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Brendan Cline
Brandeis University
  1. Moral Explanations, Thick and Thin.Brendan Cline - 2015 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (2):1-20.
    Cornell realists maintain that irreducible moral properties have earned a place in our ontology in virtue of the indispensable role they play in a variety of explanations. These explanations can be divided into two groups: those that employ thin ethical concepts and those that employ thick ethical concepts. Recent work on thick concepts suggests that they are not inherently evaluative in their meaning. If correct, this creates problems for the moral explanations of Cornell realists, since the most persuasive moral explanations (...)
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    Do Species Really Matter?Brendan Cline - 2019 - Environmental Ethics 40 (3):241-260.
    Many environmentalists hold that the loss of a species is intrinsically bad, and many also think that we have moral obligations to species as such. In an attempt to capture these thoughts, some philosophers have suggested that species are bearers of intrinsic value. This approach works well in paradigmatic cases. However, it begins to break down in more difficult scenarios, such as when species boundaries are unclear or when resources are scarce. The case study of the Galápagos giant tortoises in (...)
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  3. Nativism and the Evolutionary Debunking of Morality.Brendan Cline - 2015 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 6 (2):231-253.
    Evolutionary debunking arguments purport to undercut the justification of our moral judgments by showing why a tendency to make moral judgments would evolve regardless of the truth of those judgments. Machery and Mallon (2010. Evolution of morality. In J.M. Doris and The Moral Psychology Research Group (Eds.), The Moral Psychology Handbook (pp. 3-46). Oxford: Oxford University Press) have recently tried to disarm these arguments by showing that moral cognition – in the sense that is relevant to debunking – is not (...)
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    Cognitivism, Motivation, and Dual-Process Approaches to Normative Judgment.Brendan Cline - 2017 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 4.
    A central source of support for expressivist accounts of normative discourse is the intimate relationship between normative judgment and motivation. Expressivists argue that normative judgments must be noncognitive, desire-like states in order to be so tightly linked with motivation. Normative statements are then construed as expressions of these noncognitive states. In this paper, I draw on dual-process models in cognitive psychology to respond to this argument. According to my proposal, normative judgments are ordinary beliefs that are typically produced by two (...)
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    The Tale of a Moderate Normative Skeptic.Brendan Cline - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (1):141-161.
    While Richard Joyce’s moral skepticism might seem to be an extreme metaethical view, it is actually far more moderate than it might first appear. By articulating four challenges facing his approach to moral skepticism, I argue that Joyce’s moderation is, in fact, a theoretical liability. First, the fact that Joyce is not skeptical about normativity in general makes it possible to develop close approximations to morality, lending support to moderate moral revisionism over moral error theory. Second, Joyce relies on strong, (...)
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    Smith’s Practicality Requirement Meets Dual-Process Models of Moral Judgment.Brendan Cline - 2017 - Philosophical Psychology 30 (8):1043-1063.
    In The Moral Problem, Michael Smith argues that only motivational internalists can offer an adequate explanation of why changes in moral judgment tend to be accompanied by changes in motivation in morally virtuous people. Smith argues that the failure of motivational externalism to account for this phenomenon amounts to a reductio of the view. In this paper, I draw on dual-process models of moral judgment to develop an externalist response to Smith’s argument. The key to my proposal is that motivationally (...)
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    Against Deliberative Indispensability as an Independent Guide to What There Is.Brendan Cline - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (12):3235-3254.
    David Enoch has recently proposed that the deliberative indispensability of irreducibly normative facts suffices to support their inclusion in our ontology, even if they are not necessary for the explanation of any observable phenomena. He challenges dissenters to point to a relevant asymmetry between explanation and deliberation that shows why explanatory indispensability, but not deliberative indispensability, is a legitimate guide to ontology. In this paper, I aim to do just that. Given that an entity figures in the actual explanation of (...)
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    Big History, Value, and the Art of Continued Existence.Brendan Cline - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (3):901-930.
    There has lately been substantial interest in scrutinizing our evaluative attitudes in light of our evolutionary history. However, these discussions have been hampered by an insufficiently expansive vantage. Our history did not begin ex nihilo a few million years ago with the appearance of hominins, or apes, or primates—those are very recent chapters of a much larger story that spans billions of years. This paper situates the mechanisms underlying normative thought within this broader context. I argue that this historical perspective (...)
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