Funded by the European Research Council’s highly competitive Starting Grant, Jonathan Parry’s new 5-year project, “Not in my name: The ethics of acting for others”, aims to uncover and explain the moral significance of two ubiquitous, yet opaque phenomena. On the one hand, it is common for agents to justify their actions by claiming to act “on behalf of” another. On the other hand, these claims often provoke indignation and rejection on the part of their subject(s).
Despite the central role these phenomena play in our lives, surprisingly little is understood about their moral significance, and the concepts and values that underpin them. What does it mean, exactly, for an agent to act “on behalf” of another person or group? Under what circumstances do persons and groups have a right to demand that others not act on their behalf? Crucially, why (and to what extent) do such demands impose constraints on the moral justifiability of others’ actions?
Headed by Jonathan Parry as Principal Investigator, working alongside a Postdoctoral and a PhD Researcher, the Not in My Name project aims to produce agenda-setting answers to these questions. It combines rigorous and cutting-edge theoretical work in moral and political philosophy, with detailed applied research in three practical areas: public health policy, the use of armed force, and political protest and dissent.