I am a political philosopher at Brown University. I was born in New Hampshire and moved with my family to Vermont when I was young. I grew up in a small town called Underhill Center, at the foot of Mt. Mansfield. My wife Amy is also from Underhill. She and I often return there with our children, Peter and Lydia.
Ideologically and dispositionally, I suppose, I am a fusionist. At Brown I am the founder and director of the Political Theory Project a research center dedicated to the study of ideas and institutions that might make societies more free, prosperous, and fair. Every year the Project brings a dynamic group of postdoctoral fellows and visiting professors to Brown, all of whom share a commitment to civil, open-minded discourse about controversial political topics. Likewise, the Project's student wing, the Janus Forum, regularly hosts lectures and debates that bring opposing ideologies into serious but civil contact with each other.
My most recent book, Free Market Fairness (Princeton University Press, 2012), draws on moral insights from defenders of economic liberty such as F.A. Hayek and advocates of social justice such as John Rawls. In Free Market Fairness I develop a hybrid theory of liberal justice, one committed to both limited government and the material betterment of the poor. Free market fairness seeks to combine the uncombinables: capitalism and democracy, private property and social justice, free markets and fairness, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street. Free market fairness, I believe, is social justice, American style. Listen to an interview with Philosophy Bites about Free Market Fairness here. Or read a review of Free Market Fairness in the Wall Street Journal.
I am currently working with Matt Zwolinski on a book called A Brief History of Libertarianism (also with Princeton University Press). Matt and I blog about this project at BleedingHeartLibertarians.com. See a discussion of our project at Cato Unbound.