I’m interested in a range of philosophical topics, but the heart of my interest is ethics, and especially Kantian ethics.
Reason, Emotion, and Consequence: Moral Psychology and Kantian Ideals
My first project is to look to Kant’s discussions of moral ideals (the virtuous person, the ethical community, the highest good, and friendship) to argue that his framing of these concepts as ideals is an underutilized resource for Kantians. I argue that Kantian ideals help Kantians respond to criticisms that Kantian ethics is inadequate to capture important features of our moral psychology (especially consequence and emotion).
From this project:
My “The Kingdom of Ends as Ideal” was published in Human Dignity and the Kingdom of Ends (Routledge 2021), edited by Jan-Willem van der Rijt and Adam Cureton.
Abstract: The kingdom of ends is one of a handful of concepts that Kant describes as an ‘ideal’ in his ethical writings. This paper uses contemporary accounts of imagination in order to explain how imaginative engagement with the kingdom of ends (and other Kantian moral ideals) can help to coordinate other parts of our moral psychology with what reason requires of us. In particular, imaginative immersion with an ideal of the moral community can serve to channel our social desires and improve our deliberation.
“Giving Up” Series
My second project is a series of papers about giving up on people. Some people—maybe even our own parents, children, and partners—are reprehensible. When ought we give up on them?
Ethics and Technology Works-in-Progress
I have two current works-in-progress on ethics of technology:
“Violence and Cyber Violence”
Presented as a webinar for the Canadian Society for the Study of Practical Ethics (January 2022) and at the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (February 2022).
Abstract: Christopher Finlay’s (2018) “Just War, Cyber War, and the Concept of Violence” argues that some kinds of cyberattacks are morally equivalent to armed kinetic attack (358), and that just war theory should permit ‘violent cyberattacks’ to be responded to with kinetic violence (and vice versa) (374). In turn, I argue that Finlay’s account of violence is both too wide—by improperly including harms to property as if they are commensurable with harms to persons—and too restrictive—by not including psychological harms to persons. I present an alternative conception of the term ‘violence’: that it is better understood as harms to persons, brought about for the purposes of aggression and domination.
This discussion allows us to take on a major debate in the violence literature: theorists such as C. A. J. Coady, Trudy Govier, and Finlay acknowledge that structural injustices such as racism or sexism or other kinds of oppression cause great harm, but contend they are wrongly miscategorized as violence. On my view, structural injustices do indeed do violence: they bring about injury (both psychological and bodily) for the purposes of aggression and domination. It is a collective act of violence, and as such harder to recognize. Yet structural violence has the same characteristics as the most paradigmatic cases of violence. With these ideas in place, I finally argue how we should understand cyber violence, and what kinds of responses to cyber violence are warranted.
We often use creepiness as a proxy for whether or not something is a breach of privacy, particularly in the case of digital privacy. But what, exactly, is creepiness? Does it serve us well as such a proxy?