Addressing UKIP through Electoral Reform

Despite repeated attempts by the BNP, the UK has never had a far-right party occupy the political mainstream—until UKIP. While their success is driven largely by uneducated, low-skilled working-class voters, there is a significant gap between what their voters want—heavy restrictions on immigration—and what they need. In fact, integrating the UKIP voter into the modern UK economy might just require an electoral reform that would have government be less sensitive to what we actually want and more to what we would want, were we fully informed. Read more here.

Blind Deference in PPR

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research will be publishing my paper “The Social Virtue of Blind Deference“. The paper argues that, under certain circumstances, someone soaking up everything he or she is told without any hesitation can qualify as epistemically virtuous, and that accounting for the relevant virtue requires abandoning virtue epistemology’s focus on virtue as a matter of factors internal to the psychology of the individual agent.

Should we really bar young people from voting?

When the UK goes to the polls in May, some 15 million people—more than the combined population of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland—won’t be able to vote since they will be under 18. Is that defensible? I argue that it’s not, and that we have reason to reject any age restriction on voting, including a lowered one. Read more here.

Epistemic Paternalism Reviewed in NDPR

Michael Bishop has a very generous and constructive review of my book Epistemic Paternalism: A Defence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

“In Character” video with Nate King

The Character Project at Wake Forest University just posted their first “In Character” video, featuring Nate King (Whitworth) and me talking to each other about our respective research on intellectual virtue.

Arbitrary lines and the age of consent

Legal age restrictions — be it on voting, drinking, driving or having consensual sex — are sometimes criticised for being arbitrary. Some of these critiques are philosophically confused. I explain why with reference to a recent discussion on the Guardian‘s Politics Weekly podcast, occasioned by a 1979 Home Office report on the age of consent recently obtained by that newspaper.

Intellectual Deference in Episteme

Episteme will be publishing my paper “Procedural Justice and the Problem of Intellectual Deference“. The paper considers contexts where educators attempt to teach students how to avoid bias, and argues that the problem of people failing to heed such advice on account of overconfidence can be solved in two steps, the second of which involves educators communicating their intellectual advice in a procedurally just manner.