Incentives, Motives, and Talents


  • I am grateful to Richard Arneson, Jonathan Garthoff, A. J. Julius, Andrew Lister, Samuel Scheffler, T. M. Scanlon, Stephen White, and the Editors of Philosophy & Public Affairs for helpful conversations and insightful feedback. This article was originally written for a conference at Oxford University in January 2009, celebrating the work of G. A. Cohen. It still seems both incredible and painful that Jerry unexpectedly died the summer after and that he will not be with us for years to come, ready with his sharp mind, warm heart, quick and mischievous wit, and a steady supply of apposite songs. I am especially grateful to Jerry for years of guidance, criticism, and advice. He offered all of us a model of how to vindicate some of philosophy's most central ambitions: facing hard and elusive questions with a combination of foreground confidence tempered by compassion, humility, humor, high standards, intellectual honesty, creativity, and precision.