Published Work - Book Chapters
(forthcoming) “Dignity and The Grounds of Basic Rights: From Concept to Conception”, in Pribytkova, E. and Schweiger, G. (eds), In Search for a Social Minimum, Springer: London
Abstract: The notion of dignity is the supposed grounds for the possession of basic ‘human’ rights regarding how people ought to be treated by others. However, the idea that basic rights have a dignity-based moral foundation is rightly questionable for its vacuity. Furthermore, it is not always clear what it would even mean for there to be a connection between a being’s Dignity and respect for the social minimum, in the form of a respect for basic rights. In this paper, I seek to rectify this. First, I explain the need for a positive account of the connection between Dignity and basic rights (and therefore the social minimum). Second, I distinguish the concept of dignity from its possible conceptions. Third, I defend a working conception of Dignity which holds that Dignity is grounded in a being’s capacity to value. Fourth I draw out an account of obligations to respect individual’s basic needs on the back of this conception. I claim this constitutes a case in favour of a grounding for basic rights in dignity – akin to the social minimum of acceptable treatment proposed in, for instance, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Papers Currently Under Review/Work
A paper on Human Dignity and it's application to nonhuman animals (title/abstract ommitted)
A paper on the grounds of moral status and why there are not multiple bases for it (title/abstract ommitted)
A paper titled "Wronging Without Hierarchy" which argues against the view that there are several different ranks of moral status and instead defends the claim that there is only one moral status, held equally by all moral patients.
A Book Review under writing of Jeff Sebo's (2022), Saving Animals, Saving Ourselves
This is a recording of a talk I delivered at an online conference in July 2021 organised by Suzy Killmister (Monash). The conference was on the topic of "Human Dignity and Human Rights: Rethinking the Connection" and my paper focuses on the first chapter of my PhD research.
Published Work - Undergraduate Journal Articles
(2018) “Can Individuals have Moral Rights in the Absence of Legal Rights?”, Juncture: The University of Manchester Undergraduate Politics Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp.53-59
Abstract: What is the purpose of legal rights and to what extent are they merely artificial constructs? Many of us intuitively make two assumptions with regards to moral right/wrong. These are assumptions on which the validity of my argument rests: 1) that objective moral truth exists and 2) that epistemic certainty of the truth is not obtainable. I claim that institutions of law are constructed to create objective consensus of moral rights. Given this, if law is said to be morally justified then how is it that moral and legal rights can be kept as distinct yet interrelated systems? I argue in favour of what I term a progressivist understanding of the relation between law and morality which explains that morality remains distinct by acting as a conduit for our legal rights and protecting that which we have a high degree of epistemic certainty about. Moral knowledge grows over time and, as it does, the law is a stalwart defence of the truth of that knowledge, forbidding the repetition of past atrocities, from slavery, to the denigration of free speech.
(2018) “Closed Borders, Open Immigration: Can Nationalism Ground the Right to Exclude?”, , Vol. 1, No. 2, pp.86-107
Abstract: I argue that the nation does not possess the right to close its borders, or otherwise determine entry into its territory. Focusing on intrinsic justifications, I explore two essential elements of nationalism as a basis for this right, i) the prioritisation of one's (obligations to) co-nationals and ii) the protection of national culture. In the first instance, I posit a novel interpretation of nationalism as immunisation against the foreigner, used to strengthen and unify national identity and cohesiveness. Second, I apply this interpretation in looking at the role of associative obligations (i) in grounding the right to exclude. I differentiate between direct associations - formed from relationships - and indirect associations - formed through communities - to argue that the latter cannot coherently produce obligations. Third, I apply the interpretation again to focus on the protection of national culture (ii). I show that as a morphological concept, constructed through as well as against the foreigner, national identity is not actually protected through excluding non-members. Ultimately I conclude that the right to exclude cannot be grounded in nationalism. I thus hope to show that the onus is not on why there should be open borders, but why there shouldn't.