I am currently working on three related research projects.
Sufficientarianism and Distributive Justice: this research project concerns the fair distribution of various benefits and burdens, such as rights, opportunities, wealth and well-being. It focusses on the merits and demerits of positions that advocate the importance of securing enough of those benefits and burdens. This position is known as sufficientarianism and its rivals include egalitarianism, which emphasizes the value of equality, and prioritarianism, which emphasizes the value of benefiting the least advantaged members of society.
This research project began with my PhD thesis and my paper “The Prospects for Sufficientarianism”, which was published in Utilitas. I am currently completing a book manuscript as part of this research project entitled Just Enough: Sufficiency as a Demand of Justice, which is under contract with Edinburgh University Press.
Equality of Opportunity and Work: this research project concerns the allocation of work roles, including jobs and unpaid labour. Many people believe that the best qualified candidate (Meritocracy) should be appointed and that individuals should not be compelled to work in jobs that they do want want to (Freedom of Occupational Choice). My research focusses on the conditions under which the principles of Meritocracy and Freedom of Occupational Choice can be overridden, given that certain jobs are more satisfying or enjoyable than others and that some work is more central to the stability and success of society than others (e.g. food production). I am developing an account of justice in the allocation of jobs that achieves a fair distribution of the benefits and burdens attached to the jobs and which has implications for the availability of educational opportunities and training.
This research project builds upon my work at the Center for Ethics in Society on a Spencer Foundation funded project on Equality of Opportunity and Education. My paper “From Rawlsian Autonomy to Sufficient Opportunity in Education”, which was published by Politics, Philosophy and Economics, presents some thoughts relevant to this research project.
Justice, Children and the Family: this research project concerns the justification of the family as a child-rearing institution, the proper content and distribution of child-rearing/parental rights and the proper understanding of children’s interests. My research focusses on the distribution of child-rearing rights and the conditions under which certain adults acquire and lose child-rearing rights. I hope to develop an account of justice in child-rearing, which clarifies the relevant interests of would-be parents, children and non-parents in the design of child-rearing institutions in order to inform debates about practical questions, such as what makes a good enough parent?
My most recent working papers examine the principles and interests relevant to the distribution and content of parental rights as part of this research project.