I am currently working on two main lines of research, one in political philosophy, and the other in ethics and moral psychology.

In political philosophy, I am interested in how our thinking about what states owe to their own citizens and what they owe to non-citizens should fit together.  My dissertation was on the nature and significance of what I call “external relationships.”  These are relationships that extend beyond the borders of a given society, such as a marital relationship between a citizen and a non-citizen.  External relationships, I hold, give rise to difficult and interesting issues because the very same policies may affect both the citizens and non-citizens who are in them.  Some of my research attempts to demonstrate that external relationships have important implications for recent debates in the ethics of immigration literature.

In ethics and moral psychology, my research is driven by a strong interest in the relationship between empirical facts and normative principles.  I hold that philosophers have an important role to play in empirical research on moral topics, and that traditional philosophical and empirical methods can be brought together to illuminate issues in ethics.  More specifically, I have been studying the nature of moral judgment and the psychological bases of moral categorization.  In some of this work, I have been looking at whether certain ways of conceptualizing important moral problems, such as severe poverty in developing countries and anthropogenic climate change, are more effective in inspiring moral concern and action than others.  With Peter Singer, Paul Slovic, Daniel Västfjäll, and Joshua Greene, I recently received a grant from the Princeton University Center for Human Values to conduct research on the role that philosophical arguments can play in promoting prosocial attitudes and behaviors.

Bringing these two lines of research together, I am working with Nicholas Southwood on the Australian Research Council Future Fellowship “Feasibility in Politics: Taking Account of Groups and Institutions.”  This research examines how feasibility considerations should impact our moral theorizing about three main practical issues: immigration, poverty, and climate change.  We are using traditional philosophical and empirical methods to better understand how considerations of feasibility bear on the evaluation of groups and institutions addressing each of these issues, as well as the role that feasibility judgments should play in politics more broadly.

I am also working on a number of other research projects, and am always glad to find new collaborators to work with.


Peer-Reviewed Articles
“Experimental Philosophy and the Fruitfulness of Normative Concepts.” Philosophical Studies, forthcoming. (final version, .pdf)

“Entry by Birth Alone?: Rawlsian Egalitarianism and the Basic Right to Invite.” Social Theory and Practice, forthcoming. (draft, .pdf)

(w/ N. Southwood) “How to Cancel the Knobe Effect: The Role of Sufficiently Strong Moral Censure.” American Philosophical Quarterly, forthcoming.

(w/ J. Bruner) “The Varieties of Impartiality, or, Would an Egalitarian Endorse the Veil?” Philosophical Studies, forthcoming. (final version, .pdf)

“In Defense of a Category-Based System for Unification Admissions.” Journal of Moral Philosophy, Vol. 15, No. 5, 2018, 572-598. (final version, .pdf)

“Immigration Policy and Identification Across Borders.” Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, Vol. 12, No. 3, 2017, 280-303. (final version, .pdf)

(w/ C. Barry) “Moral Judgment and the Duties of Innocent Beneficiaries of Injustice.” Review of Philosophy and Psychology, Vol. 8, No. 3, 2017, 671-686. (final version, .pdf)

(w/ C. Barry and G. Øverland) “Doing, Allowing, and Enabling Harm: An Empirical Investigation.” In Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Vol. 1, eds. T. Lombrozo, J. Knobe, and S. Nichols, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014, 62-90. (final version, .pdf)

Invited Articles
“Kantian Themes in Ethics and International Relations.” In The Routledge Handbook of Ethics and International Relations, eds. B. Steele and E. Heinze, New York: Routledge Press, 2018, 30-42.

“Unification Admissions and Skilled Worker Migration.” In Fair Work: Ethics, Social Policy, and Globalization, ed. K.P. Schaff, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017, 95-112.

“The Focus on Health Capability and Role of States in Ruger’s Global Health Justice Framework.” The American Journal of Bioethics, 12:12 (2012), 57-59. (final version, .pdf)

Book Review
“Review of David Miller’s Strangers in Our Midst: The Political Philosophy of Immigration.” Ethics, Vol. 128, No. 1, October 2017, 269-274. (final version, .pdf)

Works in Progress

(w/ Peter Singer, Paul Slovic, Joshua Greene, Daniel Västfjäll, and Marcus Mayorga) “Comparing the Effect of Rational and Emotional Appeals on Donation Behavior” (revise and resubmit)

(w/ Nicholas Southwood) “The Role of Sufficiently Strong Moral Censure: Revisiting the Pragmatic Explanation of the Knobe effect” (under review)

(w/ Luke Buckland, David Rodríguez-Arías, and Carissa Véliz) “Testing the Motivational Strength of Positive and Negative Duty Arguments Regarding Global Poverty” (under review)

“Domestic Justice and Refugee Prioritization” (in preparation)

(w/ Nicholas Southwood) “Feasibility and the Problem of Normative Entanglement” (in preparation)

“Open Borders and Feasibility” (in preparation)

Research Collaborators

Christian Barry

Justin Bruner

Luke Buckland

Joshua Greene

Gerhard Øverland (1964-2014)

David Rodríguez-Arías

Peter Singer

Paul Slovic

Nicholas Southwood

Daniel Västfjäll

Carissa Véliz