Research

In my work I have sought to defend a perfectionist approach to politics and to show how such an approach is compatible with the liberal ideal of personal autonomy.  Perfectionism, as applied to politics, holds that modern states have a general duty to promote excellence and to assist their citizens in leading valuable lives, even if doing so requires states to undertake political action that is controversial and subject to reasonable disagreement.  In defending perfectionism, I have rejected various currently popular views in liberal political theory, such as the doctrine of state neutrality and the ideal of public reason.  I have also defended the in-principle permissibility of legal paternalism and the legal enforcement of morality.

I have written papers on a wide range of topics in contemporary political philosophy, including articles on democracy, toleration, equality, self-ownership, collective rights, and freedom.

As a side interest, I have written a number of papers on John Rawls’ political philosophy. I continue to find Rawls’ work challenging and intriguing, even as I have sought to defend positions in political philosophy very different from his own.

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