Academic

While my research is primarily in the ethics of parenthood and procreation, I work in a wide range of academic issues including: the ethics of killing, bioethics, the value of aging and death, political theology, religious liberty and the scope of conscience rights, incarceration and post-incarceration stigmas, the history and nature of evangelicalism, and Shakespeare.

Published Papers

Is Religious Liberty Under Threat?: An Introduction to the Symposium, Studies in Christian Ethics, May 2020

This introduction surveys the contributions to this issue, which were originally delivered at Oxford University in 2018. By exploring the interconnections and shared motifs, this article suggests that the answer to this symposium is a tentative ‘yes’, but that the sources of those threats arise from the background culture within which these papers are situated.

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What the State Owes Bastards: A Modest Critique of Modest One-Child Policies, Journal of Applied Philosophy, November 2019

This essay criticises ‘modest’ one-child policies, which would impose sanctions upon parents who create multiple children. Specifically, this article considers what the state owes individuals who would be born (illegally) beneath restrictive procreative policies and argues that such policies would fail to show due respect to second- or third-born individuals created beneath them. First, I argue that modest procreative restrictions (like sanctions) are likely to generate only modest compliance. I then suggest it is reasonable to think a one-child policy fails to demonstrate due respect to existing second and third children. I argue that such a policy generates an undue burden on any second or third children who would be born beneath them, before concluding by considering whether the state might be able to avoid effec-tively reinscribing ‘bastardy’ into its law by locating responsibility for the effects of such a policy entirely on the parents, rather than on children.

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The Effect of Religion on Emotional Well-Being Among Offenders in Correctional Centers of South Africa: Explanations and Gender Differences, November 2019

We examined (1) whether the relationship between religiosity and negative emotions (anger, frustration, depression, and anxiety) among prisoners is attributable to inmates’ sense of meaning and purpose in life and personal virtues and (2) whether religiosity has a larger positive relationship with a search for and a presence of meaning in life as well as the virtues of forgiveness, gratitude, and self-control among female than male inmates. To examine these relationships, we analyzed survey data from a sample of offenders in South African correctional centers. Findings showed that more religious inmates reported lower levels of negative emotions to the extent that their religiosity enhanced a sense of meaning and purpose in life and levels of self-control than their less or non-religious peers. We also found the salutary effect of religiosity to be applicable equally to male and female inmates. Substantive and practical implications of our findings are discussed.

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Indexing Burdens and Benefits of Treatment to Age: Revisiting Paul Ramsey’s “Medical Indications” Policy, July 2021

This essay reconsiders Paul Ramsey’s “medical indications” policy and argues that his reconstruction of the case of Joseph Saikewicz demonstrates that there is more room for caretakers to decline treatments for “voiceless dependents” than his interlocutors have sometimes thought. It furthermore draws on Ramsey’s earlier work to propose ways that Ramsey might have improved his policy, and argues that the shortcomings of Ramsey’s view arise from his bracketing of age in making determinations about what form of medical care is owed. The reading of Ramsey set forth here suggests Cathleen Kaveny’s depiction of the ‘medical indications’ policy in Ethics at the Edges of Law is too rigid and inflexible, even while it affirms other aspects of her critique.

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Forthcoming Papers

“Stability, Natural Rights, and the Limits of Prudence,” forthcoming in the Anglican Theological Review.

“Parenthood, Patient as Person, and Research with Children,” in Paul Ramsey: The Man, His Thought, and a Groundbreaking Approach to Bioethics, forthcoming.

Book Reviews