Professor, Associate Dean
Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College
Research – I am a political theorist who has written on the topics of punishment, theories of rights and obligations, and privacy, and a good part of my work has a global focus. My book Practices and Principles (Princeton University Press, 1998) addressed whether there are universally valid moral principles that dictate what's right regardless of what the consensus is within a particular society, or whether moral judgments are culturally relative, ultimately dictated by conventions and practices which vary among societies; it links modern debates in political philosophy to earlier debates between Kant and Hegel. In addition to these theorists my work tends to draw on Locke and Mill, with the goal of bringing their theories to bear on contemporary controversies, such as whether the U.S. criminal justice system should provide for a cultural defense to mitigate the punishment of those from other societies whose practices conflict with our laws, or whether there is a natural right to self-defense that entails a right to bear arms. My book Balancing Privacy and Free Speech: Unwanted Attention in the Age of Social Media (Routledge, 2014) addresses privacy and free speech rights from a global perspective, contrasting approaches in the U.S. with those in the European Union where the European Convention on Human Rights guides member states.