Current Research: Caring among Equals
My current project explores how the fact of our need to receive and provide care shapes the way in which we should conceive an egalitarian society. My aims are to propose an account of care suitable for a political theory of care and a novel understanding of relational equality informed by our nature as needy and caring beings. In doing so, I aim to show that, while the relational approach to equality is usually defended drawing on the resources of the liberal, and especially Rawlsian, tradition, only by reflecting on the seemingly competing feminist perspective of care ethics can we make a convincing case for it. Further, I also investigate whether adopting this perspective requires us to abandon the liberal tenets of much existing theorising on relational equality. The main output of this project will be a monograph provisionally titled "Caring among Equals". Relatedly, together with Christine Straehle, I am also editing a collection on relational equality and vulnerability under contract at Cambridge University Press.
Previous Research: Moral Equality and Vulnerability
While at the University of Hamburg, I mainly worked on the concept of vulnerability and its role in the justification of moral equality. The approach to the grounds of moral equality I developed rejects the commonly held assumption of the higher worth of human being grounded in the possession of intrinsic capacities to act autonomously. Instead, I proposed a relational justification of moral equality centered on our vulnerability and the value of relationships of love, care and mutual recognition. My research on the concept of vulnerability addressed three main questions: that of how to define vulnerability, the question of whether vulnerability is necessarily bad and the problem of whether vulnerability is a helpful normative concept. I have also co-authored pieces on the relationship between vulnerability and human rights and the role of moral equality in environmental ethics.
PhD Project: Social Equality and Punishment
In my doctoral thesis, I started reflecting on the nature of equality by defending a relational understanding of equality. I explored some implications that the commitment to equality, understood as a property of social relations, has on our understanding of the relationship between those who commit criminal offences and the state as well as other members of the political community. This project allowed me to combine my interests in egalitarianism and in the philosophy of criminal punishment and to reflect on some of the ways in which the criminal justice system stigmatises and excludes those who are punished, including the removal of voting rights and the expression of blame by the state. Moreover, I had the chance to explore two under-researched themes in the social egalitarian literature: the relevance for the realisation of social equality of the distribution of social esteem, and of the attitudes expressed by the state through its policies and laws.