CAPS model in social psychology, and the Big Five Model in personality psychology. It ends by taking up implications for his view in meta-ethics (a modified error theory) and normative ethics (a challenge for virtue ethics).
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  4.  18
    Christian Miller (2015). Distributive Justice and Empirical Moral Psychology. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:none.
    Bargaining games typically involve two players distributing a specific payoff (usually money), and will be our focus here, as they are especially helpful for examining the moral psychology of justice. Examples include the ultimatum game and dictator game. We will also look at a novel twist on the dictator game by the psychologist Daniel Batson, which has fostered a large experimental literature on what he calls ‘moral hypocrisy.’ Finally we will connect this discussion of economic games to the virtue of (...)
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  5.  28
    Christian B. Miller (2016). Should Christians Be Worried About Situationist Claims in Psychology and Philosophy? Faith and Philosophy 33 (1):48-73.
    The situationist movement in psychology and, more recently, in philosophy has been associated with a number of striking claims, including that most people do not have the moral virtues and vices, that any ethical theory which is wedded to such character traits is empirically inadequate, and that much of our behavior is causally influenced, to significant degrees, by psychological influences about which we are often unaware. Yet Christian philosophers have had virtually nothing to say about situationist claims. The goal of (...)
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  6.  56
    Christian Miller (2013). Identifying with Our Desires. Theoria 79 (2):127-154.
    A number of philosophers have become convinced that the best way of trying to understand human agency is by arriving at an account of identification. My goal here is not to criticize particular views about identification, but rather to examine several assumptions which have been widely held in the literature and yet which, in my view, render implausible any account of identification that takes them on board. In particular, I argue that typically identification does not involve either reflective consideration of (...)
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  7. Christian Miller (2009). Empathy, Social Psychology, and Global Helping Traits. Philosophical Studies 142 (2):247-275.
    The central virtue at issue in recent philosophical discussions of the empirical adequacy of virtue ethics has been the virtue of compassion. Opponents of virtue ethics such as Gilbert Harman and John Doris argue that experimental results from social psychology concerning helping behavior are best explained not by appealing to so-called ‘global’ character traits like compassion, but rather by appealing to external situational forces or, at best, to highly individualized ‘local’ character traits. In response, a number of philosophers have argued (...)
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  8. Christian Miller (2008). Motivation in Agents. Noûs 42 (2):222–266.
    The Humean theory of motivation remains the default position in much of the contemporary literature in meta-ethics, moral psychology, and action theory. Yet despite its widespread support, the theory is implausible as a view about what motivates agents to act. More specifically, my reasons for dissatisfaction with the Humean theory stem from its incompatibility with what I take to be a compelling model of the role of motivating reasons in first-person practical deliberation and third-person action explanations. So after first introducing (...)
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  9. Christian Miller (2009). Social Psychology, Mood, and Helping: Mixed Results for Virtue Ethics. [REVIEW] Journal of Ethics 13 (2-3):145 - 173.
    I first summarize the central issues in the debate about the empirical adequacy of virtue ethics, and then examine the role that social psychologists claim positive and negative mood have in influencing compassionate helping behavior. I argue that this psychological research is compatible with the claim that many people might instantiate certain character traits after all which allow them to help others in a wide variety of circumstances. Unfortunately for the virtue ethicist, however, it turns out that these helping traits (...)
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  10. Christian Miller (2014). Moral Virtues, Epistemic Virtues, and the Big Five. In Flanagan Owen & Fairweather Abrol (eds.), Naturalizing Virtue. Cambridge University Press 92-117.
    This paper connects work in psychology on the Big Five Model to the recent debate in philosophy on the empirical adequacy of virtue ethics and virtue epistemology.
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  11. Christian Miller (2002). Rorty and Moral Relativism. European Journal of Philosophy 10 (3):354–374.
    Critics of Rorty’s views on truth, objectivity, and value often take them to imply some form of untenable relativism.1 While it would be worthwhile to investigate whether Rorty is in fact committed to what might be called global relativism, or relativism in most if not all domains of investigation, for our purposes in this paper we must proceed more selectively. By focusing on Rorty’s view of moral objectivity, we can hopefully shed some new light on the now stale charge of (...)
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  12. Christian Miller (2008). Motivational Internalism. Philosophical Studies 139 (2):233 - 255.
    Cases involving amoralists who no longer care about the institution of morality, together with cases of depression, listlessness, and exhaustion, have posed trouble in recent years for standard formulations of motivational internalism. In response, though, internalists have been willing to adopt narrower versions of the thesis which restrict it just to the motivational lives of those agents who are said to be in some way normal, practically rational, or virtuous. My goal in this paper is to offer a new set (...)
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  13. Christian Miller (2013). The Euthyphro Dilemma. In Blackwell International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Blackwell 1-7.
    The Euthyphro Dilemma is named after a particular exchange between Socrates and Euthyphro in Plato‟s dialogue Euthyphro. In a famous passage, Socrates asks, “Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?” (Plato 1981: 10a), and proceeds to advance arguments which clearly favor the first of these two options (see PLATO). The primary interest in the Euthyphro Dilemma over the years, however, has primarily concerned the relationship between (...)
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  14. Christian B. Miller (ed.) (2015). Character: New Directions From Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology. Oxford University Press Usa.
    This collection of 31 papers primarily features the work funded by the Character Project's funding competitions (www.thecharacterproject.com). These papers represent some of the best and most innovative new work on character in the fields of psychology, philosophy, and theology.
     
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  15. Christian Miller (2009). The Conditions of Moral Realism. Journal of Philosophical Research 34:123-155.
    In this paper, I hope to provide an account of the conditions of moral realism whereby there are still significant metaphysical commitments made by the realist which set the view apart as a distinct position in the contemporary meta-ethical landscape. In order to do so, I will be appealing to a general account of what it is for realism to be true in any domain of experience, whether it be realism about universals, realism about unobservable scientific entities, realism about artifacts, (...)
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  16. Christian Miller (2014). The Real Challenge to Virtue Ethics From Psychology. In Snow Nancy & Trivigno Franco (eds.), The Philosophy and Psychology of Virtue: An Empirical Approach to Character and Happiness. Routledge 15-34.
    In section one, I briefly review the Harman/Doris argument and outline the most promising response. Then in section two I develop what I take the real challenge to virtue ethics to be. The final section of the chapter suggests two strategies for beginning to address this challenge.
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  17.  69
    Christian Miller (2004). Agency and Moral Realism. Dissertation, University of Notre Dame
    Much of the literature in contemporary analytic metaethics has grown rather stale – the range of possible positions seems to have been exhaustively delineated, and most of the important arguments on all sides have been clearly articulated and evaluated. In order to advance discussion in this area, I examine more fundamental issues about the nature of agency. In my view, the heart of what it is to exhibit intentional agency in the world is to identify with the relevant components of (...)
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  18.  61
    Christian Miller (2012). Atheism and the Benefits of Theistic Belief. In Jonathan Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press 97-125.
    Most atheists are error theorists about theists; they claim that theists have genuine beliefs about the existence and nature of a divine being, but as a matter of fact no such divine being exists. Thus on their view the relevant theistic beliefs are mistaken. As error theorists, then, atheists need to arrive at some answer to the question of what practical course of action the atheist should adopt towards the theistic beliefs held by committed theists. The most natural answer and (...)
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  19.  49
    Christian Miller (2014). The Problem of Character. In van Hooft Stan (ed.), The Handbook of Virtue Ethics. Acumen Publishing 418-429.
    I first summarize the main line of argument used by Harman and Doris against Aristotelian virtue ethics in particular. In section two I present what seems to me to be the most promising response to their argument. Finally in section three I briefly review and assess the other leading responses in the now sizable literature that has developed in this area.
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  20.  32
    Christian Miller (2010). Character Traits, Social Psychology, and Impediments to Helping Behavior. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 5 (1):1-36.
    In a number of recent papers, I have begun to develop a new theory of character which is conceptually distinct both from traditional Aristotelian accounts as well as from the positive view of local traits outlined by John Doris. On my view, many human beings do have robust traits of character which play an important explanatory and predictive role, but which are triggered by certain situational variables which preclude them from counting as genuine Aristotelian virtues. Like others in this discussion, (...)
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  21. Christian Miller (2011). Moral Relativism and Moral Psychology. In Steven Hales (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Relativism. Blackwell
    Much recent work in meta-ethics and ethical theory has drawn extensively on claims about moral psychology. The goal of this paper is to provide a broad overview of some of these claims and the implications that certain philosophers are taking them to have for the plausibility of moral relativism.
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  22.  74
    Christian Miller (2009). Divine Desire Theory and Obligation. In Yujin Nagasawa & Erik J. Wielenberg (eds.), New Waves in Philosophy of Religion. Palgrave Macmillan 105--24.
    Thanks largely to the work of Robert Adams and Philip Quinn, the second half of the twentieth century witnessed a resurgence of interest in divine command theory as a viable position in normative theory and meta-ethics. More recently, however, there has been some dissatisfaction with divine command theory even among those philosophers who claim that normative properties are grounded in God, and as a result alternative views have begun to emerge, most notably divine intention theory (Murphy, Quinn) and divine motivation (...)
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  23.  47
    Christian Miller (2007). The Policy-Based Approach to Identification. Philosophical Psychology 20 (1):105 – 125.
    In a number of recent papers, Michael Bratman has defended a policy-based theory of identification which represents the most sophisticated and compelling development of a broadly hierarchical approach to the problems about identification which Harry Frankfurt drew our attention to over thirty years ago. Here I first summarize the bare essentials of Bratman's view, and then raise doubts about both its necessity and sufficiency. Finally I consider his objections to rival value-based models, and find those objections to be less compelling (...)
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  24.  96
    Christian Miller (2013). Integrity. In Blackwell International Encyclopedia of Ethics. Blackwell 1-11.
    Integrity is one of the leading normative concepts employed in our society. We frequently talk about the degree of integrity of community leaders and famous historical figures, and we highly value integrity in our elected public officials. But philosophers have had a difficult time arriving at consensus about what integrity consists in. Some claim that it is a purely formal relation of consistency, others that it has to do primarily with one‟s identity, and still others that it involves subjective or (...)
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  25.  19
    Christian Miller (2015). Empathy as the Only Hope for the Virtue of Compassion and as Support for a Limited Unity of the Virtues. Philosophy, Theology, and the Sciences 2:89-113.
    This paper claims that altruistic motivation is necessary for possessing the virtue of compassion, and that research on empathy (in particular, work by Dan Batson) has been the only promising source of evidence for such motivation. Challenges to using empathy as a means to cultivating compassion are also considered.
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  26.  8
    Christian B. Miller (2015). Assessing Two Competing Approaches to the Psychology of Moral Judgments. Philosophical Explorations 19 (1):28-47.
    This paper brings together the social intuitionist view of the psychology of moral judgments developed by Jonathan Haidt, and the recent morphological rationalist position of Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons. I will end up suggesting that Horgan and Timmons have offered us a more plausible account of the psychology of moral judgment formation. But the view is not without its own difficulties. Indeed, one of them might prove to be quite serious, as it could support a form of skepticism about (...)
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  27.  95
    Christian Miller (2007). The Conditions of Realism. Journal of Philosophical Research 32:95-132.
    The concern of this paper is not with the truth of any particular realist or anti-realist view, but rather with determining what it is to be a realist or anti-realist in the first place. While much skepticism has been voiced in recent years about the viability of such a project, my goal is to articulate interesting and informative conditions whereby any view in any domain of experience can count as either a realist or an anti-realist position.
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  28. Christian Miller (2006). Shafer-Landau and Moral Realism. Social Theory and Practice 32 (2):311-331.
    In 1903 G.E. Moore celebrated a robust nonnaturalistic form of moral realism with the publication of his Principia Ethica. Subsequent years have witnessed the development and refinement of a number of views motivated at least in part by a deep resistance to the metaphysical and epistemological commitments of nonnaturalism. Over time, Moore’s view arguably has become the position of last resort for philosophers working in metaethics. Exactly one hundred years later, analytic metaethics has come full circle with the publication of (...)
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  29.  80
    Christian Miller (2007). The Structure of Instrumental Practical Reasoning. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):1-40.
    The view to be defended in this paper is intended to be a novel and compelling model of instrumental practical reasoning, reasoning aimed at determining how to act in order to achieve a given end in a certain set of circumstances. On standard views of instrumental reasoning, the end in question is the object of a particular desire that the agent has, a desire which, when combined with the agent’s beliefs about what means are available to him or her in (...)
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  30.  12
    Christian Miller (2015). Review of Kristján Kristjánsson's Virtues and Vices in Positive Psychology: A Philosophical Critique. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews:online.
    Kristján Kristjánsson's new book is the first detailed treatment of positive psychology from a philosophical perspective (at least as far as I am aware). Kristjánsson has been an active contributor to a number of debates in recent years at the intersection of moral philosophy, psychology, and education, and brings his vast familiarity with the relevant literature to bear in engaging with this movement. The result is a book that raises a number of good questions and concerns about positive psychology, but (...)
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  31.  49
    Christian Miller (2012). The Challenge to Virtue, Character, and Forgiveness From Psychology and Philosophy. Philosophia Christi 14 (1):125-143.
    In several recent articles and in a forthcoming book, I have tried to articulate what I take the real challenge to virtue ethics to be from social psychology. In this article, I develop that challenge again by looking specifically at the virtue of forgiveness.
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  32.  1
    Christian Miller (2015). Empathy as the Only Hope for the Virtue of Compassion and as Support for a Limited Unity of the Virtues. Philosophy, Theology and the Sciences 2 (1):89-113.
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  33.  44
    Christian Miller (2010). Guilt and Helping. International Journal of Ethics 6 (2/3):231-252.
    A wealth of research in social psychology over the past twenty years has examined the role that guilt plays in our mental lives. In this paper, I examine just one aspect of this vast literature, namely the relationship between guilt and prosocial behavior. Researchers have typically found a robust positive correlation between feelings of guilt and helping, and have advanced psychological models to explain why guilt seems to have this effect. Here I present some of their results as well as (...)
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  34.  1
    Christian Basil Miller (2008). Motivational Internalism. Philosophical Studies 139 (2):233-255.
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  35.  33
    Christian Miller (2013). Do People Have the Virtues or Vices? Some Results From Psychology. In Bradshaw David (ed.), Ethics and the Challenge of Secularism: Russian and Western Perspectives. Council for Research in Values and Philosophy 63-88.
    This paper extends the recent discussion in philosophy of the empirical adequacy of traditional virtues and vices, to the area of work on cheating behavior and cheating motivation.
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  36.  43
    Christian Miller (2009). Divine Will Theory: Desires or Intentions? In Jonathan Kvanvig (ed.), Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press
    Due largely to the work of Mark Murphy and Philip Quinn, divine will theory has emerged as a legitimate alternative to divine command theory in recent years. As an initial characterization, divine will theory is a view of deontological properties according to which, for instance, an agent S‟s obligation to perform action A in circumstances C is grounded in God‟s will that S A in C. Characterized this abstractly, divine will theory does not specify which kind of mental state is (...)
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  37.  31
    Christian Miller (forthcoming). Moral Realism and Anti-Realism. In Jerome Gellman (ed.), The History of Evil. Acumen Press
    This chapter surveys work in meta-ethics in the past fifty years which explicitly deals with issues associated with evil. It discusses two examples from secular discussions: the argument developed by Gilbert Harman on the explanatory role of moral facts, and the argument developed by Gilbert Harman and John Doris on the empirical inadequacy of the virtues. The chapter then turns to two topics related to theistic meta-ethics: the problem of evil and moral realism, and theological voluntarism and evil.
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  38. Christian Miller (2011). Overview of Contemporary Meta-Ethics and Normative Ethical Theory. In The Continuum Companion to Ethics. Continuum
    The study of morality continues to flourish in contemporary philosophy. As the chapters of this Companion illustrate, new and exciting work is being done on a wide range of topics from the objectivity of morality to the relationship between morality and religious, biological, and feminist concerns. Along with this vast amount of work has come a proliferation of technical terminology and competing positions. The goal of this chapter is to provide an overview of the terrain in contemporary ethics.
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  39.  9
    Christian Miller (2013). Honesty, Cheating, and Character in College. Journal of College and Character:213-222.
    Colleges and universities need to first develop an empirically informed understanding of their students when it comes to their honesty and cheating, so as to be in a better position to develop policies which can try to help them not become more disposed to cheat during their college years. In section one of this paper, I review some of the leading research on cheating behavior, and in section two I do the same for cheating motivation. Section three then draws some (...)
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  40.  41
    Christian Miller (2007). The Structure of Instrumental Practical Reasoning. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (1):1–40.
    The view to be defended in this paper is intended to be a novel and compelling model of instrumental practical reasoning, reasoning aimed at determining how to act in order to achieve a given end in a certain set of circumstances. On standard views of instrumental reasoning, the end in question is the object of a particular desire that the agent has, a desire which, when combined with the agent’s beliefs about what means are available to him or her in (...)
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  41.  35
    Christian Miller (2011). Guilt, Embarrassment, and Global Character Traits Associated with Helping. In Thom Brooks (ed.), New Waves in Ethics. Palgrave Macmillan
    The first section of this paper briefly summarizes my positive view of global helping traits. The remaining sections then develop the view in two new directions by examining the relationship between guilt, embarrassment, and helping behavior. It turns out that guilt and embarrassment reliably and cross-situationally enhance helping behavior, but in such a way that is incompatible with the nature of compassion as traditionally understood.
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  42. Christian Miller (2015). Are Most of Us Honest People? Or Dishonest? Or Neither? In Artur Szutta & Natasza Szutta (eds.), W poszukiwaniu moralnego charakteru. Academicon Publishing House 103-145.
    In section one of this paper, I review some of the leading research on cheating behavior, and in section two I do the same for cheating motivation. Section three then outlines several requirements for honesty and dishonesty, and I explain why, in light of the current psychological evidence, these requirements do not seem to be met. Finally in section four I step back and present some of the details of my Mixed Trait approach to thinking about the character traits which, (...)
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  43. Christian Miller (2015). Russell on Acquiring Virtue. In Alfano Mark (ed.), Current Controversies in Virtue Theory. Routledge 106-117.
    This is a response paper to Daniel Russell's paper in the same volume. I raise some challenges to Russell's model of virtue acquisition which draws extensively on the CAPS model in psychology and on parallels between virtues and skills.
     
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  44. Christian Miller (forthcoming). The Psychology of Virtue. In Alejo Sison (ed.), Handbook of Virtue Ethics in Business and Management. Springer
    This chapter provides a brief overview of recent work in psychology on virtue, with a focus on the implications of that research for business. It begins by characterizing what is involved in having a virtuous character trait. It then reviews some of the claims made in two of the leading research traditions on traits in psychology: situationism and the Big Five model. Finally it ends with an application of research on the Big Five trait of conscientiousness to the business environment.
     
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  45. Christian Miller (2014). A Satisfactory Definition of Post-Traumatic Growth Still Remains Elusive. European Journal of Personality:344-346.
    This is an invited target article commenting on a paper by Blackie and Jayawickreme on post-traumatic growth.
     
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  46.  43
    Christian Miller (2006). Quinn's Philosophy of Religion. In Essays in the Philosophy of Religion.
    My goal in this brief introduction is twofold: first, to briefly sketch some of the life of this remarkable man; and second, to provide an overview of the papers that make up this collection. The papers themselves have been organized around the following central topics in Quinn’s research: religious ethics, religion and tragic dilemmas, religious epistemology, religion and political liberalism, Christian philosophy of religion, and religious diversity.
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  47.  41
    Christian Miller (2008). Gert on Subjective Practical Rationality. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (5):551 - 561.
    The purpose of this paper is to consider Joshua Gert’s novel view of subjective practical rationality in his book Brute Rationality. After briefly outlining the account, I present two objections to his view and then consider his own objections to a rival approach to understanding subjective rationality which I take to be much more plausible.
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  48.  21
    Christian Miller (2014). Furlong and Santos on Desire and Choice. In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology: Freedom and Responsibility. MIT Press 367-374.
    Ellen Furlong and Laurie Santos helpfully summarize a number of fascinating studies of certain influences on both human and monkey behavior. As someone who works primarily in philosophy, I am not in a position to dispute the details of the studies themselves. But in this brief commentary I do want to raise some questions about the inferences Furlong and Santos make on the basis of those studies. In general, I worry that they may be overreaching beyond what their own data (...)
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  49. Jacek Brzozowski, Matthew Festenstein, Marek Kwiek, Patrick Lenta & Christian Miller (forthcoming). Deane-Peter Baker Lectures in Philosophy at the University of Natal, and is an Editor of Theoria. He is Currently Pursuing PhD Studies Through Macquarie University. Recent Publications Include 'Morality, Structure, Transcendence and Theism: A Response to Melissa Lane's Reading of Charles Taylor's Sources of the Self', Forthcoming in Inter. Theoria.
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  50.  23
    Christian Miller (2005). Review of William Casebeer, Natural Ethical Facts. [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 55:532-534.
    The aim of William Casebeer’s book is ‘to show that, theoretically speaking, there is no reason to rule out a scientific naturalized ethics tout court, and that, practical speaking, by taking into account recent developments in evolutionary biology and the cognitive sciences, the outlines of one promising form of such an ethics can be sketched’ (p. 1-2). The result is an interesting treatment of a wide variety of issues at the intersection of cognitive science, meta-ethics, normative theory, and evolutionary psychology, (...)
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