• Suffolk University
    Department of Philosophy
    Politics, Philosophy, and Economics
    Assistant Professor
University of Pennsylvania
Department of Philosophy
PhD, 2014
  •  14
    The Value of a Non-Ideal
    Social Theory and Practice 45 (3): 427-450. 2019.
    In The Tyranny of the Ideal, Gerald Gaus gives an extended argument on behalf of the “Open Society.” Instead of claiming that it is uniquely best from some privileged moral perspective, he argues for the Open Society by showing why it is acceptable to many perspectives. In this way, Gaus argues for a liberal market-based society in a way that treats deep diversity as a fundamental feature of social life. However, the argument falters at four important points. When taken together, these four prob…Read more
  •  26
    Rawlsian Objectivity
    Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (4): 545-564. 2018.
  •  18
    Not All Political Lies Are Morally Equal
    Journal of Social Philosophy 49 (2): 294-314. 2018.
    This paper examines the conflict between conventional and non-conventional moral obligations by focusing on the specific case of political lies. It argues that political candidates are under a conventional obligation to try and win their election, and sometimes the most moral way to discharge this obligation involves lying. In such cases, candidates face a conflict between the conventional obligation to try and win and the non-conventional obligation to not lie. Oftentimes, candidates that face …Read more
  •  64
    Recent interpretations of Kant’s international political philosophy have argued that the formation of a coercive world-state (Völkerstaat) is morally required. While these interpretations highlight the importance of a strong world government, they ignore Kant’s alternative to a Völkerstaat, a world-federation (Völkerbund). For both theoretical and practical reasons, the Völkerbund plays a crucial role in cosmopolitan right, and Kant can only justifiably reject the formation of the Völkerstaat be…Read more
  •  36
    A Mooring for Ethical Life
    Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania. 2014.
    Since G.A. Cohen’s influential criticism, John Rawls’s focus on the basic structure of society has fallen out of favor in moral and political philosophy. The most prominent defenses of this focus has argued from particular conceptions of justice or from a moral division of labor. In this dissertation, I instead argue for the Rawlsian focus from the ways in which social institutions establish new obligations, rights and powers. I argue that full evaluation of individual conduct requires that we e…Read more
  •  16
    Incentives, Conventionalism, and Constructivism
    Ethics 126 (3): 549-574. 2016.
    Rawlsians argue for principles of justice that apply exclusively to the basic structure of society, but it can seem strange that those who accept these principles should not also regulate their choices by them. Valid moral principles should seemingly identify ideals for both institutions and individuals. What justifies this nonintuitive distinction between institutional and individual principles is not a moral division of labor but Rawls’s dual commitments to conventionalism and constructivism. …Read more
  •  9
    Promises, Practices, and Reciprocity
    Philosophical Quarterly 67 (266): 106-126. 2017.
    The dominant conventionalist view explains the wrong of breaking a promise as failing to do our fair share in supporting the practice of promise-keeping. Yet, this account fails to explain any unique moral standing that a promisee has to demand that the promisor keep the promise. In this paper, I provide a conventionalist response to this problem. In any cooperative practice, participants stand as both beneficiary and contributor. As a beneficiary, they are morally required to follow the rules o…Read more
  •  23
    The Implicit Argument for the Basic Liberties
    Res Publica 24 (4): 433-454. 2018.
    Most criticism and exposition of John Rawls’s political theory has focused on his account of distributive justice rather than on his support for liberalism. Because of this, much of his argument for protecting the basic liberties remains under explained. Specifically, Rawls claims that representative citizens would agree to guarantee those social conditions necessary for the exercise and development of the two moral powers, but he does not adequately explain why protecting the basic liberties wo…Read more
  •  43
    Why Free Market Rights are not Basic Liberties
    Journal of Value Inquiry 49 (1-2): 47-67. 2015.
    Most liberals agree that governments should protect certain basic liberties, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the person. Liberals disagree, however, about whether free market rights should also be protected. By “free market rights,” we mean those rights typically associated with laissez-faire economic systems such as freedom of contract, a right to market returns, and claims to privately own the means of production.We do not use the phrase “economic liberties,” as T…Read more
  •  26
    The Basic Structure as a System of Social Practices
    Social Theory and Practice 39 (4): 599-624. 2013.
    In his own writings, Rawls purposively used only a loose characterization of the basic structure, but two prominent misinterpretations highlight the current need for a more detailed account. First, G.A. Cohen argues that the Rawlsian focus on the basic structure is arbitrary due to the Rawlsian appeal to profound effects. Second, some theorists conflate the justification of coercion with the assessment of a basic structure by defining the basic structure as the coercive structure. Both misinterp…Read more