Book in Progress — Group Duties
I’m currently writing my second book, tentatively titled Group Duties: Their Possibility and Their Implications for Individuals.
Moral duties are regularly attributed to groups: the United Kingdom has a duty to defend human rights; environmentalists have a duty to push for global systemic reform; humanity has a duty to eradicate poverty. Are such attributions philosophically defensible or mere political rhetoric? To answer this, we need a model that can take in details about the groups involved in real-world political problems and produce conclusions about (i) which of these groups can have duties and (ii) what this implies for each group’s members. The book develops a ‘tripartite’ model of group duties, which produces different results depending on whether the group in question is a ‘combination’, a ‘coalition’, or a ‘collective’.
You can read more about the book in this detailed summary.
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
Not a book, but a book-length thing — The Scope of Dependence-based Duties
I got my PhD from the Australian National University in 2013. My dissertation was called The Scope of Dependence-based Duties. The basic thought was: if you’re dependent on someone in the right way, then they have a moral duty. I gave this basic thought a painstaking level of precision. I then argued that it can be used to specify, justify, and unify the range of claims found within two quite separate literatures: first, the moral philosophy literature on the ethics of care; second, the international politics literature on the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. The results were that we can see care ethics as a more systematised moral theory than its proponents often claim, that we can more neatly assign duties under the Responsibility to Protect than had hitherto been recognised, and — more generally — that dependence-based principles ground a wider range of claims in interpersonal and international ethics than first meets the eye.
It’s a shame to spend three-and-a-half years writing something that only two people will read. So if you’d like to do me a supererogatory and time-consuming kindness, you could read the dissertation.