My early research, on the work of John Gay (Utilitas, 2018) Catharine Trotter Cockburn (Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 2020), aimed to show how a Lockean science of human nature can make room for moral obligation. I argue that these post-Lockean moral philosophers conceive of obligation in terms of accountability. I shortly became interested in the writings of Damaris Masham, who appeals to an intersubjective feature of our moral psychology to explain our sense of accountability: our experience of love. I examine Masham’s views on love in “How are we to Love Others?” (in progress) and how her work intersects with current discussions on love and autonomy (Love, Justice, Autonomy, 2021).
On either view of accountability, once we come to see ourselves as accountable our self-conception necessarily changes. Part of this change means developing a capacity for remorse. I explore this line of thought in the work of Sophie de Grouchy (Routledge Handbook of Women and Early Modern European Philosophy, forthcoming) and consider the possibility that remorse is always proper, making it difficult for us to have reason to love ourselves. I explore the possibility of self-love under these conditions in “Can We Love Ourselves?” (with Joel Van Fossen, in draft), and examine the failures of accountability and self-love in the work of Adam Smith (European Journal of Philosophy, 2020) and Sophie de Grouchy, “Nothing to Lose: Sophie de Grouchy on Property and Justice” (in progress). I am also interested in how these issues relate to gender (Hume Studies, 2017).
Interested in what I’m working on now? For more, see my Current Projects