Ethics and Metaethics; Political and Social Philosophy
19th Century German Philosophy (esp. Hegel); Kant; Legal Philosophy; Aesthetics; Applied Ethics
Much of my work revolves around the question of how, why, and to what effect persons come to impose on themselves and others, as well as on social institutions and practices, a basic demand for rational intelligibility. How does this demand come to have specific content? That is, how does it arise from (and is articulated into) more specific values, standards of rationality, and individual and joint aims and commitments? Are there principled limits to the possibility of satisfying this demand? What makes the demand itself reasonable or intelligible? And what are the practical consequences of adopting it?
In my dissertation, I focus on the widespread idea that human agents are characteristically self-reflective. I examine the role that agential self-reflection is assigned in some prominent accounts of agency and of practical normativity, as well as in first-order normative theory, and I argue that accounting for the phenomenon of reflection is more conceptually demanding than is often supposed. A more thorough account allows us to explain how reflection and the psychological attitudes to which it gives rise could be thought to have the meta-ethical and normative significance sometimes ascribed to them.
Beyond the themes touched in my dissertation, I am interested in a range of questions in normative ethics and metaethics, moral psychology, political and social philosophy, legal philosophy, and aesthetics. I also have an interest in the history of social and political thought, both ancient and modern, and in the writings of Hegel and Kant in particular.