My published work spans a wide range of issues concerning the semantics, metaphysics, and epistemology of ethics. I’m the author of the first monograph-length study of “thick” value concepts. I’ve published a body of work on moral generalism and particularism. I’ve also worked on issues in moral epistemology, moral metaphysics, and the relationship between value and reasons. (For details, see my Publications page.) My work on thick concepts was supported by grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013). The latter helped me organize several workshops under the Centre for Ethics and Metaethics, including Naturalism: Ethical and Metaphysical, Value Concepts and Normative Disagreement.
My current work is focused on normative explanation. Morality, politics, law, and everyday practical reasoning are shot through with non-causal explanations in which the wrongness or goodness of something is explained: “Gender-based wage discrimination is wrong because it is arbitrary.” “Eating dark chocolate is good in virtue of how it is pleasurable and healthy.” Since normative inquiry aims to illuminate what we ought to do and why, normative explanation is as central to it as scientific explanation is to the sciences. But whereas there is a great deal of research on scientific explanation, there is little on what makes normative explanation successful and how it is similar and different to explanation in other domains. I’m developing the first systematic study of the nature of normative explanation and its broader implications for normative and metanormative theory as well as general theories of explanation.