Research Overview

I specialize in moral and political philosophy, moral psychology, and experimental philosophy.  My work is animated by an interest in the role that empirical facts should play in the evaluation of normative concepts.  On my view, moral and political philosophers should be (and have often been, explicitly or implicitly) interested in the fruitfulness of these concepts – how well they help us to solve practical problems.  My account of fruitfulness is multidimensional, including the motivational force and sociopolitical consequences of the adoption of concepts.  Notably, evaluating fruitfulness along these dimensions is partly an empirical enterprise.  We have to engage with and sometimes conduct new research in the social sciences to determine the extent to which normative concepts help us to solve the practical problems they are supposed to help us solve.

I am also interested in how political philosophy should take facts about the real world into account.  In particular, the fact that citizens and non-citizens of democratic states stand in relationships with one another, including intimate relationships and relationships of identification, generates stringent duties on these states that bear on how they treat non-citizens.  I have mostly examined these duties in the context of immigration justice, but am also interested in their implications for other topics, such as global poverty and climate change.

More generally, I hold that philosophers have an important role to play in engaging with and conducting empirical research on moral and political issues, and that traditional and empirical methods can be brought together to illuminate these issues.


“Why are Muslim Bans Wrong? Diagnosing Discriminatory Immigration Policies with Brock’s Human Rights Framework.” Forthcoming in Res Publica. [pre-print]

“Righting Domestic Wrongs with Refugee Policy.” Forthcoming in Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. [online first, pre-print]

“Testing the Motivational Strength of Positive and Negative Duty Arguments Regarding Global Poverty.” Forthcoming in Review of Philosophy and Psychology. (with Luke Buckland, David Rodríguez-Arias, and Carissa Véliz) [online first]

“Entry by Birth Alone?: Rawlsian Egalitarianism and the Basic Right to Invite.” (2021). Social Theory and Practice, Vol. 47, No. 2. [published version, pre-print]

“How to Cancel the Knobe Effect: The Role of Sufficiently Strong Moral Censure.” (2021). American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 58, No. 2. (with Nicholas Southwood) [published version]

“Conceptual Engineering and Concept Preservation.” (2020). Ratio, Vol. 33, No. 3. [published version, pre-print]

“Experimental Philosophy and the Fruitfulness of Normative Concepts.” (2020). Philosophical Studies, Vol. 177, No. 8. [published version, pre-print]

“Comparing the Effect of Rational and Emotional Appeals on Donation Behavior.” (2020). Judgment and Decision Making, Vol. 15, No. 3. (with Marcus Mayorga, Joshua Greene, Paul Slovic, Daniel Västfjäll, and Peter Singer) [published version]

“The ‘Daddy Dividend’: The Gender Division of Labor and Regression Towards Patriarchy.” (2020). American Philosophical Association Newsletter: Feminism and Philosophy, Issue on Parenting and Philosophy, Vol. 19, No. 2. (with Serene Khader) [published version]

“The Varieties of Impartiality, or, Would an Egalitarian Endorse the Veil?” (2020). Philosophical Studies, Vol. 177, No. 2. (with Justin Bruner) [published version, pre-print]

“In Defense of a Category-Based System for Unification Admissions.” (2018). Journal of Moral Philosophy, Vol. 15, No. 5. [published version, pre-print]

“Kantian Themes in Ethics and International Relations.” (2018). In The Routledge Handbook of Ethics and International Relations, eds. B. Steele and E. Heinze, New York: Routledge Press. [pre-print]

“Immigration Policy and Identification Across Borders.” (2017). Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, Vol. 12, No. 3. [published version, pre-print]

“Moral Judgment and the Duties of Innocent Beneficiaries of Injustice.” (2017). Review of Philosophy and Psychology, Vol. 8, No. 3. (with Christian Barry) [published version, pre-print]

“Unification Admissions and Skilled Worker Migration.” (2017). In Fair Work: Ethics, Social Policy, and Globalization, ed. K.P. Schaff, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield. [pre-print]

“Review of David Miller’s Strangers in Our Midst: The Political Philosophy of Immigration.” (2017). Ethics, Vol. 128, No. 1. [published version, pre-print]

“Doing, Allowing, and Enabling Harm: An Empirical Investigation.” (2014). In Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy, Vol. 1, eds. T. Lombrozo, J. Knobe, and S. Nichols, Oxford: Oxford University Press. (with Christian Barry and Gerhard Øverland) [published version, pre-print]

“The Focus on Health Capability and Role of States in Ruger’s Global Health Justice Framework.” (2012). The American Journal of Bioethics, Vol. 12, No. 12. [published version, pre-print]

Works in Progress

The Fruitfulness of Normative Concepts, book under contract with Oxford University Press.

Advances in Experimental Political Philosophy, edited volume under contract with Bloomsbury Press.

“Feasibility and Normative Encroachment” (with Nicholas Southwood) (under review)

“Concept Formation, Normativity, and Conceptual Engineering” (under review)

“Whose Borders? Immigration Justice, Free Migration, and the Global South” (with Olúfẹmi O. Táíwò) (under review)

“Duties of Assistance” (with Christian Barry) (in preparation)

Research Collaborators

Christian Barry

Justin Bruner

Luke Buckland

Joshua Greene

Serene Khader

Gerhard Øverland (1964-2014)

David Rodríguez-Arias

Peter Singer

Paul Slovic

Nicholas Southwood

Olúfẹmi O. Táíwò

Daniel Västfjäll

Carissa Véliz