I am currently pursuing several interdisciplinary research programs in political philosophy, PPE, and ethics. These research programs draw upon a wide range of fields, including political psychology, sociology, public choice theory, environmental science, and medicine.
My first major research program explores non-instrumental arguments against democracy. Although philosophers defend democracy on both instrumental and non-instrumental grounds, contemporary critics of democracy have thus far offered only instrumental arguments against it. Accordingly, I propose two novel non-instrumental arguments against democracy from political irresponsibility. The first—the wrongful exercise of power argument—is that democracy is objectionable to the extent that it brings about conditions under which many citizens wrongfully (because irresponsibly) exercise coercive political power over others. The second—the loss of recognition respect argument—is that democracy is objectionable to the extent that it causes citizens to lose what Stephen Darwall calls recognition respect for their fellow citizens because of their perceived political irresponsibility.
A related research program introduces the concept of power laundering, the process of making illegitimate or otherwise objectionable exercises of power appear legitimate and unobjectionable. The goal of this research program is to offer an analysis of power laundering which helps us understand why so many individuals and groups power launder and how actual power relations in democratic societies can be obscured by formally democratic institutional arrangements.
Additionally, I am working on an interdisciplinary research program in animal and food ethics which explores the relationship between the ethics of eating meat and health. Almost all members of post-industrial societies, including vegans, inevitably engage in practices—living in houses, driving cars, flying in planes—which directly or indirectly harm animals. Such harms are justifiable (if at all) only because they are necessary to promote significant human interests. Importantly, however, a growing body of evidence suggests that eating meat itself can promote one of our most significant interests—our interest in health. I therefore argue that the same considerations which justify many practices common among vegans and non-vegans alike plausibly also justify some meat-eating.
Beyond these research programs, I also have research interests in political experimentalism, an approach to political justice which rules in at least some liberal but non-democratic political systems which may best promote our most fundamental political ends; cryptocurrency, monetary policy, and justice; philosophy of finance; corporate social responsibility; and explanations of normative change (especially liberalization).
Essays Under Review
Essay on existential risk and democracy (with Adam Gibbons; draft available upon request)
Essays in Progress
“Power Laundering” (draft available upon request)
“The Irresponsible Coercion Argument Against Democracy”
“The Diminished Recognition Respect Argument Against Democracy”
“Is Democracy the Most Stable Form of Government?” (draft available upon request)
“The Expressive Duty Not to Vote”
“The Duty to Avoid Preventable Bad Health” (draft available upon request)
“Health and the Ethics of Eating Meat” (draft available upon request)
“Rawls' Argument from Self-respect” (draft available upon request)
“The Market Capitalization Sleight of Hand” (with David Solomon; draft available upon request)
“Bitcoin, Monetary Policy, and Justice” (with Alfredo Watkins)