I am a Lecturer at the University of Toronto. My research focuses on moral theory and philosophy of action, with a particular interest in the intersection between the two. I finished my PhD in 2017 under the supervision of Sergio Tenenbaum, with Philip Clark and Andrew Sepielli as readers.
In my dissertation, I offer a new defence of the guise of the good view. The guise of the good view holds that all practical mental states, such as desire and intention, involve the agent taking the content of that state to be good. I outline a particular version of this view which I call the attitude view. On the attitude view, “good” is not part of the content of a desire or intention, but instead describes the way that desire and intention present their content. An intention presents-as-good some action, in much the same way that a belief presents-as-true some proposition. I then argue for this view by appeal to its theoretical fruitfulness, showing how the view can solve problems in normative ethics, metaethics, philosophy of action, and the theory of practical reasoning. You can find more details about my project in my dissertation abstract here.
Since finishing the dissertation, I have begun a new project on understanding the place of reasoning and rationality in our evolutionary history and scientific understanding of ourselves. The first paper in this project, co-written with Julia Smith, argues that we should understand the evolutionary function of reasoning as being collective deliberation, rather than individual decision making as is generally assumed or primarily a means of facilitating social interaction and cooperation as proposed by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber. A draft of that paper is available under the research tab above.
You can contact me at benjamin(dot)wald(at)utoronto(dot)ca