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Profile: Christopher Woodard (Nottingham University)
  1. Christopher Woodard, Enumerative and Explanatory Theories of Welfare.
    One kind of philosophical question about welfare is about the nature of the concept itself. We seek elucidation of the concept, perhaps by relating it to the concept of goodness or the concept of rationality. We do not seek to determine which lives have the property of a high degree of welfare, or why; we seek only to clarify what it means to ascribe this property to a life. Call this sort of question formal. There are also substantive questions about (...)
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  2. Christopher Woodard, Enough of Enough.
    Prioritarianism itself is not committed to any particular claim about how moral importance decreases. It could decrease quickly or slowly, for example, and at a uniform or a variable rate. The defining feature of the view is just the claim that, somehow, moral importance decreases with the increasing advantage of the recipient.
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  3. Christopher Woodard, Pragmatism and Teleology.
    This paper connects two ideas. The first is that some common responses to ethical views are responses to their degrees of pragmatism, where a view’s degree of pragmatism is its sensitivity to ethically relevant changes in the actor’s circumstances. I claim that we feel the pull of opposing pro-pragmatic and antipragmatic intuitions in certain cases. This suggests a project, of searching for an ethical view capable of doing justice to these opposing intuitions in some way. The second central idea is (...)
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  4. Christopher Woodard, The Common Structure of Kantianism and Act Consequentialism.
    Indeed, these are the sorts of reasons that Act Consequentialism recognises. But we can think of act-based reasons as a limiting kind of pattern-based reason, in which the pattern P is identical to the action A. Thus the idea of pattern-based reasons is more general than the idea of act-based reasons, and we can properly understand Act Consequentialism as a theory of pattern-based reasons. If pattern-based reasons exist, they are reasons for individual agents to act. They are not supposed to (...)
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  5. Christopher Woodard, What Pedro Could Do.
    In Bernard Williams’s famous story, Jim must choose whether to shoot an innocent hostage. If he does not, Pedro will shoot that person plus nineteen more. If Jim does shoot, Pedro will release the other nineteen hostages. Jim must decide whether to do something terrible. If he does not, these innocent people will bear an enormous cost.1 The main point of Williams’s discussion is not about whether Jim should shoot—he allows that, perhaps, he should—but instead about what Jim’s reasons are. (...)
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  6. Christopher Woodard (2013). Classifying Theories of Welfare. Philosophical Studies 165 (3):787-803.
    This paper argues that we should replace the common classification of theories of welfare into the categories of hedonism, desire theories, and objective list theories. The tripartite classification is objectionable because it is unduly narrow and it is confusing: it excludes theories of welfare that are worthy of discussion, and it obscures important distinctions. In its place, the paper proposes two independent classifications corresponding to a distinction emphasised by Roger Crisp: a four-category classification of enumerative theories (about which items constitute (...)
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  7. Christopher Woodard (2013). The Common Structure of Kantianism and Act-Utilitarianism. Utilitas 25 (2):246-265.
    This article proposes a way of understanding Kantianism, act-utilitarianism and some other important ethical theories according to which they are all versions of the same kind of theory, sharing a common structure. I argue that this is a profitable way to understand the theories discussed. It is charitable to the theories concerned; it emphasizes the common ground between them; it gives us insights into the differences between them; and it provides a method for generating new ethical theories worth studying. The (...)
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  8. Christopher Woodard (2011). Rationality and the Unit of Action. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2):261-277.
    This paper examines the idea of an extended unit of action, which is the idea that the reasons for or against an individual action can depend on the qualities of a larger pattern of action of which it is a part. One concept of joint action is that the unit of action can be extended in this sense. But the idea of an extended unit of action is surprisingly minimal in its commitments. The paper argues for this conclusion by examining (...)
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  9. Christopher Woodard (2009). Pedro's Significance. Southern Journal of Philosophy 47 (3):301-319.
    Williams’s famous story of Jim exemplifies a general class of dilemmas caused by recalcitrant agents. Like Williams himself, most commentators have focused on Jim and the idea that he has special responsibility for his actions. This paper shifts attention to Pedro, exploring his significance in the story and arguing that Jim has a reason not to shoot that depends on Pedro’s best possible response. In so doing, it sketches a new approach to the general class of dilemmas posed by recalcitrant (...)
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  10. Christopher Woodard (2009). What's Wrong with Possibilism. Analysis 69 (2):219 - 226.
    1. Possibilists claim that what Smith ought to do now depends on two kinds of facts about relevant agents’ responses to his action. If the relevant agent is a different individual, what Smith ought to do now depends on how that agent would respond. If the relevant agent is Smith himself, it depends instead on how he could best respond. Actualists deny this. They claim that, whether or not the relevant agent is Smith himself, what matters is how that agent (...)
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  11. Christopher Woodard (2008). A New Argument Against Rule Consequentialism. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (3):247 - 261.
    We best understand Rule Consequentialism as a theory of pattern-based reasons, since it claims that we have reasons to perform some action because of the goodness of the pattern consisting of widespread performance of the same type of action in the same type of circumstances. Plausible forms of Rule Consequentialism are also pluralist, in the sense that, alongside pattern-based reasons, they recognise ordinary act-based reasons, based on the goodness of individual actions. However, Rule Consequentialist theories are distinguished from other pluralist (...)
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  12. Christopher Woodard (2008). Reasons, Patterns, and Cooperation. Routledge.
    Pragmatism, consequentialism, and teleology -- Acquiescence and necessity -- The cooperative conception -- The bare idea of pattern-based reasons -- Rejecting the willingness requirement -- Recklessness and futility.
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  13. Christopher Woodard (2005). Egalitarianism. Philosophical Books 46 (2):97-112.
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  14. Christopher Woodard (2003). Group-Based Reasons for Action. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 6 (2):215-229.
    This article endorses a familiar, albeit controversial, argument for the existence of group-based reasons for action, but then rejects two doctrines which other advocates of such reasons usually accept. One such doctrine is the willingness requirement, which says that a group-based reason exists only if (sufficient) other members of the group in question are willing to cooperate. Thus the paper argues that there is sometimes a reason, which derives from the rationality of some group action, to play one's part unilaterally (...)
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  15. Christopher Woodard (2003). Review: Practical Reasoning in a Social World: How We Act Together. [REVIEW] Mind 112 (448):714-718.
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  16. Christopher Woodard (2000). The Concept of Acquiescence. Journal of Political Philosophy 8 (4):409–432.
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