I want to understand what it would take to provide a non-arbitrary normative foundation for ordinary moral thought and discourse, a foundation that allows us to avoid slipping into the nihilistic thought that (morally speaking) nothing matters, and the relativistic thought that (morally speaking) anything goes. Most of my research is motivated by a concern to assess whether and how we can avoid these troubling thoughts. I summarise some of the areas I'm currently working on below.
Most of my research at the moment concerns issues in 'feminist metaethics.' A number of philosophers have discussed metaethical issues from a feminist standpoint, but the area remains neglected within mainstream metaethics. The aim of my project is to bring feminist insights (concerning claims about objectivity and rationality, for example) to bear on mainstream debates about moral realism. My aim is to show that, contrary to suggestions made by some feminist philosophers, feminist moral views both support, and are supported by, a metaphysically robust form of moral realism. I am focused on developing and defending a distinctive realist ontology and epistemology, drawing and building on feminist philosophical insights. This project will result in several papers and, I hope, a monograph.
Forgiveness and Reconciliation
I am also interested in issues concerning forgiveness and reconciliation. I am particularly interested in the idea that there is a pro tanto duty to forgive a sincerely repentant wrongdoer, even when there is no reason to engage in a reconciliation process with them. My research in this area focuses on the idea that there is a moral relationship between a wrongdoer and their victim. I want to better understand the nature of this relationship, how it is disrupted by the wrongdoer's action, and what is required for the relationship to be repaired or restored.
Moral and Political Dialogue
The realist moral epistemology that I'm developing involves claims about the importance of inclusive and cooperative dialogue for the acquisition of intuitive moral knowledge. I'm thus interested in questions concerning the nature and effectiveness of moral dialogue. I am working on identifying possible barriers to effective moral dialogue, and I'm the ways we might overcome them. My work in this area also comes into contact with debates about moral disagreement, deliberative democracy, and the cognitive biases that influence how we engage in moral and political debate.