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Essays

Articles
 

'Humanism: A Reconsideration'

Journal of the American Philosophical Association, forthcoming
 

Humanism is the view that people treat others inhumanely when we fail to see them as human beings, so that our treatment of them will tend to be more humane when we (fully) see their humanity. Recently, humanist views have been criticized on the grounds that the perpetrators of inhumanity regard their victims as human and treat them inhumanely partly for this reason. I argue that the two most common objections to humanist views (and their relatives) are unpersuasive: not only does the evidence marshalled against these views fail to actually disprove them, it could threaten them only if some questionable assumptions were granted. While my discussion constitutes a partial defense of humanism, it is primarily intended as a plea for greater methodological mindfulness. By providing necessary conceptual ground-clearing and routing common lines of attack, I hope to determine what it would take for a humanist project to succeed, paving the way for a full defense of humanism that fulfills its explanatory ambitions.

 


'Objectification and Domination'
Ergo 2021 8: 406–40

I contend that the concept of objectification is necessary yet insufficient for capturing the wrong of recognition-seeking domination (RSD). It’s insufficient because RSD is wrong, in part, because it seeks the victim’s acknowledgment of his own status relative to the dominator—an essentially ‘subjectifying’ relation. Yet it’s also necessary because RSD does resemble our standard ways of acting on inanimate objects, which shapes the distinctive moral profile of these acts. The general lesson is that we must keep both the objectifying and ‘subjectifying’ dimensions of domination in view in morally evaluating it.   


'Kantian Constructivism and the Authority of Others'
European Journal of Philosophy 2020 28(1): 77–92

I argue that Kantian constructivists cannot accommodate our obligations to others. Because the Kantian holds that all of our obligations are grounded in our obligating ourselves, she is committed to the view that our obligations to others are grounded in corresponding obligations to ourselves. Yet this conclusion is objectionable on substantive moral grounds. The problem is that she embraces an egocentric conception of authority, on which we originally have the authority to obligate ourselves while others only have the authority to obligate us because we grant it to them. The solution is to adopt a more thoroughly social conception of authority and autonomy.  We should reject Kantian constructivism, then. 




Book Chapters

'An Attitude towards a Soul—and Its Corruptions: A Wittgensteinian View of Racial Alienation'
Wittgenstein and Contemporary Moral Philosophy (Routledge, 2023), ed. Jonathan Beale and Richard Rowland, forthcoming 

I extend my account of social invisibility and interpersonal recognition by applying it to one form of racism: racial alienation—the failure to emotionally identify with members of another racial group on the basis of their race. I argue that leading views of racism in the analytic tradition threaten to contravene the conviction that racial alienation involves a misrecognition of the other group’s humanity. The pitfall is best avoided by developing a conception of interpersonal awareness that is informed by Wittgenstein’s remarks on other minds, particularly his point that our awareness of others as humanly minded consists in ‘an attitude towards a soul’ rather than in an 'opinion' that she has a soul.  


'Interpersonal Invisibility and the Recognition of Other Persons'
Explorations in Ethics, ed. David Kaspar (Palgrave, 2020)  

I argue that we get an account of social invisibility that best fits our practice of moral complaint if we reject orthodoxy and accept a quite different view of what it is to see another person as a person. On my view, seeing a person as a person is inseparable from caring about her in person-specific ways—hence from a disposition to a range of interpersonal emotional responses to her point of view. Thus, a person’s humanity is invisible to us, according to this picture, when we are unreceptive to her power to influence our attitudes and will through her own attitudes and will.




Book Reviews

'Review of David Livingstone Smith, On Inhumanity'
Philosophical Quarterly 2021 71(3): 647–50




In Progress

 


[Title Removed for Peer Review]  

An essay on the moral profile of animalization: treating or regarding someone as an animal.

[Title Removed for Peer Review]

An essay arguing that love is a moral emotion, in the sense that it is continuous with moral concern.

[Title Removed for Peer Review]

An essay arguing that eugenicist sterilization is wrong partly because it is animalizing.

 

[Title Removed for Peer Review]

An essay arguing that suicidal patients sometimes have a right not to be stabilized in emergency settings.

[Title Removed for Peer Review]  

 

An essay on some proposed justifications for force-feeding patients with anorexia nervosa.

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