University College London & UC Berkeley
Descartes is responsible for first sparking my interest in philosophy. While I still feel the attractions of rationalism, my own concerns have stuck resolutely with practical matters. My research is principally in practical reasoning, ethics and political philosophy, as well as in eighteenth century political thought, particularly that of Rousseau and Hume.
In recent years I have written articles on a range of issues, worrying about ethical problems at different levels of abstraction: aggregation and numbers in practical reasoning; the transitivity of ‘better than’; the social significance of risk; the justification of taxation; the nature of regret and what it reveals about the role of value in practical reasoning; the nature of social goods such as universities and museums; and the nature and importance of the political ideal of equality. In some of my earliest work I pursued questions of justice of the family and the possible abolition of marriage and I have now returned to the cluster of problems which I label ‘regulation of intimacy’: should there be laws against buying and selling sex?