My work focuses mostly on topics in early modern philosophy (particularly Locke, Berkeley, and Hume), ethics (particularly non-consequentialism), the philosophy of law (particularly legal interpretation and privacy), and ancient Greek philosophy (particularly Plato).  Recent work includes a book on George Berkeley’s argument for idealism (for details, see below), a book on John Locke’s philosophy (in Blackwell’s Great Minds Series -- see below), and articles on the following topics: Locke’s account of sensitive knowledge; Locke’s account of the nature of persons; a reconstruction of Berkeley’s “passivity” argument for the existence of God; Hume’s theory of the passions (particularly pity and malice); (i) a defense of a non-classical version of the doctrine of double effect, along with (ii) a criticism of classical versions of the doctrine, and (iii) a defense of the relevance of intention to the criminal law (all three co-authored with Dana Kay Nelkin); and a refutation of some arguments for epistemic contrastivism.

I am working on a larger project at the intersection of legal interpretation and the philosophy of language.  The idea is to defend a version of originalism that does not have the ideologically tinged consequences that are commonly thought to follow from it.

I have also been working on several papers, covering the following topics:

  1. *Hume’s criterion for distinguishing between impressions and ideas

  2. *Hume’s conception of force and vivacity

  3. *Berkeley’s “continuity” argument for God’s existence

  4. *Locke’s ontology of relations

* GPS monitoring and the Fourth Amendment

  1. *Locke’s theory of freedom (for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

I am (through 2015) the editor for the History:Modern section of Blackwell Philosophy Compass.


Berkeley’s Argument for Idealism (Oxford University Press, 2013) is now available.  See here and here.

Locke (Blackwell Great Minds Series, 2014) is now available. See here and here.




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