I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Ashoka University. Previously, I was a Post-Doc at the Center for Population-Level Bioethics at Rutgers University. Earlier I finished my PhD from the London School of Economics.
My current work focuses on the theory of distributive justice (including the distribution of chances and risks), distributive justice applied to health, egalitarianism, discrimination (including caste), and the political philosophy of development.
My PhD dissertation focused on the importance of the separateness of persons. I argued for a relational understanding of the separateness of persons that supports a broadly contractualist account of morality. In the dissertation, I apply this understanding of the separateness of persons to questions of distributive justice, risk, aggregation, and deontological constraints. I also argue that the separateness of persons matters to morality even if our personal identity should not matter to us rationally.
Here is my CV.
Deontologists believe that it is wrong to violate a right even if violating the right will prevent a greater number of violations of the same right. This leads to the paradox of deontology: If respecting everyone’s rights is equally important, why should we not do what minimizes the number of rights violations? One possible answer is agent-based. This answer points out that you should not violate rights even if this will prevent someone else’s violations. In this paper, I defend a relational agent-based justification that focuses on the relation in which the agent stands to her would-be victims. I argue that this justification can avoid two key objections levelled against agent-based justifications: It can explain why we are not permitted to minimize our own rights violations, and the justification avoids the charge of being excessively self-concerned.
Effective altruism (EA) requires that when we donate to charity, we maximize the beneficial impact of our donations. While we are in broad sympathy with EA, we raise a practical problem for EA, which is that there is a crucial empirical presupposition implicit in its charity assessment methods which is false in many contexts. This is the presupposition that the magnitude of the benefits (or harms) generated by some charity vary continuously in the scale of the intervention performed. We characterize a wide class of cases where this assumption fails, and then draw out the normative implications of this fact.
Limited aggregation holds that we are only sometimes, not always, permitted to aggregate. Aggregation is permissible only when the harms and benefits are relevant to one another. But how should limited aggregation be extended to cases in which we are uncertain about what will happen? In this article, I provide a challenge to ex post limited aggregation. I reconstruct a precise version of ex post limited aggregation that relies on the notion of ex post claims. However, building a theory of limited aggregation based on ex post claims leads to a dilemma. This shows that ex post limited aggregation is currently far away from being a well-defined alternative, strengthening the case for ex ante limited aggregation.
Limited aggregation is the view that when deciding whom to save we sometimes are allowed to pay attention to the relative numbers involved and sometimes we are not. Limited aggregation is motivated by a powerful idea: our decision whom to save should respect each person’s separate claim to our help; in particular it should respect those in need whose claims are the greatest. Recent work has provided strong challenges to such a view and shown that current proposal of limited aggregation have serious flaws. I argue for a new version of limited aggregation Hybrid Balance Relevant Claims which is well-grounded in the reasons we have to be skeptical of aggregation and avoids these challenges.
How should contractualists assess the permissibility of risky actions? Both, ex ante and ex post contractualism, fail to distinguish between different kinds of risk. I argue that this overlooks a third alternative, 'objective ex ante contractualism' that discounts complaints by objective risks rather than by epistemic risks. I argue that we should adopt this view since it provides us with the best model of justifiability to each.
Derek Parfit famously argued that personal identity is not what matters for prudential concerns. He further claimed that his view on personal identity has profound implications for moral theory. It should lead us, among other things, to deny the separateness of persons. I argue that Parfit is mistaken about this inference. His revisionary arguments about personal identity and rationality have no implications for moral theory.
Reviews, Replies and Short Articles
In high-income countries that were first to roll out COVID-19 vaccines, older adults have thus far usually been prioritized for these vaccines over younger adults. Age-based priority primarily resulted from interpreting evidence available at the time, which indicated that vaccinating the elderly first would minimize COVID deaths and hospitalizations. WHO counsels a similar approach for all countries. This paper argues that some low- and middle-income countries that are short of COVID vaccine doses might be justified in revising this approach and instead prioritizing certain younger persons when allocating current vaccines or future variant-specific vaccines.
The design of human challenge studies balances scientific validity, efficiency, and study safety. We explore some advantages and disadvantages of “low-dosage” challenge studies, in the setting of testing second-generation vaccines against COVID-19. Compared to a conventional vaccine challenge, a low-dosage vaccine challenge would be likelier to start, and start earlier. A low-dosage challenge would also be less likely to rule out a vaccine candidate which would have been potentially effectivein target usage. A key ethical advantage of a low-dosage challenge over conventional challengeis that both it and its dose escalation process are safer for each participant. Low-dosage studies usually require larger numbers of participants than conventional challenges, but this and other potential disadvantages are less serious than they may initially appear. Overall, low-dosage challenges should be considered for certain roles, such as prioritizing between second-generation vaccines against COVID-19.