My PhD Dissertation, Roles and the Filtering of Reasons, explores the morality of roles. I argue that occupants of professional roles are obligated or permitted to act on a narrower range of normative reasons. Professional integrity involves scope of the role’s filters, excluding some reasons while remaining responsive to others. I received the 2023 Best Dissertation Award from the Society for Business Ethics. You can read a synopsis here, the first chapter here, or the full thesis here.
Since defending my thesis, I have completed, or am near completing, the following projects. Manuscripts are available on request.
"Balancing, Shielding, Filtering: Three Models of Role Morality." I distinguish between three ways of understanding the moral significance of roles, defending the third. I focus on three cases: a nuclear safety regulator, a criminal attorney, and a corporate lobbyist. I show that the filtering model offers the best analysis of these cases, and in the process propose accounts of role obligation, professional integrity, and moral discretion.
"Campaign Promises and Legislative Ethics." I defend political campaign promises against the view that they are inconsistent with the responsibilities of legislative ethics. I argue that important democratic values are furthered when politicians make conscientious promises to citizens, even where this constrains their future legislative decisions. I also argue that the process of political compromise is itself a kind of joint promise, one that can supply a higher-order justification for breaking a campaign promise.
"Do Bullshit Jobs Have Role Obligations?" Yes, I argue. When the rules and hierarchies of a job are legitimate, and when employees have little autonomy to interpret the requirements of their role, these employees can (distressingly) be obligated to devote their days to pointless (or "bullshit") tasks.
Review of Chiara Cordelli, The Privatized State (Princeton University Press, 2020). In Constellations. I discuss the Kantian theory of political legitimacy developed by Cordelli in her critique of the privatization of public services.
Earlier in my career, Gillian Brock and I co-authored "Abusive Tax Avoidance and Responsibilities of Tax Professionals," which won the Amartya Sen Award for essays on illicit financial flows. You can read this here.
Photo: Iceland's Laugavegur Trail, 2021