I am an associate professor in the philosophy department at the University of Maryland. I write about moral and political philosophy, and occasionally about art and religion as well. The classes I teach range from Introduction to Philosophy to graduate seminars in ethics.



Governing Least: a New England Libertarianism

Oxford University Press, 2019

This book defends a version of libertarianism focused on economic justice that is distinctive in two respects. First, libertarianism is often presented as resting on strong assumptions about individual rights. By contrast, the first part of the book argues that libertarianism emerges from everyday moral beliefs we have about burden-shifting, and the residual obligations that burden-shifting confers on us. Second, political philosophy has become an increasingly narrow and insular field, disconnected from work in economics, history, and politics. The rest of the book bucks this trend by reexamining such topics as reparations for slavery, political correctness, and the “Great Divergence” between low- and high-growth societies from a classical liberal perspective.

Amazon OUP Chapters in single sentences. Two page summary.

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The Boring

A lot of art and the rest of life are pretty boring, but philosophers and critics tend to avoid admitting it. I offer an account of the boring, using Wagner as a case-study. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 2014 PDF

Love and Death

I explore various reasons we might have for regretting our resilience to loss, both because of what resilience tells us about our ultimate significance to others, and because resilience may render us incapable of comprehending the true nature of a loss. The Journal of Philosophy 2007  PDF

Anticipated Emotions and Emotional Valence

Argues that anticipated emotions like regret give us little or no reason to act. I also argue that the valence of emotions is a function of the sensations they involve. Includes a discussion of death-bed regrets, and of whether teenagers should listen to their annoying parents. Philosopher's Imprint 2011  PDF

Global Justice and Economic Growth: Ignoring the Only Thing that Works

What should a time traveling altruist do in 18th century Britain, amid poverty and malnourishment? There is a serious case to be made that he should promote commerce and economic growth. Buying railroad stock and so capitalizing firms participating in industrialization would be an eminently worthy (if unsentimental) approach to take. The same lesson applies today. Altruism disconnected from the ultimate aim of growth is senseless. In Economic Liberties and Human Rights, Routledge forthcoming PDF

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