Header image  
Philosopher  
 
    home: research
 
RESEARCH DESCRIPTION

Areas of Specialty: Social and Political Philosophy, Applied Ethics (Business, Environmental), Moral Philosophy, PPE

Areas of Competence: History of Modern, Philosophy of Science


In Compulsory Voting: For and Against, I argue that the practice of compulsory voting is unjust. Arguments for compulsory voting are usually grounded in false, discredited empirical speculations or confused normative claims. Even if we put these worries aside, a voting lottery would remain preferable to compulsory voting. Worse, there's good reason to think compulsory voting would lower the quality of government.

Civic Enemies: The Rule of All Against All is a sustained critique of democracy. I argue that democratic participation tends to make us enemies with one another. The political liberties are not like other liberties, in that they give us power over others, not just ourselves. For most people, weilding this power is corrupting. The exercise of political liberty does not make us more autonomous. When philosophers try to ground equal political liberty on respect and recognition, they are in fact valorizing human vice--the vice of associating political power with status and standing. We each have a right not to be subject to incompetent or bad faith political decision-making. Democracy systematically violates this right, and is, for that reason, at least prima facie illegitimate. To comply with citizens' right not to be subject to incompetent or bad faith government, we might need to adopt radical changes.

In addition, I am writing papers on the ethics of rent seeking, and with, Peter Jaworski, a series of papers on where anti-commodification arguments go wrong.

How citizens vote is morally significant. When citizens vote, they can make government better or worse, and in turn, make people’s lives go better or worse. Bad choices at the polls can destroy economic opportunities, produce crises that lower everyone’s standards of living, lead to unjust and unnecessary wars (and thus to millions of deaths), lead to sexist, racist, and homophobic legislation, help reinforce poverty, produce overly punitive criminal legislation, and worse.