My research concerns issues at the intersection of philosophy of law, political philosophy, and ethics. I work on issues related to social and legal justice from both ideal and non-ideal theoretical vantage points, with a strong emphasis on empirical input from the social sciences. Because I am interested in producing work that is both theoretically rich and practically useful, I tend to engage more in non-ideal theorizing than I do in ideal theory. I want the work I do to be positively action guiding in a way that can help people in bad circumstances the world over, and (to me) that means working from within the circumstances on the ground, and offering theoretical insights that remain applicable in those circumstances, which often involve sustained injustices that we cannot reasonably expect to be overcome in short order.
I see my work as fairly interdisciplinary, contributing a normative (or otherwise evaluative)
component to the investigative and descriptive work of other disciplines, and offering up to their scrutiny theoretical insights on and prescriptive solutions to issues that those working in other disciplines might address from their own methodological perspectives. My research contributes from the philosophical perspective. It engages with socio-political and legal questions about how and why people on the periphery of society get overlooked, how and why they are or become disadvantaged, and what we can and ought to do to address the challenges they face.
“Does Predictive Sentencing Make Sense?” (with Clinton Castro and Alan Rubel). Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming).
Public Administration and Democracy: The Complementarity Principle (with Anthony M. Bertelli). Cambridge University Press, 2022 (under contract).
“Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White: DIY virtue, principled hostility, & genuine moral growth” in Punk and Philosophy: God Save the Queen (of the Sciences), Josh Heter & Richard Greene, eds., Carus Books (forthcoming).
“International Educational Justice: Educational Resources for Students Living Abroad.” Global Justice: Theory Practice Rhetoric 12(1), 2019: 78-99.
Works in Progress
“Proportionality, Desert, and Just Criminal Sentencing”
A paper challenging the desert-basis of the proportionality doctrine for criminal sentencing. Proportionalists conceive of desert as a matter of what one is owed in response to one’s actions; I offer an alternative conception of desert as what one is owed on the basis of one’s humanity and one’s shared socio-political membership. I argue, first, that the latter ought to take priority over the former, and, second, that embracing this alternative conception of desert should result in more just, humane, and effective sentencing than adhering to the traditional conception does.
“Proportionality and Public Sentiment”
A critique of the relationship between determinations of proportional punishment and public sentiment. Drawing on social psychological research, I challenge the wisdom of basing determinations of proportionally severe punishment on public attitudes, the malleability and manipulability of which may undermine their reliability as good moral guides.
“Is Concerted Cultivation Good Parenting?” (with Harry Brighouse, Emma Prendergast)
A paper considering the broader social effects of a highly engaged and directorial parenting style known as ‘concerted cultivation’ from a stakeholder perspective. We consider differences in socioeconomic status relevant to parenting styles, the reinforcing feedback loops created by different parenting styles, and what these might mean for the ethics of child-rearing.
“The Influence of Parenting Styles on College Student Success & What Universities Should Do in Light of It” (with Harry Brighouse, Emma Prendergast)
Recent sociological research shows that different levels of parental involvement and support heavily influence college students’ success in terms of educational attainment, labor market prospects, and preparation for a flourishing adult life. We consider the normative impacts of these findings, and offer guidance as to how institutions of higher education might adjust to better serve students of all kinds in light of them.