• Born in Bremerton WA.; employed in San Antonio, TX.

    • Ph.D. - Harvard University
    • B.A. - Baylor University  
    • Mortal Objects (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)
    • The Philosophy of Death (Cambridge University Press, 2009).
    • Cambridge Companion to Life and Death (Cambridge University Press, 2014)
    • “Animal Interests,” in Tatjana Višak and Robert Garner, eds., The Ethics of Killing Animals, Oxford University Press, 2016
    • “Death,” in Routledge Companion to the Philosophy of Medicine, London: Routledge, 2017
    • “The Moral Standing of the Dead,” invited, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 373.1754 (2018)
    • “Never Existing,” Mortality 23.2 (2018)

    I have contributed to three areas of philosophy:  epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics.  Currently I am working on topics I discuss in my latest book, Mortal Objects.

    Epistemology: In "The Epistemic Predicament" Australasian Journal of Philosophy 62 (1984) 26-50, p. 38, I defended the condition that has come to be called the safety condition for knowledge. My version was that S knows P only if S's belief P is caused by a sequence of events E each of which is such that if E were to occur P would be true. I then argued that knowledge construed as safety is closed under entailment, and that, as G. E. Moore claimed, we know the denials of skeptical hypotheses.

    Ethics: Much of my work on ethics concerns the philosophy of death. In "Annihilation" The Philosophical Quarterly 37 (1985) 233-252, I argued that Epicurus's position that death is not bad for us makes sense only if life is not good for us. In The Philosophy of Death (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) I argue that death is sometimes bad for its victims both in a timeless sense and also retroactively.

    Metaphysics: In Mortal Objects (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming) I defend a version of the animalist account of our nature.  On my version, being a human animal is a contingent feature of an object that is a human animal.  In this book I also offer accounts of the nature of material objects, of organisms, and of species.  In the latter part of the book I discuss what it is to be alive and what it is to die, and consider related value questions, such as the significance of extinction.

    • Epistemology
    • Ethics and Ethical Theory
    • Social and Political Philosophy
    • Biomedical Ethics
    • Philosophy of Death
    • Meaning of Life
    • Murchison Term Professorship for 2015-17.
    • Distinguished Scholarship Award, Trinity University, 2012.
    • Distinguished Service Award, City of Austin, 1980.
    • President, Edge Falls Ranches Property Owners Association, 2001-14. 
    • Board of Directors, Edge Falls Ranches Property Owners Association, 2017-present
    • Member, Medical Ethics Committee, Southwest General Hospital, in San Antonio, 2005-2010.