STATEMENT OF RESEARCH
I am interested in all areas of political and moral philosophy. However, I am particularly interested in principles of distributive justice and their implications for practical debates about the modern welfare state, such as those about taxation, education and healthcare policy. My current research activities fall into three broad areas.
Sufficientarianism and its rivals (Equality and Priority)
One significant strand of my research examines the sufficientarian approach to questions of distributive justice. Put simply, sufficientarianism is the view that getting "enough" of some goods is an important moral demand. My research is concerned with clarifying and defending the view, by addressing questions such as How much is enough? and What is so special about securing enough?, as well as exploring the implications the view has for practical debates.
I am working on several papers on the role of considerations of sufficiency in a sound account of distributive justice. These include papers on the relationship between Sufficientarianism and Egalitarianism and a paper on the importance of sufficient opportunity in educational provision. I am also working on a monograph project on Sufficientarianism (circa 70,000 words). The monograph, which is aimed at political theorists and policy-makers seeks to show why and how sufficiency is a very important concept if we are to make sound evaluations of our societies.
Responsibility and Distributive Justice
I am especially interested in the pre-conditions for holding people responsible for the costs of their choices. I am currently seeking funding for a three year project to devise an account of "enough to hold people responsible". This account will take seriously the way that individual autonomy, pernicious social norms and abject material insufficiencies inhibit the freedom of, and therefore the degree of responsibility we have for, our choices. This account, I believe, will help us to resolve difficult policy debates about the type of welfare state that justice demands.
Social Justice and Children
The third strand of my research agenda explores the place of children and the family in theories of justice. It is my ambition to provide a more complete and plausible examination of the importance of the family and to draw out the practical implications for policy debates. This research is structured about three questions.
1. Under what conditions can we deny parents custody of their children?
2. How should the costs of rearing children be shared out among those who have children and those who do not?
3. How should access to fertility treatment be determined?