My scholarship has explored two areas in political theory and political philosophy: 1) Democratic theory/the ethics of civic participation and 2) welfare state ethics, labor, and justice. I have worked on these two areas of inquiry quite extensively.
My book The Duty To Vote (Oxford University Press) is my latest published large project on democratic theory and mass-participation.
The book investigates whether voting should be seen as an ethical duty or a mere right. I explore the foundations of various democratic traditions and their differing perspectives on the morality of voting. My central claim is that competent voting should be seen as grounded in a justice duty " of common pursuit" to support good governance and help our fellow citizens minimize injustice (see my Washington Post pieces here and here). In this way, the book underscores the connection that exists between democratic theory and the ethics of cooperative action. My work on voting ethics also includes several pieces that precede the book. In one of them, I explore the ( limited) epistemic advantages of majority rule.
See Will McCormack's review of my book in the New Republic here
See Tom Christiano's review of my book in Analysis here
See The Review of Politics on my book here
See The Journal of Value Inquiry on my book here
See my AEON piece on the ethics of voting and democracy here
See my invited contribution to the Philosophers Magazine here
See my Political Studies article reprinted in The Democracy Reader, co-edited by Bob Talisse
I am now working on a book titled Dialogues in Democracy (under contract, by invitation from Routledge Philosophy) in which I survey and analyze criticisms to the democratic ideal from elitist as well as radical corners. The writing is structured in the background of a Socratic dialogue of sorts, in which the narrator describes reasons for valuing democracy as well as different understandings of the ideal and its institutional implications. Her main task is to respond to the critical questions posed by three “objectors” that interrupt her explications. There are three objectors in the dialogue because I concentrate on three general critical challenges to democracy: The elitist one (suspicious of the people’s capacities to self-govern), the lottocratic one (suspicious of elections and supportive of randomized mechanisms to choose public officials), and the egalitarian-participatory one (suspicious of non-inclusionary representation and sympathetic to more direct participation and power-altering institutions). Some objections straddle these lines and are offered by any one one of the three critics. The three critics’ names are Platinicus, Lotto, and Inclusivus.
My research also includes work on distributive justice and welfare state philosophy. In my book Self-Realization and Justice: A Liberal Perfectionist Defense of Freedom from Employment (Routledge Studies in Philosophy), I explore the ethics of a right to meaningful leisure from an Aristotelian perspective-- also informed by the thought of Karl Marx and JS Mill-- and its possible implementation in the form of a Basic Income and a Participation Income. In the backdrop of contemporary theories of equality, my first book suggests that we should view self-realization (inspired by the notion of "eudaimonia") as an object of fair distribution in society. The book asks: How can society be rearranged so as to make social contribution compatible with self-realization? My approach offers a critical view of capitalist markets that distribute the value of estimable activities unjustly and undervalue useful contributions outside of paid employment; but it also sets itself apart from value neutrality approaches that highlight a right "to go surfing." My work on Labor and Justice also includes an account of why a uniform Basic Income is inconsistent with justice since the wealthy do not deserve or need assistance from the State.
Read a review of my book and work in Philosophical Disquisitions
Read a review of my book in The Review of Politics
Read a review of my book in Basic Income Studies
I am also the co-editor of Rationality, Democracy, and Justice: The Legacy of Jon Elster (Cambridge University Press), and I am the author of a chapter on gender justice
and preference formation in the volume. The book collects essays by some of the most influential minds in Political Science, Philosophy, Economics, and Law today
I am now also working on a book project entitled: Democracy and Collective Ills: A Normative Basis for Citizen Action. In it, I explore the moral basis for collective action to protect against mass harm; and I examine issues of joint agency in democratic societies. I'm interested in the relationship between sympathetic care and duties of mutual aid as pillars of cooperative action among citizens. My piece "Civic Virtue and Others-Oriented Action" -under progress -is part of this larger project. This work fits into the exciting and growing literature on justice and the moral emotions as well as with work on the political theory of sympathy that finds inspiration in the great Scottish tradition, among others. This book project is a natural outgrowth of my work on voting and collective action but it seeks to offer a more encompassing normative account of justice and human cooperation.
As part pf my scholarship on justice and labor, I am also working on a very incipient project tentatively titled The Value of Work and What We Owe for It, on the relationship between work and justice in compensation for its social contribution. The literature on work and justice shies away from reflecting on issues of "recognition" for work that is necessary or valuable but not acknowledged as such in modern societies. My research intends to fill this gap by reflecting on issues of value, structural justice, and contributive activity independently of market pricing and valuations. This project is tied to my piece titled "Justice and Contribution: A Narrow Argument for Living Wages," forthcoming in The Journal of Philosophy (2022)