Forthcoming. Are Saviour Siblings a Special Case for Procreative Ethics? w/ Elizabeth Finneron-Burns. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy.
Children conceived in order to donate biological material to save the life of an already existing child are known as ‘saviour siblings’. The primary reasons that have been offered against the practice are: (i) creating a saviour sibling has negative impacts on the created child and (ii) creating a saviour child represents a wrongful procreative motivation of the parents. In this paper we examine to what extent the creation of saviour siblings actually presents a special case in procreative ethics. Although we do not deny that there is a unique feature present in the saviour sibling case—namely, that the child was created to save their sibling’s life, we argue that the distinctive feature of being a saviour sibling does not make the procreative act wrong. Our claim is that the features that would make the creation of a particular saviour sibling (im)permissible are the same features that would make the creation of any child (im)permissible. Our conclusion is that saviour siblings—in relation to the reasons for the (im)permissibility of their creation—are not a special case for procreative ethics.
2023. The End of the Right to the City: A Radical-Cooperative View, w/ Martin Horak. Urban Affairs Review 59(1): 14-42. Open access.
Is the Right to the City (RTTC) still a useful framework for a transformative urban politics? Given recent scholarly criticism of its real-world applications and appropriations, in this paper, we argue that the transformative promise in the RTTC lies beyond its role as a framework for oppositional struggle, and in its normative ends. Building upon Henri Lefebvre’s original writing on the subject, we develop a “radical-cooperative” conception of the RTTC. Such a view, which is grounded in the lived experiences of the current city, envisions an urban society in which inhabitants can pursue their material and social needs through self-governed cooperation across social difference. Growing and diversifying spaces and sectors of urban life that are decoupled from global capitalism are, we argue, necessary to create space for this inclusionary politics. While grassroots action is essential to this process, so is multi-scalar support from the state.
2022. Meaningful Work, Nonperfectionism, and Reciprocity Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy (Online First). Preprint version here
Any liberal argument for incorporating meaningful work within a theory of justice inherits a burden of proof to show why it does not fall to the objection that privileging the work process valorizes particular ideas about the good and thereby unfairly privileges some persons over others. Existing liberal defences of meaningful work, which rely on the formative effects of work in contemporary economies, have a limited scope of appeal and do not provide a convincing reply to the objection. The paper offers an alternative reply by arguing that meaningful work, understood as a person-engaging social contribution, is intimately connected through reciprocity to the fundamental political idea of society as a system of cooperation between free and equal participating members. This makes the opportunity to engage in meaningful work a social basis of self-respect.
2022. What Is Meaningful Work? Social Theory and Practice (Online First). Preprint version here
This paper argues that two orthodox views of meaningful work—the subjective view and the autonomy view—are deficient. In their place is proposed the contributive view of meaningful work, which is constituted by work that is both complex and involves persons in its contributive aspect. These conditions are necessary due to the way work is inherently tied up with the idea of social contribution and the interdependencies between persons. This gives such features of the contributive view a distinct basis from those found in existent accounts of meaningful work.
“Refraining with Confidence: Political Liberalism’s Skeptical Problem and the Burden of Total Experience”
According to political liberalism, a just and stable society is compatible with deep disagreements, provided that citizens refrain from attempting to base constitutional essentials on disputed comprehensive beliefs. Critics of political liberalism maintain that this refraining condition requires citizens to entertain skepticism about their own basic beliefs, thus endorsing, inconsistently, an epistemic position that is itself disputed. Some discussions of the epistemology of disagreement may tend to reinforce such a critique. But skepticism can be avoided if we take account of the role of total life-experience in belief formation. That it makes beliefs incommunicable is enough to sustain political liberalism’s refraining condition, without rendering beliefs unjustifiable, nor relying on a problematically controversial explainer for disagreement.
Works in Progress
“Economic Power as an Externality”
“Productive Justice in a Future with Less Work,” w/ Elizabeth Finneron-Burns
Justice and Meaningful Work
This thesis argues the widespread promotion of meaningful work can be an important part of a liberal theory of justice that takes nonperfectionism seriously. I begin with a conceptual argument and defend what I call the ‘contributive view’ of meaningful work, which characterizes work as meaningful when it is complex enough to be person-engaging for the worker and involves them in the contributive aspects of the work process. I then turn to the normative argument and claim that undertaking meaningful work so regarded is a social basis of self-respect, for two reasons. First, because it’s connected through reciprocity to the political idea of society as a system of social cooperation, and second, because it relates to personhood and can thereby act as a shared end that brings persons together into a social union of social unions. With this done, I move to consider the institutions necessary to bring about the widespread provision of meaningful work. What is needed is the overcoming of the detailed horizontal division of labour and some parts of the vertical division of labour, and I outline several economic policies that might go towards bringing this about. Turning to political economy, I argue that while the widespread promotion of meaningful work is incompatible with welfare-state capitalism, it is compatible with markets, and could be brought about in either a property-owning democracy or market socialism.