My research addresses the nature and limits of people’s enforceable rights. I focus on three kinds of questions that are connected to this topic:
Public Health: I argue that many policies that aim to promote public health violate people's rights and are counterproductive. In my work, I address policies such as pharmaceutical regulations, marketing restrictions for drugs, seatbelt mandates, the prohibition of sex work, and laws that restrict women’s obstetric autonomy. Relatedly, I have also written about disability rights, compulsory vaccination, human enhancement, the Affordable Care Act, and bodily service markets.
Norms, Institutions, and Justice: I have an ongoing interest in laws and social norms that aim to promote social equality or economic justice. I published articles defending freedom of contract, the moral permissibility of sweatshops, and self-ownership. My current work addresses the institutional implications of the widely held ideal of relational egalitarianism and the ethics of criminal justice in light of the moral risks of law enforcement. I am also interested in the ethics of informal sanctions, such as blame and ostracization, in online communities.
Justifications for Enforceable Rights: I argue that very few rights are enforceable. I am skeptical that rights to assistance are enforceable in principle. However, I also argue that people are currently entitled to cash assistance as compensation for the injustices associated with the enforcement of property rights. My interest in the justification for rights motivates my interest in metaphilosophical questions about viewpoint diversity and the appropriate standards for normative arguments that address matters of political justice.