My research focuses on debates between libertarians, socialists, and anarchists over the moral status of the market and the state. I’m particularly interested in consent, philosophical anarchism, luck egalitarianism, self-ownership, private property, initial appropriation, and Analytical Marxism. My long-term project is to provide a normative defense of a heterodox variety of anarchism.
I take anarchism qua political philosophy to be the joint endorsement of (a) select libertarian moral principles—particularly those that call into question the state’s claimed right to coercively govern—(b) moral principles typically associated with the socialist left, and (c) the proposition that the libertarian principles entail the socialist ones. Thus, my research program has three prongs, namely defending (a), (b), and, particularly (c). My hope is that, by articulating and defending the social anarchist position, I can show that an ideology popularly associated with rebellious youths actually has a compelling moral core that makes it a viable alternative to more reputable political philosophies. In this way, I hope to fill in a significant gap in the contemporary debate over the moral status of the market and the state—a debate that prominently features both libertarians and socialists but practically no left-wing anarchists.
My preliminary articulation of this position appears in my dissertation wherein I argue that socialist conclusions can be derived from libertarian premises. Specifically, I note that many libertarians take the state to be legitimate only if it has received the consent of those whom it claims to govern. However, I contend that the owners of private property are legitimate authorities in the relevant sense–and, thus, the consistent libertarian position is to hold that the acquisition of property has consent as its necessary condition. Given that no one has, in fact, consented to the acquisition of private property, I argue that libertarians should give up on property rights and, instead, embrace a luck egalitarian principle of distributive justice, as this principle best reflects the tacit egalitarianism built into both consent theories of legitimacy and the libertarian thesis of full self-ownership.
“Does Initial Appropriation Create New Obligations?” (2020) The Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 17(2): 228-38.
“Social Anarchism and the Rejection of Private Property.” (2021) in The Routledge Handbook of Anarchy and Anarchist Thought, edited by Gary Chartier and Chad Van Schoelandt, Routledge.
“An Anarchist Interpretation of Marx’s ‘Ability to Needs’ Principle.” (2020) The Journal of Value Inquiry. 54(2): 325-43.
“Community as Socialist Value.” (2019) Public Affairs Quarterly 33(3): 215-42.