K. Violet McKeon


My present research focus is on global justice, broadly speaking. More specifically, I am putting the finishing touches on my dissertation, which offers an answer to the question: What do we owe to each other in the global commons? Or rather, what moral and political obligations arise when humans share a common plight around shared resources, especially when outside the bounds of typical state governance?   This present project is broad and is allowing me to investigate both traditional theories of value, political philosophy, and international law, as well as some game-theoretic approaches to social dynamics, and a bit of economics. I expect to defend it in Spring, 2015.

Some of my other research interests and works-in-progress include environmental philosophy & environmental ethics, drug-war ethics, the history of the Social Contract, the history and philosophy of science, games and decisions, logic, the philosophy of physics, and the philosophers of the early modern era. I’m putting the polishing touches on a paper in the history of the Social Contract that shows a continuity in the political theories of Jean Jacques Rousseau and the Nobel-prize winning work of economist Elinor Ostrom in the domain of commons governance. I’m also revising a paper on the ethics of drug-prohibition that I recently presented at the University of Pennsylvania. I like to research and write about a little bit of everything, which is what drew me to philosophy in the first place. I am always happy to chat with students about their independent research – reach out if you need a faculty mentor for an undergraduate research project on any of these topics.