I work mainly in ethics, philosophy of language, and feminist philosophy. I also like to draw from psychology and sociology. In very general terms, I am interested in the ethical dimensions of everyday interactions. My research interests fall into three broad categories.
- Intimacy. I am fascinated by the nature of intimacy and love, and by their connections to knowledge. I first got into this topic by writing about flirting. I’m currently thinking about the relationship between intimacy, power, and abuse, and about lying in romantic relationships, as part of a joint project with Cathy Mason.
- Normativity. I am interested in the different ways humans generate normative statuses, and the different forms these normative statuses take. I’m currently thinking a lot about normative powers and communication, and the relations between moral ‘oughts’ and social ‘oughts’.
- Guilt and shame. I have a longstanding interest in negative reactive attitudes like resentment, guilt and shame, as well as in objective attitudes like disgust and hatred. I have published papers about shaming and dehumanization, and I am currently thinking about moral injury (as it is understood in military psychology).
Philosophy of technology
- The internet and social media. I don’t think we’ve yet come to terms with quite how radically the internet has changed how we interact with one another and the ethical questions these changes raise. I’ve already written about likes, and I am currently thinking about emoji, and a phenomenon known as ‘context collapse’.
Social philosophy of language
- Speech and social power. I have written a range of papers exploring the nature of speech and its relation to social power (especially relating to gender). I am interested in how uneven power dynamics shape our conversations with one another and enable behaviour like gaslighting and exploitation. I am also interested in the role of the hearer in communication and in how hearers’ responses to others’ speech can shape the meaning of that speech.
At KCL, I lead the Moral, Legal, and Political Philosophy Research Cluster, which organises events in all areas of value theory.
Before moving to KCL, I was a Junior Research Fellow in philosophy at St John’s College, Cambridge from 2020 to 2023. During this time I co-convened the CRASSH-funded Research Network, Illuminating Friendship, together with a social anthropologist, Susan MacDougall, which explored friendship and intimacy from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.
I have a PhD in philosophy from Cambridge, and undergraduate and master’s degrees in philosophy from Oxford. My PhD project, ‘Speech, Sex, and Social Norms’, supervised by Rae Langton and Clare Chambers, explored different ways norms of gender and sexuality are enforced through speech.