Self-Realization and Justice: A Liberal-Perfectionist Defense of the Right to Freedom from Employment (New York and London: Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy, 2011).
The book argues that there ought to be a right not to participate in the paid economy by appealing to a contentious (but defensible) normative ideal, namely, self-realization. In so doing, it joins a venerable tradition in ethical thought, initiated by Aristotle and developed in the work of important eighteenth and nineteenth century thinkers including Smith, Hume, and Marx. The central claim in the book is that in the context of a market economy that does not reward valuable activities that happen to be monetarily unappreciated, society should provide equal access to self-development for all. The book explores contemporary debates on innovative social policies such as the Basic Income and the Participation Income. These policies are said to facilitate the ideal of equal access to self-development in modern post-productivist societies, where remunerated work does not play a central a role any more, arguably. Analysis of the notion of substantive freedom as absence of economic necessity is central in the book. Considerations of economic sustainability and the ethics of free-riding are equally important. The book takes on the issues of free-riding and welfare assistance, thus, contributing to the flourishing literature on the duties and rights of economic citizenship.
Rationality, Democracy, and Justice: The Legacy of Jon Elster (co-editor, forthcoming, Cambridge University Press).
This book gathers an array of essays by highly regarded contemporary theorists familiar with Jon Elster's work. It offers original, never published articles that span the multidisciplinary areas of inquiry that Elster's scholarship has explored through the decades, including political philosophy, rational choice theory, and the study of sociological mechanisms and democratic institutions.
“An Alternative Reply to the Free-Rider Objection Against Unconditional Citizenship Grants” in Ethics and Public Policy, edited by Jonathan Boston. Canberra: The Australian National University Press, 2011.
This chapter explores the "free-rider objection" against universal and unconditional welfare provisions. The free-rider argument is based on considerations of justice: It tells us that it is unfair that some people benefit from the effort and work of others without contributing something of comparable importance to the common enterprise from which all citizens stand to gain. Fundamentally, the chapter examines the normative basis of social and economic rights.
“Gender Equality and Motivation: The Case of Female Suicide Bombers” (component chapter of Rationality, Democracy and Justice: Essays for Jon Elster, co-edited, forthcoming, Cambridge University Press)
Gender involves an array of beliefs, stereotypes, and behavioral norms that, to different degrees, shape personal experience by influencing motivation. This article’s basic hypothesis is that this shaping process plays an important role in a woman’s decision to participate in political violence. The social disapproval that follows a woman’s behavioral “deviations” activates a psychological mechanism that mediates between the woman's raw emotion caused by her inability to meet society’s expectations, on the one hand, and the resolve to become a suicide bomber, on the other. The chapter also analyzes philosophical justifications and rejections of violence as a means for political resistance.
“Moral Choice and Self-Cultivation” ( The Journal of Moral Philosophy,forthcoming)
Philosophical luminaries including Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, and John Stuart Mill have all theorized that our human capacity of reason calls us to become the best that we can be by developing our “natural abilities.” This article explores the thesis that the development of our talents is a moral duty to oneself and the perfect or imperfect nature of that alleged duty. Links to notions of meaningful work and distributive justice are offered.
“Work-Lovers, Freedom, and Basic Income” (Contemporary Political Theory 9: 4, 2011).
This article discusses left-libertarian justifications of basic income. The basic income policy is designed to decouple income from employment in the monetized economy by allowing the individual to access, on a regular stipulated basis, a grant that is independent of her ability and willingness to work for remuneration. This article attempts to amend an important failure with respect to the way in which the concept of real freedom has been treated in Van Parijs’ pioneering defense of the universal grant.
“Employment as a Limitation on Self-Ownership” (The Human Rights Review, 12:1 2011).
All contemporary societies are structured around remunerated work. It could be said that work is the organizing principle of most people’s lives; it structures the way they encounter material and social reality, as well as the way they achieve status and self-esteem. Defining work formalistically as remunerated activity highlights the obligatoriness aspect of much human effort which, I wish to claim, is constraining in a morally relevant sense, however enjoyable or willfully undertaken. This paper argues that the need to work violates effective self-ownership. My claims constitute a modified approach to the classical understanding of self-ownership traceable to Lockean libertarianism, which emphasizes freedom from bodily intrusion, and later echoed by Nozick in his account of rights as “side-constraints.”
“Participation and Rights in Ancient Athens: A Habermasian Approach” (The European Legacy, 15:7, 2010).
This article analyzes the actual interaction of private and public immunities in ancient Athens and argues that ancient democracy echoed to a greater extent than traditionally assumed the general dynamics and normative foundations of deliberative democracy. Without denying the important differences that distinguish ancient democratic Athens from modern democracy, I analyze the Athenian situation in light of Habermas’s theory of deliberation, and argue that civic and individual liberties in Athens were democracy enabling.
“A Non-Cosmopolitan Case for Sovereign Debt Relief” (The Journal of Global Ethics, 6:1, 2010).
This article suggests that unequal terms of interaction constrain national self-determination by making of sovereign debt an “escape mechanism” in the absence of rival alternatives to palliate the effects of underdevelopment and related afflictions, despite the causes of sovereign debt being partly domestic, possibly. Thus, this paper views national self-determination as dependent on the availability of acceptable (non-unbearably burdensome) policy-options on the part of states. Originally, the paper builds a case for global justice that is not primordially based on cosmopolitan theory considerations.
"Voting as an Epistemic Duty of Justice" (under review)
Received wisdom in most democracies is that voting should be seen as a political freedom that citizens have a right to exercise or not to exercise. But would liberal democracies be any less liberal if voting were seen as a duty? This paper proposes that we have a duty to vote well –with knowledge -- and that this duty is not especially burdensome. It is one among many instantiations of a natural duty to promote and support just institutions. Thus, the duty to vote is not inspired by the civic humanist/republican perspective that obligations derived from citizenship may supersede individual freedoms. The duty I propose only demands episodic political engagement as morally obligatory. The paper links justice with democratic epistemic virtues to ground the validity of the obligation to cast a ballot.
“On The Tension Between Gendered Choices and Sex Equality: What Can Liberalism Say?” (under review)
Many egalitarian and feminist thinkers are puzzled by the fact that much of the gender division of labor today is the product of volunatry choices by women that perpetuate patterns of unequal distributions of wealth and power between the sexes. Liberalism, they argue, is incapable to dealing with this conundrum. My work develops a reasoned argument against the perceived standoff between feminism’s commitment to correcting gender inequality, on the one hand, and liberalism’s commitment to respecting free choice, on the other. I suggest that liberalism is well-equipped to consider (some types) of choices by women as morally problematic (this is different from the question of whether liberal-oriented institutions are legitimized in overrriding gendered preferences and choices).
"Freedom and Medical Marijuana." The Orlando Sentinel, February 27, 2014
"Do Lobbyists Corrupt the Core of our Democracy?" The Tallahassee Democrat, June 24, 2013
“Healthcare Beyond Politics” Orlando Sentinel, July 6, 2012.
“The Freedom to Vote is at Stake in Florida”, The Tallahassee Democrat, July 26, 2012 and The Winter Park/Maitland Observer, July 27, 2012.
"High-Skill Immigration and the Brain Drain Problem", The Winter Park Observer, February 20, 2013 (accepted at the Orlando Sentinel too).
Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective Intelligence and the Rule of the Many by Helene Landermore (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011), Commissioned Book Review, The Review of Politics, 75, 4, 2013)
Some Things Should Not Be for Sale: The Morality of Markets by Debra Satz (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). Commisioned book review (Perspectives in Politics, 9: 4, 2011).
Citizen's Income and Welfare Regimes in Latin America edited by Ruben Lo Vuolo (New York: Pelgrave-Macmillan, 2013) Commissioned book review (Basic Income Studies, forthcoming 2014)