Democracy and Deceit

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Is democracy fundamentally threatened by those who aim to mislead the public? My current research project — "Democracy and Deceit: Rethinking Collective Decision-Making in the Era of Misinformation — studies the impact of online misinformation and deceptive speech on democratic decision-making. See, for instance, my piece on propaganda, misinformation and the epistemic value of democracy. As a normative theorist, I am especially interested in assessing the moral acceptability of different strategies against misinformation. For instance, I am currently writing on the relationship between legal prohibitions against misinformation — such as those implemented in France and Germany — and freedom of expression. When doing so, I draw insights from the epistemology of testimony as well as from philosophical perspectives on personal autonomy, and applies them to the context of online interaction. I also frequently rely on empirical political studies and psychological findings that allow us to understand how citizens vote, deliberate and form beliefs.

The Ethics of Online Interaction

While the history of moral thought has largely focused on problems that arise when two or more individuals interact in a physical setting, we increasingly spend our moral life online and connect with individuals that we do not know personally as well as with anonymous users. To what extent can traditional moral thinking inform our digital existence? My research on digital wrongs and the ethics of online interpersonal behaviour assesses the moral value of online practices such as trolling, digital disobedience and anonymous interaction on social networking platforms. It also addresses the more fundamental question of knowing whether the rights and wrongs we commit online are reducible to the ones theorized by past philosophers or if advances in communication technologies allow us to wrong each other in ways that have not yet been conceptualized by philosophers. To do so, I draw insights from moral theory, social anthropology and media studies.

Moral Judgement: Cross-Traditional Perspectives

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My first book — Moral Judgement. Contemporary French, German and Anglo-American Perspectives — is currently under contract with Rowman and Littlefield International. The book, which is a based on my Ph.D. dissertation, is a critical introduction to theories of moral judgement defended in both analytic and continental philosophy during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It focuses on the Kantian philosophical tradition by retracing the Aristotelian critique of Kantian theories of judgment which developed at that time and arguing that contemporary Kantians successfully answered three central Aristotelian objections focusing on (i) the rational grounding of moral decisions, (ii) the role of moral principles in practical reasoning and (iii) the relationship between virtue and judgement.

My book is the first to relate analytic reflections on moral judgement to philosophical contributions on this topic stemming from both France and Germany, many of which remain untranslated. It contains critical discussions of the work of philosophers such as Alasdair MacIntyre, Rüdiger Bubner, Vincent Descombes, Jürgen Habermas, Christine Korsgaard, Onora O’Neill, Barbara Herman, Alain Renaut and Jean-Marc Ferry.