BiographyI'm currently Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Queen's University. I have a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Queen’s, and an M.A. and a B.A., from York University. My research is in social and political philosophy, and in animal and environmental ethics. My teaching interests are in normative ethics, metaethics, bioethics, business ethics, cyberethics, the philosophy of law, and critical thinking.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
I'm presently working on two different research projects:
The first is an extension of my doctoral research, which concerned the sense in which justice is a narrower topic than moral rightness. I argued that two competing interpretations of narrowness are present in contemporary political philosophy: one of which, the ‘plurlalist view’, sees justice as one among a plurality of conflicting moral values; the other of which, the ‘contextualist view’, sees justice as specifically a matter of institutional moral rightness. I also argued that the pluralist view is correct, in a sense, because it better accommodates the conceptual connection between justice and fairness, and because it (paradoxically) better accommodates the idea that justice is ‘the first virtue of institutions’. Related topics of interest to me include: (a) the relationship between interpretations of narrowness and conceptions of distributive justice; (b) the relationship between interpretations of narrowness and the debate over distributive justice’s scope of application; (c) the question of what, if anything, is at stake in linguistic disputes between philosophers; (d) the relationship between justice and the legitimate exercise of coercion; and (e) the relationship between value pluralism and the fact of reasonable pluralism about conceptions of justice and the good.
The second project I’m working on concerns a largely neglected topic in applied ethics: wild animal suffering. Of particular interest to me are the extremely high infant mortality rates found among animals conventionally referred to as ‘r-Strategists’, i.e., animals that protect their genes by producing large numbers of uncared-for offspring, most of whom die during infancy via predation, exposure, starvation, disease, etc. Though many ethicists and political philosophers have the intuition that we should leave nature alone, I argue that we have a collective duty to research safe ways of providing large-scale assistance to wild animals. I claim that with enough research, genetic editing may one day give us the power to safely intervene without perpetually interfering with wild animals’ liberties. Some questions of interest to me include: whether intervention is best understood as a matter of beneficence or as a matter of justice, whether an appreciation for the extent of wild animal suffering is compatible with a commitment to conserving the environment, and the implications of wild animal suffering for animal rights advocacy.