Justin Snedegar
Department of Philosophy
University of St Andrews

My research is primarily in ethics and practical reasoning. Most recently, I've been working on various topics concerning the ethics of criticism, including how our own wrongdoing undermines our standing to criticize others, how we should respond to criticism, and how our relationship to the wrongdoer matters for whether and how we should criticize them.

Most of my published work concerns the structure of normativity, including the nature of central normative concepts like reasons, ought, and requirement, and the relationships between them. More specifically, I am interested in the ways that alternatives matter in determining the normative status of our options. Most of my work so far has defended contrastive theories of these concepts. The basic idea of a contrastive theory of a normative concept is that whether the agent ought to or is required to perform a given action, or whether some consideration is a reason for the agent to perform the action, depends on which deliberative question, conceived of as a set of alternatives, we are asking.

I am particularly interested in the relationships between pro tanto or contributory normative concepts, like reasons, and all things considered or overall normative concepts, like ought or requirement. A central part of this project is to investigate how reasons for and against various alternatives compete with one another to determine the overall normative status of those alternatives.

Here is a list of publications and works in progress. If there's no link, feel free to email me for a draft.


Contrastive Reasons, Oxford University Press, 2017
The book was reviewed by Hallvard Lillehammer on Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, by Chrisoula Andreou in Ethics, and by Alex Worsnip in Philosophical Review. I replied to Andreou's review on PEA Soup.

I talked about the book on the New Books in Philosophy podcast here.


'Dismissing Blame', forthcoming in Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy (penultimate version)
'Explaining Loss of Standing to Blame', forthcoming in Journal of Moral Philosophy
'The Reasons First Program', with Errol Lord, commissioned for Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory, edited by David Copp and Connie Rosati (not a final version)
'Normative Metaphysics for Accountants' (2021), with Barry Maguire, in Philosophical Studies, 178(2): 363-384
'Reasons, Competition, and Latitude' (2021), in Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Vol. 16, edited by Russ Shafer-Landau, Oxford University Press
'Competing Reasons' (2021), in Reasons, Justification, and Defeat, edited by Jessica Brown and Mona Simion, Oxford University Press
'Deliberation, Reasons, and Alternatives' (2019), Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 100(3): 682-702
'Reasons For and Reasons Against' (2018), Philosophical Studies, 175(3): 725-743
'Time-Slice Rationality and Filling In Plans' (2017), for a symposium on Brian Hedden's Reasons Without Persons in Analysis, 77(3): 595-607
'Reasons, Oughts, and Requirements' (2016), Oxford Studies in Metaethics, Vol. 11, edited by Russ Shafer-Landau (penultimate version)
'Contrastivism about Reasons and Ought' (2015), Philosophy Compass 10/6: 379-388
'Deontic Reasoning Across Contexts' (2014), Deontic Logic and Normative Systems: DEON 2014, edited by Cariani, Grossi, Meheus, and Parent. Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 208-223
'Contrastive Reasons and Promotion' (2014), Ethics 125(1): 39-63
'One Ought too Many', with Stephen Finlay (2014), Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89(1): 102-124
'Negative Reason Existentials' (2013), Thought 2(2): 108-116
'Reason Claims and Contrastivism about Reasons' (2013), Philosophical Studies 166(2): 231-242
'Contrastive Semantics for Deontic Modals' (2012), in Contrastivism in Philosophy, edited by Martijn Blaauw. Routledge, 116-133

Encyclopedia entries, book reviews, etc.

'Ethics and contrastivism' (2014), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Review of Weighing Reasons, edited by Errol Lord and Barry Maguire, Ethics, 128(1): 255-260, 2017
Review of Reasons, Rights, and Values, by Robert Audi, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2015