I am currently pursuing two main interdisciplinary research programs: one in PPE and political philosophy and another in ethics. These two research programs draw upon a wide range of fields, including political science, sociology, public choice theory, political psychology, biology, environmental science, and medicine.
My first research program explores the implications of comparative institutional analysis for normative democratic theory. My dissertation draws upon findings from political science and other fields to investigate democracy’s ability to solve the problem of fundamental security: the problem of addressing fundamental threats to citizens’ lives and freedoms such as existential risk and political instability. Although contemporary democracies generally outperform contemporary non-democracies on several fronts, democratic decision-making is still significantly compromised by ignorance, irrationality, and short-termism, and it is unclear whether democracy would address fundamental social threats (and promote other widely agreed-upon political ends) better than all possible alternatives. Hence, rather than assume that democracy is required by justice, I argue that we should instead adopt political experimentalism, an approach to political justice which permits a degree of experimentation with political systems which secure citizens’ fundamental rights but are not strictly democratic.
I am also currently working on a second interdisciplinary research program in animal 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 harm animals directly or indirectly. 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 such improvements—specifically in health. I therefore argue that ethical vegans should concede that the same considerations which justify many of their own practices plausibly also justify eating meat under at least some circumstances.
In upcoming work, I intend to develop both of these research programs further. I plan to build upon my dissertation by providing a more robust account and defense of political experimentalism. I also hope to explore the implications of different theories of social and political power for political philosophy. In addition, I intend to expand my research program in ethics by exploring the implications of the animal-welfare, environmental, and economic impact of different diets for the ethics of eating meat and other foods.
Apart from these two main research programs, I also have research interests in explanations of normative change (especially liberalization); social contract theory, contractualism, and egalitarianism (especially in Rawls); and cryptocurrency, monetary policy, and justice.
Essays Under Review
Essay on existential risk [title redacted] (with Adam Gibbons; draft available upon request)
Essays in Progress
“Health and the Ethics of Eating Meat” (draft available upon request)
“Political Stability and Equal Political Liberty” (draft available upon request)
“Self-respect and Equal Political Liberty” (draft available upon request)
“Self-respect and Political Irrationality”
“Explaining Liberalization: A Reply to Huemer”
“Political Experimentalism” (with Adam Gibbons)
“Bitcoin as a Requirement of Justice” (with Alfredo Watkins)