My academic research mainly centers on problems of political obligation and state authority. Most people take it for granted that states (at least certain kinds of states) have the moral authority to coercively enforce their laws and citizens have a correlative obligation to obey them. However, it has proven difficult to provide a durable justification for why this is so. I defend the idea that citizens can be bound by such political obligations by appealing to the principle of fairness (the idea that when people benefit from a cooperative scheme it would be wrong for them to free ride on the efforts of others without also contributing to the production of those benefits themselves). What is unusual about my account is that it is rooted in voluntarist considerations, which are typically thought to lead to skepticism about political obligation.
These days, I’m particularly interested in questions regarding inequality, political theology, the efficacy of free markets, and in more practical public policy related issues regarding poverty.
Here is my CV.
Selected Academic Papers:
- “Subjectivist Cosmopolitanism and the Morality of Intervention,” Journal of Social Philosophy, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Summer 2010): 137-151.
- “Giving Credit When Credit is Due: The Ethics of Authorship,” International Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 25, No. 1 (Spring 2011): 1-13.
- “Political Naturalism and State Authority,” Journal of Social Philosophy, Vol. 43, No. 1 (Spring 2012): 64-77.
- “Rawls’s Liberal Principle of Legitimacy,” The Philosophical Forum, Vol. 43, No. 2 (Summer 2012): 153-173.
- “Acceptance, Fairness and Political Obligation,” Legal Theory, Vol. 18, No. 2 (June 2012): 209-229.
- “Preemptive Anonymous Whistleblowing” (co-authored with James Rocha), Public Affairs Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 4 (October 2012): 257-271.