"It is from [our conscience] only that we learn the real littleness of ourselves, and of whatever relates to ourselves, and the natural misrepresentations of self–love can be corrected only by the eye of this impartial spectator. It is he who shows us the propriety of generosity and the deformity of injustice; the propriety of resigning the greatest interests of our own, for the yet greater interests of others, and the deformity of doing the smallest injury to another, in order to obtain the greatest benefit to ourselves." -- Adam Smith, TMS III.iii.
My research agenda centers on the passions and their role in moral and political life, especially as they are understood in modern political thought broadly and the Scottish Enlightenment in particular. I specialize in the moral, economic, and political thought of Adam Smith. As a political theorist, my work addresses these questions primarily through an analysis of Scottish Enlightenment and other eighteenth century texts, but I am broadly interested in their implications in American political behavior, social psychology, and experimental economics. I have also done extensive archival work with texts from the eighteenth century in order to better historically situate and inform my theory.
A copy of my research statement is available upon request.
- 2020. Recognizing Resentment: Sympathy, Injustice and Liberal Political Thought. Cambridge University Press. Available for purchase at Cambridge University Press and Amazon.
- 2020. "Kant on Humiliation, Respect, and the Preconditions for Political Right." Polity 52(4): 496-520.
- 2019.. "Mutual Sympathy and the Moral Economy: Adam Smith Reviews Rousseau" (with John T. Scott). Journal of Politics 81(1): 66-80.
- 2018. "James Wilson's Science of Politics and the Moral Psychology of American Constitutionalism" (with James R. Zink). American Political Thought 7(4): 588-613.
- 2016. "The Rhetoric of Sincerity: Cicero and Smith on Propriety and Political Context" (with Daniel Kapust). American Political Science Review 110(1): 1-12.
- 2015. "Spontaneous Disorder in Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments: Resentment, Justice, and the Appeal to Providence" (with John T. Scott). Journal of Politics 77(2): 463-476.
Working papers are available upon request.
- "Adam Smith on Education as a Means to Political Judgment" (with Edward Frame). Revise and Resubmit.
- "The Limits of a Liberal Education in Autonomy" (with Tim Tennyson). Draft available.
- "Narrowing the Scope of Resentment in Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments" (with John T. Scott). Draft available.
In October 2021, I am organizing the 2021 International Adam Smith Conference at UW-Madison.
In April 2015, I co-organized (with Yiftah Elazar) a conference at the Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions on Adam Smith's political thought.