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I am a post-doctoral research fellow in the Political and International Studies Department of the University of Warwick, and member of the Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group. My research interests are in epistemology and moral philosophy, with a particular focus on the philosophy of trust, expertise, and technology.

Before coming to Warwick, I completed his thesis - Trust, Audit, and Public Engagement - at the University of St Andrews and the University of Stirling. This project explored the relationship between audit and public trust in public institutions.

Since joining Warwick, I have worked on multiple research projects as a post-doctoral research fellow. These include Moral Obligation and Epistemology: The Case of Vaccine Hesitancy; GEMS: Gaming Ecosystem as a Multi-Layered Security Threat; and AdSoLve: Addressing Socio-technical Limitations of LLMs for Medical and Social Computing.

The first project explores moral and epistemological concerning vaccine hesitancy, taking the recent COVID-19 pandemic as a case study. GEMS explores research ethics questions pertaining to the use of AI systems to research and combat terrorism and radicalisation in online video-gaming platforms. AdSoLve explores the limitations, ethical and legal implications of using Large Language Models in legal and medical diagnostic settings, and to develop a framework for trustworthy AI use in such cases.



Two Kinds of Vaccine Hesitancy

We ask whether it is reasonable to delay or refuse to take COVID-19 vaccines that have been shown in clinical trials to be safe and effective against infectious diseases. We consider two kinds of vaccine hesitancy. The first is geared to scientifically informed open questions about vaccines. We argue that in cases where the data is not representative of relevant groups, such as pregnant women and ethnic minorities, hesitancy can be reasonable on epistemic grounds. However, we argue that hesitancy is not reasonable if a vaccine has passed well-conducted clinical trials. The second kind of hesitancy is to do with beliefs about the institutions offering a successfully trialled vaccine and the justifiability of cooperating with those institutions. For example, in the UK, distrust of the UK Government or the National Health Service is identified as a factor in the vaccine hesitancy of minority ethnic populations. We ask whether this sort of hesitation is reasonable given normative requirements of fair co-operation, both with those institutions and the wider population. We suggest that the answer is not straightforward. Sometimes the hesitation is unreasonable but understandable.

Contributions to COVID-19 vaccination programmes promise valuable collective goods. They can support public and individual health by creating herd immunity and taking the pressure off overwhelmed public health services; support freedom of movement by enabling governments to remove restrictive lockdown policies; and improve economic and social well-being by allowing businesses, schools, and other essential public services to re-open. The vaccinated can contribute to the production of these goods. The unvaccinated, who benefit from, but who do not contribute to these goods can be morally criticised as free-riders. In this paper defends the claim that in the case of COVID-19, the unvaccinated are unfair free-riders. I defend the claim against two objections. First, that they are not unfair free-riders because they lack the subjective attitudes and intentions of free-riders; second, that although the unvaccinated may be free-riders, their free-riding is not unfair.



Trust, Audit and Public Engagement

Public auditors such as Audit Scotland aim to provide independent assurance to the public that money is spent effectively, efficiently and that it, and the activities of public organisations, provide public value.


This project has two objectives. Firstly, to develop conceptual models of public audit that support public organisations' trustworthiness as organisations that provide public value. Secondly, to develop conceptual models of public engagement that auditors (and public organisations generally) can use to build public trust in their organisations.

The project has three parts. Part 1 provides the project's philosophical foundations, defining the core concepts of trust, trustworthiness, distrust, and untrustworthiness that I employ in the thesis. Then I apply those concepts to trust relations between the public and public organisations. You can read a summative report of my findings here.


In part 2, I examine the relationship between audit and the trustworthiness of government. I will defend audit against audit sceptics, who argue that audit undermines public organisations' trustworthiness and public trust in those organisations. I will do this by arguing that whether audit faces these objections is dependent on the model of audit practice that we adopt, and I propose models of audit that avoid the audit sceptics’ objections. You can read a summative report of my findings here.


In part 3, I develop conceptual models of trust-conducive public engagement, and I examine the role that auditors can play in enhancing public trust in public organisations. Firstly, I determine whether the obligation to build trust in public organisations is compatible with audit function. Secondly, I determine what public organisations' communicative obligations are; for instance, do they require public organisations always to be open, honest, and transparent? Finally, I argue that public engagement models that empower the voices of those engaged with are more likely to induce trust between the organisation which empowers and those empowered through such public engagement. You can read a summative report of my findings here.


PAIS, Social Sciences Building
University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Road
Coventry CV4 7AL

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