My research investigates conflicts that arise from deep disagreements about the role of moral values in political life. The challenge is to secure fair terms of political cooperation that respect our fellow citizens whose beliefs are quite different from our own. Current solutions tend to follow Rawls’s lead in Political Liberalism by focusing on reasons that can be publicly available to all. Yet public reason has been controversial, most defensible as a narrow solution internal to ideal liberal theory. This removes its promise for navigating the conflicts prevalent in contemporary society. I propose an alternative by arguing that reasonableness should be reconceived as a moral threshold of recognition respect, bifurcated from Rawlsian standards of legitimacy. I also extend my defense of the moral threshold of reasonableness to show how this can help secure equality and freedom for marginalized populations. This gives us a robust standard for respecting our fellow citizens across deep differences, while securing political protection for marginalized populations.
My research on disagreements about the role of moral values in political life has led to a new interest in the ethical implications of digital technologies. There are two parts of this project, currently funded by a Complex Moral Problems Grant awarded by Georgetown University. First, I am investigating the scope and terms of valid consent in the digital age. What are we authorizing when we permit use of our personal data? What is required to achieve morally transformative digital consent? Second, I am extending my work in political liberalism to consider the impact of digital media and group polarization on public reason.
Given that most people access their information through digital means, the targeted flow of information threatens to divide our democracy. Are these divisions inevitable or are there means for maintaining a robust democracy in the digital age? This project is part of an emerging field of political epistemology, which examines questions of truth, knowledge and understanding as they impact our political lives. I am currently putting together a workshop and edited volume on Political Epistemology with my colleague, Michael Hannon.
Jus Post Bellum and Transitional Justice. Cambridge University Press, 2013. (Co-edited with Larry May.)
Growing Up Sexist: Challenges to Rawlsian Stability, forthcoming in Law and Philosophy (https://doi.org/10.1007/s10982-017-9325-1)
AI and the Ethics of Automating Consent, IEEE: Security & Privacy 16(3): 64-72 (Co-authored with Meg Leta Jones and Ellen Kaufman)
Cultivating Reasonableness in Future Citizens, On Education. Journal for Research and Debate 1(1) (doi: 10.17899/on_ed.2018.1.8)
Unequal Consenters and Political Illegitimacy, The Journal of Political Philosophy 21 (3): 347–360, 2013. (Co-authored with Marilyn Friedman.)
Patient Understanding of Benefits, Risks, and Alternatives to Screening Colonoscopy, Family Medicine 45(2): 83-9, 2013. (Co-authored with P. H. Schwartz, P. R. Barrett, S. M. Perkins, E. M. Meslin, T. F. Imperiale.)
Feminist Social and Political Philosophy, in Philosophy: Feminism, edited by Carol Hay (MacMillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks, 2017) (co-authored with Emily McGill)
Entry on "Essays regarding the Philanthropinium," Cambridge Kant Lexicon, edited by Julian Wuerth (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press)
I have several articles in progress and currently under review. For the sake of preserving blind review, they are not posted publicly. If you would like to look at the works in progress, send me an email. I'm happy to share!