Projects

Here are some works in progress. Message me for drafts.

What’s special about violence?

Many harms are scary, but violent harm is especially so. Existing theories of violence do not explain what is distinctive about violence compared to other forms of harm and wrongdoing. This paper proposes a novel account of violence that captures what makes it special. I argue that violence describes a specific way we can harm one another, by inflicting a particular kind of injury—a welfare harm—in a particular kind of way—with insult, an insufficient regard for the wellbeing of another. My account makes sense of how non-physical behavior, such as persistent bullying and economic deprivation, can be violent, without lapsing into the unhelpful thought that all harm is violent.

Responsibility for Negligent Rape

Brock Turner’s sister wrote that her brother, the posterchild of campus rape culture, “was never out to take advantage of anyone, traumatize anyone, and especially rape anyone.” Indeed, some rapists are looking to do something un-criminal: to have sex. Many are unaware that what they are doing is anything other than sex. If they don’t realize that they are committing rape, can they held responsible for it? This paper explores rationales to blame and punish negligent rape.

Culpable Mental Attitudes

This paper challenges a fundamental assumption in moral and legal philosophy: that negligent wrongdoing is less blameworthy than purposeful wrongdoing, ceteris paribus. Everyone seems to agree, for example, that someone who purposefully kills a stranger by running them over is more culpable than someone who accidently kills a stranger when they drive through a red light. I argue that this is not necessarily so: culpably negligent wrongdoing can be equally or more blameworthy than purposeful wrongdoing, holding all else equal.

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