In Summer 2019, I defended my dissertation, Forgiveness in the Public Realm. To read the abstract, click here. I am working on a book manuscript which develops this work.
I am also working on a book project with Ryan Doody. We’re calling this project: Freedom from Want: The Philosophy of the New Deal.
This project develops a material political philosophy of the New Deal and its representative policies. Each chapter offers a novel defense of a signature policy: the minimum wage, the limited working week, unemployment insurance, housing provision, pensions and a jobs guarantee. Here’s a sample: A Decent Wage
- “Recent Work in Forgiveness,” 2022 Analysis 82:4 (1–16) doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/analys/anac075.
- “Danse Macabre: Levity and Morality in a Plague Year”, (ed. Evandro Barbosa) Moral Challenges in a Pandemic Age, Routledge, 2022. ISBN 9781032315201
- “Propaganda and Moralism – Towards a Stevensonian Theory”, with Max Hayward, forthcoming in (ed. Rachel Handley) C.L. Stevenson on Emotivism, Palgrave McMillan, 2023.
Writing for a popular audience:
- “Slow Thinking” Times Literary Supplement (March 31, 2023)
- “Wrong but Romantic,” Times Literary Supplement (November 4, 2022)
- “Intent to Deceive,” Times Literary Supplement (November 4, 2022)
- “Pick‘n’mix Ethics,” Times Literary Supplement (September 9, 2022)
- “Slippery Things,” Times Literary Supplement (March 18, 2022)
- “Future Morality,” Times Literary Supplement (January 21, 2022)
- “Philosophizing With Guns,” New York Times (April 11 2016). Reprinted as a book chapter in Modern Ethics in 77 Arguments (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2017). Reprinted & translated as “Filosofando Con Armas”, Literal Magazine (tr. Rose Marie Salum)
- “The Anniversary Gift,” Public Seminar (January 11, 2016)
I have several papers under review, including:
A paper about supererogatory forgiveness:
Forgiveness is often conceived of as supererogatory. Acts of forgiveness are (1) good to perform, but (2) they cannot be demanded of their actor, and (3) their omission is not bad. But certain cases which bear on (3) present a challenge to this conception. Isn’t there something bad about refusing to forgive as a matter of general principle? And isn’t there something bad about refusing to forgive a small slight, or a genuinely contrite wrongdoer? In this paper, I defend the supererogatory conception of forgiveness, while offering novel ways of understanding our adverse moral reactions to such cases.
A paper about Victim Impact Statements
A victim impact statement (VIS) is a statement delivered by a victim during the sentencing component of a trial. As a legal institution, the VIS is a relatively recent invention (first introduced to American courts in the 1970s) and has significant philosophical interest. It provokes questions about procedural justice, the character of harm, and the scope of harms with which the law is concerned.
Much of the scholarship on VISs focuses on whether they achieve promised aims (such as greater victim satisfaction with the justice system: e.g. Roberts and Smith 1994; Erez et al, 1994; de Mesmaeker, 2012; Lens et al, 2013, and 2015), and on the practical impact of VISs on judicial decision-making (for a systematic survey, see Kunst et al, 2021). In this paper, I develop a principled and victim-centered case against the VIS. I argue that we should abandon the VIS both because it stands to violate key norms of justice, and because it operates to frustrate victims’ rights.
A paper about asymmetric normative expectations
The normative landscape for public figures is highly demanding.
Public figures are often:
(a) subject to stricter normative expectations than those encountered by the rest of us in quotidian life;
(b) subject to singularly extensive systems of normative surveillance;
(c) more exposed when norms (as they are wont to do) undergo change; and
(d) subject to enhanced penalties for social norm violations.
This state of affairs should be concerning to us, the public, on two grounds. First, the fact that some members of our moral community are subject to a more demanding normative landscape raises the prospect of unfairness. We do not want to treat our fellows unfairly, or, so far as it can be avoided, to permit luck to play an outsized role in moral determinations and retribution. The second, related worry is that of hypocrisy. How can we, the public, justifiably impose such strict standards and penalties on public figures, where we do not subject ourselves or our peers to similar treatment?
In response to these concerns, I mount a defense of the apparently unfair and hypocritical treatment of public figures. I defuse the claim of unfairness, and argue that, while the claim of hypocrisy should stick (and motivate us to greater self-scrutiny), it does not operate to indemnify the public figure against historical scrutiny.