[page under construction. See my academia.edu page for a more comprehensive list of my academic output]
Challenging Certainty: The Utility and History of Counterfactualism
History and Theory, Vol.49, No.1 (Wiley-Blackwell, February 2010) pp.38-57
This article explores the historical background and methodological uses of counterfactual (‘what if?’) thought experiments in both history and historiography, including a defence of its use to avoid several key failings made by contemporary historians. ‘Challenging Certainty’ was in the top ten of articles downloaded from History and Theory in 2010, with 661 downloads in ten months.
The Mythology of Democracy: Epistemology, Deliberation and Participation
This thesis argues that theories of democracy are best understood in terms of their underlying presuppositions as to the scope – and potential scope – of human knowledge. It offers a new justification of democracy, suggesting specific consequentialist grounds while critiquing instrumental and deontic approaches to the problem. The thesis then turns to a consideration of the evidence for widespread public ignorance, and argues that such evidence cannot form a sound basis for Platonist, epistocratic arguments against the universal franchise. Deliberative democracy is similarly problematic, founded upon a badly-understood concept of ‘public reason’, and intrinsically threatening to the democratic principle of political anonymity, and therefore, due to a host of well-documented social-psychological effects, to the universal franchise as well.