I work on topics in analytic feminism and social metaphysics, with a special focus on the nature of oppression, the metaphysics of social properties, and methodologies in feminist philosophy and social metaphysics. Very generally, I'm interested in how normative, linguistic, and metaphysical elements of the social world interact to construct personally and politically important things like gender, race, and sexuality, as well as certain forms of oppression.
My dissertation, How to Be Social, was a collection of three papers on the metaphysics of social construction. I'm currently working on projects about the nature of systemic marginalization, and methods in the analytic philosophy of gender and in social metaphysics.
SEARCHING FOR SOCIAL PROPERTIES (FORTHCOMING IN PHILOSOPHY & PHENOMENOLOGICAL RESEARCH)
What does it take for a property to be a social property? This question is different from questions about what it takes for a property to be socially constructed. That is: it is one thing to be social, it is another to be socially constructed. Compared to questions about social construction, this question about sociality has received relatively little attention in social metaphysics. Here, I work from a very specific set of observations which arise from the social metaphysics literature to uncover a sufficient condition on sociality for properties, a condition which I argue all non-social properties fail to satisfy. Paper here.
WHY WE SHOULDN'T COMPARE TRANSRACIAL TO TRANSGENDER IDENTITY (WITH ROBIN DEMBROFF) BOSTON REVIEW
Unlike gender inequality, racial inequality primarily accumulates across generations. Transracial identification undermines collective reckoning with that injustice. Article here.
Works in Progress
Systemic marginalization is an extremely dangerous form of oppression. In this paper, I give an account of one particular type of systemic marginalization, something I call system caging. Generally speaking, an individual is system caged when, due to a confluence of barriers, they are unable to participate in social systems to obtain necessary goods and services, and this leaves them without recourse. My account is strongly informed by four cases, each of which involves at least one of four general forms of system caging. I present the cases; I then outline the fundamental elements of my account of system caging, clarify the underlying metaphysics, and then analyze the cases in terms of the proposed account.
Social Properties (in Preparation for The Routledge Handbook of Properties)
Some properties, like the property of being money, seem obviously social. Others, like the property of being negatively charged, seem not to be. But what makes for the difference here, between which properties are social and which aren’t? This chapter provides an overview of four general ways that this question has been answered in the existing literature on social properties.
This is a paper about the relationship between ethics and metaphysics in cases of social construction. Importantly, my aim is not to argue that a relationship like this exists (as I think we have reason enough to believe that it does in many cases), but instead to investigate the nature of this relationship as it holds in cases of social construction. My second aim in this paper is to examine the larger methodology at work in projects where metaphysics consciously takes its lead from ethics—projects in what I call normative metaphysics. My argument is that this methodology is often accompanied by, and even encourages, a particular kind of praxis, one which has the potential to significantly influence the shape and development of social metaphysics as a discipline.
“IS THIS A GAME TO YOU?” FEMINISM, KINK, AND THE ETHICS OF POWER GAMES
In this essay, I use C. Thi Nguyen’s (2020) account of games to analyze structured erotic encounters (“scenes”) in BDSM. In particular, I argue that BDSM scenes are games in Nguyen’s sense, and that understanding them as such yields important insights into the roles of consent, agency, and autonomy in BDSM. After presenting this analysis of scenes-as-games, my second aim is to situate this view within the landscape of criticisms launched against BDSM by some feminists, who argue that BDSM is fundamentally at odds with the project of feminism. Understood within the framework of games, many of these criticisms of BDSM have direct correlates to the worries that Nguyen considers about gamification and value capture, and I explore those correlations here. My aim is not to engage these debates directly, but instead to use the framework of games to offer a new perspective on the problems feminists have raised here and corresponding responses to them.