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Profile: Tristram McPherson (Ohio State University)
  1.  76
    What is at Stake in Debates Among Normative Realists?Tristram McPherson - 2015 - Noûs 49 (1):123-146.
    One class of central debates between normative realists appears to concern whether we should be naturalists or reductionists about the normative. However, metaethical discussion of naturalism and reduction is often inconsistent, murky, or uninformative. This can make it hard to see why commitments relative to these metaphysical categories should matter to normative realists. This paper aims to clarify the nature of these categories, and their significance in debates between normative realists. I develop and defend what I call the joint-carving taxonomy, (...)
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  2. Ethical Non-Naturalism and the Metaphysics of Supervenience.Tristram McPherson - 2012 - In Oxford Studies in Metaethics Vol 7. pp. 205.
    It is widely accepted that the ethical supervenes on the natural, where this is roughly the claim that it is impossible for two circumstances to be identical in all natural respects, but different in their ethical respects. This chapter refines and defends the traditional thought that this fact poses a significant challenge to ethical non-naturalism, a view on which ethical properties are fundamentally different in kind from natural properties. The challenge can be encapsulated in three core claims which the chapter (...)
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  3. Moral Attitudes for Non-Cognitivists: Solving the Specification Problem.Gunnar Björnsson & Tristram McPherson - 2014 - Mind 123 (489):1-38.
    Moral non-cognitivists hope to explain the nature of moral agreement and disagreement as agreement and disagreement in non-cognitive attitudes. In doing so, they take on the task of identifying the relevant attitudes, distinguishing the non-cognitive attitudes corresponding to judgements of moral wrongness, for example, from attitudes involved in aesthetic disapproval or the sports fan’s disapproval of her team’s performance. We begin this paper by showing that there is a simple recipe for generating apparent counterexamples to any informative specification of the (...)
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  4. A Case for Ethical Veganism.Tristram McPherson - 2014 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (6):677-703.
    This paper argues for ethical veganism: the thesis that it is typically wrong to consume animal products. The paper first sets out an intuitive case for this thesis that begins with the intuitive claim that it is wrong to set fire to a cat. I then raise a methodological challenge: this is an intuitive argument for a revisionary conclusion. Even if we grant that we cannot both believe that it is permissible to drink milk, and that it is wrong to (...)
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  5.  16
    What Do You Mean “This Isn’T the Question”?David Enoch & Tristram McPherson - forthcoming - Canadian Journal of Philosophy:1-21.
    This is a contribution to the symposium on Tim Scanlon’s Being Realistic about Reasons. We have two aims here: First, we ask for more details about Scanlon’s meta-metaphysical view, showing problems with salient clarifications. And second, we raise independent objections to the view – to its explanatory productivity, its distinctness, and the argumentative support it enjoys.
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  6. Against Quietist Normative Realism.Tristram McPherson - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 154 (2):223-240.
    Recently, some philosophers have suggested that a form of robust realism about ethics, or normativity more generally, does not face a significant explanatory burden in metaphysics. I call this view metaphysically quietist normative realism . This paper argues that while this view can appear to constitute an attractive alternative to more traditional forms of normative realism, it cannot deliver on this promise. I examine Scanlon’s attempt to defend such a quietist realism, and argue that rather than silencing metaphysical questions about (...)
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  7. Mark Schroeder's Hypotheticalism: Agent-Neutrality, Moral Epistemology, and Methodology. [REVIEW]Tristram McPherson - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 157 (3):445-453.
    Symposium contribution on Mark Schroeder's Slaves of the Passions. Argues that Schroeder's account of agent-neutral reasons cannot be made to work, that the limited scope of his distinctive proposal in the epistemology of reasons undermines its plausibility, and that Schroeder faces an uncomfortable tension between the initial motivation for his view and the details of the view he develops.
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  8. Unifying Moral Methodology.Tristram McPherson - 2012 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93 (4):523-549.
    This article argues that the best way to pursue systematic normative ethical theorizing involves metaethical enquiry. My argument builds upon two central claims. First, I argue that plausible metaethical accounts can have implications that can help to resolve the methodological controversies facing normative ethics. Second, I argue that metaethical research is at least roughly as well supported as normative ethical research. I conclude by examining the implications of my thesis. Inter alia, it shows that the common practice of engaging in (...)
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  9.  93
    Metaethics & the Autonomy of Morality.Tristram McPherson - 2008 - Philosophers' Imprint 8 (6):1-16.
    Some philosophers have been attracted to the idea that morality is an autonomous domain. One version of this idea is the thesis that non-moral claims are irrelevant to the justification of fundamental normative ethical theories. However, this autonomy thesis appears to be in tension with a pair of apparent features of metaethical theorizing. On one hand, metaethics seemingly aims to explain how morality fits into our broader conception of the world. On the other, metaethical theorizing appears to have potential normative (...)
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  10.  39
    Moorean Arguments and Moral Revisionism.Tristram McPherson - 2009 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (2).
    G. E. Moore famously argued against skepticism and idealism by appealing to their inconsistency with alleged certainties, like the existence of his own hands. Recently, some philosophers have offered analogous arguments against revisionary views about ethics such as metaethical error theory. These arguments appeal to the inconsistency of error theory with seemingly obvious moral claims like “it is wrong to torture an innocent child just for fun.” It might seem that such ‘Moorean’ arguments in ethics will stand or fall with (...)
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  11.  11
    Reference Magnetism as a Solution to the Moral Twin Earth Problem.Billy Dunaway & Tristram McPherson - 2016 - Ergo, an Open Access Journal of Philosophy 3.
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  12.  34
    Engineering Social Justice Into Traffic Control for Self-Driving Vehicles?Milos N. Mladenovic & Tristram McPherson - 2016 - Science and Engineering Ethics 22 (4):1131-1149.
    The convergence of computing, sensing, and communication technology will soon permit large-scale deployment of self-driving vehicles. This will in turn permit a radical transformation of traffic control technology. This paper makes a case for the importance of addressing questions of social justice in this transformation, and sketches a preliminary framework for doing so. We explain how new forms of traffic control technology have potential implications for several dimensions of social justice, including safety, sustainability, privacy, efficiency, and equal access. Our central (...)
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  13.  69
    Semantic Challenges to Normative Realism.Tristram McPherson - 2013 - Philosophy Compass 8 (2):126-136.
    Normative realists might be assumed to have few worries about semantics. After all, a realist might initially hope to simply adopt the best semantic theory about ordinary descriptive language. However, beginning with the non‐cognitivist appropriation of the open question argument, a number of philosophers have posed serious objections to the realist’s ability to offer a plausible semantic theory. This paper introduces the two most influential semantic challenges to normative realism: the open question argument, and the Moral Twin Earth argument. It (...)
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  14.  7
    Explaining Practical Normativity.Tristram McPherson - forthcoming - Topoi:1-10.
    Ethical non-naturalists often charge that their naturalist competitors cannot adequately explain the distinctive normativity of moral or more broadly practical concepts. I argue that the force of the charge is mitigated, because non-naturalism is ultimately committed to a kind of mysterianism about the metaphysics of practical norms that possesses limited explanatory power. I then show that focusing on comparative judgments about the explanatory power of various metaethical theories raises additional problems for the non-naturalist, and suggest grounds for optimism that a (...)
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  15.  52
    Unnatural Normativity? Critical Notice of Ralph Wedgwood's Nature of Normativity. [REVIEW]Tristram McPherson - 2009 - Philosophical Books 50 (2):63-82.
    Ralph Wedgwood’s The Nature of Normativity significantly advances our understanding of metaethical realism. After briefly reviewing the overall structure of Wedgwood’s argument for a Platonist realism about normativity, this critical notice focuses on three of the central metaphysical and epistemological claims that he defends. I first explain and raise difficulties for Wedgwood’s core claim that the intentional is normative. I then argue that his innovative attempt to finesse the supervenience problem that faces metaethical Platonists fails. Finally, I critically examine his (...)
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  16.  27
    Moral Fictionalism. [REVIEW]Tristram McPherson - 2008 - Philosophical Review 117 (3):445-448.
    This is a short review of Mark Kalderon's book Moral Fictionalism.
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  17.  19
    Shafer-Landau , Russ , Ed. Oxford Studies in Metaethics . Vol. 5. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Pp. 324. $99.00 (Cloth); $40.00 (Paper). [REVIEW]Tristram McPherson - 2011 - Ethics 121 (4):828-832.
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  18.  1
    A Case For Ethical Veganism: Intuitive And Methodological Considerations.Tristram Mcpherson - 2013 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 10 (4).
    This paper argues for ethical veganism: the thesis that it is typically wrong to consume animal products. The paper first sets out an intuitive case for this thesis that begins with the intuitive claim that it is wrong to set fire to a cat. I then raise a methodological challenge: this is an intuitive argument for a revisionary conclusion. Even if we grant that we cannot both believe that it is permissible to drink milk, and that it is wrong to (...)
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  19. The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics.Mcpherson Tristram & Plunkett David (eds.) - 2016 - Routledge.
    Metaethics seeks to explain how ethics fits into reality more generally. It investigates questions like are there such things as ethical facts or ethical properities, and—if there are—how might one best define and understand them? The field involves a wide range of issues, including those central to metaphysics, semantics, epistemology, psychology, and practical ethics. _The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics_ seeks to capture this diverse and growing area of study for students and scholars, with 33 chapters written especially for this volume (...)
     
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