Tristram McPherson

Tristram McPherson

Tristram McPherson

Associate Professor

mcpherson.164@osu.edu

614-292-7631

314I University Hall
230 North Oval Mall
Columbus, OH
43210

Google Map

Professional Website

Office Hours

T TH 11:00 am-noon and by appointment

Areas of Expertise

  • Metaethics
  • Ethics
  • Epistemology
  • Conceptual Ethics

Education

  • Ph.D Princeton University, 2008
  • B.A. Simon Fraser University, 2003

Prof. McPherson's personal website

The heart of my research concerns foundational philosophical questions about ethics. One central such question is whether it can be an objective fact that an action is right (or wrong). The existence of such facts can seem to be a crucial presupposition of taking our own lives and decisions seriously. For example, we are unlikely to feel satisfied with the idea that disagreement over contested ethical questions is merely a matter of differing tastes or cultural practices. However, the idea that there are objective facts about right and wrong can appear naïve and hard to square with an informed conception of the world. Drawing on resources from the theory of knowledge, metaphysics, and the philosophies of mind and language, my work examines questions like: Does it even make sense to ask whether there are ethical facts? If so, what might such facts be like? Can we have justified beliefs or theories about which acts are right and wrong, and if so, how? I also spend significant time thinking about substantive questions in ethics, including the ethics of our relationships to non-human animals, and the ethical significance of climate change.    

Before coming to OSU, I have taught at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Virginia Tech. I was a research fellow with the Many Moral Rationalisms project at the University of Melbourne. 

Selected Publications:

Philosophy and Climate Change (co-editor with Mark Budolfson and David Plunkett, OUP), to be delivered to the press Autumn 2019

Epistemology and Methodology in Ethics, for Cambridge Elements series, Cambridge UP, under contract, currently undergoing peer review

The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics (co-editor, with David Plunkett), Routledge, 2017  

Deliberative Authority and Representational Determinacy, Ergo, forthcoming

Expressivism without Minimalism, Meaning, Decision and Norms: Themes from the Work of Allan Gibbard (Eds. William Dunaway and David Plunkett, Maize Books [University of Michigan]), forthcoming

The Puzzle of Inefficacy, Philosophy and Climate Change (Eds. Mark Budolfson, Tristram McPherson, and David Plunkett, OUP), forthcoming

Conceptual Ethics and the Methodology of Normative Inquiry (with David Plunkett), Conceptual Ethics and Conceptual Engineering (Eds. Alexis Burgess, Herman Cappelen, and David Plunkett, OUP), forthcoming

Naturalistic Moral Realism, Moral Rationalism, and Non-Fundamental Epistemology, The Many Moral Rationalisms (Eds. Karen Jones and Francois Schroeter, OUP), 2018

Authoritatively Normative Concepts, Oxford Studies in Metaethics Vol. 13 (Ed. Russ Shafer-Landau), 2018

The Nature and Explanatory Ambitions of Metaethics (with David Plunkett), The Routledge Handbook of Metaethics, 2017

Reference Magnetism as a Solution to the Moral Twin Earth Problem (with Billy Dunaway), Ergo 3(25), 2016

How to Argue For (and Against) Ethical Veganism, 2016. Anthologized in:

Food, Ethics, and Society (Eds. Anne Barnhill, Mark Budolfson, and Tyler Doggett, Oxford University Press), 2016

The Moral Life, 6th Ed., (Eds. Louis Pojman and Lewis Vaughn, Oxford University Press), 2017

Doing Ethics, 5th Ed., (Ed. Lewis Vaughn, Norton), 2018   

Supervenience in Ethics, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Winter 2015, Revised October 2019

The Methodological Irrelevance of Reflective Equilibrium, The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophical Methods (Ed. Christopher Daly, Palgrave), 2015

Deliberative Indispensability and Epistemic Justification (with David Plunkett), Oxford Studies in Metaethics Vol. 10 (Ed. Russ Shafer-Landau), 2015

What is at Stake in Debates among Normative Realists? Noûs 49(1), 2015

Moral Attitudes for Non-cognitivists (with Gunnar Björnsson), Mind 123(489), 2014

Unifying Moral Methodology, Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 93(4), December 2012

Ethical Non-naturalism and the Metaphysics of Supervenience, Oxford Studies in Metaethics Vol. 7, (Ed. Russ Shafer-Landau) 2012

Against Quietist Normative Realism, Philosophical Studies 154(2), June 2011

Moorean Arguments and Moral Revisionism, Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 3(1), June 2009

Metaethics and the Autonomy of Morality, Philosophers’ Imprint 8(6), July 2008