Normativity, Rationality and Reasoning: Selected Essays
Oxford University Press, 2021
This book is a selection of my recent papers on normativity, rationality and reasoning. It covers a variety of topics that fall under these three subjects: the meanings of ‘ought’, ‘reason’ and ‘reasons’; the fundamental structure of normativity and the metaphysical priority of ought over reasons; the ownership – or agent-relativity – of oughts and reasons; the distinction between rationality and normativity; the notion of rational motivation; what characterizes the human activity of reasoning, and what is the role of normativity within it; the nature of preferences and of reasoning with preferences; and others. In recent decades, many philosophers have given a high priority to reasons in their accounts of normativity, rationality and reasoning. One purpose of this book is to counter this ‘reasons first’ movement in philosophy.

Rationality Through Reasoning
Wiley-Blackwell, 2013
Rationality Through Reasoning answers the question of how people are motivated to do what they believe they ought to do, built on a comprehensive account of normativity, rationality and reasoning that differs significantly from much existing philosophical thinking. Develops an original account of normativity, rationality and reasoning significantly different from the majority of existing philosophical thought. Includes an account of theoretical and practical reasoning that explains how reasoning is something we ourselves do, rather than something that happens in us. Gives an account of what reasons are and argues that the connection between rationality and reasons is much less close than many philosophers have thought. Contains rigorous new accounts of oughts including owned oughts, agent-relative reasons, the logic of requirements, instrumental rationality, the role of normativity in reasoning, following a rule, the correctness of reasoning, the connections between intentions and beliefs, and much else. Offers a new answer to the ‘motivation question’ of how a normative belief motivates an action.
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Climate Matters: Ethics in a Warming World
Norton, 2012
A vital new moral perspective on the climate change debate. Esteemed philosopher John Broome avoids the familiar ideological stances on climate change policy and examines the issue through an invigorating new lens. As he considers the moral dimensions of climate change, he reasons clearly through what universal standards of goodness and justice require of us, both as citizens and as governments. His conclusions—some as demanding as they are logical—will challenge and enlighten. Eco-conscious readers may be surprised to hear they have a duty to offset all their carbon emissions, while policy makers will grapple with Broome’s analysis of what if anything is owed to future generations. From the science of greenhouse gases to the intricate logic of cap and trade, Broome reveals how the principles that underlie everyday decision making also provide simple and effective ideas for confronting climate change. Climate Matters is an essential contribution to one of the paramount issues of our time.
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Weighing Lives
Oxford University Press, 2004
Japanese translation to be published by Keiso Shobo Publishing
We are often faced with choices that involve the weighing of people's lives against each other, or the weighing of lives against other good things. These are choices both for individuals and for societies. We have to choose between the convenience to ourselves of road and air travel, and the lives of the future people who will be killed by the global warming we cause. We make choices that affect how many lives there will be in the future: as individuals we choose how many children to have, and societies choose tax policies that influence people's choices about having children. How should we weigh lives? John Broome develops a theoretical basis for answering this practical question. Using some of the precise methods of economic theory (accessible without mathematical expertise), Broome's conclusions will be highly significant for political theorists and economists as well as for philosophers, and anyone concerned with the value of life.
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Ethics Out of Economics
Cambridge University Press, 1999
Chinese translation by Wang Jue, China Social Science Press, 2007
Many economic problems are also ethical problems: should we value economic equality? how much should we care about preserving the environment? how should medical resources be divided between saving life and enhancing life? This book examines some of the practical issues that lie between economics and ethics, and shows how utility theory can contribute to ethics. John Broome's work has, unusually, combined sophisticated economic and philosophical expertise, and Ethics Out of Economics brings together some of his most important essays, augmented with an updated introduction. The first group of essays deals with the relation between preference and value, the second with various questions about the formal structure of good, and the concluding section with the value of life. This work is of interest and importance for both economists and philosophers, and shows powerfully how economic methods can contribute to moral philosophy.
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Counting the Cost of Global Warming
White Horse Press, 1992
Since the last ice age, when ice enveloped most of the northern continents, the earth has warmed by about five degrees. Within a century, it is likely to warm by another four or five. This revolution in our climate will have immense and mostly harmful effects on the lives of people not yet born. We are inflicting this harm on our descendants by dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. We can mitigate the harm a little by taking measures to control our emissions of these gases, and to adapt to the changes by, for instance, building sea walls around coastlines threatened by rising sea levels. But these measures will be very expensive, and the costs will be born by us, the present generation, whereas the benefits will come to future generations. How much should we sacrifice for the sake of the future? Economists and philosophers have independently worked on the question of our responsibility to future generations. This book brings their work together and applies it to global warming. It suggests a programme for future research on the economic and ethical issues. The book is intended for economists, and for philosophers and other social scientists who have a little knowledge of economic methods.
Full text of book

Weighing Goods: Equality, Uncertainty and Time
Blackwell, 1991
This study uses techniques from economics to illuminate fundamental questions in ethics, particularly in the foundations of utilitarianism. Topics considered include the nature of teleological ethics, the foundations of decision theory, the value of equality and the moral significance of a person's continuing identity through time.
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The Microeconomics of Capitalism
Academic Press, 1983
Full text of book

Forthcoming and unpublished papers

Measuring the burden of disease
Originally for 'Goodness' and 'Fairness': Ethical Issues in Health Resource Allocation, to be edited by Daniel Wikler and Christopher J. L. Murray, World Health Organization

A comment on Temkin's tradeoffs
Originally for 'Goodness' and 'Fairness': Ethical Issues in Health Resource Allocation, to be edited by Daniel Wikler and Christopher J. L. Murray, World Health Organization

Respects and levelling down

The first normative 'reason'
Forthcoming in my Normativity, Rationality and Reasoning: Selected Essays, Oxford University Press, 2021.
The first use in English of the word 'reason' to refer to a normative reason occurs in a manuscript of the Ancrene Riwle from about 1225. It was used to refer to an explanation of why one ought to do something.

Comment on Niko Kolodny's 'Why be disposed to be coherent?'
For a conference on Agency at Wake Forest, 2006.
Kolodny argues that, if we have the disposition to conform to reasons, we do not need a separate disposition to have coherent attitudes. But we cannot have the disposition to conform to reasons without having the disposition to be coherent. To conform to reasons we often need to make correct inferences, and to make inferences correctly we need the disposition to be coherent.

Reasons and rationality
Forthcoming in The Handbook of Rationality, edited by Marcus Knauff and Wolfgang Spohn, MIT Press
I explore the relationship between rationality and reasons, and particularly the reductive idea that rationality can be defined in terms of reasons. I start with an analysis of the meaning of ‘rationality’ in order to clarify the issue. Then I assess the view that rationality consists in responding correctly to reasons. To this I oppose a ‘quick objection’, describe the defences the view has against this objection, and argue that these defences are unappealing. Next I assess various related views, including the view that rationality consists in responding correctly to beliefs about reasons, and argue against each of them. Eventually I identify the kernel of truth that lies within them, which is that rationality requires you to intend to F if you believe you ought to F. I call this principle ‘enkrasia’. It is only one requirement of rationality among many, so it licenses no reduction of rationality.

Climate change and population ethics
Forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Population Ethics, edited by Gustaf Arrhenius, Krister Bykvist, Tim Campbell, and Elizabeth Finneron-Burns, Oxford University Press.
We cannot make good decisions about climate change without taking account of population ethics.

Loosening the betterness ordering of lives
Forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of Population Ethics, edited by Gustaf Arrhenius, Krister Bykvist, Tim Campbell, and Elizabeth Finneron-Burns, Oxford University Press.
The betterness ordering of lives is obviously not tight: it is not true of every pair of lives that one is determinately better than the other or else they are determinately equally good. The goodness of a life is a nebulous property. But this obvious fact is rarely recognized in population axiology. This paper recognizes it. It provides a way of formalizing a loose betterness ordering of goodness for lives, and fits it into a utilitarian theory that has a neutral range for existence. It asks what difference the looseness of the ordering makes to population axiology and arrives at the answer: not much.

Rationality versus normativity
Responses to commentaries

Forthcoming in The Australasian Philosophical Review (2021), with commentaries from ten other authors and responses from me.
Preprint of paper
   Preprint of responses

Self-interest against climate change
Lecture delivered at Stanford University on 14 February 2020. Swedish version forthcoming in a volume edited by Magnur Linton, Natur & Kultur, 2021

The allededly invariable value of Sraffa's standard commodity
Working paper of the Birkbeck College Department of Economics, 1979.

Supervaluation reconstructed
Draft of 1995.

Published academic papers

How much harm does each of us do?
In Philosophy and Climate Change, edited by Mark Budolfson, David Plunkett, and Tristram McPherson, Oxford University Press, 2021, pp. 281–91.
This paper attempts to estimate the amount of harm an average American does by her emissions of greenhouse gas, on the basis of recent very detailed statistical analysis being done by a group of economists. It concentrates on the particular harm of shortening people’s lives. My estimate is very tentative, and it varies greatly according to how effectively the world responds to climate change. If the response is very weak, I estimate that an average American’s emissions shorten lives by six or seven years in total. If the response is moderately strong, my figure is about half a year.

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Giving reasons and given reasons
In Principles and Persons: The Legacy of Derek Parfit, edited by Jeff McMahan, Tim Campbell, James Goodrich, and Ketan Ramakrishnan, Oxford University Press, 2021, pp. 293–302
Reprinted in my Normativity, Rationality and Reasoning: Selected Essays, Oxford University Press, 2021
Derek Parfit, as a leader of the 'reasons first' movement, says that the concept of a reason is fundamental and indefinable. But his concept of a reason differs from most philosophers'. Most philosophers take a reason to be a fact, whereas Parfit says that reasons are given by facts, not that they are facts. This paper distinguishes Parfit's concept of a reason, which I call a 'given reason', from the more common one, which I call a 'giving reason'. It argues that, whereas the concept of a giving reason is easily defined, the concept of a given reason is not. Parfit is therefore better placed than most philosophers to defend the claim that the concept of a reason is fundamental and indefinable.


Practical reason: rationality or normativity but not both
In The Routledge Handbook of Practical Reason, edited by Ruth Change and Kurt Sylvan, Routledge, 2020
The word ‘reason’ is very ambiguous, with the result that the term ‘practical reason’ may refer to two quite different topics. It may refer either to practical normativity or to practical rationality. The first is a matter of what one ought to do or has reason to do; the second is a matter of good practical reasoning and mental coherence in practical matters. Many philosophers fail to separate normativity from rationality as sharply as they should. Partly this is because they are confused by the ambiguity of ‘reason’ and partly because there are some substantive arguments that purport to show that there is no real distinction. This chapter enforces the distinction. It starts by separating the different meanings of ‘reason’, and then responds to the substantive arguments. The response turns on the conceptual feature of rationality that it is a property of the mind and supervenes on other properties of the mind. On the other hand, normativity does not supervene on the mind. The chapter concludes by discussing a Kantian approach to identifying normativity with rationality.

Philosophy in the IPCC
In Philosophy for the Real World: An Introduction to Field Philosophy with Case Studies and Practical Strategies, edited by Evelyn Brister and Robert Frodeman, Routledge, 2019, pp. 95–110
An account of my work as an author
one of two philosophers – for the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Published version

Lessons from economics
In The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Economics, edited by Mark D. White, Oxford University Press, 2019, pp. 585608.
Moral philosophers should learn some important lessons from the methods of economists

A linking belief is not essential for reasoning
In Reasoning: New Essays on Theoretical and Practical Thinking, edited by Magdalena and Brendan Balcerak Jackson, Oxford University Press, 2019, pp. 32
Reprinted in my Normativity, Rationality and Reasoning: Selected Essays, Oxford University Press, 2021
In reasoning, you acquire a new conclusion attitude on the basis of premise attitudes. It is commonly thought that an essential feature of reasoning is that you have a linking belief, which is a belief that the premises imply the conclusion. This paper shows that a linking belief is not essential for reasoning. A genuinely essential feature of reasoning is that you acquire the conclusion attitude by following a rule. A linking belief may be a necessary feature of theoretical reasoning, because it may be a consequence of having the disposition to follow a rule. But it is not essential for reasoning, which is to say that it does not contribute to making the process reasoning. For other sorts of reasoning including practical reasoning, a linking belief is not even necessary.

The badness of dying early
In Saving People From the Harm of Death, edited by Espen Gamlund and Carl Tollef Solberg, Oxford University Press, 2019, pp. 105
A common intuition suggests that it is less bad for an infant to die than for a young adult to die. This is puzzling because the infant has more life ahead of her than a young adult, so it seems she loses more when she dies. Jeff McMahan supports the common intuition and defends it by means of what he calls the “Time- Relative Interest Account” of the badness of death. I describe two possible interpretations of the Time- Relative Interest Account and raise a problem for each. Then I offer an alternative defence of the common intuition.

Against denialism
The Monist, 102 (2019)

Several philosophers deny that an individual person’s emissions of greenhouse gas do any harm; I call these ‘individual denialists’. I argue that each individual’s emissions may do harm, and that they certainly do expected harm. I respond to the denialists’ arguments.
Preprint    Link

Reason fundamentalism and what is wrong with it
In The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity, edited by Daniel Star, Oxford University Press, 2018, pp. 297–318

Reprinted in my Normativity, Rationality and Reasoning: Selected Essays, Oxford University Press, 2021

Is there a fundamental feature of normativity, to which other features can be reduced? One defensible view is that the fundamental feature is the relation that holds between a person and F-ing when the person has reason to F. (“F” stands for any verb phrase, such as “run for the bus” or “hope for relief” or “believe Kampala is in Ghana.”) Another defensible view is that the fundamental feature is the relation that holds between a person and F-ing when the person ought to F. The popular view that the fundamental feature of normativity is the property of being a reason is not defensible, since that property can be reduced to either of the two relations I described. I argue that the second of these views—“ought fundamentalism”—is more credible that the first—“reason fundamentalism”—because it is more faithful to our ordinary normative concepts.

Efficiency and future generations
Economics and Philosophy, 34 (2018), pp. 221–41
Standard lessons from economics tell us that an externality creates inefficiency, and that this inefficiency can be removed by internalizing the externality. This paper considers how successfully these lessons can be extended to intergenerational externalities such as emissions of greenhouse gas. For intergenerational externalities, the standard lessons involve comparisons between states whose populations of people differ, either in their identities or their numbers. Common notions of efficiency break down in these comparisons. This paper supplies a new notion of efficiency that allows the lessons to survive, but at the cost of reducing their practical significance.

    Published version

, 12 (2018), pp. 111–36
Responses to papers by Fernando Rudy, Daniel Fogel, Alex Worsnip and Carlos Nunez, constituting a symposium on my book Rationality Through Reasoning.
Published version

A linguistic turn in the philosophy of normativity?
Analytic Philosophy
, 57 (2016), pp. 1-14

Reprinted in my Normativity, Rationality and Reasoning: Selected Essays, Oxford University Press, 2021
The theory of deontic modality within linguistics offers an account of the meaning of normative terms including 'ought'. How should the philosophy of normativity be affected by this theory? I argue that it should not be affected much. Indeed the theory of deontic modality needs some correction from the philosophy of normativity.
Preprint     Journal  page


Philosophical Studies
, 173 (2016), pp. 3369-3371 and 3431-3448
Contributions to a symposium on my book Rationality Through Reasoning, responding to Paul Boghossian, Garrett Cullity, Philip Pettit and Nicholas Southwood.
Journal page for Précis
   Preprint of  Précis    Journal page for  Responses    Preprint of Responses

A reply to my critics
Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 40 (2016), pp. 158-171

A response to three comments on my Climate Matters. In responding to Elizabeth Cripps, I argue that each individual’s emissions do harm because the harm done by cumulative emissions is roughly proportional to their quantity. Each rich person’s emissions are therefore an injustice. In responding to Holly Lawford-Smith, I point out that the harm done by each tonne of a person’s emissions is very much greater than the cost to the person of avoiding that emission, so very few among the rich have any excuse for making emissions. In response to Paul Bou-Habib, I argue that the morality of climate change has no need for a ‘person-affecting’ notion of improvement, and that notion is in any case defective because it can be cyclical.

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The wellbeing of future generations
In The Oxford Handbook of Wellbeing and Public Policy, edited by Matthew Adler and Marc Fleurbaey, Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 901-28
This chapter surveys some of the issues that arise in policy making when the wellbeing of future generations must be taken into account. It analyses the discounting of future wellbeing, and considers whether it is permissible. It argues that the effects of policy on the number of future people should not be ignored, and it considers what is an appropriate basis for setting a value on these effects. It considers the implications of the non-identity effect for intergenerational justice and for the Pareto principle.

A World Climate Bank
In Institutions for Future Generations, edited by Axel Gosseries and Iñigo González-Ricoy, Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 156-69
Written with Duncan Foley
Because greenhouse gas is an externality, it creates Pareto inefficiency. It is therefore possible to respond to climate change in a way that is a Pareeto improvement, requiring no sacrifice from anyone in any generation. A great deal of benefit can be achieved by doing so. However, making a Pareto improvement in practice requires a new international financial institution. We need a World Climate Bank, which will allow investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to be financed by public debt.

Do not ask for morality
In The Ethical Underpinnings of Climate Economics, edited by Adrian Walsh, Säde Hormio and Duncan Purves, Routledge, 2016, pp. 9-21.
Experience has shown that governments cannot be motivated by morality to make sufficient investments to bring climate change under control. They therefore must be motivated by self interest. It is possible to respond adequately to climate change without asking for a sacrifice from anyone in any generation.

Equality versus priority: a useful distinction
Economics and Philosophy, 31 (2015), pp. 219-28

Both egalitarianism and prioritarianism give value to equality. Prioritarianism has an additively separable value function whereas egalitarianism does not. I show that in some cases prioritarianism and egalitarianism necessarily have different implications: I describe two alternatives G and H such that egalitarianism necessarily implies G is better than H whereas prioritarianism necessarily implies G and H are equally good. I also raise a doubt about the intelligibility of prioritarianism.
Journal page

Précis of Rationality Through Reasoning

Contributions to a symposium on my book Rationality Through Reasoning, responding to comments by Olav Gjelsvik, María José Frápolli and Neftalí Villanueva, Conor McHugh and Jonathan Way, Miranda del Corral, Fernando Broncano and Jesús Vega, and Nicholas Shackel.  
Teorema, 34 (2015), pp. 99-103 and 191-209

Full text of Précis     Full text of Replies

Précis of Rationality Through Reasoning
Responses to Setiya, Hussain and Horty
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
, 91 (2015), pp. 200-3 and 230-42
Contributions to a symposium on my book Rationality Through Reasoning
Journal page for Précis
    Preprint of Précis    Journal page for Response     Preprint of Response

Reason versus ought
Philosophical Issues, 25 (2015), pp. 80-97
Which is the more fundamental feature of normativity; reason or ought? This paper sets up two parallel ontologies for normativity: in one reason is fundamental and in the other ought. It argues that the ought ontology is more faithful to our ordinary normative concepts.
Journal page     Preprint

Synchronic requirements and diachronic permissions
Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 45 (2015), pp. 630-46

Reasoning is an activity of ours by which we come to satisfy synchronic requirements of rationality. However, reasoning itself is regulated by diachronic permissions of rationality. For each synchronic requirement there appears to be a corresponding diachronic permission, but the requirements and permissions are not related to each other in a systematic way. It is therefore a puzzle how reasoning according to permissions can systematically bring us to satisfy requirements.
Journal page    Preprint

General and personal good: Harsanyi's contribution to the theory of value
In The Oxford Handbook of Value Theory, edited by Iwao Hirose and Jonas Olson, Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. 249-66

Climate change and the ethics of population
In Demography and Climate Change, edited by Franz Prettenthaler, Lukas Meyer and Wolfgang Polt, Joanneum Research, 2015, pp. 37-43

Climate change: life and death
In Climate Change and Justice, edited by Jeremy Moss, Cambridge University Press, 2015, pp. 184-200
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Comments on Boghossian
Philosophical Studies, 169 (2014), pp. 19-25
A comment on Paul Boghossian's 'What is inference?'
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Normativity in reasoning
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 95 (2014), pp. 622-33

Reprinted in my Normativity, Rationality and Reasoning: Selected Essays, Oxford University Press, 2021
Reasoning is a process through which premise-attitudes give rise to a conclusion-attitude. When you reason actively you operate on the propositions that are the contents of your premise-attitudes, following a rule, to derive a new proposition that is the content of your conclusion-attitude. It may seem that, when you follow a rule, you must, at least implicitly, have the normative belief that you ought to comply with the rule, which guides you to comply. But I argue that to follow a rule is to manifest a particular sort of disposition, which can be interpreted as an intention. An intention is itself a guiding disposition. It can guide you to comply with a rule, and no normative belief is required.
Journal page    Preprint

A small chance of disaster
European Review
, 21 (2013), pp. S27-S31

The public and private morality of climate change
The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, 32, (2013), pp. 3-20
Translation in Foreign Theoretical Trends (China), forthcoming 
Full text (including the diagram, which was omitted from printed version)  

Organon F, 20 (2013), pp. 425-36
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Practical reasoning and inference
In Thinking About Reasons: Essays in Honour of Jonathan Dancy, edited by David Bakhurst, Brad Hooker and Margaret Little, Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 286-309
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Williams on ought
In Luck, Value and Commitment: Themes from the Ethics of Bernard Williams, edited by Ulrike Heuer and Gerald Lang, Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 247-65

Reprinted in my Normativity, Rationality and Reasoning: Selected Essays, Oxford University Press, 2021.

In 2002, Bernard Williams delivered a lecture that revisited the arguments of his article 'Ought and moral obligation', published in his Moral Luck. The lecture attributed to the earlier article the thesis that there are no ‘personal’ or (as I put it) ‘owned’ oughts. It also rejected this thesis. This paper explains the idea of an owned ought, and supports Williams’s lecture in asserting that there are owned oughts. It also examines the question of how accurately Williams’s later lecture interprets his earlier article. 

The badness of death and the goodness of life
In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Death, edited by Fred Feldman, Ben Bradley, and Jens Johansson, Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 218-33

Is this truly an idea of justice?
(a comment on Amartya Sen's book The Idea of Justice)
Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 11 (2010), pp. 651-3
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No argument against the continuity of value: reply to Dorsey
Utilitas, 22 (2010), pp. 494-6
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The most important thing about climate change
In Public Policy: Why Ethics Matters, edited by Jonathan Boston, Andrew Bradstock and David Eng, ANU E Press, 2010, pp. 101-16
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In A Companion to the Philosophy of Action, edited by Timothy O'Connor and Constantine Sandis, Blackwell, 2010, pp. 285-92

Theoria, 75 (2009), pp. 79-99
Reprinted in my Normativity, Rationality and Reasoning: Selected Essays, Oxford University Press, 2021
I develop a scheme for the explanation of rational action. I start from a scheme that may be attributed to Thomas Nagel in The Possibility of Altruism, and develop it step by step to arrive at a sharper and more accurate scheme. The development includes a progressive refinement of the notion of motivation. I end by explaining the role of reasoning within the scheme.
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Reply to Vallentyne
to a comment on my book Weighing Lives)
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 78 (2009), pp. 748-52
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Reply to Rabinowicz
(to a comment on my book Weighing Lives)
Philosophical Issues, 19 (2009) pp. 412-17
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Why economics needs ethical theory

In Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honour of Amartya Sen. Volume 1, edited by Kaushik Basu and Ravi Kanbur, Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 7-14

The unity of reasoning?
In Spheres of Reason, edited by Simon Robertson, Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 62-92
Part translated with a commentary in Qu'est-ce que raisonner, by Jean-Marie Chevalier, Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 2016, pp. 103-7
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Is rationality normative?
, 11 (2008), pp. 153-71

Replies to Southwood, Kearns and Star, and Cullity
Contribution to a symposium on my work)
Ethics, 119 (2008), pp. 96-108.
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Reasoning to be rational
In Reasoning, Rationality and Probability, edited by Maria Carla Galavotti, Roberto Scazzieri and Patrick Suppes, CSLI Publications, 2008, pp. 119-38

Can there be a preference-based utilitarianism?
In Justice, Political Liberalism and Utilitarianism: Themes from Harsanyi and Rawls, edited by Marc Fleurbaey, Maurice Salles and John Weymark, Cambridge University Press, 2008, pp. 221-38

Comments on Allan Gibbard's Tanner Lectures
In Reconciling Our Aims: In Search of Bases for Ethics, by Allan Gibbard, edited by Barry Stroud, Oxford University Press, 2008, pp. 102-19
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Wide or narrow scope
, 116 (2007), pp. 359-70
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(a contribution to a symposium on my book Weighing Lives)
Economics and Philosophy, 23 (2007), pp. 115-24
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Reply to Qizilbash
(to a comment on my book Weighing Lives)
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 75 (2007), pp. 152-7
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Reply to Bradley and McCarthy

(Contributions to a symposium on my book Weighing Lives)
Philosophical Books
, 48 (2007), pp. 289-91 and 320-8
Preprint of Summary         Preprint of Reply

Does rationality consist in responding correctly to reasons?
Journal of Moral Philosophy, 4 (2007), pp. 349-74
Reprinted in Studies in Moral Philosophy, 1 (2011), pp. 25-55
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In Homage à Wlodek: Philosophical Papers Dedicated to Wlodek Rabinowicz, edited by Toni Rønnow-Rasmussen, Björn Petersson, Jonas Josefsson and Dan Egonsson, 2007,
Expressions such as ‘morality requires’, ‘prudence requires’ and ‘rationality requires’ are ambiguous. ‘Morality’, ‘prudence’ and ‘rationality’ may refer either to properties of a person, or to sources of requirements. Consequently, ‘requires’ has a ‘property sense’ and a ‘source sense’. I offer a semantic system for its source sense. Then I consider the logical form of conditional requirements, in the source sense.
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Tomar uma decisão através de raciocínio
(Deciding by reasoning)
In Decisão: Perspectivas Interdisciplinares (Decision: Interdisciplinary Perspectives), edited by Carlos Henggeler Antunes and Luís Cândido Dias, Coimbra University Press, 2007, pp. 219-36

Reasoning with preferences?
In Preferences and Well-Being, edited by Serena Olsaretti, Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 183-208

Reprinted in my Normativity, Rationality and Reasoning: Selected Essays, Oxford University Press, 2021
A version reprinted in Against Injustice: Ethics, Economics and Law, edited by Reiko Gotoh and Paul Dumouchel, Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 161-86

In reasoning you proceed by following a rule from premise-attitudes to a conclusion-attitude. Types of reasoning can be classified by the nature of the attitudes involved. In theoretical reasoning the conclusion-attitude is a belief; in practical reasoning it is an intention. Is there also a type of reasoning whose conclusion-attitude is a preference? This paper investigates this question. First it clarifies the notion of preference, identifying a core notion of preference as a sort of comparative desire. It concludes that there may indeed be reasoning with preferences of this sort. However, it is hard to distinguish reasoning with preferences from theoretical reasoning with beliefs that have a particular sort of content – specifically a belief that one thing is better than another. So the conclusion is not clear.

Does rationality give us reasons?
Philosophical Issues, 15 (2005), pp. 321-37
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Have we reason to do as rationality requires?: a comment on Raz
Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, Symposium 1 (2005)
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Should we value population?
Journal of Political Philosophy
, 13 (2005), pp. 399-413
Reprinted in Population and Political Theory: Philosophy, Politics and Society 8th Series, edited by James Fishkin and Robert Goodin, Wiley-Blackwell 2010
Reprinted in The Study of Ethics, Southeast University Press, 2007, pp. 3-21
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In Reason and Value: Themes from the Moral Philosophy of Joseph Raz, edited by R. Jay Wallace, Michael Smith, Samuel Scheffler, and Philip Pettit, Oxford University Press, 2004, pp. 28-55

The value of living longer
In Public Health, Ethics, and Equity, edited by Sudhir Anand, Fabienne Peter and Amartya Sen, Oxford University Press, 2004, pp. 243-60

Representing an ordering when the population varies
Social Choice and Welfare, 20 (2003), pp. 243-6

Practical reasoning
In Reason and Nature: Essays in the Theory of Rationality, edited by José Bermùdez and Alan Millar, Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 85-111

Measuring the burden of disease by aggregating wellbeing    Preprint  
Fairness, goodness and levelling down    Full text
All goods are relevant   Full text

All in Summary Measures of Population Health: Concepts, Ethics, Measurement and Applications, edited by Christopher J. L. Murray, Joshua A. Salomon, Colin D. Mathers and Alan D. Lopez, World Health Organization, 2002, pp. 91-113, 135-7, and 727-9

Normative practical reasoning
Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume 75 (2001), pp. 175-93

Greedy neutrality of value
In Value and Choice, Volume 2, edited by Wlodek Rabinowicz, University of Lund, 2001, pp. 7-16

Are intentions reasons? And how should we cope with incommensurable values?
In Practical Rationality and Preference: Essays for David Gauthier, edited by Christopher Morris and Arthur Ripstein, Cambridge University Press, 2001, pp. 98-120

Cost-benefit analysis and population
Journal of Legal Studies, 29 (2000), pp. 953-70
Reprinted in Cost-Benefit Analysis: Legal, Economics and Philosophical Perspectives, edited by Matthew D. Adler and Eric A. Posner, University of Chicago Press, 2000, pp. 117-34.

Instrumental reasoning
In Rationality, Rules and Structure, edited by Julian Nida-Rümelin and Wolfgang Spohn, Kluwer, 2000, pp. 195-207

Normative requirements

, 12 (1999), pp. 398-419.
Reprinted in Normativity, edited by Jonathan Dancy, Blackwell, 2000, pp. 78-99
German translation in Die neue Kritik der instrumentellen Vernunft, edited by Christoph Halbig and Tim Henning, Suhrkamp Verlag, 2012
Often, you ought to satisfy a conditional, and then I say that the antecedent ‘normatively requires’ the consequent of you. For example, when Q is an obvious consequence of P, you ought (if you believe P, to believe Q): believing P normatively requires you to believe Q. The relation of normative requirement is often mistaken for the relation of being a reason for. For example, believing P is often thought to be a reason for believing Q. This is incorrect. Mistakes of this form have led to important errors in the theory of normativity. This paper gives examples.

Backwards induction in the centipede game
Analysis, 59 (1999), pp. 237-42
Written with Wlodek Rabinowicz.
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Incommensurable values
In Well-Being and Morality: Essays for James Griffin, edited by Roger Crisp and Brad Hooker, Oxford University Press, 1999, pp. 21-38
Reprinted in myEthics Out of Economics, pp. 145-61

Kamm on fairness
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 58 (1998), pp. 955-61

Is incommensurability vagueness?
In Incommensurability, Incomparability, and Practical Reason, edited by Ruth Chang, Harvard University Press, 1998, pp. 67-89
Reprinted in my Ethics Out of Economics, pp.123-44

Extended preferences
In Preferences, edited by Christoph Fehige and Ulla Wessels, de Gruyter, 1998, pp. 279-96
Reprinted in my Ethics Out of Economics, pp. 29-43.

Reason and motivation
Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume 71 (1997), pp. 131-46
Reprinted in Reason, Emotion, and Will, edited by Jay Wallace, Ashgate, 1999
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Value versus justice, and the uses of economics
In Revelation and the Environment, AD 95-1995, edited by Sarah Hobson and Jane Lubchenco, World Scientific, 1997, pp.81-84.

More pain or less?
Analysis, 56 (1996), pp. 116-18
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The value of life and the value of population
Journal of Population Economics, 9 (1996), pp. 3-18

The welfare economics of population
Oxford Economic Papers, 48 (1996), pp. 177-93
Intuition suggests there is no value in adding people to the population if it brings no benefits to people already living: creating people is morally neutral in itself. This paper examines the difficulties of incorporating this intuition into a coherent theory of the value of population. It takes three existing theories within welfare economics—average utilitarianism, relativist utilitarianism, and critical-level utilitarianism—and considers whether they can satisfactorily accommodate the intuition that creating people is neutral.
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Economic analysis and the structure of good
In Ethics, Rationality, Economic Behaviour, edited by Francesco Farina, Frank Hahn and Stefano Vannucci, Oxford University Press, 1996, pp. 77-91

The two-envelope paradox
Analysis, 55 (1995), pp. 6-11
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Skorupski on agent-neutrality
Utilitas, 7 (1995), pp. 315-17

Fairness in the rationing of health care
In Market Capitalism and Moral Values, edited by Samuel Brittan and Alan Hamlin, Edward Elgar, 1995, pp. 79-87

Fairness versus doing the most good
Hastings Center Report, 24 (1994), pp. 36-9
Reprinted in Meaning and Medicine: A Reader in the Philosophy of Health Care, edited by James Lindemann Nelson and Hilde Lindemann Nelson, Routledge, 1999

Discounting the future
Philosophy and Public Affairs, 23 (1994), pp. 128-56
Reprinted in my Ethics Out of Economics, pp. 44-67
Reprinted in Sustainability, edited by Tom Campbell and David Mollica, Ashgate Publishing, 2009
Reprinted in Intergenerational Justice, edited by Lukas Meyer, Ashgate Publishing, 2012.
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The value of a person
Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume 68 (1994), pp. 167-85
Reprinted in my Ethics Out of Economics, pp, 228-42

The mutual determination of wants and benefits
Theory and Decision, 37 (1994), pp. 333-8
The degree to which I want something often affects the amount of pleasure or other benefit it will bring me if I get it. This, in turn, should affect the degree to which I want it. In theJournal of Philosophy,89 (1992) 10–29, Anna Kusser and Wolfgang Spohn argue that decision theory cannot cope with this mutual determination of wants and benefits. This paper argues, to the contrary, that decision theory can cope with it easily.

Structured and unstructured valuation
Analyse & Kritik, 16 (1994), pp. 121-32
Reprinted in my Ethics Out of Economics, pp. 183-95
When economists value things for cost-benefit analysis, they base their valuations on people's preferences. But they have a choice about how to use preferences and which preferences to use. They can use people's raw preferences about the options available, considered as a whole. Alternatively, they can break the options down into parts or aspects, and use people's preferences about these; they will then need to assume a theory about the structure of value, based on the value of the parts or aspects. These are respectively the unstructured and structured approaches to valuation. This paper argues that the structured approach is the right one to use, because cost-benefit analysis should be aimed at finding the best of the options available. The paper distinguishes and then rejects an alternative aim cost-benefit analysis might have: to find which of the options ought to come about.

Reply to Kolm
(to a comment on 'A cause of preference is not an object of preference')
Social Choice and Welfare
, 11 (1994), pp. 199-201.

A cause of preference is not an object of preference
Social Choice and Welfare, 10 (1993), pp. 57-68

Journal of Public Economics
, 50 (1993), pp. 149-67
Reprinted in Economics Alert, 7 (1994), pp. 1-4
Reprinted in my Ethics Out of Economics, pp. 196-213

Can a Humean be moderate?
In Value, Welfare and Morality, edited by R. G. Frey and Christopher Morris, Cambridge University Press, 1993, pp. 51-73
Reprinted in my Ethics Out of Economics, pp. 68-87
Italian translation in the journal Nuova Civiltà delle Macchine, 10 (1992), pp. 113-30

Goodness is reducible to betterness: the evil of death is the value of life
In The Good and the Economical: Ethical Choices in Economics and Management, edited by Peter Koslowski and Yuichi Shionoya, Springer-Verlag, 1993, pp. 70-84
Reprinted in myEthics Out of Economics, pp. 162-73.

La concezione humiana della razionalità
Nuova Civiltà Delle Macchine, 10 (1992), pp. 113-29

Deontology and economics
Economics and Philosophy, 8 (1992), pp. 269-82
In The Moral Dimension, Amitai Etzioni claims that people often act for moral motives, and that these motives are specifically deontological. He claims that economics should take account of this fact, and that it would be greatly altered by doing so. This paper examines what it means for people to be motivated by deontological morality, how far it is true that they are, and what significance it would have for economics if it was true. It argues that the methods of economic analysis are actually needed to define deontological morality. It concludes that, if deontological motivations were common, that would indeed conflict fundamentally with the conventional methods of economics. But other forms of moral motivation would not lead to a conflict.

The value of living
Recherches Economiques de Louvain, 58 (1992), pp. 125-42
Reprinted in my Ethics Out of Economics, pp. 214-27.

Reply to Blackorby and Donaldson, and Drèze 
(to comments on 'The value of living')
Recherches Economiques de Louvain, 58 (1992), pp. 167-71.

Bernoulli, Harsanyi, and the Principle of Temporal Good
In Rational Interaction: Essays in Honor of John Harsanyi, edited by Reinhard Selten, Springer-Verlag, 1992, pp. 353-73.

Desire, belief and expectation
Mind, 100 (1991), pp. 265-7

Economics and Philosophy, 7 (1991), pp. 1-12
Reprinted in Ethics and Economics, Volume I, edited by Alan P. Hamlin, Edward Elgar, 1996, pp. 109-20
Reprinted in Bentham: Moral, Political and Legal Philosophy, Volume 1, edited by Gerald Postema, Ashgate, 2002.
Reprinted in Expected Utility, Fair Gambles and Rational Choice, edited by Omar F. Hamouda and J. C. R. Rowley, Edward Elgar, 1997, pp. 116-27
Reprinted in my Ethics Out of Economics, pp. 19-28
This paper points out a prevalent ambiguity in the usage of the word "utility".  It is sometimes used to mean good, and sometimes a representation of preferences.  The paper argues that the ambiguity is very damaging, and that the word should be used in the second of these senses only.
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A reply to Sen
(to a comment on "'Utility'")
Economics and Philosophy
, 7 (1991), pp. 285-7.
Reprinted in Ethics and Economics, Volume I, edited by Alan P. Hamlin, Edward Elgar, 1996, pp. 128-30
Reprinted in Bentham: Moral, Political and Legal Philosophy, Volume 1, edited by Gerald Postema, Ashgate, 2002

Utilitarian metaphysics?
In Interpersonal Comparison of Well-Being, edited by Jon Elster and John Roemer, Cambridge University Press, 1991, pp. 70-97
This paper outlines the core argument of my book Weighing Goods

The structure of good: decision theory and ethics
In Foundations of Decision Theory: Issues and Advances, edited by Michael Bacharach and Susan Hurley, Blackwell, 1991, pp. 123-46

Rationality and the sure-thing principle
In Thoughtful Economic Man, edited by Gay Meeks, Cambridge University Press, 1991, pp. 74-102

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 91 (1990-91), pp. 87-102
Reprinted in Ethics and Economics, Volume II, edited by Alan P. Hamlin, Edward Elgar, 1996, pp. 433-47
Reprinted in my Ethics Out of Economics, pp. 111-22
Reprinted in Lotteries in Public Life: A Reader, edited by Peter Stone, Imprint Academic, 2011, pp. 219-30.
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Bolker-Jeffrey expected utility theory and axiomatic utilitarianism
Review of Economic Studies
, 57 (1990), pp. 477-502
Reprinted without the proofs in my Ethics Out of Economics, pp. 91-110.
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Irreducibly social goods: Comment
In Rationality, Individualism and Public Policy, edited by Geoffrey Brennan and Cliff Walsh, Centre for Research on Federal Financial Relations, Canberra, 1990, pp. 80-5

Should a rational agent maximize expected utility?
In The Limits of Rationality, edited by Karen Cook and Margaret Levi, University of Chicago Press, 1990, pp. 132-45

Should social preferences be consistent?
Economics and Philosophy, 5 (1989), pp. 7-17

An economic Newcomb problem
Analysis, 49 (1989), pp. 220-2
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What's the good of equality?
In Current Issues in Microeconomics, edited by John Hey, Macmillan, 1989, pp. 236-62

Some principles of population
In Economics, Growth and Sustainable Environments, edited by David Collard, David Pearce and David Ulph, Macmillan, 1988, pp. 85-96

Good, fairness and qalys
In Philosophy and Medical Welfare, edited by Martin Bell and Susan Mendus, Cambridge University Press, 1988, pp. 57-73

Utilitarianism and expected utility
Journal of Philosophy, 84 (1987), pp. 405-22
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A reply
(to a comment by Michael Jones-Lee on 'The economic value of life')
, 54 (1987), p. 401

The economic value of life
Economica, 52 (1985), pp. 281-94
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A mistaken argument against the expected utility theory of rationality
Theory and Decision
, 17 (1985), pp. 313-18

The welfare economics of the future
Social Choice and Welfare, 2 (1985), pp. 221-34
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Indefiniteness in identity
, 44 (1984), pp. 6-12

Uncertainty and fairness
Economic Journal, 94 (1984), pp. 624-32
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Selecting people randomly
Ethics, 95 (1984), pp. 38-55
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Rawlsian principles
In Reasons and Persons by Derek Parfit, Oxford University Press, 1984, pp. 492-3

Equity in risk bearing
Operations Research, 30 (1982), pp. 412-14

Uncertainty in welfare economics, and the value of life
In The Value of Life and Safety, edited by M. W. Jones-Lee, North-Holland, 1982, pp. 201-16

A reply
(to comments by Michael Jones-Lee and Alan Williams on 'Trying to value a life' )
Journal of Public Economics, 12 (1979), pp. 259-62
Reprinted in Economic Theory and the Welfare State, Volume III, edited by Nicholas Barr, Edward Elgar, 2001

Trying to value a life
Journal of Public Economics, 9 (1978), pp. 91-100
Reprinted in Economic Theory and the Welfare State, Volume III, edited by Nicholas Barr, Edward Elgar, 2001
Reprinted in my Ethics Out of Economics, pp. 177-82
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Perverse prices
Economic Journal
, 88 (1978), pp. 778-87

Choice and value in economics
Oxford Economic Papers, 30 (1978), pp. 313-33
Reprinted in Ethics and Economics, Volume I, edited by Alan P. Hamlin, Edward Elgar, 1996, pp. 65-85
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Sraffa's standard commodity
Australian Economic Papers
, (1977), pp. 231-6
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An important theorem on income tax
Review of Economic Studies, 42 (1975), pp. 649-52
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Approximate equilibrium in economies with indivisible commodities
Journal of Economic Theory
, 5 (1972), pp. 224-49
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Writing for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Contributions to the Fifth Assessment Report:

Chapter 3: Social, economic and ethical concepts and methods   (Lead Author)   Link
Technical Summary    (Lead Author)   Link
Summary for Policymakers    (Drafting Author)   Link
All in Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, 2014. (The report of Working Group III.)

Synthesis Report, IPCC, 2014   (Member of the Core Writing Team)   Link

Articles in Encyclopaedias

Economic analysis
Encyclopedia of Ethics, edited by Lawrence and Charlotte Becker, Garland, 1992, pp. 279-86
Also in Second edition, Routledge, 2001, pp. 432-9

Modern utilitarianism
In The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics and the Law, edited by Peter Newman, Macmillan, 1998

Discounting the future
In Encyclopedia of Ethics, Second Edition, edited by Lawrence and Charlotte Becker, Routledge, 2001, pp. 410-13

Economics and ethics
In International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Elsevier, 2001, pp. 4146-52
Revised version in the Second Edition, Elsevier, 2015, pp. 87-92

Other Articles

Where economics is out of its depth
Financial Times, 17.8.1983, centre page
A letter replying to the correspondence 2.9.1983

Morality of greed and nepotism
(Reply to an article by Nigel Lawson)
Financial Times, 11.9.1993, weekend section

Valuing policies in response to climate change: some ethical issues
(Report written for the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change, 2006) 
Published on the UK Treasury website. 
Reprinted in Global Justice, edited by Christian Barry and Holly Lawford-Smith, Ashgate Publishing, 2012

What is your life worth?
Daedalus, 137 (2008), pp. 49-56
Korean translation in The Journal of the Pan-Korean Philosophical Society, 62 (2011), pp. 433-49

The ethics of climate change
Scientific American, June 2008, pp 69-73
Reprinted in The Best American Science and Nature Writing, 2008, edited by Tim Folger and Elizabeth Kolbert, Houghton Mifflin, 2009, pp. 11-18
Reprinted in Research Ethics: A Philosophical Approach to Responsible Conduct of Research, edited by Gary Comstock, Cambridge University Press, 2013, pp. 265-9
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A philosopher at the IPCC
The Philosophers' Magazine, 66 (2014), pp. 10-16
A shorter version appears on the blog of The London Review of Books

My long road to philosophy
In Weighing and Reasoning: A Festschrift for John Broome, edited by Iwao Hirose and Andrew Reisner, Oxford University Press, 2015

Trump and climate change
The Philosophers' Magazine, 76 (2017)


Long reviews (more than 3,000 words) of:

Amartya Sen, On Ethics and Economics and The Standard of Living
In London Review of Books, 10 (19 May 1988), pp. 16-17

Isaac Levi, Hard Choices
In Economics and Philosophy, 8 (1992), pp. 169-76

Martin Strosberg, Joshua Wiener and Robert Baker, with Alan Fein (eds), Rationing America's Medical Care: The Oregon Plan and Beyond
In Bioethics, 7 (1993), pp. 351-8

Shorter reviews of:

Alessandro Roncaglia, Sraffa and the Theory of Prices
In Canadian Journal of Economics (1978)

Luigi Pasinetti, Lectures on the Theory of Production
In Economica, 45 (1978), pp. 413-4

Phyllis Deane, The Evolution of Economic Ideas
In Managerial and Decision Economics, 2 (1981), p. 126

Kenneth Arrow, Collected Papers Volume 1
In Economic Journal, 95 (1985), pp. 210-11
Reprinted in Modern Economic Classics: Evaluations Through Time, edited by Bernard S. Katz and Ronald Robbins, Garland, 1988

Geoffrey Brennan and James Buchanan, The Reason of Rules
In Economica, 55 (1988), pp. 282-3

Brian Barry, Theories of Justice
In Economic Journal, 100 (1990), pp. 1333-4

Edward McClennen, Rationality and Dynamic Choice
In Ethics, 102 (1992), pp. 666-8

Amartya Sen, Inequality Reexamined
In Economic Journal, 103 (1993), pp. 1067-9

Frances Kamm, Morality, Mortality, Volume I
In The Times Literary Supplement, 14 April 1995, p.29

Elizabeth Anderson, Value in Ethics and Economics
In Ratio, 9 (1996), pp. 90-93

David Lewis, Papers in Ethics and Social Philosophy 
In Mind, 110 (2001), pp. 781-3

Paul Grice, Aspects of Reason 
In Pelican Record, 41 (2002), pp. 89-92.

Greta Thunberg, No One is Too Small to Make a Difference
In Society, 58 (2021).
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