Work In Progress

At the moment, my main research focus is finishing my PhD, the title of which is Ontic Injustice.

In it, I argue that there is a distinctive type of injustice, ontic injustice, which occurs when someone is wronged through by the social construction of categories, such as race categories or gender categories. A victim of ontic injustice suffers a wrong in virtue of being made into a member of the social category in question; that is to say, it is the very fact of category membership that constitutes the wrong, not any particular negative experiences that may follow.

This wrong, I argue, consists of a failure of recognition respect: the victim of ontic injustice instantiates morally relevant properties that warrant certain sorts of responses from others, but her category membership serves to license contrary sorts of responses. As a preliminary to explaining the notion of ontic injustice, I develop an account of the ontology of race and gender.

This account is a form of institutionalist realism, according to which races and genders are real kinds that are unified by institutional properties, and draws on John Searle’s account of institutional reality. After defining ontic injustice, I apply the concept to two cases: first, the debate about whether pornography subordinates women, and, second, the Black Lives Matter movement.

I am also working on a paper about feminism and the philosophy of sex for the Bloomsbury Companion to Analytic Feminism (ed. Pieranna Garavaso), tentatively titled, ‘Who’s Afraid of Andrea Dworkin? Feminism and the Analytic Philosophy of Sex’.