I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. Before coming to USC, I completed a Masters at Northern Illinois University. I work primarily in political philosophy and philosophy of language, with side interests in philosophy of law, logic, ethics, and epistemology.
I am particularly interested in how being members of a larger social structure with expectations set by many previous interactions changes the public meaning of our acts, and thus our moral obligations and permissions. My dissertation brings this expectational structure to bear on the conditions under which mistaken self-defense is morally permissible. Legally, mistaken defense is counted justified when the defender reasonably believed the harm imposed to be necessary to avert the threat. After showing that prominent accounts either cannot accommodate reasonably mistaken defense, or else require explanatory supplementation, I give a careful analysis of the moral principles that render some such mistakes permissible and develop the conditions and constraints on their applicability to determine the scope of permissible mistakes.
Social context can also change the public meaning of certain speech acts, particularly slurring or hate speech. My research on these acts has so far led to three papers: in two I analyze the linguistic form of slurs and epithets in order to explain how they achieve their characteristic derogatory effects, while one (still in preparation) focuses more particularly on the legal questions, including what sorts of harms slurs and epithets cause, and what social and/or legal remedies we may be obligated to provide.
I also paint in my spare time. The most recent project is a 'Philosopher Portraits' series, with portraits of Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, Elizabeth Anscombe, Ludwig Wittgenstein, WVO Quine, and more. Take a look.