Book in Progress: Modelling Collective Obligation
I’m starting work on my second book, tentatively titled Modelling Collective Obligation. Moral obligations are regularly attributed to collectives: states are obliged to defend human rights; the affluent are obliged to alleviate global poverty; humanity is obliged to curb carbon emissions. Are such attributions philosophically defensible or mere political rhetoric? To answer this, we need a model that can take in details about the collectives involved in real-world political problems and produce conclusions about (i) which of these collectives can have obligations and (ii) what this implies for each collective’s members. I plan to develop a ‘tripartite’ model of collective obligation, which produces different results depending on whether the collective in question is ‘diffuse’, ‘goal-directed’, or ‘agential.’
Published Book: The Core of Care Ethics
My first book, The Core of Care Ethics, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015. You (or your library) can buy the book and download a pre-print of the first chapter.
The book was motivated by the fact that the moral and political theory known as the ‘ethics of care’ has flourished in recent decades, yet we remain without a succinct statement of its core theoretical commitment. The book argues for a simple care ethical slogan: dependency relationships generate responsibilities. It uses this slogan to unify, specify and justify the wide range of views found within the care ethical literature.
I recently wrote a condensed summary of chapters 2-5, titled “Care Ethics: The Four Key Claims”. This accessible 6,000 word piece is targeted at first-year university students. It has been published as the definitive statement of care ethics in Oxford University Press’s textbook and reader, Moral Reasoning.
Here’s what people have said about The Core of Care Ethics:
“After Collins’ reformulation, moral philosophers no longer can ignore care ethics. It is also essential reading for supporters of care ethics. This is a smart and indispensable book.” — Joan Tronto
“The Core of Care Ethics is an original and insightful book. Collins offers rigorous and detailed analyses of many of the core concepts of care ethics and in the process brings greater analytical precision to them. Care theorists will benefit immensely from engaging with Collins’s arguments…” — Daniel Engster, in Hypatia
“Collins provokes readers to think about the future of care ethics, and forces students of it to ask if the theory should be altered for accessibility and utility. Even those who disagree with her outcome will value Collins’ useful exploration of care ethics. I would especially recommend this original book for those who know little about care ethics or have previously disregarded it.” — Rebecca Wilson (PhD Candidate at St Andrews), in The International Feminist Journal of Politics