Self‑control and pathologies of agency
This is a four year Future Fellowship, funded by the Australian Research Council. This project will develop a philosophically and scientifically sophisticated account of the nature of self‑control. This account will provide tools for allocating responsibility for failures of self‑control and will contribute to the development of means for enhancing it, thereby aiding in addressing major social problems.
Challenges to moral responsibility (with Dr Daniel Cohen)
This project is a three year Australian Research Council funded Discovery Project. This project aims to assess several sorts of alleged threats to our moral responsibility, and thereby to better the social allocation of goods to individuals.
Enhancing Free Will: Implications for Moral Responsibility (with Dr Rob Hester)
This project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation, aims to investigate the relative efficacy of psychopharmaceutical means of enhancing free will compared to environmental manipulations. We will focus on a central component of free agency: self-control. There is already an extensive literature examining how self-control can be undermined by subjecting individuals to tasks that exhaust it. There is also a growing literature on how these effects can be mitigated. But most of these methods leave the agent in a worse state than before: though in the short term they allow for the exercise of self-control, in the long run they undermine it. We will test whether pharmaceutical means of mitigating self-control depletion are subject to the same limitations. We also aim to contribute to the closer integration of neuroscience and social psychology by gathering evidence that will shed light on the question whether neuroscientific measures of executive control tap into the same capacities as psychological measures of self-control. We will integrate the data gathered into a scientifically informed account of free will and moral responsibility. Finally, we will assess the implications of the scientific and conceptual work carried out here for law and social policy.