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Philosopher Spotlight: Jess Flanigan

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Thanks to Jess Flanigan for contributing this guest post, sharing her interesting and provocative work, as part of my ongoing "philosopher spotlight" series.  Enjoy!* * *My published research falls into three categories. I am interested in rights and their enforceability, public health policy, and economic justice issues. In this post I’ll say a bit about my research, hopefully in a way that explains how these topics are all related. Then I’ll talk a bit about the things I’m working on lately. Instead of listing the titles of each paper, each link will just say what the paper is about. If you’re interested in that argument you can click through to see where it’s published.First, let’s talk about rights and enforceability. A lot of my work is motivated by the conviction that just because something is bad doesn’t mean there should be a law against it. I wish that this were more widely appreciated. For example, it’s bad for people to fail to help those in need, but it doesn’t follow from that fact that duties of rescue are enforceable—they aren’t. Assistance isn’t enforceable because people aren’t liable to be interfered with just because they’re well-placed to help. On the flip side, there are lots of rights that people don’t think are enforceable but they are (e.g., gun rights or economic freedom). I argue that all liberty is basic because the same considerations that liberal egalitarians cite in support of upholding the classic list of basic liberties are also considerations in favor of protecting people from governmental interference more generally. Property rights are tricky though. On one hand, ownership is vague. That’s ok! The fact that the boundaries of a right are indeterminate doesn’t mean that the right isn’t real. On the other hand, I do think capitalism requires compensation for the rights violations involved in enforcing existing property conventions. Second, I’ve also written a lot about public health and health policy. I think public health. . .

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