I am interested in the political and ethical implications of information acquisition and management. My academic research occurs at the intersection of epistemology and political philosophy. Large questions my work addresses include: In what ways can political misinformation harm or wrong? What knowledge or beliefs must persons have for laws to be legitimately imposed on them? How does the increasing complexity of the information available to us change what moral and political expectations we ought to have of each other? 

I am currently writing a dissertation that focuses on the implications of our pervasive dependence on testimony for the proper use of political and moral authority. Many philosophers argue that such authority ought to be publicly justified. That is, authoritative political and social action is fully appropriate only when it is justifiable to everyone. In the first half of the dissertation, I argue that our pervasive dependence on testimony requires us to consider public justification to have a strongly externalist aspect. In other words, whether or not an act of political or social authority is justifiable to us depends in part on facts about which we cannot become aware.

 

In the second half of the dissertation, I consider two consequences of endorsing a conception of public justification that has an externalist aspect. The first is that persons can, under the right circumstances, be appropriately blamed for actions that they could not have been reasonably expected to recognize as wrong from their perspective. The second is that in coordinating on complex political projects, some persons will inevitably view authoritative political and social actions as acceptable even though the reasons they depend on in doing so are unintelligible from their perspective. I argue that this is compatible with the public justification of those actions so long as all the persons essentially involved in justifying them are committed to a shared justificatory project and are appropriately disposed to moderate their communications in light of this commitment.  

Further topics I hope my interests will lead me to think about include the importance of the normative structure of inquiry for politics, whether making decisions under conditions of information overload threatens autonomy, the social consequences of skepticism, and the epistemic difficulties associated with defining and organizing large and complex political projects, among others.