I work mainly on the philosophy of moral responsibility - e.g., its metaphysics (e.g., what are the conditions on being morally responsible?), its ethics (e.g., how and when should we hold people morally responsible?), and its epistemology (e.g., how do we know people are morally responsible?) - and surrounding issues such as apology, reconciliation, and the moral emotions. I'm also interested in personal identity, the philosophy of religion (in particular with the problem of evil), and issues relating to death and immortality. Below I outline three current research projects.
Project #1: Admiration and Moral Responsibility
I am currently working with Dr. Alfred Archer on a series of papers that explores the relationship between moral responsibility and admiration and the nature of admiration, more generally. We will be working on following questions: (i) Is admiration a globalist attitude? (ii) Can we be morally responsible for our feelings of admiration? (iii) Can a person who is admirable at one time cease to be admirable at a later time? (iv) What is the difference between moral and aesthetic admiration? (v) What are people’s intuitions about moral and aesthetic admiration both at particular times and over time? This project draws on developments in Dr. Archer’s VENI project on admiration and my previous and current work on responsibility over time.
Project #2: Moral Responsibility and the Ethics of War and Peace.
In my forthcoming research position as part of the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace, I will be researching: (i) war criminals and moral responsibility, (ii) apologies and (iii) reconciliation in both personal and political contexts. Project (i) applies my work on responsibility over time to war criminals. I argue that it is possible for a person – even a war criminal – to cease being morally responsible for their past actions, but I argue that they might still be obliged to apologise for their past crimes. In project (ii), I develop an account of apology. I argue that apologies have a communicative function such that we are sometimes obliged to apologise for things we are not morally responsible for. In project (iii), I will assess how reductive individualism (the view that the ethics of war reduces to the ethics of self-defence) deals with post-war reconciliation.
Project #3: Responsibility Over Time
As noted above, an ongoing project of my concerns responsibility over time. Philosophers have typically focused on ascertaining the conditions on becoming morally responsible - that is, the conditions that must be satisfied when an action is performed so that an individual is morally responsible for that action. Among these conditions are thought to be control and epistemic conditions, and there has been much disagreement exactly how to understand the content of these conditions. Philosophers have paid much less attention to the conditions on remaining morally responsible - that is, the conditions (beyond the conditions on becoming morally responsible) that must be satisfied by an individual at t2 to continue to be morally responsible for an action performed at t1. The unreflective view is that metaphysical identity is the condition on remaining responsible - that is to say, an individual interminably continues to be morally responsible for an action once she is becomes morally responsible as long as she exists. I (and others) have argued against this view. I am currently working on papers that overlap with projects #1 and #2 - one on admiration over time and one on war criminals, apology and responsibility over time. I am also working on a paper that discusses scepticism about responsibility over time, and one that connects discussions of responsibility over time with discussions about “face” theories of moral responsibility (i.e. those that distinguish between attributability and accountability).