(2020) "The Rationality of Racial Profiling" Criminal Justice Ethics, 39(3): 183-201
Abstract: A number of philosophers argue that law enforcement officers may have good reasons to racially profile suspects under certain conditions. Their conclusions rest on a claim of epistemic rationality: if members of some races are at an increased risk of criminality, then it may be rational for law enforcement officers to subject them to increased scrutiny. In this paper I contest the epistemic rationality of racial profiling by appeal to recent work in criminology and the sociology of race and crime. I argue that recent studies indicate that race is a comparatively poor baseline for judging criminality. Law enforcement officers are therefore not making a cognitive error by ignoring race to focus on other correlates of crime, but keeping up with our best social science.
(2019) "Blameless Participation in Structural Injustice" Social Theory and Practice, 45(2): 149-177
Abstract: According to Iris Marion Young, a structural injustice occurs when members participating in one or more scheme(s) of social coordination act blamelessly, but the schemes, in combination with norms and background conditions, systematically prevent some from developing their capacities and fulfilling their rights. Because participants are mostly blameless, Young argues that traditional individualist theories of responsibility inadequately address structural injustices. Young instead proposes a social connection theory of responsibility, whereby participants in a structural injustice acquire forward-looking responsibilities to remediate the injustice by organizing, voting, protesting and pressuring institutions. In this paper, I argue that Young’s theory of structural injustice conflates several different moral failings, and that when we correctly disambiguate structural injustices, we can successfully address them with traditional individualist theories of responsibility, both forward-looking and backward-looking.
(2019) "Co-responsibility for Individualists" Res Publica, 25(4): 511-530
Abstract: Some argue that if an agent intentionally participates in collective wrongdoing, that agent bears responsibility for contributing actions performed by other members of the agent's collective. Some of these intention-state theorists distribute co-responsibility to group members by appeal to participatory intentions alone, while others require participants to instantiate additional beliefs or perform additional actions. I argue that prominent intention-state theories of co-responsibility fail to provide a compelling rationale for why participation in collective wrongdoing merits responsibility not only for one's own actions but the contributing actions of others as well. I propose that authorization agreements provide us with a suitable rationale. Authorization may be expressly given, as when one person signs a document authorizing another to advance her aims. Or, authorization may be tacitly or implicitly given by participating in and sufficiently contributing to a common plan. If a person authorizes an agent to act, it is right to blame the authorizer for what the agent does on the authorizer's behalf. An authorization theory justifies the distribution of co-responsibility by appeal to the morally transformative power of agreement, thereby providing a compelling rationale for why a person may be to blame for contributing actions performed by other agents.
(2018) "Collective Responsibility and Joint Criminal Enterprise" in Routledge Handbook on Ethics and International Affairs, J. Steele and E.A. Heinze (eds.), Routledge
In this chapter, I analyze a number of theories of distributing collective responsibility to participating group members to assess the extent to which they justify or fail to justify the legal doctrine of Joint Criminal Enterprise.
(January 28, 2021) "The Spiral of Violence" Athwart Magazine
In response to recent spikes in gun violence and drug abuse, I trace back a number of American social dysfunctions to postwar political decisions that exacerbated segregation, inequality and concentrated unemployment. I argue that bringing lasting, moral peace to our neighborhoods will require re-organizing the economy to finally put an end to the increasing decomposition and marginalization of the working and lower classes.
(July 9, 2021) "Men at Work" Athwart Magazine
I extend the structural analysis from The Spiral of Violence to highlight how our inability to provide stable, well-paying jobs for non-college educated men has put increasing pressure on state and federal government agencies to employ them, further complicating our efforts to enact meaningful police reform and slow the expansion of the security state.
"The Curious Case of Command Responsibility"
"From Blame to Structural Transformation"