I joined Philosophy at Stirling in 2002 after completing my PhD - on the justification of property rights - at Cambridge. Before postgraduate research, I worked for a year on tax policy as a civil servant in HM Treasury.
My research examines the nature and justification of rights and duties. Recent work examines the relationship between rights and respect, and the structure (as individualistic or non-individualistic, 'foundationalist' or 'transcendental') of the moral grounds for rights. My work aims to reveal the comparative importance of different forms of right including human rights, natural rights, contractual rights, property rights, legal rights. I am co-editor of Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights (OUP, 2015)(http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199688630.do).
A guiding aim of my research is to demonstrate how philosophical positions bear on the justification of public policies and law. I have participated in policy development for NGOs and government, and in public inquiries including in 2012 as an invited witness at the Leveson Inquiry (www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Witness-Statement-of-Dr-Rowan-Cruft.pdf) and as co-author of a submission to the Commission on a Bill of Rights for the UK.
In 2016-17, I held a British Academy mid-career research fellowship, during which I wrote a book manuscript, Human Rights, Ownership, and the Individual (contracted to OUP). The book examines the distinction between rights grounded primarily by what they do for the right-holder (e.g. our 'basic' human rights) and those grounded by what they do for the wider community independently of their benefits to the right-holder (e.g. most property rights and other useful created systems of rights). I start from a new account of the nature of rights as formally bringing together duty-bearer and right-holder first-personally. Joseph Bowen has organised a symposium on this draft on 23 October: http://joseph-bowen.weebly.com/symposium-on-human-rights-ownership-and-the-individual.html
Teaching: In Autumn 2017, I am coordinating the module, Current Issues: Ethics for the St Andrews - Stirling joint MLitt in Philosophy (https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/sasp/); my undergraduate teaching focuses on free will and responsibility (PHIU911), on Plato's Apology and Crito (PHIU911), and on dissertation supervision (PHIU9YY).
Research Postgraduate Supervision: I am currently supervising PhDs on the nature of rights, on human rights and global poverty, and on trust and audit. I have supervised PhD theses on the nature of 'positive' or socio-economic rights, on well-being as a ground for justice, on the justice of market transactions, on the defensibility of democracy, on the responsibility of collective agents, on causation in morality and law, and on civil disobedience. I enjoy postgraduate supervision and my students have a strong record on the job market, and a strong record attracting AHRC and other awards. See http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~sasp/ for full details of the St Andrews - Stirling joint graduate programme.
Professional Activities: In addition to reviewing for journals, I am a member of the management committee of The Philosophical Quarterly. From 2015-17 I was a member of the executive committee of the Aristotelian Society. From 2007-14, I was a member of the AHRC peer review college. I am external examiner for Part IB of the undergraduate philosophy degree in Cambridge, and have held similar roles at Glasgow and (for philosophical parts of the law degree) King's College London.