A. MORAL & POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY:
Same-Sex Marriage, Polygamy, and Disestablishment
Wherein I argue that the proper position on the same-sex marriage controversy is neither the ‘traditionalist’ stance favoring the retention of marriage in its present form, nor the ‘progressive’ stance favoring the legalization of same-sex marriages … nor even the ‘liberal’ stance which favors extending the institution so far as to include polygamous unions. Rather, the most defensible approach is the ‘libertarian‘ stance, which favors the ‘dis-establishment’ of marriage as a legal category. (Appears in Social Theory & Practice 38:2 (April 2012))
Two Models of Disestablished Marriage
A follow-up to “Same-Sex Marriage, Polygamy, and Disestablishment”. I compare the ‘Status Model’ of disestablished marriage – which holds that, while the state ought not traffic in the marital appellation, it still ought to encourage and support certain forms of caregiving domestic partnership via a public legal status of civil union – with the ‘Contract Model’ – which holds that the state’s involvement in domestic partnership should be limited to the recognition and enforcement of contracts for life-partnership (should life partners even choose to formalize their partnerships via contractual means). I also offer the tentative conjecture that the Contract Model is more defensible than its alternative. This paper was published in the January 2014 issue of Public Affairs Quarterly (28:1).
Diversity, Modesty, Liberty: An Essay on State Neutrality
My 2009 dissertation, wherein I argue that the strongest case for ‘liberal neutrality’ is one which relies on considerations of ‘epistemic modesty’ with respect to the Good Life.
Four Strikes for Liberal Pluralism (And Two Cheers for Classical Liberalism)
I argue that theorists (such William Galston and George Crowder) who defend liberalism with reference to the metaphysical thesis of value pluralism have both (i) under-appreciated two central difficulties besetting any such defense (the first two ‘strikes’), and (ii) misunderstood the practical implications of their resulting theory of ‘liberal pluralism’, even assuming it could be refined so as to meet these two difficulties (the second two ‘strikes’). I then advertise the advantages of classical liberalism, a rival liberal theory: it is immune to the theoretical difficulties facing liberal pluralism (the first ‘cheer’), and its practical recommendations are more consonant with the truth of value pluralism anyway (the second ‘cheer’). This paper appears in the September 2014 issue of the Journal of Value Inquiry (48:3).
Globalization and Inequality Trends
Contractarianism and ‘Moderate Morality’
My 2001 MA thesis, wherein I utilize the resources afforded by social-contract theory to defend a plausible principle of beneficence — one equiposed between an ‘extremist’ view which regards our duties of beneficence as unlimited, and a ‘minimalist’ view which denies the existence of anything beyond merely ‘negative’ duties never to harm others.
B. PHILOSOPHY OF MIND & COGNITIVE SCIENCE:
New Work for a Language Module?
Can Thinking About Nomological Emergence Help Us to Think About Non-reductive Physicalism?
II. PUBLIC POLICY
The Effects of NEA Funding on Local Arts Organizations
Comments welcome! (baltzlyatgmail)