BA University of Oxford
MSc London School of Economics
PhD University of Manchester
I have taught at Royal Holloway since January 2000, a long time ago. I came with some interests in liberal political theory and multiculturalism, which I continue to teach. I organised a conference on the ethics of altruism in 2002, and that resulted in some co-edited publications on altruism and a short book, Altruism which I wrote with Niall Scott.
From about 2002 to 2010, I struggled, and failed, to write a book on the ethics of immigration, though I did write some articles and chapters on the topic.
More recently, I became interested in the special duties we owe (only to) friends, family members, colleagues, compatriots and so on, and my book exploring the moral properties of such duties, Defending Associative Duties was published by Routledge in 2013.
I was Principal Investigator (2007-09) on an AHRC/ESRC funded project on Religion, Justice and Well-Being: the normative foundations of public policy in a multi-faith society under their Religion and Society programme
My research interests are in contemporary political theory, both in its philosophical and more applied aspects.
Since completing the book on associative duties, I’ve worked on two other issues in tandem.
One is the concept of self-respect. Self-respect is a crucial component of a flourishing life and also (arguably) a precondition of other components, such as personal autonomy or healthy social relationships. It’s often argued that groups such as the poor, the unemployed, victims of racism and sexism and so on lack self-respect. Even though John Rawls claimed that self-respect is perhaps the most important primary good of justice, there is little investigation of the nature and value of self-respect in political theory, or its relationship to justice, hence my interest.
I’ve written a book chapter on a cultural heritage and self-respect and a paper on hate speech and self-respect which is on my academia.edu page. I hope ultimately to write a monograph on the political theory of self-respect.
The other project, stemming from interests I’ve retained since the AHRC grant I co-ordinated with some ASPP colleagues, is religious accommodation, and the normative connection between religious convictions and law and policy more generally. I organised a workshop on Religious Accommodation: from theory to practice in the Department in May 2015, and I have given a number of papers on the topic at conferences in the UK and abroad. One or two of these are on my academia.edu page or if you’re interested, please email me.