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Michael Smith
Princeton University
Michael Smith
Australian National University
Martin Smith
University of Edinburgh
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  1. The Moral Problem.Michael Smith - 1994 - Blackwell.
  2. Between Probability and Certainty: What Justifies Belief.Martin Smith - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
    This book explores a question central to philosophy--namely, what does it take for a belief to be justified or rational? According to a widespread view, whether one has justification for believing a proposition is determined by how probable that proposition is, given one's evidence. In this book this view is rejected and replaced with another: in order for one to have justification for believing a proposition, one's evidence must normically support it--roughly, one's evidence must make the falsity of that proposition (...)
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  3. Dispositional Theories of Value.Michael Smith, David Lewis & Mark Johnston - 1989 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 63 (1):89-174.
  4. When Does Evidence Suffice for Conviction?Martin Smith - 2018 - Mind 127 (508):1193-1218.
    There is something puzzling about statistical evidence. One place this manifests is in the law, where courts are reluctant to base affirmative verdicts on evidence that is purely statistical, in spite of the fact that it is perfectly capable of meeting the standards of proof enshrined in legal doctrine. After surveying some proposed explanations for this, I shall outline a new approach – one that makes use of a notion of normalcy that is distinct from the idea of statistical frequency. (...)
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  5. What Else Justification Could Be1.Martin Smith - 2010 - Noûs 44 (1):10-31.
    According to a captivating picture, epistemic justification is essentially a matter of epistemic or evidential likelihood. While certain problems for this view are well known, it is motivated by a very natural thought—if justification can fall short of epistemic certainty, then what else could it possibly be? In this paper I shall develop an alternative way of thinking about epistemic justification. On this conception, the difference between justification and likelihood turns out to be akin to the more widely recognised difference (...)
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  6. The Humean Theory of Motivation.Michael Smith - 1987 - Mind 96 (381):36-61.
  7. Rational Capacities, Or: How to Distinguish Recklessness, Weakness, and Compulsion.Michael Smith - 2003 - In Sarah Stroud & Christine Tappolet (eds.), Weakness of Will and Practical Irrationality. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 17-38.
    We ordinarily suppose that there is a difference between having and failing to exercise a rational capacity on the one hand, and lacking a rational capacity altogether on the other. This is crucial for our allocations of responsibility. Someone who has but fails to exercise a capacity is responsible for their failure to exercise their capacity, whereas someone who lacks a capacity altogether is not. However, as Gary Watson pointed out in his seminal essay ’Skepticism about Weakness of Will’, the (...)
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  8. Internal Reasons.Michael Smith - 1995 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 55 (1):109-131.
    The idea that there is such an analytic connection will hardly come as news. It amounts to no more and no less than an endorsement of the claim that all reasons are 'internal', as opposed to 'external', to use Bernard Williams's terms (Williams 1980). Or, to put things in the way Christine Korsgaard favours, it amounts to an endorsement of the 'internalism requirement' on reasons (Korsgaard 1986). But how exactly is the internalism requirement to be understood? What does it tell (...)
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  9. Ethical Particularism and Patterns.Frank Jackson, Philip Pettit & Michael Smith - 2000 - In Brad Hooker & Margaret Olivia Little (eds.), Moral Particularism. Oxford University Press. pp. 79--99.
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  10. Backgrounding Desire.Philip Pettit & Michael Smith - 1990 - Philosophical Review 99 (4):565-592.
    Granted that desire is always present in the genesis of human action, is it something on the presence of which the agent always reflects? I may act on a belief without coming to recognize that I have the belief. Can I act on a desire without recognizing that I have the desire? In particular, can the desire have a motivational presence in my decision making, figuring in the background, as it were, without appearing in the content of my deliberation, in (...)
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  11.  39
    Quality Attestation for Clinical Ethics Consultants: A Two‐Step Model From the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities.Eric Kodish, Joseph J. Fins, Clarence Braddock, Felicia Cohn, Nancy Neveloff Dubler, Marion Danis, Arthur R. Derse, Robert A. Pearlman, Martin Smith, Anita Tarzian, Stuart Youngner & Mark G. Kuczewski - 2013 - Hastings Center Report 43 (5):26-36.
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  12.  34
    A Pilot Evaluation of Portfolios for Quality Attestation of Clinical Ethics Consultants.Joseph J. Fins, Eric Kodish, Felicia Cohn, Marion Danis, Arthur R. Derse, Nancy Neveloff Dubler, Barbara Goulden, Mark Kuczewski, Mary Beth Mercer, Robert A. Pearlman, Martin L. Smith, Anita Tarzian & Stuart J. Youngner - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics 16 (3):15-24.
    Although clinical ethics consultation is a high-stakes endeavor with an increasing prominence in health care systems, progress in developing standards for quality is challenging. In this article, we describe the results of a pilot project utilizing portfolios as an evaluation tool. We found that this approach is feasible and resulted in a reasonably wide distribution of scores among the 23 submitted portfolios that we evaluated. We discuss limitations and implications of these results, and suggest that this is a significant step (...)
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  13. Absolutist Moral Theories and Uncertainty.Frank Jackson & Michael Smith - 2006 - Journal of Philosophy 103 (6):267-283.
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  14.  79
    Lottery Judgments: A Philosophical and Experimental Study.Philip A. Ebert, Martin Smith & Ian Durbach - 2018 - Philosophical Psychology 31 (1):110-138.
    In this paper, we present the results of two surveys that investigate subjects’ judgments about what can be known or justifiably believed about lottery outcomes on the basis of statistical evidence, testimonial evidence, and “mixed” evidence, while considering possible anchoring and priming effects. We discuss these results in light of seven distinct hypotheses that capture various claims made by philosophers about lay people’s lottery judgments. We conclude by summarizing the main findings, pointing to future research, and comparing our findings to (...)
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  15.  35
    The Achieving Society.M. Brewster Smith & David C. McClelland - 1964 - History and Theory 3 (3):371.
  16. Freedom in Belief and Desire.Philip Pettit & Michael Smith - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (9):429-449.
    People ordinarily suppose that there are certain things they ought to believe and certain things they ought not to believe. In supposing this to be so, they make corresponding assumptions about their belief-forming capacities. They assume that they are generally responsive to what they think they ought to believe in the things they actually come to believe. In much the same sense, people ordinarily suppose that there are certain things they ought to desire and do and they make corresponding assumptions (...)
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  17. Minimalism and Truth Aptness.Michael Smith, Frank Jackson & Graham Oppy - 1994 - Mind 103 (411):287 - 302.
    This paper, while neutral on questions about the minimality of truth, argues for the non-minimality of truth-aptness.
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  18. Ethics and the a Priori: Selected Essays on Moral Psychology and Meta-Ethics.Michael Smith - 2004 - Cambridge University Press.
    Michael Smith has written a series of seminal essays about the nature of belief and desire, the status of normative judgment, and the relevance of the views we take on both these topics to the accounts we give of our nature as free and responsible agents. This long awaited collection comprises some of the most influential of Smith's essays. Among the topics covered are: the Humean theory of motivating reasons, the nature of normative reasons, Williams and Korsgaard on internal and (...)
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  19. The Magic of Constitutivism.Michael Smith - 2015 - American Philosophical Quarterly 52 (2):187-200.
    Constitutivism is the view that we can derive a substantive account of normative reasons for action—perhaps a Kantian account, perhaps a hedonistic account, perhaps a desire-fulfillment account, this is up for grabs—from abstract premises about the nature of action and agency. Constitutivists are thus bound together by their conviction that such a derivation is possible, not by their agreement about which substantive reasons can be derived, and not by agreement about the features of action and agency that permit the derivation. (...)
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  20. The Logic of Epistemic Justification.Martin Smith - 2018 - Synthese 195 (9):3857-3875.
    Theories of epistemic justification are commonly assessed by exploring their predictions about particular hypothetical cases – predictions as to whether justification is present or absent in this or that case. With a few exceptions, it is much less common for theories of epistemic justification to be assessed by exploring their predictions about logical principles. The exceptions are a handful of ‘closure’ principles, which have received a lot of attention, and which certain theories of justification are well known to invalidate. But (...)
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  21.  30
    Freedom in Belief and Desire.Philip Pettit & Michael Smith - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (9):429-449.
  22. Transmission Failure Explained.Martin Smith - 2009 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (1):164-189.
    In this paper I draw attention to a peculiar epistemic feature exhibited by certain deductively valid inferences. Certain deductively valid inferences are unable to enhance the reliability of one's belief that the conclusion is true—in a sense that will be fully explained. As I shall show, this feature is demonstrably present in certain philosophically significant inferences—such as GE Moore's notorious 'proof' of the existence of the external world. I suggest that this peculiar epistemic feature might be correlated with the much (...)
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  23. Ceteris Paribus Conditionals and Comparative Normalcy.Martin Smith - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 36 (1):97-121.
    Our understanding of subjunctive conditionals has been greatly enhanced through the use of possible world semantics and, more precisely, by the idea that they involve variably strict quantification over possible worlds. I propose to extend this treatment to ceteris paribus conditionals – that is, conditionals that incorporate a ceteris paribus or ‘other things being equal’ clause. Although such conditionals are commonly invoked in scientific theorising, they traditionally arouse suspicion and apprehensiveness amongst philosophers. By treating ceteris paribus conditionals as a species (...)
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  24. A Generalised Lottery Paradox for Infinite Probability Spaces.Martin Smith - 2010 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61 (4):821-831.
    Many epistemologists have responded to the lottery paradox by proposing formal rules according to which high probability defeasibly warrants acceptance. Douven and Williamson present an ingenious argument purporting to show that such rules invariably trivialise, in that they reduce to the claim that a probability of 1 warrants acceptance. Douven and Williamson’s argument does, however, rest upon significant assumptions – amongst them a relatively strong structural assumption to the effect that the underlying probability space is both finite and uniform. In (...)
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  25.  96
    Neutral and Relative Value After Moore.Michael Smith - 2003 - Ethics 113 (3):576-598.
  26. Four Objections to the Standard Story of Action (and Four Replies).Michael Smith - 2012 - Philosophical Issues 22 (1):387-401.
  27. Global Consequentialism.Philip Pettit & Michael Smith - 2000 - In Brad Hooker, Elinor Mason & Dale Miller (eds.), Morality, Rules and Consequences: A Critical Reader. Edinburgh University Press.
  28. Some Thoughts on the JK-Rule1.Martin Smith - 2012 - Noûs 46 (4):791-802.
    In ‘The normative role of knowledge’ (2012), Declan Smithies defends a ‘JK-rule’ for belief: One has justification to believe that P iff one has justification to believe that one is in a position to know that P. Similar claims have been defended by others (Huemer, 2007, Reynolds, forthcoming). In this paper, I shall argue that the JK-rule is false. The standard and familiar way of arguing against putative rules for belief or assertion is, of course, to describe putative counterexamples. My (...)
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  29.  80
    Donation After Circulatory Death: Burying the Dead Donor Rule.David Rodríguez-Arias, Maxwell J. Smith & Neil M. Lazar - 2011 - American Journal of Bioethics 11 (8):36-43.
    Despite continuing controversies regarding the vital status of both brain-dead donors and individuals who undergo donation after circulatory death (DCD), respecting the dead donor rule (DDR) remains the standard moral framework for organ procurement. The DDR increases organ supply without jeopardizing trust in transplantation systems, reassuring society that donors will not experience harm during organ procurement. While the assumption that individuals cannot be harmed once they are dead is reasonable in the case of brain-dead protocols, we argue that the DDR (...)
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  30. In Defense of "the Moral Problem": A Reply to Brink, Copp, and Sayre-McCord.Michael Smith - 1997 - Ethics 108 (1):84-119.
  31.  16
    Tracing the Time Course of Picture–Word Processing.Marilyn C. Smith & Lochlan E. Magee - 1980 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 109 (4):373-392.
  32. Evaluation, Uncertainty and Motivation.Michael Smith - 2002 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 5 (3):305-320.
    Evaluative judgements have both belief-like and desire-like features. While cognitivists think that they can easily explain the belief-like features, and have trouble explaining the desire-like features, non-cognitivists think the reverse. I argue that the belief-like features of evaluative judgement are quite complex, and that these complexities crucially affect the way in which an agent's values explain her actions, and hence the desire-like features. While one form of cognitivism can, it turns out that non-cognitivism cannot, accommodate all of these complexities. The (...)
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  33. Knowledge, Justification and Normative Coincidence1.Martin Smith - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (2):273-295.
    Say that two goals are normatively coincident just in case one cannot aim for one goal without automatically aiming for the other. While knowledge and justification are distinct epistemic goals, with distinct achievement conditions, this paper begins from the suggestion that they are nevertheless normatively coincident—aiming for knowledge and aiming for justification are one and the same activity. A number of surprising consequences follow from this—both specific consequences about how we can ascribe knowledge and justification in lottery cases and more (...)
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  34. Minimalism, truth-aptitude and belief.Michael Smith - 1994 - Analysis 54 (1):21-26.
  35. Instrumental Desires, Instrumental Rationality.Michael Smith - 2004 - Supplement to the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 78 (1):93-109.
    The requirements of instrumental rationality are often thought to be normative conditions on choice or intention, but this is a mistake. Instrumental rationality is best understood as a requirement of coherence on an agent's non-instrumental desires and means-end beliefs. Since only a subset of an agent's means-end beliefs concern possible actions, the connection with intention is thus more oblique. This requirement of coherence can be satisfied either locally or more globally, it may be only one among a number of such (...)
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  36. Engaging Characters: Fiction, Emotion, and the Cinema. [REVIEW]Murray Smith - 1999 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 57 (1):88-89.
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  37. The Possibility of Philosophy of Action.Michael A. Smith - 1998 - In Jan Bransen & Stefaan Cuypers (eds.), Human Action, Deliberation and Causation. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 17--41.
    This article was conceived as a sequel to “The Humean Theory of Motivation.” The paper addresses various challenges to the standard account of the explanation of intentional action in terms of desire and means-end belief, challenges that didn’t occur to me when I wrote “The Humean Theory of Motivation.” I begin by suggesting that the attraction of the standard account lies in the way in which it allows us to unify a vast array of otherwise diverse types of action explanation. (...)
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  38.  36
    Two Kinds of Consequentialism.Michael Smith - 2009 - Philosophical Issues 19 (1):257-272.
  39. Practical Unreason.Philip Pettit & Michael Smith - 1993 - Mind 102 (405):53-79.
    Some contemporary theories treat phenomena like weakness of will, compulsion and wantonness as practical failures but not as failures of rationality: say, as failures of autonomy or whatever. Other current theories-the majority see the phenomena as failures of rationality but not as distinctively practical failures. They depict them as always involving a theoretical deficiency: a sort of ignorance, error, inattention or illogic. They represent them as failures which are on a par with breakdowns of theoretical reason; the failures may not (...)
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  40.  10
    Ruling Passions.Michael Smith - 2002 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65 (1):157-163.
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  41.  97
    Why Expressivists About Value Should Love Minimalism About Truth.Michael Smith - 1994 - Analysis 54 (1):1 - 11.
  42. The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy.Frank Jackson & Michael Smith (eds.) - 2005 - Oxford University Press UK.
    Oxford Handbooks offer authoritative and up-to-date surveys of original research in a particular subject area. Specially commissioned essays from leading figures in the discipline give critical examinations of the progress and direction of debates. Oxford Handbooks provide scholars and graduate students with compelling new perspectives upon a wide range of subjects in the humanities and social sciences. The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy is the definitive guide to what's going on in this lively and fascinating subject. Jackson and Smith, themselves (...)
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  43. Frog and Toad Lose Control.Jeanette Kennett & Michael Smith - 1996 - Analysis 56 (2):63–73.
    It seems to be a truism that whenever we do something - and so, given the omnipresence of trying (Hornsby 1980), whenever we try to do something - we want to do that thing more than we want to do anything else we can do (Davidson 1970). However, according to Frog, when we have will power we are able to try not to do something that we ‘really want to do’. In context the idea is clearly meant to be that (...)
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  44. The Argument for Internalism: Reply to Miller.Michael Smith - 1996 - Analysis 56 (3):175–184.
    Alexander Miller objects to the argument for moral judgement internalism that I provide in _The Moral Problem. Miller's objection suggests a misunderstanding of the argument. In this reply I take the opportunity to restate the argument in slightly different terms, and to explain why Miller's objection betrays a misunderstanding.
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  45. Rational Capacities.Michael Smith - 2003 - In Sarah Stroud & Christine Tappolet (eds.), Weakness of Will and Varities of Practical Irrationality. Oxford University Press. pp. 17-38.
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  46. Evidential Incomparability and the Principle of Indifference.Martin Smith - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (3):605-616.
    The _Principle of Indifference_ was once regarded as a linchpin of probabilistic reasoning, but has now fallen into disrepute as a result of the so-called _problem of multiple of partitions_. In ‘Evidential symmetry and mushy credence’ Roger White suggests that we have been too quick to jettison this principle and argues that the problem of multiple partitions rests on a mistake. In this paper I will criticise White’s attempt to revive POI. In so doing, I will argue that what underlies (...)
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  47.  17
    Toward Competency-Based Certification of Clinical Ethics Consultants: A Four-Step Process.Martin L. Smith, Richard R. Sharp, Kathryn Weise & Eric Kodish - 2010 - Journal of Clinical Ethics 21 (1):14.
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  48.  32
    A Systematic Review of Activities at a High-Volume Ethics Consultation Service.Courtenay R. Bruce, Martin L. Smith, Sabahat Hizlan & Richard R. Sharp - 2011 - Journal of Clinical Ethics 22 (2):151.
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  49. Why Throwing 92 Heads in a Row is Not Surprising.Martin Smith - 2017 - Philosophers' Imprint 17.
    Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” opens with a puzzling scene in which the title characters are betting on coin throws and observe a seemingly astonishing run of 92 heads in a row. Guildenstern grows uneasy and proposes a number of unsettling explanations for what is occurring. Then, in a sudden change of heart, he appears to suggest that there is nothing surprising about what they are witnessing, and nothing that needs any explanation. He says ‘…each individual coin spun (...)
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  50.  67
    The Structure of Orthonomy.Michael Smith - 2004 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 55:165-193.
    According to the standard story of action, a story that can be traced back at least to David Hume , actions are those bodily movements that are caused and rationalized by a pair of mental states: a desire for some end, where ends can be thought of as ways the world could be, and a belief that something the agent can just do, namely, move her body in the way to be explained, has some suitable chance of making the world (...)
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