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  1. More of me! Less of me!: Reflexive Imperativism about Affective Phenomenal Character.Luca Barlassina & Max Khan Hayward - 2019 - Mind 128 (512):1013-1044.
    Experiences like pains, pleasures, and emotions have affective phenomenal character: they feel pleasant or unpleasant. Imperativism proposes to explain affective phenomenal character by appeal to imperative content, a kind of intentional content that directs rather than describes. We argue that imperativism is on the right track, but has been developed in the wrong way. There are two varieties of imperativism on the market: first-order and higher-order. We show that neither is successful, and offer in their place a new theory: reflexive (...)
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  2. Immoral realism.Max Khan Hayward - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (4):897-914.
    Non-naturalist realists are committed to the belief, famously voiced by Parfit, that if there are no non-natural facts then nothing matters. But it is morally objectionable to conditionalise all our moral commitments on the question of whether there are non-natural facts. Non-natural facts are causally inefficacious, and so make no difference to the world of our experience. And to be a realist about such facts is to hold that they are mind-independent. It is compatible with our experiences that there are (...)
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  3. Loopy regulations: The motivational profile of affective phenomenology.Luca Barlassina & Max Khan Hayward - 2019 - Philosophical Topics 47 (2):233-261.
    Affective experiences such as pains, pleasures, and emotions have affective phenomenology: they feel pleasant. This type of phenomenology has a loopy regulatory profile: it often motivates us to act a certain way, and these actions typically end up regulating our affective experiences back. For example, the pleasure you get by tasting your morning coffee motivates you to drink more of it, and this in turn results in you obtaining another pleasant gustatory experience. In this article, we argue that reflexive imperativism (...)
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  4. Non-Naturalist Moral Realism and the Limits of Rational Reflection.Max Khan Hayward - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (4):724-737.
    This essay develops the epistemic challenge to non-naturalist moral realism. While evolutionary considerations do not support the strongest claims made by ‘debunkers’, they do provide the basis for an inductive argument that our moral dispositions and starting beliefs are at best partially reliable. So, we need some method for separating truth from falsity. Many non-naturalists think that rational reflection can play this role. But rational reflection cannot be expected to bring us to truth even from reasonably accurate starting points. Reflection (...)
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    III—Doing Our ‘Best’? Utilitarianism, Rationality and the Altruist’s Dilemma.Max Khan Hayward - 2024 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 124 (1):49-70.
    Utilitarians think that what matters in ethics is making the world a better place. In that case, it might seem that we each rationally ought to do our best—perform the actions, out of those open to each of us, with the best expected outcomes. In other words, we should follow act-utilitarian reasons. But often the result of many altruistic agents following such individualistic reasons is worse than the result of them following collectivist ‘team-reasons’. So utilitarians should reject act utilitarianism, and (...)
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  6. Practical Reason, Sympathy and Reactive Attitudes.Max Khan Hayward - 2017 - Noûs:51-75.
    This paper has three aims. First, I defend, in its most radical form, Hume's scepticism about practical reason, as it applies to purely self-regarding matters. It's not always irrational to discount the future, to be inconstant in one's preferences, to have incompatible desires, to not pursue the means to one's ends, or to fail to maximize one's own good. Second, I explain how our response to the “irrational” agent should be understood as an expression of frustrated sympathy, in Adam Smith's (...)
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  7.  66
    Utility cascades.Max Khan Hayward - 2020 - Analysis 80 (3):433-442.
    Utility cascades occur when a utilitarian’s reduction of support for an intervention reduces the effectiveness of that intervention, leading the utilitarian to further reduce support, thereby further undermining effectiveness, and so on, in a negative spiral. This paper illustrates the mechanisms by which utility cascades occur, and then draws out the theoretical and practical implications. Theoretically, utility cascades provide an argument that the utilitarian agent should sometimes either ignore evidence about effectiveness or fail to apportion support to effectiveness. Practically, utility (...)
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