Ethical Theory, Social and Political Philosophy
Areas of Competence
Feminist Philosophy, Applied Ethics (Esp. Medical Ethics), Kant, Philosophy of Education
Dissertation Project: On Behalf of Another
We often find ourselves in situations where we must decide and act on behalf of others. How ought we make such decisions? And what sorts of reasons can justify these actions? In considering these questions, my dissertation develops an ethical account of trusteeship. I argue that the characteristic task of a trustee is to enact the will of the beneficiary through the actions done on her behalf. When one acts on behalf of another, one is engaged in a joint venture, in which both the trustee and the beneficiary may be held accountable for the actions done. Therefore when we possess the responsibility of trusteeship – as opposed to being charged with promoting either the beneficiary’s well-being or the best outcomes overall – we should aim not only to respect the beneficiary’s agency, but to engage it. A developed account of trusteeship provides guidance for us to navigate the important decisions we have to make on behalf of another in light of the possibility of deep, irreconcilable and perhaps even faultless disagreements between us and the beneficiary about what in life matters most or is worth pursuing.
Committee: David Estlund (Principal Advisor), Charles Larmore, Sharon Krause