Dirty Hands, Supreme Emergencies, and Catholic Moral Theology, Journal of Religious Ethics. Volume 49, Issue 4, December 2021.

Abstract: Is it ever permissible to commit an intrinsically evil act in order to avert catastrophe? Consequentialists say yes, denying the very concept of intrinsic evil, since the action that leads to the best consequences is by definition right. Moral absolutism, in contrast, insists that it is never permissible to commit an action that is inherently evil, regardless of the consequences. However, there is a middle position, occupied by “dirty hands” theorists, who claim that actions can be both necessary and immoral. I argue that Catholic moral theology, although generally associated with moral absolutism, can and should make conceptual space for the idea of dirty hands, both because it saves the Church from committing itself to what seem to be moral absurdities and because the phenomenon of dirty hands captures a genuine dimension of our moral experience in a fallen world.

Book review of Christian FleshModern TheologyVolume 36, Issue 2, April 2020, pp. 428-430.

Religion and the Shape of Liberalism, An annotated bibliography for the Religion and Its Publics Project, January 22, 2019. 

The Cosmological Argument: A Pragmatic Defense (with Jason Megill), European Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Volume 2, Number 1, Spring 2010, pp. 127-142.

Abstract: We formulate a sort of “generic” Cosmological argument, i.e., a Cosmological argument that shares premises (e.g., “contingent, concretely existing entities have a cause”) with numerous versions of the argument. We then defend each of the premises by offering pragmatic arguments for them. We show that an endorsement of each premise will lead to an increase in expected utility; so in the absence of strong evidence that the premises are false, it is rational to endorse them. Therefore, it is rational to endorse the Cosmological argument, and so rational to endorse theism. We then consider possible objections.


How to Not Panic about the Election, Political Theology Network, July 6, 2024

Opinion: Political systems help shape COVID-19 response, The Virginian-Pilot, Oct. 29, 2020.

Trump and the Banality of EvilThe Square, February 26, 2018.

Being rich wrecks your soul. We used to know that (with Charles Mathewes), The Washington Post, July 28, 2017.