Prof. Norcross’s research is primarily in ethical theory--that is normative ethics and metaethics. His overarching project is to make the world safe for consequentialist theories, in particular utilitarianism. He expounds and develops a nonstandard form of utilitarianism, scalar utilitarianism. This version of the theory accepts at the fundamental level only judgments of goodness of states of affairs, and comparative judgments (better or worse) of actions with alternative possible actions. Notions such as 'right' and 'wrong', 'good' and 'bad' (as applied to actions), and 'harmful' are only intelligible at a higher, contextually sensitive, level. He also does some work in areas of applied ethics, such as abortion, euthanasia, and animal rights (though, like Bentham and Peter Singer, he regards all natural rights as nonsense, sometimes on stilts).
normative ethics, applied ethics (especially animals, abortion, and euthanasia), metaethics, political philosophy