I’m a political theorist. Most of my research is about how people can see each other as equals. My first book asks whether we can be morally responsible when our state commits injustices. I’m now knee-deep in a book project about gaslighting. I think this kind of manipulation is a greater threat to citizenship than ordinary deception because it targets our ability to have our own point of view. I’m excited to talk with you about anything at the intersection of politics and philosophy, among many other topics, big and small.
Teaching Harvard students for the past thirteen years has been a privilege and a joy. I run courses on ethics and public policy, global justice, and the philosophy and methods of social science, and I’m now designing a Gen Ed course on Democracy and Technology that I’ll be seeking your help with. In my Spring lecture course, Foundations of Political Thought, I was lucky to have an unusual number of freshmen who have drawn into Quincy. As a faculty affiliate in the Philosophy Department, I’m especially enthusiastic about Quincy’s Philosophical Society and InQlusivity. And as chair of Social Studies, I get to work with students who are passionate about social and global change.
I grew up in Silicon Valley, where my parents ran a small plastics shop. This made me an early adopter of gadgets and gizmos, from my Casio voice recorder watch in middle school to the “Smart Mug” that regulates my coffee’s temperature today. In high school, besides cross country and track, I was passionate about Lincoln Douglas Debate. Its subject was our political values and principles. That’s more or less the same activity that I work on today in my teaching and research. I also love baseball, jazz, classical, electronica, and too many podcasts (the latest is Jill Lepore’s murder mystery, “Who Killed Truth?). I’m also an avid but amateurish photographer and videographer of wildlife, mostly of our kids.