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Nathan Hanna



I'm a philosopher, specializing in ethics and philosophy of law. My research explores the ethics of punishment and related issues like the nature of desert, harm, and moral responsibility. I teach at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

For more information, see my CV.



Design adapted from Aaron Wolf and Ted Sider

Published Work

The Nature of Punishment: Reply to Wringe [abstract]
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, forthcoming
Many philosophers think that an agent punishes a subject only if the agent aims to harm the subject. Bill Wringe has recently argued against this claim. I show that Wringe's arguments fail.

Harm: Omission, Preemption, Freedom [abstract]
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 2016
I defend the Counterfactual Comparative Account of Harm: an event is overall harmful for someone if and only if it makes her worse off than she otherwise would have been.

Philosophical Success [abstract]
Philosophical Studies, 2015
I criticize Peter van Inwagen's success criterion for philosophical arguments and argue, contra van Inwagen, that the Argument from Evil isn't obviously a failure.

Moral Luck Defended [abstract]
Nous, 2014
I argue that there is moral luck, i.e., that factors beyond our control can affect how blameworthy or praiseworthy we are.

Retributivism Revisited [abstract]
Philosophical Studies, 2014
I offer a new criticism of Retributivism - the view that punishment is justified on the basis of desert - and extend the criticism to other justifications of punishment.

Facing the Consequences [abstract]
Criminal Law and Philosophy, 2014
I argue against justifications of punishment that appeal to its deterrent effects.

Two Claims About Desert [abstract]
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 2013
I challenge the widely held view that whenever someone deserves something, it’s intrinsically good that she get it or there’s some non-instrumental reason to give it to her.

Legal Punishment and the Natural Right to Punish [abstract]
Social Theory and Practice, 2012
I argue against justifications of punishment that appeal to an alleged natural right to punish.

Against Phenomenal Conservatism [abstract]
Acta Analytica, 2011
I argue against Phenomenal Conservatism, the view that we're prima facie justified in believing that things are the way they appear to be.

Cosmic Coincidence and Intuitive Non-Naturalism [abstract]
Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, 2010
I defend Intuitive Non-Naturalism in ethics from an objection by Matt Bedke.

The Passions of Punishment [abstract]
Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 2009
I argue against justifications of punishment that appeal to the reactive attitudes – emotions like resentment, indignation, remorse and guilt.

Liberalism and the General Justifiability of Punishment [abstract]
Philosophical Studies, 2009
I argue that philosophical liberalism is incompatible with a justification of punishment that would hold across a broad range of reasonably realistic conditions.

An Argument for Voting Abstention [abstract]
Public Affairs Quarterly, 2009
I argue that voting abstention may be obligatory under certain non-trivial conditions that hold in some contemporary western democracies.

A Critique of Expressive Retributivism [abstract]
Law and Philosophy, 2008
I argue against retributivist justifications of punishment that appeal to the expressive value of punishing.

Socrates and Superiority [abstract]
The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 2007
I propose a new interpretation of Socrates’ arguments in the Crito.