Research

In my current work, I’m interested in theoretical questions about collective action, collective agency, collective responsibility, and collective punishment. I’ve worked on what kinds of groups can be the authors of actions and therefore be responsible for what they do (2015a), how groups come to have obligations and responsibilities (2016e), the difference between individuals and groups when it comes to the kinds of obligations they have (2016c), and whether it’s permissible to punish some kinds of groups (2018; forthcoming). These research topics have also taken me into questions about individual responsibility for what collectives and non-collective groups do. I’ve looked at individual responsibility for unethical global consumption (2015b; 2018), global climate change (2014; 2016d; 2016a; 2017a; 2017d), and both race and class privilege (2016b; 2017e). In my forthcoming book, I focus in particular on how these issues about collective action, agency and responsibility, and individuals’ implication in it (if any), apply when it comes to the nation state and its citizens (forthcoming). On that topic see also (2017b).

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. Not In Their Name: Are Citizens Culpable For Their States’ Actions? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘What’s Wrong With Collective Punishment?’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 3/CXVIII (2018).

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Does Purchasing Make Consumers Complicit In Global Labour Injustice?‘ Res Publica (2018) [early view].

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘The Comparative Culpability of Stratospheric Aerosol Injections and Ordinary Carbon Emissions’, Ethics & International Affairs 31/4 (2017a).

+ Collins, Stephanie., & Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Responsibility for States’ Actions: Normative issues at the intersection of collective agency and state responsibility’, Philosophy Compass (2017b) [early view].

+ Currie, Adrian. & Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Accelerating the Carbon Cycle: the Ethics of Enhanced Weathering‘, Biology Letters 13/4 (2017d).

+ Dunham, Jeremy., & Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Offsetting Race Privilege‘, Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 11/2 (2017e).

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Climate Matters Pro Tanto, Does It Matter All-Things-Considered?‘ Midwest Studies in Philosophy XL (Special Issue ‘Ethics and Global Climate Change’) 40/1 (2016a), pp. 129-142.

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Offsetting Class Privilege‘, Journal of Practical Ethics 4/1 (2016b), pp. 23-51.

+ Collins, Stephanie. & Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Collectives’ and Individuals’ Obligations: A Parity Argument‘, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46/1 (2016c), pp. 38-58.

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Difference-Making and Individuals’ Climate-Related Obligations‘, in Clare Hayward & Dominic Roser (Eds.) Climate Justice in a Non-Ideal World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016d) pp. 64-82.

+ Collins, Stephanie. & Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘The Transfer of Duties: From Individuals to States and Back Again‘, in Michael Brady & Miranda Fricker (Eds.) The Epistemic Life of Groups (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016e) pp. 150-172.

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘What ‘we’?‘ Journal of Social Ontology 1/2 (2015a), pp. 225-250.

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Unethical Consumption and Obligations to Signal‘, Ethics & International Affairs 29/3 (2015b), pp. 315-330.

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Benefiting from Failures to Address Climate Change‘, Journal of Applied Philosophy 31/4 (2014), pp. 392-404.

In my earlier work, I was interested in understanding when a political proposal counts as “feasible” and why. This took me into thinking about the distinction between ideal and non-ideal normative theory (2010a), and into developing a non-binary account of political feasibility that could accommodate both hard and soft kinds of constraints (2011; 2012c; 2013b). I also started thinking at this time about whether there’s an answer to the question of what agents ought to do when they can’t or won’t do the best thing (2013a), about what kinds of philosophical arguments are most motivating for ordinary people (2010b; 2012a), and about how considerations about feasibility apply from the individual to the group case (2012b). Recently, I’ve collaborated on some experimental work about the relation between ability and obligation (2017).

+ Kurthy, Miklos., Lawford-Smith, Holly., & Sousa, Paulo. ‘Does Ought Imply Can?’ PLOS One 12/4 (2017) [early view].

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Non-Ideal Accessibility‘, Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (2013a), 653-669.

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Understanding Political Feasibility‘, Journal of Political Philosophy 21/3 (2013b), pp. 243-259.

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘The Motivation Question: Arguments from Justice, and from Humanity‘, British Journal of Political Science 42 (2012a), pp. 661-678.

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘The Feasibility of Collectives’ Action‘, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90/3 (2012b), pp. 453-467.

+ Gilabert, Pablo. & Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Political Feasibility: A Conceptual Exploration‘, Political Studies 60 (2012c).

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Cosmopolitan Global Justice: Brock v. The Feasibility Sceptic‘, Global Justice: Theory Practice Rhetoric (Issue 4, 2011).

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Ideal Theory: A Reply to Valentini.’ Journal of Political Philosophy (Vol. 18, No. 3, 2010a, pp. 357-368).

+ Lawford-Smith, Holly. ‘Feasibility Constraints and the Cosmopolitan Vision: Empirical Reasons for Choosing Justice Over Humanity.’ Questioning Cosmopolitanism, ed. Stan van Hooft and Wim Vandekerhove. Dordrecht: Springer, 2010b.