I am interested in a wide range of questions in moral, social/political philosophy, and moral psychology. I have a particularly strong interest in the ethics of mind, personal relationships, moral address and reactive attitudes, moral equality and partiality, and the ethics of harming and rescuing. Within these areas, I am currently working on two main topics.
(1) The moral duties relating to our mental lives. We often speak as if it can be morally wrong, or even a wronging of another person, simply to engage in particular mental activity–for example, thinking racist thoughts or fantasizing about torturing someone. But does morality extend to the domain of the purely mental? If so, what are the grounds of our mental obligations, and what is their nature and scope? If not, what is it about mental activity that places it outside the scope of moral requirements?
(2) The balancing norms that govern our interpersonal interactions over time—a joint project with Gunnar Björnsson. What is the nature, content and shape of these norms? How do they interact with other norms? What are right and wrong ways of rebalancing? How might the normativity of (re)balancing help us make sense of moral phenomena such as desert and moral repair?
1. "Expressive Duties Are Demandable and Enforceable", Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, vol. 14 (forthcoming).
2. "Reciprocity, Inequality, and Unsuccessful Rescues", Utilitas (forthcoming).
3. “Other-Sacrificing Options: Reply to Lange”, Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, vol. 21, no. 2 (2022): 290-297.
4. “Is Sex with Robots Rape?”, Journal of Practical Ethics, vol. 5 no.2 (2017): 62-76. (Winner of the 3rd Annual Oxford Uehiro Prize in Practical Ethics.)
1. "George Sher: A Wild West of the Mind", Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, vol. 25, no. 5 (2022): 895-897.
1. A paper on gratitude and rights, R&R
2. A paper on third-personal attitudes, under review
3. A paper on balancing norms (w/ Gunnar Björnsson)
4. A paper on agent-regret and counterfactuals
5. A paper on mental degrading wrongs
6. A paper on gratitude-based partiality and war
7. A paper on gratitude and standing
8. A paper on the conditions of interpersonal treatment
9. A paper on hypocrisy and government advice (w/ Jonas Haeg)
Payback Time: Essays on Attitudes, Partiality, and Rescuing (Stockholm University, 2022)
Does the moral quality of someone’s past treatment of us, or of other people, change how we are morally permitted or required to treat them? Many philosophers think so. They argue, for instance, that someone’s supererogatory or impermissible behaviour can permit or require certain positive or negative attitudinal responses, such as gratitude or resentment. They also argue that someone’s impermissible behaviour can justify harming the person, either defensively or punitively, and that someone who is imperilled as a result of impermissible behaviour might have a weaker claim to be aided than those who are innocently imperilled. This thesis has two aims. The first is to extend the scope of the idea that we can be morally required to have certain positive or negative attitudinal responses to someone’s supererogatory or impermissible behaviour; the second is to explore novel ways in which our required responses to such behaviour, or our failures to have these responses, can change what others owe to us when aiding. In pursuing the two aims, the thesis brings together two philosophical domains that are not normally considered in conjunction: the philosophy of attitudes and deontological ethics.