R E S E A R C H
 
© The Journal of Value Inquiry, Vol. 48/3 (2014), pp. 457-468.
 
This paper is an attempt to articulate and defend a new imperative, Auschwitz survivor Charlotte Delbo’s Il faut donner à voir: “They must be made to see.” Assuming the ‘they’ in Delbo’s imperative is ‘us’ gives rise to three questions: (1) what must we see? (2) can we see it? and (3) why is it that we must? I maintain that what we must see is the reality of evil; that we are by and large unwilling, and often unable, to see the reality of evil; and that if there is to be comprehension of—to say nothing of justice for—the survivors of evil, we nonetheless must.



What Pessimism Is
 
© Journal of Philosophical Research, Vol. 37 (2012), pp. 337-356.
 
On the standing view, pessimism is a philosophically intractable topic. Against the standing view, I hold that pessimism is a stance, or compound of attitudes, commitments and intentions. This stance is marked by certain beliefs—first and foremost, that the bad prevails over the good—which are subject to an important qualifying condition: they are always about outcomes and states of affairs in which one is personally invested. This serves to distinguish pessimism from other views with which it is routinely conflated—including skepticism and nihilism—and to allow for the extent to which pessimism necessarily involves more than the intellectual endorsement of a doctrine.



Works in Progress


The existence of evil is held to pose philosophical problems only for theists. I argue that the existence of evil gives rise to a philosophical problem which confronts theist and atheist alike. The problem is constituted by the following claims: (1) human beings must trust in a good-enough world; (2) the actual world is not good-enough (i.e., sufficient evil exists). It follows that every successful human being maintains a state of epistemic ignorance regarding the nature of the actual world. Theists resolve this problem by rejecting (2), only to confront the problem of evil as traditionally understood. Atheists also reject (2), but without adequate grounds for doing so.



On Hope and Hopefulness
 
I argue that hope is an irreducibly affective state distinct from cognitive and conative states (like beliefs and desires, respectively). My account of hope is designed to meet three desiderata: First, it must be able to account for the deficits of hope characteristic of melancholia and clinical depression. Second, it must be able to account for the constriction of hope characteristic of psychological trauma. Third, it must be able to account for the role(s) hope plays in grounding and orienting us as agents through transformative experience.



The Williams Report Revisited: A Prospectus for 21st Century Entertainment Media Ethics
 
under construction