Publications & CV
Abstract: What makes paternalism wrong? I want to give an indirect answer to that question by challenging a recent trend in the literature which I call the exclusionary strategy. The exclusionary strategy aims to show how some feature of the paternalizee’s ‘normative situation’ morally excludes acting for the paternalizee’s well-being or benefit. This moral exclusion consists either in ruling out the reasons for which a paternalizer may act or in changes to the right-making status of the reasons that (would) justify paternalistic intervention. I will argue that both versions of the exclusionary strategy fail to explain the wrongness of paternalism and they struggle to accommodate the mainstream view that paternalism is only pro tanto wrong. Their failure consists either in being implausibly strong expressions of antipaternalism or in struggling to spell out the scope of exclusion in an uncomplicated way. After discouraging this exclusionary strategy, I suggest we can capture what is appealing about it – as well as avoiding its pitfalls – by sketching a philosophical model where we compare the weights of reasons for and against paternalistically interfering. To precisify this sketch, I introduce some conceptual tools from the literature on practical reasoning – in particular, the concept of modifiers – and suggest that these tools offer a better starting point for figuring out what makes paternalism (pro tanto) wrong.
Abstract: Bruce Blackshaw and Perry Hendricks have recently developed and defended the impairment argument against abortion, arguing that the immorality of giving a child fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) provides us with reason to believe that abortion is immoral. In this paper we forward two criticisms of the impairment argument. First, we highlight that, as it currently stands, the argument is very weak and accomplishes very little. Second, we argue that Blackshaw and Hendricks are fundamentally mistaken about what makes giving a child FAS immoral. Once we acknowledge this, it is clear that our intuitions about giving a child FAS provide no support for the supposed immorality of abortion.
Abstract: In ‘My body, not my choice: against legalised abortion’, Perry Hendricks offers an intriguing argument that suggests the state can coerce pregnant women into continuing to sustain their fetuses. His argument consists partly in countering Boonin’s defense of legalized abortion followed by an argument from analogy. I argue in response that his argument from analogy fails and, correspondingly, it should still be a woman’s legal choice to have an abortion. My key point concerns the burdensomeness of pregnancy which is morally relevant to the question of whether the state can coerce people to use their bodies to help another person.
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Abstract: In Vayena’s article, ‘direct-to-consumer (DTC) genomics on the scales of autonomy’, she claims that there may be a strong autonomy-based argument for permitting DTC genomic services. In response, I point out how the diminishment of one’s genetic privacy can cause a relevant autonomy-related harm which must be balanced against the autonomy-related gains DTC services provide. By drawing on conceptual connections between privacy and the Razian conception of autonomy, I show that DTC genetic testing may decrease the range of valuable options individuals possess, which impacts the extent to which would-be consumers can exercise their autonomy.
Review of 'The Political Philosophy of AI' by Mark Coeckelbergh, Journal of Moral Philosophy, Forthcoming in 2023 (LINK)
Under Review and Works-in-Progress
A paper on quitting social media (w/Vikram Bhargava)
A paper on echo chambers.
A paper on UBI.
A paper on the ethics of enhancement.
A paper on public reason and echo chambers.
A paper on public reason and ai-explainability.